Novak Djokovic concerned as Ivan Ljubicic becomes Roger Federer's coach

Doha: World No 1 Novak Djokovic admitted yesterday it will be bizarre to see his friend Ivan Ljubicic helping coach one of his greatest rivals, Roger Federer, this season.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic

"Yes! Honestly, yes," said Djokovic, when asked if he would find it strange to see the Croat as part of the Swiss legend's coaching staff.

"But you know, again, we are professionals." It was announced in December that Ljubicic, a former World No 3, would be hired in a move widely interpreted as Federer trying to find a way to defeat a dominant Djokovic, who won three Grand Slams last year and was also a finalist in the French Open.

"He (Ljubicic) knows my game, he knows the game of all Roger's opponents, and I think that's one of the reasons why Roger has hired him to be with him on the team," said Djokovic, speaking in Doha, ahead of his first tournament of the season, the Qatar Open, which begins today.

"Whether it's going to work or not, that's something to see for all of us, but I wish them all the best. He's a great guy, very calm, very composed, and I am sure Roger knows why he hired him."

Federer has denied that the Croat has been hired just to help him overcome the Serb. Djokovic also said he was well-rested from his winter break and was "very excited" to start again on the tour.

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