'Not the same': Concerns for Novak Djokovic after shock split

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Novak Djokovic, pictured here speaking to the media in Serbia.
Novak Djokovic has parted ways with long-time coach Marian Vajda. Image: Getty

Tennis pundit Marc Rosset has questioned whether Novak Djokovic will be able to return to his best following his shock split with long-time coach Marian Vajda.

Djokovic shocked the tennis world last month when he announced he was parting ways with Vajda after 15 years.

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A statement on Djokovic's website said that he and Vajda "agreed to end their partnership" after last year's season-ending ATP Finals.

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

"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 has played just four matches in 2022 due to his vaccination status and suffered a shock first-up loss at the Monte Carlo Masters last week.

And according to Olympic gold medallist Rosset, the decision to part ways with Vajda could come back to bite Djokovic.

“There is still something bothering me about Djokovic,” the Swiss former player told RTS.

“I’m curious to see what it will be like now that he broke up with his longtime coach, Marian Vajda. Because last time it happened, it didn’t pay off.

“We’ll see if he manages to be as strong as ever without his trusted man.

"Of course, Goran Ivanisevic will always be there, but it’s not the same lemonade between them.

"They don’t have that 15-year relationship or that closeness.”

Novak Djokovic, pictured here with Marian Vajda during a practice session at the ATP Tour Finals in 2021.
Novak Djokovic speaks with Marian Vajda during a practice session at the ATP Tour Finals in 2021. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Djokovic and Vajda previously took a break in 2017 but reunited the next year.

"During my time with Novak, I have been lucky to watch him transform into the player he is today," Vajda said after the split.

"I will look back on our time together with immense pride and am so very thankful for the success we have achieved.

"I remain his biggest support on and off the court and I look forward to new challenges."

Vajda had publicly criticised Djokovic's decision to play at the Tokyo Olympics last year before his bid for a calendar year Grand Slam was ended in the US Open final.

Marian Vajda and Jelena Djokovic, pictured here during a Novak Djokovic match at the French Open in 2021.
Marian Vajda and Jelena Djokovic look on during a Novak Djokovic match at the French Open in 2021. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic keen to find form ahead of French Open

Djokovic said on Monday that he is aiming to be "as ready as I can be" for the French Open as he prepares for just his third tournament of the season in Belgrade this week.

The World No.1 was deported from Australia ahead of the Australian Open in January, before also missing Indian Wells and the Miami Open in the United States.

Rafa Nadal won a men's record 21st grand slam singles title in Djokovic's absence, moving one head of the Serb and Roger Federer.

Djokovic will be hoping to match his great rival's tally at the French Open, which begins on May 22.

"Roland Garros is the quintessential clay-court tournament and I'm partly already there in my thoughts, in terms of preparation and everything I'm doing at the moment to get there as ready as I can be," Djokovic told reporters in Belgrade ahead of the Serbia Open.

The 34-year-old said he was planning to play in the Madrid Masters and the Italian Open ahead of Roland Garros.

"My current plans include Madrid and Rome," he added.

"It depends, really, on my result here and the shape I'm in. We'll decide then."

with agencies

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