Novak Djokovic sheds light on decision to split from coaching staff

The former world number insisted it was a "mutual decision" to split from his three coaches last week

Novak Djokovic

Image: Christopher Levy/Zuma Press/PA Images

Novak Djokovic's split from his coaching staff last week signalled the biggest upheaval in his training since he and Boris Becker went their separate ways last December.

The Serb is seeking a fresh start in his tennis career after ceding the world number one spot to Britain's Andy Murray last year. 

Djokovic separated from his long-time team of coach Marian Vajda, fitness coach Gebhard Phil Gritsch and physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic.

Speaking at the Madrid Open on Sunday afternoon, Djokovic opened about splitting from his coaching staff and said the decision to do so was "mutual" from both sides.

"It was not an easy decision, neither for my team nor for me," he told reporters. "But we all felt like we needed a change. We all felt like we needed to kind of enter a new chapter.

"It was not only my decision. We gave it a last shot I think in the last couple of months. We talked about, you know, what I guess the future brings for us at the end of the last season.

"We try to work things out another time, but we just needed to move on. It was all in good spirits. I cannot be grateful enough to them for the sacrifice that they have made and the professionalism, the commitment, the friendship."

Novak Djokovic speaks with the media at the Mutua Madrid Open on Sunday afternoon. Image: Christopher Levy/Zuma Press/PA Images

Preparation

The 12-time Grand Slam winner prepares for the defence of his French Open title next month, Djokovic said it was important to have things settled before taking to the court in Spain.

"I did not want to drag any kind of weight on the court after I've ended a relationship with them.

"I just focused on every day that follows. I spent a great eight, nine days training together with my brother, my physiotherapist that has been working with me since last October.

"I'm not completely by myself. I have a great support of the family and management and my current team."

Of his game so far this year, the 29-year-old says he took defeats into account when considering such drastic actions.

Defeat to Denis Istomin at the Australian Open in January was followed by defeats against Nick Kyrgios in Mexico and at the Indian Wells Masters in the US. 

"When you start losing more matches, you start questioning your game, yourself, what you're doing wrong so you can rectify that and get better, turn the tables around.

"I'm thinking about it. I'm analyzing my game. I'm trying to get as much as I thoroughly personally can do, and also input from the people that are close to me.

"I've been very fortunate to experience the upwards direction of my career ever since I've started. This is now a different direction a little bit."