Super Coaches by Jaymon Crabb
December 26, 2016
The latest trend amongst the top players in the World has been to hire a ‘super coach’. I define a super coach as a tycoon of the game. Multiple Grand Slam title winner and someone with the aura and presence that if they walk into a room everyone takes notice. The three at the top of this list are John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl. All three will be court side at this years Wimbledon and each has a player who will contend for the title. Milos Raonic, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Andy Murray started the trend in hiring Ivan Lendl for the 2012/2013 seasons and found a purple patch of form going on a tear winning a US OPEN, Olympic Gold Medal and Wimbledon titles. They split for the 2014 season with Lendl citing an unwillingness to travel but they have rekindled their partnership from the start of the 2016 grass season with the goal of winning The Championships that are Wimbledon. The partnership has had immediate success with Andy winning The Queens Club lead in tournament.
The other big signing was John McEnroe to the Milos Raonic camp. The big serving Canadian has the perfect grass court game and with Johnny Mac in his corner maybe he can add the belief positive court presence he has been lacking. He already showed signs in a more deliberate plan and positive body language where he went all the way to the final and led Andy Murray a set and break before eventually losing. It will be interesting to see what further tricks McEnroe can add to Milos’ game on the hallowed turf of Wimbledon.
Then we have Boris Becker who has been leading camp Djokovic for a few years now. Like Johnny Mac, Boris is a Wimbledon specialist and we have already seen the fruits of his work with Novak with mental belief and some added finesse around the net. Novak held all four Grand Slams and was attempting to join Rod Laver as the only people to achieve this in the open era. Add the other dynamic of this being an Olympic year and we had the possibility of a calendar year Golden Slam (consisting of winning the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open and the Olympic Gold Medal) that would be quite a feat!
There are other notable super coaches and former Wimbledon Champions. Goran Ivanisevic is coaching Marin Cilic, Richard Krajicek is helping Stan Wawrinka and as part of his Davis Cup role Lleyton Hewitt will be on hand to assist the Aussie contingent, most notabley Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios.
So what does a super coach bring to the table? The game of tennis at the top tier of the game is so mental and players are looking for that tiny edge over their competition. When you have a tycoon of the game, someone revered and respected by virtually every current player, someone who today’s players are attempting to follow the footsteps of, it adds an edge. As a coach I can give advice to a player but when a Lendl, a Becker, McEnroe or a Hewitt says exactly the same thing it holds that much more weight. The player stops and listens, digests the words and thinks about it. These are players that have achieved at the highest level of our game. It isn’t about how to hit a forehand or a backhand for the likes of Djokovic and Murray. It is about controlling emotions when serving at 4-5 in a 5th set with a Wimbledon title on the line. The slight tactical knowledge passed on from someone who has been there and done it all. To me that is the reason for these hires. To gain the mental edge and the mental confidence to finish tight matches. Conversely it also puts doubt in your opponents mind. It is intimidating enough seeing Andy Murray down the other end of the court but to also have Ivan Lendl court side urging him on!! Any little advantage can swing a match.
So I’m really looking forward to watching Wimbledon, the Olympics and US Open unfold both on the court and in the coaches box!!
We are extremely grateful to Jaymon for taking time to provide us with this enlightening articles, in the midst of a busy schedule working with the Australian players in preparation for Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open
Whether you're mastering the basics or perfecting you technique, find a coach to suit your level and playing style.
Looking for a place to play? Enter your postcode or suburb below