June 18, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

An under-the-radar hire: Davin to Team Kudermetova

As Open Court headed to a practice court to see Emma Raducanu during Indian Wells, there were a ton of fans waiting for the Brit.

(She never showed up; after some confusion, and security assuring the fans that she was on her way, it was determined she had a prior commitment that ran long).

But as we snapped pics of intended practice partner Veroniika Kudermetova and husband/coach Sergey Demekhine, only later did we realize that there was a well-respected coach also on court with her.

It was Franco Davin, the longtime coach of Juan Martin del Potro and others and, until recently, Cristian Garin.

But there he was, having crossed over to the WTA side and working with Kudermetova, a 24-year-old Russian who has slowly but surely been rising in the ranks.

It seemed to have gone fairly unnoticed overall in the greater tennis ecosystem, too. But it feels significant in a few ways.

Here’s what it looked like.

It wasn’t a one-tournament gig; Davin also was on hand in Miami.

(From WTATV)

Clay Court season a’coming

Kudermetova is the defending champion in Charleston, after defeating unseeded Danka Kovinic in last year’s closed-door event.

She withdrew late, citing “illness”. But the reality is that she was in Miami through late Sunday, losing the doubles final with partner Elise Mertens to the veteran team of Vera Zvonareva and Laura Siegemund.

With a 56-draw in Charleston she would have had – at best – one day to travel to Charleston and maybe get one practice in on the Har-Tru before having to play. Which sounds like a recipe for injury.

So she bowed out.

With a quarterfinal loss to Paula Badosa at Indian Wells and a third-round loss to Petra Kvitova in Miami, Kudermetova stands at a career-high No. 22 in the singles rankings and a career-high No. 4 in the doubles rankings as of Monday.

So it’s going very well. But it’s heartening to see a WTA player, who already has a qualified coach as a husband, willing to invest in her career to get even better. That’s atypical on the women’s side, to say the least. And Davin’s resumé would mean he commands a good rate.

Points on offer during the clay season

The Argentine could be a valuable add as Kudermetova goes on to the long clay-court swing through Roland Garros.

Kudermetova is going to drop the points she earned in Charleston a year ago. She also reached the semifinal at a 250 in Istanbul.

But she exited in the round of 16 in both Madrid and Rome a year ago, and lost in the second round at Roland Garros.

So there is room there to do a lot better. And there’s no doubt Davin can be of assistance.

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