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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, March 27, 2024

 
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Novak Djokovic and coach Goran Ivanisevic have ended their successful partnership that saw the world No. 1 reach 12 major finals during their time together.

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty

One of tennis' most productive partnerships has run its course.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has split with long-time coach Goran Ivanisevic, the 36-year-old Serbian superstar announced on social media today. 

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During their highly-successful five-year partnership, the pair created history together.

Working with Ivanisevic, a disciplined Djokovic reached 12 Grand Slam singles finals, winning nine of those 12, rose to status of Grand Slam king, attained the mythical GOAT crown and made a run at the calendar-year Grand Slam in 2021, a dream denied by Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 US Open final. 

“Goran and I decided to stop working together a few days ago,” Djokovic posted on Instagram. "Our on court chemistry had its ups and downs, but our friendship was always rock solid. In fact, I am proud to say (not sure he is 🤪) that apart from winning tournaments together, we also had a side battle in Parchisi going on… for many years. And - that tournament never stops for us.

"Šefinjo, thanks for everything my friend. Love you."


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole)



The 2001 Wimbledon champion Ivanisevic joined Djokovic's team, then headed by coach Marian Vajda, in time for the 2019 grass-court season.

It was a unique and special pairing joining arguably the greatest returner in Open Era history in Djokovic with one of the Open Era's greatest servers in Ivanisevic, who helped Djokovic sharpen up his serve after doing the same for Marin Cilic, whom he previously coached to the US Open title.

When Djokovic defeated Medvedev 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 last September he made his mark as the oldest man in Open Era history to win the US Open.

Djokovic captured his 24th Grand Slam title matching Margaret Court's all-time major mark. 

That title transcends tennis, said Ivanisevic at the time.

Coach Goran said Djokovic's 24th major title will go down as one of the greatest achievements in sports history given his longevity and quality of opponents he's conquered to do it.

"He's a genius. He's one of kind," Ivanisevic said of Djokovic. "Not too many people in this world like him in sport-wise.

"This is one of the biggest achievement in the sport history. We're not talking about tennis. We are talking generally in sport.

"He's a winner. He's the guy who is motivating self. He had luck to have a guy like Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer, they came before him, so they pushed each other."



Left-handed Croatian Ivanisevic helped right-handed Serbian Djokovic attain career peaks and was also by his side for some of the lowest moments of the Grand Slam king's career.

When Djokovic was booted from the 2020 US Open after accidentally striking a lineswoman in the throat with a ball, coach Ivanisevic, watching the proceedings from the stands, slumped back in his seat and covered his eyes with his hands in a physical reaction as if seeing his charge implode.

Though they had some tempestuous times together and would sometimes air it out on the practice court, this will go down as one of the most productive player-coach pairings in the Open Era.

Ultimately, Ivanisevic, one of the game's great servers, helped supreme returner Djokovic define himself as an all-court champion capable of playing any style, producing answers from anywhere on the court, when necessary.



An underrated and astounding aspect of Djokovic's tenure with Ivanisevic: He's 12-3 in major finals contested in his 30s.

Defiance and Djokovic's constant commitment to improvement are essential elements to his success, Ivanisevic once said.

"He's a born winner. For him, when you tell him he cannot do something, it's even worse," Ivanisevic said. "Then he's going to show you that he can do it. It's no excuses. He always try to find a way how to win, how to fight, even when he's not feeling well, injured, not injured.

"It's just something I cannot say that we all like that from Balkans, because we are not. But he's one of kind, and that's why he's the best. He's something that who knows when ever is going to be born, you know, sportsman like that."

 

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