Djokovic is #1, Now He Wants to Make Marketing Money

For professional athletes, it’s not enough to be on top of your game. You also have to have endorsement deals if you really want to make the big bucks.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic is having a 2011 for the record books, with 59 wins and only two losses going into the U.S. Open, which starts on Monday. Djokovic changed just about everything before going into this year: his diet, his serve, even his publicist. Now he’s the number one seeded player in the American grand slam. But he wants more.

The NY Times reports on the efforts from Djokovic’s uncle and chief marketing strategist Goran to make it known that Novak is the man.

Novak is making the rounds with the media and generally trying to pump up his image. Right now, those who know him like him. But the number of people (in the U.S. at least) who recognize the Serbian champ are far fewer than those who are familiar with Roger Federer — who appears in tons of ads — and Rafael Nadal — who just unveiled some sexxxy Armani ads.

Part of what makes both of these players so popular is their rivalry. You don’t have to be a rabid tennis fan to enjoy a Federer-Nadal match. Movie star good looks and the attentions of people like Anna Wintour help also.

Novak is a decent looking guy with a winning track record and a great sense of humor, which could make him very appealing to fans here. But he might want to give uncle Goran a chill pill. Just based on the Times article, it looks like he could easily rub people the wrong way.