Tennis Prose




Sep/22

20

Rios Fired By Shang Family

Marcelo Rios is no longer the coach of Juncheng Shang.

The former world no. 1 Rios started unofficially coaching the 17 year old Shang at IMG Academy in late July and guided the Chinese player to an ATP Challenger title win in Lexington and a final in Granby. The 10-1 record by Shang under Rios earned Rios a one year contract to continue to coach Shang. The contract deal was signed two weeks ago.

But last week in Cary, NC, Shang lost a marathon first round match to Australian Jordan Thompson 67 76 26. Shang had defeated Thompson in Granby 75 64. At the end of the match Shang smashed his racquet on the umpire’s chair, upset about a coaching warning which caused Shang to double fault on a key break point in the third set.

Hints of trouble within the team were evident as Rios was also warned for coaching in the Granby final. In Cary, Rios sat in a row behind Shang’s mother and father and assistant coach Martin Alund instead of with them, as he did in Lexington and Granby.

Rios accepted the dismissal but criticized Shang’s parents for being too involved and constantly smothering their son. Rios also said there were differences of opinion about the training methods of Rios, who won ten ATP titles in his career and competed in the 1998 Australian Open final vs Petr Korda.

Martin Alund, a former ATP top 200 ranked player and IMG coach, will presumably continue to coach Shang, with the parents.

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7 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 20, 2022 at 8:02 am

    Rios always seems to have poor chemistry with authority figures.

  • catherine · September 20, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    He does not seem to possess the emollient qualities required of a successful coach – particularly where young people and their nearest and dearest are involved.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 20, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    Catherine, Rios surely has the invaluable experience and wisdom of how to create a great ATP player however he is still a troublesome rebellious non conformist character prone to disputes with those who don’t worship him or agree with him. It is no surprise this union has dissolved so quickly at the first sign of adversity. The ostentatious arrogant controversial nature of Rios is not suited to Chinese culture, nor is he capable of being a subordinate subservient figure to anyone. Like his short career as a great career, so too was his coaching endeavor.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 20, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    Short video of Rios and Shang working together on court before the Lexington final. Stark contrast in appearance styles, Rios looks like some kind of Dennis Rodman Harley Davidson motorcyclist gangster. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQMvZMDTHlA

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 20, 2022 at 1:19 pm

  • catherine · September 21, 2022 at 6:11 am

    Are you sure that’s Rios ? He looks like an all-in wrestler with a Chinese topknot. Perhaps a physical makeover might improve his coaching chances.
    Sheng’s pretty agile.

    Raducanu won her first match in Korea. Had this to say – seems to me she’s constantly ruminating on 2021 – maybe should leave the past now:

    “I think now just playing a lot of matches is something that I could really benefit from. I know that I was meant to go through the development year at some stage, and I completely skipped it last year, so I know that I need to do the hard yards now. And it’s sort of payback for winning the US Open with very little practice or work.”

    So much spite she gets for no reason.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 21, 2022 at 7:51 am

    Catherine, yes that’s Rios and I’m sure his startling appearance and gruff manner played some factor in alienating the Shang parents. The trade-off was very good though, Rios is a tennis wizard Ben Kenobi with a lot to offer a special young talent. We’ll see if Shang prospers or sinks without Rios in his corner. Raducanu is going to struggle to get back to the top, no one is going to roll over for little miss britches. The Wimbledon champ Rybakina is nosediving too.

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