Specialists say that is it time for a coach change if a player's game is not in evolution. And there is a recent case, very visible because it concerns to the former #1 of the world, Novak Djokovic. Everyone knows Novak's story as he wrote a book about it. He began in Servia, very young and determined kid, that came to practice ready as pro to start on tennis. His first teacher, and I am not calling her a coach, because there is a huge difference between constructing fundamentals as teachers do, and constructing a career, as coaches do, was a woman who got really impressed by that kid that brought every little thing needed in his bag for his first session. As she asked who organized his bag he answered that why would some one do it for him, if he was the one who wanted to learn tennis and become #1 of the world.
Constructing a career is a much more complex task, a project management, dealing with multiple factors including the sport life, the family life, the emotional life beyond all the aspects related to the sport itself. And then the world saw Márian Vajda do all this job, since Djoko was nineteen years old. He is the one who knows in details every aspect of his player life. He knows how he feels, how he reacts in different situations, how he thinks. But, as usual in any professional career, things do not work perfectly all the time. Specially in a sport where you do not have a social life, moving from hotel to hotel all the time, spending very little time with friends and family. Also the amount of tournaments played in a year is very tough on the body. It is very difficult not to get hurt. And when it happens positive results certainly will not come. Unless the players is taking performance enhancing drugs! That can make an injured player even win tournaments.
From the outside pressure and inoumurous opinions, Djoko decided to look for another line of work. And the story repeated the conclusion other players got. Like Gustavo Kuerten, and so many other players, who, influenced by this wave of change, searched for a new coach. In most cases, their games lost consistency, the new strategies did not work, and they had to go back home, to their primitive coaches, Djoko is back with Márian Vajda as Guga got back with Larri Passos, Bellucci tried a few coaches including Larri Passos and got back to João Zwetsch, and the list goes on. So we get back to that question. Who is your best coach? Well, let us tell you this, the best coach is the one who knows you better, and that takes time and loads of experience. Talking to a coach about tennis specifics he told quite frankly: I do not know much about tennis, but I know my athlete better than his mother. So, probably, the person who is by your side for a longer period will know how to handle your issues and the situations better than an outsider. After all "the bigger the tree, the longer their roots must be".
TEXT BY GABRIEL PIMENTEL AND PAULO CÉSAR PIMENTEL