Djokovic Appeared at the Invitation of His Friend and Former Rival, Retired Top-10 Tennis Pro Mario Ančić '15.
It’s not unusual for heavy hitters in the courtroom to appear at Columbia Law School for conferences, reunions, and other special events. But on Sunday, March 2, the Law School community was treated to a visit by an international star who competes on the court.
Novak Djokovic receives a warm welcome at Jerome Greene Hall.
Tennis great Novak Djokovic, six-time Grand Slam champion, Davis Cup winner, and Olympic medalist from Serbia, talked to members of the Law School community about the business and legal sides of his sport. He appeared on campus at the invitation of his longtime friend and former tennis rival, second-year J.D. student Mario Ančić. They were joined on stage by legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, who offered advice about how to succeed in any competitive endeavor. Columbia Law School Professor Mark Barenberg, an international labor law expert and former collegiate tennis player, led the discussion.
Professor Mark Barenberg leads the discussion with Djokovic and Mario Ančić.
Djokovic, currently the number two-ranked player in the world, came up on the junior tennis circuit with Ančić, a retired top-10 pro and Olympic medal winner from Croatia. The two athletes were fierce competitors on the court until Ančić was forced to retire early due to injuries.
Mario Ančić and Novak Djokovic in 2006 after their epic five-set match at Wimbledon, won by Ančić. Phil Cole/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
After leaving the sport, Ančić returned to his hometown of Split, Croatia, where he earned a law degree, passed the bar, and worked as a corporate law associate for two years. In 2013, he earned an LL.M. degree from Columbia Law School before enrolling in the J.D. program.
The event featured conversation about some of the realities of sports law, including putting together a team of lawyers and agents and developing sponsors and other business ventures. The discussion was supported by Debevoise & Plimpton and organized by the Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law Society; the Columbia Business and Law Association; and the Columbia Law and Entrepreneurship Society.
The tennis greats pose with Columbia Law School Dean David M. Schizer and students.