Tennis is an individual sport. But even in an individual sport you need a good solid team around you who not only support you in tough situations but also to push to your absolute best. Tennis has had the privilege of having some of the best coaches in the history of sport.
Here are some of the greatest tennis coaches of all time:
1. Toni Nadal:
Toni Nadal will arguably go down as one of the best coaches in sports. He was the coach of his nephew Rafael Nadal till the end of 2017. He taught everything about tennis to Rafael when he started coaching him at Manacor tennis club. Together with Rafa, they won 16 grand slams which was only surpassed recently by Marian Vajda in 2020. Uncle Toni’s coaching style has often been described as brutal by Rafael Nadal but he also acknowledges that his coaching style is the very reason which has made him tough to break down and successful in his tennis career. After retiring from coaching Rafael Nadal on tour, he has been coaching young players in Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor, Mallorca.
2. Nick Bollettieri:
Nick Bollettieri is an American tennis coach. He pioneered the concept of a tennis boarding school, and helped develop many leading tennis players during the past decades, including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, and Mary Pierce. He has also worked with Maria Sharapova, Daniela Hantuchová, Jelena Janković, Sabine Lisicki, Tommy Haas, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Martina Hingis, Anna Kournikova, Marcelo Ríos, Kei Nishikori. In 1978, Bollettieri opened the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy (NBTA) near Bradenton, Florida on 40 acres in Manatee County on the west coast of Florida, about fifty miles south of Tampa. NBTA was the first major tennis boarding school and it changed the way tennis was taught at the elite junior level. His pupils have become world no.1, grand slam champions and some even legends.
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3. Marian Vajda:
Marian Vajda is a Slovak professional tennis coach and former player. He is the current head coach of Novak Djokovic and has been his coach during almost his entire professional career, winning 77 titles together (out of the 78 won by Djokovic). Vajda is the most successful coach in the history of tennis in terms of Grand Slam titles, winning 17 Grand Slam trophies with Novak Djokovic. His influence on Novak has not been restricted just as coach but also his closest confidant in his life. His influence on Novak could be seen by everyone when he was not on his team and Djokovic was struggling on and off court. Their partnership will go down as one of the best in the history of tennis.
4. Tony Roche:
Anthony Dalton Roche, MBE, is an Australian former professional tennis player. He played junior tennis in New South Wales. He won one Grand Slam singles title and 15 Grand Slam doubles titles, ranking as high as World No. 2. After completing his playing career, Roche has developed a highly successful career as a tennis coach. Ivan Lendl hired Roche in 1985 as a full-time coach for Roche's advice on volleying. Lendl dreamed of winning Wimbledon, and because Roche had been a fine grass court player, he sought his tutelage. Roche also coached former world no. 1 Patrick Rafter from 1997 to the end of his career in 2002. Roche coached world no.1 Roger Federer from 2005 to 12 May 2007. Federer hired Roche for the opposite reason that Lendl hired him: to work on his clay-court game (as Roche had won the French Open). He also coached two-time Grand Slam singles winner Lleyton Hewitt.
5. Patrick Mouratoglou:
Patrick Mouratoglou is a French tennis coach and sports commentator of Greek descent. He has been the coach of Serena Williams since June 2012. He is also currently coaching rising star and World no.6 in Men’s Tennis Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. He is right now one of the best coaches in tennis if not the best. He founded the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in 1996 near Paris. By the time Mouratoglou started coaching Williams, she had just suffered her first-ever opening round defeat in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament, losing in the first round of the 2012 French Open. Since then, Mouratoglou has guided Williams to her fifth, sixth and seventh Wimbledon titles, the Olympic gold medal, her fourth, fifth, and sixth US Open titles, her second and third French Open titles, three consecutive year-end championships titles, her sixth and seventh Australian Open title and lifted her back to world No. 1 in the WTA rankings. Other than Serena Williams, he has also coached some elite players such as Marcos Baghdatis, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Grigor Dimitrov, Jeremy Chardy.
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