Novak Djokovic And Radek Stepanek Are Also Over
by Tom Gainey | April 4th, 2018, 10:55 am
  • 80 Comments

Less than a week after news broke that Andre Agassi would no longer be on the Novak Djokovic team, the Serb has announced that he has also parted with Radek Stepanek.

On a statement on Djokovic’s website read:

After Miami Novak Djokovic and his tennis coach Radek Stepanek decided to end their cooperation.

The private relationship with Stepanek was and will remain great, and Novak has enjoyed working with him and learning from him.

He remains grateful and appreciative of all the support he has received from Radek during the last period.

Novak remains focused and eager to come back stronger and more resilient from long injury break that has affected his confidence and game.

He is continuously and passionately looking for new and different ways to regain winning form.

Djokovic will upon his short holiday with a family start his preparations for the clay season and upcoming tournaments.

The cooperation between Novak and Andre Agassi has also ended.

So where does Novak go from here? How long with he stay coachless as the clay season begins? How is his elbow? And just where is he mentally after all that’s happened?

Finally, why no further statement on the Agassi split?

Djokovic is still on the list to play in Monte Carlo in 11 days.


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80 Comments for Novak Djokovic And Radek Stepanek Are Also Over

SnotNosedKid Says:

He’s got Pepe, doesn’t need any more coaches


James Says:

Novak doesn’t have the offense side of the game to continue into his 30s with a repaired elbow. Some of the younger players are now finally maturing. Its going to be tough for him to win slams. Maybe 12 remains as his number. Can’t see him get to even 15.


Humble Rafa Says:

He can leave Jelena. Then it’s him and Pepe, just the two of them. Jelena stands between him and peace. Choice is for him to make.


AndyMira Says:

James..With all due respect..peoples said the same thing about Roger & Rafa before their historic 2017 resurgence..Didn’t we learned not to write the great champions off because of that?


rognadfan Says:

Again all the blame on pepe is in fact an easy excuse.

I don’t know why it’s hard to accept the fact that coming back after such a long injury absence is tough. Especially for guy who made his fortune with gritty all court play and incredible stamina.

I think, there is some truth to what James says. Noles game is not the most offensive one so he needs to grind it out to win matches, which is particularly hard as we saw in Miami and IW.

But what AndyMira says is also very true. Wirte him off at his own peril. Just don’t try to dump every ounce of blame over someone else; for his inability to succeed as fast as he and/or the fans expected.


Willow Says:

Blame the wife, blame the guru, Andre, Radek, Boris, how about just looking inside and seeing that maybe, just maybe Novak wasnt good enough, and now others players are figuring him out, not intimidated by him anymore, and see him as beatable, i think he will bounce back, but i just dont think he will dominate anymore ….


Humble Rafa Says:

I can tell you that the Egg Lover doesn’t have what the Arrogant One and I have. He is a mental midget – coming back from surgery/serious injury is no cake in the park. History of full of players who never returned to their peak post recovery.

We make things look easy. It’s tough and takes a lot of effort to get back. Having good uncles is helpful.


skeezer Says:

“Again all the blame on pepe is in fact an easy excuse.”
Agree here. If Novak is in charge, it’s no ones fault but his own. Not Pepe, his wife, the Sky, the Sun, the bad hair day, etc.
I’ll stick with what I said a few weeks earlier, he is going to come out of this and compete for the top again before he is done.


skeezer Says:

Did HR actually give Fed a compliment?
#nothingisimpossible


RZ Says:

This is more surprising to me than Agassi leaving. Agassi wasn’t taking money, which to me indicated that he wasn’t thinking of his coaching as a full-time or a long-term gig. But I thought that Stepanek was fully on board. I saw the two of them together on the practice court at IW, and Radek seemed engaged as Djokovic’s coach.

In any case, I’m not thinking Djokovic is done. Way too much talent there. Maybe he needs to get the competitive desire back, or maybe he just needs more time to fully heal that elbow. But I doubt he’s done.


Willow Says:

No cake in the park eh ?, shouldnt that be walk in the park lol ?


Okiegal Says:

@Humble…..the saying is this….“A walk in the park” or A piece of cake”…….but you could have a piece of cake while walking in the park, it would be easy to do…….. lol! Love reading your stuff…really I do…..you make me laugh out loud!😂😂😂 Some folks are just way too serious on this forum……😕😕😕


Okiegal Says:

Oh Willow…..you beat me to it…..Granny’s slow but she’s old! Lol


Okiegal Says:

Novak is in his own head atm…. Some of the great players have gone through this….he will be back. My memory isn’t the greatest but did Novak start going downhill when Vjada left him for good or was it Becker? I know his loyal fans will know the answer…..and did it all coincide with the elbow injury?


Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer…….

#humbleknowstennisthanxtounclet


Willow Says:

lol Okie ;-)


Daniel Says:

Another unsettling news. I was pretty confident it was just a matter of time for him. Now I am really tense and thinking about the worst: that we may never see him on top form again.

All eyes on Monte Carlo, maybe he needs a R16 or QF encounter with Nadal to ignite the old fire back. It can also shift in amminute. JUst one good win and he can be back on track. But he needs to win his first round match in MC at any cost.


lylenubbins Says:

Another bad sign: Joker has lost a lot of muscle mass. Looks gaunt. Either he has been slacking off in training, or he used to dope and then stopped.


lylenubbins Says:

If you are the Joker, clay court season is not a good place to try and get your mojo back.


Telperion Says:

He’s lost it. Damn, Nole…

He should get a hold of his career again.

People write off Pepe’s influence as if they didn’t know how manipulative this sort of people can be. It’s not hard to remember Manson, Heaven’s Gate or people entrapped in cults, etc. Of course, I don’t think he will lead Djoko to suicide or anything similar(he’s Pepe’s golden goose, after all). I’m just just saying that getting out of his grasp can be an herculean task, especially if other members of his family are also under Pepe’s influence.

You can blame him for willingly getting there. But getting out it’s a whole different thing.


Humble Rafa Says:

The cooperation between Novak and Andre Agassi has also ended.

Something tells me things went very bad with the Doper. He only gets one sentence. Wow.


j-kath Says:

Lyle nubbins: Nole’s loss of muscle mass plus “Telperion”‘s comments are truly sobering. I truly hope Nole can emerge posiitively, even if slowly, from this truly regrettable situation.
PS: There is still a lot of belief for him on popular social media – so perhaps it’s not as dire as is being expressed here?.


Humble Rafa Says:

The Egg Lover fans are so depressed they closed this petition.

https://www.change.org/p/novak-djokovic-get-rid-of-pepe-imaz


Czarlazar Says:

For the Serbian speakers out there (or those with Google Translate handy), there’s an article today asking whether Novak will be announcing his retirement soon:

https://sport.blic.rs/tenis/da-li-je-novak-odustao/c29lx8p

I wouldn’t rule anything out at this stage. After all, dumping Stepanek is a bit surprising, as he’s a supporting cast member rather than a head coach. And also a buddy who’d likely be willing to hang out indefinitely in an unofficial (and unpaid) “Bro” capacity. And I agree with Telperion that it’s difficult to escape from cult embraces, as any friend of a Jehovah’s Witness would attest to.


lylenubbins Says:

For the record, it could be that he is just not putting in the off-court training. Frustrated remarks of Agassi, and Becker before him, are consistent with that explanation. Some guys are naturally thin and if they don’t weight train, they turn into stick bugs.


Czarlazar Says:

Novak’s problem was not avoiding weight training, but avoiding eating, and sticking to an extreme Vegan diet that caused his substantial weight loss. He started the Vegan thing in Feb. 2016, and though he had enough in the tank to win Roland Garros in early June, the steady deterioration of muscle mass caught up to him thereafter. Word is that prior to the Aussie Open this year, he changed to a racquet several ounces lighter, in part because of his reduced strength. As for his tiff with Agassi, they had a big dust-up on the practice court at Indian Wells with Andre berating him for not training at the required intensity. Then after losing his first match at Indian Wells and obviously being out of shape, Agassi strongly advised him to skip Miami and resume the season in Monte Carlo. When Djokovic ignored his coach’s advice and showed up in Miami to embarrass himself, again in his first match, Agassi said “good bye forever.”


Telperion Says:

@Czarlazar where did you get all that from? It sounds awefully plausible. Quite frankly, seeing him fall like this is very sad.


Czarlazar Says:

Telperion: I’ve been googling and bing-ing up a storm tonight after the Stepanek announcement, which surprised me, and it’s all out there on the web if you have enough time to waste. Our household is very pro-Novak and it’s been sad to see our boy wither away over the past two years. Unfortunately, and official comments notwithstanding (bluff and bluster), I fear the end of his career is nigh.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Novak will come back to the top if his head is right, and he works. If he doesn’t, he won’t. I have no idea where he’s at, but from Czarlazar’s comments, it sounds like he isn’t doing the work.

This is why Becker left, wasn’t it? It shouldn’t be surprising. What Fed has done as a father is unprecedented. Most tennis greats, historically, have gone down hill after getting married, let alone having kids. There are probably a few other sports that are as demanding, training-wise, but none keep you away from home like tennis.

That said, if he changes his mindset and gets back to work, he’ll be back.


Van Persie Says:

Well, well, who knows what will happen next?

TV,

Agree with you, until Nole’s mindset is not the right one, no chance.

But have to highlight one point: Nole won as a married man and as father 5 GS. He also accomplished the NYCGS also as married man as father.


Van Persie Says:

^^ not to mention the many master titles between summer of 2014 and 2016


Van Persie Says:

also, won the Wimbly 2014 with Jelena pregnant, so could we count 6 GS, instead of 5?


Van Persie Says:

Also checked further and see Laver won YCGS as husband and father in 1969. He married Mary Laver in 1966 and his wife had children from previous marriage, so we could tell he was a father :)
Good to know. Personally, I did not know that.


Van Persie Says:

So maybe, some “tennis specialists” should have some respect for facts or for tennis history, before posting some fake news. Or, if they are lacking the information, they could use the instance: “I think”, “I mean’ and so one.

Tbh, prefer HR to some, who are claiming “they know tennis”

Off to work now.


AndyMira Says:

VP…In this tough moment for Novak & Novak fans,u will read MANY things that will make u greet your teeth so hard… There is no respect whatsoever from some of them…U have to be strong & require a lot of patient in dealing with this okay?…

But,at least there is no article still from Sean with the title…”Rip Novak Djokovic etc etc”…Rafa got that ‘special’ thread when he was in a funk of his own in 2015…And thank u God!Rafa kick Sean’s a@# pretty hard since then!…And i knew Novak will do the same to his doubters…Watch your a@#es guys!


Van Persie Says:

Hey AM,

Am all good , with all what the others have said. Also normal, that his non fans will react.
Tbh, I do not expect Nole to come back. I think, he is done with tennis, might be wrong. Time will tell.

I was just referring to one poster, which pretends to be very faire and very knowledgeable, when it comes to tennis. Not first time, I read BS from him


Van Persie Says:

AM,

Rafa is not at the same place atm. He is far above.

Ok,

really off now ;)


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Yes VP, you are quite correct. I should have said, what Novak has done as a father is ALREADY quite incredible and unusual in that most players don’t last as family men.


AndyMira Says:

Yeah VP..Alhamdulillah….Rafa wayyy better now than 2015..although not the same as 2010 or 2008 Rafa…but,still great..

As for Novak.. i respect your opinion about Novak very much VP..,for me..i’m a positive person…so,as long as i don’t hear or read his announcement to retire from tennis..then,i will stick to my opinion too…

Have a good day at your work k?


j-kath Says:

TV

I’m a bit puzzled by “most players don’t last as family men”….as you mentioned there’s Fed. and there’s Nole…
If “family men” means married men there’s actually a lot more e.g. Andy, Fabio, Tsonga, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, Kevin Anderson et al.


Annie Says:

Why doesn’t he just hire Nick and be done with it! Nick will whip him into shape as no one else has ever done!!!
If Nick can’t cure him of whatever ails him…no one can!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Hi J-K, I don’t have a scientific survey. If someone has evidence to the contrary, I’ll shed my belief. This is my impression from watching tennis through the 80′s and 90′s.

Edberg won 5 Slams, got married, had 1 swan song after.
Sampras won 13 slams, got married, had 1 swan song after.
Lendl won 7 slams, married, had 1 swan song after.
Becker won 5 slams, married, had 1 swan song after.
McCenroe won 7 slams, married, never won a Slam again.
Agassi reached #1, married Brooke Shields, fell out of the top 100, got divorced and returned to the top (including a marriage to Steffi Graf, which seemed to be an exception that proved the rule since she was a pro herself)

So those were all the greats when I was growing up. It certainly seemed a strong trend at the time.

Looking back, I see that Wilander breaks this trend, but somehow Wilander was never a big part of my tennis consciousness (like, I wasn’t paying attention when he won), so I missed that.


Daniel Says:

Ref “family man”, I think Laver was a one off for his time. Now the current players are copying better with marriage life and fatherhood, but in the past players choose to got marraied and children after they retired. Most tretired around 30, so they had a shorter span of tennis.
Connors and Agassi showed that you can play for longer and now we see a bunch of 30+ in top 50. And they are getting married and having children. Like the tennis wives are behaving more like soccer wifes, where most partner follow the players whetevr they go. Berdych and Anderosn are always in their matches. Jelena, Kimm and Mirka are there most of the time also.

I think this trend will be the norm and the “family man” won´t be an issue anymore.

I don’t recall if we have any player that fell apart and retired after marriage or children in last 5-10 years other than Hewitt and Haas (whoi were fayhers), but in those cases family wasn’t the issue.


Margot Says:

I was going to make a similar point to Daniel, isn’t it to do with age rather than marriage. But Kim is not “often” at Andy’s matches, certainly since they’ve had children. Don’t know where you’ve got that impression, Daniel. Now his ma…………;)


Van orten Says:

Maybe he just wants to be a normal player after all.
He feels like “Either I find a way to enjoy ( better love the game) and play as long as i want or i retire bitterly.”
I hope he keeps trying ( not too) hard
He should be proud of his career and give the “just for fun“a shot .. he might win again !


Daniel Says:

Margot,

I think I got this impression because most of the Andy matches I watch are main ones: Slams, late rounds in toruneys and usually she is there.

Also she is gorgeous, hard to miss;-)


RZ Says:

RE: the “family man” discussion, there’s most likely a correlation here with age. Most of the married men/fathers on tour are typically in their late 20s. Until the last few years, players staying on top as they got closer to or into their 30s was not all that common. So for all we know, they may have had the same results without being parents or without being married simply based on Father Time.

I think the trend we are seeing now has to do with better nutrition, fitness regimes, equipment, and scheduling.


skeezer Says:

“I think the trend we are seeing now has to do with better nutrition, fitness regimes, equipment, and scheduling.”
Also, BIGGER team. Team got a lot larger.
Anyways it all =$
Anyone we know that is not in the top 10 who has a traveling family?


RZ Says:

@Skeezer – yep, more $ means more ability to pay for additional hotel rooms. Players with families don’t need to sleep in the same room as their kids if they can afford to pay for additional family members or staff to do that for them.

To put today’s prize winnings in perspective, Berydch – certainly a quality tennis player (as much as I hate to admit it) but one with only 13 titles and only 1 slam final – has won upward of $28 million. That is $7+ million more than Lendl (8 slams and 94 titles). Today’s prize winnings definitely help the players pay for more team members.
http://www.scmp.com/magazines/style/people-events/article/2110377/30-highest-paid-tennis-players-all-time


RZ Says:

The outlier in the family man discussion is Taylor Fritz. Married at 18, became a dad at 19. Assuming we’ll only see an upward trend in his rankings. Had a nice showing at IW.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Skeeze, excellent point.


skeezer Says:

Wow didn’t know he was married…and kids already.?

Am sensitive to life on the tour, it is really not an ideal life for a family imho. It’s gotta be a blast for the single person though lol.
I admit ND is not my fav tennis player(but close!), but still I am a tennis fan. Would be careful to critique Djoke too much. Maybe having a kid(s) has changed his priority in life? Has anyone thought of that? Maybe instead of tennis being his life, now tennis is his job, and his family is his life. If he quit tomorrow, would still say ‘job well done’ to one of the greatest tennis players ever. Regardless, he should be given his space, his time.

https://us.hellomagazine.com/healthandbeauty/mother-and-baby/2017091242325/novak-djokovic-baby-daughter-instagram/


RZ Says:

To put today’s prize money in perspective, Taylor Fritz turned pro in 2015. His career high ranking is 53. Finished as a finalist in Memphis in 2016 and made IW 4th round in 2018. Overall career record is 34-39. And he has over a million dollars in prize money. Not bad at all! (BTW, this sounds like I’m knocking him. I’m not. I think he has a bright future. Just pointing out how much prize money is out there these days)


Colleen Says:

Correlation isn’t the same as causation,the age people would normally be winding down their careers anyway is the same age they would often start a family at.


rognadfan Says:

How about the inflation and the ridiculously high cost of maintaining your body, training, coaches?
What Lendl made then had a lot more value than what Berdych has made.

I have heard far too often- if you’re cant’ make it top 50 (may be this number is more like top 80 or 100), chances are you’ll be just even (if not in a loss), overall.

So, not so straight forward and too positive outlook, if you ask me.


rognadfan Says:

Skeezer- couldn’t agree more on the post at 12:27 PM. Well except ND being close to the fav player. :).
He is a little farther than that, for me:


Daniel Says:

RZ,

I think we have to take account inflation adjustment to those numbers, for us to know effective how much they actually made.

Of course today’s prize money still is way higher than beofre, but I think with inlfation adjuestd those all time great with 6 plus Slams would have a bigger sum.


Daniel Says:

rognadfan,

I think also now there is more sponsoring even for lower ranked players. Also not all of them fly first or executive and some share rooms. They indeed have increased costs with nutrition and fitness.

I believe anybody in top 100 is rich to my stanrds (top 30-40 are millionaires) and top 200 are easily making some money.

One single average ATP 250 pays between U$ 250 to 400 k, coirrectly if anyone knows this actaual numbers. That is enough for a good year middle class salary taking out all expenses they have in a year.


RZ Says:

@Colleen – my point exactly.


RZ Says:

@Daniel and rognadfan – inflation definitely plays a key role, but I would imagine after taking that into account that Berdych still comes out ahead of Lendl in terms of prize money.

It’s true that other costs – flights, hotel rooms, coach’s salary – are higher now too.


RZ Says:

^ Have to revise what I mean by Berdych coming out ahead – I meant based on what he has accomplished compared to what Lendl has accomplished. A true comparison would take 2 players with similar accomplishments and then do the inflation analysis, but I’m way too lazy to do that.


Markus Says:

Those guys whose slam counts precipitously dropped after marriage were from that era when their careers peak many years before 30. That was the time most of them got married. I believe they were slowing down on their tennis careers and moved on and focused more on family life over tennis. The current crop, because of advances in technology and training methods, have extended their effective tennis longevity to way over 30. Therefore, they can be married and have children and continue to win, e.g., Federer, Djokovic (best examples but there are many more who are still very competitive).

Djokovic, if he can only refocus, has many more years ahead of him to right the ship. Federer is a good example. If he can do it at 36, why can’t he? I think Federer is showing the way and every good player continues to hang on in spite of their advancing age. That makes it really tough for the younger crop of players.


Madmax Says:

Van Persie,

Do you think that? Really? Why?

Many players with family, kids in tow still continue, why should Nole be any different? Plus, I think we have to take it from him, he says he still wants to play and still wants to win slams, so until he says anything different, then we just have to support him. It would be a waste of a talent if Novak didn’t win more slams, he is still transitioning I think.


Humble Rafa Says:

Money doesn’t go far. A player can have a $1 million in life time prize money. It costs a lot – coaches, trainers and women. None of them are cheap.


j-kath Says:

TV

If nothing else – our comments have initiated an interesting conversation…..what does it show…? Perhaps that people are fitter longer? Prince Philip has had a succeful hip operation at the tender age of 96.


j-kath Says:

“successful”


rognadfan Says:

Daniel at 1:07 pm,

I partially agree on sponsoring but that’s just a few players, isn’t it?
But on prize money, I don’t think 250 tournaments pay that much.
I rememebr this year at delray beach Florida (a 250 atp event), the winner got I think 90ish thousand). the guys who lost in the first round got what 10000 or less?

But I surely hope top 200 are making good living of tennis even without sponsorships.


Daniel Says:

I think a lot of players got more sponsoring these days: clothes, gear, racquet, tenis, plus some bonus when they win tournaments.

The huge deals are for top tear players, but for example, all those lower ranked players that uses the same attire in Grand Slams are sponsored. Addidas, Nike, Uniqlo, Lacoste, Under Armour to name a few.


skeezer Says:

Many up and coming players are “sponsored”. In otherwords,( unless your parents are rich and can afford your traveling and playing expenses, food, etc ). These sponsors are really investors, they are investing in you that you are going to do well and you either sign a contract with them to repay them plus% or own a % of your future earnings etc. These are not Clothing or Racket sponsors, etc., that pay you to wear or use their stuff.


rognadfan Says:

Hmm… good point skeezer, that park kind of slipped my mind. But that sponsorship though, does that pay them when they are young and have not yet made the top tier?
Or it just pays all things tennis related to make them a pro without paying a sum of money?
I am sorry this aspect I totally don’t know about.


RZ Says:

@rognadfan – I’m by no means an expert on sponsorship and endorsements, but I’ve heard several times that many of these sponsorship deals include bonsuses for certain accomplishments – winning or getting to a particular stage of a slam or masters tournament, getting to a particular ranking, etc. This article discusses sponsorship deals and bonuses: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/24/sports/tennis/rankings-and-bonuses.html


skeezer Says:

Thanks RZ, pretty good explanation. Just keep in mind there are commercial(eg; Nike, etc.) contracts and individual contracts from Angel investor types. Angels are usually involved when a player is just starting out on the Tour…


Czarlazar Says:

The latest word from Europe is Nole has asked Marian Vajda to rejoin him. Aside from coaching his daughter Natalia, who’s barely in the top 1000 in WTA rankings, Vajda’s available and apparently leaning toward accepting. If true, this would be a positive for Nole, getting back to his roots and a more stable relationship with someone he trusts.


rognadfan Says:

Thanks RZ- that I didn’t know. Thanks for sharing the article.


AndyMira Says:

If that’s true Czarlazar..it is great news indeed!..I thought the same thing actually…Strangely,only yesterday the thought crossed my mind that he should try to connect with Vajda..i think he’s the only one who can bring Nole back to his former self…

I think,atm Nole not only need a coach..but someone whom he can rely emotionally..we know that Novak is lacking confidence & self belief atm due to his injury,and Vajda already understand Nole inside out..He can be everything that Nole wants..so,it’s perfect solution i think..


Markus Says:

I like Vajda. He seems to have a positive effect on Djokovic. That’s a good sign.


Margot Says:

Hope for Nole’s sake this is true.


BBB Says:

He seems like he’s having some kind of existential crisis. I hope he sorts it out.

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