Serbian great Novak Djokovic has had a streak of lacklustre performances since winning the French Open last year. He has been nowhere close to the best level of tennis that he can produce. He lost the world no. 1 spot to Andy Murray late last year. And this year, he has won only an ATP 250 tournament, i.e. Qatar open. Most recently he was beaten by Alexander Zverev in the Rome final. That means he enters the second grand slam of the year, the French Open, without having won a masters tournament or grand slam in the year so far. Taking stock of the situation, Djokovic has announced the name of a person who could possibly be his next full-time coach. And, he is the last all-time great we have seen from the United States, Andre Agassi.
Novak Djokovic is thirty now. He has won twice the number of slams as Agassi did before turning thirty. Novak has had a bit more of the stardust, fearsomeness and hall-of-fame presence. He has won 12 slams, completed the career and Novak slams and spent a great deal of time at the top of the rankings. But, he too isn’t good to go on his own all the time. He has been looking for someone who can revamp his game and help him add some firepower to his assault. He needs someone who aged very well in the game and added new feathers in his cap in the process, someone who only got better with age.
Who could Djokovic have turned to? No, Roger cannot be hired yet, not just yet. Roger is youthful and ambitious still. If he were not on the tour, I would think of him as the best recourse. The way he has kept himself competitive is worth looking up to. Well, Agassi, is as good an option. Agassi attained real limelight in the second half of his career. He had been able to do things that Djokovic would want to do now. He had good achievements after turning thirty. This is a year-by-year summary of the big titles won by Agassi after reaching that age.
2001: Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami.
2002: Miami, Rome Masters and Madrid.
2003: Australian Open and Miami.
2004: Cincinnati Masters
That is a total of seven masters titles and two grand slams. These were good numbers for a guy in his thirties. And, he must be knowing a thing or two about looking fresh and competent on the court in this stage of the career week after week. Agassi had a few good things to his game in the period mentioned above. His service was efficacious and his forehand was bombastic. There was a lot of firepower in his game still. And all of this helped him be a contender for the big events. Djokovic needs to add tricks to his bags and also needs to tweak a few techniques to induce firepower back into his game. And there cannot be anyone who can help him achieve these better than Agassi.
Djokovic has said that no long-term commitment has been done still. The two are going to spend time together at Roland Garros. The two will only be getting along. A long-term commitment seems worthwhile and can be expected to be considered seriously.
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