Andre Agassi believes Novak Djokovic is on track to win two Grand Slams each year for the next couple of seasons at least, the American told reporters at the Australian Open on Thursday.
Djokovic hired Agassi as a coach at a period when the Serb was struggling, both physically and mentally, and they parted ways last April after an 11-month partnership.
Since then, Djokovic has managed to recapture his form, winning Wimbledon and the US Open after undergoing elbow surgery last February. He returned to the No. 1 spot in the world, after dipping to as low as 22 mid-season, and reunited with his old team, spearheaded by head coach Marian Vajda.
Asked if he believes Djokovic would have got back to such heights had they continued to work together, Agassi said: “It’s a good question. It’s hard to get inside somebody’s head. My hope was that I added but it takes two, you know. There’s probably a lot of things along the way that I was force-feeding, and I don’t know if that takes a while to process or I don’t know if I created more angst in his life but at the end of the day, tennis is getting the results of what it deserves, which is him being at the highest level.
“I’m thrilled to see him doing it, he’s somebody I… I root for him, too.”
Djokovic has taken his total Grand Slam tally to 14 titles, and is now three behind Rafael Nadal on the men’s all-time list, and six behind Roger Federer. At 31, Djokovic is 10 months younger than Nadal, who just returned from a knee injury and ankle surgery, and nearly six years younger than Federer. Time seems to be on his side in his pursuit of Federer’s record.
“I was convinced when we started he would win two [Slams] a year for the next three or four years and he’s certainly on pace for that,” added Agassi, when asked if he believed Djokovic can catch up to Federer.
Agassi is back in the coach’s seat helping Grigor Dimitrov alongside Dani Vallverdu. Dimitrov rose to No. 3 in the world after winning the ATP Finals at the end of 2017 but struggled to build on that momentum and has slipped to his current position of 21 in the world. The gifted Bulgarian, who was a semi-finalist in Melbourne two years ago, is still searching for that major breakthrough and a level of consistency that matches his highly-touted talent.
“It’s going great. I couldn’t be more thrilled with who he is as a person and how close we’ve sort of become so quickly,” Agassi says of his partnership with Dimitrov.
Expanding on his vision for Dimitrov’s game, Agassi said: “In my estimation there’s three clear parts of tennis: There’s when you’re in control, there’s neutral and then there’s defence. When he used to be in control, he did it with risk, when he used to be neutral he was quickly falling behind, and when he was behind he didn’t have a lot of transition, he just had a lot of horsepower. So if you can do the dance between those three parts and play to your strengths and use your speed in a more offensive, proactive, controlled way, it’s a big difference. There’s a lot more to it than that but that would be more the technical side that has kind of limited his ability to – that you have to work too hard if you don’t do it smartly, right?
“So if you work too hard it’s hard to do it match after match it’s kind of accumulative so you could have great weeks, not as good weeks, you can have great matches, not as good matches. So my hope is he can do it a lot easier for a lot longer now.”
* Andre Agassi was speaking at the Lavazza Cafe at Grand Slam Oval at the Australian Open on Thursday. He is a Lavazza ambassador.
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