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My call to join Djokovic's coaching staff came as a surprise, admits Ivanisevic

Novak Djokovic in practice
Novak Djokovic in practice
New coach Goran Ivanisevic
Kyle Edmund

By Jonathan Veal

Goran Ivanisevic has joined defending champion Novak Djokovic's coaching staff for Wimbledon.

The 2001 champion will work with the Serbian for the first week of the tournament at the All England Club, though he is trying to shuffle his diary to be able to stay longer.

Ivanisevic, the only man to win the singles title as a wildcard entry, has previously coached Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic.

"A bit of a sudden call came a few days ago," the 47-year-old said. "I was a little surprised. I travelled to Sweden, Nole wanted me to come earlier, but I had a senior tour event agreed. I came here this morning for the first training.

"Unfortunately, it seems that I will be able to be there only in the first week because I have obligations again. I'm trying to postpone them, although there are so many things.

"However, when Novak Djokovic is calling you, you put a lot of things on the side."

The best performances of big-serving Ivanisevic's career were on the grass, having been a beaten finalist three times during the 1990s before finally lifting the trophy in 2001.

Despite winning at Wimbledon four times, including last year, it remains the surface that Djokovic is least comfortable on, having never played on it until he had turned professional.

He said: "I did struggle a little bit at the beginning, in the first couple of years of my career on the grass to really understand how I need to move on the court, how I need to adjust my swing and my game in general, tactically what I need to do.

"But over the years I guess you learn how to get used to it. Just have some form of a subconscious programme from before that you try to unlock and remember and use it."

Stan Wawrinka believes he can be a threat at Wimbledon this year, even though he admits finding grass challenging to play on.

The 34-year-old has won three Grand Slams, but has never gone past the quarter-finals at the All England Club, having made the last eight in 2014 and 2015.

He is yet to regain the heights that saw him clinch the French Open in 2015 and the US Open a year later following his knee surgery at the end of 2017. But he feels he can spring a surprise.

"It has always been challenging for me on the grass court, for my game I like to have time, to have time to think a little bit more about what I want to do and to have time to get my confidence," he said. "I believe I am improving on this surface.

"I got some big results playing in the quarter-finals and if I can get through the first couple of rounds I can be dangerous."

Kyle Edmund has, meanwhile, described it as "a very nice surprise" to find himself back on Centre Court for his first Wimbledon outing.

The British No.1 will take on Spain's Jaume Munar as he looks to recapture the form that carried him to the third round 12 months ago and an intense clash with eventual champion Djokovic.

Edmund eventually lost in four sets, but he hopes the experience can stand him in good stead against 88th-ranked Munar, who has never won a match on grass and has lost his last six on all surfaces.

He said: "It was probably the best match I played at Wimbledon. I ended up playing the winner, so he was playing very well. The best atmosphere and match I've been involved in at Wimbledon, for sure.

"I think every time you go on Centre Court or Court One, you get the feel of it. It's always in the bank for next time you go in.

"He's (Munar) a very good competitor. I practiced with him once last year. He plays with a lot of emotion, always fighting. It's an exciting match to be on Centre again, a very nice surprise."

Edmund arrived at the All England Club on the back of his best week of what has so far been a disappointing season with a run to the semi-finals in Eastbourne.

"Three matches inside a week is not something I've had for a while," he said. "It's good to get that, to come through some pressure situations."

After the highs of last season, which began with a run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open and ended with his first ATP Tour title and a place in the world's top 15, this year has been rather different.

A knee injury has played a big part, with Edmund missing most of the first two months and then retiring during his second-round match at the French Open and admitting it was still an issue.

He has pulled up well after Eastbourne and will not be giving any thought to the scrutiny on his shoulders as the leading British man at Wimbledon.

"I do my best," he said. "If I come unstuck, people have opinions about it, I move on.

"You always want to do well at Wimbledon. It's the biggest tournament in the world. But if you go on court tense and feeling pressure to win, then I don't think it's a great recipe to relax into your game and play freely."

Edmund is one of six British men in the singles main draw this year, and has company from East Yorkshire in the shape of 19-year-old wildcard Paul Jubb.

Edmund said: "I sent him a message saying, 'Well done, amazing opportunity, as best you can try and enjoy it all'."

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