Key Novak Djokovic team member suffered ‘severe heart attack’ due to ‘stress of tennis tour’

Ewan West
Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with his former coach Marian Vajda, right, Gebhard Gritsch and Miljan Amanovic after the final tennis match of the Serbia Open tennis tournament against Andrey Rublev
Novak Djokovic with his team at the Serbia Open in 2022

Novak Djokovic’s long-time physio Miljan Amanovic suffered a “severe heart attack” brought on by the “stress of travelling full-time on the ATP Tour.”

The Croatian, who was “resuscitated four times”, works at Djokovic’s tennis centre in Belgrade and has since taken a step back from traveling full-time with the Serbian.

The event is revealed in a new book, titled: ‘Novak Djokovic: The greatest of all time’, written by Dominic Bliss. The book, which will be released on February 29, “recounts the tennis legend’s remarkable ascent to sporting glory.”

Amanovic started working with Djokovic in 2007 and he has been a key and trusted member of the world No 1’s team since, barring a brief period in 2017 when the Serbian split with his entire team.

“In 2017, when Novak made wholesale changes to his support team, Amanovic stopped working with him. That same year, the physio suffered a heart attack, brought on, he said, by the stress of travelling full-time on the ATP Tour,” the book explains.

Amanovic, who made a full recovery, later said: “I survived a severe heart attack. I was resuscitated four times. Now I can say that it was God’s will in the true sense of the word, because if only one link in the chain of events had not been in place that day, I would probably have left this earthly life. They say that they fought for me for 40 minutes.”

The Croatian has since lessened his workload as a travelling physio, but he still attends some tournaments with Djokovic and was in the 36-year-old’s box at the 2024 Australian Open last month.

During the Serbia Open in 2022, Djokovic announced Amanovic would start a new role at his Novak Tennis Centre in Belgrade.

“Miljan has travelled a lot, he has got three kids. Also, we have big plans here in the Novak Tennis Centre, we intend to transform it to an Academy, and Miljan is one of the key people there. I am delighted that he has accepted that role, he will mean the world to us,” Djokovic said.

During the 2023 Australian Open, where he remarkably won a record 10th title despite dealing with a hamstring injury, Djokovic hailed the importance of Amanovic.

“Miljan is one of the closest people in my life. He has been working a lot these days, always gives his best,” the 24-time Grand Slam champion said in a press conference.

“Considering the circumstances, we spent a lot of time in the car these days, since we are going to three or four different locations for therapy, different machines.

“We are trying to get my body good enough, so that it can last five sets. I am very grateful to Miljan, it would be a lot harder without him.”

Djokovic, who lost to Jannik Sinner in the semi-finals of the 2024 Australian Open, is expected to make his return at the Indian Wells Masters next month.

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