Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gunthardt Knows His Work is Cut Out for Him

Anybody who has seen Ana Ivanovic play tennis over the past 2 years knows that the Serb is a mental train wreck and has had embarrasing results since her fluke-of-a-phase at number 1. And it's a good thing that Ivanovic's new coach for the time being, Heinz Gunthardt, knows what he's getting into, 'cuz I sure wouldn't want to get myself involved if I had the oppurtunity. The folks over at Go To Tennis translated a recent interview Gundhardt held with Swiss paper Tages Anzeiger about his new role with the Ivanovic team.

Heinz G├╝nthardt how did your cooperation with Ivanovic come to be?
We’ve only agreed that I will help her out for the time being, until the tournament in Miami. Dan Holzmann, her manager from Basel, asked me just over a week ago.

Did you have to think twice?
No, because I found the offer to work with her very interesting, and it is a big task. And also the tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami are not a bad alternative if it’s cold at home, minus 15 degrees.

How to start the cooperation?
We have been training in San Diego for three days. This is ideal in terms of her next tournament, which takes place just around the corner in Indian Wells, California. Here, you can already play tennis outside.

Ivanovic was ranked No. 1 after after winning the French Open 2008, since then she has slipped to rank 23rd. What do you know about this?
I have known it only loosely, and frankly did not see her play too often. I am therefore a bad judge of how her game has developed over the past two years. Her results were certainly not convincing. She also had some injury breaks, there’s a lot together. And because the power density in women’s tennis is much higher today than before, you slip in the world rankings even faster if things do not go well.

What’s your first impression?
After three days I can not say much. We are in the evaluation and acquaintance phase. Apparently it has not gone badly so far – otherwise we would have hardly imagined myself as a coach. She has an enormous amount of power in the arm and can still grow everywhere, even athletically. She seems to have fun playing tennis – and she can too. In addition, she is very nice.

Ivanovic plays an exhibition at Madison Square Gardein in New York on March first. Are you participating?
I assume so.

Would you be willing to care for her as full-time coach?
We would have to talk about it. As far as I know, she isn’t looking for someone who travels 45 weeks a year with her. It is envisaged that I look after her more selectively.

I agree, Ivanovic is "very nice." Unfortunately for her career, that's just about it.

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