“Novak” (working title) will follow the 12-time Grand Slam champ over the course of the 2017 season in his quest to remain on top, while also delving into his personal life and charitable work. The show might even include the possibility that the Serbian powerhouse will win the four major tennis tournaments in a calendar year — a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in the men’s game in nearly 50 years — but an Amazon rep said the production schedule is in flux and may wrap before the U.S. Open is completed next year.
Amazon has not set a premiere date for the series, which will premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan. The announcement comes as Djokovic is vying to take home the trophy at the 2016 U.S. Open, where he is set to play France’s Gael Monfils in the semifinals Friday.
“My fans have been suffering and celebrating with me from the very beginning of my career on the tennis courts,” Djokovic said in a statement. “Now I want to share with them all my daily life and what’s important to me — my values, my beliefs, and my habits — and also introduce to them all the amazing people that are always next to me.”
One potential risk for the project: a serious injury sidelining Djokovic would obviously drain much of the drama from the show.
John Henion (“Fearless,” “Chef’s Table,” “Road to the Show”) has been tapped as showrunner and co-executive producer. The series, based on a concept by Alberto Scarpetta and Djokovic, will explore his mental and fitness routines and meticulous dietary habits. It will also cover his personal life, including trips to his hometown of Belgrade, Serbia, and his work with the Novak Djokovic Foundation for early-childhood education and with charities such as UNICEF.
“There are not enough superlatives to describe Novak Djokovic, one of the most accomplished, multi-dimensional, exciting and captivating athletes on the planet,” said Conrad Riggs, head of unscripted programming at Amazon Studios. “Prime members will get an intimate look at the mind and life of a world champion, husband and father, as well as the incredible group of individuals that make up his team.”
Amazon’s growing slate of unscripted shows includes upcoming auto show “The Grand Tour,” from former “Top Gear” hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May; “American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story,” slated for 2017; and “The New Yorker Presents” from Conde Nast Entertainment.
Djokovic, 29, has won a record six Australian Open titles, three Wimbledon titles, two U.S. Open titles and one French Open title. This year, he became the eighth player in history to achieve the Career Grand Slam after winning the French Open. He holds the single-season record of six titles in 2015, winning 31 consecutive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 series matches, playing in the finals at all nine ATP Masters 1000 tournaments (a distinction shared with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal) and being the only player to win eight of the nine events at least twice.
“Novak” is slated to be co-produced by the WorkShop (“The Haney Project,” “The Vince Papale Story”) and Film 45, which is helmed by Peter Berg (“Lone Survivor,” “Deepwater Horizon,” “Patriots Day”). Djokovic and Scarpetta are slated to executive produce along with Berg, the WorkShop’s Tom Farrell and Todd Donnelly, Film 45’s Matthew Goldberg and Brandon Carroll, and the Alternative Co.’s John Ferriter.
Former tennis pro Boris Kodjoe has been tapped as co-executive producer, and former UCLA tennis player Philipp Gruendler is on board as consulting producer.