Novak Djokovic parts ways with coach Boris Becker

Won six Grand Slams together but Serb has been usurped by Andy Murray in rankings

Novak Djokovic has split with coach Boris Becker - together they won six Grand Slams. Photograph: Getty/Michael Heiman

Novak Djokovic has split with coach Boris Becker - together they won six Grand Slams. Photograph: Getty/Michael Heiman

 

Novak Djokovic’s split with Boris Becker – predictably described by each of them on Tuesday night as mutual – was one of the worst kept secrets in tennis, and might yet help the Serb in his pursuit of Andy Murray at the top of the ATP rankings.

They are parting because the recently demoted world No2 needs a lift that the six-times slam champion, struggling physically to keep up with the hectic pace of the Tour, can no longer deliver. It is a relationship that has run its course. If December is the season to be jolly for the rest of us, it is the traditional clearing month for tennis players as they retreat to their winter training camps before the new season.

The Serb had been toweringly unconvincing in dodging questions about rumours of a break-up with Becker since the beginning of November, but the inevitable divorce gives him at least a momentum shift to chase down Murray as world No1 after a kaleidoscope of woes, on and off the court, had engulfed him since his shock early exit in the first week of Wimbledon. Djokovic had appeared edgy when sniping at his perceived British media enemies during the season-ending World Tour Finals in Greenwich last month. All the while, Becker, brought on board three years ago to vivify the player’s close-quarter tennis, sat broodingly in the player’s box, probably aware that his days were numbered.

They won six grand slams together, including the annexation of the 2016 French Open that completed the set. Djokovic seemed to suffer an emotional crash after the landmark win over Murray in the final at Roland Garros.

“The goals we set when we started working together have been completely fulfilled,” Djokovic said on Facebook.

“I want to thank him for the cooperation, teamwork, dedication and commitment.”

Becker replied on Twitter: “Thank U! We had the time of our life.”

In Becker’s place now – as the game’s caravan moves to the first major of 2017, in Melbourne next month – sits not only the player’s long-term friend and coach, Marian Vajda, and his tight-knit back-up team, but a new mentor, the serene but distant life coach, Pepe Imaz.

If the Spaniard – a fringe player on Tour in his playing days – has played a part in Becker’s removal, it would fit the Shakespearian scenario that has been building up around Djokovic all summer.

Djokovic was teasingly candid about “private issues‚“ which “everybody goes through on a daily basis”. His wife, Jelena, was happily by his side again in London. Rapprochement would seem to have provided impetus for a fresh start on the court.

One of the game’s all-time greats is on the prowl again.

(Guardian service)

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.