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  1. #346

    Re: Tennis Coaching Merry-Go-Round

    Sascha Bajin explains why he took on Kiki Mladenovic project after shock Naomi Osaka split
    George Bellshaw Saturday 4 May 2019 6:07 pm

    It was arguably the biggest surprise of the year. After a remarkably fruitful partnership that lasted little more than a season, Naomi Osaka announced she had ended her partnership with coach Sascha Bajin. The timing of the announcement was particularly curious. Just 16 days before, the Japanese had won the Australian Open to back up her 2018 US Open win, becoming the WTA’s top-ranked player in the process. A brief statement was released on Twitter by the world No. 1, saying simply:

    ‘Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha. I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future.’ She later expanded that she didn’t want to put ‘success over happiness’ and refuted claims that Bajin’s departure was money-related.

    Thank you Naomi ���� I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this. — sascha Bajin (@BigSascha) February 11, 2019

    Little has been said by Bajin – who has previously worked with Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka – on the matter, but he insists he remains on good terms with the 21-year-old.

    ‘Look, to be honest, there were some differences,’ he said at the Madrid Open. ‘It was her decision. I respect that. No matter what.

    ‘If there was success or not sucess whatever the case if she feels like it’s better to go then that’s her decision.

    ‘Same as with Caroline, we had a great year with seven finals and we had a deal for a year and she didn’t want to continue. It’s ok, I respect her decision. We’re all still friends and we see each other.’

    Asked if he felt the ‘differences’ between them were reconcilable, he added: ‘It’s something she felt.

    Like I said, the decision was made. It’s in the past. It’s ok, we just move on. It’s all good.’

    Bajin was a man in demand and turned down several lucrative offers – some of which came from the ATP Tour – but somewhat curiously chose to collaborate with France’s Kiki Mladenovic.

    A former top-10 player, the 25-year-old’s career has stagnated in recent times and she is currently ranked at No. 64 in the world. So why her?

    ‘I don’t want to sound like I’m cocky or something but I don’t start working with players if I don’t truly believe that they can beat anybody they play with,’ he added. ‘Given this time that it is on the WTA Tour when you had 18 tournaments, 18 winners, Kiki could be more than one of them. For me, I don’t want to say we’re going to win this, we’re going to win that, but knowing now what I’ve seen with her in practice, I told her, “look we go to tournaments, I want you to understand that we go pre-book our flights for Sunday”.

    ‘I don’t want her to even think about maybe quarters or something, no. We go there to win, we take one round at a time, we respect every opponent but at the same time there is nobody she needs to fear.

    ‘When I started with Naomi she was also the same rank – she was 67, 68 in the world. So she didn’t have that mindset back then. That’s what I’m trying to create now with Kiki. I just want her to understand what I want to bring to the table. Thankfully, we agree on everything almost.’

    Bajin has already enjoyed one satisfying win over his former player, with Mladenovic beating an out-of-sorts Osaka in Dubai.

    ‘I didn’t choose Kiki because she beat her,’ he laughed.

    ‘I also want to stress Kiki was super respectful, she has not asked me once about Naomi even after the split. Regardless, I choose Kiki because I work with her and I always believe in my player more than anybody else. Because I believe in her and believe in my abilities.’

    Initially the partnership between Mladenovic and Bajin was sold as a temporary pairing but they confirmed they would officially work together for the foreseeable future in mid-April.

    So far, the French ace is enjoying her time with the German.

    ‘To be honest, we almost started working together when he stopped with Serena,’ she said following back-to-back wins in qualifying to reach the main draw. ‘Since I arrived on the tour we’ve always been on great terms. It just was not the right timing, he had another project.

    ‘It was pretty natural. I contacted him personally when I saw he finished with Naomi and he took really some time I guess to put on the table all the offers he had.

    ‘I feel very lucky and privileged, flattered that from probably all the offers he had, from better ranked players on the paper than me at the moment that he believes in me, he chose me. I’m super excited. It’s going well so far. We really have great times. We both work to work a lot. It’s a great combo.’

    Mladenovic was surprised that Osaka ditched Bajin, but hopes her loss is her gain.

    ‘Yeah I think like all of us in the tennis world [I was surprised],’ she added. ‘To be honest, I did not expect that. I don’t of course judge Naomi. Everybody has their own feeling what they like about the daily life, the daily routine or the daily work.

    ‘In a way I’m happy and lucky that it happened because I really like Sascha as a coach and a person and I have no doubt he is one of the best, if not the best in the way I see things how work should be done. He had lots of success in the past so he also proved it.

    ‘It’s just he’s very – even when I was not working with him you can see from the outside – dedicated and passionate about what he’s doing and that he’s 100% focused on his job and his project. Yeah, he’s really dedicated to what he’s doing.

    ‘I could see how much he was around Naomi or Caroline Wozniacki… you could really see people that are passionate that hang around, work and try to learn – I like this from him.’

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    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  2. #347

    Re: Tennis Coaching Merry-Go-Round

    Grigor Dimitrov
    Verified account

  3. #348

    Re: Tennis Coaching Merry-Go-Round

    Would appear that Radek Stepanek has joined Grigor Dimitrov's coaching team. He was sitting with Andre at the Geneva Open.

  4. #349

    Re: Tennis Coaching Merry-Go-Round

    Not quite coaching but...

    Gerald Widhalm

    GŁnter #Bresnik resigns as manager from @ThiemDomi after 17 years. New manager will be Herwig #Straka - tournament director in #Vienna and member in #atptour board
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  5. #350

    Re: Tennis Coaching Merry-Go-Round

    I hadn't realized he was his manager in addition to being his coach. I was confused by the coaching relationship being "suspended" earlier in the year, guess this is just regular old over and done.

  6. #351

    Re: Tennis Coaching Merry-Go-Round

    Re: Ostapenko

    Does anyone remember if there was bad blood between Alona and Anabel Medina Garrigues when their partnership ended? I know she wasn't exactly her regular coach, but she tends to be credited with guiding Alona to her RG title. Seems like it's time for Alona to get back to what was working. Just not sure with her attitude if she burned that bridge already.

  7. #352

    Re: Tennis Coaching Merry-Go-Round

    Jule Goerges ✌️ ����
    ‏Verified account

    ✍�� #update #TeamJule

    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  8. #353

    Re: Tennis Coaching Merry-Go-Round

    Probably a good time for a change. Though she's had some rather tough draws in the bigger tournaments and slams, she's definitely stagnated too much the last year.

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