Novak Djokovic has told long-time rival Rafael Nadal not to be panicked into sacking his uncle Toni as coach in a bid to salvage his faltering career.
US legend John McEnroe said he believed Nadal needs to cut the cord with Toni, who has guided Nadal to 14 Grand Slam titles, if he wants to return to the top of the sport following the Spaniard’s second round Wimbledon exit to German qualifier Dustin Brown.
But Djokovic believes such a move could backfire on Nadal.
“I don’t see a big reason for this to happen. I think he’s going to answer better. But from what I’ve seen, he’s saying it’s not necessary,” said Djokovic.
“He has won 14 Grand Slam titles. He’s one of the best players in the game with his uncle Toni who has been with him for his entire career.”
The 29-year-old Nadal suffered a fourth successive Wimbledon exit at the hands of a player ranked 100 and lower when the dreadlocked Rastafarian Brown dumped him out on Thursday.
It was another reality check for a man who was champion in 2008 and 2010 and runner-up in 2006, 2007 and 2011.
It was a loss which followed quarter-final exits at the Australian Open and at Roland Garros, where he had been a nine-time French Open champion.
Djokovic tweaked his coaching team at the end of 2014 when he brought in Boris Becker to work alongside long-time coach Marian Vajda.
It took time for the relationship to gel and if Nadal were to make a similar change, the time it takes for a new man in charge to bed in may come too late to put Nadal back on course, especially with his 30th birthday coming next year.
“For Boris and me, it took some time. That’s what I was saying in the beginning of the partnership or relationship, whatever you want to call it, when we started back in January 2014, that it’s going to take some time for us to really get on the same kind of frequency of the mind and thinking, to really start making big results,” said Djokovic.
“It started with the final of Roland Garros, then we won Wimbledon here last year, made great results, finished number one in the world. So results are there.”
Djokovic, who stayed on course for a successful Wimbledon title defence on Friday with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win over Bernard Tomic and will face Kevin Anderson for a place in the quarter-finals, believes Nadal should not dwell on his latest loss.
“He won two times title here and played five finals. I don’t think that’s too bad,” the Serb said.