Novak Djokovic told a new coach will not ‘make much difference’ in Serena Williams comparison

Ewan West
Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic during a practice session in Monte Carlo
Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic during a practice session

Esteemed tennis coach Rick Macci has expressed his view that a coach will not “make that much difference” to Novak Djokovic at this stage of the Serb’s career. 

Macci, a former coach of Serena and Venus Williams, recognised a coach could help Djokovic in terms of “motivation and strategy”, but feels it “really comes down to him.”

Djokovic announced the surprise news that he had split with coach Goran Ivanisevic last month, bringing an end to a highly successful collaboration that started in 2019.

The world No 1, who will turn 37 next month, has been working with fellow Serbian and former doubles world No 1 Nenad Zimonjic since parting ways with Ivanisevic. Zimonjic coached Djokovic at last week’s Monte Carlo Masters.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion reached the semi-finals in Monte Carlo and is next due to compete at the Madrid Masters, although he skipped the event in the Spanish capital last year.

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic faces big decision over next tournament amid commitment concerns

Macci likened Djokovic’s situation to something experienced by Serena Williams as he argued coaches can have a minimal impact on stars who have already reached great heights.

“Right now, I don’t think a coach can make that much difference. It’s even, you know, when Serena already had 12 Grand Slams in her pockets and she started being coached,” Macci told Sportskeeda.

“I think it can help you motivation wise and strategy. But, listen, he is on third base. He is heading towards home. I don’t think a coach can make that much difference.

“But, if it’s a subtle little thing, how they say it, why they say it and can get you to do something, because it comes down to key moments, especially in men’s tennis,.

“He knew the guy he selected. Obviously, they go way back in time and at the end of the day, he is the one out there pulling a trigger. So, it really comes down to him and if he stays healthy, I think he can win a handful of more Grand Slams.”

The 69-year-old American also addressed the prospect of having the opportunity to coach Djokovic himself.

“Well, first of, if he would have approached me, we would have had to have a long talk because I have to know exactly what he wanted from a coach. I don’t travel,” Macci explained.

“I’ve always said I’d rather build the box than sit in the box. It’s more strategic. It’s more motivation. Technically or biomechanically, he is not gonna change anything.

“If he would’ve asked me, I definitely would have been involved. But, I couldn’t travel. Maybe I could’ve went to a Grand Slam, but at the end of the day, I run a business, I teach 50 hours a week to many people on the pro tour, kids, adults, and I just do what I do.”

Macci has worked with five players who achieved the world No 1 ranking in their careers: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Jennifer Capriati and Andy Roddick. He also coached Mary Pierce, Anastasia Myskina and Sofia Kenin.

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic’s next coach: Who is Nenad Zimonjic – the man tipped to replace Goran Ivanisevic?