Day 4 with Sven
Melbourne is heating up as the weather is getting better, the summer is now in full swing and the tournament is approaching the weekend. The third and fourth rounds are ahead and those are the times when we get a real indication of who will be a contender for the trophies.
Mats and I were on the 8 o’clock bus, entered the site at approximately 8:15 a.m. and welcomed by Charlie who was the first person to screen our credentials — with a scanner like those used at convenience stores. He has taken it to himself to say everybody’s name and he will be there for 6 hours straight.
We met Ana in the Gym who was going through her warm up routines with her fitness coach who joined her personal team about 4 weeks ago. He has been doing an incredible job with Ana in such a short period and will be a major strength for Ana in the future. Ana is such a powerful player with a dominant game but unfortunately yesterday her inconsistency got the better of her. It is always hard when you have to fight back and it was just too much for Ana yesterday.
Caroline was having a warm up with Mats when Ana’s match started. Caroline had to wait till the match was over after 2 hours and 40 some minutes. While I was having a talk with Ana after her defeat Caroline was in full swing, and when I entered the stadium again she was leading 5-2.
Caroline has showed the progress that you want to see — especially since she did not play many matches with only some exhibitions and a first round loss in Sydney before the tournament. Therefore, the match in the first round compared to the one of yesterday was just a simple numbers game. For Caroline to continue her path in the tournament she will continue to do the same as she did yesterday. She more than halved her unforced errors compared to the first match and this is just a sign she is getting into a match rhythm.
There are always nerves when you start a slam. If you are willing to compete and compose yourself then realize that it is perfectly normal to have more unforced errors in the beginning, you can remain objective and keep your focus on the present.
After being in the sun and sitting in the player’s box for about 4 hours, I needed to have a small bite and also get some fluids. I have the habit of not drinking a lot during tournaments, especially on a match day because there is nothing worse than having to go to the toilet during a very important moment. Since Mats and I are working with many players we sometimes forget about ourselves, but we are improving this to make sure we are hydrated, rested and can give our best to our players.
The tennis is one thing but there is another part that is taking place behind the scenes. The sponsors, such as adidas and many others are present to make sure their new product and new players are in place. The meetings with management companies are always important to keep the personal contact so the new generation is being scouted and talked about. So after Caroline’s match we sat down with one of the management groups, Octagon, who represent many players and have quite a few players in adidas gear. The managers are the ones that have the best overview. They help us work with the players, determine the best schedule and the places for the adidas Player Development Program to step in and provide our services.
Day 4 with Mats
Fernando and I actually had a warm-up scheduled for 4:30 p.m., but because the other matches on his court were progressing really slowly, we decided to changed the time to 5:00 p.m. on court 16. When we got there Roger Federer had just finished his warm-up for his match against Victor Hanescu. Roger and Fernando were joking around a little bit before he took off and Fernando and I were hitting together.
Fernando just recently switched from the adidas Barricade V into the adidas CC Genius II and he had a new pair of shoes he was breaking in for the upcoming match. He really likes the shoe and I can only agree with him, that it is a very good shoe to play tennis in.
Once the schedule was out, we booked all our practices and warm ups for the next day, then Sven and I took off to go back to the Hotel and get changed. We were invited to the birthday party of Laura Robson, who was celebrating her 16th birthday and asked Sven and I to come and join them. We were about 11 people sitting at a round table having Japanese dinner. After the main courses the most special part of the dinner was coming: THE BIRTHDAY CAKE. Even Andy Murray, who played together with Laura at the Hopman Cup in Perth, stopped by with his physical coach Jesse to have a piece of cake. It was a great dinner and we had a lot of fun.
Day 5 with Mats
We were getting ready for a 38-degree day today. Our first practice of the day was with Ayumi Morita, who was leaving later that day. We worked again with her on her serve and did some footwork drills with a basket. It is a pleasure working with her, since she is very open for any kind of advice that Sven and I are giving. We both agree, that she already improved and we are looking forward to seeing her soon again.
At 10:00 a.m. Maria was getting ready for her Match against Roberta Vinci, an Italian player that plays a lot of slice on her backhand side, unlike most of the WTA players nowadays. Maria was hitting with Agnieszka Radwanska, who had a day off. But the last 10 minutes she wanted me to play with her and I had to hit a lot of slice backhands, so she could get used to getting under the ball and be ready for her match.
By 11:00 a.m. we were on court 16, the players favorite court to practice on, since it is very close to the facility and the players don’t have to walk too long through the crowds. Caroline and I went through the routines on her day off. We warmed up, then hit serves and returns to keep her body going.
Sania was warming up with her doubles partner Virginia Ruano Pascual at 12:00 p.m. on court 20, which is very close to court 16. We didn’t have to hurry to our next practice, since we stopped 10 minutes earlier with Caroline.
As Maria walked on to Show court 3, our other players, Sania and Laura Robson were starting to play doubles. Maria played very well and managed to win 7-5, 7-6. During the change-overs, the scores of the other courts were shown on the result screen and we saw that Laura Robson won her doubles and Sania did as well. So a good day in the office for our adidas players!
Sven and I went to the gym until the schedule came out, we had about 45 minutes to do some exercises. It is nice to get to work out, so we can switch off a little bit, even if we are working out on site.
After the schedule was done and the practices for the next day were taken care of, we went back to the Hotel to meet up with Claus Marten who has been working over 25 years in Global Sports Marketing Tennis for adidas. One of his responsibilities is taking care of the players and equipping them with clothes. He and his team are equipping approximately 45 players (male and female) and their support teams, so it probably comes down to about 100 people.
I think, we can consider ourselves very lucky being able to work within such a nice structure of people. It is not always given to get along with everybody within the team, but for us it is so.
Enjoy your day,
Mats and Sven