Novak Djokovic weighs up coaching himself for final stage of tennis career

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Novak Djokovic has given his strongest indication yet that he may not replace former coach Goran Ivanisevic, and instead choose to navigate this late stage of his career himself.

Djokovic split with long-time coach Ivanisevic late last month and has been undergoing a trial period with compatriot and Serbia’s former Davis Cup captain Nenad Zimonjić, who was with him at the Monte-Carlo Masters a fortnight ago. However the 24-time major champion is yet to decide whether he wants to make that a permanent appointment. Speaking at the 25th Laureus World Sports Awards on Monday, he said he is weighing up whether he needs to replace Ivanisevic at all.

“I am considering that as well, whether I should or shouldn’t have the coach,” Djokovic said. “I had a really good time with Nenad Zimonjić as my coach the last three weeks so we’re talking about continuing and seeing. Let’s see, I’m going to make the decision in the next period.”

He added: “I’m not rushing. I feel like playing tennis over 20 years and having a lot of different teams and coaches, it’s not like I think I don’t need a coach at all. I think there’s always value in having that quality team and fitness coach, physio, mental coach. It’s all important. It creates a formula for success and helps you perform better, train better, recover better. Stay on the top for as long as you can. But I think I’m in the stage of my career where I can afford to maybe think having no coach is also an option. Let’s see. I’m going to make my decision soon.”

Djokovic, 36, announced his shock decision to part ways with Ivanisevic soon after his third-round exit at Indian Wells. Their five-year partnership coincided with the most dominant period of Djokovic’s record-breaking career but, after claiming three major titles last year he has had an uncharacteristically slow start to this season.

Djokovic is yet to win a trophy in 2024 and has only played four tournaments, failing to reach a single final. He pulled out of the Miami Open in March and, following his semi-final loss in Monte Carlo to Casper Ruud, Djokovic announced he was skipping this week’s Madrid Open too.

He still made the trip to Madrid to pick up his fifth Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award, and shared that he was prioritising the majors and the Olympics this summer – beginning at Roland Garros in May.

“Unfortunately I will not be playing in the Madrid Open this year, hopefully next year – I’m still young, I have time. But I’m preparing my body to be ready particularly for Roland Garros, Wimbledon, Olympic Games and US Open. That’s the most important block of the year for me.

“I’m intending on playing in Rome, so I hope I can be there, be ready. This year has been a bit different for me, the start, I’m still finding my best level of tennis. Hopefully that can still come in Roland Garros.”


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