April 7, 2020

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After split with Anisimova, Rodriguez ready for another challenge

When Tennis.Life broke the news that legendary coach Carlos Rodriguez had signed on with rising talent Amanda Anisimova, all signs pointed to the continuation of the partnership past the initial trial period last fall, during the offseason and through the Australian summer.

The impression given was that the trial period was more or less a formality.

It didn’t play out that way.

Much was made about Team Amanda getting Rodriguez out of the commitment he has with an academy in Beijing, China and back on Tour.

The Belgian hadn’t been out there since July 2014. It was announced then that he and Hall-of-Famer Li Na of China had split and that he would no longer be travelling with her. The reason given was that the owners of Rodriguez’s Academy, Potter’s Wheel, needed him back at the mothership.

The other truth was that Li Na had already played the last match of her career. Although no one knew it at the time.

Five years later, Rodriguez was back.

And even after Anisimova’s difficult first-round loss to Zarina Diyas in Melbourne, Anisimova told Tennis.Life she expected to continue with him.

“We’re supposed to keep working together, so that’s what I think,” she said.  “I’m happy with how we’ve been working together, and I feel like we can do really good things. So it’s just the start.”

The Australian summer was over for her. And, it turns out, so was the collaboration with Rodriguez.

Rodriguez
Juska is on the coaching hotseat these days, seen here during Anisimova’s impressive win over Elina Svitolina Monday in Doha. (WTAtv.com)

Since then, Anisimova has been travelling with Andis Juska. The Latvian had been her hitting partner. He has played a similar hitting partner / occasional coach role with Jelena Ostapenko.

The 18-year-old lost a tough three-setter against Barbora Strycova last week in Dubai. But she bounced back Monday in Doha with a straight-sets win over the struggling Elina Svitolina.

Rodriguez open to a return

On Rodriguez’s side, it turns out that even if Anisimova’s management negotiated with Rodriguez’s academy for him to travel, exceptionally, he’s able and willing to take on another coaching challenge.

Tennis.Life is told that he registered on the list available to all WTA Tour players of coaches who are looking to work with players.

And Rodriguez told Tennis.Life via email that under the right conditions, he’s eager to get back out there.

“Of course I’m interested in coaching another player and getting back on the circuit. But only if it’s an interesting project both on the human and professional sides,” he wrote. “It’s important to me, beyond the titles any player or coach wishes for, that the human development aspect that comes with tennis and high-level competition be there.”

Rodriguez said that he and Amanda spent three “very rewarding months together where I learned an enormous amount. As did she, I think.”

“Unfortunately the parties involved – the Chinese academy and the people in charge of Amanda – weren’t able to come to an agreement to continue the collaboration,” he said.

Rodriguez will be his own agent

Rodriguez said that the only positive thing to come out of it was that he was able to obtain permission from the academy to negotiate future collaborations on his own behalf.

So, if you’re a talented player who’s ready to tap into the knowledge accrued both from developing a player from scratch (Justine Henin) – and taking an experienced player and completely revamping her game, successfully, at a very late stage (Li Na) – it’s definitely worth a phone call.