Djokovic splits up with his longtime coach Vajda

Djokovic splits up with his longtime coach Vajda

BELGRADE, Serbia — Novak Djokovic has split with his longtime coach Marian Vajda and two other team members, saying he wants to find “the winning spark on the court again.”

Djokovic said on his website on Friday that he mutually agreed with Vajda, fitness coach Gebhard Phil Gritsch, and physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic to end their “successful and long term partnership” two weeks ago after the Monte Carlo Masters, where he lost in the quarterfinals.

“It was not an easy decision, but we all felt that we need a change,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic lost his No. 1 ranking to Andy Murray last year after a slump in form following his French Open triumph.

He lost in the third round at Wimbledon, his earliest defeat in a Grand Slam in seven years, the first round at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, reached the final of the U.S. Open, and lost early again at the Australian Open. He finished 2016 at No. 2, his current ranking. He’s won only one of his last 10 tournaments.

“I feel like this is a new chapter in my life,” Djokovic said. “My career was always on the upward path and this time I’m experiencing how it is when the path takes you in a different direction. I want to find a way to come back to the top stronger and more resilient.”

Vajda started working with Djokovic in 2006, and the last three seasons together with Boris Becker, who quit last year.

“We arrived to the point where we all realized we need new energy in the team,” Vajda said on the website. “Novak can do so much more and I am sure he will.”

Djokovic said he believes this “shock therapy” will help him achieve better results.

“I want to continue raising the level of my game and stamina and this is a continuous process,” Djokovic said. “I enjoy this journey, it feels like I am starting something new again.”

Djokovic said he was thinking of hiring a new coach, but did not want to rush it.

“I will be on the tour alone for a while with the support of my family and management,” he said.

Dusan Stojanovic, The Associated Press

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