Today I would like to talk a hit more about how the players are getting ready for their matches on “match day” and what they are doing on a “day off.”
Usually on a day off the player finds another player to hit with to play some points. They warm up and then get a sweat going for about 50-75 minutes. But there are also players like Juan Martin Del Potro who hit with heir coaches or have a hitting partner with them, as Maria Sharapova does, for example. This guarantees they will be able will work on their game without any other player being present.
Del Potro goes out for an easy hit with his coach; he stays relaxed and just makes sure he keeps feeling the ball well and doesn’t lose the timing.
Whereas Sharapova, on her day off, goes to work and has an intense practice with her hitting partner and her coach Thomas Hogstedt.
The job of a hitting partner is basically to be there for the player. Especially on the women’s tour, hitting partners are being hired to travel with the players. It starts with getting organized for the practice (balls, towels, enough liquids) to maybe even booking practice courts or waiting for the schedule to come out for the next day.
When it comes to the hitting, it is quite helpful if the hitting partner can imitate the other players and is able to play all kind of different game styles.
And one of the most important things is to be there FOR the player and help him or her to improve his/her game! If one is there for himself, he might find himself out of a job very quickly.
Caroline Wozniacki has Jean Rene Liznard travel with her alongside her father and the adidas player development program (including my colleagues Sven Groeneveld, Darren Cahill and myself).
Communication is also one of the very important parts that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to a team like this. The interaction needs to be smooth, and everybody works together to help the player achieve the best results possible.
Tomorrow I will reveal some information on the atmosphere and the tension going on in the players area as the tournament end gets closer and closer.
Here’s a TW video showcasing some other players practicing at the BNP Paribas Open.