BELGRADE, Oct 7 — Scientists in Serbia said today they had named a newly discovered insect species after tennis star Novak Djokovic, due to the bug’s “speed and tenacity”.

“It is very quick and eats other small animals,” Nikola Vesovic, a professor with Belgrade University’s Faculty of Biology, told AFP.

He described the insect on Instagram as “a specialised, blind, subterranean ground beetle (Coleoptera, Carabidae) found in a pit near the town of Ljubovija” in the west of the Balkan country.

The team of scientists studying the species named it Duvalius Djokovici after the Serbian tennis ace due to its speed, tenacity, strength and elasticity.

“It is a predator in its underground environment, just as Novak is a kind of predator on the tennis courts,” Vesovic explained.

A few months ago a freshwater snail in Montenegro was also named after the tennis star.

Djokovic is widely popular in Serbia and across much of the Balkans, where he frequently appears in public and holds exhibition matches in between his busy international schedule.

The former world number one is set to play in the quarter finals of the ATP tournament in Astana after thrashing Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp yesterday. — AFP