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Novak Djokovic’s coach reveals their most difficult Australian Open moment: “He couldn’t move…
Goran Ivanisevic, coach of the now 10-time Australian Open champion, says the third-round match with Grigor Dimitrov was their most anxious match
Goran Ivanisevic has been through heaven and hell with Novak Djokovic, and he said that emotions are very different as a coach compared to those when you play.
“As a tennis fan, this is huge what Novak has achieved, honestly. I’ve been a coach before, won US Open with Marin Cilic, but then Real Madrid asked me to be their coach, ” said Ivanisevic, likening Djokovic to the successful Spanish football club. “When you get into the machine, there simply isn’t room for error. You have to be switched on all the time, there is always something happening, we are nervous 24 hours a day. Nothing is ever all right, but then good things happen. Then it’s all worth it”, the former Wimbledon champion told reporters in his native Croatian.
“That small injury occurred and then it worsened. I still cannot believe what he has been able to do. I can only be proud of the opportunity to work with such a man, because I can always learn something new, something crazy. It’s great that we are both temperamental, emotional. It helps a lot with the communication that we speak the same language, because everything needs to happen quick on the court. Still, it’s not easy, especially when he ‘shoots’ me with that look of his… But emotions are going through the roof, I would know”.
“That was the match I was most afraid” – Ivanisevic on Djokovic’s third round clash against Dimitrov
Asked to describe how Djokovic’s days between matches looked like, Ivanisevic was colourful, as he usually is. “You know when a President visits a foreign country and they give him a list of 37,000 things to do, meeting etc. Novak had 37,000 therapies and treatments. All of those emotions came to the surface after he won. I mean, the guy spent more time in his car than in his previous 16 Australian Open tournaments combined. Incredible medical team, incredible. Also, Dr. Marijana (Kovacevic) came, what we did to get her the visa and the flights, I can’t even describe… If I wasn’t present to witness all of this first hand and somebody was telling me about it, I’d most probably be like: ‘Yeah, right, tell it to someone else’. That is why this is extra special, his biggest victory so far”.
Djokovic’s coach said that fears were at their highest during the third round match against Grigor Dimitrov, which the Serb eventually won 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 6-4.
“In the first two rounds, the opponents were easier, so we figured it was going to be okay. But Dimitrov just played in the wrong way, his coach and himself didn’t have the proper plan, the right tactics. Novak couldn’t move and Grigor played maybe two or three drop shots, I would’ve played 300!! But he is our Balkan brother, so he helped (laughing). Dimitrov is a tricky opponent even if you’re ready – he slices a lot, everything happens fast with him. That was the match I was most afraid. Afterwards, Novak’s game astonishing, everything went smoothly”.