Djokovic to open tennis courts at Bosnian 'pyramids'
Recently-crowned Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic arrived in Bosnia on Wednesday to inaugurate tennis courts at a 'pyramid park' that he regularly visits to recharge his batteries.
The tennis star, known for his new-age spiritual interests, is fond of a hill town of Visoko, where thousands flock every year to what some believe are an ancient man-made pyramid complex with healing powers -- a claim rejected by scientists.
The 35-year-old Serb, who claimed his 21st Grand Slam title on Sunday, visited the site for the first time in 2020 and called it a "paradise on earth".
He has returned to the "Bosnian Pyramids of the Sun" complex at least four times, either alone or with his family, to be always warmly welcomed by its founder Semir Osmanagic.
Bosnian businessman and ancient civilisation afficionado Osmanagic said the idea to construct a regional tennis training centre was born during Djokovic's last visit in March.
"We have agreed to build in our park two courts for training of the top level players, one hard-court and another one with clay surface" Osmanagic told reporters recently.
The idea is to offer players and Djokovic's friends the chance to train and have free accomodation, he explained.
"We also want to organise here a Pyramid Cup for players from the region and want notably to motivate youngsters to play tennis and other sports".
The inauguration will be marked by all-day events with several exhibition matches, notably by Djokovic and Croatian Ivan Dodig, world number 17.
Upon the arrival, Djokovic visited the new courts and went for a walk into a pine forest, which is a part of the park, with his host, according to an AFP journalist.
Osmanagic, a self-styled archaeologist, has been claiming for the past two decades that he has discovered several pyramides built by a mysterious civilisation close to Visoko.
For the past few years his teams have been also clearing underground tunnels near the "Pyramids of the Sun" and he boasts of its beneficial effects on the health of visitors.
Djokovic has meditated at the site and during each visit walked kilometres of "energy" tunnels, which are according to archaeologists, an ancient gold mine.
In 2020, Djokovic told AFP he felt "regenerated" after the visit.
"I know there are many doubts and dilemmas about the authenticity" of the place, he said.
But "in order to fully understand what is going on here... you have to come".
Djokovic said on Monday it was unlikely he will feature in this year's US Open as he continues to refuse to be vaccinated against coronavirus.