Tennis fans erupt over startling detail in Novak Djokovic photo

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Novak Djokovic, pictured here with former coaches Miljan Amanovic, Gebhard Gritsch and Marian Vajda at the Serbia Open.
Novak Djokovic with former coaches Miljan Amanovic, Gebhard Gritsch and Marian Vajda at the Serbia Open. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic has put to bed any thoughts of a less than acrimonious split with Marian Vajda after his former long-time mentor appeared at the Serbia Open final on Sunday.

Djokovic shocked the tennis world last month when he announced that Vajda would no longer be part of his team after 15 years of working together.

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Rumours immediately began to swirl that the pair must have had some sort of falling out, however they were dispelled on Sunday at Djokovic's home tournament.

Vajda watched the Serbia Open final alongside Djokovic's wife Jelena in the stands, before appearing on court in a post-match ceremony.

Three of Djokovic's former coaches - Vajda, Niki Pilic and Gebhard Gritsch, as well as departing physio Miljan Amanovic - were all on hand for the ceremony, with three of them hoisting Djokovic in the air for a photo.

Djokovic and Vajda hugged and appeared on very friendly terms, before Djokovic explained why his long-term mentor would no longer be a part of his team.

“Marian has travelled a lot as a player, then he coached Dominik Hrbaty and several other players, and then he spent 15 years with me," the World No.1 said on court.

"He is just tired of all the travelling, that is the reason.

"I am glad we were able to say a proper goodbye here and that I thanked him in front of people in Belgrade."

Novak Djokovic, pictured here hugging former coach Marian Vajda after the Serbia Open final.
Novak Djokovic hugs former coach Marian Vajda after the Serbia Open final. (Photo by Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images)

Djokovic also revealed that physiotherapist Amanovic would no longer be traveling with him either, but will help run the new academy at the Novak Tennis Centre.

“Miljan has travelled a lot, he has got three kids," Djokovic explained.

"Also, we have big plans here in the Novak Tennis Centre, we intend to transform it to an academy, and Miljan is one of the key people there.

"I am delighted that he has accepted that role, he will mean the world to us."

When asked if he was adding anyone else to his team, Djokovic said: “No. It’s Goran (Ivanisevic, coach), Marco (Panichi, fitness coach) and Uli (Badio, physiotherapist)."

Fans were delighted to see Vajda and Djokovic still on good terms.

Tennis pundit's fears for Djokovic without Vajda

Speaking earlier this month, Tennis pundit and Olympic gold medallist Marc Rosset said 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 long-time 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 ahead of the 2021 ATP Finals.
Novak Djokovic with Marian Vajda during a practice session ahead of the 2021 ATP Finals. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The Serbia Open was only Djokovic's fourth tournament of the year because of his refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

He managed to make the final in his best result of the year but fell to Andrey Rublev 2-6, 7-6 (4), 0-6.

Djokovic later admitted he "ran out of gas" due to his lack of match fitness.

"I have to look at the positives, playing the final in front of my home crowd, it was unfortunate that in the third set I ran out of gas and couldn't deliver more of a fight," he said.

"After four three-set battles I can say that I am tired but also pleased that I managed to win the matches prior to this one.

"I think that will serve me for the continuation of the clay court season."

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