"How far does it go, tell me" - Novak Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic being snubbed for ATP Coach of the Year award angers Nikola Pilic

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Novak Djokovic (left) and his coach Goran Ivanisevic
Novak Djokovic (left) and his coach Goran Ivanisevic

Legendary Serbian tennis coach Nikola Pilic recently said he could not understand why Novak Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic didn't win the ATP Coach of the Year last year.

The 36-year-old Djokovic enjoyed a banner year in 2023, reaching all four Grand Slam finals and winning three. The latest triumph - at the US Open - made him the first player in the Open Era to win 24 Majors.

Djokovic also won two Masters 1000 titles and a record seventh ATP Finals title in Turin, ending the year as the No. 1 for a record-extending eighth time. Shortly before the turn of the year, the Serb became the first player - male or female - to spend 400 weeks at No. 1.

Nevertheless, Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic was overlooked for the 2023 ATP Coach of the Year, which went to Jannik Sinner's coach Darren Cahill. Sinner enjoyed a breakthrough season himself, reaching his maiden Grand Slam semifinal and ATP Finals final, and winning his first Masters 1000 title.

While acknowledging that Sinner had a 'good' year, Pilic said the best coach of the year should have gone to Djokovic's coach Ivanisevic. Pilic pointed out that Ivanisevic helped his ward win three Grand Slams while Sinner won none.

"Janik Sinner is a good player, but he has not won any Grand Slam," Pilic told Vecernji Novosti. "And now his coach, Australian Darren Cahill, gets the trophy as the best coach, not Goran? So how far does it go, tell me?!

Pilic, one of Djokovic's coaches in his formative years, added that he has limited contact with the Serb now:

"We rarely hear from each other, we mostly communicate via SMS messages. I won't bother him. A million people bother him. It is primarily about congratulations. Well done Novak, you are the best."

Djokovic, who is off to a 2-1 start to 2024, opens his Australian Open title defence on Sunday (January 14).


A look at Novak Djokovic's 2024 season so far

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic opened his 2024 season by making his debut at the United Cup mixed team event Down Under.

In his first match of the year, Djokovic beat China's Zhang Zhizhen in straight sets. The Team Serbia player then beat Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic in three sets.

Djokovic, however, endured his first defeat of the season soon after, going down to Australia's Alex de Minaur in straight sets while dealing with a wrist injury. Serbia lost 2-1 to Australia to bow out in the quarterfinals.

The defeat was Novak Djokovic's first on Australian soil in 44 matches; his previous loss was to Hyeon Chung in the Australian Open fourth round in 2018.

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