Tennis ace, Novak Djokovic has delivered a heartfelt message in the wake of the tragic death of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.
The duo, along with seven others, were killed in a helicopter crash in California.
“My heart truly mourns over the news today,” Djokovic said.
“Kobe was a great mentor and friend to me. You and your daughter will live forever in our hearts.
“There are not enough words to express my deepest sympathies to the Bryants and every family suffering from this tragedy. RIP my friend.”
While a number of tennis identities were familiar with Bryant, Djokovic shared a special bond with the 41-year-old. Indeed, just two days ago Djokovic credited Bryant with helping him arrest his form slump.
“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN.
“I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years.
“When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling mentally and emotionally to handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.
“I’m very grateful to him for being there for me, for being very supportive.
“I love Kobe. Who doesn’t? He’s an amazing guy and one of the best basketball players and athletes of all time.”