Novak Djokovic announces sad break up with coach Goran Ivanisevic after long relationship

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Novak Djokovic and Goran Ivanisevic are breaking up, the tennis world number one announced on Wednesday night.

Djokovic brought Croatia’s 2001 Wimbledon champion on board as a member of the coaching team ahead of the grass court Grand Slam in 2019 and although the Serbian admitted their “on-court chemistry had its ups and downs”, it also resulted in huge success.

The pair’s relationship spanned five years where they shared 12 grand slam titles.

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The pair stuck together through some dark patches in Djokovic’s life before the Serbian roared back to the top of the men’s rankings.

It comes two years aft Djokovic also split from long-term mentor Marian Vajda.

Vajda guided Djokovic for 14 years.

Djokovic’s personal life off the court has been rumoured to have hit several obstacles in recent years, including rumours of marriage infidelity when his wife Jelena briefly went missing from his travelling entourage.

Djokovic has always found ways to fight back when things are not going how he wants them to on the court, but at the age of 36, finding another spark this year may be his toughest test.

Djokovic has had by his high standards a poor start to the year, losing to eventual champion Jannik Sinner of Italy in the Australian Open semi-finals.

The 36-year-old Serbian then lost to Sinner’s unheralded compatriot Luca Nardi in the third round at Indian Wells, prompting him to withdraw from the Miami tournament for what he claimed were scheduling reasons.

“Goran and I decided to stop working together a few days ago,” Djokovic posted on Instagram.

“Our on court chemistry had its ups and downs, but our friendship was always rock solid.

“In fact, I am proud to say (not sure he is) that apart from winning tournaments together, we also had a side battle in Parchisi going on… for many years,” he said, referring to the online game.

“And — that tournament never stops for us. Sefinjo, thanks for everything my friend. Love you.”

Djokovic said the volatile and charismatic Ivanisevic had brought more than just his tennis acumen to the partnership, which was exactly what he and his then head coach Marian Vajda had been looking for.

“I remember clearly the moment I invited Goran to be part of my team,” said Djokovic.

“It was back in 2018, and Marian (Vajda) and I were looking to innovate and bring some serve magic to our duo.

“In fact, not only we brought serve, but also lots of laughter, fun, year end no1 rankings, record breaking achievements and 12 more Grand Slams (and a few finals) to the count since then.”

Djokovic won three grand slam titles in 2023 — taking his record to 24 career majors.

Despite their immense success, Ivanisevic was never awarded the ATP Tour coach of the year award.

Djokovic was not pleased when Ivanisevic was overlooked for the award in December. The award went to Aussie Darren Cahill for helping Jannik Sinner surge up the ATP Tour rankings.

“Congratulations to Darren and Simone for a great season with Jannik,” Djokovic wrote on Instagram at the time.

“Goran, I guess we need to win 4/4 Slams in order for you to maybe (just maybe) be considered coach of the year. Winning Year End #1, 3 [Grand Slams] and [World Tour Finals] and making history of this sport is not enough, my dear coach.”

Novak Djokovic will next get a chance to add to his list of grand slam titles when the French Open begins in May.

— with AFP

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