Djokovic has lost his edge, says for­mer men­tor

New Straits Times - - Sport -

No­vak Djokovic has lost the tenac­ity which en­abled him to rule men’s ten­nis for a num­ber of years, for­mer men­tor Niki Pilic said on Satur­day.

“Djokovic reached the Mount Ever­est of ten­nis last year af­ter win­ning the French Open,” Pilic, who guided the Serb as a ju­nior at his Mu­nich academy, told Bos­nian daily Neza­v­isne.

“He had 16,950 points and that’s a tally which will never be re­peated again, but loss of form and miss­ing tour­na­ments made his ad­van­tage melt away.”

Djokovic looked un­touch­able af­ter cap­tur­ing his 12th grand slam ti­tle at Roland Gar­ros last June, but was de­throned from the top of the world rank­ings last Novem­ber by Andy Mur­ray, who beat him in the fi­nal of the sea­son-end­ing ATP World Tour Fi­nals.

The 29-year-old Serb ap­peared to have re­dis­cov­ered some of his form when he gained re­venge over the Bri­ton in Jan­uary’s Qatar Open fi­nal but he then suf­fered a shock sec­ond-round Aus­tralian Open exit at the hands of Uzbek Denis Is­tomin.

This week he was beaten by Aus­tralian Nick Kyr­gios in the quar­ter-fi­nals of an ATP event in Aca­pulco, prompt­ing Pilic to cast doubts whether Djokovic can re­claim the top spot.

“No­vak had a phys­i­cal and men­tal edge sec­ond to none, he was in sixth gear,” said the 77year-old Croa­t­ian who helped a Djokovic-led Ser­bia to their 2010 Davis Cup ti­tle in an ad­vi­sory role.

“That tenac­ity is no longer the same. It re­mains to be seen whether he can re­dis­cover it and get back to the top level.

“The hard work of the last five or six years has taken its toll. Ten­nis was the pri­or­ity ev­ery morn­ing and af­ter­noon and evening and all I can tell him is to be the per­son he was.”

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