Last year, it was rumoured that Novak Djokovic’s coach Marian Vajda instigated the removal of long-time mentor Pepe Imaz prior to the Serbian claiming his 13th grand slam title at Wimbledon.
The former Spanish player had been part of the 31-year-old’s backroom team throughout his major drought which began after winning the 2016 French Open.
Imaz implemented a number of much-derided techniques in an effort to assist the former world number one, which included promoting ‘long hugs’.
In an interview to L'Equipe, Djokovic denied that's true.
"When people do not know, they start speculating. And when you start speculating, you develop different forms of stories and you make people believe that it's like that. It's not like that. I always try to tell the truth. I do not hide that I went through a very emotional time which I am still in.
"For me, it was important to deal with some things off the court. But when something happens in your private life or elsewhere, many people think the problem is an external thing. Pepe, my coach, or who knows. This has never been the case.
They question my smartness. I have always tried to be surrounded by people who can help me, strengthen my character and understand me deeply so that I can become a better human."
He also clarified some things: "I am not vegan and I am not gluten-free. I am someone who tries to eat well and be aware of what his body takes. They are being too critical towards vegans. I do not like when you judge someone because they eat that or that. But we evolve in a society that likes to categorize like that."