Djokovic defends on-court coaching

Published: Sunday 28th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Novak Djokovic has admitted he can “tolerate” tennis’ top stars breaking the rules and communicating with their coaches on court.

The reigning Wimbledon champion accepted “we can’t pretend it’s not happening in tennis” in claiming every top star breaches governing body rules forbidding coaches instructing players in the middle of matches.

Coach Boris Becker has revealed Djokovic’s back-room staff “have our ways” of signalling to the Serbian on court “to tell him it’s good or it’s bad”.

The 28-year-old himself rejected suggestions his on-court communication with his coaching team represents significant rule breaches.

“We can’t pretend like that’s not happening in tennis,” said Djokovic of mid-match communication between players and coaches.

“Of course there are situations when it happens, and not just with the top players, with everybody.

“This is a very competitive sport. You’re alone on the court.

“Of course there are certain rules but also there are times when the team of the player communicates with the player when he gets to go and take the towel in the corner, which is closer to the box, or in different ways.

“I think it’s all fine as long as it’s not regular, I think it just depends.

“Also that’s up to the chair umpire or supervisor to decide if somebody’s breaking the rules or not.

“I think as long as it’s something that you can tolerate, let’s say, within the ways of communication, I think it’s fine.

“I don’t think that we’re cheating, I don’t think that’s how you can call it,” said Djokovic.

“I think with all the cameras pointed out to him and to the box, I think you would already notice if he would just kind of go kick serve, slice, to do the backhand or forehand.”

Djokovic will start the chase for his third Wimbledon crown by taking on Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Centre Court on Monday.

French Open king Stan Wawrinka will take on Portugal’s Joao Sousa in Centre Court’s final match on Monday, while 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt will open his last Wimbledon run against Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen.

Djokovic insisted “it’s not of my concern” that Wimbledon rivals Andy Murray won a fourth title at Queen’s and Roger Federer claimed an eighth Halle crown.

The 11-time major champion claimed he needed “emotional, mental rest to recharge my batteries” after his shock French Open final defeat to Wawrinka, to justify his absence from the major Wimbledon warm-up tournaments.

“In the last couple of years I haven’t been playing any lead-up tournament to Wimbledon and I still managed to play finals two years ago and to win the title last year,” said Djokovic.

“Even though my rivals like Murray, Federer, (Rafael) Nadal, have been winning grass court tournaments in the previous years as well leading up to Wimbledon, it’s not of my concern, honestly.

“I just want to get myself in the best possible shape.”

Djokovic remains bullish in his Wimbledon preparations, after shaking off his Roland Garros disappointment.

“I needed some time to just mentally recover, rest,” said Djokovic of his reaction to French Open defeat to Wawrinka.

“More than physical rest, I needed that emotional, mental rest to recharge my batteries and get myself in a proper state of mind so I can start all over again.

“I lost to a better player that day. I had to admit, no question about it, I could only just congratulate him because he was the one that was taking his chances, stepping into the court, being brave, coming up with some incredible shots.

“I’m experienced, and something that tennis has taught me over the years, to move on, and to be able to do that very quickly.

“You need to be able to reset very rapidly and get yourself a new motivation and inspire yourself to keep on going.

“This motivation and faith has to be even stronger than it was three weeks ago.”

Published: Sunday 28th June 2015 by The News Editor

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