Novak Djokovic dealt ATP Finals blow as coach flies home to take care of sick son

US Open: Djokovic shows frustration against Medvedev

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Novak Djokovic has been left without one of his coaches at the ATP Finals, with his campaign for a sixth title beginning on Monday (November 15). Goran Ivanisevic has been forced to leave Turin after his son tested positive for Covid, leaving the world No 1 with one of his two coaches for the season-ending event.

Djokovic comes into the ATP Finals as the top seed, and will face Casper Ruud in his first round-robin match on Monday (November 15).

The world No 1 arrived in Turin with both Ivanisevic and Marian Vajda, his other coach, as he usually has both by his side for the year-end tournament.

However, he has now been left without the former Wimbledon champion after Ivanisevic’s son tested positive for Covid.

While his son is currently said to be feeling fine, the player-turned-coach decided to return home as he wanted to be with him.

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Djokovic usually opts to have just one of his coaches with him during tournaments, but prefers to have both Vajda and Ivanisevic at the ATP Finals.

The Serb is looking to win his sixth title at the year-end championship, which would see him equal long-time rival Roger Federer’s record.

He recently secured two records at the Paris Masters – securing a seventh year-end No 1 ranking following his semi-final victory over Hubert Hurkacz, and becoming the first man to win 37 Masters 1000 titles when he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final to lift the trophy.

While the 34-year-old holds five ATP Finals titles, he has not won the tournament since 2015, as younger stars including Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev have been able to win the year-end championships, being held in Turin for the first time this year.

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The sudden absence of Ivanisevic will throw a spanner in Djokovic’s plans for a sixth title this week, and leaves him without one of his coaches in the final ATP event of the 2021 season – his last chance to add to his five titles from the year.

Luckily for the Serb, he has been handed a favourable draw as he avoids his two biggest rivals of the season in the round-robin stage, giving him a better chance to get out of the groups and make the semi-final.

Djokovic has been drawn in the Green Group alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas – who recently retired from the Paris Masters with an arm injury, the out-of-form Andrey Rublev, and Casper Ruud.

As the top two seeds, he and Daniil Medvedev could not be drawn in the same group, and the Russian has been Djokovic’s biggest rival this year, defeating him in the US Open final to end the Serb’s hopes of achieving the Calendar Grand Slam.

Alexander Zverev is also safely away in the red group, after the German conquered Djokovic at the Tokyo Olympics before going on to win the gold medal.

Although Ivanisevic has now left team Djokovic in Turin, the 20-time Grand Slam champion will still have Vajda and the rest of his camp by his side.

His physiotherapist, Ulises Badio, and fitness coach, Marco Panichi, are also with the top seed.

Vajda has been Djokovic’s coach for almost his entire professional career, with the exception of a break between 2017 and 2018, while the Croatian Grand Slam champion joined his coaching team ahead of Wimbledon 2019, which the Serb won after an epic final against Federer.
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