Sunday, 11 January 2015


As the heading suggests I am a little confused as to why a tennis professional would hire a fitness instructor as their coach. Roger Rasheed took over as Lleyton Hewitt's Coach in 2003 and in doing so took Hewitt from World Number 1 to World Number 19. Just ask John Tomic.
The rather controversial father of Bernard had a public spat with Rasheed over a comment made toward his son so he snapped back with a comment that was rather humorous. He congratulated Rasheed for doing just that, taking Hewitt from 1 to 19.
Rasheed has always been known for his fitness mentoring not his tennis coaching so I find it rather unusual that a guy like Hewitt would employ a fitness trainer as his tennis coach. What does a fitness instructor or trainer really know about the intricacies of a game like tennis apart from what the body requires ? 
Now not every player can hire someone as knowledgeable as say Stefan Edberg  but surely players would look at someone who can help them tactically over someone who can train them physically ? I don't know of too many coaches who have the ability to do both.
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov currently is coached by Rasheed  who recently said that he could make someone 'spew within 30 seconds', interesting comment. To me that is big noting one's ability to train a player hard but it lacks any real substance as far as teaching them the game of tennis.
Dimitrov is a talented tennis player yet he can't find a way to beat the top guys as his 2014 record suggests. He won 50 singles matches but lost 18 including a first round exit at the French Open to Karlovic. Now as big as the serve is of Karlovic a player of Dimitrov's standard on clay should be smart enough to at least take a set but he lost in straight.
 In fact it seems that the Bulgarian's return of serve is his least effective shot as he also lost to Janowicz in Cincinnati who was ranked 57 places behind him. Against Andy Murray in Paris in October Dimitrov won just 8 of 44 service return points, that's poor from a guy who owns just about every other shot. 
So my conclusion is simple really. A fitness guru really can't tweak the changes as well as a credentialed ex player or experienced coach of the game of tennis. Sure they can get a player's body fit and can even make them 'spew in 30 seconds' but it really isn't going to help them work strategies and angles.
Fitness instructors have a place in tennis, don't get me wrong but as far as actually teaching a player the game, well that should be left to mentors who really have one focus, teaching a player how to play the game. I don't know too many past coaches who have had a successful career in the game who were more recognized for their fitness expertise.
You can only own so many 'degrees' in tennis........

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