Agassi-Djokovic Split Fuels Concern Over Coach, Boris Becker Suggests Hunt For New Mentor
Defending champion Novak Djokovic, who lost out to Dominic Thiem in the French Open on June 7 following a straight-sets defeat, has led Boris Becker to believe that Djokovic now needs a new tour coach, as “Agassi missed the second week when Djokovic needed him there the most.”
“Novak certainly has to make a clean cut,” said Becker, who helped guide Djokovic to six majors in three years, on Eurosport. “He started to work with Agassi, a new super-coach. However Agassi missed the second week when Djokovic needed him there the most. He has to find a new Tour coach.”
The Serbian second seed was no match to the powerful-hitting Thiem, losing 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-0 in Paris.
Boris Becker, who split with Novak Djokovic in December after coaching him for three years, says Djokovic urgently needs another full-time coach to replace Andre Agassi, who was not in his box on Wednesday when Djokovic was knocked out of the quarterfinals of the French Open.
“The last couple of tournaments I have had some great tournaments and it was unfortunate to finish Roland Garros in this way,” said Djokovic.
He admitted, “I’m not close to my best, and I know that.”
However, he refused to blame Agassi, who returned to the United States on Friday after watching only three of his matches.
Djokovic insisted, “Don’t put Andre in the midst of this. The final set, that’s all me. We’re gonna try to get together in Wimbledon, but that’s all for now. His influence and impact on my game, it’s gonna take time. It’s not something that comes out in the first week. We have spent seven days together. We just got to know each other. We will see where it takes us. There have been a lot of changes with the team and so forth. I’m so excited to work with Andre and the new team.”
Earlier, Andre Agassi revealed to Boris Becker on Eurosport that his decision to become Novak Djokovic’s new coach was thanks in part to Steffi Graf. It was the 22-time grand slam winner who convinced husband Andre to try and steer Novak Djokovic back into top form.
“It was a surprise for me,” Agassi told Pat Cash for CNN’s Open Court of his appointment, which Djokovic had been mulling over for weeks.
Since retiring in 2006, the Las Vegas native has been heavily involved in several charities while mostly staying out of the limelight.
“I did say no a couple of times,” Agassi admitted while explaining Graf’s perseverance. “She said ‘Gosh, I hear you talking to (Djokovic), and I hear you talking about him. Why don’t you go spend a little time and get to know him?’
It was thought that Agassi will be able to relate to the change of lifestyle that Djokovic currently faces since he is expecting a second child with wife Jelena. Both of Agassi’s children were born during his playing career, and Becker has hinted that Djokovic’s family life was beginning to overshadow the player’s commitment to the game.
“The last six months have been challenging on many levels,” Becker told Sky TV shortly after the pair split in December. “Naturally he wanted to spend more time with his family. He wanted to pursue other off-court interests, rightfully.”
In an unusual move, Agassi had said that he is not accepting payment for his coaching role.
“I’m interested in helping him on terms that work for both of us,” he explained. “I’m not doing this (to get paid) nor do I want to get paid. That’s not what I’m interested in. I’m inspired because of inspiration itself. I’m at a very blessed time in my life and I don’t really need anything. It’s not something I’m worried about.”
Agassi had come on board just eight days before the start of the French Open.
[Featured Image by Christophe Ena/AP Images]