Tennis: Djokovic wants to coach when he calls time on career

Novak Djokovic poses with the trophy after winning the ATP Paris Masters on Nov 7, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

BELGRADE (REUTERS) - Novak Djokovic plans to become a tennis coach once he calls time on his playing career as he has no intention of taking his knowledge "to the grave", the world number one told Serbian media after clinching the Paris Masters on Sunday (Nov 7).

Djokovic secured a record-breaking 37th Masters title and his sixth in Paris with a 4-6 6-3 6-3 win over Russia's world number two Daniil Medvedev, who won his maiden grand slam trophy when he beat the Serbian in September's US Open final.

Djokovic, who is also assured of finishing the season as the world number one for a record seventh time, also heaped praise on Medvedev and was confident the 25-year-old Russian would eventually succeed him as the world's top-ranked player.

"He is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world at the moment and if he stays healthy he will win many more grand slam tournaments," said the 34-year old from Belgrade.

"I'd have hardly any work to do if I was to coach him. He is probably my biggest rival at the moment and he is very close to becoming the world number one. He is the leader of a new generation and his game has no weaknesses."

Djokovic is level on 20 grand slams each with peers Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal and stressed he was eager to nurture future talents when he hangs up his racket.

"I try to pass on to new generations everything that I've learned. Knowledge can be a curse if you don't use it.

"What am I supposed to do when I retire - take it to my grave so that those who come after me are unable to benefit from my philosophy, work methods and approach?

"For me, it's only logical that the next step should be to pass my knowledge on to others. I see myself in various roles in the future and I am glad that I can also develop as a coach."

Djokovic will head to the Nov 14-21 season-ending Masters in Turin before leading Serbia at the Nov 25-Dec 5 Davis Cup finals, where the 2010 winners aim to clinch their second title in the competition.

But his bid to win a record-extending 10th Australian Open title and 21st major honour in January is still in doubt as Djokovic has repeatedly declined to reveal whether he has been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The state of Victoria, where the event takes place in Melbourne, has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes, although authorities have not yet clarified what the requirement will be for those coming from abroad.

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