With the Madrid Masters tournament days away and the French Open around the corner, Novak Djokovic has stunned many by splitting ways with long-time coach Marian Vajda, fitness coach Gebhard Phil Gritsch and physiotherapist Mijan Amanovic.
It ought to come as no surprise that Djokovic is seeking change. Since prevailing over Murray in Doha early this year, he has so far failed to progress beyond the final eight in any of his tournament appearances. After being stunned at Wimbledon by Sam Querrey last year, Djokovic’s results have been very mediocre indeed for a player who’s won 12 grand slams and spent 223 weeks at number 1. Triumphs in Doha and Toronto and a finals appearance at the US Open have largely been overshadowed by upsets at Djokovic’s favourite tournaments, including the World Tour Finals, Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami, all tournaments which Djokovic has won at least five times.
But few would have anticipated a change this drastic. Marian Vajda in particular has worked with Djokovic continuously since 2006. Amanovic too has been with Djokovic for 10 years, and Gebhard Phil Gritsch is considered one of the best fitness coaches on the tour.
But Djokovic wouldn’t be Djokovic if he didn’t possess the courage needed to make radical changes. He stated that he believes “shock therapy” will help him find the inspiration he needs to regain the top spot.
“I want to continue raising the level of my game and stamina and this is a continuous process. I enjoy this journey, it feels like I am starting something new again and I love this challenge. I am a hunter and my biggest goal is to find the winning spark on the court again”, said Novak.
The team appears to have parted amicably. It is unclear if or when Djokovic will reconstitute it. In the meantime, he has enough prestige left to be considered a favorite for the upcoming French Open and Wimbledon. Only time will tell whether his game will benefit from the change.