Thought I'd start a thread for Dogs Balls that would focus on his progress during the off season and Australian summer. There doesn't look to be much activity in this forum so hopefully that picks up because I know there are fans of him on here. Here's a little article on his coach Jack Reader and what he was doing before Dolgo arrived in Australia:
THE Adelaide tennis coach in charge of world No. 16 Alexandr Dolgopolov is doing his own mini pre-season.
Jack Reader and Dolgopolov's "sparring partner" Dima Brichek have been training at Warradale Park, where Dolgopolov will prepare for January's Australian Open.
Team Dolgopolov will also train along SA's Fleurieu Peninsula with rock-hopping, beach running and bodysurfing.
"I'm doing a pre-pre-season to get me and Dima fitter because Alex arrives next week," Reader said. "So we'll be fit as fiddles and ready to kick him.
"I always made a joke with Alex that I don't hit tennis unless I hit with a top-20 player.
"Now he's a top-20 player so I've got to get in shape."
Dolgopolov cracked the top 20 after reaching the semi-finals of the Moselle Open in France in September. But Reader said a year that started with so much promise after his 23-year-old star beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Robin Soderling to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open could have been better. Dolgopolov battled illness and his next best Grand Slam result was the fourth round of the US Open.
"It's funny because if I look back I don't think he had such a great year but his ranking - well, I'd have taken that," Reader said.
"I'd have paid for that at the beginning of the year, so we've got to be happy."
Dolgopolov was ranked outside the top 300 in the world when he teamed with Reader full-time in 2009.
And his dramatic rise is expected to continue, providing his fitness improves first.
"This year he's going to be the healthiest he's been and a lot stronger than when we started, so we can step it up a notch," Reader said. "We're going to get his fitness up a heck of a lot more. With five sets at the opens he was fit enough to play most people, but not the top few. When you're fitter and moving better, then obviously you'll hit the ball better."
However, Reader said the gap between the big three - Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal - and the rest was closing.
"It's a pretty big drop, but guys are filling it in slowly," he said. "You've got guys like (David) Ferrer who works so hard, (Thomas) Berdych, (Mardy) Fish is a surprise. Jo (-Wilfried Tsonga) will get back and start competing and a lot of guys are seeing the top guys get beaten and it gives you more confidence."
Adelaide tennis fans will see Dolgopolov in action at the World Tennis Challenge from January 10-12, where he will combine with Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter for Team Australasia.
Dolgo arrived in Australia a couple of days ago and is emulating the same training program that saw him reach the quarter finals of the AO earlier this year. They're a good pair these two, very laidback and Reader is hilarious. Hopefully this preparation benefits him again next year.