By Simon Evans
LONDON (Reuters) – Andre Agassi says that he and Novak Djokovic need to learn to trust each other if their partnership is to deliver results for the world number four.
Agassi was hired by Djokovic before the French Open in a bid to address his poor run of form but the Serb was badly beaten by Austrian Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.
Djokovic went into Wimbledon on the back of winning in Eastbourne, however, and has cruised through his two matches so far at the All England Club.
“Novak is a great person, I really enjoy him, I respect him and I think we are starting to trust each other more,” Agassi told Reuters Television in an interview.
The American, who won all four slams in a glittering career, is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his Wimbledon triumph and is also working as an ambassador for coffee company Lavazza.
But his main task is to help Djokovic find the killer touch that has drifted out of his game in recent months and he says that requires work from both parties.
“He is not directing me as much as we are learning. It is my job to learn him first and I am still learning. Then to figure out what is it that keeps you from a feeling in full flight and problem-solve,” he said.
“That requires trust — trust that I am going to learn him first and trust from him that he is going to buy into it and believe it and you remove all the hesitation that happens in a tennis court that keep someone from executing at their highest level,” he said.
Agassi has also focused on getting Djokovic to focus his attention purely on elements of the sport that he can control, something he says the Serb has done well.
“He has given everything I am asking for in terms of heart, fight and also the execution, what the plan is. The stuff you can’t control we are starting to forget about – like the courts, the wind, bad calls or anything else,” he said.
The link-up with Djokovic is 47-year-old Agassi’s first coaching job and marks his return to the game after retiring from the tour in 2006.
The former world number one, who won eight Grand Slam titles in total, says he is enjoying the different stimulus that comes with coaching.
“There is a level of pressure that is interesting because you are responsible for somebody else’s hopes and dreams,” he said.
“I take that very seriously. That pressure comes and goes and in between you are more relaxed than as a player and you get to take in your environment,” he said.
The Las Vegas born Agassi is married to seven-times Wimbledon champion Steffi Graf.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Chopra)