April 2, 2007 / 7:13 PM / 12 years ago

Djokovic gets hero's welcome after Miami Open win

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after winning his final tennis match against Guillermo Canas of Argentina at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Miami April 1, 2007. REUTERS/Ruth Morris

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbian teenager Novak Djokovic got a standing ovation from several hundred fans in Belgrade on Monday after winning the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami and becoming the world number seven.

“I can’t thank you enough for the welcome party and this moment is as emotional for me as the one when I lifted the trophy on Sunday,” he told an ecstatic crowd in front of the city hall.

“I hope this will mark the beginning of a new era in my young career and my goal remains the be the best player in the world one day, although I am in no hurry,” the 19-year old said.

Djokovic lifted his second title of the season without dropping a set and replaced Andre Agassi as the youngest winner in the Miami event’s 23-year history after crushing Argentine Guillermo Canas in the final.

“The hard work has paid off and I feel my serve and volley game has improved considerably since Mark Woodford has joined my coaching staff,” Djokovic told a news conference in the city hall after the welcome party.

He also praised Canas for a brave performance in the final and said his back-to-back wins over Roger Federer of Switzerland were likely to boost the confidence of other top players looking to depose the world number one.

“Canas did it on one of Federer’s favorite surfaces too and it shows other top-ranking players should be able to challenge him more consistently in the future,” he said.

Federer was named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for the third time in a row in Barcelona earlier on Monday after continuing his domination of men’s tennis in 2006.

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