Novak Djokovic’s coach, Marian Vajda, has told The Tennis Space that the defending champion and his entourage have been chewing on the grass again this summer, and that the lawns are “very tasty, very juicy, and not fertlised I don’t think”. In the moments after winning a first Wimbledon title last summer, Djokovic munched on some of the Centre Court grass, and Vajda disclosed that the world No 1 and his team ate some of the grass at the practice courts before the first pre-tournament training session. Vajda also said Djokovic has been relaxing away from the courts by barbecuing and playing golf.
Vajda on how Djokovic has been relaxing away from the courts: “We’re staying in a house nearby, and any free time we have been rushing off to golf courses. We have been playing the courses at Royal Wimbledon and at Surbiton. Who wins? I can’t even whisper about this. He’s one of the best, but I can match him in that sport. Tennis, no, but golf, yes. In golf I can win sometimes. We’re staying in the same house. We have a beautiful Serbian woman who is cooking for us but the other night we did some barbecuing. Actually, someone had already got the barbecue going for us, and it was ready. People said that I was the best cook, along with Novak’s fitness coach. It has been relaxing. We really enjoy that place, it’s fantastic, it’s great to be able to walk from the house to the Club.”
Vajda on Djokovic’s appetite for the Wimbledon grass: “He likes that stuff, it’s tasty. The first time Novak practised on the grass at Aorangi Park this year, all of the team tried the grass, and it’s very good grass. It’s not fertilised, I don’t think. All of us tried some. We didn’t chew some and then spit it out, it was very juicy. It’s lovely grass.”
Vajda on Djokovic’s semi-final against Roger Federer (their first career meeting on grass): “It will be a new match, a new surface. Maybe Novak is the favourite because I would say that he’s in slightly better shape. But Roger has a lot of titles here, and a lot of experience on Centre Court. Novak is in very, very good shape. He likes the surface and he’s very different from last year.”
Vajda on how Djokovic has improved form last summer: ”Novak’s improving his serve, his overall game and he’s physically very good. I hope that this is the point where he plays his best tennis.”
Vajda on why it is a different experience trying to defend a Wimbledon title than winning one for the first time: “There are different pressures now that he’s trying to defend the title rather than trying to win the title for the first time. But maybe these pressures can motivate him to play his best tennis and to retain the title. I hope that the general public, and in particular the big tennis fans, will see that he’s a worthy Wimbledon champion. Wimbledon is the most important tournament to play, and the most important tournament to win.”