In the year 2017, the unprecedented tennis professional Novak Djokovic’s career experienced sudden slump after dominating the ATP Tour for several years. It was surprising for the tennis world to see the Serb losing consecutive matches. And yes, of course, his second-round defeat to Denis Istomin at Australian Open shocked the ATP fraternity. During those months Djokovic appointed Pepe Imaz in his team, who acted as the ‘mental guru’ of the Serbian legend.
Who is Pepe Imaz?
The former Spanish professional tennis player and coach Pepe Imaz runs a tennis school in Spain. The school takes into account the philosophy of love and harmony in their tennis lessons. The training follows a spiritual methodology and Imaz’s techniques also include ‘meditation’ and the ‘power of lengthy hugs.’
Imaz was initially working with Djokovic’s brother Marko Djokovic. Reportedly Marko was dealing with mental health issues and fortunately, Imaz was able to take him out from depression.
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When did Djokovic and Imaz start working?
The Serbian become the second man (after Rod Laver) in the history of Open Era tennis to hold all four Grand Slams at once during the French Open 2016. Post his phenomenal accomplishment Djokovic and Imaz joined forced. He was appointed as the adviser in the Serb’s team. Imaz was seen in Novak’s box during Wimbledon 2016.
Djokovic’s performance on the ATP Tour with Imaz
After losing his Wimbledon 2016 third-round match to Sam Querrey Novak Djokovic was triumphant at Canada Masters. Later he was the round one upset at Rio Olympics. He commenced the year 2017 with a title in Qatar, but his next title arrived in Eastbourne after failing to defend his Grand Slams in Melbourne and Paris.
Eventually, with the elbow issues uprising, Djokovic called off his season 2017 after his quarterfinal retirement at Wimbledon 2017. In a nutshell, Imaz’s addition gave rise to a slam-less drought in Novak’s prosperous career. However, Novak could effectively bring up the emotional balance between his professional and personal lives with Imaz’s help.
Incoming of Imaz led to the split of Djokovic and Becker
During the years 2013-16 Novak Djokovic and Boris Becker were one of the most celebrated player-coach pairs on the men’s tennis tour. The duo won two dozens ATP titles which incorporated six majors. However, the thriving league came to an end in December 2016. Widespread reports suggested Imaz was one of the reasons for Djokovic and Becker’s parting ways.
When and Why did Djokovic and Imaz split?
In April 2018 Djokovic and Imaz stopped working together, and Djokovic’s coach Marian Vajda influenced their separation. Vajda strongly believes that philosophy cannot support professional tennis.
“Yes, I wanted him to stop working with Pepe (Imaz) but that was not my first condition,” Vajda gave a statement back then. “I told him (Djokovic) that I didn’t like people outside the team influencing him, as I did before. Tennis cannot be based on philosophy.”
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Djokovic’s Tour after splitting with Imaz
The Serb resurged on the ATP circuit at Wimbledon 2018 after tackling with elbow issues, working with Andre Agassi and then reuniting with Vajda. Since then Djokovic pulled off four out the next six slams.