Djokovic brings Stepanek on board

Published by Matt Trollope

Long-time friends Novak Djokovic (R) and Radek Stepanek during a practice session at Wimbledon in 2014; Getty Images
Novak Djokovic will work with Radek Stepanek in 2018 after it was announced the retired Czech former top-10 player will join Djokovic’s coaching team alongside Andre Agassi.

Novak Djokovic has taken to Instagram live to announce that Radek Stepanek will join his coaching team in 2018.

Rumours had circulated that the Serb would add the recently-retired Czech – a former world No.8 – to his entourage.

Djokovic confirmed those on Thursday.

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“Radek is one of my very close friends on the tour and I was always impressed with his level of determination, passion and love for the sport,” he said.

“The fact that he just recently retired at the age of 37 speaks volumes of his love for the game. He has lot of experience and knowledge, and he has played on a high level for many years.

“I am excited to join our forces together and cannot wait to compete again having a new team to back me up.”

Djokovic has not played since Wimbledon, where he revealed he’d been struggling with an elbow injury for 18 months.

The 12-time Grand Slam winner, who has slipped to world No.12, plans to make his return to tennis at the exhibition event in Abu Dhabi before playing his first tour event in Doha.

He’ll then turn his attention to the Australian Open, where he is a six-time champion.

Djokovic, who also began working with Andre Agassi in 2017, said the American legend had convinced him to pursue Stepanek.

“Therefore I am sure the two of them (Agassi and Stepanek) will work well together,” Djokovic said.

“The new season is about to start and there is a long way to go back to where I left off. We are aware that I need to go step by step, not hurrying anything. I feel much better now, and I can’t wait to play matches again.”

Stepanek said he was honoured to join the Serb’s team.

“It is a new and exciting challenge for me, which I’m looking forward to and I believe that as a team we can help Nole to reach his goals,” Stepanek said.

“As longtime friends off the tennis court, I believe that our friendship and similar views will translate onto the court as well, and we will share some memorable moments together.”

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