Super Coach – Wimbledon Edition
In 2016 I discussed the evolution of the ‘Super Coach’ on the ATP tour and in recent months we have seen a more success from the top players employing these coaches as well as a new edition to the club…
The New ‘Super Coach’
In the build-up to the French Open 2017, we saw Novak Djokovic make a big decision in his tennis career. He decided to drop his whole supporting team; many of whom had played a big part in his rise to success. Since the turn of the year Novak’s form has not been that of previous years. He has only surpassed the quarter-finals once, in Doha, before he dropped his entire team. There was plenty of speculation as to who was going to come and help Djokovic create the spark he used to have. On May 21st, Djokovic revealed that Andre Agassi was the man he has turned to, to change his fortunes. Novak said this about Agassi. “Andre is someone that I have tremendous respect for as a person and as a player. He has been through everything that I’m going through. He understands the game amazingly well. I am enjoying every conversation that I have with him. Also, he’s someone that nurtures family values, philanthropic work. He’s a very humble man, very educated. He’s a person that can contribute to my life on and off the court a lot. I’m very excited to see what is ahead of us.” Djokovic also confirmed this week that the American legend will be with him for the entire Wimbledon event to continue there work together and see if they can spark a successful coach/player relationship.
It appears that Novak has hired Agassi to perform a ‘life coach’ type role within his team and to divulge further into his day to day life and gain a greater understanding of what Novak is feeling and going through during these times. There is no doubt that Djokovic still has the tennis ability to win Grand Slams, but is he strong enough mentally to endure the strenuous nature of what the ATP tour offers. Perhaps Djokovic has looked to Agassi for what happened to him late in his career. In 1997, Agassi dropped his world ranking to 141 and with everyone saying that he was finished, he managed to pull back and win 5 of his 8 majors. Could Novak be looking to Andre for inspiration in what triggered Agassi’s comeback?
Moya helps Rafa to ‘La Decima’
Before Agassi’s addition to the super coaching club, Rafael Nadal took on Carlos Moya, a former world number 1 as a ‘Super Coach’ in December in a bid to claim his number 1 spot in the ATP rankings and win ‘La Decima’ at Roland Garros. Moya is no stranger to success in Paris having won the tournament back in 1998. Moya will soon be the main coach of Nadal, as Toni will look to step aside at the end of the season to direct the running of the Rafael Nadal Academy. As such, Moya’s role may be more than that of a super coach who has been there and done it. Moya has already suggested 3 main areas in Nadal’s on court game that he needs to improve. Moya commented, “The forehand is big in a different way. Maybe it is not jumping that high, the ball. But we are trying to work on getting more speed through the court. Balls are different now, probably a bit heavier, so we have to adapt and try to do some damage in other ways.” Furthermore, Moya mentioned, “The backhand is much better than it used to be. And I told him in the beginning that we had to work a lot on the serve. Toni also thought that, and Francis Roig,” (the third coach in the triumvirate). “We increase the speed on the second serve to be less predictable, to change more directions, to keep the other guy thinking. We don’t want his opponent to hit hard with the forehand and dominate the point.”
It will be particularly interesting to see which of the two new ‘Super Coaches’ on the scene will prevail as having had the greatest impact with their respective players in 2017. We wish them all good luck and cannot wait to see the results.