Novak Djokovic announced on Friday that he is seeking a new direction in his tennis career and has parted ways with his coach Marian Vajda, fitness trainer Gebhard Phil Gritsch and physio Miljan Amanovic. The World No. 2 took the decision after a quarter-final exit at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (l. to Goffin). Next week, he will look to retain his title at the Mutua Madrid Open.
“I am forever grateful to Marian, GG and Miljan for a decade of friendship, professionalism and commitment to my career goals,” said Djokovic, in a statement on his official website. “Without their support I couldn’t have achieved these professional heights.
“I know [that] they completely dedicated themselves and their lives to help me achieve my dreams and they were always my driving force. It was not an easy decision, but we all felt that we need a change. I am very grateful and proud of our relationship and unbreakable bond that we built through years of mutual love, respect and understanding. They are my family and that will never change.”
Vajda, who had coached Djokovic since June 2006, said, “Time spent with Novak feels like a whole lifetime. We were part of many of his incredible achievements, we were living and breathing for his dreams. I gave everything I could as a coach and I am very proud of our results. We arrived to the point where we all realised we need new energy in the team. Novak can do so much more and I am sure he will.”
Djokovic had worked with Gritsch for eight years and Amanovic for the past 10 years. Former World No. 1 Boris Becker worked as Djokovic's coach with Vajda from 2013 to 2016.
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The Serbian star, who has compiled a 14-4 record in the 2017 ATP World Tour season, also said that he will not rush into a decision to appoint a new head coach.
“I feel like this is a new chapter in my life,” said Djokovic. “My career was always on the upward path and this time I’m experiencing how it is when the path takes you in a different direction. I want to find a way to come back to the top stronger and more resilient. I have so much faith in this process and that’s why I will take time to find the right person who I can connect with professionally.
“I have been on the Tour long enough to know how to manage daily routines and I don’t want to rush my decision. I will be on the Tour alone for a while with support of my family and management. I will inform the public when I find the right person, but for now I thank you for your support and understanding.
“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.”
Djokovic, who will turn 30 on 22 May, has put together a 765-159 match record with 67 titles – including 12 Grand Slams and 30 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns – since turning professional in 2003. The Mutua Madrid Open, where he beat Andy Murray in the 2016 final, begins on 7 May.