Wednesday, July 9, 2014 7:44 pm
by Olivera Nikolic
SVETI STEFAN – Serbian tennis great Novak Djokovic will wed longtime girlfriend Jelena Ristic on Thursday in a civil ceremony at a plush resort on the Adriatic coast, a source close to the family said Wednesday.
“The civil wedding will take place at Kraljicina (Queen’s) beach,” the source, who requested anonymity, told AFP.
He added that the religious ceremony would take place two days later with only family and close friends invited.
Kraljicina is located close to Sveti Stefan islet, a luxury property in Montenegro bordered by tree-lined hills where Djokovic and his guests are staying.
Local media had reported earlier this week that the 27-year-old, who won his second Wimbledon title on Sunday, would tie the knot with Ristic on Wednesday.
The couple, who are expecting their first child later this year, arrived on Tuesday in Montenegro where they were welcomed by members of his family.
AFP reporters at the scene said Sveti Stefan and Kraljicina beach were closed off to the public to prevent possible intruders or paparazzi.
– Tight security –
Security officers, dressed in civilian clothes, have been deployed in the area since Tuesday to ensure that the privacy sought by Djokovic is respected.
Tourists can freely access two beaches facing the islet but they are not allowed to cross the bridge to sit or walk the paths through a pine forest leading to the Kraljicina beach, according to AFP journalists at the scene.
Belgrade daily Blic reported that employees at the Sveti Stefan resort have signed a written pledge not to disclose any details relating to the wedding.
They are also forbidden from bringing any cameras or mobile phones to the islet, connected with the mainland by a stony strip.
Media reports said 140 people had been invited to the wedding, including Djokovic’s coaches Boris Becker and Marjan Vajda, as well as fellow tennis players Maria Sharapova and Andy Murray.
The event will reportedly cost some 500,000 euros ($680,000).
Djokovic meanwhile is said to have been paid 500,000 euros by British magazine Hello for exclusive photo rights of the wedding, an amount he has pledged to donate to charity.
The world number one, who dedicated his Wimbledon title to his future wife and child, said he would “now close a tennis chapter for a while.”
“A lot of great moments are ahead of me: marriage, becoming a father in a few months … I am going to enjoy spending time with my family and my future wife,” Djokovic told reporters.
On Wednesday, on the mountain overlooking Sveti Stefan a sign which can be seen from the islet, was installed reading in capital letters: “There was a good reason for him to be born,” a verse of famous Montenegrin poet and ruler from the 19th century Petar Petrovic Njegos in a reference to Djokovic.”
– Luxurious Adriatic resort –
The rocky islet of Sveti Stefan, which lies on 12,400 square meters (133,000 square feet), is one of the most luxurious resorts on the Adriatic coast.
A fortified village built in the 15th century to defend the mainland from a possible intrusion by Turkish soldiers, it became an islet for fishermen after the fall of the Ottoman empire.
In post-World War II communist Yugoslavia, the villagers were moved to the mainland and the islet became an exclusive resort for celebrity guests of then Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito.
Many international film stars, among them Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Orson Welles and Kirk Douglas, frequented the resort in the 1960s and 1970s.
It came under the world spotlight again with the 1992 match between former world chess champions Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky, the first appearance by the reclusive US player after two decades.
Fischer, who won the match over the Russian master and his main rival, defied US and international sanctions imposed on then Yugoslavia for its role in the 1990s Balkan wars.
The resort is now managed by international chain Aman Resorts.