Djokovic Rehires Former Fitness Coach As He Plots Return To Form In Rome

Djokovic Rehires Former Fitness Coach As He Plots Return To Form In Rome

by Nurein Ahmed

Novak Djokovic continues to shake up his coaching team by adding a new fitness trainer who has served a decade in his team in the past.

Djokovic has been renovating his backroom team since the second half of last season. After winning his record-equaling 24th Grand Slam at the 2023 US Open, the Serbian parted ways with his two business managers, the Italian couple Edoardo Artaldi and Elena Cappellaro.

This season, Djokovic shockingly split from Croatian coach Goran Ivanisevic, the man who had helped him win as many as nine Grand Slams during their partnership from 2019 until their last tournament, the 2024 Indian Wells Open.

The 36-year-old has struggled to get going in 2024, which strikingly contrasts one of his best seasons in 2023. Djokovic has since replaced Artaldi and Cappellaro with British business agent Mark Madden, who is working closely with Carlos Gomez-Herrera, his former sparring partner.

As for Ivanisevic, he has yet to announce a successor but is working with countryman Nenad Zimonjic in an interim capacity. Zimonjic supervised Djokovic's training in Monte Carlo and was present in his coaching box during the tournament, where the 24-time Grand Slam champion lost in the semifinal to Casper Ruud.

This week, Djokovic revealed that he is no longer working with fitness coach Marco Panichi, a man who has been an integral part in imparting the biomechanics required to accelerate his shots.

Panichi was also a key aide in helping Djokovic with the mental side of his game and being very vocal on the court, barking out instructions. In an Instagram post, Djokovic stated they would remain friends, but their professional relationship has reached an end.

Djokovic has now turned to Gebhard Gritsch, his former fitness coach, to take up the vacant post left by Panichi. As reported by Tennis Majors, reputable Serbian journalist Sasa Ozmo confirmed that the 67-year-old Austrian coach was with the Serb in Belgrade very recently.

Gritsh was a key member of Djokovic's coaching team from 2009 to 2019, incorporating a lot of creative exercises in the World No. 1's routine to harness his flexibility on the court. Djokovic is now preparing to play his first tournament in three weeks at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome.


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