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Cahill: “Sinner like Hewitt can already win the Grand Slams”

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Cahill: “Sinner like Hewitt can already win the Grand Slams”

the interview

Darren Cahill was an excellent tennis player, No. 22 ATP in singles, 10 in doubles, but as a coach he is the magician who brought, or brought back, Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and Simona Halep to the No. 1 in the world. Today he joins Simone Vagnozzi as Jannik Sinner’s supercoach.

Because he agreed to train him?

«Because he’s a great guy, as well as a great player, and I like working with people like that. I’m not interested in the ranking but the person and the potential I see ».

At Wimbledon Sinner came closest of all to beating Djokovic. How much is it really worth?

«In the last 15 years, tennis has been dominated by four very strong men, perhaps the strongest ever. For the others it was tough. Now things are changing. There are young champions, and Jannik can win the Grand Slams. And I mean now, not in a year. ”

Already on the concrete of the US Open?

“Jannik moves well on concrete. And his game is powerful enough for that kind of surface ».

How is it technically?

«His serve is improving, as is the transition to the net and the game on the fly. He has made great progress in the last two years, first with Riccardo Piatti and then with Simone. It is important, however, that he reasons in perspective, that he knows what kind of tennis he wants to play in two years and that he does everything to get there ».

Did you speak to Piatti before accepting the assignment?

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“Of course. Riccardo is a good person, and coaching is a difficult business. If you do your job well, you end up licensing yourself, because your job is to teach the tennis player to fend for himself. Usually after three or four years it is time for a change ».

His compatriot Pat Cash says that “Cahill’s hand” has already been seen in the flying game at Wimbledon …

«Simone and I are working on it. We have clear ideas but it is Jannik who must be convinced. Think of Nadal, Djokovic or Murray: none of them at Jannik’s age liked to go to the net. They have developed their game over the years ».

How important is the progress with the second serve?

«The second service is very important, because if you manage to make it varied, it also helps you with the first, it makes you feel more free. For me it is more important than the first. It’s the tennis proverb: “You are as strong as your second serve is” ».

Even on grass, where he had never won a match, Jannik is now at ease.

«On the grass the more you play on it, the better you feel. She has learned how to move, how to stay in the exchange. On grass he can become a very dangerous player, he proved it at Wimbledon. He must be proud of what he has done ».

From grass to concrete passing on earth: an adaptable talent?

«Umag was a pre-existing agreement, and it’s not a problem to play on clay. Then he will go to Canada to play Montreal and Cincinnati and then the US Open ».

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What is the tennis player of the future like?

«Nobody can win today by playing only one type of tennis, you have to have a variety of options. And Jannik can do it. Djokovic is also using his backhand more than in the past, because he knows that going against a wall is not always the best choice ».

How has the role of the coach changed since he coached Agassi?

«Today it is easier to train than twenty years ago, because there is not just one coach, tennis players invest to have more technical voices to follow. Novak, Rafa, Roger and Andy have made this sport very professional. They sprinted forward, and the others had to chase them and learn from them, understand why they were so strong and try to imitate them ».

Does Jannik remind you of any of your former players?

“Lleyton Hewitt. For his work ethic, his passion, his professionalism. As a tennis player he is different, but he has the same fire inside ».

Are the ATP Finals among the objectives of this year? Is their being in Turin an extra motivation?

«We have not set a specific goal. As I said Jannik can win right away, but it’s also a time-consuming process. The ATP Finals are important, of course, a goal for anyone along with the Grand Slams. Playing them is a great honor. That they are in Turin is beautiful, but it would be everywhere ». –

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