Who’s next for Djokovic?

first_imgIt’s been a curious year for the Serb in a topsy-turvy campaign which has seen his 122-week reign at the top of the men’s game come to an end by Andy Murray, and despite winning seven titles, including the Australian and French Open’s, huge question marks hang over his state of mind heading into 2017.Tennis legend Becker openly admitted in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports that the last six months coaching Djokovic were “challenging”.Troubles on and off the court forced the 29-year-old to seek the help of spiritual guru Pepe Imaz and suddenly title-winning runs turned into talk of love and peace as well as shock exits.He won just one title and reached two finals in the second half of the season following a dominant stretch that saw him win four straight majors.The rumours are already circulating as to whether or not Djokovic will look to add another coach to his team for the new season.So what are the options Djokovic has to choose from? Could another so-called ‘Super Coach’ help bring him more success?Shoo-insLong-term mentor Marian Vajda and mental guru Pepe Imaz are expected to remain part of the team. Old mentor Vajda is likely to remain in a sole coaching position. The 51-year-old has been a member of the coaching line-up for over 10 years. Under his guidance, Djokovic had climbed to the top of the tennis world.Imaz is the newest member to Djokovic’s team and preaches a philosophy of love and peace as central to his coaching.”I don’t know where you heard that he’s a guru, first of all,” Djokovic said of Imaz. “He’s been in tennis for all his life. I’m just glad that he came this week, together with my brother, to be with me and work with me.”If Djokovic is able to find love, happiness and harmony working alongside the former player in 2017, then there just might be light at the end of the tunnel.Pistol PetePete Sampras is a true legend of the game, and although the 14-time Grand Slam champion has been linked with a move into coaching, he has been largely removed from the tour since his retirement in 2002.He collected 12 of those majors in an era of dominance from between 1993 and 2000 and seven of them arrived on the green grass of Wimbledon.In an interview with CNN last March, Sampras said his life is now very much family focused rather than having any thoughts of returning to the game as a coach. “It’s definitely much different from my life as a tennis player,” he said. “Everything was about me. What I was eating, what I was doing. I was travelling. Now it’s about my kids.”Johnny MacJohn McEnroe, who had a spell working with Milos Raonic earlier this year, is one of the co-favourites for a role.The seven-time major winner joined Raonic’s team in May before the 25-year-old reached his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon, but his media commitments could make things difficult.One thing is for sure, should McEnroe join up the Djokovic revolution, then it would be a whole lot of fun with the outlandish American a firm favourite amongst fans and players alike.Andre AgassiJust a few years ago former world No 1 Agassi admitted he “can never say never” about becoming the latest ‘super coach’. The eight-time Grand Slam winner, however, is not yet prepared to make the commitment with a young family, his charitable work and equipment line at the peak of his priorities.But could a role alongside Djokovic be too good an offer to turn down? His wife Steffi Graf [a 22-time major winner] may have something to say about that.Pat RafterAustralian Rafter, who reached the summit of the ATP rankings in 1999, has recently backed Djokovic to recapture his form in the New Year.Rafter won the US Open in 1997 and 1998 and was twice a runner-up at Wimbledon. He is a known admirer of the Serb having described him as being in a “different league” to Andy Murray.But would the former great swap the sprawling Sunshine Coast for the long and gruelling season on the ATP circuit?Nenad ZimonjicHe might not be a name that rolls of the tongue, but Zimonjic is strongly rumoured to become Djokovic’s coach.The 40-year-old is still an active doubles player and teamed up with Djokovic in the men’s doubles at the Rio Olympics.It would be a surprise to many should Zimonjic join the party, but he is a fellow Serb and former Davis Cup captain who has known the serial major winner since he was a teenager. He has the experience and is known to be highly respected by Djokovic.last_img read more