After a tough 2016 by his high standards, Novak Djokovic has decided to dispense with the services of his longtime coach Marian Vajda and two other team members. The Serbian said now is the time for change.
The 29-year-old started last year strongly with wins at the French and Australian Opens but then lost his number 1 ranking to Andy Murray before exiting in the third round at Wimbledon, the first round at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the third round of the Australian Open at the start of this year.
Djokovic said he hopes the move, which comes just a few weeks before the 2017 French Open will ensure he regains "the winning spark on the court again."
He announced on Friday on his website that he had "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 quarterfinals.
"It was not an easy decision, but we all felt that we need a change," Djokovic added.
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 saide. "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."
For now, the world number 2 will go without a coach. "I will be on the tour alone for a while with the support of my family and management," he said.