Novak Djokovic has parted ways with longtime coach Marian Vajda in a move that has taken the tennis world by surprise, in the wake of the 34-year-old losing the top ranking.
Vajda has coached Djokovic for 14 of the last 15 seasons, their partnership proving to be incredibly successful as the Serbian star equalled Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 grand slam victories.
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The last few months have marked arguably the most tumultuous period of Djokovic's career, with his deportation from Melbourne prior to the Australian Open ruining his chance to claim the all-time men's grand slam record.
Nadal would go on to be the first man to win 21 slams as Djokovic watched on from back home.
However the split between Djokovic and Vajda hasn't been because of the former's ongoing decision not to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with the coach instead deciding it was time to be with his family instead of on tour.
In an interview with Tennis Majors, Djokovic thanked his longtime coach for the success they had shared together.
“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.”
Nevertheless, the amicable split still caught the tennis world off guard. There were plenty of reactions on social media, with many surprised by the timing of the decision.
I’ve always said the same: when all is well in Novak’s world, he can do without Vajda or anyone whatsoever, but when his tennis world gets rocked for whatever reasons (and he has a few now), he always looked for Vajda’s steady eyes. You remove that now, ok, let’s see… https://t.co/VymUjHTpnn
— Carole Bouchard 💜💛 (@carole_bouchard) March 1, 2022
— Saša Ozmo (@ozmo_sasa) March 1, 2022
Goran Ivanisevic was added to the team during Wimbledon 2019, so since then Vajda has accompanied #Djokovic to fewer tournaments than before. Vajda, who is turning 57 soon, said at the time that he wanted to spend more time with his family.
— Saša Ozmo (@ozmo_sasa) March 1, 2022
End of an era for Novak Djokovic and Marian Vajda...
The split is a mutual decision and was agreed to during the ATP Finals in Turin at the end of last season, @SportKlub reports.
— TENNIS (@Tennis) March 1, 2022
Can’t say I blame Vajda for leaving.
The guy has his own life to live and Djokovic not really having a schedule and set calendar only makes things a lot harder to manage both in his personal and work life.
He’ll always be the greatest coach ever to me. I wish him the best.
— Jason (@Certinfy) March 1, 2022
Novak Djokovic takes huge sponsorship hit
Djokovic, who recently lost his stranglehold of the World No.1 ranking to Daniil Medvedev, has only competed one tournament this year due to his unvaccinated status.
The 20-time grand slam champ spent nearly two weeks detained in Australia - after having his visa revoked - before losing his battle and was eventually deported.
Djokovic then explained his decision in a tell-all interview with the BBC that he wouldn't get vaccinated to play grand slams.
Since then, Djokovic was able to compete in the Dubai International with speculation surrounding the actions of Djokovic's major sponsors considering the saga made a huge impact on his image.
Car company Peugeot said they would remain his sponsor for the tournament and expected to see the brand in his top.
However, since Djokovic was eliminated from the tournament, Peugeot have revealed they won't continue their partnership.
Reporter Sasa Ozmo first reported Peugeot dropping ties with Djokovic, with Carlos Tavera, CEO of Peugeot's parent company Stellantis, later confirming the decision.
There is no confirmation on whether the move was due to Djokovic's unvaccinated status and the drama surrounding his Australian Open drama.
According to Forbes, Djokovic earned $30 million (AU$42 million) last year from sponsorship tie-ups.
Earlier this year, it appeared as though Hublot will be sticking by Djokovic's side after a telling statement.
Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe said the brand, owned by French luxury conglomerate LVMH, was waiting to hear from Djokovic about his experience.
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