Articles

  • Story about Nikola Pilic An extremely small number of top tennis players continue coaching careers and achieve even better results. Especially if both succeeds each other and last more than half a century -than it deserves our attention and respect.  
  • Being a good tennis parent Tennis parents play a vital role in the development of their children as it relates to participation in sports,particularly in tennis.  
  • Being a good tennis coach… It’s a privilege to be a coach – to have an opportunity to guide young people in their tennis career. There are many factors which distinguish a good tennis coach from the others.  
  • Interview with Nikola Milojevic # 1 ITF junior player It is not often in the world of tennis that two players from the same country, at the same time are the best on the ATP and the ITF juniors list.  
  • Interview with Jelena Gencic Identifying a future champion in any sport is a multistage process. It is truly remarkable to be able to recognize special talent from a large group of beginners in a particular sport.  
  • Size Does(not) Matter In the era of modern tennis there is a noticeable presence of tall players in both men and women's divisions. One might theorize that the height of a player could quite possibly be a contributing factor in predicting the future success of the player.  
  • Interview with tennis coach Del Little It was once said that humility suits well only to those who would have a reason to be immodest. So such can be said for tennis coach Del Little and it will not be further from the truth.  
  • Consistent work brings success In working with young tennis players some issues often remain unanswered, and the main reason is mostly due to neglecting the effect of developmental characteristics of the youth in development.  
  • The transition from junior into professional tennis Anyone can say that "wants to become the best player in the world", but few of those are willing to sacrifice and "pay the price" and that is indeed true.  
  • Interview with Robert Lansdorp If you can value a coach by the achievements of his players than you can consider Mr. Robert Lansdorp as one of the most important and most influential tennis coaches from the beginning of Open era till today. He is unique because he coached four players from their earliest junior days up till their top rankings: Tracey Austin, Lindsey Davenport, Pete Sampras, and Maria Sharapova.  

Interview with Robert Lansdorp

If you can value a coach by the achievements of his players than you can consider Mr. Robert Lansdorp as one of the most important and most influential tennis coaches from the beginning of Open era till today. He is unique because he coached four players from their earliest junior days up till their top rankings: Tracey Austin, Lindsey Davenport, Pete Sampras, and Maria Sharapova.

 THE CHAMPION MAKER

Total Tennis: You were born in Indonesia, grew up in Holland, live and work in America?

Robert Lansdorp: I was born in 1938 in Indonesia, where I spent first 12 years of my life. Unfortunately we had to move away and come back to Holland because of the revolt of the local citizens against foreign colonialism. After high school my family moved to America. It was in California that I graduated from the prestigious Pepperdine University and with their team won US college championship. After finishing school I began coaching. And today after 40 years I go to the court with same passion as I did the first day.

Robert Lansdorp 

TT: You coached Sampras, Austin, Davenport , Sharapova?

RL: Right and what is especially important I thought all of them the basic shots from the early junior days. Beside these players I coached about 20 more top players: Stephanie Rehe, Eliot Teltscher, Brian Teacher, Kimberly Po, Jusin Gimelstob, Alexandra Stevenson, Anastasia Myskina, Ana Chakvetadze, as well as tens of the best college players.

robert lansdorp maria sarapova

TT: All of your players are recognizable by clean fairy flat and deep ground strokes. What’s the secret?

RL: In repetition. My players develop the ability, during the long practice, to hit the ball good in the moment when they think that they are no longer able to do it. I am famous by the way I feed the balls from the basket (filled with 350-400 balls), with different speed and rotation, hitting numerous times the same imaginary spot at the 40 cm away from the base line. Therefore for an example for Maria Sharapova wasn’t a problem to control the fast incoming ball in a match, because in the training with me she has received hundred of thousands of balls like that from me that were going 150 km/h.

I teach all my players to play with “whole arm” thru the ball and to “drive” it, as well as not to have fear to play the same in a small arch over the net. I teach them to have ability to put the ball over the net, than to be precise and then to hit the ball hard.

 

robert lansdorp

TT: In a process of selection at the early recognition of the player’s talent, what is it that you notice the earliest?

RL: Timing, the players ability to notice oncoming ball and to timely take charge of the coordination of the right reaction , than speed not only in the physical sense but also the speed of noticing of what’s happening on the court/. I also look after if children have necessary courage to hit the ball. It interests me how many unforced errors they are making and how important each point is to them. The whole process of making the player starts very early, around 6-7 years of age, in the age between 12 and 14 it is very hard to the shots and bad habits. At 17 years of age it is almost impossible to make some big changes.

TT: Besides the necessary talent for this sport what is in your opinion the other necessary qualities that a future champion needs to possess?

RL: First of all nothing can’t be accomplished without discipline and high degree of motivation of the player. That is a necessary base on which you build upon with the parent’s impact and the coach’s who’s help and mutual cooperation is necessary to notice the quality which needs to be enhanced as well as the any problem which needs to be corrected so the player can reach the maximum of play. The physical presence of parents on the training doesn’t have to have impact on the final outcome of the work of the player and the coach. For example Juri Sharapov never missed a minute of Maria’s training, Pete’s father didn’t show up except to drop him off or to pick him up after the lesson. Two different approaches , and than again two extremely successful tennis careers.

robert lansdorp pit sampras

TT: Our (Serbian) tennis players obviously don’t lack the qualities that you just have mentioned…

RL: I am really impressed with the fact that your country has given three world known players in the same short time frame. I never could relax when Maria played Jelena Jankovic, their matches were always long and with lots of drama. Jelena has a big desire to succeed and if she escapes the injuries she will be at the top of the women’s game for a long time. Last year I had a chance to analyze the forehand of Ana Ivanovic, for an American magazine. Her clean shots match the model I try to implement my students. Physically and tactically she is very ready, but to be on the top and stay there for a long time she has to go thru regimen of practicing under increased psychological pressure which is the same as player feels while playing important crucial points. Djokovic is very confident young man who has like all big champions have when they come out to the court –lack of fear. To become and stay world number one player he simply has to have a longer continuous period of the top results.

TT: You appear as a co-author of a booklet “ABC TENNIS” for children ages 7-14 which should be published soon I Serbia.

RL: Yes, it was my pleasure to cooperate with the team of experts in different fields onto making the booklet for the youngest in which besides explanation of the shot techniques you can find ways to improve psychophysical abilities as well as instructions for a healthy life style of future champions.

TT: Is there a possibility that tennis lovers could see you “live” in Serbia anytime soon?

RL: Last year upon the invitation of the sports club “Spartak” from Moscow I spent few days in the capital of Russia, doing trainings for hundreds of young players and being in contact shows on radio and TV. I would gladly accept the invitation from your country and I think the exchange of experience with your tennis experts and young players would be a positive and mutually interesting.

 

Sveto Matovic, in L.A. October 2009.