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Djokovic reveals Stepanek as new coach

Radek Stepanek and Novak Djokovic

London, December 1: Novak Djokovic has turned to the recently retired Radek Stepanek to be his coach for the 2018 season.

The former world number one has been without a permanent coach since parting company with Marian Vajda in May, although Andre Agassi worked as Djokovic's advisor during the grand slams.

Injury brought an early end to Djokovic's season, the Serbian withdrawing during his quarter-final with Tomas Berdych at Wimbledon with an elbow injury that saw him miss the US Open.

Djokovic is expected to make his return in Abu Dhabi in December end and he will have a new face in his box, Stepanek taking his first step into coaching following his recent retirement after back surgery.

The new alliance was announced via Instagram Live, Djokovic taking questions from fans before speaking to Stepanek.

During the exchange Djokovic asked his new coach "what are you up to now?", to which the Czech replied "do you have something for me?"

"I'm actually looking for another coach," said Djokovic. "I don't know what you have in mind, but if you have nothing better to do maybe you could be my coach?"

Having jokingly discussed terms – which included one-way flights and green juice – the pair were then joined by Djokovic's manager.

With the deal agreed verbally, Djokovic asked Stepanek: "We have to be on court tomorrow, how can we make it happen?"

Stepanek responded with: "I think it's pretty easy, I am already waiting for you."

Cue Djokovic walking through a door at the gym he is training at to reveal Stepanek, the pair embracing before the 12-time grand slam champion announced: "This is the new team, this is my new man, I am excited for the new season.

"Now it's official!"

Source: OPTA

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    Story first published: Friday, December 1, 2017, 3:00 [IST]
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