Novak Djokovic news: Serbian ‘going through a difficult time’, says former world No 1

Novak Djokovic press conference

Novak Djokovic had to make an “important decision” and split from his long-time coach Marian Vajda, according to former world No 1 Justine Henin.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner announced last week that he would no longer be working with Vajda with their second stint coming to an end with immediate effect.

Vajda, who initially worked with Djokovic from 2006 until 2017, rejoined the Serbian’s coaching set-up in 2018 and together they won another eight majors together.

However, it has been a tumultuous couple of months for the 34-year-old as he lost the 2021 US Open final against Daniil Medvedev – missing out on the chance to win a Calendar Grand Slam – and was then unable to defend his Australian Open title after his visa was revoked on “health and good order grounds”.

His decision not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 coupled with his deportation from Australia made headlines around the world, but Henin believes the idea to split from Vajda probably started back at the Tokyo Games when his mentor advised him not to compete.

Djokovic took part in the Games and ended without a medal after losing in the semi-final against Alexander Zverev before being beaten by Roberto Bautista Agut in the bronze medal match.

“Novak Djokovic is going through a difficult time. And in difficult times, you sometimes have to make important decisions, the Serbian is no exception to the rule,” seven-time Grand Slam winner Henin told Eurosport Spain.

“I think if there was a time when it stuck, it was probably during the Olympics because his coach didn’t want him to go. This decision will inevitably have an impact in the coming weeks.”