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Tennis

Novak Djokovic and coach Boris Becker part ways

During his three seasons with Becker as a trainer, Novak Djokovic has claimed six grand slams and 25 tournament wins. But the results had dropped off somewhat of late, allowing Andy Murray to pinch the No. 1 spot.

Wimbledon Championships Boris Becker (picture-alliance/dpa/F. Arrizabalaga)

Djokovic thanked Becker when announcing the split, after three largely successful years

Novak Djokovic, recently unseated from his throne atop the ATP rankings, will part ways with his tennis coach since the 2014 campaign, German singles legend Boris Becker.

"Boris Becker and I have jointly decided to end our cooperation," Djokovic, who won this year's Australian and French Open titles, wrote on his Facebook page. "The goals we set when we started working together have been completely fulfilled, and I want to thank him for the cooperation, teamwork, dedication and commitment." 

Djokovic went on to say that he was now prioritizing maintaining a good level of play, and drawing up "a good schedule and new goals for the next season," adding that he would "make all future decisions in this regard."

According to reports published in Germany shortly before Djokovic's official announcement, tensions concerning the newest member of his coaching crew - Spanish ex-pro Pepe Imaz - helped accelerate the split. Imaz describes his own tennis center as "not like most other academy-style training facilities," saying that his tennis coaching aims to "regain that feeling of love both for tennis, but more importantly for yourself."

US Open 2016 Finale - Novak Djokovic vs. Stanislas Wawrinka (Getty Images/AFP/K. Betancur)

The second half of 2016 has been an unusually dry spell for the Serb

Asked about Imaz recently, Djokovic was quick to reject the use of the word "guru" to describe his new-age coaching style, pointing instead to Imaz's professional playing career. Nevertheless, Bild and SID reported that Becker and longstanding coach Marian Vajda were unwilling to work closely with the unorthodox influence, leading to the split.

Off-color since the French Open

Djokovic has won six grand slams and 25 rankings tournaments since Becker joined his crew. That winning recipe had soured since Djokovic completed his collection this year, winning on the clay courts of Roland Garros for the first time.

Since completing his collection of grand slams, Djokovic's game has struggled. Disappointments at Wimbledon, the Olympics and other tournaments have allowed Andy Murray to reel in what once seemed an insurmountable lead in the rankings.

After the Wimbledon exit this year, Becker had sounded the alarm about unusual preparations for the tournament - when Djokovic spent time with Imaz as his rivals played grass-court warm-up competitions like Queen's Club in England or Halle/Westfalen in Germany.

Neither Djokovic's team nor Boris Becker immediately commented on Tuesday evening's reports in Germany. However, a look at Becker's Twitter account did suggest he might be reckoning with a little more time for promotional work and partying in the near future. The poker enthusiast announced a new partnership deal with an online giant on Monday evening, and on Tuesday morning shared what looked like a late-night photo from a Soho nightspot in London.

msh/mf  (AFP, SID)

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