Day 6 at the Aussie Open with Sven and Mats

Day 6

January 24, 2010. Mats Merkel and Sven Groenefeld with Maria Kirilenko on the practice court at The Australian Open, Melbourne Australia.

January 24, 2010. Mats Merkel and Sven Groenefeld with Maria Kirilenko on the practice court at The Australian Open, Melbourne Australia. Photo by Cynthia Lum.

When you are getting into the end of the first week things are starting to change again while players are leaving due to the fact they lost. Our adidas team is sliming down since all the product has been delivered to players and their coaches and everybody is packing up again. However a new wave of people are coming to the Open and those are the next generation juniors that are now entering the arena of the first slam of the year.

Today it is Sunday the 24th of January and the Juniors will start their matches today on the outside courts.

Yesterday started out with an 8:30 a.m. meeting with Sorana Cirstea. Since she was leaving to go back home we needed to catch up on her status and development as she has now joined the Mouratoglou team in Paris.

After sitting down with Sorana, I had to walk over to another hotel around 10 a.m. to meet with Ana Ivanovic’s mother to discuss the next steps and make a plan for the coming weeks ahead.

January 24, 2010.The Australian Open, Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia. Mats Merkel with Fernando Verdasco on the practice court.

January 24, 2010.The Australian Open, Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia. Mats Merkel with Fernando Verdasco on the practice court. Photo by Cynthia Lum.

Before I knew it, it was 11:40 a.m. and were on the bus to the site where Mats had to hit with Fernando and prepare him for his match with Koubek. In the player’s lounge I had a chance to catch up with Darrin Cahill. We spoke and planned a training camp for the Player Development Program. We are thinking it will be similar to last year and we will have a 10 day prep time prior to the Indian Wells tournament.

At 1 p.m. I had a doubles prep with Sania Mirza who was having a session with her doubles partner ViVi Ruano Pasqual. They had a day off so it was a perfect time to have a good training session to prepare them for their next match up. As we were having a hit Maria (who had to warm up for her doubles at 11) joined us and we could stay on the same court for the 2 hours of practice. Now it may sound very easy, but juggling all the players and their plans/preparations is a great deal of our daily planning and communication — which we have to have dialed in at the end of everyday. I must say, the people behind the desks making the court reservations have been helping tremendously. Without them showing some leniency we could not do our work.

Since we did not have a big match schedule we could have some meetings again with coaches and players that were arriving and leaving for their next destination. We ended up going up to the second level of the player’s lounge where we could sit outside on a terrace overlooking the Oval. A big screen is stationed at the Oval and many fans were having a nice picnic while watching the tennis on the screen. We call it our office for the week. Mats and I were catching up for a little bit there with Martijn Bok the coach of Laura Robson.

Sven meets with Martijn Bok, coach of Laura Robson

Sven meets with Martijn Bok, coach of Laura Robson

Inside there is an internet lounge with couches and TVs and I watched Daniela Hantuchova loose her 3rd round match against Na Li. Since Caroline was playing the winner I had a chance to scout her next opponent and see if I could also be of help to Darren with the work he does with Daniela.

Maria won her doubles and is in good shape but will be taking on Dinara Safina in her next match today.

Since Fernando had a walkover after completing the first set, due to the fact that his opponent was sick, Mats was called to have another workout on court with Fernando to make sure he had enough rhythm and a good sweat.

January 24, 2010. Fernando Verdasco hitting on the practice court with Mats at The Australian Open, Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia.

January 24, 2010. Fernando Verdasco hitting on the practice court with Mats at The Australian Open, Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Cynthia Lum.

At 6 p.m. we had a warm up with Caroline on center court where she would be playing her third round match against Shahar Peer later that evening. The music was playing and the spectators were getting their seats when Mats and Caroline were warming up. The hit took only 20 minutes since it was just to get a feeling for the court. Mats and I went into the gym right after and had an hour to get our muscles into shape again.

We expected that the Hewitt vs Baghdatis match would be a long one since their match up from a few years ago lasted more than 5 hours. With that in mind the WTA and tournament officials even warned us if the match went long the court could be changed. Instead, after less than an hour I received a call from Caroline asking me if I had seen the score and that the trainer was called.

Caroline was on the treadmill and warming up as we were watching the match. As anticipated, the match was called off and instead of going on court at 11 p.m. Caroline walked on at 8:30 p.m.

Caroline was victorious after an early scare but played an incredible match of numbers.

Mats and I made it back to the hotel at around 11 p.m. and called it a day.

Have a good one.

Sven and Mats

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