When Novak Djokovic and his team were celebrating his 18th Grand Slam title in Australia, there was one prominent figure missing - long-time coach Marian Vajda.
Vajda has worked with Novak Djokovic since 2006, barring a one-year period between 2017 and 2018 when the pair went their separate ways. And in a recent interview, Vajda expressed regret at not being in Melbourne as Djokovic overcame several hurdles to win a record-extending ninth Australian Open title.
"I was sorry I wasn't there," Vajda said. "I will never forget when he won his first Melbourne title in 2008 and what was going on (celebrations) in the locker room. I wish I was with him now."
Marian Vajda has been sharing coaching duties with former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic over the past couple of years. While Vajda was with Djokovic for the French Open last year, this time it was Ivanisevic who accompanied the Serb and the rest of the team to Melbourne.
Vajda further revealed he had been part of an intense two-week training block with Djokovic in December. During that time, the team had specifically worked on the World No. 1's serve and return.
The Slovak expressed delight at seeing those aspects being put to great use in the Australian Open final against Daniil Medvedev.
"We were together in Marbella, in December," Vajda added. "Two weeks of intensive training, fitness work. We worked on service, first and second. Also on the return, which is especially important in all matches. It was a pleasure to watch from a distance how everything was used it in the final against Medvedev."
(Quotes have been translated using Google Translate)
I will certainly be with Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros: Marian Vajda
Novak Djokovic is expected to be sidelined for a few weeks due to the muscle tear injury he suffered in Melbourne. During the interview, Vajda expressed hope that he would be able to see Djokovic soon in Dubai.
The Slovak also asserted that he will be with Djokovic in Paris later this year, as the World No. 1 attempts to win the French Open for the second time in his career.
"We need to see what his calendar will look like," Vajda said. "I think I will travel to Dubai to see him, and I will certainly be with him at Roland Garros."