(CNN) Novak Djokovic will start the defense of his French Open crown with eight-time major winner Andre Agassi by his side.
The former top-ranked Serb, who has struggled with a loss of form since completing the career Grand Slam of all four majors last year at Roland Garros, made the surprise announcement after a one-sided loss to a younger rival in the finals of the Rome Masters.
“I spoke to Andre the last couple weeks on the phone, and we decided to get together in Paris,” Djokovic said in a news conference Sunday after losing 6-4 6-3 to 20-year-old German Alexander Zverev on the clay of the Foro Italico.
On May 5, Djokovic announced he had split from his entire coaching team — including his tennis coach of seven years Marian Vajda – to rediscover what he called “the winning spark.”
Three-time Wimbledon winner Boris Becker, who left the Djokovic coaching set-up at the end of December after three years by his side, welcomed the news, saying on Twitter that hiring Agassi was an “excellent choice”.