Novak Djokovic. Picture: REUTERS
Novak Djokovic. Picture: REUTERS

Madrid — Novak Djokovic has hinted that he will follow the trend of hiring a highly successful former player as his new coach, but says he will take his time to make the right decision.

Djokovic parted with long-time coach Marian Vajda on Friday, having also ended a three-year relationship with six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker at the end of last season, in a bid to get back to his best.

"It’s going to be someone that has been through similar experiences like I have," said the world No2.

"Not too many people in the past of tennis have managed to get to that stage and play at that level, so I’ll see.

"I’m thinking slowly and thoroughly about it. I don’t want to take things with a rush."

Andy Murray ousted the Serb as world No1 at the end of last season after rehiring eight-time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl, while another former world No1, Carlos Moya, has joined Rafael Nadal’s coaching team this season.

With barely two weeks until the defence of his French Open begins, Djokovic, 29, has been joined on tour by his brother and his spiritual guru Pepe Imaz.

"I also know that I’ll not stay by myself without a tennis coach for too long," said the 12-time Grand Slam champion.

"I’m sure difficult paths lead to beautiful destinations, so I’m sticking with that."

Djokovic’s form has slumped markedly since winning the French Open 11 months ago.

His defence of the Australian Open ended in a shock second-round defeat to Denis Istomin, while he failed to make it beyond the quarterfinals of the Indian Wells and Monte Carlo Masters series tournaments.

Djokovic admitted he does not know how long it will take him to find top form once more.

"In the last six months I haven’t had too many great results. That’s why, you know, I’ve felt like I needed some changes and I needed to approach things maybe a little bit differently, which is completely fine."

Djokovic will begin life without Vajda on Wednesday at the Madrid Masters against Tommy Robredo or Nicolas Almagro.

Maria Sharapova set up a second-round clash with Eugenie Bouchard at the Madrid Open after battling back from a set down to beat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 4-6 6-4 6-0 on Sunday.

Bouchard called Sharapova "a cheater" last week and said she should have been banned for life — rather than 15 months — after testing positive for meldonium in 2015.

AFP

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