The last two years have been a trying time for Novak Djokovic. The Serb has battled long-standing injury problems and suffered a dramatic loss of form. There has also been a lot of shuffling around as far as his backroom team goes. Eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi was the latest coach to exit the revolving door after Djokovic announced they had parted ways.
In a statement, Djokovic confirmed the parting with Radek Stepanek as well. Stepanek has been assisting Djokovic but he too has received his marching orders. The parting seemed a civil one with the statement reading ‘the private relationship with Stepanek was and will remain great’. There was less waxing lyrical about Agassi.
‘The cooperation between Novak and Andre Agassi has also ended’ was how Djokovic chose to describe it. One can never read too much into these press releases but that was quite abrupt. The latest changes illustrate how desperate Djokovic is to get back to winning ways. Not adding to his 12 Grand Slams over the past 23 months is obviously a source of major concern.
Djokovic turns 31 in May and is entering a time in his career where he should be in his prime. The Serb and Andy Murray have both been fighting injury problems. Roger Federer has taken full advantage and is the man to beat currently. Federer won the Australian Open at the beginning of the year and is once again world number one. It’s safe to say the landscape of tennis has changed a lot since Djokovic last won.
Djokovic will be looking to Wimbledon for the inspiration he needs to get his career back on track. Having won three times at the All England Club, Djokovic goes in as one of the favourites despite his run of form. The Serb is at odds of 9/2 in tennis betting to claim his fourth Wimbledon title. Standing in his way is a rejuvenated Federer who is injury free.
Where Djokovic goes now as far as appointing another coach is anyone’s guess. It will still be an attractive opportunity because of the financial reward. The only issue is long-term security. Whoever takes the job will be under no illusions that this is a job for life. Djokovic wants results and, until he gets them, that revolving door will keep spinning.
The source of Djokovic’s frustration has been his right elbow which won’t seem to heal properly. Most sportsmen have to deal with a threatening injury at some time over their career. It can stall a legacy and even threaten to derail it completely. These will be some of the thoughts going through Djokovic’s head.
Even for someone as talented as the Serb, he will still be wondering if he is good enough to ever win again. That is the reality of a serious injury, it robs a superstar of their powers. His coaching staff are paying the price for his frustration at his current predicament. Agassi leaves Djokovic after a fruitless spell and big questions marks linger over the career of the 12-time Grand Slam winner.