Novak Djokovic’s decision to dispense of three of his most loyal members on his coaching staff a mere few weeks before the French Open was dramatic, to say the least.
In doing so, he has cut ties with members of his entourage who have been with him since his rise to dominance around six years ago. These include main coach Boris Becker, three years after his arrival. Marian Vajda also departs despite having been with Djokovic for almost the entirety of his career.
This strategic ploy comes when Djokovic is encountering his biggest struggle for form and consistency. Last year he was reigning champion in there of the four Grand Slams, and now has seen the insurmountable gap between himself and the chasing pack close. Andy Murray has led the way, while Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have experienced recent resurgence. Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori are honing in too.
Recently, Djokovic has struggled to reach the high standards of the past, and found himself being knocked out of the Monte Carlo Masters at the quarter final stage by David Goffin.
Now, having been defeated at the final of the Italian Open, he has hired Andre Agassi as his new coach. A bold move, as Agassi has little in the way of reputable coaching experience, despite his achievements as a player.
Agassi will need to address the serve that let Djokovic down in the final against Alexander Zverev. Although the Serb was well beaten by his 20 year old opponent, he didn’t help himself by displaying errors uncharacteristic to his usual game. He won just 30 of his 43 first serve points and double faulted three times throughout the match.
He appeared apprehensive in using his drop shots from inside the court too, and his returning of the Zverev serve landed him in trouble frequently. His foot speed was no use to him too, but that was more down to Zverev thundering shots with terrifying accuracy past the flailing Serbian racket. 27 unforced errors top off a concerning performance against an inspired, and totally fearless Zverev.
What Agassi will repair on Djokovic’s rusting abilities remains to be seen. But all eyes are on this celebrity pairing as the tennis season hits its peak period.