Novak Djokovic is the fourth best men’s singles tennis player in the world. He has won 12 Grand Slams, and until November, he held the spot of world number one.
With so many years in the spotlight, you’d think there would be few secrets remaining about the 30-year-old Serbian.
However, according to coach and former tennis legend Andre Agassi, there’s still a side to Djokovic most people don’t know.
Business Insider spoke to Agassi at The Championships at Wimbledon on Friday, where he was supporting Djokovic, who will plays his fourth round match against French Adrian Mannarino on Monday.
2017 marks 25 years since Agassi himself won his Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. Throughout his career he won 60 ATP World Tour titles, including eight Grand Slam singles titles, and held the spot of world number one six times.
He was announced as Djokovic’s new coach in May.
‘He’s a feeler on the court, not a thinker’
Since that time, he told Business Insider: “What surprises me most is his intellectual capacity off the court, and how little he thinks on the court,” He said. “He’s a feeler on the court, not a thinker.”
“I analysed on the tennis court and was a feeler in life. He’s the exact reverse.”
“The guy’s really smart,” he added. “It almost shocks you how much he remembers in detail. If he’s looking for information, he reads, he studies, he remembers — we just do it in different areas of our lives.”
Agassi was also surprised by the athlete’s intensity, which he believes was impacting his game.
“He’s intense about everything… he has so much energy. Tennis is mind, body, and heart, and there’s a balance, like your chequing account. You have to make sure more is going in than going out.”
“He was just so intense about what he was accomplishing and his goals and objectives, that you’re going to run into bankruptcy sooner or later because you’re spending, spending, spending — emotional, mental, physical, something’s going to pay the price, and I think he’s off that worry. I think he’s on an upward trajectory.”
And as for what he believes makes Djokovic an outstanding athlete? “Speed and range of motion with his body,” Agassi told Business Insider. “It’s not even just flexibility. His joints don’t work the same.”
Alongside his work with Djokovic, Agassi was also at Wimbledon as part of his role as Global Ambassador for Lavazza, the official coffee of The Championships.
A self-proclaimed coffee lover, Agassi claims to start every morning with a cup of black coffee, and even wrote about his life-long love of caffeine in his autobiography, Open.
He said Djokovic has his own rituals that he believes keep him successful.
“When he’s getting ready he’s very particular on his rituals getting ready to play,” he added. “He’s in there doing this stuff. Other guys are doing versions of it… you see somebody else doing it and they’re not even athletes comparatively speaking.”
“I’m talking about lying on the table and tucking your arms behind your shoulders and clapping your elbows, lying face down. When your body holds up and has that kind of speed and range, it’s really hard on the opposition.”
“He’s 30 going on 25 with his body.”