LONDON • Andre Agassi was missing from Novak Djokovic's box at Eastbourne yesterday, but the American has handed the world No. 4 a major boost by confirming his attendance at Wimbledon.
Djokovic, playing a pre-Wimbledon event for the first time in seven years, will have coaching adviser Agassi in his corner after the pair's recent collaboration at the French Open. Agassi had already left Roland Garros before the Serb crumbled against Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals, but the eight-time Major champion will be with the Serb throughout his Wimbledon campaign.
"He will stay as long as I stay in the tournament, so that's great news," Djokovic said ahead of his opening match against Canadian Vasek Pospisil yesterday.
"Having him around is not only great for myself but also for tennis. Getting to know him in Paris, I can see how much he knows the game. It was very interesting to hear his perspective on tennis, how he analyses my game and what he sees with things to improve.
"I'm just looking forward to spending as much quality time with Andre as I can."
No formal agreement has yet been signed, however. Agassi was not being paid for helping Djokovic at Roland Garros and it appears that this will remain the case at Wimbledon.
"It's something that time will tell," said Djokovic, who is seeking a fourth Wimbledon title. "For now, we are going with the flow. I appreciate his consideration to work with me, so we don't have anything formal, we don't have anything signed. It's just as much as he can and I'm grateful for it."
The 12-time Major champion's inconsistent form has left him undercooked in match action - he played 47 matches before Wimbledon last year but had played just 31 when he arrived at Eastbourne.
World No. 1 Andy Murray was due to play two more matches before Wimbledon as he too looks to find form after his surprising first-round exit from last week's Aegon Championships at Queen's Club. But the Scot yesterday pulled out of an exhibition match against Frenchman Lucas Pouille at London's Hurlingham Club with a sore hip, less than a week before he begins his title defence at the All England Club.
The withdrawal was precautionary and the two-time Wimbledon champion intends to play on Friday against an opponent who has yet to be named.
THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS