'I'm proud of Novak Djokovic,' his former coach recalls

Tennis - Marian Vajda praised Novak at the end of 2020

by Jovica Ilic
'I'm proud of Novak Djokovic,' his former coach recalls

Novak Djokovic and his coach Marian Vajda had accomplished almost everything together between 2006 and 2021. The famous duo will not work together for the rest of Novak's career, as Marian takes his countryman Alex Molcan. At the end of 2020, Djokovic made Vajda proud once again after securing the sixth year-end no.

1 honor. Novak was the player to beat in a challenging season plagued with the pandemic, finishing at the top of the ATP rankings list for the sixth time and joining Pete Sampras on the record list. The Serb made the strongest restart in August 2020, winning titles in Cincinnati and Rome and earning enough points for the year-end no.

1 spot. The Serb has been the dominant figure in men's tennis in the previous decade, finishing ahead of all the others four times between 2011-15 and adding another notable season in 2018 following that remarkable comeback.

After 2019, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic were tied on five year-end no. 1 awards, leaving all the rivals far behind and losing the streak only once in the past 16 years.

Novak Djokovic secured the sixth year-end no. 1 honor in 2020.

In ten of the previous 11 seasons, Rafa or Novak have stood as the top-ranked players, hoping for another battle in 2021 against each other and the rivals like Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev.

Djokovic had been the most consistent player in the reduced 2020 season, passing Nadal on the ATP throne after Melbourne and never looking back. The Serb melted the deficit with a brilliant ATP Cup run, beating Rafa in the final and helping Serbia win the inaugural title.

Novak lifted the eighth Australian Open trophy following a tight five-setter triumph over Dominic Thiem from two sets to one down. Djokovic won another title in Dubai, maintaining a perfect score before the coronavirus halted the season until August.

Continuing where he left at the beginning of the year, Novak won the 35th Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati and moved ahead of Rafael Nadal with another in Rome in September. The Spaniard bounced back at Roland Garros and toppled the Serb in straight sets in the title match but did not make a difference on the ATP ranking list.

Entering Vienna to secure the record-tying sixth year-end no. 1 honor, Novak reached the quarter-final and lost to Lorenzo Sonego, winning only three games in the toughest loss he experienced on the ATP Tour! Djokovic decided to skip Paris, preparing for the ATP Finals and seeking the first crown there since 2015.

Novak did not play that well in London, losing the semi-final clash against Dominic Thiem despite having a 4-0 lead in the deciding tie break. "Novak has achieved an incredible record with that sixth year-end no. 1 honor, accomplishing his goal set at the beginning of the season.

I'm proud of how he handled the season restart, recovering from the coronavirus and getting back at his best in Marbella. Before joining him in Spain, I was a bit worried, but he was eager to compete again and chase big titles after such a long break.

Without that unfortunate match against Pablo Carreno Busta, Novak could have gone far at the US Open and made the season even better," Marian Vajda said.

Novak Djokovic Marian Vajda