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The Coaching Carousel

The coaching carousel spins again, this time with the break up of one of the highest profile teams on the ATP Tour, Andy Roddick and his coach, Jimmy Connors. The first question people usually ask is "What happened?". As in many cases, knee-jerk reactions, speculations, and rumors inevitably begin to pile up and ultimately bury the truth.

This "sensational" reaction to a player and coach parting ways continues to mystify me primarily because the reality of the situation is normally a great deal less dramatic than the media and people would like it to be. In over fifty-five years of coaching tennis, I have parted ways with countless players. Sometimes it was my decision, other times it was the player's, but more often than not it was a mutual decision. One thing I can tell you is that all of my former players are still welcome at my Academy, or free to call me for advice or just to check in. And, I'm happy that many of them still do.

What the media often fails to account for is the unique and personal bond that develops between a coach and player on the pro tour. It is a one-on-one relationship, unlike team sports, and requires world travel twenty-five, thirty, sometimes forty weeks out of the year. Most traveling coaches spend more time with their player in a year than they do with their own families. Just ask a few of my ex-wives... they'll tell you how difficult the career is on a family.

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