December 29 (BTA) – Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic has been named Balkan Athlete of the Year in a traditional BTA poll. Participating in the 48th edition of the poll in 2021 were the national news agencies from the region: BTA (Bulgaria), ANA-MPA (Greece), AGERPRES (Romania), Anatolu Agency (Turkey), TANJUG (Serbia), MINA (Montenegro), MIA (North Macedonia), HINA (Croatia), FENA (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and ATA (Albania). Basketball player Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) and track and field athlete Miltiadis Tentoglou (Greece) were runners up to Djokovic. Bulgarian karate player Ivet Goranova placed sixth, followed by freestyle wrestler Bilyana Dudova. Djokovic was the only athlete named by all ten news agencies. He received 83 points and came first after five back to back wins between 2011 and 2015 and in the poll’s last edition in 2019. The poll was cancelled in 2020 because the competitive season was restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Djokovic won the Australian Open, Roland Garros, and Wimbledon and played in the US Open final and tops the ATP rankings for unprecedented seventh time. A total of 39 athletes were named in the 2021 poll. In 1973 BTA held the first Balkan Athlete of the Year Poll. Bulgarian 800 m runner Svetla Zlateva was the winner.