Newcombe Medal Winners Ash Barty, Alex De Minaur Reveal Their Goals For 2019 - UBITENNIS
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Newcombe Medal Winners Ash Barty, Alex De Minaur Reveal Their Goals For 2019

The two players have received the biggest award in Australian tennis. Following in the footsteps of Sam Stosur, Lleyton Hewitt and Nick Kyrgios.

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Alex de Minaur and Ash Barty (image via https://twitter.com/TennisAustralia)

Two of Australia’s most promising tennis players are hoping to rise further up the rankings in the new year after receiving their country’s top honor at an annual award ceremony.

 

Ashleigh Barty and Alex de Minaur have been awarded the Newcombe Medal this year. The Newcombe Medal is an annual award given to Australian players in recognition of their performance, achievements and contributions throughout the season. For the first time in its nine-year history, two players share the prize after judges couldn’t decide between Barty and Minaur. Two players who have reached career ranking highs this season.

“To be able to share it with Alex is even more special,” Barty told Tennis Australia.
“I think we’ve both had incredible years and now we’re gearing up to get into another Aussie summer and we’re excited to hopefully go big and play well in front of our home crowd.”

22-year-old Barty has won two WTA titles this season, including the season-ending WTA Elite Trophy, and is currently ranked 15th in the world. She also reached the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time at the US Open. Barty has also enjoyed success on the doubles circuit by claiming four trophies, including the US Open alongside Coco Vandeweghe. It is the second year in a row she has won the Newcombe medal.

On the men’s tour, de Minaur has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the rankings over the past 12 months. Jumping from No.208 to 31st in the world. Becoming the highest ranked male player in his country. De Minaur he finished runner-up three times in 2018 at tournaments in Sydney, Washington and the Next Gen Finals. The 19-year-old has also been named ATP newcomer of the year.

“It’s given me a real hunger for more,” said Minaur.
“The last couple of Slams I’ve been playing great tennis and I’ve been able to make third rounds. Now that’s definitely a goal – to push it a bit further, hopefully be able to beat some of these top guys and definitely try to make second week.
“But then again, just gonna take it day by day, and as long as I’m improving both on court and off the court, I’m a strong believer that the results will show.”

Big honours, big goals

https://twitter.com/ashbar96/status/1067178579903995904

The award ceremony took place just over a month before the Australian summer of tennis gets underway. For Barty, in the new year she will be hoping to close in on a place in the top 10 for the first time. Something that hasn’t been achieved by an Australian woman since Sam Stosur back in May 2013.

“Obviously the elusive top 10 is right there but it’s very simple for me: I really want to stay consistent.” She said.
“I want to prove I’m a top-15 player, possibly top 10.”

A place in the second week of the grand slams will be the main focus of rising star De Minaur. Earlier this season, he reached the third round of both Wimbledon and the US Open. Losing to Rafael Nadal and Marin Cilic respectively.

“That’s one of the goals,” the Australian Associated Press quoted him as saying.
“I played some great tennis this year, especially Wimbledon and the US Open, so I feel like the level’s there.
“I’ve been close against the top guys and now it’s time to learn from the mistakes I did against those guys and hopefully I can get over the line in those big matches going forward.”

De Minaur has also been tipped to rise further up the rankings but John Newcombe. The former player that the medal is named after. Newcombe won seven grand slam titles during the 1960s and 1970s.

“This kid’s something special. He’s just got something,” Newcombe said.
“He’s done a fantastic job this year and the top eight in the world is certainly there [for him] because he’s got a good brain, he’s got a great all-court game and he’s dedicated to improving himself.”

Barty will start the 2019 season at the Hopman Cup. Meanwhile, De Minaur will return to action at the Brisbane International. Both of those tournaments will take place during the first week of January.

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Filippo Volandri believes that Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti are the future of Italian tennis in the Davis Cup

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Former world number 25 Filippo Volandri has been named as the new captain of the Italian Davis Cup. 

 

Barazzutti served as Italian Davis Cup captain for twenty years and won the Davis Cup trophy in 1976 in the final against Chile. He also played in three more finals in 1977, 1979 and 1980 and served as Fed Cup captain from 2002 to 2016 guiding Italy to four titles with a great team formed by Francesca Schiavone, Flavia Pennetta, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. Barazzutti was the longest-serving Italian Davis Cup team captain in national tennis history. 

Volandri made his debut in the Davis Cup in 2001 in a dead match against Finland. Later that year he beat Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic. He played in ten Davis Cup ties from 2001 to 2010, finishing with a 10-7 win-loss record. 

Volandri talked about his plans as Davis Cup captain in an interview to Italian Sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. 

Volandri has served as Italy’s national technical director since 2018 and worked on the Over 18 project aimed to guide Italian young players in their transition to professional tennis. Volandri’s work is now paying off, as eight Italian players are ranked in the top 100 and four players are in the top 40. Young stars like Matteo Berrettini, Lorenzo Sonego, Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti have made their impact on the ATP Tour. 

“I have not slept much in the last few days. I feel emotional and I wanted to talk to every Italian player. I contacted the most experienced and the youngest players. I want to build a solid relationship to them and I am planning to meet them frequently. I met Jannik Sinner in Bordighera before he left to Australia. Jannik has showed that he is a mature player and works hard in training. He will continue improving in the future. Lorenzo Musetti needs more time for his tennis style, but he made a big step forward and we follow him with great enthsiasm. Sinner and Musetti are the future of Italian tennis in the Davis Cup. Thanks to the Italian Federation I have built a team of professional people, who have contributed to the growth of Berrettini, Sinner and Musetti. I will work with mental coaches. I believe in the psycological aspect of tennis. We are working with tennis statistician Craig O’Shannessy. With his data we have been able to change our training methods and the ways to prepare matches”, said Volandri.

Volandri succeds Corrado Barazzutti, who let him debut in the Davis Cup in 2001 when he was a young player. The new captain wants to thank Barazzutti, who guided Italy to the semifinal in 2014. 

“At such an important moment for my coaching career I want to thank Corrado, who let me debut in the Davis Cup even though I was just a kid, when he was just named captain. I hope I am able to honour what he did in this position. I learnt a lot from Corrado. I know exactly what means to compete in a Davis Cup tie. It’s like playing four tounaments in a row. I played in the Davis Cup for many years, but I cannot compare to being Davis Cup captain. I have a big responsibility”, said Volandri. 

Italy secured its spot in the Davis Cup Finals in 2021 with a 4-0 win over South Korea in Barazzutti’s final tie as captain. 

“Italian tennis will always be grateful to Corrado Barazzutti for his extraordinary contribution for our movement, first as player and then as a coach”, said Italian Tennis Federation Angelo Binaghi 

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Do Your Players Understand The Tennis Score System? – If They Don’t, They’ll Struggle Mentally

The more unrealistic expectations players have got, the more they are going to struggle with their thoughts and emotions.

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A frustrated coach calls. Asks for a mental tool to help “fix” their player’s mentality. But it’s not always a mental tool that is required. Often, it’s about going back to the basics. It’s about educating players about the realities of tennis. First step is getting players to know how to count. Second step is educating players about the score system. Close to every coach gets the first step done properly. The second step, not so much. And let me be the first to say, I have not been any better myself. 

 

So how do we start to educate players about the score system of tennis? 

A bold but true statement, that needs to be taken into account. “Tennis players are a bunch of losers” as Kelsey Anderson once entitled a blog post of hers. The reality is that tennis players lose a lot when playing matches. 

Craig O’Shannesy has made statistics in tennis easy to understand and digest. Craig’s work is a cornerstone in helping players with more realistic expectations. More realistic expectations equal less frustration and anger on court. 

So, let’s have a look at a key static to help educate the player you are coaching. 

Roger Federer
-103 titles
-1200+ match wins.
-20 Grand Slams
-Nearly $130 million in prize money

Undeniably one of the best tennis players to ever live. 

How many percentages of the points he has played in his professional career has he won? 

Before I knew the statistic, I guessed 70% or even 75%. After all, we are talking about Roger Federer.

I was wrong!

55%. 

Meaning that Roger Federer has lost 45 % of the points that he has played in his professional career. Almost half the points he has played. I was astonished the first time I heard this statistic! 

We are not talking about your average professional, it’s a player that has dominated the sport together with the rest of the so called “big three”. 

Talking about “the big three”. Interestingly Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are the only 2 other players to equal Federer on 55 % of points won in their professional career. 

So what does this statistic mean to players?

A lot of players believe that they should be winning 8/10 points to win a match. That they have to destroy the other player. They play 3 good points and then miss an easy put-away forehand and yell “I’m sooooo bad!”. 

The reality is that if a player is only messing up on every 4th point, they are doing an unbelievable job. Tennis is a game of mistakes. No matter how hard players try they can’t avoid making mistakes. We want to minimize unforced errors but player’s thinking that they can go through a match without making mistakes and losing a lot of points is simply unrealistic. 

When a player’s internal reality is different from the reality they are faced with in matches, it will lead to frustration and anger. The frustration and anger will be termed as bad behavior and a mental problem. The mental problem is often attempted to be fixed with mental tools. Could be a physical routine or a breathing technique. While the mental tools can treat the symptom and be very helpful in acute situations, it’s important to address the cause of why the frustration and anger arises in the first place. 

From the 55% statistic on Federer how is it possible to help the players with more realistic expectations? 

Here are 2 coaching advice to reinforce to players:

“Expect to lose almost every other point even in the matches that you are winning” 

“If you can keep you opponent from winning 2 points in a row for long enough – eventually you’ll win”

Remember that unrealistic expectations lead to players experiencing frustration and anger. The better we educate players about the realities of tennis, the more realistic expectations they will have. The more realistic expectations the more focus and mental energy can be spent focusing on their gameplan and executing their shots. The more focus on executing their shots, the bigger opportunity of performing well. The better the player perform, the bigger the opportunity of winning the match. 

By Adam Blicher
Danish Sport Psychologist Consultant Adam Blicher is a member of the International Sport Mental Coach Association

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Gael Monfils Joins Forces With Former Long-Time Coach Of Dominic Thiem

Will the Frenchman return to his best form with the help of his new mentor?

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Tennis star Gael Monfils will start the 2021 season with a new team setup after confirming the appointment of a new coach.

 

The former US Open semi-finalist has paired up with the renowned Gunther Bresnik who is best known for his time spent working alongside Dominic Thiem for over a decade until their split in 2019. Thiem is now coached by Nicolas Massu. Bresnik is the former Davis Cup captain of Austria and has worked with numerous top names such as Ernests Gulbis, Jerzy Janowicz, Boris Becker and Henri Leconte.

Monfils has been training with Bresnik during the off-season but only now has it been confirmed that the two have formed an agreement to work together. However, over the coming weeks Monfils will be guided by another Austrian. Co-coach Richard Ruckelshausen will work with the world No.11 in Australia and has been appointed as the captain of the French ATP Cup team.

“I’ve known Gaël for a long time,” Bresnik told krone.at on January 9th. “With Ernests Gulbis and Stefan Lochbihler’s son, he worked on his shape here in Spain (during the off-season).”

The 34-year-old will be looking to get back on top form following what was a roller-coaster 2020. Monfils started last year by winning 16 matches within a three-month period. However, following the pause in tennis due to the COVID-19 pandemic he struggled to regain that form. Ending the season with three consecutive first round losses.

Monfils had been working with Liam Smith. The upcoming Australian Open will be his 54th appearance in a Grand Slam main draw. He has only reached the quarter-finals at the Melbourne major once which was back in 2016.

So far in his career Monfils has won 10 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as sixth in the world.

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