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The Lonely Coach (WCC, Day 12) 07/04/2009 - 8:26 AM

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by Pete Bodo

Mornin', everyone, and a fine one it is again.

A few days ago, I had an interesting conversation with Sven Groeneveld, who heads up the novel and productive Adidas group coaching effort. Sven has coached an impressive list of outstanding players, including Mary Pierce, Michael Stich, Nathalie Dechy, Greg Rusedski, Fernando Verdasco and, most recently,  Ana Ivanovic. BTW, Ana is back with the Adidas program after a patchy experience with Craig Kardon (formerly Martina Navratilova's coach). And Darren Cahill has joined Gil Reyes, that other member of team Agassi, on the Adidas coaching roster. Those are Cahill, Reyes and Groeneveld (L to R) in this photo.

It turns out that Sven and our mutual friend, tennis insider Lisa Sommermeier, had both read the on-again, off-again series I started on coaching (it makes me think I ought to continue it), in which I wondered why tennis coaches - who run the gamut from manipulative opportunists with precious little to offer  to distinguished Grand Slam enablers - didn't have some kind of official organization, or registry. I can think of a dozen ways in which an official organization, like the players, tournaments, umpires, and even press already has (and let's not forget that strong organization of teaching pros, the USPTR), would be a welcome addition to the growing infrastructure of our sport.

It turns out that Sven had been thinking along the same lines, and he already has an interactive website that functions as a virtual employment agency for coaches. It's called Orangecoach.com. The big news Sven wanted to share with me is that this is merely Stage 1 of a 2 stage effort - the second part will consist of creating a formal organization or registry of coaches. It will not only help coaches and players find each other, but also give coaches, those lone operators, an organization that will set guidelines, create opportunities (like sponsorship deals), and give coaches the backing of the same kind of official, institutional voice that others can fall back on in times of need.

To pick a simple example, right now any charge of inappropriate behavior of any kind against a coach is simply a "he said, she/he said" affair, and who would want to be the coach in that scenario - especially if it were one of the all too common partnerships of a young female player and an older male coach?  Moreover, the WTA commitment to on-court coaching means that coaches could potentially supplement their income with sponsorship deals on a less haphazard basis. "I was never for the on-court coaching experiment," Sven told me. "But it's here and there's no reason not to take advantage of it."

Largely, though, Sven sees "job security" as the most critical issue for coaches. He points out that coaches come and go randomly, usually at the mercy of the players for whom they work. When that player retires, or moves on, the coach is back at Square One. He or she has no real way beyond networking and personal salesmanship of staying in the game. "Not too many coaches stay in the game for more than five years," Sven said. "I want to try to find a way to enable legitimate coaches to stay in the game. For example, if the player I've coached for three years decides to move on, right now I don't even have access to my workplace - the tournaments. If we had a certification process, the members of our registry could stay in the game and enjoy the same benefits as other tennis professionals."

A registry would also enable the organization to police its membership and even institutionalize the background checks that are a reasonable burden. Sven objected to the heavy-handed way the official game instituted its intrusive background checks in a panicked response to abuse and gambling scandals, but has no problem with the basic concept. "It would be part of a general certification process that would take place in stages," Sven said. "People would know what the system expects and get comfortable with it."

Sven also noted that academies, representation firms, and even manufacturers (like Adidas) have increasingly close ties to coaches, and use them in increasingly inventive and diverse wasy (as scouts, for example). The coaches need to be better informed on everything from the available opportunities to the general task-by-task pay scale.

I think this plan will work, partly because sponsors already have greater grasp of inventive ways to use coaches. The coaches are not only vital to the players on-court success, they're an increasingly significant go-between with other wings of the game, like the media. And a coach is a pipeline to a player. I've learned over time that if you have a good relationship with a player's coach, you're more likely to develop the same with a player.

I hope Sven pulls this off.


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Posted by Mr. X 07/04/2009 at 09:57 AM

Venus won the first point of the game, being offensive and closing at the net. But Serena answered with 3 great serves. In the last point, Venus missed a FH when she was going for a winner. Serena holds and we have a TB.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 09:59 AM

Serena is playing well, I don't have a good feeling for V.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 09:59 AM

we have the mini-break. serena all you have to do is hold serve.

Posted by phillykat 07/04/2009 at 10:00 AM

After playing so strong, if Vee loses this tiebreak...aaaaaa

Posted by phillykat 07/04/2009 at 10:01 AM

pulling for Vee, want 2c her equal BJK 6 titles

Posted by Master Ace 07/04/2009 at 10:01 AM

Venus serving to begin tiebreak at 6-all

V 1-0 Serena FH return wide
1-all Venus nets BH return
S 2-1 Venus flubs FH passing shot as Serena came to net on short Venus return
S 3-1 Venus nets BH return
S 3-2 Serena BH wide - Serena challenges Venus ball but to no avail
S 4-2 Serena FH winner

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:01 AM

well both have played strong ;-) anyways go ReRe, why did you give that mini-break back arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

well nice FH winner there :)

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 10:01 AM

Kom nu V, she needed that break.

Posted by Mr. X 07/04/2009 at 10:02 AM

They change sides with Serena up 4-2. She got the mini-break with an agressive return that Venus couldnt answer. In the previous point, Venus had another passing with the court open, and once again couldnt make it, hitting it to the net.

Posted by Matt Zemek 07/04/2009 at 10:02 AM

Oh, that's a costly miss for Venus.

5-2 Serena.

Posted by Tfactor 07/04/2009 at 10:02 AM

Oh Venus, what are you doing? C'mon!!

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 10:02 AM

I don't like this match, come on V.

Posted by yello fuzzy 07/04/2009 at 10:02 AM

Serena taking control

Posted by sally 07/04/2009 at 10:02 AM

martina N is in the crowd, i wonder if she has her earplugs in and does she think venus and serena are cheating?

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:02 AM

Vee is going for the line and missing by inches. Go ReRe!

Posted by Annie (Heavenly Creature wimby was not the same without you) 07/04/2009 at 10:02 AM

uh, Vee having trouble in the tb. come on back.

Posted by temes 07/04/2009 at 10:02 AM

Amazing tennis from Serena!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Kuzzy 2009 FO Champion) 07/04/2009 at 10:02 AM

AM how come you can watch the match live and I can't. I am furious about this.

Posted by † Hallelujah 07/04/2009 at 10:03 AM

Gil Reyes has moobs

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:03 AM

my oh my ReRe that FH for SP was wicked!

Posted by tommy 07/04/2009 at 10:04 AM

Venus lost set 1 when she missed that break point forehand. Probably feeling the pressure of being the favorite.

Posted by Matt Zemek 07/04/2009 at 10:05 AM

Too good from Serena.

If Venus doesn't win the second set, the key point of this match will be quite easy to remember.

3-4, 30-40.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) 07/04/2009 at 10:06 AM

We have a match ladies and gentlemen. Man, that top spin lob on set point was just brilliant. Very good match so far.

Posted by yello fuzzy 07/04/2009 at 10:06 AM

Serena's lob has been a clutch shot ..she's won a couple of huge points with it this year at wimby

Posted by Master Ace 07/04/2009 at 10:06 AM

Serena serving at 6-all(4-2 TB)

S 5-2 Venus BH wide
S 6-2 Serena FH winner as Venus slips trying to reverse her steps
S 6-3 Serena FH passing shot wide - Serena challenges the call but HawkEye shows ball is indeed wide
Serena takes the set with a lob winner that was out of Venus' reach at the net

Serena leads 7-6(3)


Yello Fuzzy will match call the 2nd(and the 3rd if Venus win set 2)

Now over to Yello Fuzzy...

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 10:06 AM

Keep fighting V, you can do it in three sets. Serena will be holding 3 of the 4 GS if she win this. I want V to win it.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:06 AM

wow they are both missing by inches when going for the lines but ReRe's FH definitely came alive in this TB.

Perfect lob to end this set and ReRe takes the first set while Vee drops her first set at Wimbledon since 2007.

This match is far from over. The last time ReRe won the first set 7-5 at YEC last year Vee stormed back with a 6-0, 6-1 pummelling.

Posted by Annie (Heavenly Creature wimby was not the same without you) 07/04/2009 at 10:06 AM

Hallelujah: noticed the moobs too. maybe they're huge pecs.

Posted by TennisFan2 07/04/2009 at 10:06 AM

Forehand flew back from Hawaii!!!

1st set lost in 53 is it for Vee?? At least it was to Serena. High quality tennis from the Sisters.

Posted by elenas 07/04/2009 at 10:06 AM

Venus always looks so calm. You can never tell if she winning or loosing

Posted by federerfan 07/04/2009 at 10:07 AM

Will repeat what I wrote friday after the two SFs :

Serena in straights with maybe one tiebreak. S is NOT losing two consecutive wimby finals even to big sis, maybe esply to bis sis.

Posted by Tfactor 07/04/2009 at 10:07 AM

And Serena takes the set! C'mon Venus you can still come back here.
This is why half way through the tournament I started thinking Serena may take this one, she is fighting for everything, she seems to want it more.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/04/2009 at 10:07 AM

Great 1st set by Serena,she was done earlier 15-40 on her serve Venus had a chance to break her.Venus probably thinking of that now.

Serena played a great t/breaker deserved the 1st set

Come on Miss Vee,need to get your 1st serve in more.

Serena has that look in her eyes.Beware.

Posted by phillykat 07/04/2009 at 10:07 AM

Ahhh...crazy set point.
this is a nailbiter for me as I really want Vee to win, such a shame she lost that TB. She seems a little nervy. Hope she calms a bit, and comes into net more. (easier said than done against Serena)

Posted by Mr. X 07/04/2009 at 10:07 AM

After the side change, venus makes a BH UFE, Serena plays a great point moving Venus all over the court (in the end, Venus slipped with her "bad" leg). 4 SPs for Serena. She doesnt take the first after missing an easy passing shot, but she gets the second with a very good lob after Venus was forced to go to the net due to a netcord. These 2 are sisters, so they dont need to apologize for those.
First set for Serena, 7-6 (7-3 in the TB). Venus had a very good chance to break, that she lost with avery bad passing. The rest of the set was dominated by the server, and Serena was better in the TB.

Posted by elenas 07/04/2009 at 10:07 AM

Suprised Venus cant seem to do anything on Serena's serve. Is it that good?

Posted by federerfan 07/04/2009 at 10:08 AM

i guess make that thursday after the two womens SFs

Posted by rudy3 (proud Rafaelite since 2005) 07/04/2009 at 10:08 AM

first set to ReRe. She just took that tiebreak!

What has Ben Stiller done to his hair?

Posted by tommy 07/04/2009 at 10:08 AM

Venus played better last year. Her forehand looks like a liability today

Posted by TennisFan2 07/04/2009 at 10:08 AM

Did you see the look in Serena's eyes after the challenge went Vee's way - no way she was losing that tie break. Heart and soul of a champion!

Posted by yello fuzzy 07/04/2009 at 10:08 AM

Serena serving to start the 2nd set
Ace 15-0
2nd serve, return error by Venus 30-0
Serena lost 6 points on serve in the first
2nd serve, FH error by Venus 40-0
big serve
game Serena 1-0

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/04/2009 at 10:09 AM

AA Channel 9 always have the finals live here in Sydney

The q/finals and s/finals were on delay

Posted by Annie (Heavenly Creature wimby was not the same without you) 07/04/2009 at 10:10 AM

Serena is hot out there today.

Rudy: it's probably for a movie. can't remember his wife's name. Christine something.

Posted by london 07/04/2009 at 10:10 AM

im soooooo conflicted in this final. i always want serena to win another wimbledon, but i know this is the only one venus really has a shot at anymore. and i really want venus to get to 8 slams, but i want serena to win another wimbledon. sooo conflicted.

Posted by Mr. X 07/04/2009 at 10:11 AM

2 easy holds to start the 2nd set. 1-1.
Decent match so far.

Posted by yello fuzzy 07/04/2009 at 10:11 AM

Venus serving 0-1
big serve 15-0
big serve 30-0
Serena missed the FH on approach 40-0
a laser like return, deep angled 40-15
ace down the T
game Venus 1-1

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:12 AM

The FH has really flown in from Hawaii! It's doing more damage now.

Wow that last serve from Vee was huge!

Most of their errors are forced because they get more balls back than usual.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/04/2009 at 10:12 AM

Serena is a different player than when she played Elena might have been a good wake up call for her,though knowing she was to play Venus she had to step it up.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:13 AM

Vee just like Elena is not doing well with the serves down the T. I wonder what it is with that Serena's serve.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:13 AM

uhmmm... Vee is somewhat getting a step slower. I don't like that.

Posted by Tfactor 07/04/2009 at 10:14 AM

Venus hasn't been doing much on the return. Other than that double BP in the first set, Serena has been holding comfortably.
C'mon Vee, hold!

Posted by yello fuzzy 07/04/2009 at 10:14 AM

Serena serving 1-1
2nd serve, deep return, FH error by Serena 0-15
big serve 15-15
another big serve 30-15
FH winner CC by Serena 40-15
wide serve, FH DTL draws the error from Venus
game Serena 2-1

Posted by Mr. X 07/04/2009 at 10:14 AM

Serena holds at 15 to go up 2-1 in the second. She hit 2 unreturned serves and won the other 2 points with strong serves followed by agressive shots to the open side of the court.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 10:14 AM

V needs to come to net, she can't beat her from the baseline. Fight V fight.

Posted by Bobby 07/04/2009 at 10:16 AM

Venus does look a bit slower. She also seems much more subdued after losing that first set. She doesn't usually let the score show on her face, but it must be tough to lose a set after not having lost one since 2007. Come on, V!

Posted by Ren (dreaming of the 15th) 07/04/2009 at 10:17 AM

Venus, please....

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 10:17 AM

V pretend like it's Safina, you can do it. Come on!!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/04/2009 at 10:17 AM

Maybe that little twist on her leg earlier in the 1st set might be troubling Venus

Posted by yello fuzzy 07/04/2009 at 10:19 AM

Venus serving 1-2
2nd serve, BH DTL winner by Serena 0-15
2nd serve, serve into the body 15-15
2nd serve, short serve, shanked FH by Serena 30-15
2nd serve, nice rally, Serena just misses the CC FH 40-15
2nd serve, Serena is in charge of the point, but Venus is able to hit the FH deep
game Venus 2-2

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:19 AM

Vee's first serve has gone to Florida although surprisingly her second serve is holding up. She better call it back before it is too late. Serena missing some shots in that game that could have opened up chances for her. Vee holds for 2-all.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/04/2009 at 10:19 AM

Serena though is driving Venus back behind the baseline,not allowing her to transend to the net,good thinking Serena.

Posted by olive 07/04/2009 at 10:19 AM

i hate to say this, but this final is about as exciting as watching grass grow.

Posted by Mr. X 07/04/2009 at 10:19 AM

Venus holds at 15 to get to 2-2, after 2 good serves (one of them, another 2nd serve that hit the line) and a couple of rallies that ended with Serena missing. Serena is showing her emotions much more than Venus in this match.

Posted by Ren (dreaming of the 15th) 07/04/2009 at 10:19 AM

Any live tv, anyone?

Posted by Ren (dreaming of the 15th) 07/04/2009 at 10:20 AM

PLease?

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:21 AM

oh well now ReRe's first serve is about to book a ticket to Hawaii too but her second serve seems to be holding up as well. anyways go ReRe. geez how could you miss that FH?

Posted by Ren (dreaming of the 15th) 07/04/2009 at 10:21 AM

What happened to typepad?

Posted by yello fuzzy 07/04/2009 at 10:21 AM

Serena serving 2-2
2nd serve, return error off the deep 2nd serve 15-0
2nd serve, another nice 2nd serve 30-0
big serve 40-0
FH error by Serena 40-15
Ace out wide
game Serena 3-2

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/04/2009 at 10:21 AM

Serena is serving the best I have seen her all tournement

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 10:22 AM

I have a bad feeling Serena going to take her out in straights. V can't return her serve.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) 07/04/2009 at 10:22 AM

@AM, she is really serving well. 10 aces so far. She is not allowing Venus into her service games at all.

Posted by Mr. X 07/04/2009 at 10:22 AM

Serena holds at 15 to go up 3-2. Venus had a very bad start in that game, as she overhit two 2nd serve returns in the first 2 points. The next 2 points that Serena won were unreturnable serves.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:22 AM

that ace wide and ace down the T is doing wonders for ReRe. Her ace count is now 10. If she wins, it is her serve that did the most damage in the tournament. May be her serve should take breaks and come back during GSs ;-)

Posted by phillykat 07/04/2009 at 10:23 AM

i want Carillo to stop with all the tension talk.
Serena is just serving huge right now. her placement is so on.
don't downplay the quality of the match just to "they hate playing each other"

Posted by Master Ace 07/04/2009 at 10:23 AM

Difference is Serena's serve is clicking and her FH came to Wimbledon from Hawaii and keeping Venus pinned deep with her groundstrokes.

Posted by Matt Zemek 07/04/2009 at 10:23 AM

Samantha:

Nice sentiment, but it's impossible to compare two women whose track records in Grand Slam finals are so perpendicularly contrasting.

I'd like to see Venus forge an upper hand myself, but Serena's serve just ain't allowing it to happen.

Venus had her one big chance at 3-4, 30-40, and blew it. Match is clearly on Serena's racket now.

Posted by Master Ace 07/04/2009 at 10:25 AM

Matt Zemek,
Correct on match being on Serena's racquet after that missed FH passing shot at 3-4,30-40.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 10:25 AM

One break and it's over. Fight V fight!

Posted by evie 07/04/2009 at 10:25 AM

Venus's serve has left the building. C'mon, V!!

Posted by elenas 07/04/2009 at 10:25 AM

Venus looks nothing like the she did against Safina, maybe something is wrong with her

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:26 AM

38% first serve ain't gonna cut it Vee. Go ReRe!

Posted by Matt Zemek 07/04/2009 at 10:26 AM

Mini-match point.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/04/2009 at 10:26 AM

Venus brain snap

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 10:26 AM

OMG, break pt. hold V.

Posted by Annie (Heavenly Creature wimby was not the same without you) 07/04/2009 at 10:27 AM

Vee is netting alot of backhands. not good.
She just got broken.

Posted by Annie (Heavenly Creature wimby was not the same without you) 07/04/2009 at 10:27 AM

Vee is netting alot of backhands. not good.
She just got broken.

Posted by yello fuzzy 07/04/2009 at 10:27 AM

Venus serving 2-3
2nd serve, nice deep FH return 0-15
2nd serve, , great FH drives by Venus 15-15
2nd serve, Bh error off the deep return 15-30
big serve 30-30
loopy BH by Serena draws the error from Venus break point
2nd serve, DF#2
game Serena 4-2

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 10:27 AM

Oh, god. Poor V, this match is over. Darn!!!

Posted by tommy 07/04/2009 at 10:27 AM

The only way this will be considered a good final is if it goes 3 sets with a great 3rd set.
Right now there are a lot of short points and nothing to really enjoy

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:27 AM

and the top spin lob has drawn the error and got ReRe BP. Can she take it? on a second serve too.

OMG a DF on BP? Vee really? Vee would have to pull a ReRe here to win this.

Posted by phillykat 07/04/2009 at 10:27 AM

Vee seems really troubled by the sun
oh she thows in a doulbe on BP

Posted by Matt Zemek 07/04/2009 at 10:27 AM

The best closer in women's tennis is in position to close this down quickly. Would be a minor miracle if Vee, in the condition she's in, could win this match.

Posted by Master Ace 07/04/2009 at 10:27 AM

This match is basically over and done as Venus DF.

Posted by evie 07/04/2009 at 10:27 AM

This is a pretty shocking match. Venus was so dominating coming into it. What happened to her serve?

I wonder if her knee is a problem.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 07/04/2009 at 10:27 AM

I'm so not enjoying this match. I wanted V to win.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/04/2009 at 10:28 AM

Venus movement to me isnt good.

Venus 1st serve percetange not good,

The game is now on Serena's racquet

Posted by Mr. X 07/04/2009 at 10:28 AM

Serena breaks to go up 4-2, after Venus makes a DF. This match looks like it could end very quickly. I think Venus's knee is troubling her, specially in her serve, as she has a very low percentage of first serves lately, and has also lost speed. She is even having repeated issues with the toss.

Posted by Tennis_God 07/04/2009 at 10:28 AM

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http://www.nowgoal.com/22.shtml
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Posted by Tfactor 07/04/2009 at 10:29 AM

It seems to be all over for Venus now. The way Serena is serving is hard to imagine she will get broken.

Posted by Goo 07/04/2009 at 10:29 AM

I think this can help you know more of tennis: http://kuso.cc/livesports

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