Novak Djokovic met the press on Saturday ahead of his quest to win the Australian Open for the fourth consecutive year. Of course, the Serbian was then questioned at great length about his relationship with his new coach, Boris Becker.
Djokovic came back on the reasons to appoint a new head coach to begin with. “I’ve talked with Marian Vajda, that has been my head coach for over eight years”, explained the Serbian. “I won with him every title in my life. He has worked as a coach and he has been a player, involved in this sport over 35 years. So he needed to spend a little bit more time at home.”
But why Becker? The idea was Vajda’s. Djokovic recalls: “We considered some other options. He actually had also the initiative of recommending somebody that has been in similar situations and has similar mindset, knows what I’m going through, and could help me from that mental point of view. Boris came to our mind. We contacted him last September after the Chinese tournaments. That’s where it started.”
A legend’s input
Since they have only been working together since the middle of December, Novak Djokovic is, obviously, unable to assess what Boris Becker brought to his game. Yet the World n°2 is pretty enthusiastic about his new head coach. “I’m really glad to have Boris on board”, he declared, then added: “We look forward to working with each other. It’s just the beginning. He has committed to work with me and travel with me for more weeks than I thought he would, so I’m really excited about that. We’ll see how it goes.”
Nevertheless, what can legends like Becker, Ivan Lendl and Stefan Edberg, who were great tennis players but have (had in Lendl’s case, since he has been working with Andy Murray for two years now) no coaching experience, can bring to today’s top players? “I’m glad to see there is that many tennis legends coming back and being active as coaches in the teams of many active players”, reflects Djokovic. “It’s really positive for the sport. It attracts a lot of attention. Obviously, they have won so many Grand Slams between themselves, they’ve all been number ones of the world, they’ve been champions, they know what we all go through in particular moments, especially in the Grand Slams. They can identify themselves through us. I guess that’s where the biggest help would come from the mental aspect and obviously working with some elements in the game.”
We will see, starting on Monday night, what kind of input Becker has on Djokovic’s game, as the three-time defending champion will face Lukas Lacko in the first round of the Australian Open.
The tradition continues
It is usually a season-ending tradition for Novak Djokovic. However, the Serbian has decided to also bring it to his first press conference of the year.
As he has been doing for the last two seasons at his last meeting with the media in London, Nole offered chocolates to the journalists present at his first press conference in Melbourne.
Jokingly, he specified that the chocolates were gluten-free.
A very nice gesture!