Djokovic and Agassi need time

McEnroe says Amer­i­can can be a suc­cess for Serb

The National - News - Sport - - LEADING OFF -

An­dre Agassi and world No 4 Novak Djokovic need to work to­gether for at least a month if the Amer­i­can’s coach­ing is to have a long-term im­pact on the strug­gling Serb’s game, three­times Wim­ble­don cham­pion John McEnroe has said.

Djokovic, who split with his coach­ing team in a bid to re­dis­cover his form ear­lier this year, an­nounced that he would start work­ing with Agassi shortly be­fore the French Open.

The 47-year-old Amer­i­can, how­ever, only stayed in Paris for the open­ing week, and it is not clear whether he will be in Djokovic’s cor­ner at next month’s Wim­ble­don.

“It looks great on paper when you bring in An­dre Agassi, and it is great for ten­nis,” McEnroe said. “He did have this ca­reer re­nais­sance so there are rea­sons why it makes sense, but it is hard to think that it could make sense so fast.

“I can’t see it last­ing if he is only com­ing around for very brief mo­ments. But if they got a win­dow of a month, ob­vi­ously it is a to­tally dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion en­tirely.”

Djokovic, who has strug­gled this year and suf­fered a quar­ter-fi­nal exit at the French Open, fell out of the top two spots in the world rank­ings this month for the first time since March 2011.

He con­tin­ues to work with a spir­i­tual ad­viser, Pepe Imaz, a Span­ish former player. But McEnroe be­lieves that could be drain­ing Djokovic of his killer in­stinct.

“From an emo­tional stand­point, Djokovic per­haps felt he wanted to bring in some­body who wants to give peo­ple a lot of hugs,” McEnroe added.

“That does not nec­es­sar­ily trans­late to killer in­stinct.

“It does not au­to­mat­i­cally lose it. But you don’t want to get into a sit­u­a­tion where it is all peace and love, and then you have to go out and stomp on some­body’s head in com­pe­ti­tion.”

In a bid to re­dis­cover his form, Djokovic has taken a wild card into this week’s Ae­gon In­ter­na­tional at East­bourne, his first grass-court warm-up tour­na­ment ap­pear­ance ahead of Wim­ble­don since 2010.

The Serb as the tour­na­ment’s top seed re­ceived a first-round bye and will face Czech Jiri Ve­sely or Vasek Pospisil of Canada in the sec­ond round.

AFP

Novak Djokovic, right, and his coach An­dre Agassi.

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