Novak Djokovic has confirmed the addition of former tennis player Radek Stepanek to his coaching team for the next season. The Serbian missed major parts of the season with an elbow injury and will be hoping that the latest addition will go a long way in elevating him to greater heights.
The 38-year-old Czech Republic veteran announced his retirement earlier this month owing to fitness issues but made it clear that he does not want to walk away from the sport. Stepanek will work alongside American Andre Agassi in the team as Novak's tennis coach.
He will begin working with Djokovic in Monte Carlo, as Novak looks to build up fitness for 2018 and challenge the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who had an ostensibly easier ride in 2017 owing to the absence of a host of big-hitters.
Novak decided to abstain from participating in any tournament in 2017 after July so as to recover from the elbow injury. After five months of recovery, Novak has decided to step up preparations for his comeback, with Stepanek added as a reinforcement in his team.
"Radek is one of my very close friends on the tour and I was always impressed with his level of determination, passion and love for the sport. The fact that he just recently retired at the age of 37 speaks volumes of his love for the game," Djokovic told his official website.
"He has lot of experience and knowledge, and he has played on a high level for many years. I am excited to join our forces together and cannot wait to compete again having a new team to back me up."
Djokovic mellowed talk of any discontent between Agassi and Stepanek, stating that it was the American's idea to bring him on board to prepare for the upcoming season.
"On Andre's suggestion, I pursued Radek. Therefore, I am sure the two of them will work well together. The new season is about to start and there is a long way to go back to where I left off. We are aware that I need to go step-by-step, not hurrying anything. I feel much better now, and I can't wait to play matches again," he explained.