No­vak Djokovic says he and his coach are part­ing ways

No­vak says split with coach was ‘joint de­ci­sion’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

No­vak Djokovic and coach Boris Becker are split­ting up af­ter three years and a half­dozen Grand Slam ti­tles.

Djokovic posted a state­ment on Face­book on Tues­day, say­ing the duo “jointly de­cided to end our co­op­er­a­tion.”

“The goals we set when we started work­ing to­gether have been com­pletely ful­filled, and I want to thank Boris for the co­op­er­a­tion, team­work, ded­i­ca­tion and com­mit­ment,” Djokovic’s post­ing said.

“On the other hand, my pro­fes­sional plans are now di­rected pri­mar­ily at main­tain­ing a good level of play, and also to make a good sched­ule and new goals for the next sea­son. In this re­gard I will make all fu­ture de­ci­sions.”

Of Djokovic’s 12 ca­reer ma­jor sin­gles tro­phies — trail­ing only Roger Fed­erer’s 17 and Pete Sam­pras and Rafael Nadal with 14 apiece — half came while work­ing with Becker.

Djokovic also was run­nerup at three Grand Slam tour­na­ments dur­ing his time with Becker, mean­ing the Serb made it to the fi­nals at nine of the 12 ma­jors dur­ing their part­ner­ship.

Becker also was around for Djokovic’s first French Open ti­tle in June, which al­lowed him to be­come the eighth man to com­plete a ca­reer grand slam — at least one cham­pi­onship at each of the sport’s four most im­por­tant tour­na­ments — and the first in nearly a half­cen­tury to win four ma­jors in a row.

Becker, now 49 and a six­time Grand Slam win­ner dur­ing his play­ing ca­reer, re­acted on Twit­ter by post­ing a photo

The goals we set when we started work­ing to­gether have been com­pletely ful­filled ...” No­vak Djokovic, on split­ting with coach Boris Becker af­ter three years

of him­self and Djokovic cel­e­brat­ing this year’s French Open ti­tle, say­ing: “Thank U! We had the time of our life ...#teamd­jokovic.”

At Roland Gar­ros, Djokovic was asked about work­ing with Becker, who was a dom­i­nant force in the 1980s and ’90s and part of a re­cent wave of past greats who signed up to coach cur­rent stars.

“The last cou­ple of years, I had some great times with him,” Djokovic said, ex­plain­ing that Becker taught him “from a psy­cho­log­i­cal point of view, how to han­dle things on the tour, on and off the court.”

“His con­tri­bu­tion to the team is def­i­nitely big, and so ev­ery­thing works in har­mony so far,” Djokovic said at the time.

“How long it is go­ing to go for, we don’t know. We go year by year. So at the end of this year, we will see if he goes for an­other year.”

Af­ter Djokovic’s tri­umph in Paris, his sea­son went side­ways.

He was up­set in the third round at Wim­ble­don by Sam Quer­rey and in the first round at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics by Juan Martin del Potro, then lost the No 1 rank­ing to Andy Mur­ray last month, fin­ish­ing 2016 at No 2.

With Becker in his cor­ner, Djokovic fin­ished 2014 and 2015 atop the ATP rank­ings.

Djokovic made an ear­lier change to his coach­ing team to­wards the end of the sea­son with Spa­niard Pepe Imaz join­ing him for the Paris Masters, where the four-time cham­pion fell in the quar­ter­fi­nals, and for the World Tour Fi­nals in Lon­don, where Djokovic lost to Mur­ray.

AP FILE

No­vak Djokovic and Boris Becker chat dur­ing a prac­tice ses­sion at the US Open on Sept 2 in New York.

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