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Bringing out the stars
At the end of 2013, the top players dramatically changed their coaches. Novak Djokovic announced he had hired Boris Becker, and Roger Federer asked Stefan Edberg to consult with him. Kei Nishikori working with Michael Chang and Goran Ivanisevic coaching Marin Cilic.
Only Toni Nadal had stayed put, and Magnus Norman had helped Wawrinka in 2013 and knew that he was about to arise in a serious manor.
At the end of 2014, the former standouts that are now retired listened to their players and all of them cheered. Wawrinka won the his first Slam by taking the Aussie Open, Nadal won Roland Garros again, Djokovic never stopping when anyone could have folded and he won Wimbledon; and Cilic find who his first title by bashing through and winning the US Open. Federer may not have been able to win another major, but he was so close against Djokovic in Wimbledon but kept on pushing and winning the Davis Cut for the first time. Nishikori finally listened to what he needed to do, reach a first final and ended the year at No. 5.
Who is the top of the Coach of the Year? They all did well, or spectacularly very well, this year.
Toni Nadal is the only man of the five selected coaches who neither won majors or came very close. He never played for the ATP, but he is extremely smart, which is why after Rafa owns 14 Slams. Uncle Toni might win the poll again, but Magnus, Boris and Goran kept calm and knew when to push their opponents or make them back off. Magnus taught him that he would never say die, while Stefan convinced his all-time great that he will be happier than Davis Cup than anything else around.
So pick your choice, but make sure that the man is truly the most successful choice.
Psychology important with the women
On the WTA side, things have also changed. Maria Sharapova hired Sven Groeneveld at the end of 2013; Nick Saviano grabbed Eugenie Bouchard around the same time and Wim Fissette signed up with Simona Halep in February.
Groeneveld has been around for a long time, bringing Ana Ivanovic to win Roland Garros in 2008 and for Sharapova she did again, as the Russian won Paris for the second time. Sharapova faced Halep in the final, where Fissette (who once coached another former Slam champ Kim Clijsters) helped the Romanian to keep her on the ball and she nearly won it.
Saviano had known Bouchard for years, but rarely traveled with her. This year he decided to try it out and the Canadian was immediately focused, reaching the semifinals of the Aussie Open and Roland Garros and reaching the Wimbledon final.
But there are three coaches whom we know well and are smart enough to be quite when their charges are upset: Carlos Rodriguez with Li Na, David Kotyza with Petra Kvitova and Patrick Mouratoglou with Serena Williams. If they were mad, all you need to know was to shrug their shoulder. When they began to feel better, it was time to release them and tell them its time to rip the ball. They did and all three of them won Slams again: Li at the Aussie Open, Petra at Wimbledon and Serena at the US Open.
No WTA player was perfect this year, but every player was darn good. It’s finding out which coach was needed the most. Your choice, but it has to be a smart one.