Former World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has parted ways with his entire coaching team – including his long-term coach Marian Vajda, fitness coach Gebhard Phil Gritsch, and physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic, according to a press release on the Serbian star’s website.
The split was by “mutual agreement,” Djokovic said in the release, which said the team “decided to part ways after a detailed analysis of the game, achieved results in the previous period, and also after discussing private plans of each team member.”
40-year-old Vajda, a former tennis player himself, has been known most for being Djokovic’s head coach. The Slovak has been on the 12-time Grand Slam winning player’s team since 2006, and remained on his coaching squad even after former World No. 1 Boris Becker took over as head coach, although Djokovic’s coaching relationship with the German ace ended in 2016.
The press release described the decision as “shock therapy” for the 29-year-old, who has been struggling with form since Wimbledon last year. The World No. 2 has not added to his tally of Grand Slams since winning his first and only French Open title so far in 2016, and suffered a shock second-round loss to Uzbek player Denis Istomin at this year’s Australian Open.
Djokovic has only won one title so far this year, at the ATP250 Qatar Open.
Describing the drastic change as “the start of something new,” Djokovic said, “I want to continue raising the level of my game and stamina and this is a continuous process. I enjoy this journey, it feels like I am starting something new again and I love this challenge. I am a hunter and my biggest goal is to find the winning spark on the court again.”
Calling it a “new chapter in (my) life,” Djokovic also expressed his gratitude to his team of over a decade, who reciprocated his sentiments in the release, describing him as a “best friend and brother.”
“We all felt like we needed a change. We all felt like we needed to kind of enter a new chapter,” the tennis star explained.
“It was a mutual decision. It was not only my decision. We gave it a last shot I think in the last couple of months. We talked about what I guess the future brings for us at the end of the last season.
“We tried to work things out another time, but we just needed to move on.”
Djokovic has not, however, fired his ‘spiritual teacher,’ controversial love guru and former tennis professional Pepe Imaz, who has taught Djokovic ‘peace and love’ and has claimed to cure the depression of the tennis star’s brother Marko.
Recent comments from Djokovic from his press conference in Madrid ahead of the Madrid Masters, indicate he will bring on another tennis icon, a la Boris Becker, to be his coach.