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Novak Djokovic and Radek Stepanek faced off 14 times on the ATP World Tour, with their last meeting coming at the 2017 Qatar ExxonMobil Open.

Stepanek Joins Djokovic’s Coaching Team

Recently retired Czech to join Agassi as Djokovic's coaches

A couple weeks after announcing his retirement from professional tennis, Radek Stepanek already has a new gig: coach to Novak Djokovic. The pair broke the news Thursday on Instagram Live. 

“I’m ready to go,” said Stepanek to Djokovic on the split screen as they spoke to each other from their phones. “Where are you?” Djokovic asked, before opening a door to reveal the recently retired Czech on the other side. “All right guys, this is the new team, baby!” said Djokovic.

Stepanek joins Andre Agassi on the Serbian’s coaching team, and will be working with Djokovic in Monte Carlo as he prepares for the 2018 season. Djokovic is scheduled to return to the court at the season-opening Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, where he is a two-time defending champion, after being sidelined since Wimbledon with a right elbow injury.  

“Radek is one of my very close friends on the tour and I was always impressed with his level of determination, passion and love for the sport,” Djokovic posted in a statement on his website. “He has lot of experience and knowledge, and he has played on a high level for many years. I am excited to join our forces together and cannot wait to compete again having a new team to back me up.

“On Andre’s suggestion I pursued Radek, therefore I am sure the two of them will work well together. The new season is about to start and there is a long way to go back to where I left off. We are aware that I need to go step by step, not hurrying anything. I feel much better now, and I can’t wait to play matches again.”

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The 38-year-old Stepanek had stated upon his retirement that he planned to stay in tennis, and he looked ahead to his new collaboration with Djokovic.

“I’m honoured to be a new member of Novak’s team,” said Stepanek, who ranked in the Top 10 of both the singles and doubles Emirates ATP Rankings. “It is a new and exciting challenge for me, which I’m looking forward to and I believe that as a team we can help Nole to reach his goals. As longtime friends off the tennis court, I believe that our friendship and similar views will translate onto the court as well, and we will share some memorable moments together.”

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