Novak Djokovic, men’s tennis’ world number 2, is constantly looking to improve his game, evidenced by his latest exploits last week when he announced a mass clearing out of his coaching and support staff.
As the search for a new team begins he has hinted at his desire to find one of tennis’ greatest of all times to mentor him as he pursues further glory in the sport.
Djokovic has always been keen on the “super coach” ordeal to guide him in becoming the greatest ever, a ploy that seemed to have been working when Boris Becker was given the job before he and the Serb parted ways at the end of last season.
And the latest elite name that could be next to take on the challenge of managing one of the best around is none other than former world number one Andre Agassi, according to The Telegraph.
Even though this would be an exciting prospect, Djokovic’s agent, Edoardo Artaldi was quick to pour water over the speculation, saying “At this point there is no name to be singled out as this is just an initial stage of discussion with interested parties.”
It appears as though Djokovic has been preparing for this for some time, however, as former coach Marian Vajda, fitness trainer Gebhard Phil-Gritsch and physio Miljan Amanovic all knew that they would be facing the axe a month before it came swishing down, with the three informing close colleagues of their imminent departures in Monte Carlo mid-April.
"It [the next coach] is going to be someone that has been through similar experiences like I have. Not too many people in the past in tennis have managed to get to that stage and play at that level, so I’ll see.”
The Serb sure has the bite to match the bark, with the deepest pocket in the game’s history. His unrivalled winnings of $108 million are a sure way to lure Agassi, who has been setting up charter schools in the US.
Asked about playing a coaching role for Nick Kyrgios, Agassi has previously ruled out returning to sport.
“I would not have any room now with my kids, who are 15 and 13. So the answer is no. I couldn’t do it the way I would need to do it,” Agassi said.
But Djokovic is no Kyrgios. As one of Tennis’ big names, he could make Agassi an offer that would be difficult to refuse: a consultant-type role that would only require Agassi to be on the road 10-12 weeks a year, which would include attending the four slams, the ATP World Tour Finals in London and Indian Wells, which isn’t too far away from Agassi’s Las Vegas base.
The arrangement would be akin to Andy Murray’s involvement with Ivan Lendl, whom he turns to from time to time, while Jamie Delgado handles the quotidian coaching tasks.
Agassi knows all about the highs and lows of the game, rising to the number 1 spot for the first time in 1995 before a failing marriage and crystal meth brought him down to number 141 in the world.
But Agassi came back with a vengeance, and reclaimed his title as the world’s best in 1999, going on to win five major titles. It could be his late-career exploits that will be appealing most to Djokovic, who may be looking for the extra fuel to climb back to the top of the charts.
“I’m thinking slowly and thoroughly about it,” he said. “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.”
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