Djokovic Arrives At Roland Garros: “It Feels Like A New Chapter!”

Novak Djokovic (photo: Brigitte Urban)

PARIS, May 26, 2017

Novak Djokovic will start his title defence at 2017 Roland Garros against Marcel Granollers of Spain. This is the result of Friday’s singles main draw ceremony held at the Club des Loges.

The World No. 2 has come to Paris with a new clothing sponsor as well as a new coach. Andre Agassi was giving first advices in the opening practice session on Thursday.

Novak Djokovic

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“It feels like a new chapter. It feels like the change that I have experienced in the last three, four weeks, separating with the team that I was with for ten years, and now kind of creating a new team, creating a new vibe, it feels exciting,” Djokovic told in his opening press conference.

“It feels right at this moment because I was, in the last five, six months struggling a little bit on the court and trying to redefine myself what kind of approach is the right one. I just felt, and my former team, we all felt we needed a change. We needed to go our separate ways. So right now I feel much better on the court,” the 29-year-old explained.

Djokovic finished runner-up to Germany’s young gun Alexander Zverev at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome last Sunday and decided to follow the trend of  employing “super coaches”.

“I have played a great week in Rome. I was talking with Andre for a couple weeks during Madrid and Rome on the phone, kind of preparing for the matches, analyzing matches. That allowed both of us to get to know each other and kind of, for him especially, to get closer to my thinking and my mindset about tennis, about life in general, and so forth. I was very glad that he accepted to come in person in Paris and spend some time.”

Agassi took Djokovic through his paces at Roland Garros on Thursday.

“Yesterday was obviously the first day, and we had two practice sessions, and then we had a very, very long conversations in the evening. Even though it was the first day, it felt like we know each other for a very long time. We clicked and connected very fast.

“He’s someone that inspires me a lot. That’s one of the things I felt like I needed is new inspiration, someone that knows exactly what I’m going through on the court, off the court. He has been through all these transitions, he has been in my shoes before playing Grand Slams, being the best in the world, and facing all the challenges that are present in the tennis, in the professional sport,” Djokovic told.

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“Of course we’re both hoping that this can bring success on the court, but finally, it’s an opportunity for us to really grow and evolve, first of all as human beings and as tennis players, and that’s all I’m focused on at the moment.”

Asked what he did to convince the 47-year-old US-American, who clinched 60 singles during his career, Djokovic stated:

“That’s a question for him, to be honest, because I haven’t said anything special to Andre to convince him to work with me. The relationship started when I asked for his contact number to thank him for talking always very nicely about me in the press whenever someone would ask him, he would only have positives to say about me, my game. Even, before when I was No. 1 and playing very successfully, winning trophies. And in the latest period where I was not as successful and where I received a lot of criticism from many sides, he was one of the people, few people that was actually standing on my side and supporting me.

“So I appreciate that very much, and I wanted to thank him in person, and over the phone. It turned out to be a long conversation, and that’s where it all started.

“At that time, at that point, we both didn’t think about this evolving to become a professional relationship, but finally, after few weeks, it did. It was completely up to him.”

The personal relationship with his former coach Marian Vajda stayed the same.

“It hasn’t changed. Marian is family to me, and he will always be. The ending or separation of a professional relationship is not going to affect how we feel towards each other. And all this beautiful memories we shared with each other on and off the court cannot be forgotten just like that. So we are still very close,” Djokovic said.