Report details tension that caused inevitable Novak Djokovic, Goran Ivanisevic split

On Wednesday, Djokovic and Ivanisevic's extremely successful six-year partnership ended.

by Dzevad Mesic
Report details tension that caused inevitable Novak Djokovic, Goran Ivanisevic split
© Getty Images Sport - Darrian Traynor

Top Serbian sports website Sport Klub is reporting that Goran Ivanisevic's "Inability" to come up with the right advice and tips when it weren't going well for Novak Djokovic on the court sparked the start of tension that ultimately sealed the fate of their partnership. 

At the start of this week, Djokovic made a major announcement on Instagram when he revealed that he decided put to a curtain on his partnership with Ivanisevic. After teaming up in 2018, Djokovic and Ivanisevic went on to become one of the most successful player/coach duos as the current world No. 1 won 12 Grand Slams during his time with the 2001 Wimbledon champion. 

But in the last two years of their collaboration, their partnership was often drawing negative attention as Djokovic's outbursts at Ivanisevic would often go viral on social media. Whenever Djokovic would be asked about that, he would try to downplay it by explaining how highly he thought about Ivanisevic and that it was nothing personal. On the other side, Ivanisevic would repeat a similar message, often saying it was nothing personal but just a moment of frustration and that the Serb was being passionate about wanting to win. 

In Australia, there were a few cases of that happening again as during one United Cup outburst an annoyed Djokovic was heard telling Ivanisevic "don't tell me everything is alright because if I'm asking everything cannot be okay." Then during a very disappointing Australian Open semifinal loss to Jannik Sinner, at one point the Serb got extremely frustrated with his team and several times hurled the word "awful" at them. 

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Darrian Traynor

'The quarrels between Djokovic, Ivanisevic were becoming more obvious and uglier'

Now, a top Serbian sports outlet explains that when coaching in tennis received the green light in tennis in mid-2022, it was slowly becoming clear that Ivanisevic just didn't have the ability to provide the record 24-time Grand Slam champion with a proper solution when the world No. 1 was having a difficult time on the court. 

"However, since that rule was introduced, the communication between Djokovic and Ivanisevic worsened from tournament to tournament. When the best tennis player of all time was not doing well, he asked - very often very nervously - for real advice from his box. The Croatian expert, who was not used to such a way of working, because it was not possible during his playing time, was not able to respond to the demands of his pupil," Sport Klub's Vojin Velickovic wrote

"Their quarrels were more and more obvious and more and more ugly. It was clear that such a situation could not last much longer.

"Ivanisevic's facial expression was often the true image of a martyr, he was trying to find a solution, what to shout to Novak, but it didn't work. He had no real reaction."

Novak Djokovic and Goran Ivanisevic
Novak Djokovic and Goran Ivanisevic© Getty Images Sport - Justin Setterfield

Also, Velickovic pointed out that Croatian media often writing about those incidents and calling out Ivanisevic for "putting up with Djokovic's behavior" didn't help either. 

Djokovic provided more details on their split on Thursday

On Wednesday, Djokovic didn't really reveal much in his statement about his split with Ivanisevic as he just fondly acknowledged their success and spoke very highly of the Croatian. 

Naturally, many became curious about what led to a split between the two individuals who enjoyed historic success together and that's when various speculations started surfacing. 

But on Thursday night - while attending a film presentation about his childhood coach Nikola Pilic - the world No. 1 shut down certain speculations by revealing that he and Ivanisevic "reached a point of saturation" and that they felt the time came for their collaboration to end.

"Goran is, first of all, a friend for life. Mine and my family's. Someone who is extremely dear to me. Just because we ended our collaboration, it does not mean that we will stop being friends. We reached a point of saturation, we felt that it was time to part ways after almost six years of partnership where we have written the pages of the history of our sport. We have gone through everything and a lot during our time," Djokovic said during the event.

"We went through many moments that were not at all pleasant for us. Despite everything, he was there for me. What I will remember most is that humanistic relationship towards me. And because of that relationship, the result came as a consequence of all that. I wish him all the best."

Novak Djokovic and Goran Ivanisevic
Novak Djokovic and Goran Ivanisevic© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

On Friday, Djokovic was accompanied on the practice court in Belgrade by former Grand Slam doubles champion and No. 1 Nenad Zimonjic. While nothing has been confirmed, Djokovic practicing with Zimonjic could potentially be an indication that the Serb is exploring the possibility of hiring the Serbian doubles legend. 

Novak Djokovic Goran Ivanisevic