Tennis Prose



Marcelo Rios Is Coaching Juncheng Shang

In perhaps the biggest surprise of 2022, former world no. 1 Marcelo Rios said he’s coaching ATP no. 344 Juncheng “Jerry” Shang.

The two met and bonded this year at IMG Tennis Academy where the Chinese left-handed player Sheng is based and also where Rios regularly attends because his daughter Isadora trains there. Rios lives ten minutes away from the academy in Sarasota, FL. Rios and Shang started working together July 22.

The Shang and Rios partnership is not a long term deal yet. Rios helped Shang prepare for the Lexington Challenger in Kentucky and promised he will travel to Kentucky if Shang reaches the semifinal. He said he will coach Shang for a second Challenger before determining if he wants to be Shang’s full time coach. Rios said he’s already been offered a generous financial deal but has not made his final decision if he wants to accept it yet.

Yesterday in Lexington the 17 year old Shang defeated American Dostanic 60 46 63. (Dostanic is 20 years old and ranked in the 600s.)

According to Chilean media, the 46 year old Rios revealed he has made some technical revisions to Shang’s serve, forehand and backhand.

Rios: “He reminds me a lot of me, he’s very similar in the way he is. Never in my life have I been so impressed to see someone play.”

Rios: I told him “I’ll tell you things as they are.” I said yes to everything, but not because I was number one in the world, I’m right about everything; I can make mistakes, so I told him not to say yes to everything.”

“At night, I wake up about five times to go to the bathroom and I start thinking about how I can improve (Shang).” 

On a side note at Shang’s Lexington Challenger match yesterday vs Dostanic, at Sheng ahead at 2-0 and deuce in the third set… “a ball kid on court momentarily appeared to have lost consciousness. Shang picked up the kid and carried him to shade, handed him water and placed ice behind his head until help came.” The considerate Shang then won the third set 6-3, obviously not distracted by the unfortunate health mishap of the ball kid.

Read more about Rios and Shang here

Update: Shang incredibly defeated top seed Roman Safiullin in the QF 06 64 75 which means Rios will travel to Lexington to watch Shang play the SF live in person. Shang is now the first player born in 2005 to reach the final four of an ATP Challenger.

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  • Scoop Malinowski · August 3, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    Rios has a lot to offer as a coach and Sheng knows it. The quotes from Rios about Sheng and how he’s trying to help him make Rios sound like a super coach, he really knows what he’s doing to help Sheng mentally and physically. Based on the quotes and the evident dynamics of the relationship I can see Sheng exploding into a great player in the next three years. This is a very exciting story.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 3, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    For Rios to say he’s waking up in the middle of the night thinking of ways to help Sheng is so awesome, he’s inspired and he knows this kid has something special that he can help.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 3, 2022 at 2:43 pm

    Sheng won today vs Mikhail Kukushkin at Lex Challenger 7663. He’s into the QF.

  • Cecy · August 30, 2022 at 1:42 am

    best of luck to Marcelo and Jerry.



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