Top tennis talent scout explains key metrics he looks for in young players
For most of us, watching professional tennis starts when the stars hit our television screens in the biggest events on the ATP and WTA calendars. The real work, though, starts a long time before that, and it is done by the likes of top IMG tennis talent scout Clinton Coleman.
Clinton Coleman has been talent-spotting for years, with him currently scouring the junior game for players to bring to IMG, the biggest tennis agency in the world.
He was pivotal in bringing Nick Kyrgios into the professional game and went on to manage the Australian for eight years too. That was far from an isolated discovery too, with Hurbert Hurkacz and Emma Raducanu among a hugely impressive plethora of names the Englishman has helped bring to the fore.
Coleman spends hours watching hundreds of junior players every month. What, then, is he actually looking for?
“I look, firstly, at players that are hitting milestones above where they should be. And you think, ‘wow, they’re there in that event quite young, or she’s in that event, but she’s quite small. And she must be doing pretty well to be in there,’” Coleman exclusively told Tennishead Magazine.
“With the girls, I think there’s six or so fundamentals that they need that most players have to be a WTA top hundred player. I don’t think I can say: ‘okay, she’s going to be the best in the world,’ but I do feel I’ve got a good track record.
“If we take Emma Raducanu as an example, she was looking like she is now when quite a lot younger. At twelve she was the best player. There was always a chance she was going to come through. Maybe not as quick as it happened, of course. I don’t think anyone can predict that. But Emma certainly ticked a lot of boxes and of course was on my radar, and a name that I brought up very early on.
“For the boys, I think it’s a little bit more difficult. They all have that massive serve. They also have a particular shot that’s enormous. It’s generally a forehand. They also need an ability to athletically move into the net and cover the court. They have this list of abilities, that are above everyone else and that I think will take them from 150 to 25 [in the rankings when they mature].”
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