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Day 2 at the Aussie Open with Sven Groeneveld

Posted on January 20, 2010 in Miscellaneous Tournaments

Sven Groeneveld and Mats Merkel

Sven Groeneveld and Mats Merkel

As Mats and I were in the bus yesterday, we were finishing our first blog entry. With today’s technology and ability to communicate digitally and electronically, we are in touch with the whole world.

The same goes for our Blackberry Messenger, which is a must for us. Players who don’t have the Blackberry Messenger are at a disadvantage because we are not directly linked. We luckily have all but one player using Blackberry phones.

With the Blackberry, we are in touch with the players or their team when the schedule changes or when the order of play is set. This way we can take advantage of having the best booking time for when they want to practice or warm up for their match.

Yesterday was a better day, and there was no delay of play, although coming out at 9 a.m. for a warm-up with Ana Ivanovic still was a bit chilly. Though the warm-up is at 9, we usually meet the players at 8:30 a.m. to catch up on strategy or exchange some info on a player who is new to us.

After the half-hour warm-up, I had to move over to show court No. 2, but Mats had a little jog to the other end of Melbourne Park because he was warming up Fernando Verdasco for his first round match starting at 11. Normally I do not hit with the players, but because we were juggling schedules, I ended up hitting with Sania Mirza, who also had a first round match.

Because we are not their full-time coaches, we depend on the flexibility of the players and their teams. We had three players playing at one time, so we had to make some choices. Because Ana does not have a full-time coach and the others do, we decided that I would be with Ana during her first round match and Mats would warm up with Ayumi Morita, who had the third match on after 11, before joining Sania’s team.

For a routine post-match cool down head to the gym, where players either get on a bike or do some exercises to keep their bodies in top shape to prevent injury. The gym is conveniently located next to the player lounge and locker room. The Australian Open is the most convenient for players, coaches and teams because of its infrastructure. Yesterday it was announced the facilities will be improved even more with a $350 million facelift.

When Ana and Sania came off the court, both head into the gym. Sania was on the bike and obviously disappointed. She reflected and analyzed the match herself very well, and she came to the conclusion that she is just not committing enough when she creates the opportunity. Ana was doing some work with her physiotherapist to work on her getting her body stronger, and she is getting stronger each day. She was happy with her performance and her new dress.

Yesterday we had a 50/50 balance with Ana and Fernando winning their first rounds and Sania and Ayumi unfortunately losing their matches. Sania will play her mixed and women’s doubles, but Ayumi will head home and get prepared for the Fed Cup the week after the Open.

Maria Kirilenko was having a hit after her first round upset encounter with Sharapova and was interested to find out about how she would be feeling after her 3 hour, 22 minute battle. During her hit with Flavia Pennetta, she was showing no signs of fatigue but was showing pure motivation to get ready for her next opponent. I must say, over the four years that Maria has been in and out of the program she has been maturing and her best tennis is ahead of her.

At 3 p.m. Mats joined Caroline Wozniacki for her practice session. Her match was canceled due to the rain on the first day and will instead play Wednesday. Since we had Ayumi Morita play her first round match at the same time, I decided to skip the practice and join Ayumi’s team and unfortunately watched her lose 7-5, 6-4 to the stronger baseline game of Suarez Navarro.

After Ayumi’s match, Mats and I sat down and went over the planning for the coming months and caught up with some other players who are under contract with the adidas. We are still working very hard to create an organization or association for Tour coaches, and this will develop over the months to come.

As we were finishing up our day, we had the schedule and Blackberry phones in hand to organize our next day. We strolled over to Court 4, where we had to stop by the court of Gisela Dulko because we were scouting for Ana’s next opponent. Dulko was winning easily, and we expected her to win in two sets.

So we left when she was leading with 5-0, and we were running late for our annual adidas team dinner at Café Sienna on Chappel Street. Dulko did end up winning, but with a different score than I would have guessed — 6-0, 5-7, 7-5.

With our Blackberrys in one hand and a cappuccino in the other, Mats and I are now in the players’ restaurant at 8 a.m. before we get on court with three great girls: Ana from 8:30 – 9:30, Caroline from 9:30 – 10 and Maria from 10 – 10:30. And yes we are being paid to do so.

Thank you for your interest and enjoy the Aussie Open.

Mats and Sven

Read Mats and Sven’s Day 1 Blog


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