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Ambitious Llodra links with new coach

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Originally published on: 19/04/12 00:00

Michael Llodra says he is “closer to the end of my career than the start” but the 31-year-old Frenchman does not lack ambition. He has appointed a new coach, Stephane Simian, who is a former French Davis Cup player, and is preparing for a busy summer in both singles and doubles.

Llodra parted company with his previous coach, Olivier Malcor, at the start of the season. Simian, a former player, was with Llodra at recent tournaments in Rotterdam and Marseille and was confirmed as the world No.47’s new coach at this week’s Monte Carlo Masters 1000 tournament. Simian, aged 44, reached a career-high No.41 in the world rankings in 1993.

Not many leading players play a full schedule in singles and doubles, but Llodra is one of them. After a fortnight off following Monte Carlo, he is expecting to have to work hard in the months ahead.

“There will be the clay-court season, the grass, then the Olympics,” Llodra said. “I will play Madrid and Rome in singles and doubles. I did well last year in both tournaments. At my age, I believe I should not worry too much about things and enjoy myself more on the court. I know that playing on clay is tough, but I'm not worried for the rest of the season. I have time to practise.”

Llodra said that Simian had given him new impetus. “He makes me do things I wouldn't do without him. Like this afternoon I would have liked to have gone to the swimming pool with my kids and instead I will have to practise. I trust him for many things. Of course he was a tennis player. He comes from the world of tennis, but during the past two years he’s been away from the game. He knows many tactics that are helpful.”

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