Novak Djokovic’s quarterfinal loss in Monte Carlo against 10th seed Belgian David Goffin, the last of a string of shocking losses encountered by the Serb, called for immediate remedial measures. Even then the former world No. 1’s announcement last week surprised many. Novak Djokovic deciding to split with his entire team comprising of his long-term coach Marian Vajda, fitness coach Gebhard Phil Gritsch, and physio Miljan Amanovic, (termed as ‘shock therapy’ by the player himself) has certainly shocked the tennis fraternity. Player change coaches all the time but Djokovic has let go of some of his closest aides, people who were regulars in the player’s box during his big matches, people who had supported him for a decade.
It is surprising, to say the least, given that at around this time last year Novak was at the peak of his career and would go on to win the French Open title and complete his career slam. Less than a year and a few shock exits later Djokovic heads into the Madrid Open, his camp empty. It is clear that he wants to start anew, afresh, wants to overcome his decline in form, and wants it badly. In a pre-tournament press conference he mentioned that the decision to part with his long term support staff was not an easy one which is obvious given that his team had been with him for 10 long years, has experienced his meteoric rise from an inconsistent, under-confident player to one of the best in the world, has been his companion through his years of struggle and success. However, according to the winner of 12 Grand Slams change was what was needed to arrest his alarming slump in form and so change is what has been brought about. Djokovic also added that he was excited about the new phase of his game and life and was looking forward to how it would pan out.
Regarding appointing a new coach, the former World No. 1 has been quoted as saying that,” I'm thinking slowly and thoroughly about it. I don't want to take things with a rush. I also know that I'll not stay by myself without a tennis coach for too long. I'm sure difficult paths lead to beautiful destinations, so I'm sticking with that.” He is reportedly looking for someone who has been ‘through the same situations’ probably hoping such a person will bail him out of this harrowing situation that has cropped up.
A lot has been said and done. The truth remains that Novak Djokovic heads into the Madrid Open this week , with a lot at stake. It remains to be seen how well these changes work for him, whether at all they work and how fast he can adapt to them . And with the French Open a few weeks away, he does not have all that much of a time to find his footing. Let us all hope ‘shock therapy’ works.