Novak Djokovic Australian Open

‘Novak Djokovic was nothing extraordinary,’ says coach as he recalls first meeting

Marian Vajda says he did not consider Novak Djokovic to be ‘anything extraordinary’ upon their first meeting.

Vajda is the long-term coach of the world number one after first encountering him 15 years ago.

However, he says that when they first met even his young daughter could see what Novak Djokovic had to work on, which he has obviously now done to spectacular affect.

“I saw him [Novak] straight away on the court, he was practicing – and it was nothing extraordinary,” Vajda told the Changeover Chat show.

“Actually, it’s also a funny story, I had my daughter, who was beside me standing, and I asked her, ‘What do you think of this guy?’”

“She says, ‘Daddy, he looks good, but his backhand doesn’t work.’”

Despite that first impression, Vajda also said he immediately saw plenty to work with in Djokovic’s game.

“He was playing really good. He was a hell of an athlete. I saw his athleticism was incredible, nice and solid, and everything.

“I saw some technical gaps there. But overall, he was a competitor.

“I saw that he doesn’t give up any ball, and I see that his game is in frame, and he sees the ball perfectly clean and hits it clean.”

Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.