Re: Magnus Norman
I put this in the pimpim thread, but thought it should go here also, as it mentions Magnus...
Fredrik Rosengren has been around the world's best tennis players for long enough to know what it takes.
At a time when New Zealand is struggling to produce even a half-decent player on the ATP or WTA tours, Rosengren is blunt and to the point.
"Hard work, pure and simple," he said sitting courtside after watching in disappointment as Mario Ancic crashed to a straight sets defeat to one of his former pupils, Jarkko Nieminen, in a one-sided Heineken Open singles final.
"Take Mario as an example. He is on court two hours every day," said Rosengren as if that was a big deal, before adding, "Then he works another six hours on other things including the physical".
Ancic might be an exception although Rosengren rated former pupil Magnus Norman as highly in his work ethic.
"Mario has a great focus. You never have to push guys like Ancic and Norman," said Rosengren, 45, who first went on the tour as a coach in 1988 and still spends 30 weeks a year away from his Swedish home, his wife and two sons. He worked with Jonas Bjorkman (still the 17th greatest earner on the ATP tour) for eight years and Norman five. Both won Heineken Open titles.
While he has yet to be the winning coach at a Grand Slam final, Rosengren takes pride in the 16 titles his players have won in 28 finals appearances. He also points to the 1999-2000 season in which Norman won 10 titles and reached the French Open final as special.
He has been coaching Ancic since August last year and is keen to return to Auckland for an eighth time with him next year. But, in returning to the work ethic needed to get to the top, he says there is a need for balance.
"I do not - should not - be courtside every time he hits a ball," said Rosengren. "It is very important for players to try to be themselves in practice and at tournaments."
But, like many, he sees the bad side of players being forced into the game by over-zealous parents.
"You see it in the clubs and on the road and it's not just in tennis. You see bad parents around a soccer field, wherever. I don't want Mario working eight hours a day for me or for his parents," said Rosengren. "He does it because he wants to be the best in the world. That attitude is too tough for too many.
"It is hard for kids of 15 or 16 who don't want to say to their mates they can't go to the disco or into town tonight because they have to practise or have a match the next day but that is what it takes.
"It was nice to see the young kids on court here during this tournament but what are they going to do now? In Sweden we have a lot of talented kids but they need more than just talent.
"Magnus Norman, for example, was always reading and being told he had no talent but he worked hard, very hard. To me, that is a talent. To succeed you and your players have to practise the mental side as much as the physical."
In the past two weeks there were examples of the difference between the best and the rest.
The top players spent hours on court working hard.
Too many local players, if they bothered to turn up, appeared to take the easy route, happy with an hour when the stars spent twice that or more, often returning for a second session.
ASB Classic tournament director Richard Palmer said he could not understand why some of the players he had given wildcards into qualifying were not hanging around the courts more.
"From 10 days out, there are always players looking for hitting partners," said Palmer."I would have thought this was an ideal opportunity for these young players to get out, have a hit and learn. It didn't happen."
♥ Oliver Marach ~ Jarkko Nieminen ~ Jürgen Melzer ~ Evgeny Korolev ♥
♥Jonas Björkman ≈ Jim Thomas♥ Larsson ~ Legner ~ Scheffers ~ Kruszelnicki ~ Cattaneo ~ Jonsson ~ Andersson