Novak Djokovic believes Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek will help him keep his feet on the ground as he targets a return to form in 2018 and has been impressed with how the duo have worked alongside each other thus far as he gears up for his return from an elbow injury.
Eight-time Grand Slam champion Agassi began working with the Serb in the clay-court season and will continue in his role as a mentor and linking up with the team at the biggest events.
Stepanek linked up with the world No. 12 last month, after announcing his retirement from tennis late in 2017, and has assumed head coach duties where he will work with the 12-time Grand Slam champion on a day-to-day basis.
The Czech has adapted well in his first coaching job and Djokovic praised his close friend for how quickly he’d got up to speed.
‘I think Radek has managed to blend in to this coaching role very quickly,’ Djokovic told Sport 360. ‘Very fast.
‘He’s so fresh off the active player career that he knows exactly what I go through and what I need and how when he can communicate certain things and how to speak to me to allow me to get into that state of mind, to be in the zone and to perform as best as I can.
‘He also has a very observant and very intellectual approach to tennis and he also, that’s why Andre and him got along very well, because they simplify things very much.
‘Sometimes I go into the blue sky and put some clouds, jump from one cloud to another, and they’re like just focus on one thing and keep things simple.’
With Agassi and Stepanek keen to keep the 30-year-old grounded, Djokovic pointed to the American’s calming influence, which is giving him real motivation for the season ahead.
‘Second thing that resonates the most from him to me is “trust yourself”. Really be aware of how good you are, be aware of your qualities, be aware of what other players go through when they play you,’ he added.
‘Because sometimes you’re always so self-critical, when you’re on court, you’re going through “okay, I’m going through this or that”, fighting through emotions, you’re not satisfied because you know you can do better and da da da, sometimes you just need to again think of a different perspective and understand that there are two players on the court and there’s stuff you do so well that you can always rely on them as your assets.
‘So that’s something he keeps reminding me of and it’s something I feel is very wise.’
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