Coach Goran Ivanisevic admits ‘difficult’ Novak Djokovic tests his patience to breaking point
Novak Djokovic can be hard to work with on the rare occasions when he a match goes against him, according to his coach Goran Ivanisevic.
The world No 1 regularly gets angry with those closest to him when he is in the heat of battle on court and often screams in anger at his box, even on days when he is winning major titles.
Ivanisevic has formed a strong bond with Djokovic since becoming a key member of the Serbian’s team, with the improvements on his serve a clear indication of the input he has made to improve Djokovic.
Yet 2001 Wimbledon champion Ivanesevic admits his star pupil can be tough to manage at times, as he suggests the Serbian’s desire for perfection can be frustrating.
“Who am I to get angry with him? He is the best player in the history of tennis,” Ivanisevic is quoted by We Are Tennis.
“Sometimes I can only get mad at him when he yells at us for no reason. When he loses a match, he always gives his best and tries his best. But it’s not easy to deal with him when he’s losing.
“Tuesday night at the ATP Finals he finished late (after losing against Jannik Sinner). On Wednesday we didn’t see him.
“To be honest, until Thursday we didn’t know what was going on. We were in the room. We didn’t know if we were going home or if we were going to the warm-up against [Hubert] Hurkacz. We finally found out that he was going to play.
“I think he made a good decision to stay calm. I know it’s not easy to get motivated. He won everything. He finished in the No. 1 spot, but he always finds motivation.
“He always wants more. He wants something better all the time.
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“He chained us with handcuffs for three days. He’s not an easy guy, let’s put it this way. Especially when something doesn’t go his way.
“He was torturing us, pulling out our fingernails and many more things but that I can’t say. But we are still here, we are alive.
“I am an old man and I need to be careful with my heart. We are here to make it feel better and to perform better. Sometimes it’s very complicated.”
Ivanisevic went on to sum up the ethos of the Djokovic camp, as he compared the 24-time Grand Slam champion to a leader of a money-making machine.
“A good analogy would be to name Novak Djokovic as a CEO of a company,” added Ivanisevic.
“He seeks and demands profits. Those profits distinguish him from others. Like losses in a company, if he loses, he loses market share, resulting in a drop in the rankings. Nole, like any elite player, finds this too difficult to handle.
“It is very difficult, but he wants to improve. That’s the good and the bad for me as a coach and for the rest of the team. I think he improved a lot his volleys, his game and his position at the net. Now when he gets to the net in general and this year, he hits some unbelievable volleys.
“It’s very difficult to pass to him, before it was very easy. He feels comfortable at the net. In the US Open final, he played two or three of the most important volleys in the final against (Daniil) Medvedev.
“He’s not afraid to go to the net. He’s hitting his forehands much harder. On serve, I think on the second serve, he’s sometimes over 200kph. He’s just going for it.”
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