===.Coaches & Students
Questions that make you think:
I realized that they are in very different time zones,
but... in making all things equal...
1). should coaches be better than their students?
2). is it enough for coaches to have been better than their students?
3). is it enough for coaches to have more experience than their students?
Chang excited at Nishikori’s rise
~ TODAYonline, Sports
~ PUBLISHED: 4:16 AM, OCTOBER 23, 2015, Friday
~ UPDATED: 7:47 AM, OCTOBER 23, 2015, Friday
SINGAPORE — Dressed in his Uniqlo tennis gear, he strode through the Fullerton Bay Hotel’s al fresco area unnoticed by the office executives enjoying an after-work tipple.
While Michael Chang may not be turning heads here in Singapore, there is no doubt that the former Asian-American tennis ace has had a huge influence on the sport.
At the 1989 French Open, he became the youngest male player to win a Grand Slam singles title at the age of 17, defeating Stefan Edberg in the five-set final. Chang went on to win 34 singles titles, hitting a career high of world No 2 before retiring in 2003, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire many Asian players on the professional circuit.
And it is fitting that Chang is now working with one of tennis’ most exciting Asian superstar — Japan’s world No 6 Kei Nishikori. Since signing on Chang as a coach in 2013, Nishikori has won seven of his 10 ATP titles, climbed to a career high of world No 4, and qualified for his first Grand Slam final at the 2014 US Open.
WATCH: Interview with Michael Chang (Oct 22)
Fans are hopeful that Nishikori will become the first Asian-born men’s singles player to win a Grand Slam title, and it is a question that Chang gets asked often as well. And the 43-year-old believes his protege has what it takes to make history.
“He came very close last year (at the US Open); he had a great opportunity against Marin (Cilic),” said Chang, who is in town for Tag Heuer’s unveiling of the first tennis floating platform yesterday with tennis superstar Maria Sharapova ahead of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore.
“He’s beaten all the best players in the world so that obviously gives him confidence, and hopefully it’s just a matter of time. I get that question asked almost every time I do an interview with Japanese media — it’s either which one, or when?
“Right now on the men’s side Kei stands out and everybody knows he’s very talented and opportunities for him to do well in big tournaments and Grand Slams are there.
“I’m excited for him and I think he’s approaching the best years of his tennis career and hopefully he can fulfil his goals.”
Regarded as one of the best defensive baseliners of all time, Chang has, ironically, helped Nishikori develop a more aggressive, offensive game on court.
The father-of-two travels with Nishikori on tour and both men enjoy a good relationship both on and off-court, as Chang added: “We have a pretty good relationship. Kei’s more on the quiet, reserved side. He doesn’t talk a lot. The nice thing is he learns very quickly and he works hard. It’s pretty easy to relate to him and talk to him, both being Asian. Our playing styles are a little similar as well.”
While Chang may be focused on his coaching duties, he is also keeping an eye out on the next generation of American youngsters such as Taylor Fritz, Michael Mmoh and Tommy Paul.
He remains optimistic that the United States will soon see another superstar the likes of former world No 1 Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.
“It’s tough to follow in our generation’s footsteps when you’ve got the likes of Sampras, (Jim) Courier, Agassi, myself and a couple others. Tough shoes to follow,” he said.
“We’ll got eight or nine of the world’s best juniors right now. They’ve been dominating the junior circuit. So in four to five years’ time, it’s going to be a lot of fun to see them come out and do well.”
Picture Below: Michael Chang (left) is in town with Maria Sharapova (right) for Tag Heuer’s unveiling of the first tennis floating platform yesterday here.
~ Photo: Don Wong