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June 5, 2011 | By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
He's everything his country wants to be: confident, successful, comfortable in his own skin and able, at last, to put a violent past behind him. It's not often that a tennis star embodies the hopes of an entire nation. But in Novak Djokovic — the world's No. 2 men's player, whose perfect win streak this year was finally snapped here Friday at the French Open — Serbia has found what it thinks is the perfect pitchman for a rebranding campaign, someone who'll bring back the shine to its tarnished reputation.
May 28, 2011 | By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
Jovana Vujcic is too young to remember the war that ravaged the Balkans in the early 1990s but old enough now to experience its baleful legacy. "We're labeled as a genocide nation," the 23-year-old Serbian economics student said. "When you travel around Europe and you meet people, they only know those years of our history. " The burden of that past felt a little lighter Friday, a day after Serbian authorities finally captured Ratko Mladic , Europe's most-wanted war crimes suspect.
May 16, 2011 | Bill Dwyre
The French Open begins this weekend, and the toast of tennis is not Rafael Nadal. The man who has owned the red clay at Roland Garros in Paris since he first stepped on it in 2005 is now owned by somebody else. Astonishingly, the favorite to win the men's singles title, second of the four majors of the year, is a Serb with a rock jaw, sharply angled face and a backhand and forehand that have hit every line from every angle for the last six months. Novak Djokovic has arrived.
May 5, 2011 | Staff and wire reports
Novak Djokovic extended his season-opening winning streak to 29 matches at the Madrid Open on Thursday for the best start in men's tennis in 25 years. The Australian Open champion won all 21 of his first-service points to beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez , 6-1, 6-2 and advance to the quarterfinals, where he was joined by fellow third-round winner Roger Federer and top-ranked Rafael Nadal . Djokovic, who is 31-0 since last year's Davis Cup final, is tied for third with Ivan Lendl for the best season start since 1980.
April 3, 2011 | Wire reports
Novak Djokovic won his fourth consecutive tournament, beating top-ranked Rafael Nadal , 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), in a grueling final in the Sony Ericsson Open at Key Biscayne, Fla. Djokovic has won 26 consecutive matches since December, and his record of 24-0 in 2011 is the best to begin a year since Ivan Lendl started 25-0 in 1986. The No. 2-ranked Djokovic was pushed the distance by Nadal on a sunny, hot afternoon. They played for nearly 3 1/2 hours, and it was Djokovic who looked fresher at the finish.
March 26, 2011 | By Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times
With its low-cost labor and scenic locales, Serbia has long been a popular European location for filming. Now, facing rising competition from neighboring countries such as Hungary, the Czech Republic and Germany, the country wants to up its game. The Serbian government has approved a new film incentive program specifically targeted to foreign productions. The program provides a 15% cash rebate on goods and services purchased in Serbia and a 12% rebate on labor expenses, including foreign crew and talent.
November 27, 2010 | By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
Authorities are trying to piece together how ? and why ? a 54-year-old Serbian emigre acquired large quantities of explosive ingredients that could be used to make the kind of bombs favored by terrorists, including insurgents trying to kill U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The work of a squad of local, state and federal explosives experts is being made more difficult because the one-story, stucco house in a leafy Escondido-area neighborhood where the material was found is considered too dangerous to reenter.
October 12, 2010 | By Grahame L. Jones
European soccer, relatively free from black eyes in recent years as far as crowd trouble goes, received a pretty good shiner from Serbia's lunatic fringe Tuesday. Rioting Serbian fans caused their country's Euro 2012 qualifying match against Italy in Genoa to be delayed by 35 minutes and then abandoned altogether after only six minutes of play. There was trouble outside the stadium before the game and more trouble inside during the build-up. Fans tossed flares and fireworks onto the field, cut through or broke down security fences, burned a flag, booed their own national anthem and brawled with riot police.
August 2, 2010 | Bill Dwyre
Big-time tennis has returned to Southern California this week, and Jelena Jankovic is the biggest name here. She is seeded No. 1 for what is now known as the Mercury Insurance Open. The once popular tour stop in Carlsbad went away for two years while the WTA reshuffled its schedule deck. But it is back, at the same La Costa Resort spot, and with the same air of semi-competitive leisure it always had amidst a season of tennis grinding. Ticket buyers seeking celebrity will plunk down cash to see the star of Serbia because, along with a nice forehand and backhand, she carries herself like one. Monday at La Costa was mostly a time for Jankovic, who won't play until Wednesday or maybe even Thursday, to meet the media and get ready for her various close-ups.
June 23, 2010 | By Diane Pucin
Reporting from Wimbledon, England — Top-seeded and defending champion Roger Federer struggled again Wednesday at Wimbledon. Playing against a 24-year-old, pony-tailed qualifier from Serbia, Ilija Bozoljac , Federer lost a set and needed two tiebreaks to move into the third round. The final score was 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (5), but following Federer's five-set struggle to survive the first round, the six-time Wimbledon winner doesn't seem at ease on his favorite surface.
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