Novak Djokovic is contemplating a break from tennis in a desperate effort to address his turgid run of form, which continued with defeat to Dominic Thiem at the French Open. The Serbian relinquished his title courtesy of a straight set loss to 23-year-old Thiem, underlining his current plight.
The three-set loss to Thiem, who will bid to reach his maiden grand slam final when he faces nine-time champion Rafael Nadal in the second semi-final on Friday (9 June), is the latest blotch on Djokovic's copybook since he completed the career grand slam 12 months ago. Premature exits at Wimbledon, the Rio Olympics and the Australian Open have followed, while the 30-year-old has also lost his world number one ranking.
The run of form comes amid radical changes to Djokovic's coaching team. The alterations began with the split with Boris Becker before the turn of the year prior to separating from his entire backroom team including Marian Vajda – who had worked with the right-hander since he was 19. Andre Agassi has since been enlisted but the American is unable to commit full-time to Djokovic.
Following one of the most demoralising displays of the last 12 months, Djokovic was philosophical about the future – which starts in earnest at Wimbledon in July. Djokovic does not traditionally play a warm-up between the grand slams at Roland Garros and SW19 and has hinted he will take time away from the practice court in order to recharge his batteries.
"Trust me, I'm thinking about many things, especially in the last couple months," he responded when asked whether a break from the sport was imminent. "I'm just trying to sense what's the best thing for me now. But we'll see. Obviously it's not an easy decision to make, but I will see how I feel after Roland Garros. The win here last year has brought a lot of different emotions. Obviously it was a thrill and complete fulfilment.
"I lived on that wave of excitement till US Open or so. And at the US Open, I just was emotionally very flat and found myself in a situation that I hadn't faced before in my professional tennis career. It's tough to get out of it and figure out the way how to move ahead. I'm trying to get better, trying to be on a high level again. I know that I have achieved the biggest heights in this sport, and that memory and that experience gives me enough reason to believe that I can do it again."
Agassi was absent from Paris due to leaving the French capital for a pre-arranged family holiday, but is expected to be back in Djokovic's corner when he travels to London. The pair have not discussed a long-term working relationship but Djokovic is content with the current arrangement.
"We're going to try to get together in Wimbledon but I mean, that's all for now," he added. "I was planning to play only Wimbledon. I might play a lead-up event, I might not. I'm not really sure. Obviously there has been a lot of changes with the team and so forth. I am excited to work with Andre Agassi and the new team and at the same time, I have responsibility to the game itself, towards others."