Novak Djokovic has a new coach: smart or surprising choice?

The Serbian champion has chosen who will follow him at the Roland Garros

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Novak Djokovic has a new coach: smart or surprising choice?
© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

"Since I separated from Goran Ivanisevic, I have never confirmed that I have a permanent coach. I said that Nenad Zimonji was there to help me as a friend and mentor, as someone I consider important in my life. Boris Bosnjakovic is part of my baggage team technician, so to speak, when it comes to analyzing my rivals, the matches and my game. We have been collaborating for several years in various roles and Boris was the head coach of the Novak Tennis Center. He will be my coach in Paris, he will work with me on analysis, preparation and tactics. As for what comes after this Grand Slam, I don't have a long-term training solution at the moment."

Novak Djokovic has chosen to play the Roland Garros with another coach, who will follow him in the Parisian fortnight together with Nenad Zimonjic, as the Serbian champion himself confirmed at the press conference on the eve of the French Open: this is Boris Bosnjakovic. This is the choice made by Nole, with the intention of facing the Parisian tournament in the best possible way. The Serbian champion revealed this a few hours before his first round, scheduled for Tuesday 28 May against the Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert. 

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

The preparation carried out by Djokovic to get closer to the French Major, of which he is the defending champion for the title won in 2023, was not optimal. Semifinal in Monte-Carlo not particularly shining in terms of play, only two matches at the Italian Internationals, losing clearly against the Chilean Tabilo and semifinal at the ATP 250 in Geneva last week: these have been the results achieved by the Serbian on clay so far. At the Roland Garros he will have to try to go all the way to maintain the number one ranking. In Geneva, the Serbian champion hoped to be able to experience a week as a protagonist to rediscover the right sensations in view of the second Slam of the season and, instead, the doubts multiplied. Djokovic only played well at times, always leaving his opponents the chance to make an impact from the baseline.

After the semi-final defeat, he analysed: "Of course I'm worried. This year I haven't played well at all, apart from a few games. Things are as they are. I don't see myself as one of the favorites in Paris. I'll try to take it game by game. I didn't have a good evening, today was tough. I felt terrible in the first half of the match. I don't want to take credit away from Tomas, who deserved the victory, but I don't know what to think about my performance. I don't even know how I managed to win the second set. I expected to play more than one match when I arrived here: I played three. But I would like to feel better on the pitch, it's not pleasant to suffer like this. It's hard to focus on tennis when you have other things on your mind. I just hope to be ready and healthy for the Roland Garros."

Npvak Djokovic
Npvak Djokovic© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

In the media day press conference on the eve of the tournament, the Serbian explained: "I have low expectations and high hopes. I know what I'm capable of and usually in Slams I play my best tennis or at least that's the goal. I want to give my all here at Paris, last year was incredible and I hope to have a great tournament. These first five months of the season have certainly influenced me and I focus every day on being able to develop form and momentum to go as far as possible. How do I deal with dark times? They are obstacles, I wouldn't call them dark dangers. We must always look ahead, to the next challenge and to understand what it takes to be better than the previous week.

This is the mentality I want to maintain, I know my qualities and I know that I can compete at the highest level. I have won 24 Slams and I know what I have to do to move forward. It is a type of tournament different from the others and sensations that no other tournament gives you. I'm embarrassed to say what my expectations are but any result other than winning the title is not satisfactory. It may sound arrogant but I think my career supports that. I play to stay at the highest levels and try to write new pages in the history of sport, winning Paris is always important. Those are my goals, but I have to lower my expectations."

Novak Djokovic Roland Garros