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“Nadal Trains With an Intensity as if 300 Lions Are Chasing Him”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In statements collected by the Swiss outlet Blick, Goran Ivanisevic analyzed what it was like to coach Djokovic and compared his training sessions to those of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The former Croatian tennis player and coach Goran Ivanisevic participated in a seminar for Swiss tennis coaches where he discussed what it was like to coach Novak Djokovic, with whom he ended his contractual relationship at the end of last March.

In statements collected by the Swiss outlet Blick, Ivanisevic confessed that you need to know how to handle pressure when training with Djokovic and that, despite this, he greatly enjoyed coaching him.

“When you coach Djokovic, anything less than winning is a failure. You have to deal with a lot of pressure. Novak is very demanding, he wants to improve every day and if you can’t handle the pressure, it’s better not to take this job,” he said, according to AS.

“Language helped us; we had no barriers between us. With Djokovic, you only have 15 seconds to explain something, then he wants to know fifteen things from you at once but you only have three seconds to tell him, so you must summarize it intelligently. It can be difficult, but I enjoyed coaching Djokovic.”

The Croatian also highlighted some aspects he used to work on with Djokovic and the differences in training between him, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal.

“It’s very difficult to point out Djokovic’s weaknesses. Is it a weakness to fail after a 25-stroke exchange? Still, we worked a lot on his serve, especially the second serve, and also on approaching the net and volleys. All great players train these details but in different ways. Federer trained as if he were relaxed. And Rafa Nadal? He trains with an intensity as if 300 lions are chasing him,” he said.

Ivanisevic, despite the ups and downs with Djokovic, assures that he was always prepared for the Serbian’s reactions.

“I always had good sleeping pills…. Just kidding. In tennis, you have pressure every day but you get used to the circumstances. Novak and I are similar, we both come from the Balkans and I was always prepared for his possible reactions,” the Croatian said.

Ivanisevic also talked about Djokovic’s constant arguments with him during tournaments and believes that this has helped him de-stress and play well again when matches got tough.

“It has happened time and again that he yells at me in front of everyone. Sometimes I could understand him on the court but other times not. Maybe he wanted me to say something about his serve and I would say that the clouds are over the sand. And that’s why he got angry,” he said, and continued:

“But by talking to me, he calmed down, de-stressed, and played freely again. In tennis, sometimes you need a quick emotional discharge to reset your mind. I think the mental aspect is the most important part of tennis.”

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