Novak Djokovic said he wasn’t planning to replace Boric Becker in his coaching team and deflected criticism from the German about his work-rate as he prepared to defend his Australian Open title on Saturday.
Djokovic, seeking a record seventh Australian Open crown after being ousted as world number one by Andy Murray, heads into the year’s first Grand Slam with long-time coach Marian Vajda and his newly appointed assistant Dusan Vemic.
“I’m not thinking of bringing anybody in. This is the coaching team that there is,” said Djokovic, who split with Becker after three trophy-filled seasons late last year.
Djokovic sidestepped a question about Becker’s remarks that the Serb’s training intensity had dropped during a sudden plunge in form in the second half of 2016.
“We’ve had amazing success. It’s all I can say. I don’t want to go back and comment on anything. I kept a very friendly relationship with Boris. We just went separate ways,” Djokovic said.
In Melbourne, Djokovic, seeded two, will be hoping to show he’s back to his best after a period of sustained dominance abruptly ended last year after the French Open.
The Serb bettered Murray in a thrilling final this month in Doha, a performance that suggested he may be regaining his edge — although he insisted he was never “invincible”.
“Nobody is invincible. I never thought of myself as a superior player on the court, even though of course at times I was very confident, I was winning a lot of matches,” he said.
“But (I know) how it feels on the court if you get overconfident, that’s why I don’t want to get into that kind of state of mind.
“I still want to put myself in a position where I’m quite even to other players, fight for this trophy as anybody else, even though I’m defending champion.”