Radek Stepanek

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Novak Djokovic hires Radek Stepanek as coach

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MONACO — Novak Djokovic is bringing aboard former top-10 player Radek Stepanek as a coach.

Djokovic, a 12-time major champion, and Stepanek announced their partnership during a joint appearance on Instagram Live on Thursday.

Said Djokovic: “So this is the new team, baby. This is my new man.”

Added Stepanek: “Now it’s official.”

What was not immediately clear was how Stepanek and Andre Agassi, who began working with Djokovic on a part-time basis at the French Open in May, will divide their coaching duties. Djokovic split from longtime coach Marian Vajda shortly before bringing aboard Agassi, and stopped working with Boris Becker a year ago.

Djokovic hasn’t competed since a loss at Wimbledon in July, citing a right elbow injury.

Stepanek retired as a player in November and turned 39 on Monday. He was ranked as high as No. 8 in singles and No. 4 in doubles and won two Grand Slam men’s doubles titles. He also won a bronze medal in mixed doubles for the Czech Republic at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Defending champ Djokovic advances to Qatar Open semis

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DOHA, Qatar — Defending champion Novak Djokovic advanced to the Qatar Open semifinals by beating Czech qualifier Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday.

Djokovic holds a 13-1 career record over the 38-year-old Stepanek, and has won their last 12 meetings.

Djokovic took a 4-2 lead in the first set before Stepanek broke his serve when the second seed netted a backhand on a third break point in the game.

Djokovic won the next two games, winning the set on an overhead smash to an open court.

In the second set, Djokovic established a 3-1 lead and held on to the advantage.

He will play Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the semifinals. Verdasco defeated sixth-seeded Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 6-2, 7-5.

Top-seeded Andy Murray plays Nicolas Almagro of Spain in the first evening match, followed by third-seeded Tomas Berdych and fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.