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View Full Version : Does Blake need a new coach?


AR15
08-20-2007, 01:27 PM
Blake has had the same coach for 20 something years. He doesn't seem to be improving. In fact, I think he's sliding.

Maybe he needs some new ideas. A new coach certainly couldn't hurt his game.

edmondsm
08-20-2007, 01:39 PM
Oh he needs a new coach bad. He has to have heard everything Brian Barker has to say at this point. This is the worst cronnyism in all of tennis. The best example was the Gonzo/Blake match at the Aussie. Larry Stephanki had a perfect game plan to beat Blake, and Brian Barker just sat there with that clueless look on his face while his charge got picked apart.

Rpp
08-20-2007, 01:54 PM
Yep, he just got to Masters Final...things are not very good with him.

AR15
08-20-2007, 01:59 PM
Yep, he just got to Masters Final...things are not very good with him.

Do you think he was the slightest bit prepared to play Federer? Does he have the 'fire in his belly' to beat Fed? How often can he beat a top 5 ranked opponent?

I think he has the talent to beat Fed once in a while. I'm not sure his coach is helping him bring it out in the big matches.

Rpp
08-20-2007, 02:05 PM
Do you think he was the slightest bit prepared to play Federer? Does he have the 'fire in his belly' to beat Fed?

I think he has the talent to beat Fed once in a while. I'm not sure his coach is helping him bring it out in the big matches.

In my opinion coach is not making the difference when Fed plays like yesterday (I saw only the first set)...to get to the final of such big tournament is great result for him.

omniexist
08-20-2007, 02:25 PM
You shoulda made this into a poll and the answer is a resounding YES.

edmondsm
08-20-2007, 02:42 PM
Yep, he just got to Masters Final...things are not very good with him.

This week was a perfect example of how he needs a new and better coach. Blake was smoking dudes because his big game was on. Any moron can coach a guy who's forehand is on fire and is blowing guys off the court. Now when he is in the final, against Fed, and nervous, where is Plan B? Brian Barker doesn't have one, never has.......

saram
08-20-2007, 03:12 PM
Funny, when I posted a thread about Blake needing a new coach and I recommended Larry Stepanky...well, everyone said I was an idiot. Now, seems people agree he needs a coach. Funny how the opinions shift with the tides...lol. (by the way, i am an idiot on a lot of occasions....).

tennispro11
08-20-2007, 03:56 PM
Funny, when I posted a thread about Blake needing a new coach and I recommended Larry Stepanky...well, everyone said I was an idiot. Now, seems people agree he needs a coach. Funny how the opinions shift with the tides...lol. (by the way, i am an idiot on a lot of occasions....).

Oh hush. You aren't an idiot. LOL! There are way too many people on here that I would consider idiots, but you aren't one of them. :o I think he needs a new coach for sure. When he is playing well he is hard to beat, but when he isn't he plays horrible. He needs a plan b, c and d for when he isn't playing well. For somebody who went to Harvard he sure doesn't do a whole lot of thinking out there on the court.

Dilettante
08-20-2007, 05:10 PM
Blake reached his prime, I think. Don't know if he can get any better than that, to be honest.

lordmanji
08-20-2007, 05:13 PM
uh well blake's only number 6 in the world right now under barker. and he only lost this wk to possibly the greatest player of all time in a masters series final. but you have a point in that perhaps, to be a grand slam contender, that is to beat fed, he needs someone with fresh eyes that can MAKE HIM listen much like connors did for roddick.
but thats not a full time coach. it's like one conversation.

kingkong
08-20-2007, 05:23 PM
blake needs to hire a real coach




Blake is a ******, he has learned nothing since his last match with Federer.It is obvious he and his COACH just shrugged off his defeat in shanghai and didn't study the game.

Just like in shanghai federer served 90% of the time to his backhand.

Just like in Shanghai he kept going for the lines in his attempts to hit winners, he didn't try to open up space before going for winners, he just went for the lines.

It's obvious that neither he nor his coach know how to construct points.

His coach is the worst in the professional world.

Blake has all the same tools as Federer but has literally no idea how to use them.

If he was coached by Brad Gilbert he would be top 3, easily

I understand this coach is his friend and has coached him since he was a child but this is getting ridiculous.
__________________

J-man
08-20-2007, 06:49 PM
Do you think he was the slightest bit prepared to play Federer? Does he have the 'fire in his belly' to beat Fed? How often can he beat a top 5 ranked opponent?

I think he has the talent to beat Fed once in a while. I'm not sure his coach is helping him bring it out in the big matches.I personally think it won't matter what he does like getting a new coach, it wona't change his play or result against Federer. Federer just eats Blake up just like Roddick.

I think Blake played great in Cincy. Whatever Brain B told him it worked. It got him to the final where he (and always be) beaten by Federer. But he had a chance in that match based on his playing, so that was a plus.

Klatu Verata Necktie
08-20-2007, 06:49 PM
Sticking up for Blake's coach, I heard commentators talking about how improved Blake's backhand was. They said that a few years ago his backhand was a liability and that it is now used as a weapon to hurt his oponents. They could not remember a time where a player had taken a shot that was a liability and turned into as asset so late in their career.

Even if that sort of progress has been made by other players, it must be rare, and some credit should go to Blake's coach.

kingkong
08-20-2007, 06:55 PM
^^
federer ?

daddy
08-20-2007, 09:29 PM
I wrote prior to the final that guys who think he has a chance agains federer simply do not go by reason but by heart and thats it. He is usefull player, but ages and surely, but this is 100% - coach could make some difference but not bring him to the crem de la crem ... He will be in top for a few more years, though not top and thats it.

I admire the guy cause hes so cool and down to earth. Seems to produce best tennis agains Gonzalez and Nadal and seems to have attractive stlye of play and that about it, fighting spirit of course. Near but not the material for nr1 now he was, but does not stop him from being loved. Coach thing - I think its all the same, he sticks with the guys he is used to and likes them.

Fed is different , he is a top tallent, best there is and wants to improve as much as humainly possible thus changes coaches like every time he wins 3 slams under guidance of one, or when he loses French.. ;)

Dilettante
08-20-2007, 09:47 PM
Seems to produce best tennis agains Gonzalez and Nadal

For what I've seen since Nadal exploded in 2005, Blake is maybe the toughest matchup possible for him. On HC, Blake just owns Nadal bad. I remember Nadal at US Open being clearly frustrated because he couldn't manage Blake's flat and deep shots. I think some similar happens with Gonzo.

daddy
08-20-2007, 09:50 PM
For what I've seen since Nadal exploded in 2005, Blake is maybe the toughest matchup possible for him. On HC, Blake just owns Nadal bad. I remember Nadal at US Open being clearly frustrated because he couldn't manage Blake's flat and deep shots. I think some similar happens with Gonzo.

That was not frustration, nadal whi is a emotional guy, he was crushed. No cmons, no vamos, no jumps no nothing. he was run over and he was run over for a couple of times USO in straights as far as I know. That was somethign. Kind of odd seing him like that .. and then Blake goes on to lose swiftly to Fed for example ..

Goes to show some people have the game which suits some and does not suit other players at all. Needles to say they all play similarly thru the year. My papa said, djokovic is no good, its just that hewitt and gonzalez are not suited to his game ;) then I said, well if nobody is, you are the best, you only pay as much as your oponent lets you basically.

Dilettante
08-20-2007, 09:54 PM
Goes to show some people have the game which suits some and does not suit other players at all.

Matchup is one of the most important things in tennis.

If a player makes shots that are difficult for you to manage, that would be a constant in your confrontations.

daddy
08-20-2007, 09:56 PM
Matchup is one of the most important things in tennis.

If a player makes shots that are difficult for you to manage, that would be a constant in your confrontations.

Surface also - remember nadal speaking about how montreal has a really low bouce of the boll and his topspin is not suited to that. He also spoke about the balls being not ti his liking. Safin spoke about his mental problems in 2nd set to nadal but yet said he expected more power from nadal .

drake
08-20-2007, 10:32 PM
At this point in Blakes' career, I believe Barker is there to reinforce what Blake needs to do from match to match (as do most ATP coaches). Blake knows his own style and if it's on he knows he can beat just about anybody and if he's off that's just how it goes. He doesn't want to make any dramatic changes so why change coaches. Barker has been there when Blake was at his lowest and he was there getting him to top 5 in the world. I give high kudos to James for loyalty and commitment to his values.

edmondsm
08-20-2007, 11:58 PM
^^^I can see that. But he is a very talented athlete, who seems to bang his head against the wall very often. A new opinion might be what helps him break through with a big result. He's actually been quite an under achiever at the slams.

Dilettante
08-21-2007, 12:06 AM
He's actually been quite an under achiever at the slams.

I don't think so. He first has to prove what is he able to reach in a slam, to start calling him "underachiever". I think he achieves what he can, but he's not been a Roddick or Ferrero in slams to think he could/should achieve more than he actually does.

edmondsm
08-21-2007, 02:20 AM
I don't think so. He first has to prove what is he able to reach in a slam, to start calling him "underachiever". I think he achieves what he can, but he's not been a Roddick or Ferrero in slams to think he could/should achieve more than he actually does.

I see your point. He might just not be a "slam player". I'm just suprised that he hasn't made more second weeks of slams. Compared to some players that have similar credentials apart from the slams, like a Nalbandian or a Grosjean, dudes who have similar title counts and ranking histories yet have been to multiple GS semis, he can appear to be an under acheiver.

In D Zone
08-21-2007, 09:48 AM
I enjoy watching Blake play specially when he had a great run for a couple of years. Like in any sports your competitor change and adjust to your game plan especially if you are playing against the top 10 players.

For example, Roddick used to rule with his serve, but not for long, players caught on the fever and are now producing great serves and return that is close to Roddicks.

I know its hard to change coach especially with the success of Blake's and his team had. Instead of parting with his coach why not get another consultant to help Blake out to plan out game plan strategy.

I watched Blake and Fed match - noticed that Blake was going all out; trading forehand exchanges with Federer. I was surprised that Blake did not even try attacking Fed's backhand, granted Fed was protecting his bh side with his inside out moves. Fed jumped on Blake and managed to win the first 3 games on the first set - it took awhile before Blake found his form by that time, Fed was already hot.

Vision84
08-21-2007, 09:58 AM
Yep it does look like Blake needs a new coach. His only plan against Federer was to try to out hit him which pretty much failed. He needs to construct points rather than try to hit a winner all the time.

TennezSport
08-21-2007, 09:59 AM
Didn't you guys hear, there is no Brian Barker, it's just a manneguin that Blakes brother carries around and places in the players box for encouragement..........................


OK, I was just joking, but Brian does remind me of a mannequin sometimes. I think that Blake feels very comfortable with Brian and needs that kind of stable rock in his life. However, I do think that Blake could use some additional help with a mental and serving coach. I would also love to see Blake add Gil Reyes to his team to improve his legs and fight; kinda what Gil did for Agassi in his later years.

TennezSport :cool:

156MPHserve
08-21-2007, 10:42 AM
Blake used to bunt the balls back on his forehand, now it's turned into a weapon of his, where's Roddick's backhand at?

Dilettante
08-21-2007, 02:40 PM
I see your point. He might just not be a "slam player". I'm just suprised that he hasn't made more second weeks of slams. Compared to some players that have similar credentials apart from the slams, like a Nalbandian or a Grosjean, dudes who have similar title counts and ranking histories yet have been to multiple GS semis, he can appear to be an under acheiver.

I think his shots are good specially for a US Open for example. But you need more than shots to achieve certain levels. Some players just can't put things together when the big moments arrive.

As much as some people (specially Americans) bash Roddick, I think Roddick's game may look more "unidimensional", but he can put things together. He can use his weapons (whatever they are) in the required way, as he proved winning an Open and reaching slam finals and semis. He's a better player overall.

Blake looks good, I myself like his style a lot (in fact I like much more his style than Roddick's), but he's lacking certain things that you need to put together to consistentely get through the highest level of competition: the slams.

VaBeachTennis
08-21-2007, 03:37 PM
Oh hush. You aren't an idiot. LOL! There are way too many people on here that I would consider idiots, but you aren't one of them. :o I think he needs a new coach for sure. When he is playing well he is hard to beat, but when he isn't he plays horrible. He needs a plan b, c and d for when he isn't playing well. For somebody who went to Harvard he sure doesn't do a whole lot of thinking out there on the court.

In my opinion, Blake needs more of a mental coach than a physical coach. Blake in some ways , is his own worst enemy on the court. You can see when he breaks down sometimes and thinks "nothing is going well for me now" or something to that effect and then his game suffers. Then you can see at other times he says or thinks to himself " stop complaining and get out there and play like you know you can!" and he does that for a while and when sometimes he's on top and winning, it almost seems like he doesn't think he should be winning, almost like he's afraid of success.
I like Blake's style of play and his sportsman like attitude, I have about half of his game and talent and I think he has some good years still ahead of him, if he finds a good coach/shrink to keep him level and make him more consistent.
That is one thing I would work physically with Blake if I was his coach, his patience and consistency, and then at the right time his explosiveness and aggressivenes.

tennispro11
08-21-2007, 03:55 PM
In my opinion, Blake needs more of a mental coach than a physical coach. Blake in some ways , is his own worst enemy on the court. You can see when he breaks down sometimes and thinks "nothing is going well for me now" or something to that effect and then his game suffers. Then you can see at other times he says or thinks to himself " stop complaining and get out there and play like you know you can!" and he does that for a while and when sometimes he's on top and winning, it almost seems like he doesn't think he should be winning, almost like he's afraid of success.
I like Blake's style of play and his sportsman like attitude, I have about half of his game and talent and I think he has some good years still ahead of him, if he finds a good coach/shrink to keep him level and make him more consistent.
That is one thing I would work physically with Blake if I was his coach, his patience and consistency, and then at the right time his explosiveness and aggressivenes.

Yeah completely agree. I guess I just didn't say in my earlier post that I thought he needed somebody to work on his thinking game, not his physical one. He clearly has the game to do well for a while longer. Like I said he needs to develop a plan b. You can't always be playing your best, so you have to adapt and change your style. What makes the top pros the best at what they do is even if they aren't playing well they still find a way to win. I think Blake has it in him to do that but just not with Barker working on his mental game.

TennezSport
08-22-2007, 08:10 AM
In my opinion, Blake needs more of a mental coach than a physical coach. Blake in some ways , is his own worst enemy on the court. You can see when he breaks down sometimes and thinks "nothing is going well for me now" or something to that effect and then his game suffers. Then you can see at other times he says or thinks to himself " stop complaining and get out there and play like you know you can!" and he does that for a while and when sometimes he's on top and winning, it almost seems like he doesn't think he should be winning, almost like he's afraid of success.
I like Blake's style of play and his sportsman like attitude, I have about half of his game and talent and I think he has some good years still ahead of him, if he finds a good coach/shrink to keep him level and make him more consistent.
That is one thing I would work physically with Blake if I was his coach, his patience and consistency, and then at the right time his explosiveness and aggressivenes.

I Agree! This is reason that I stated that Gil Reyes might be able to help Blake as he did Agassi pre '99 when Agassi seemed to lose faith in himself. Reyes has that ability to fortify players when things are not going well. Reyes will also keep Brian Barker awake during tourneys (sorry, I couldn't stop myself).

TennezSport :cool:

anchorsteamer
08-22-2007, 08:44 AM
You shoulda made this into a poll and the answer is a resounding YES.

You need to go with what your comfortable with...a coach is there for more then just tennis help, he'd there to keep you relaxed, confident and having fun. He's had a few rough results but he' still hovering around 10...thats pretty damn good, not sure he wants a major change-up from the guy he's known and worked with forever. It's one of those quick-fix ideas that's just a bad idea...like firing Paterno or Bowden in the mid '70's after a bad season. Stick with what works...and if your top 10...something is working.

Side note: You cant really use the lack of a plan against Fed as an example...guy might be the greatest player of all time. If not having a plan against him demands a new coach then there are a lot of guys out there in desperate need of new coaches...

Forehand Forever
08-22-2007, 09:12 AM
He's at 6 right now. I think Barker is doing a good job with Blake. I agree with anchorsteamer on how he said you have to be comfortable with your coach. No other coach is going to have the same relationship that Blake and Barker have.

coloskier
08-22-2007, 11:46 AM
Yep, he just got to Masters Final...things are not very good with him.

Who did he beat to get there? Not one top 5 player.

J-man
08-22-2007, 01:35 PM
Davydenko is in the Top 5 at #4. Now that could have changed since Cincy. But still a quality win nevertheless

VaBeachTennis
08-22-2007, 01:55 PM
I Agree! This is reason that I stated that Gil Reyes might be able to help Blake as he did Agassi pre '99 when Agassi seemed to lose faith in himself. Reyes has that ability to fortify players when things are not going well. Reyes will also keep Brian Barker awake during tourneys (sorry, I couldn't stop myself).

TennezSport :cool:

Good Points!

Forehand Forever
08-22-2007, 02:28 PM
Who did he beat to get there? Not one top 5 player.

Davydenko is top 5 I'm pretty sure

West Coast Ace
08-22-2007, 06:31 PM
Yep, he just got to Masters Final...things are not very good with him.Beating people he should. I guess if that's the goal then things are 'good' with him.

Blake reached his prime, I think. Don't know if he can get any better than that, to be honest.Tend to agree. Unless he has an epiphany like Gonzo and realizes he has to change his ways in a big way, he will be the perpetual, shot artist with no big titles.

Yep it does look like Blake needs a new coach. His only plan against Federer was to try to out hit him which pretty much failed. He needs to construct points rather than try to hit a winner all the time.That strategy might work - but it's not in his nature. Like Michael Vick going to the museum instead of .... never mind. :-)

No other coach is going to have the same relationship that Blake and Barker have.Very possible - and if Blake is too stubborn to try another, we'll never know.

I was thinking during the Sunday final, if I were a tennis exo promoter, I'd have Fed and Blake barnstorm. Both hit ridiculous shots and would be much more entertaining than any other ATP pros. Nadal hits some great shots, but not with the frequency of Blake.