June 18, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

New coaching-player collabs in the desert

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Ideally, coaching changes are done during tennis’s (brief) off-season, to give players and coaches time to get to know each other and work up a plan.

But life doesn’t always work out the way you planned.

And at this edition of the BNP Paribas Open, there are a number of notable new coaching collaborations.

Notably, yesterday, we spotted Alycia Parks and Jarmere Jenkins having a get-to-know-you session.

Here’s what it looked like.

Jenkins was the longtime and valued hitting partner for Serena Williams. Technically, he might still be. But his CV goes beyond that.

If it seems as though new coach-player collaborations look fine from the get-go, that’s obviously not the case. A player has had ways they were taught, and coaches who might have come and gone, but knew their games and tendancies while they were on the job.

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Coaches have their own way of teaching and working. And they have to find a happy medium that basically makes the player comfortable more than anything.

It’s really worse than … the first few dates of a relationship. Because the idle small talk and chit chat doesn’t have any … real world consequences. Like winning tennis matches and making your living.

So there was a lot of that going on with Parks and Jenkins.

And let’s not forget, of course, the new Sofia Kenin – Michael Joyce collab, also as first reported here.

Another new collab: Groeneveld and … Linda Fruhvirtova

A few months after calling it quits with 2019 Indian Wells champion Bianca Andreescu, veteran coach Sven Groeneveld is in the desert with … 17-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova.

Fruhvirtova and her younger sister Brenda have had plenty of people around them, including physical trainer Duglas Cordero (late of Team Leylah Fernandez).

There are … a lot of people on Team F. Notably in Australia. Just a serious gaggle. Which is always concerning when you’re talking about such young kids.

A year ago at the Eddie Herr tournament in Florida, Fruhvirtova had Belinda Bencic’s father overseeing things.

Groeneveld is a no-nonsense coach who hopefully will simplify all that.

Sam Sumyk moves on to Scott

Sam Sumyk, a Frenchman who has coached a lot of players on the WTA Tour, has a new player in the desert.

It’s young American Katrina Scott, an 18-year-old who got a lot of pub a few years ago as she was just coming up. She’s currently ranked No. 160, coming slowly but surely through those growing-up years.

She has a wild card into the qualifying.

Sumyk has worked with Victoria Azarenka, Garbiñe Muguruza (for quite awhile), Donna Vekic, and many more.

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