Speaking at ATP Banja Luka, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic has admitted that he “would love to coach Nick Kyrgios” when he was asked which current player he would choose. Djokovic’s comment came in jest, but he and Kyrgios have forged a good relationship in recent years since they famously did not see eye-to-eye in the past. Kyrgios does not currently have a coach on the ATP Tour.
Novak Djokovic has said he “would love to coach Nick Kyrgios” and added that “he would win five Slams with me, but it would not come cheap” when he was asked to choose a player at ATP Banja Luka.
Djokovic battled from a set down to beat 18-year-old Luca Van Assche in three tough sets, 6-7(4) 6-3 6-2, in Bosnia on Wednesday as he attempts to find some form and rhythm ahead of the second Grand Slam of the season at Roland-Garros.
Van Assche took the upper hand by winning the opening set via a tie-break, but Djokovic managed to avoid a second successive defeat in an entertaining two-hour, 38-minute clash as he eventually found a way past the doughty teenager.
Djokovic had released a fitness update ahead of the tournament, raising concerns over his right elbow that he had surgery on five years ago, but was deemed fit enough to kick-start his Banja Luka Open campaign against Van Assche.
The hard-fought victory came after his shock Monte Carlo Masters exit following a 4-6 7-5 6-4 defeat to Lorenzo Musetti, and the 35-year-old was determined to get back on track with his first professional visit to Bosnia.
Djokovic, having avoided back-to-back defeats in ATP events for the first time in a year with the victory, was asked to pick which player on tour he would most like to coach – and he did not appear to have much hesitation.
“I would love to coach Nick Kyrgios,” Djokovic said when the question was posed.
He added with a smile: “He would win five Slams with me, but it would not come cheap!”
Kyrgios picked up on the quotes via social media and responded via his Instagram Stories.
“Hahahah… instead let’s go have a nice dinner and some drinks.”
Speaking about his play so far in Bosnia, Djokovic said in his post-match interview: “It wasn’t easy. This would probably rank as the slowest court, slowest conditions I’ve ever played in, to be honest.
“I couldn’t penetrate through the court. I couldn’t put any ball past him. He was on every single ball for a set and a half until I started to get some rhythm going.
“I’m happy with the way I finished the match. Of course, I can always play better, but a win is a win.”
Djokovic is preparing for his tilt at an outright-record 23rd Grand Slam singles title at the French Open in May as he attempts to move past his old rival Rafael Nadal in the all-time tally.