California Observer

Tennis Champion Splits from Long-Term Coach

Photo: The Associated Press

Tennis champ Novak Djokovic has split with Marian Vajda, his long-term coach. Vajda had worked with the 20-time grand slam winner for the last 15 years. 

Though the split announcement was revealed only recently in a statement on Djokovic’s website, the two had stopped working together in November, after the 2021 ATP Finals in Turin.

With Djokovic’s deportation from Australia in January, which prevented his participation in the Australian Open, and his loss to Daniil Medvedev, the split from Vajda further marked a turbulent start of the year for the former world number one.

Vajda had provided some stability for Djokovic after Vajda was first hired as Djokovic’s coach in 2006. He maintained this position until 2013, where Boris Becker then replaced him. As head coach, Vajda worked with Djokovic in his rise from talented newcomer to world number one and multiple grand slam winner by 2011.

Until 2017, Vajda remained in Djokovic’s coaching team under Becker. Then, following a brief hiatus, he rejoined in 2018, alongside Djokovic’s return with grand slam victories at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Vajda said in a statement, “During my time with Novak, I have been lucky to watch him transform into the player he is today. I will look back on our time together with immense pride and am so very thankful for the success we have achieved.”

Djokovic also said, “Marian has been by my side during the most important and memorable moments in my career.

“Together we have achieved some incredible things and I am very grateful for his friendship and dedication over the last 15 years. While he might be leaving the professional team, he will always be family and I can’t thank him enough for all he has done.”

Djokovic and Vajda accumulated 85 ATP singles titles during their time together—including all of Djokovic’s 20 grand slam titles.

However, since 2019, Vajda has shared coaching duties with Goran Ivanisevic and traveled to fewer tournaments.

With the hopes to steer Djokovic back to world number one, Ivanisevic takes on the challenge to coach Djokovic. This proves a difficult task, especially with Djokovic’s continued refusal to abide by vaccination requirements that mark many world tournaments.

Despite his exit from Djokovic’s team, Vajda will “remain his biggest support on and off the court.”

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