Ivan Ljubicic: Coaching A Top Player

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
#1
Source: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/ljubicic-coaches-corner-2018-federer


"When Ivan Ljubicic ended his playing career in April 2012 he made a seamless transition into the television commentary booth. However, the highly respected and consummate professional both on and off the court was soon in high demand by current ATP World Tour stars.

“My view is that if you want to do anything in tennis you have to be ready to travel,” Ljubicic exclusively told ATPWorldTour.com in Rotterdam. “The sport's the way it is, you can’t just sit at home. The biggest difference now is that when I am at home, I am at home. I don’t need to train or anything. I therefore spend quality time with my wife and kids.”

As a former World No. 3, who worked under the guidance of Riccardo Piatti, the only coach of his 15-season professional career, Ljubicic competed at the very highest level and barely one year after retiring he found himself in the corner of Canada’s Milos Raonic (2013-2015).

The Croatian has travelled as part of team Roger Federer since early 2016 and last week at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Ljubicic gave ATPWorldTour.com an insight into his coaching methods. On Monday this week, at 36 years of age, Federer rose back to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings for the first time since 4 November 2012.

“When you talk about coaching at the highest level, you have to listen a lot,” said Ljubicic in Rotterdam, where Federer lifted his 97th tour-level trophy. “The most important thing is to understand a player. Listen at the beginning, but then listening in general to understand and ultimately help a player.

“When you start with a player in the middle of a season, such as Milos, you can’t step in and say, ‘I want to change everything, because this is how I did it.’ I feel that it doesn’t work like that.

“You see, if you are coaching a player, who has been around for a while, he has his own patterns and ideas. His own opinions on a lot of stuff, and you have to pick your fights on what you think will have the biggest impact on a game or the result.”

Since Ljubicic joined Severin Luthi, Federer’s coach since 2008, the Swiss superstar has won nine titles - including three Grand Slam championships and three ATP World Tour Masters 1000s - from 11 finals and taken a six-month lay-off in 2016 to recover from knee surgery.

“The biggest difference between coaching and playing is that the player is the boss,” said Ljubicic. “The player has to be mentally strong, a leader, because on the court, he makes all of the decisions. Then, as a coach, you have to put your ego aside and make sure you do everything the player needs to compete better and be a better person.

“In coaching Milos or Roger, I never thought about short and long-term impacts. I think about how do I improve a player? How can this be better? What can be done? The truth is if you don’t make a quick impact, there might not be any long-term goals. That’s the tricky part. There is a fair amount of luck also, because you need to get results at the beginning and the confidence of a player. No matter how sure the player is in his confidence of a coach, if the results aren’t there after a while, then all sorts of problems arise.”

As a player, Ljubicic captured 10 ATP World Tour trophies during his career, highlighted by a title run to the 2010 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells that saw him beat Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick. Naturally, being in the competitive cauldron garnered respect when he started coaching.


“As a player you do whatever you want,” said Ljubicic. “As a coach you have to standby a lot of the time. Coaching is the closest thing to playing tennis. I love it and the adrenaline. The emotions are sometimes very strong, but they won’t ever be as they are as a player, when you win or you lose. You can’t compare it. The emotions are similar, but it’s a lower intensity.

“As a coach, you have to have the respect of a player. Experience can be something you personally went through or you watched on TV. It is two different things. I’m not saying myself or a player who didn’t compete at the highest level are saying two different things.

“But I always try to make a point, I try to make an impact. I don’t talk a lot and the players that I have coached can confirm this. If I do say something, I will stand by it.”

In beginning his transition from being a player to a coach, Ljubicic relied on Piatti, but also one of Federer’s former coaches.

The 38-year-old Ljubicic recalled, “I remember speaking to Paul Annacone when I was still playing and asking him ‘What’s it like to coach?’ I was just curious and he told me that the most important thing was to listen. You have to keep improving yourself as a coach, you have to listen, study, look around as you never know what information may be useful to yourself.”

So what’s the toughest part of the job?

“The toughest part is to know where there is the line,” said Ljubicic. “When to let go or step in and say something. That’s probably the most complex part of the job.

“As a coach, you can’t be selfish. It just doesn’t work. You have to understand, and it’s even better for a player to make a mistake by doing something that’s contrary to what you think. A player steps onto court and wins matches. I’ve had many different hats in my career, but I’ll always think players run the show."

Didn't see a thread on this and thought it might be interesting. Personally, I've always been of the opinion that a coach doesn't particularly help a player a lot, or at least not an established player like Federer, but it is cool to hear Ljubicic's opinion. And then of course you have coaches like Magnus Norman who seems to have helped Stan Wawrinka immensely. For that matter I'd say Ljubicic has helped Federer on the BH side.

What do the great tennis analysts of TTW have to say about this?
 
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Deleted member 742196

Guest
#8
OP:
Cool. He wants to sell furniture.

What I did really want to say however is directed at @sureshs:
I've seen your "banned" avatar too many times the past number of days, frankly it's disturbing me. I would like for you to properly format it please.

I've poked around Google for three minutes and shortlisted some for you:

Banned Baha
Similar to your existing one. With a wishy-washy California scent to it.




Banned Classic

Elegant. Timeless. Leaves it to viewer to imagine.



Banned Classic [bold]

Elegant. Timeless. Leaves it to the viewer to imagine. Boldly


Banned Classic [simple]

Still Elegant. Still Timeless. Leaves nothing to imagine - for the simpler folk.


Banned Funky

Not sure what this is communicating, but seems interesting.
 
#10
Source: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/ljubicic-coaches-corner-2018-federer


"When Ivan Ljubicic ended his playing career in April 2012 he made a seamless transition into the television commentary booth. However, the highly respected and consummate professional both on and off the court was soon in high demand by current ATP World Tour stars.

“My view is that if you want to do anything in tennis you have to be ready to travel,” Ljubicic exclusively told ATPWorldTour.com in Rotterdam. “The sport's the way it is, you can’t just sit at home. The biggest difference now is that when I am at home, I am at home. I don’t need to train or anything. I therefore spend quality time with my wife and kids.”

As a former World No. 3, who worked under the guidance of Riccardo Piatti, the only coach of his 15-season professional career, Ljubicic competed at the very highest level and barely one year after retiring he found himself in the corner of Canada’s Milos Raonic (2013-2015).

The Croatian has travelled as part of team Roger Federer since early 2016 and last week at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Ljubicic gave ATPWorldTour.com an insight into his coaching methods. On Monday this week, at 36 years of age, Federer rose back to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings for the first time since 4 November 2012.

“When you talk about coaching at the highest level, you have to listen a lot,” said Ljubicic in Rotterdam, where Federer lifted his 97th tour-level trophy. “The most important thing is to understand a player. Listen at the beginning, but then listening in general to understand and ultimately help a player.

“When you start with a player in the middle of a season, such as Milos, you can’t step in and say, ‘I want to change everything, because this is how I did it.’ I feel that it doesn’t work like that.

“You see, if you are coaching a player, who has been around for a while, he has his own patterns and ideas. His own opinions on a lot of stuff, and you have to pick your fights on what you think will have the biggest impact on a game or the result.”

Since Ljubicic joined Severin Luthi, Federer’s coach since 2008, the Swiss superstar has won nine titles - including three Grand Slam championships and three ATP World Tour Masters 1000s - from 11 finals and taken a six-month lay-off in 2016 to recover from knee surgery.

“The biggest difference between coaching and playing is that the player is the boss,” said Ljubicic. “The player has to be mentally strong, a leader, because on the court, he makes all of the decisions. Then, as a coach, you have to put your ego aside and make sure you do everything the player needs to compete better and be a better person.

“In coaching Milos or Roger, I never thought about short and long-term impacts. I think about how do I improve a player? How can this be better? What can be done? The truth is if you don’t make a quick impact, there might not be any long-term goals. That’s the tricky part. There is a fair amount of luck also, because you need to get results at the beginning and the confidence of a player. No matter how sure the player is in his confidence of a coach, if the results aren’t there after a while, then all sorts of problems arise.”

As a player, Ljubicic captured 10 ATP World Tour trophies during his career, highlighted by a title run to the 2010 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells that saw him beat Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick. Naturally, being in the competitive cauldron garnered respect when he started coaching.


“As a player you do whatever you want,” said Ljubicic. “As a coach you have to standby a lot of the time. Coaching is the closest thing to playing tennis. I love it and the adrenaline. The emotions are sometimes very strong, but they won’t ever be as they are as a player, when you win or you lose. You can’t compare it. The emotions are similar, but it’s a lower intensity.

“As a coach, you have to have the respect of a player. Experience can be something you personally went through or you watched on TV. It is two different things. I’m not saying myself or a player who didn’t compete at the highest level are saying two different things.

“But I always try to make a point, I try to make an impact. I don’t talk a lot and the players that I have coached can confirm this. If I do say something, I will stand by it.”

In beginning his transition from being a player to a coach, Ljubicic relied on Piatti, but also one of Federer’s former coaches.

The 38-year-old Ljubicic recalled, “I remember speaking to Paul Annacone when I was still playing and asking him ‘What’s it like to coach?’ I was just curious and he told me that the most important thing was to listen. You have to keep improving yourself as a coach, you have to listen, study, look around as you never know what information may be useful to yourself.”

So what’s the toughest part of the job?

“The toughest part is to know where there is the line,” said Ljubicic. “When to let go or step in and say something. That’s probably the most complex part of the job.

“As a coach, you can’t be selfish. It just doesn’t work. You have to understand, and it’s even better for a player to make a mistake by doing something that’s contrary to what you think. A player steps onto court and wins matches. I’ve had many different hats in my career, but I’ll always think players run the show."

Didn't see a thread on this and thought it might be interesting. Personally, I've always been of the opinion that a coach doesn't particularly help a player a lot, or at least not an established player like Federer, but it is cool to hear Ljubicic's opinion. And then of course you have coaches like Magnus Norman who seems to have helped Stan Wawrinka immensely. For that matter I'd say Ljubicic has helped Federer on the BH side.

What do the great tennis analysts of TTW have to say about this?
This great analyst would say Ljubicic is captain obvious here.
 
D

Deleted member 742196

Guest
#19
I don't think so. It is pretty intuitive to come over the ball once the margin of error is larger, rather than the slicing he was doing before. A coach is not needed for this.
Why do people use this term?

If you come over a tennis ball from the baseline it ends up in the net. Also, it sounds pervy.
 
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nikdom

Guest
#20
I don't think so. It is pretty intuitive to come over the ball once the margin of error is larger, rather than the slicing he was doing before. A coach is not needed for this.
Whatever you say suresh. I can't be as certain as you as I've never been in the shoes of a multiple slam winner who did hire a coach to help him.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
#21
I have been asking Federer on this forum for years to move to a bigger frame. He would have had 25 Slams by now if he had listened, and no need to pay Lube.
 
N

nikdom

Guest
#23
I have been asking Federer on this forum for years to move to a bigger frame. He would have had 25 Slams by now if he had listened, and no need to pay Lube.
Yes, you and many others, including myself, wondered if Federer could improve his game by switching to a larger racket. History has proved it to be a correct move.

But I'm not certain it was a given that a racket switch alone would produce the results. The switch could very well have been a dud had adequate care, practice, tactical changes not been made to take advantage of it.

I mean if Roger still just ran side to side behind the baseline reaching for balls instead of taking a more aggressive position inside the baseline, not sure how a larger racket helps much. Yeah, he'd get his racquet on a few more balls, but so what? Getting more balls back in and hitting the ball with interest are two different things.

Even today, if he plays a very defensive game with the new frame, he loses a lot more to the Top guys than win. No way he was going to win AO 17 without taking it to Nadal in that fifth set.
 
#24
Hiring the right tennis coach is like choosing your partner for marriage

You could be a great person but a poor partner . You could just be incompatible even though both are great. Or two lousy people can make a great team
 
N

nikdom

Guest
#29
Everything tactical that Ljube won't talk about is evident in Roger's play.

Watch a bunch of highlights from earlier years and then from 2017-18.

All the new wrinkles are Ljube's.

My favorite ones are not even related to Roger' BH, which is the most talked about improvement. It's actually when he's been luring folks to go out wide on his forehand, a counter-technique to Marian Vajda's for Djoker when playing Roger: Roger actually defends pretty well on the BH side, it's when he's pulled wide on the FH that you can attack him on the BH side better and that got picked up by others too.

Starting 2017, Roger cheats a bit to the BH side, thus creating the illusion of leaving undefended room on the deuce side and then rushes in to pull some absolute bombs from out wide on the FH side. Sometimes DTL and other times with an even more acute angle cross-court. Brilliant readjustment and using a former weakness as counterattack,

Roger also attacks down the middle against these big guys now instead of giving them room to operate with their big wingspans. It jams them and the closes the deal with a 2nd or 3rd shot, usually at net. Again, a small change, but a brilliant and necessary one.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
#30
Everything tactical that Ljube won't talk about is evident in Roger's play.

Watch a bunch of highlights from earlier years and then from 2017-18.

All the new wrinkles are Ljube's.

My favorite ones are not even related to Roger' BH, which is the most talked about improvement. It's actually when he's been luring folks to go out wide on his forehand, a counter-technique to Marian Vajda's for Djoker when playing Roger: Roger actually defends pretty well on the BH side, it's when he's pulled wide on the FH that you can attack him on the BH side better and that got picked up by others too.

Roger's been pulling some absolute bombs from out wide on the FH side. Sometimes DTL and other times with an even more acute angle cross-court.

Roger also attacks down the middle against these big guys now instead of giving them room to operate with their big wingspans. It jams them and the closes the deal with a 2nd or 3rd shot, usually at net. Again, a small change, but a brilliant and necessary one.
What it tells me is that a poster like you would have been more than enough and there was no need to pay Lube.

In fact, I strongly believe that pros should seek advice from the posters here, especially the experts in the Tips section.
 
N

nikdom

Guest
#31
What it tells me is that a poster like you would have been more than enough and there was no need to pay Lube.

In fact, I strongly believe that pros should seek advice from the posters here, especially the experts in the Tips section.
I did not come up with these adjustments, Ljube did. I'm merely perceptive enough with repeated viewing of highlights to notice some of them after the fact.

Unlike you sureshs, I don't claim to be better than the pros who've been doing it all their lives.

Happy trolling
 
#32
Short version for the TLDR crowd:

You are hired to listen, observe, and make suggestions as a coach. Oh, and be willing to travel.
Yeah. And keep your player sharp. And you need to know what solutions help in the mind of your player, and that's different for any player. You could coach Kyrgios, suggest 100 tiny little things, but you overcomplicate **** for a player execution is gonna suffer.

I think coaches also talk a lot about certain frequencies and when to do what. And even if you don't have a different opinion than the player and you completely agree, the reassurance can help the player too.

I don't think Federer is playing as good as he is right now because Ljubicic told him anything new. I think Ljubicic helps him because he's smart, and he's gotten close enough that he has an idea of what's going on on court. I think what he brings is the opportunity to exchange a lot of ideas about small tweaks Federer can make in a match. The mutual respect and the experiences Ljubicic himself has as a player is huge, cause I'm pretty sure there's posters here that are smarter tennis minds than Ljubicic here on TTW, but they don't have the experience in the lifestyle of a Grand Slam contender.

Also, another thing I often see about suggestions for coaches is that the coach would need to be an x player type. That's bullcrap. A coach just needs to understand the game well enough to know how weaknesses work and how to deal with them.
 
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