Tennis Prose



Curious Off Season Training Camps

2019 hasn’t started yet but tennis pros are working hard together to sharpen up for the coming season.

At IMG in Bradenton, Kei Nishikori has hit with Jay Clarke of Great Britain.

Corentin Mouten was invited to Dubai to train with Roger Federer and they have begun.

Kevin Anderson is with Tennys Sandgren playing together at the Delray Beach Tennis Center stadium court.

Jack Sock, John Isner and Jackson Withrow have a camp in Austin, Texas. Sock has shown some Instagram video of the group doing hardcore footwork drills and stationary bike endurance work.

Lucas Pouille is working with his new coach Amelie Mauresmo.

Andy Murray was training at Crandon Park stadium court in Key Biscayne with Fernando Verdasco. Fabio Fognini and Adrian Mannarino have also been spotted in Miami training.

Kiki Mladenovic is in Dubai.

Thiem, Gulbis, Joao Sousa in Tenerife.

Tomas Berdych is in Monte Carlo.

Felix Auger Aliassime is at IMG in Bradenton.

Danielle Collins is at IMG too.

Eugenie Bouchard was in Beverly Hills working with new coach Michael Joyce.

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  • catherine · December 19, 2018 at 2:07 am

    Azarenka was at IMG in Florida lately but no sign of Fisette with her.

    Muguruza was training in California with Sumyk. Maybe both also working on their interpersonal skills 🙂

  • Scoopmalinowski · December 19, 2018 at 6:35 am

    Thiem Gulbis and some juniors in Tenerife. Agut, Carrena Busta and Ferrer with Ferrero in Madrid.

  • Hartt · December 19, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Shapo is also at IMG with his coaches Rob Steckley and his mother. He has hit with Mikael Ymer and, according to Stephanie Myles, will be practicing with Felix. Myles posted some video and pics of Denis, and he has added some muscle in his upper body. And he now has the biceps to carry off the sleeveless look. As Myles said, even his face looks older, he isn’t a kid anymore.

  • Hartt · December 19, 2018 at 7:47 am

    Thiem has started a YouTube channel and posted a video of his training day at Tenerife. It started with a very early morning run, and he was busy except for a brief nap after lunch. Gulbis, along with a couple other players, is seen also doing some of the exercises.

    These videos are interesting because they help fans see just how hard these guys work.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 19, 2018 at 8:37 am

    hartt, Sounds like Laurendeau is out. Remains to be seen if Steckley is the answer.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 19, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Yoshihito Nishioka, Yasutaka Uchida and Taro Daniel training together in Okinawa Japan. Tsitsipas in Dubai.

  • Hartt · December 19, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    Scoop, I reported that Steckley was Shapo’s new coach some time ago. He was with Denis at the Davis Cup in Toronto in Sept., but then it wasn’t clear if that was a trial or not. Since then he has been at all of Denis’ matches.

    I don’t know if he is the answer or not. Denis talked about the fact that Rob had experience with a top player, presumably Safarova. Rob has been posting videos and pics, but I don’t think they are as interesting as the ones he did with Lucie. To me, most of the current ones just seem silly.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 20, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Hartt, it seems clear Laurendeau has been phased out.

  • Hartt · December 20, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Denis’ mother phoned Laurendeau, I think it was in Sept., to tell him they were going in a new direction. Denis praised Marty for the help he gave him as his coach but, as I said before, he wanted someone with experience working with a top player.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 20, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Hartt, maybe Denis mom is an avid reader of 🙂 Like Roddick replacing Benhabiles with Gilbert, this was the correct move for Shapovalov’s development. He stagnated in 2018 and hopefully Steckley will be the spark needed.

  • Dan Markowitz · December 20, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    Who the hell/s Rob Steckley and who’s he ever worked with. I’m in Boca Raton for a few days and just rode my bike out on Glades Road for 20 miles (roundtrip) to get to Evert’s and was disappointed. Very little star factor there. Only person I recognized was Rajeem Rav. These tennis players can have necks like giraffes. He was talking to maybe his new partner, I recognized him but not enough to know his name, and the guy had a long neck.

    It made me think: should doubles be taken out of the pro game? Look at this web site, we hardly ever talk about doubles players. My son, a top junior in the East, he never talks about doubles players. I think playing doubles helps your game, but it might work the other way around. Like I hate the different colored balls little kids play with these days because my theory about tennis is if you play with those deflated balls until your 12 or 13, you’re never going to be any good because tennis is a game of speed. I think once you play too much doubles it could kill your singles game because you get used to covering only half the court.

  • Hartt · December 20, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    Dan, Rob Steckley is a Canadian who was a pro player until a serious shoulder injury put an end to his playing days. He coached Aleks Wozniak (who just retired) many years ago and a few other women players, but is best known for his work with Lucie Safarova for several years, helping her achieve her best results. Although they worked hard, Rob was good at keeping Lucie relaxed, something she felt was important for her.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 21, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Nishikori won French Open junior doubles. McEnroe played a fair bit of doubles. Doubles didn’t kill their singles careers.

  • Dan Markowitz · December 21, 2018 at 8:40 am

    So Steckley’s not exactly Brad Gilbert or Larry Stefanki. I’m not saying he isn’t a good coach for Shapo and he’s Canadian which probably feels more comfortable for Shapo, but where’s the Grand Slam pedigree for Steckley/ How’s he supposed to groom Shapo for deeper Grand Slam runs the way Gilbert did Roddick .

    Also in doubles, the drills I saw Ram working on yesterday at Evert’s were all hands drills, quickness in the volleys. They wouldn’t be the type of drills you’d ever work on for singles. So when Mac played, all or most of all the good players were playing doubles too, but to play a lot of doubles now for a top singles player, I think, is counter-productive. Look what happened to Sock last year. As his doubles got better, his singles got worse.

    And if you’re not seeing the best singles players play doubles, you’re seeing mostly marginal players playing doubles on the ATP Tour and that’s never going to draw much interest from fans and media.

  • Hartt · December 21, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Dan, I don’t know if Steckley is the right coach for Shapo or not. But Denis is still very early in his career, and Rob does have a lot of coaching experience. Maybe Denis isn’t quite ready for a big name coach.

  • Hartt · December 21, 2018 at 9:20 am

    This won’t come as a surprise to folks here, but Marcelo Rios announced plans to return to pro tennis.

    “14 years after retiring from tennis, Marcelo Rios has outlined plans to return to the Challenger tour in 2019 with the goal of becoming the oldest ever ATP Champion.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 21, 2018 at 9:25 am

    maybe Steckley comes with a cheap price tag. Get the sense the Shapovalov’s don’t want to have a big coaching expense. And most coaches who are out there floating around would practically coach Shap for nothing or peanuts, as it’s a ticket for them into the big time. Working with an unproven coach like Steckley is another question mark decision by the Shap camp. Maybe it’s the mother, the omni-present Shap mom who wants to maintain control of all the credit like DY’s mom? Dan, Sock is the only example of a singles star falling while his doubles rises. You didn’t see all of Ram’s training, you may have missed his baseline work. Sometimes practices are deceiving, I saw Arnaud Clement doing 15 minutes straight of forehand slices, yet we never saw him hit that shot in a match. Working on hands versatility and isolation drills helps a player’s all around game.

  • catherine · December 21, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Hartt – in that article Rios claims he has now lost 12 stone. What on earth did he weigh before ? The mind boggles 🙂

  • Hartt · December 21, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Catherine, hopefully Rios meant 12 lbs, not 12 stone. My eyes kind of popped when I read that number!

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 21, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    It had to be 12 pounds not stone or kilos, translation error. Rios was denied the Columbus WC entry today by the tournament director. I just emailed the Sarasota Open TD asking if he would consider to give Rios a WC in April.

  • Hartt · December 21, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Re Rob Steckley as Shapo’s coach, I am not defending that choice (remember I thought he should stay with Laurendeau, but he does deserve some respect as a coach. During his years with Safarova she reached a Wimby SF and the RG final, plus winning several Slam doubles titles with Bethanie Mattek Sands.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 21, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    Hartt, we will be patient with Shapsteck but not for long. I think Shap and mom expect more than a Wimbledon semi and RG final. Steck is already on the hot seat IMO, if the results don’t come early, he may be out the door. It’s very important for Shap to get off to a big start early in 19 to wipe away the disappointment of 18.

  • Hartt · December 22, 2018 at 10:41 am

    As I understand it, this was a trial coaching gig from Sept. to the end of the season, but I imagine Rob is officially the coach now. As I said, I am not saying Rob is the ideal coach, but I do think Denis is working hard on improving his game, and a regular coach, who will be there on a daily basis is what he needs now, rather than a big name who would probably be just part time.



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