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Novak Djokovic brings on 'spiritual guru' and former tennis player specializing in 'love and hugs'

1.50K   //    01 Nov 2016, 18:50 IST
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 31:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts during the Mens Doubles match against Quentin Halys and Adrian Mannarino of France on day one of the BNP Paribas Masters at Palais Omnisports de Bercy on October 31, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Djokovic’s new guru Pepe Imaz is a former player himself

World No.1  Novak Djokovic has been struggling with form of late, and despite winning two Grand Slam titles this year has seen the latter half of the 2016 season appear to slip away from him.

This has meant that Andy Murray has been moving closer to attaining the top rank, and amassing wins has meant the Scot is now only a title win at the Paris Masters away from the ranking.

Now, it has emerged that Djokovic, who admitted earlier in the year to suffering from “serious personal issues,” is seeing Pepe Imaz, a self-styled ‘spiritual guru’. Jose ‘Pepe’ Imaz Ruiz, a 42-year-old former tennis player and coach from Spain, is guiding the Serbian No. 1 on a ‘spiritual basis.’

Imaz, who preaches his self-made philosophy of “Paz Y Amor,” or ‘Peace and Love’, says in a video with Djokovic that he “believe(s) in the power of long hugs.”

Djokovic is said to have found the ‘guru’ through brother Marko, who is also a professional tennis player, albeit one unable to match the success of Novak. Djokovic alleges that Imaz ‘cured Marko of depression’, which led him to find the self-styled life coach.

Imaz has been an increasing presence in the life of the World No. 1, who has this year eschewed taking Boris Becker and Marian Vajda with him to Paris-Bercy, taking Imaz instead.

It is said that Imaz has been a presence in Djokovic’s life and career for longer than has been noticed so far; Imaz himself has only ever played one Grand Slam, the French Open of 1998.

Djokovic has struggled for wins in recent times, in a downfall that appears to have begun in the immediate aftermath of his debut French Open win. The Serb defeated Andy Murray to break his French Open ‘jinx’, but struggled at Wimbledon, where he was the defending champion, dumped in the third round by the big-serving American Sam Querrey.

Although the Serb has been on the downswing, he is traditionally strong in the late part of the ATP World Tour, and is defending the title in Paris.

Playing in the doubles, Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic lost in the first round to the local pair of Quentin Halys and Adrian Mannarino in straight sets; he will play his singles opener tomorrow.

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