Novak Hopes Small Racquet Changes Will Yield Big Results
After beating Croatia’s Borna Coric 7-6(2), 7-5 at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Wednesday, Novak Djokovic revealed he made adjustments to his racquet earlier this year.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion recently made the change under former coaches Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek as he began his return to the Tour, with his mind set on recapturing the form that saw him finish as year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings on four occasions (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015).
“[I] changed the racquet earlier this year,” said Djokovic. “I made some small minor changes that actually in our world are quite significant.
“(Andre) Agassi and Radek (Stepanek) who worked with me at the time felt it was a good call for the big picture and for the long run. I feel more comfortable with the racquet as I go along.”
The Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters ninth seed, who said the recent tweaks have given him more power and angle on his serve, emphasised the need for patience as he continues to develop his game with the changes. Djokovic compared his current situation to Roger Federer’s experiences more than four years ago, when the Swiss star changed his racquet model in a bid to improve performance.
“Obviously it takes a little bit of time,” said Djokovic. “I think Roger (Federer) some years ago also had that racquet change, and it took him a little bit [of time], some months, to get comfortable with it.”
Djokovic, two-time Monte-Carlo champion, was keen to look long-term when making the change. “If you think about certain parts of your game you maybe want to improve, maybe the technology, the racquet can help you with that. Why not? It was a big call,” expressed Djokovic.
The 30-year-old showed clear belief in his abilities when asked about his chances of returning to the pinnacle of the game, emphasising the importance of health in realising his ambitions.
“I wouldn’t be sitting here in front of [the press] and competing in this tournament if I didn’t believe that I can [win Grand Slam events and return to World No. 1],” said Djokovic. “Being in that position already and having achieved so much just gives me enough reason to believe I can make it again.
“I just hope that I’ll be healthy. That’s the most important thing. I know when I’m healthy, when I’m not dealing with any significant injury that can disturb me on the way to compete and train, then I can really reach that desired level.”