Novak Djokovic will have coach Andre Agassi in his corner for as long as required at Wimbledon as the Serb tries to claim back one of his lost grand slam titles. The 30-year-old teamed up with the eight-times major winner before the French Open, having split with his long-time coaching team. But the American had already flown home before Djokovic crumbled against Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals.
The exact details of the arrangement between 12-times grand slam champion Djokovic and Agassi remain vague, and Djokovic says they are “going with the flow”. But he says he will able to count on the 47-year-old’s wealth of experience throughout the Wimbledon fortnight.
“He will be in London for Wimbledon and he will stay as long as I stay in the tournament, so that’s great news,” Djokovic told a news conference at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park, where he has taken a wildcard for the Aegon International.
“Obviously Roland Garros, the eight or nine days that we spent together, were very valuable for me to get to know him, to learn from him. We shared a lot of experiences on and off the court, things that he has been through that I can relate to.
“So having him around is not only great for myself but also for tennis. He’s supposed to arrive for the weekend. So he’s going to be there before the tournament starts.”
A year ago Djokovic arrived at Wimbledon as holder of all four grand slams. This time, he is down at world number four having seen all of his prized crowns removed from his possession — the rot setting in at Wimbledon last year when, as defending champion, he fell to Sam Querrey in the third round.
Djokovic is playing a grasscourt warmup tournament for the first time in seven years and looked relaxed as he walked about in the south coast sunshine on Monday.
“This year I knew I wanted to play one, but I thought Queen’s and Halle would be too early for me,” Djokovic, who has been running on the pebbly beach since arriving, said.
“I haven’t had too many matches this year all in all. That’s the reason why I came to Eastbourne.
“For me it’s great to visit a new place, be part of a new event. I don’t get to experience that too often. We have more or less the same schedule each year over and over again.”
Djokovic said he needs to rediscover the level of consistency that saw him dominate men’s tennis.
“It does feel different than 12 months ago when I had the four grand slams under my belt, and coming into Wimbledon, completely different than I mentally am today.
“I still have to trust myself, my abilities to play well, and to win against anybody on any surface. I will just try to reach that consistency level that I need, because I felt like that’s something that I was lacking.”