Give credit to Novak Djokovic. At least he’s trying. Trying to get out of this slump he’s been in since completing the Career Slam almost a year ago.
Since that crowning achievement in Paris, it’s been all downhill. And in his last four events he’s made zero semifinals. So what’s a former No. 1 to do? Fire the team. Well, almost all of the team. The guy who should have been sacked — Pepe Imaz — I guess is still there, but Marian and the crew are gone.
With that, a new coaching search is underway, though apparently there’s no rush. And really, if you are thinking about coaching Novak, consider he’s about to turn 30, he’s played a lot of tennis and his wife is having a second child late this summer.
Oh yeah, and he’s openly admitted that tennis is no longer his top priority, nor is returning to No. 1!
At the end of the day, sure, a new coach or this house cleaning might provide a temporary “shock” back to form, but the reality is is that it comes down to Djokovic himself. What does he want? Does he want to put the work in to do it? Because — and Boris said it — it doesn’t look like he has that same winning desire. It looks like the flame is burning out. And this staff firing feels a last chance desperation move.
So I maintain, Novak needs a break from tennis./a>. A multi-month break. The guy has never missed a Slam, has never had an extended time away from the sport whereas his peers all have. Looks what taking six months off did for Roger Federer. Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Venus, recently Maria Sharapova have all had breaks. Andy Murray missed the French then won his first Wimbledon!
Granted, many of those breaks were forced by injury, but time away often does make one hungry. And hell, the only two titles Novak has won since Paris both came after…breaks (Doha and Canada).
The bad news is in the near term, I don’t see Djokovic taking any time off, not with the two Slams and with 3,600 ranking points to defend in the next month.
But the good news is, I think he will have no choice once the second baby comes. And if I’m him, and I keep struggling, then when that baby arrives I take the rest of the year off. Get off the court. I find a coach and start 2018 fresh, hungry and energized.
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