Novak Djokovic Adds Lendl’s Former Coach Wojtek Fibak To His Team, To Become Lendl-Like?
by Tom Gainey | August 28th, 2013, 9:45 am

Novak Djokovic opened his 2013 US Open with a 61, 62, 62 demolition of Ricardas Berankis last night. The World No. 1 has been to the finals in New York the last three years walking away with the 2011 title. But this season with a Masters hardcourt title and the rise of Rafael Nadal, there are some question marks on the Serb.

Djokovic, though, says being back in New York will get his game right again.

“It encourages me the fact that I’ve done so well in the last five, six years in US Open,” Djokovic said last night. “Probably next to Australian Open, my most successful Grand Slam.

“These are the most important tournaments we have in the sport and this is where you want to win trophies. All the attention of the sport goes directly to these tournaments. This is the last Grand Slam of the year. I have high expectations for myself. There is no difference in my approach this year than last few years. Knowing that I’ve done so well in past years, had such a good record, gives me enough reason to have this confident and optimistic approach.”

Djokovic also revealed a new addition to his coaching entourage, Polish great and one-time Ivan Lendl coach Wojtek Fibak, who will join Marian Vajda and Dusan Vemic.

“He joined the team this year for US Open,” Djokovic said of the 60-year-old. “It’s kind of a trial in this tournament to see how it goes, how he’s going to fit in the team.

He has an important role in the team. He’s consulting myself. My tennis coach has a very good relationship with me. We know each other for many years. He lives in the same place where I live. He’s been a very good player. Top 10. He had a great doubles, singles career. Coached Lendl for many years. He’s somebody that has huge experience in this sport. He knows a lot of people. He shares a big love and passion for this sport.

“Wojtek Fibak was the right person for us at that moment. We will see how it will go during these two weeks.”

Might Djokovic have added Fibak as a counter to rival Andy Murray acquiring Lendl?

In this New York Times story, Fibak spoke of he created Lendl’s gameface, something that’s maybe missing from Novak’s joyful, entertaining on-court demeanor.

“I wanted him to become a machine, to hide his feelings, to wear an unemotional mask on his face, not to react to anything,” Fibak said. And it was through Fibak that Lendl met a student at the Spence School named Samantha Frankel, who would go on to become his wife. Seeing as Fibak hosted their courtship at his Greenwich home, the urbane Pole may be as responsible for Lendl’s warm gummy smile as his better-known scowl.

Djokovic is back on court Friday against Benjamin Becker.

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57 Comments for Novak Djokovic Adds Lendl’s Former Coach Wojtek Fibak To His Team, To Become Lendl-Like?

the DA Says:

Ah finally a piece on this new addition. Knowing Fibak’s past I thought it was a very newsworthy item. Interesting times for the Nole team. Hope it works out well…but not TOO well when he and Andy meet ;)

Faleye o kehinde Says:

Interesting, but there’s no coach can suddenly change Novak’s arrogant and highly tempramental altitude. He refused to accept Nadal’s apology when ball acidentally hit his face in cincinnaty.You can’t compare Lendl, Nadal,Federer and Pete Sampras,these people are very humble and complete gentle men,on and off court and that’s why they are very successful in life

Brando Says:

Good news for the competition IMO.

This is an open admission that he needs to change things as what’s setup for him atm is clearly not working.

No change occurs immediately so time will tell how this one works out.

Personally i’m not holding my breath. Remember the last time Novak had 2 coaches on the go? It didn’t work out for him.

Too many chefs in the kitchen rarely work out.

And the Murray- Lendl angle is a non starter. Irrelevant to this setup.

Ben Pronin Says:

“And the Murray- Lendl angle is a non starter. Irrelevant to this setup.”

Yeah but you know the commentators are going to have a field day with this when they play each other. I think it’s very funny but I agree, the two really have nothing to do with each other.

Slice Tennis Says:

11:11 am post.

Perfectly put. There is a reason why he gets booed everywhere.
I guess he is the ONLY top player to be booed by the ever fair and ever friendly wimbledon audience.

nadalista Says:

Hopefully the new assistant coach stamps out the post win thingamajigs, i. e. shirt-ripping, dancing n’ clowning and makes Novak concentrate on his on-court game……then it will be game on!

Rumble Says:

Slice Tennis and others,

When both players are at the net, hitting a full on shot right at your opponent (and that too a higher ball at face height) is downright unsporting and unprofessional. Its no surprise that Nadal did it.

Gosh, this is not even a contact sport – if Nadal was playing squash, he would hurt his opponent all the time with this mindset, which is unsporting.

What’s the point of a fake apology later on? It was great to see Djokovic stare him down after that.

Giles Says:

^^^ How do you know it was a fake apology?

Ben Pronin Says:

And again we have the Novak digs. And then you guys cry when I say Nadal has no idea what he’s talking about when it comes to a gluten free diet.

Ben Pronin Says:

Giles, because Nadal is a liar, why wouldn’t he be lying about being sorry?

hawkeye Says:

Rafa should be banned from the tour for his attempt on Noles’s life and obviously fake apology.

Ban duration should be for life (or until Federer retires) – which ever comes first.


Aside: Is anyone really laughing when they type LMAO? Just wondering.

Giles Says:

Ben Pronin. How dare you call Rafa a liar! You will go to any lengths to shield the barbarian won’t you?
I am so glad Rafa whacked him with the ball even though it was accidental!

Ben Pronin Says:

Giles, how dare you call Djokovic a barbarian? And you’re praising and calling for more acts of barbarianism from Nadal?

This is why all of the other fans left. No logic, completely hypocritical.

Hawkeye, we all know Nadal should be banned for very different reasons.

Giles Says:

Ben Pronin. Joker is a barbarian on and off the court. Madrid 2011 celebrations outside Rafa’s hotel, saying SMD to the Madrid crowd in 2013. What next??

Brando Says:

Time out guys: let’s just cool off on this back and forth.

It’s needless.

We don’t need 2 good posters throwing grapes in a food fight at one another: it looks embarrassing when we know they BOTH know better.

Stay on good form guy’s: as that’s your MO not this.


Ben Pronin Says:

Well if we’re going this route, then let’s recall that Nadal is a sneaky liar and uses gamesmanship regularly. Bumping Rosol, taking MTOs at crucial stages in matches against Del Potro and Petzschner at Wimbledon. Whining to the ref when things weren’t going his way in the 2012 FO final. The constant injury excuses, questionable absences. And how are you gonna tell me all the Vamos’s and leg kickings aren’t barbaric? Oh wait, they are. The guy is a regular lying neanderthal. Who also chimes in on things like being gluten free when he has no idea what he’s talking about. Rafa Nadal, the pseudo-scientist!

Giles Says:

@Brando. Ben Pronin was well out of order calling Rafa a liar.
Slanderous much!!

Ben Pronin Says:

Giles is not a good poster, but I am done with this back and forth.

nadalista Says:

“When both players are at the net, hitting a full on shot right at your opponent (and that too a higher ball at face height) is downright unsporting and unprofessional.”

Exactly what Fed did to Stakho at Wimby 2013. It is no surprise Fed did it. If Stakho hadn’t ducked in time he would have been decapitated!

Gosh, this is not even a contact sport – if Fed was playing squash, he would hurt his opponent all the time with this mindset, which is unsporting.

And of course Fed did not even offer an apology, which was good to see, otherwise that would have been fake, no? Why apologise when you are offered a perfectly good opportunity to decapitate your opponent, you take it, but the sorry sod denies you?

nadalista Says:

@Ben Pronin 3:16 pm;

You’ve been itching to get this off your chest all day. Hope you feel better now.


Ben Pronin Says:

No I haven’t, I had to force myself into that one.

nadalista Says:

Forcing oneself is okay too……whatever works.

James Says:

Some differences between a champion like Nadal and Djokovic! Read the article from the New Yorker:

“Novak Djokovic has emerged from the shadow of Federer and Nadal, but can he learn to act like a champion?”

nadalista Says:

I read the whole New Yorker article , @James, quite complimentary to Djokovic but guess what, questions like the one you quote (from the article) are deemed “taking a dig at Novak” by the Novak police on tennis-x blog.


Giles Says:

In the article @James posted “The other night after a match he pulled on an Afro wig out of his racket bag and danced to “Get Lucky”. What the writer failed to mention was the fact that Joker’s opponent was still on court when he started doing his “thing”. Any decent person would at least have had the good manners to wait until his opponent left the court!! His opponent was Denis Istomin.

hawkeye Says:

Such a nasty personal attack on Rafa and then accuses others of the same? LMAO

I have certainly not personally attacked any of the players.

The irony reminds me of a certain poster who liked to track scores.


Kim Says:

Oh boy…. Why such a vitriolic discussion – let’s appreciate those 2 great athletes – they both have positive and exceptional qualities otherwise they wouldn’t earn such high place in tennis, as well as some peculiar habits, – they are their own individuals and let’s just laugh a little at their funny side and really appreciate we can watch them playing an outstanding tennis, can you just step back and do this one time at least??
So Nadal is little set in his ways, little superstitious, touches his … each time he serves, but that said he is a hard working man, devoted, immensely competitive and his power is awesome. Great to enjoy, no? So Novak likes the social side, some dancing and entertaining – I agree, he could tone it down a little, but do we really want some robotic stereotype, plastic player out there or do we want to watch a real person, an individual? The amount of daily work and dedication he put in since age 6 is mind-boggling, knowing also that he & the family experienced the war – the war, people!! bombing of their city for straight 78 days, hiding in the bunker at nights, sharing a loaf of bread (the family of 5) for a week, as quoted by him in the book, so to me, I see his behavior as something that was influenced by those war conditions – maybe just expressions of simple joys of freedom now and being happy he does what he loves – it’s almost like he is now compensating for the time when everything was so serious and gloomy. So that’s my theory about his showing the fun side. Let’s just rejoice in all these incredible athletes – Federer, typical elegant, Swiss, fiery Spanish Nadal , passionate and fun Novak, new UK hero Murray – simple and maturing… How wonderful they all are! Let’s be broadminded and goodhearted and be grateful we can enjoy their play – they all have their foundations too and they all give back,

Nadalista Says:

@hawkeye 4:39 pm;

I guess this is the part where Rafans desert the site. Not.

courbon Says:

@ Kim:Just came back to TX after 4 days absence and read your post first.Without any cynicism , I think is just wonderful…

Margot Says:

Well said! And needed saying.

Nativenewyorker Says:


I just wanted to thank you for a great post @ 10:51 pm!

It’s too bad that some of the people who post here can’t act like grownups and quit the nasty, personal attacks on these players.

It doesn’t take much to get a few to bring out their laundry list of gripes about the player they dislike.

Tootie Says:

Novak will win the U.S. Open this year. I also hope he marries this year to the one of Jesus’ choosing. Let Him be your matchmaker and you will never have any regrets.

Polo Says:

Djokovic has reverted to his pre-2011 days when he seemed to focus on what comedy act to pull out after a match. Thus, the pre-2011 results he has been getting lately.

hawkeye Says:

Rumble and others,

When both players are at the net, hitting a full on shot right at your opponent (and that too a higher ball at face height) is downright unsporting and unprofessional. Its no surprise that Federer did it.

Gosh, this is not even a contact sport – if Federer was playing squash, he would hurt his opponent all the time with this mindset, which is unsporting.

(replaced “Rafa” with “Federer” in Rumble’s post at August 28th, 2013 at 2:09 pm)


Giles Says:

^^^ Was there an apology? I didn’t see one! Lol

Legend Says:

Recently Janowicz tried the same against Rafa and Murray. But they were good enough to move out and even hit it for winners.
Nole is just not good enough to react immediately. He looked so funny like a deer caught in the headlights. I personally loved that smack on his face.

Kim Says:

Thank you Courbon:) Glad you liked it.

Kim Says:

Thanks Margot & NativeNewYorker:)

M Says:

*applauds Kim*


Brando Says:

Nah a load of BS IMO.

We all should be aware of how sinister and a phony poser Novak is. He plays the nationalist card to gain fanatical support since that is all he is ever going to get………………..whilst chilling and enjoying his millions in Monte Carlo.

LOL. Well played son.

And Fed: talk about being the most smug, self centred individual on the tennis scene! Wow!

I have a question for him:

Can you see beyond your own nose Roger?

Since it seems like all that guy is aware of is his brilliance and how he is so mesmerized by it.

Yawn old man, yawn.

Rafa is the only one will a truly magnificent, flawless, champagne character. He’s a gem in this world full of sinister characters.

I say a 100 foot pink statue should be erected of him in Belgrade, Basel and Glasgow with him in his armani undies scratching what has the likes of Skeezer in awe: his butt. Locals can then have his magnificence there to behold on a daily basis, maybe even leave some roses there whilst lamenting their misfortune of having claiming inept rival players as their own.

Vamos Rafa!

Brando Says:


Your post is great whilst praising Rafa. Sadly as soon as you mention the chumps rhe media refers to as his ‘rivals’ it goes like the state of Greece’s economy: irreversibly south!

Free hint: ignore the lesser one’s and gawk at the one who has underwear companies falling over themselves to contract his behind!

Josh39485 Says:

@Brando – Haha! Little bit over the top…

nina Says:

This site is becoming infested with arrogant rafa fans whose only contribution to a tennis discussion is to have a dig at his main rivals. Pathetic, no wonder so many valuable posters left.

Brando Says:

@Josh: p

Brando Says:


Ah Nina the arrogant, pompous Nole fan girl in some folks opinion, who ONLY appears when Nole is winning to humbly inform us how the sun shines out of her fav’s behind: touching.

Love the only thing pathetic- IF anything at all is- is your seemingly obvious failure to see that:

1- They are public figures: open to whatever opinion anyone has

2- Mine was strictly a tongue in cheek piss take of ALL of the big names including a certain Rafael Nadal

Grow up and stop throwing hissy fit’s each time dear nole has a non- butt kiss reference made to him.

And as for the absence of ‘valuable posters’ (I wonder what the criteria is for such posters mmmmmm…..): if you want a pity party: go join them and be absent yourself!

-‘This site is becoming infested with arrogant rafa fans ‘:

A STEP UP from the nonsense that some Nole fans such as you were yapping in the past though right?

-‘whose only contribution to a tennis discussion is to have a dig at his main rivals’:

How about your contribution? How often do you comment on someone other than beloved Novak? oh yes I remember: ZERO!

PS: I look forward to see you trolling this place the next time Nole wins anything. Your lack of ‘arrogance’ (LOL- who am I kidding?) is always good value for a cheap laughter! :-)

Thomas Says:

Brando, are you a politician or a lawyer? You seem to have a way with words :P

Nadalista Says:

We know what all these absent “valuable posters” will do the minute Rafa loses a match: troop back gloating and looking to not only bury him, but devour his remains to boot.

courbon Says:

I think Kims post should be left permanently on X-blog home page, and every time people get in ‘war’ like mood,they should read it and repeat it like a mantra…

courbon Says:

Dear Brando, If number of underwear companies is the proof that somebody is the best tennis player,
then Kurnikova is the best tennis player off all times…(remember sexy Russian blonde?)…(-:

Kimberly Says:

Kim nice post, nadal looked good tonight but his opponent helped him look good for sure. The difference between the top ten and therest seems so big.

courbon Says:

Nina, Brando is just doing British dry humor thing…( may I say, very badly! ).If you have been coming more often you will see that he is quite fair on Novak , Roger and others.He gets bit excatitc when Nadal is winning but he is not against Novak or Roger.He even praised Novak month ago!His post for suppose to do Kims post in a funny way-not very sucesfully !He is nice, clever and reasonable guy with one major fault-he supports certain Spanish gentleman…

courbon Says:

Kimberely, so right.Its difficult to know how our favorites are playing watching those first rounds-real test come in 4th round. ( Still, Nadal is surely playing very well -even Roger is in a good form )
By the way, I forgot website address where we done our brackets-could you post for me please?Thanks.

Kim Says:

I sure hope Mardy Fish gets his health issues resolved soon. Miss his smile and pleasant demeanor. Also, who is your favorite commentator? I like Chris Fowler’s and John McEnroe’s comments – they are factual and informative, not gossipy chit chat.
2 popcorn bags (T.J.’s) are ready for the weekend:)

Brando Says:


LOL, i knew you would see through my posts! :-)

I thought the Rafa reference’s were a clear give away. For some clearly not: oh well.

Re Kourniknova:

How can I ever forget her?

Oh the longing to see that truly magnificent beauty plying her trade……ok let’s face it: she was a average player.

But who cares when she was such a babe to look at! Voyeurism at it’s zenith was reached whenever luscious Anna took to the court in her delightful outfits.

I swear she most have worn some relatively short skirts to keep her true fans happy like you and I. :-)

Man does she need to make a return. The last of dying breed as the ladies on the women’s tour today all seem to come with biceps that make even Arnie feel insecure about his own.

I got to admit: they scare me! :-(

nadalista Says:

RT @dougrobson: “More changes for Team Djokovic: Just learned hitting partner Dusan Vemic is no longer involved, now working with Andrea Petkovic. #usopen”

Ivan and Novak are simliar Says:

I am very old and I remember Ivan Lendl and his fantastic playing and how he introduced the power game with that massive forehand. But Ivan never got the respect or credit he deserved because of how others perceived him or specifically Jimmy Connors and John Mcenroe who both trashed him in the press because he beat them so badly. Ivan was protrayed as the big bad communist Czech, the villain much like Novak is being protrayed although in a different way.

Both Ivan and Novak committed themselves bodily and emotionally to being the best. I hope that Novak does not have to go through the same thing Ivan did before he is respected for his accomplishments. I will never forget the distasteful SI cover of Ivan, The Champion that No One Cares about. It makes me ill to hear John Mcenroe with his new Anderson Cooper hair refer to Ivan as the great Ivan Lendl, I hope he jokes on those words.

Tootie Says:

What a fine young man Novak is. I hope he is No. 1 for the next three years. It is curious to me how many don’t want to give him his due. Could it be he is not as wrapped up in the world with its pride and sinfulness as, for example, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer are?

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