Goran Ivanisevic leads the way in the coaches’ rankings - UBITENNIS
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Goran Ivanisevic leads the way in the coaches’ rankings

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TENNIS – A trend that appeared last season and that will spill into 2015 was that of legendary former players pairing up with the game’s top performers to try and steer them to the greatness they achieved. Sometimes the results of these coaches aren’t clear to see but in the case of Goran Ivanisevic it couldn’t be more evident. Bruno Bergareche Sans

 

A trend that appeared last season and that will spill into 2015 was that of legendary former players pairing up with the game’s top performers to try and steer them to the greatness they achieved. What’s fascinating is that the former pro’s seem to link up with players who have similar characteristics to themselves, meaning they can relate to their style of play, but perhaps what these top players need precisely is something a little bit different to help them out with the parts of their game that still have room for improvement.

Roger Federer with Stefan Edberg

Roger Federer with Stefan Edberg

Having said that a player of Federer or Djokovic’s calibre probably isn’t going to learn anything new in terms of playing tennis, as they most probably have surpassed the level of Edberg and Becker respectively. But what these coaches can bring to the table is experience and, above all, another top level tactical view from which to feed off. When Federer faces Nadal or Djokovic he has his ideas on how to tackle these two top players but Edberg may have different ideas which, combined, will give the Swiss maestro a vaster spectrum of information and that’s precisely where these coaches play a big role.

Sometimes the results of these coaches aren’t clear to see but in the case of Goran Ivanisevic it couldn’t be more evident. One of the true characters of the game in the nineties, Ivanisevic defied all the odds on his way to winning his maiden Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2001 as a Wild Card in what was one of sport’s most remarkable stories. When he partnered Marin Cilic, many eye brows were raised as to whether his temperament was ideal to overlook the career of a promising yet shy tennis player. But that’s exactly what a player needs from his coach: for him to contribute characteristics the player doesn’t have. Ivanisevic provides the spark and gung-ho mentality that Cilic was lacking. Marin was reliable and consistent; he beat the players he had to beat but he lost to the players he had to lose against. With Goran in his corner he let the chains free and started striking the ball freely without too much of a care, just like Ivanisevic did, enjoying the game instead of being eaten up by fear. That mixture of ideas was devastating and led Cilic to an unthinkable US Open title in September with one of the performances of the year against Federer in the semi-final.

Boris Becker by Art Seitz

Boris Becker by Art Seitz

On paper Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker were better players, as was Michael Chang, who mentors Kei Nishikori, but coaching is a different world and it’s about providing your pupil with what he lacks and that’s exactly what Goran Ivanisevic does with Marin Cilic. Another interesting partnership which has come together for 2015 is that of Richard Gasquet and Sergi Bruguera. The Spaniard could help to raise the Frenchmen’s game, especially on clay, which would be much needed for Gasquet who seems to be submerged in a sea of doubts. That partnership remains to be seen but if there’s a ranking for coaches, right now Goran Ivanisevic is the man at the top of the pile.

ATP

REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach

The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.

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Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.

 

TennisKafe.com has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.

The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.

“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.

Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.

Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.

Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.

Groh’s coaching CV

  • 2011: Michael Berrer
  • 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
  • 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
  • 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
  • ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
    Source -ATP/Linkldn

UPDATE*

Since the publication of this article, Ubitennis has received some additional details on Dimitrov’s work with Groh. The editor of TennisKafe.com, Borislav Orlinov, confirmed it was Dimitrov’s manager (Georgi Stoimenov) who revelled the two will be working together. They are currently training in Monte Carlo, but will head to Australia before the New Year.

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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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