Today, the score is love all for Novak Djokovic. The world's number one ranked tennis player, who just celebrated his seventh grand slam championship ay Wimbledon last weekend, is to be married in a two-day wedding event to his longtime girlfriend Jelena Ristic.
Djokovic and Ristic are set for a civil wedding ceremony at the idyllic Adriatic resort of Sveti Stefan in Montenegro. On Saturday there will be a private church wedding, a source confirmed to ABC News.
Sveti Stefan, the setting for the pre-wedding party, is a tiny 15th century town, perched on a rocky outcropping over the Adriatic, its only connection to the mainland, a narrow causeway longer than several football fields. With its thick town walls and narrow streets of cottages roofed in terracotta, the scenic village is one of the loveliest and most exclusive resorts on the southern Adriatic coast.
Inside the town walls, guests can stroll through narrow, twisting streets, dotted with pines and palm trees and abundant plots of flowering oleanders, and trees laden with figs and oranges.
Today's civil wedding will be in the small palace of Milocer, once a summer residence for Queen Marija of Yugoslavia. It is a 10 minute walk through a pine forest from Sveti Stefan to the sheer cliffs where vows will be made. Milocer’s formal garden overlooking the sea is a colorful contrast to the rugged mountains surrounding it.
The wedding couple are expecting their first child in October. They clearly want their church ceremony to be private and the isolated spot on the exclusive resort island should assure the presence of only their closest friends and families.
In the Balkans, the Djokovic wedding is more than a big deal. The king of Wimbledon has almost royal status, and local media have been calling the event “The wedding of the century.” Some have even labeled Djokovic and Ristic the “Will and Kate” of the Balkans, after England's royal couple.
Employees at the Sveti Stefan resort have had to sign confidentiality agreements not to reveal even the smallest detail of the wedding. Mobile phones have been banned from the venue, to prevent any unauthorized pictures from the wedding, according to reports.
The Djokovics will have pictures, but the rights to them have been sold to Hello magazine for a regal sum, which will go to charity.
Adding to the size of one of the largest events in the Balkans in recent memory, large contingents are expected from the police and state security services from both Serbia and Montenegro.
Already, local media say roads to Milocer and Sveti Stefan have been sealed off from the public, with polite security officers stationed every few yards. There is a police scuba-diving squad standing by, and an anti-terrorist unit on alert.
Montenegro has seen this before, but usually only when high ranking politicians or heads of state are visiting. In the 1960s and 1970s people like Sophia Loren, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were frequent Sveti Stefan visitors, and it was rumored that it was the destination of choice for the British Crown Prince Charles and Diana’s honeymoon, until press attention forced the couple to change their plans.
In 1992, Sveti Stefan got global attention when the famously reclusive American chess champion Bobby Fischer broke his two decade long self-exile from the game to play a $5 million match against his old nemesis, Russian grandmaster Boris Spassky. This event defied an American ban on business in Yugoslavia, then being torn apart by the war in Bosnia.
Djokovic and Ristic are high school sweethearts and have been together for more than eight years. Jelena runs Novak Djokovic Foundation, and the couple have asked that all wedding gifts benefit the foundation.