News ID: 213385
Published: 0251 GMT April 17, 2018

Djokovic coy on Agassi split, enjoys fresh start in Monte Carlo

Djokovic coy on Agassi split, enjoys fresh start in Monte Carlo
Novak Djokovic serves during his straight-sets win over his fellow Serb Dusan Lajovic in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters on April 16, 2018.
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Novak Djokovic won his first match for three months at Monte Carlo Masters on Monday and said his reunion with his long-time coach, Marian Vajda, would be “a fresh start” following his split with Andre Agassi.

Djokovic, who needed just 56 minutes to beat his fellow Serb Dusan Lajovic 6-0, 6-1 in the first round of the tournament, also said that he was playing without pain for the first time in two years following surgery to cure the right elbow problem which had kept him off the court for the last six months of 2017, The Independent reported.

“It was a great start to the tournament,” Djokovic said afterward. “Considering I haven’t played many matches I thought I played well.”

The former world No. 1 began working with Agassi at last year’s French Open but was struggling with his elbow problem and did not play again after Wimbledon.

On his comeback at the Australian Open in January Djokovic suffered more elbow pain when losing to Hyeon Chung in the fourth round. He subsequently had surgery, but looked out of sorts when he made another comeback last month, losing to Taro Daniel and Benoit Paire in his opening matches in Indian Wells and Miami respectively.

Agassi said last month that he and Djokovic had “far too often found ourselves agreeing to disagree”.

However, Djokovic was reluctant to go into details here about reasons for their split.

“We just decided that it’s better to part ways because both sides did feel that that it was best for me and for them,” he said.

The world No. 13 stressed that his coaching relationship with Agassi had never been a formal arrangement.

“We didn’t have any commitment,” he said. “We didn’t have any contract. He was not working with me officially. He was helping me out. He was really genuinely wanting to help and to give me advice and to share his experience with me.”

Djokovic said he remained friends with both Agassi and Stepanek, who joined his entourage at the end of last year. The Serb that even when they had agreed to part Agassi had said he should always feel free to contact him.

“I can call him any day to speak with him, ask for tips and advice, or share something,” Djokovic said.

“The last eight or nine months with Andre was just amazing with the amount of things that I’ve learned, not just about tennis but life in general. For that I’m very grateful.”

Vajda started coaching Djokovic in 2006 before taking a back seat when the Serb turned to Boris Becker.  “I think this is a fresh start for both of us,” Djokovic said of their latest reunion. “I missed him. I have a feeling that he missed me – or tennis, or both. We’ve both enjoyed the last 10 days of practice a lot.

“He knows me better than any tennis coach I’ve worked with. He’s a friend. He’s someone I can share a lot of things with, whether it’s professional or private life. He’s always there for me. He knows me inside out. He knows what I need in order to get to the highest possible level of play.”

   
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