ROME Novak Djokovic confirmed he will be coached by Andre Agassi at the French Open after being humbled by German youngster Alexander Zverev in the final of the Italian Open on Sunday.
The Serb, beaten 6-4 6-3 by Zverev in the Rome sunshine, said he would join up with eight-times grand slam champion Agassi as he prepares to defend his Roland Garros crown.
He did not say whether the partnership would be long term.
“I spoke to Andre the last couple weeks on the phone, and we decided to get together in Paris,” Djokovic said.
“So he’s gonna be there. We are both excited to work together and see where it takes us.
“We don’t have any long-term commitment. It’s just us trying to get to know each other in Paris a little bit,” added the 12-times grand slam champion.
“Obviously, Andre is someone that I have tremendous respect for as a person and as a player. He has been through everything that I’m going through.
“He understands the game amazingly well.”
Earlier this month the former world number one split with his long-time coach Marian Vajda as well as fitness coach Gebhard Phil Gritsch and physio Miljan Amanovic.
He said he wanted to rediscover the “spark” after a worrying loss of form since completing the career grand slam in Paris last year where he beat Andy Murray in the final.
Boris Becker left the Djokovic entourage last December after three successful years together.
Djokovic, who turns 30 on Monday, looked back to his dazzling best when he demolished Dominic Thiem in the semi-final on Saturday for the loss of one game.
But he was outplayed by Zverev who dominated the match after breaking serve in the opening game.
It was the biggest win in 20-year-old Zverev’s career as he became the youngest winner of a Masters 1000 tournament since Djokovic himself won Miami in 2007.
He controlled play from the back of the court with his fluid two-handed backhand and heavy forehand.
Zverev broke again in the third game of the second set and clinched the match with another break in the ninth game.
Victory will push Zverev into the ATP’s top 10 for the first time when the rankings are released on Monday.
“I’m very happy with the way I played and my performance all week, I think today was one of the best matches I ever played,” said Zverev. “I knew I had to be aggressive from the first point to the last.”
(Writing by Brian Homewood and Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)