Mario was top of the list - Djokovic explains Ancic hire


Novak Djokovic says the newest addition to his coaching team, Mario Ancic, was at the "top of the list" when he sought further assistance ahead of Wimbledon.

Djokovic, who warmed up for the grass-court grand slam by winning the Aegon International at Eastbourne, confirmed on Saturday that former world number seven Ancic had joined his team.

While Andre Agassi recently took up a role as Djokovic's coach, the American's other commitments mean his time with the 30-year-old is likely to be limited.

"He [Ancic] was pre-scheduled to be in London," said Djokovic in a news conference at Wimbledon on Sunday. "We talked on the phone probably about three, four weeks ago. Of course, prior to that call I talked with Andre about who can be joining us in the team as someone who would potentially spend a little bit more time with me on the tour when Andre is not available.

"Mario was top of the list. He's someone that I've known for so many years. And we're friends. He was one of the players on the tour that I've had the closest relationship with.

"We always had a tremendous respect and support towards each other. We spent a lot of time [together] off the court, speak the same language. Things were very easy for us in terms of communication.

"After that, obviously, he was very unfortunate with his injuries and illnesses that kind of ended his career. It's really unfortunate because he's definitely one of the most talented players that I have ever seen.

"He loved playing on grass. It's where he made his best results in grand slams, beating [Roger] Federer one year, reaching the semi-finals [in 2004]. He beat me here as well, I remember that, in a long four-setter.

"After he ended his professional tennis career, he went a different way - he's on Wall Street now. During his active career he was studying law, which not many professional athletes do, study at the same time while they're actively participating in professional sport. Especially for someone of his quality, he was a top-10 player, that was quite an effort.

"We spoke. He said he was coming to London anyway and would be happy to spend some time with Andre and myself during Wimbledon. That's more or less everything we talked about.

"In terms of what comes after that, we'll see. We'll take it a day at a time, see how everything flows during this tournament, see where that takes us."