"10 days pass, Novak Djokovic goes crazy, new coach left wondering what's going on" - Goran Ivanisevic on Nenad Zimonjic being right pick as successor

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic's ex-coach Goran Ivanisevic picks Nenad Zimonjic as his successor

Novak Djokovic's former coach Goran Ivanisevic has picked the 24-time Major winner's compatriot Nenad Zimonjic as his successor.

Djokovic and Ivanisevic parted ways last month after a string of poor results from the World No. 1 to start his 2024 season. The Croat had come on board in March 2018, following which he helped the Serb win nine Major titles and clinch four year-end No. 1 finishes.

Speaking to a French sports publication, the 52-year-old propped up former doubles No. 1 Nenad Zimonjic to take charge as Novak Djokovic's next coach. The Croat asserted that the 24-time Major winner was better off working with a familiar face.

"I don’t know for how much longer Novak plans to keep on playing, but the perfect person is with him at the moment – Ziki (Nenad Zimonjic). He is a great friend of mine, we went through a lot together and I love him," Goran Ivanisevic told Sport Klub. "He has a vast tennis knowledge, but what is most important – he knows Novak really well."
"At the moment, Novak doesn’t need someone completely new, who is yet to get to know him," he added. "Let’s say 10 days pass, Novak goes 'crazy' and this new coach is left wondering what is going on."

Ivanisevic added that only a professional from the Balkan peninsula can coach Djokovic successfully. Having said that, he did note that Boris Becker, with whom the Serb won six Major titles in 2014-16, was an exception to the rule.

“I have a theory – man from the Balkans can coach anyone, but only someone from this our region can coach a Balkan player," he added. "Marian (Vajda) is Slovak, we’re close and we know each other well. Boris (Becker) also worked well with Novak, but his tennis IQ is off the charts.”

Furthermore, the former Wimbledon winner also pointed out that Zimonjic's past association with the 24-time Major winner would bode well for him.

"Ziki can help him tennis-wise. Novak does know everything already, but it will be refreshing for him to maybe hear the same thing from someone else, with a different approach," he said. "Ziki knows Novak’s mentality really well, they collaborated in the Davis Cup as well."

Novak Djokovic won the 2020 ATP Cup under Nenad Zimonjic

Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic pose with the 2020 ATP Cup title
Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic pose with the 2020 ATP Cup title

Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic have been the best players of their respective disciplines and go way back. The two players played doubles with each other in several tournaments, including the 2008 and the 2016 Olympics. They won three of their six doubles matches at the Davis Cup between 2007 and 2016, and also contributed to Serbia's lone title in 2010.

Zimonjic, who retired from pro tennis in 2016, went on to become Serbia's national tennis team captain the following year. While the Serb didn't win the Davis Cup under his friend, he did secure the 2020 ATP Cup. The former doubles No. 1 vacated the captain's spot that year itself.

Earlier this week, Nenad Zimonjic was present at the Monte Carlo Country Club as Novak Djokovic got his preparations for this week's Monte-Carlo Masters underway. The 36-year-old is a two-time titlist in the Principality (2013, 2015) and will be the top seed at the tournament.

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