I again give credit to Novak Djokovic, he’s trying at least. Trying to stop this slide. A year ago he was dominating the tour. Now, he’s struggling just to win matches and with a French title defense and Wimbledon around the corner, who ya gonna call? Well, Andre Agassi!
His latest move of hiring Agassi could actually be the spark he’s been looking for. It sort of worked in Rome and I think, at least in the near term, it will help lift Djokovic.
Some quick thoughts:
1. The Hire
Strong move from Novak. He had to do something after jettisoning his team. Will it work? Time will tell but Andre’s a very smart, very articulate man. When he talks, people listen. I do and often I learn a lot. And he wouldn’t have signed up for the job unless he felt really good about.
That said, does being a great interview and/or a good read in a book make you a great coach?
2. Zen Strategy
I think Andre will open up Djokovic’s head to thinking in new terms with respect to shot placement and style. He’s already got the spiritual thing with Pepe and all the special dieting, so my guess is Agassi would focus on getting Novak right in the head, which is what he needs. The strokes and the game are there, and he’s healthy. Mentally, though, he’s been adrift. The focus has to be on tennis and hopefully not as a life advisor which should be left to Pepe, though he may be failing at it!
Agassi alongside brother Marko, the parents and Pepe Imaz in the coaching box? I dunno, it just seems like a really, really weird mix. First, we’ve never seen Agassi in the coaching box. Then, throw in these characters and who knows.
And what if Andre says to Novak to get rid of Imaz? Andre’s probably never met any of them in person and I doubt he wants to be spending time away from his family having to listen to them chirp.
With a baby due in the late summer, I don’t see this relationship lasting past that. Agassi has a school, has kids, has a lot going on outside of tennis, and I just don’t see him wanting to return full-time to the tour. And it sounds like he’s already told Novak that given he won’t even make it for the entirety of the French, assuming Djokovic even gets to the end.
Imagine Djokovic loses early in Paris, then what?
As we saw in Rome, I think having Andre will be a short-term boost for Novak but at the end of the day it’s going to come down to how hard Novak’s wants to put the work in to be great at tennis. He’s now 30, going to have another baby, it’s not going to get any easier. So for now, it’s Andre to the rescue.
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