Frenchman Christian Filhol has rich credentials as a coach. He has coached players such as Mary Pierce, Elena Dementieva, Cara Black and been a consultant for Justine Henin. Filhol is now coaching the doubles team of Black and Sania Mirza for the new season and the first big challenge is the Australian Open in January. Filhol is training the players at the Sania Mirza Tennis Academy.
He said coaching is all about mentoring the players. “The emphasis is on man-management and mentoring. I have been fortunate to train some big players. Mary Pierce developed into a strong player as she had the power and strength. Cara is a tenacious player. She is mentally strong,” he said.
The coach felt Cara and Sania have turned into a formidable pair. “Sania has the best forehand in the world. She also has a champion’s attitude. She loves to fight and is a daring player. I’m excited about Cara and Sania’s tournaments in the new season,” he said.
Filhol stressed tennis is all about power and speed. “Of course, the game keeps changing and priorities too change. We should focus on how tennis will be in next 10 years and not how it was 10 years ago,” he added.
He said that in tennis, pressure is always there on players. “But a player’s ability to handle the pressure is the key to success in world tennis. They should not be scared of pressure but use it in the best way possible,” he pointed out.
Asked about Indian players, Filhol said that quite a few changes are necessary to be a force in singles. “In doubles, Indians always do well. They have got skills but it not about skills alone. In singles, players need to have power and stamina. They have to learn to be more aggressive and consistent,” he concluded.
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