Moments after celebrating with his team and sobbing uncontrollably in his box after a record-breaking 10 Australian Open titles, Novak Djokovic was presented with the trophy and went up to share a few words. Before doing so, his opponent Stefano Tsitsipas was presented with his runners-up trophy and graciously declared: “He (Djokovic) is the greatest that has ever held a tennis racket.” Just 11 years old when bombs rained down around his family home in Belgrade (Serbia) in the middle of the night, Novak and his family would eventually find a shelter for the night; they would stay there for the next two-and-a-half months. “This is probably the biggest victory in my life”, declared the now 35-year-old Serb under the lights of the Rod Laver Arena, and he went on to give some advice to young tennis fans around the world: “Dream big. Dare to dream, because anything is possible… Don't let anyone take away the dream. Doesn't matter where you're from. I actually think the more disadvantaged childhood you have, the more challenges you have, the stronger you become. Stefanos and I are proof of that. Don't really let anyone take away that dream from you. Nurture it. Water it like you would the flowers. Even if only one person in this world that will accept, embrace and support your dreams, find that person and dream big because you can make it.” I couldn’t help but think these are words for us writers, too. It takes a great deal of courage to show up in the world as creatives, for a whole host of reasons. It might have been a discouraging or disparaging remark we received from a parent or somehow in a position of authority, or it might have been that pursuing a creative path did not seem realistic or feel like an option in the environment that we grew up in.
“Don't really let anyone take away that dream from you. Nurture it. Water it like you would the flowers. Even if only one person in this world that will accept, embrace and support your dreams, find that person and dream big because you can make it.” - Novak Djokovic
— Jas Hothi is a writing coach & author.
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