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Djokovic prepared for Madrid challenge

May 10, 2017
written by: Kristina Borojevic
written by: Kristina Borojevic
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Novak Djokovic’s clay season continues this week at the Mutua Madrid Open. He is playing as the no. 2 seed and two-time champion at the tournament (2011, 2016).

There will be a lot of interest and eyes on Djokovic this week who just parted with his coaching team, including long-time coach Marian Vajda. He is without a team this week and hinted that he will be for some time until he finds a good fit to help him get back to his best form. Djokovic also split with Boris Becker in 2016.

After his second round win against Nicolas Almagro, Djokovic’s projected draw to the final is: Gilles Simon (3R), Kei Nishikori (QF), Rafael Nadal (SF), Andy Murray (F).

Vajda has been part of Djokovic’s coaching team since 2006. That was the year Djokovic won his first of 67 ATP titles in Amersfoort, Netherlands. Vajda has guided Djokovic to each of his 12 Grand Slam titles. Becker also served as Djokovic’s coach from 2014 to 2016, helping him win six of his 12 Majors.

One year ago Djokovic was on his historic run. After winning his sixth Australian Open, Djokovic won (another) Sunshine Open – winning Indian Wells and Miami together – and began the clay season with a lot of momentum. When he won Roland Garros, he was the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Major titles at the same time. Before that, in 2015, Djokovic was one win away from completing the Calendar Slam – winning all four Majors in the same year. He won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open but he fell to Stan Wawrinka in the Roland Garros final.

Novak Djokovic and his team celebrate his Roland Garros victory, 2016

One year later, things are different for the Serbian star. After surrendering the top ranking to Andy Murray at the end of 2016, Djokovic has not had the comeback season he hoped for. Heading into the fifth month of the season, Djokovic’s only title comes from Doha, Qatar – an ATP 250 event and warm-up to the Australian Open. Djokovic beat Murray in three sets in the Doha final but has not reached a final since. He failed to defend his titles in Melbourne, Indian Wells and Miami.

 

Feature photo: Madrid Open.