Djokovic-Agassi pairing to return in ’18

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Novak Djokovic will be back next season.

And when he does return, Andre Agassi will once again be by his side.

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In a press release, Team Djokovic announced the return, and also the composition of Djokovic’s new team.

The Serb divested himself of his longtime team – coach Marian Vajda, fitness coach Gebhard “Phil” Gritsch, and physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic after the Monte Carlo tournament last April. Supercoach Boris Becker left after the 2016 season.

Replacing them are another rather international group. Physiotherapist Ulises Badio (an Argentine based in Italy who worked for the ATP Tour for four years through last May) and fitness trainer Marco Panichi (an Italian based in Monte Carlo) will join Agassi.

Still in the works is the hiring of a second coach who will be involved in much of the day-to-day work and travel. Agassi – busy with many endeavours – has never been interested in or intrigued by a full-time gig.

Djokovic had a full coaching team with  Agassi and Ancic at Wimbledon. Also already on board was Ulises Badio, announced Tuesday as Djokovic’s full-time physio going forward. Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

Ancic not in the plans

It sounds as though former world No. 7 Mario Ancic, who joined Team Djokovic for Wimbledon but obviously wasn’t needed beyond that, isn’t part of the plans. Ancic, a lawyer who has a full-time job in New York, obviously is neither qualified for, nor available for, the main coaching job. 

Djokovic ended his 2017 season after losing in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. He had been carrying an elbow/arm injury for more than a year, and he felt it was time to finally resolve an issue that was clearly affecting his performance.

In an appearance at a basketball game last week in Greece, Djokovic said he hasn’t started playing tennis again.

He and wife Jelena welcomed a second child, daughter Tara, at the beginning of September.

Djokovic will not open his 2018 season in Doha, as he has done each of the last three years. He is the two-time defending champion having beaten Rafael Nadal in the final in 2016, and Andy Murray this year.

The press release indicates a return at the Australian Open. But of course, Djokovic may well enter a tuneup event before that. There’s plenty of time.

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