June 12, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

Agnieszka Radwanska announces … Martina

Agatina? Ninjatilova?

Sn awful lot of news out there the last few days, isn’t there?

Now that Sloane Stephens is about to be set, Agnieszka Radwanska was teasing again today with the expected news that she’s planning to hire a top-level coach to add to her team.

And then … boom.

 

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The poster guy for equal opportunity in women’s coaching, Andy Murray, Tweeted his approval within minutes.

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“I did not sleep very well last night, thinking about getting back into match mode and the competitions. I am really excited about this opportunity to join Agnieszka’s team and work with Tomasz and it is going to be a fun challenge. I was delighted when Agnieszka asked me if I would collaborate with Tomasz and I can’t wait to get started,” Navratilova told the WTA Tour’s website.

Current Radwanska coach Tomasz Wiktorowski told the Polish media outlet Wyborcza on Dec. 2 that Radwanska would be going the way of many of the men on Tour – Roger Federer with Stefan Edberg and Kei Nishikori with Michael Chang, notably – by adding a “coaching consultant” who would spend a certain number of weeks with her during the season.

Wiktorowski said it would be in the area of 12-15 weeks, to “help with the goals of winning a Grand Slam title, and also a medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio (he also has said that the plan before the start of 2015 for Radwanska is to step up the weight training to put on muscle, to try to bump up the power a little bit).

A very rough Google translation:

“We have come to the conclusion that in order to measure the highest goals, in addition to a solid, systematic, daily work (Radwanska) needs an injection of adrenaline and experience to succeed in the biggest events. The person we are talking to, has the experience and want to share it with Agnieszka. …  It’s a good move. If, during the Grand Slam tournament Agnieska will be at the side of the person who won it already, and knows what it feels like …  in the finals, it can only help her. This will be a sort of guide.”

It appeared it might be Juan Carlos Ferrero, who was in Poland this week opening up a branch of his academy. The criteria fit. Where Navratilova falls a little short is on the coaching experience, although she has worked with players before.

This is WAY cooler.

And on the plus side, the emerging theme on the women’s side is a very positive one.

If Radwanska is adding someone of this calibre to her team, along with the news that up-and-coming American Madison Keys is adding not only Lindsay Davenport but also highly-regarded coach Wim Fissette to her set up, it’s a GREAT trend.

For far too long, the ladies have skimped on investing in their futures, preferring to stick with their fathers, who were their coaches far more often than on the men’s side, to keep all the shekels in the family. Or with their federation’s coaches, who might not cost them anything but aren’t always at the level required at the very top of the game.

And, there are more women, and former players, getting involved.

The state of coaching in the women’s game has always been a shake-my-head sort of thing. Yes, good coaches cost money. And if you put up big results, they get bonuses. But if they make the difference they’re supposed to make, you’ll have a lot more coming in anyway.

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