Fitness coach Gebhard Gritsch said he was traveling with Novak Djokovic for 40 weeks a year but he was glad that he was given a chance to work with one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
Gritsch worked with Djokovic between 2009 and 2017 — the period in which Djokovic became a Grand Slam champion and world No. 1.
“On average, I was on the road with Novak for 40 weeks a year, an incredibly intense time,” Gritsch recalled in his interview with Sport Tirol, as quoted on Tennisnet.com.
Gritsch immediately noticed Djokovic’s very special physique.
“How he moves, can still control the ball where others would have lost their balance – all of this is unbelievable, it was great fun,” Gritsch noted.
Gritsch was fired by Djokovic and then returned to the team
Djokovic’s first major season came in 2011, when he won three Grand Slams and climbed to the No. 1 ranking for the first time in his career.
“I had seized this huge opportunity to work with a great tennis player. When I started, was Djokovic is number three, “Gritsch looks back. “My first task was to get him into top physical shape. The breakthrough came in 2011 when he overtook Federer and Nadal – it’s impressive how long his series lasted. Especially when you know how difficult it is to get the number to become one and then to stay.”
Djokovic fired Gritsch in 2017 but a year later returned the fitness coach to his team.
However, the two permanently split in 2019.
“The break came after his victory at the 2016 French Open in Paris. There Novak had won all four Grand Slam tournaments with his final victory over Andy Murray and thus achieved one last major goal for the time being. When you then stand at the summit and look back, a huge load falls off your shoulders. And suddenly the air was out,” Gritsch explained.