Novak Djokovic calls for further innovations in on-court coaching

James Richardson
Novak Djokovic US Open
Novak Djokovic reacts at the US Open

Novak Djokovic has reaffirmed his belief that on-court coaching is good for players and for the sport.

Djokovic shared his thoughts on communication between players and coaches after he was asked why so many players shout at their player’s box.

The Serbian feels that the sport could also innovate to make communication between coach and player on court easier and felt that perhaps that could also be used to enhance the TV or live product.

Djokovic was asked why tennis players shout at their coaches when such behaviour is rarely seen in basketball.

He handled the admittedly oddly phrased question well enough pointing out that basketball players can simply walk over to the bench to communicate with coaches.

“Well, it’s different in basketball because you can basically go to your coach or bench any time you want. We are not able to do that.

“So we have to sometimes raise our voice in order for our team to hear us or for us to hear them, because otherwise, you know, we have to communicate with the signs or signals. You know, it’s louder out on the court.

“I would want to see, honestly, you know, a possibility of — I’m actually supportive of the on-court coaching or headset communication, whatever ways of getting more coaching. I think it’s good. I think it’s good for the audience. It’s good for player.

“I understand that there are some, you know, opponents of this, you know, coaching rule that are saying, Yeah, you’re a tennis player, individual athlete, so you have to figure things out by yourself.

“Well, you have to figure them out anyway, even if the coach comes in, say, in a set break or whatever, and you talk, you still have to have to play yourself, right? There is no substitution.

“So it’s quite different, you know, than basketball. It’s really not comparable.

“But yeah, I’m actually happy that we are able now to freely communicate rather than hiding from a chair umpire or supervisor like we did for many years. So it’s good. I’m supportive of that.”

Djokovic goes on to face compatriot Laslo Djere in the third round and expects his countryman to give him a real workout.

“I think he’s playing one of his best tennis on hard court at the moment. He’s in very good form. It’s great for Serbian tennis that we have, you know, a matchup in the third round. So one Serbian is going to be definitely in the fourth round, which is always great for our tennis.

“You know, he’s one of the hardest workers on the tour. We follow each other, not just me and him, but, you know, players in the locker rooms, in the gym, you know, the amount of hours that one player puts or the other player puts in his time on the court, in the gym, and he’s definitely one of the top hardest workers out there. Puts a lot of hours into care for his body and trying to build his form.

“Eventually the results will come for a player like him because he’s very, very dedicated and very nice guy. Very quiet. Just, you know, works hard and big fighter. You know, does his best.

“Obviously clay, his favorite surface. But as I said, you know, he’s improving, improving on hard court, no doubt. Here, slightly slower hard courts, balls, as well, so I think it’s favorable to his game.

“He’s physically very fit, you know, so I must be ready for a physical battle.”

READ MORE: Ben Shelton comfortable coming from behind at the US Open