WIMBLEDON – On Friday, when Novak Djokovic practiced with Fabio Fognini, there was only the usual crew about.
But on Sunday, the last day before the defending champion takes to Center Court at precisely 1 p.m. Monday to begin his title defence, there was a new – but very familiar – face.
Goran Ivanisevic, who won Wimbledon as a wild card in 2001, was dispensing wisdom along with Djokovic’s regular coach Marian Vajda.
There were only a few cameras pointed at Court 15 at first.
And then, suddenly, word got around and it got a little crowded over there.
Ivanisevic told SportKlub that it was a phone call out of the blue. Ivanisevic had committed to a seniors event in Sweden, and so could only arrive Sunday for the last pre-tournament practice.
“I will only be able to be there for one week, because I have responsibilities I’m trying to move,” Ivanisevic told SportKlub (there’s an audio interview on the site, if you can understand the language).
“However, when a Novak Djokovic calls you, that’s a big deal. Great recognition for me as a coach because he does not choose (just) anyone … I am glad that Marian (Vadja) is in agreement with it.”
The Croat said that the two have to get to know each other. But he said the first practice went well, and he hopes the cooperation will last.
Ivanisevic has coached countryman Marin Cilic and Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
Most recently, he worked with Milos Raonic. But this was through a period where Raonic was injured quite a bit.