Top 5 Tennis coaches who were successful players too
The role and emphasis on coaching in a tennis player's professional career is often not given enough credit. Great players despite having immense talent and skill, do need some sort of mentorship, guidance and tutoring. Novak Djokovic had tried to bring about too many changes to his coaching staff bringing in the likes of Andre Agassi, Radek Stepanek earlier this year.
Later, he realized that wholesale changes like that just don't work and he reunited with his old coach - Marian Vadja. Immediately, the combination of Vadja-Djokovic worked wonders and Djokovic won Wimbledon and US Open and also sealed the year-end #1 ranking.
Novak has publicly voiced that reuniting with Vadja - someone who knows his strengths and weaknesses inside out better than anyone else apart from possibly himself was a gamechanger.
The coaches get paid depending on the performance of the players in tournaments. So, in this regard, they are fully vested in the player's game. If players win Grand Slam tournaments, typically the coaches are paid about a small portion of the prize money.
We take a look at four successful tennis players who transitioned into coaches and achieved considerable success and wealth.
#4 Brad Gilbert
The author of the popular book ‘Winning Ugly’, which must be the most referenced tennis coaching manual of all-time, Brad Gilbert is best known for the work he did with Andre Agassi. Andre Agassi won six of his eight Grand Slams with Gilbert as his coach. Agassi described Gilbert as the greatest coach of all time. Gilbert was coach of Andre Agassi between 1994 to 2002.
Later, Gilbert became the coach of up and coming American tennis star, Andy Roddick. He helped Andy Roddick win his first and only Major at the US Open of 2003 and also played a pivotal role in Roddick's rise to #1 in the World rankings.
Brad was also coach of Andy Murray between 2006 and 2007 during which the Scot became the top-ranked British player. After brief coaching stints with Kei Nishikori and Sam Querrey, Brad took a break from coaching to pursue a full-time role as an analyst with ESPN.
Brad was also a decent tennis player during his playing days having reached a career-high Singles ranking of World #4 in 1990.