Djokovic can return to the top without me, says Agassi

Andre Agassi says a shift in mentality could be key to Novak Djokovic recovering his best form, but the coach does not feel integral to it.

Novak Djokovic (left) with Andre Agassi.

Novak Djokovic could return to the top of men's tennis without Andre Agassi, according to the Serbian's coach.

After completing a career Grand Slam at the 2016 French Open, Djokovic suffered a severe dip in form and split with Boris Becker last December, having lost his place at the top of the rankings to Andy Murray.

A second-round exit at this year's Australian Open was followed by more disappointing results and, having parted with the rest of his coaching team in January, the 30-year-old turned to Agassi.

READ: Djokovic to drop out of world's top 10

Djokovic made it to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon before opting to curtail his season prematurely in a bid to recover from a persistent elbow injury.

Agassi hopes to prompt a shift in the 12-time major winner's mentality as he prepares to reassert himself on the ATP Tour in 2017, but the American does not believe he is integral to that aim coming to fruition.

"I think he can get back on top without me, to be quite clear. I do think there's a lot of areas that still can make him a better player, I believe that wholeheartedly," said Agassi.

"I think the more intimately you know someone the more clear you become with that, so for me it's the time on task of him really seeing the game through another lens.

"Novak is one of those talents that if he feels right on the tennis court it doesn't matter who's on the other side of the net. I was one of those players that it was about being better than one person and keeping it as simple as that and figuring out a way to just get past that.

"If you could take a talent of his magnitude — somebody who can shut down the court the way he can, play offense the way he can — and actually get him to realise there's another human being on the other side of the net and all you have to do is be better than that guy, I think you're really going to see something special from him."

Morning workouts by the river.. Love being here!! #Belgrade

A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole) on


Agassi believes Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will continue to challenge next season after their dominance of the men's draw in 2017, but tipped Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev for big things, too.

Asked for who to look out for in 2018, he said: "How can you ignore the beauty in what we've seen with Federer and Nadal this year? To write anybody off is a mistake, so I'm out of the predicting business.

"When you look at young guys coming up... Nick Kyrgios, I've always mentioned him as one heck of a talent, Sascha Zverev, this guy is a beauty to watch and he's only going to get better.

"He has a lot of tools, a lot of strengths, a lot of ways to improve. It's not really predicting any more with the year he's had."

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