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A Message To Dad: 'You're Not My Tennis Coach!'

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2020

A Message To Dad: ‘You’re Not My Tennis Coach!’

Former World No. 6 pens a blog about his quarantine

“You’re not my tennis coach!”

I live in Paris with my wife, Carine, and our sons, Timothée and Valentin. But when everything started to close because of the coronavirus pandemic, we decided to self-isolate in southern France. The house we stayed at has a tennis court in the backyard, so there was a lot of tennis with the kids. My older son, Timothée, who is 10, likes to remind me that I’m not actually his coach when I tell him something on the court!

That’s how he’s been from the start, so I never got involved with his tennis much. But sometimes he’s happy to play with me because he remembers that I’m a tennis player and thinks maybe I actually know something!

We don’t spend a lot of time at home as tennis players, so unfortunately I’ve missed a lot of things with my kids. Sometimes you leave for a tournament and they are crawling. When you come back, they are walking! You feel like, ‘Oh no, I missed something there.’ But I knew that was the case from the start. When Timothée is 15, I will be 40, so I’ll still be able to do many things with him. I’m 35 now and still competing, so if I waited until the end of my career to start a family, it would’ve been too late.

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During normal time, when I am home for a week off, I really want to focus on things with my kids. But unfortunately, at some point, I have to leave to travel again. That’s what has been so nice about these months. It’s been great to have all this time so I could really work on some things that I wanted to help with, like school for the big one and other things for the little one.

I’ve actually been a teacher more than anything else during the ATP Tour’s suspension. At the beginning it was difficult balancing everything, from helping with school to playing tennis with the kids and handling everything else. But as time went on, it got really good and was a lot of fun. I think it was easier for Timothée to accept that I was teaching him something, because he had no other choice! In general, I try to stay away from their tennis. I watch everything, but I never say anything. I’m always in the background.

It’s funny, but it was not so good on the court by the end for Timothée. He was ready to play with someone else! Even so, I was happy to have the chance to spend a lot of time with him. Now, our club just began opening up, so I was able to bring my kids for their first lesson since the coronavirus started spreading. They are happy — they are not stuck with their father as their coach!

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I haven’t played much myself even with the court in our backyard. I’m the kind of person who needs to know when I’m going to start again to make preparations. I’m not young anymore. It’s not like I can go and practise full-on for four months. I just can’t do it. If I did start like that, I’d be dead and get injured.

My idea was to rest and to try to stay healthy and in good shape and then to have two months to prepare when tournaments begin. I just started two weeks ago very slowly and I’m trying to practise again and I’m going to go more and more.

When the tour resumes, I won’t worry about any specific results. I’m 35, and to me the results are not the most important thing anymore. The main goal is to be happy on the court. I would like to take even more pleasure during the matches. I like to play tennis, I like to practise. This is the sport I will love forever. I often say I might be the person who loves tennis more than anybody. I can watch it at all levels, and I believe everything about the sport is interesting. The only problem is when I play matches.

I have the will to perform as best I can to achieve good things, and sometimes because of that stress and the pressure to play well, the pleasure sometimes disappears. I have too many thoughts of, ‘Hey I want to win. I want to accomplish this, I want to do that.’ I would like to spend more time in the match enjoying what I’m doing.

This is the time in my life when I’m super good at tennis, and that’s a great thing. I need to try to forget the rest. That’s the last goal I have on the tennis court. The results will come, or they will not. But I’m pretty confident if I do things the right way I will have great results. If I don’t, it will almost be the end of my career. Maybe I’ll say, ‘I’ve suffered enough.’

– as told to Andrew Eichenholz

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A Final Win To Remember: Haas' Stuttgart Stunner Against Federer

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2020

A Final Win To Remember: Haas’ Stuttgart Stunner Against Federer

Look back at the final victory of former World No. 2 Haas’ career

One of Tommy Haas’ most memorable wins was his last victory.

The former World No. 2 was 39 when he competed at the 2017 MercedesCup in Stuttgart. Haas had undergone his ninth surgery the previous April and he entered the tournament searching for form during his final season. The German had not won back-to-back matches since 2014 Rome.

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After winning his first-round match against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Haas knew he faced a tough challenge in the second round against Roger Federer. The Swiss had won 12 of their past 13 ATP Head2Head meetings.

But Haas found some of the magic that helped him win 15 ATP Tour titles, saving a match point to stun the top-seeded Federer 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-4.

“I’m a little bit speechless that I beat him today,” Haas said. “It’s been a while since I have won back-to-back matches and to do it today against Roger is obviously one of my career highlights. It’s a very special feeling.”

Federer won nine more points than his friend, 105 to 96. Haas withstood 23 aces from the Swiss and saved nine of 12 break points to advance to the quarter-finals. At 7/8 in the second-set tie-break, Haas had to deliver a second serve, but Federer did not convert his match point, lifting a backhand long.

“Tommy definitely played well when he had to,” Federer said.

Haas, who tore a ligament in his right foot the previous year, worked hard for moments like this. The veteran didn’t win a title by shocking Federer, but the German created a memory he’ll never forget.

“This is my last phase, so the emotions are different from what they would have been a few years ago,” Haas said. “I was happy to be out there in front of a German crowd playing against a friend, an idol, a legend, the greatest ever. It’s fantastic.”

That proved to be the German’s final victory. Haas lost in the quarter-finals against Mischa Zverev, and also dropped his next five matches after that. He competed for the final time in Kitzbühel at the Generali Open.

Did You Know?
The only other player to defeat Federer for his final tour-level win was James Sekulov at 2000 Indianapolis.

– With assistance from Joshua Rey

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More Colouring Fun In Emirates ATP Kids Hub

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2020

More Colouring Fun In Emirates ATP Kids Hub

It’s time to bust out the pencils and crayons

Hey Kids!

We know that you have been missing the on-court action during the suspension of the tennis tour.

We hope to be back on court soon. In the meantime, you can still connect in a small way with the iconic cities that host famous tennis events by downloading the cityscapes and colouring them in.

Download Colouring Sheets (PDF)

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Fan Essay: The One That Got Away

Did you see our first colouring activity?

Don’t forget to check out all the great activities in the Emirates ATP Kids Hub

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Pouille's Stuttgart Run From Incredible Match Point Save To Champion

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2020

Pouille’s Stuttgart Run From Incredible Match Point Save To Champion

Learn how Pouille escaped his opener and eventually lifted the trophy in 2017

It’s not often that you save a match point and go on to win the match. It’s more rare to do that and go on to capture the title, but that’s exactly what Lucas Pouille did at the 2017 MercedesCup.

Home favourite Jan-Lennard Struff served at 8/7 in the final-set tie-break of their second-round match in Stuttgart. During the point, the Frenchman tracked down a brilliant drop shot and then flicked back two reflex volleys. He was so close to the net that he had to be careful not to run into it. Pouille hit a clean winner on his second volley, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

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Pouille used that momentum to power through the next two points and prevail 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(8). The fourth seed then defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber, Benoit Paire and Feliciano Lopez to win his second of three titles that season.

Twelve tour-level titlists saved at least one match point en route to lifting a trophy in 2017. Pouille fell on the other side of the equation that season, too, as Rafael Nadal saved two match points against the Frenchman in the first round of the China Open before emerging from the ATP 500 victorious.

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