July 22, 2024

Open Court


Genie Bouchard turns to Robert Lansdorp

Genie Bouchard probably should be on her way to South America.

The struggling Canadian, who lost to Sara Errani in the first round of the Volvo Car Open Monday in Charleston, S.C., is entered in a lower-level event in Colombia next week.

Instead, according to irreproachable sources, the 24-year-old has flown to the Los Angeles area, and is practicing on hard courts.

Bouchard is in California consulting with Robert Lansdorp.

Lansdorp an outside-the-box choice

Lansdorp is the coach responsible for developing the textbook hard, flat groundstrokes of players like Maria Sharapova, Tracy Austin and Lindsay Davenport. 

Lansdorp, who turns 80 in November, has not worked with a pro player in recent years. He stays put in the South Bay Peninsula area outside Los Angeles, and works mostly with very young players. 

Lansdorp worked with Sharapova for many years, building the groundstroke base that allowed her to win multiple Grand Slam titles.

His reputation was built years ago on his ability to feed balls perfectly and repetitively, enabling his players to groove their groundstrokes to perfection and build their confidence that way.

To that, he added an aura of intimidation his former players still speak about. Although they all say it made them tougher, better.

Lansdorp doesn’t believe in topspin. He believes in hard, flat strokes that clear the net by a few feet at most, leaving little margin. He also believes that playing tournaments is hell on a players’ technique.

He tells the story here about being the first coach to travel on the Tour with a player, with Austin back in the 1970s, and being vigilant every day to ensure her technique didn’t falter. 

The Lansdorp way

In short, he may be a coach you send a player to see to built a solid base for their groundies, as his track record proves. But he’s not necessarily the coach you would want to see for just a few days in the middle of the season. 

Lansdorp had all of the top players he developed from a very young age. So he built their shots from the ground up; he didn’t take mature strokes and rebuild them the Lansdorp way. 

Lansdorp at the 2014 US Open, where he was watching Canadian junior Katherine Sebov. Sebov traveled regularly to California  to have her training overseen by Lansdorp. (Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

So it’s a fascinating development in the ongoing Bouchard coaching saga.

New agent imminent

Bouchard may have another reason to be in the L.A. area.

That’s where the headquarters of Creative Artists Agency is located. We’re told, CAA (which represents her countryman, Milos Raonic) will be the next agency to work with the Canadian.

Former agent John Tobias of TLA (also Los-Angeles based) took his leave a month ago.

It’s unknown whether Lansdorp is a candidate to become Bouchard’s new coach, or she merely traveled across the U.S. for a few days to get a little advice.

But that’s where she is, just a few days before the South American clay-court event, with a long flight and another time change ahead of her before she tries to get back on the winning track.

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