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Ivanisevic on Djokovic: “Anything Less Than Winning a Title Is a Failure”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Serbian’s former coach spoke about how demanding Nole is and the pressure that comes with coaching the world’s number one. He also commented on their controversial and repeated arguments.

In just 11 days, the highly anticipated clay court Grand Slam will begin. Roland Garros is just around the corner and will start with many uncertainties surrounding the top favorites, especially concerning Novak Djokovic. The world number one is not having a year of good results and feelings, especially considering his recent defeat in Rome against Alejandro Tabilo.

The Serbian will try to give his 100% in Paris and will do so alongside his revamped team with Nenad Zimonjic as coach. Meanwhile, his former coach, who has accompanied him in recent years, spoke about what it means to coach the world number one.

In comments collected by the newspaper Blick, Goran Ivanisevic once again made clear how difficult his job was, as guiding someone who has won everything entails extra pressure. Nonetheless, the Croatian acknowledged that there is more positive than negative in that imaginary balance:

“When you coach Novak Djokovic, anything less than winning a title is a failure in any tournament. It’s a lot of pressure, Novak is very demanding, always wants to improve. And if you can’t handle that, it’s better not to take the job. Language helped a lot, as there were no barriers between us. With Novak, you only have a few seconds to explain something, he wants to know fifteen things at once, but you only have three seconds to do it. So you have to try to summarize everything. It can be difficult, but with Novak, I enjoyed it,” he said.

One thing we often wonder is what weaknesses one of the greatest athletes of all time can have, and for someone who was his coach, that is also a somewhat complicated question to answer. However, his critical eye knows perfectly well that even the best in the world is not perfect.

“It’s very difficult to point out his weaknesses. Is it a weakness if he misses a shot after 25 exchanges? But that’s what we’ve done, we worked a lot on his serve, especially his second serve. We also worked on his positional play at the net and his volleys. At such a high level, everything revolves around the details. All elite players are the same and yet, they are all different. Federer always seemed completely relaxed in training and Nadal trains so intensely that you get the feeling 300 lions are chasing him,” he said.

Disputes between Novak and his team during matches

On the other hand, speaking of pressure, Ivanisevic wanted to downplay the issue that has always followed them: the constant discussions between him and his team during their matches. Thus, taking as an example a specific situation they experienced during a match, Goran justified his former pupil confessing that this is a way of venting:

“It happened over and over again. Then he would yell at me again and everyone saw it. Sometimes I could understand him well, but other times not. Maybe he wanted to know something about the serve and I commented on the clouds above. Then Novak got angry with me, but at least it was about me. After five minutes he calmed down again, was able to vent, and play freely. Sometimes in tennis, you need a little shock to reset your mind. I think the mental component is the most important factor in this sport,” he said.

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