After achieving a Career Grand Slam at Roland Garros 2016, Novak Djokovic struggled to match that pace in the rest of the season, allowing Andy Murray to pass him and finish the season as world no. 1. The Serb started the 2017 season with the title in Doha before early exits at the Australian Open, Acapulco and Indian Wells, struggling more and more with an elbow injury.
Making radical moves, Novak parted ways with Marian Vajda in May and decided to try with Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek, joined by the new team at Roland Garros. Djokovic suffered the quarter-final losses at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and skipped the rest of the season to heal his elbow and play injury-free in 2018.
The Serb had to undergo a minor procedure in January 2018, playing way below his best and ending his partnership with Agassi and Stepanek at the end of March. Novak brought back his old coach Marian Vajda and reached a much higher level that spring to start his comeback towards the top.
Speaking about that period, Agassi said that he couldn’t help Novak, no matter how much he wanted to improve his game.
Andre Agassi worked with Novak Djokovic for almost a year in 2017 and 2018.
“I think if you took the three best to talk about – Roger, Rafa & Novak – it is different to say who has the best career and when somebody is playing at their best, who is the best.
We have the best on fast grass courts with Roger, we have the best on clay with Rafa, and the best on hard courts with Novak. There are multiple surfaces, they can play with each other a hundred times, and I will give you the answer.
I wasn’t helping Novak for me; that’s why I stopped. My reasons were because I believed that it’s best for tennis if somehow he could get the best out of himself and then getting to know him & his family; I had a desire to help.
My goal is to help you, but if I am in your way or stopping your process or interfering with your process, then it’s best I sort of step out of your way. But I can’t necessarily subscribe to the choices that you are making.
So there is a delicate balancing act, and we just far too often found ourselves agreeing to disagree, and that is ok too. There’s no judgment in it,” Andre Agassi said.