‘More Than a Coach to Me’: Novak Djokovic Iterates the Significance of Marian Vajda

Published 02/07/2021, 6:30 AM EST
PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 27: Novak Djokovic of Serbia speaks with coach, Marian Vajda during practice ahead of the Rolex Paris Masters at AccorHotels Arena on October 27, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)


Novak Djokovic is the top-ranked player on the ATP Tour and he requires no further introduction. Likewise, Djokovic’s coach Marian Vajda is also a man who’s gained immense popularity through his profession. Vajda’s been working with the Serbian since 2006 and has become an invaluable member of the family.

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Djokovic and Vajda have worked hard ever since their collaboration, and their bond has only grown thicker over the years. When asked in a recent press conference about the significance of Marian Vajda, Djokovic said:

“Marian is more than a coach to me. He’s a family member, he’s someone that I can probably call a friend, mentor, and really a member of the family. He’s very close to me, my brother, to my parents, and to my wife.”

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“I got to spend a couple of weeks before coming to Australia with him, in Spain, training in the offseason and he became a grandfather for the second time. So obviously, times are changing rapidly,” Djokovic added.

Novak Djokovic called Vajda a constant and reminisced their first match together

Marian Vajda has been an integral factor in helping Novak Djokovic improve his game. It has been a long journey, but a beautiful one for the Serbian-Slovakian pair. Djokovic still has accurate memories of how his first match under Vajda’s coaching went!

“I think it was almost 15 years ago in Netherlands on grass,” Djokovic recollected. “Remember the first match I played three tie-breakers and I saved four match points, and won the match. It was really funny, he [Vajda] says that he got his first grey hair from that match.”

Novak Djokovic of Serbia during a training session at Roland Garros in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

But jokes apart, Novak Djokovic is truly blessed to have a coach like Marian Vajda. Not many top players have such a close bond with their coaching staff, and this kind of relationship makes their work easier and more efficient. 

Novak Djokovic mentioned how his journey with Vajda has been nothing short of overwhelming. Moreover, the Serbian also expressed that he always tries to establish a long-term connection with his coaching staff.

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“A lot of people have stayed for a long time and some have stayed shorter, but Marian is a constant, Marian is always there, so I love him very much and I appreciate everything he’s done for me on and off the court,” Djokovic expressed.

The Djokovic-Vajda combo has been dominating the ATP Tour for more than a decade. Their results have been phenomenal, especially at the Australian Open. The 2021 edition is right around the corner, and can Novak Djokovic clinch title number nine?

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Arjun Athreya

1919 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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