NEW YORK – Novak Djokovic advanced to the fourth round today with a fairly quick 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over American Sam Querrey. It was a routine match for the 2011 U.S. Open champion, who had beaten Querrey in seven of eight prior meetings.
The press conference that followed, though, was far from routine. After answering questions about his game and about fellow Serbian Aleksandra Krunic, asked if there were any particular classroom experiences that impacted his childhood development and intellectual curiosity, Djokovic mentioned music and poetry.
Then, as he so often does, Djokovic caught everyone off guard during his next answer.
"As we talked about music a little bit, if you don't mind, you know, this is a first-time experience for my dear friend Zia. If I may invite her to come here next to me, and if one of you can ask a question," he said as he motioned for Zia Uehling to come forward.
"She's a musician. She's nine years old and she has written how many songs so far?"
"I have five that are like ready, and I have about two books that I'm working on right now," the girl answered, standing next to the seated Djokovic.
"She's a prodigy, a future star, and this is a very valuable expereince for her. So please do ask one question," he prodded the media.
"What instrument do you play?" a reporter asked. She replied that she plays guitar. Another asked "Are you writing the music and the lyrics?" She is.
"Can you sing a song for us?"
"Sure, I will sing an original song I wrote called African Sun. I wrote this song to give hope to the children in Africa," she explained. "I never really play without my guitar, so I'll give it a try."
And so, rather than answering more questions, Djokovic sat back as a 9-year-old family friend sang everyone a song.
As Djokovic moved on to the portion of the press conference in which he answers questions in Serbian, the English-speaking media gathered around Uehling.
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