Ivanovic making headway under Sears
Originally published on: 22/02/12 15:25
Ana Ivanovic’s relationships with her coaches have often been short-lived, but the former world No.1 has been encouraged by her progress under Nigel Sears. Ivanovic has been working with the Briton since last summer and has already seen improvements in her game. Sears, the former head of women’s tennis at the Lawn Tennis Association, is one of the most experienced coaches in the sport, with Daniela Hantuchova among his previous charges.
“I think there have been a lot of improvements since we started working together,” Ivanovic said at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, where she reached the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 7-6 victory today over Maria Kirilenko. “It’s a work in progress. It takes time to get to know each other and see whether you work well together or not, but I think the improvements have been great. The biggest improvements were actually made in the off-season. That was the first time we had time to work on things. My serve definitely needed improvement, and my forehand, as well as my backhand a little bit.”
She added: “I always thought my forehand was my best shot, but every coach I’ve started working with has said: ‘All right, we’re going to change your forehand.’ I’m like: ‘What’s the deal with that?’ But I must say I agree with Nigel, because I did sometimes have a tendency to flatten out my forehand too much. At times it would have been a lottery, so I’m just trying to work on more spin and heaviness for the balls so it can stay [strong] under the pressure.”
Sears has been a calming influence on a player who acknowledges that she can get too intense about her work. “I think he understands me as a player and a person,” she said. “He’s also very calm throughout my matches. I’m like: ‘Show a little bit more emotion!’ But I think it’s really good because I’m a perfectionist and I try to do everything right and sometimes get too excited. He tries to keep it a little bit calm, even though I know it’s not easy sometimes.”