Djokovic no longer with longtime coach Vajda

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Novak Djokovic and coach Marian Vajda are no longer working together, splitting up after 15 years and 20 Grand Slam titles.

A statement that went up on Djokovic’s website said that the two men “agreed to end their partnership” after last year’s season-ending ATP Finals.

“Marian has been by my side during the most important and memorable moments in my career,” Djokovic said in the posting. “Together we have achieved some incredible things and I am very grateful for his friendship and dedication over the last 15 years. While he might be leaving the professional team he will always be family and I can’t thank him enough for all he has done.”

During Vajda’s tenure, Djokovic also has picked up other coaches at various times – including Boris Becker, Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek – and Goran Ivanisevic, who has been part of the team since 2019, will continue to work with the 34-year-old from Serbia.

Djokovic and Vajda took a break from each other in 2017 but reunited the next year.

“During my time with Novak, I have been lucky to watch him transform into the player he is today. I will look back on our time together with immense pride and am so very thankful for the success we have achieved,” Vajda said in the post on Djokovic’s site. “I remain his biggest support on and off the court and I look forward to new challenges.”

The announcement of the change came one day after Djokovic dropped out of the No. 1 ranking for the first time in two years, sliding to No. 2 behind Daniil Medvedev. Djokovic’s 361 total weeks atop the ATP are a record, as are his seven times finishing a season at No. 1.

His 20 major singles championships are tied with Roger Federer for the second-most in the history of men’s tennis; only Rafael Nadal, who won his 21st at the Australian Open in January, owns more.

Djokovic was deported from Australia and not allowed to try to defend his title at Melbourne Park because he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

He has played in only one tournament so far in 2022 – losing to Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championships last week – and has said he won’t get the vaccine shots, even if he needs them to be able to participate in events such as the French Open or Wimbledon.

Alycia Parks reaches 1st WTA quarterfinal in Ostrava

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.

The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.

The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.

“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.

Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.

Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.

Djokovic beats Van de Zandschulp to reach Astana quarters

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.

Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.

“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.