2018 Review = 2019 Preview
2019 is starting right now. With Tenerife Camp off-season preparation.
They are there right now 🙂
Working hard on fitness for new epic matches in 2019 🙂
Updated 8.12.2018, 23:49
Monday 10. of December, 17.00 CET you can watch and hear and participate in an interview with Thiem, Struff and Goffin on Tenerife
Updated 9.12.2018, 18:30
Almost 2 hours BEHIND THE SCENES in Tenerife, with Thiemn, Goffin, Struff, Dennis Novak, Gulbis, Mike Reinprecht, Alex Stober, Thierry Van Cleemput (Goffin’s coach) und NATÜRLICH dem CAPO DI TUTTI CAPPI Günter Bresnik. Lots of interviews and lots of hitting. Partly German, partly English, with life translation of the Interviewer, screenplay-maker and and … Stachi (Matthias Stach)
(click the image to watch)
Updated 10-12-2018, 19:02
YOUTUBE CHANNEL UPDATE
Updated 12.12.2018, 16:38
An interesting Bresnik’s interview
The German original you find HERE
GÜNTER BRESNIK: “I’M NOT PRONE TO GOOSEBUMPS”
Since the founding of Sportmagazin in 1987, Günter Bresnik from Vienna has been highly successful as a coach of tennis professionals such as Horst Skoff, Boris Becker and Austria’s current top 10 star Dominic Thiem. In a very personal interview, he talks about his best and worst moments, about what weakens him. And he says why he believes Thiem can do the job of number 1.
Sportmagazin: The efforts of a long tournament season were only recently to be marvelled at in London in quite a few, quite peculiar games. How do you diagnose that?
Günter Bresnik: I think this talk about the oh so hard season is a theater – and not even a particularly exciting one. How long does a normal person have to work a year? How much vacation do you have, for example? Three weeks? Four? Tennis players usually have one to two months. And start complaining about how long the season is in August. I think the moaning about the long season is a stupidity, a fashion, one chatters after the other.
But also coaches like you are criticized again and again because of an allegedly too dense tournament planning. You always have to hear criticism, but you also have to question it. According to their substance and intention. Look, at the Masters in London they discussed Sascha Zverev. That he should be more careful with his tournament selection in the future, because he played the most of all in 2018 with 77 matches. And then he wins the tournament. Or take a look at Roger Federer: 1440 matches in 20 seasons. That averages 72 per year, on average! Although he only plays 40, 50 games in the last three years. A few years ago, he played over 90 games. Or John McEnroe, who had a year with around 95 singles and over 70 doubles. And then I hear that today everyone is much fitter than before. Does a three-set game last longer today than 30 years ago? No. Maybe it was even more physically intense back then, because a lot more was about the rallies and less about the serve. And best of five is played less and less. In addition there are all the unnecessary breaks …
Towel, balls, etc. Exactly. Some have five balls given to them before serving and examine them like before surgery. They do not disinfect them. They should bring a tennis ball into play, not operate on anyone! And then the thing with the towel! They used to run their sleeves or sweatband over their forehead and it went on. It would be really interesting to compare the net playing times of today and then.
How fit are you after more than three decades as a tennis coach yourself? I am 57 now and since I am married and have children and then especially the last ten years with the Dominic, I have let myself go physically extremely. Currently I stand at over 100 kilos. Being overweight in form is extremely unhealthy. In addition comes my life change. I travel a lot, eat at completely unfavourable times and work extremely hard in my academy in Südstadt. Of course this is an overexploitation, but I enjoy my job so much that I don’t feel the overexploitation.
Are you acutely weakened by any aches and pains? Overweight weakens. I know, I know, that would be relatively easy to fix, but on the other hand, not being able to do anything about it also means that you have other priorities: dealing with nature, your job, your family, your own development. And then fall asleep in the evening with a good book in your hand. That also has quality.
How do you endure sitting in the Player’s Box for hours and hours, forced to inactivity? If sitting would be difficult for me, it would really be a declaration of bankruptcy. Sitting is still easy for me (laughs). But of course being at the mercy and the impossibility to intervene are unpleasant. In the end, however, this is limited to the duration of the matches. And with age I became more patient. Patience, that is one of the central qualities of a good coach for me meanwhile.
My main goal as a coach is to make myself unnecessary.
Patience with what? Patience waiting for the right moment to tell your player something. And then just saying what really needs to be said. If you say the right thing at the wrong time, you’ll run into deaf ears or so much resistance that it won’t do you any good. Or if you keep talking, everything can still be right, it doesn’t help your player because he can never take anything. The really good coaches are at the back of the court and only say something when it really works at that moment. This means that it can happen that a really good coach doesn’t say anything for minutes.
What is the most important thing among the right things? There is no general answer.
What is the most important thing among the right things? There is no general answer. Because more important than you being understood as a coach is that you understand what the other person really needs. My main goal as a coach is to make me unnecessary. I am extremely happy when a player gives me a match analysis in which I can hear myself talking. And the further your player is, the more you don’t have to do anything as a coach.
Back to the box at the edge of the tennis court. What was the greatest thing you were allowed to experience there? I am already very success- and result-oriented. We live in top sport here, so in the end the final victories are the most satisfying, but a completely round week with four, five, maybe even seven good performances is of course the optimum. With the Dominic, the most emotional moment was probably his first tournament victory in Nice in 2015. We did everything the whole week differently from what everyone else thought was right, we trained really hard every day for two or three hours and on Saturday I called his parents and brother and told them to come because tomorrow could be the day. And the fact that they could be there when that happened that ten years ago was mentioned, and I saw how happy the whole family was, even after that week, that was something very special. But for example, it was also important for me how Boris Becker won the Masters during our time together in 1992.
And what was really bad? Defeats are always bad, but with increasing age the bigger defaults are for me not to be able to be there when one of my children has a birthday or when my wife Kathi holds a vernissage in her shop. But there’s still no lost match after which I won’t be really pissed off for at least a few hours and have to make sure I don’t take my grant out on the wrong people. The day I don’t care about defeats, I’ll probably stop. And there are a few who have taken me right, right. With Dominic’s two defeats this year against Nadal (note: final Paris, quarter finals US Open), for example, I spent days, even weeks, working.
Günter Bresnik began his career as a professional coach with the brilliant tennis player and temporary bird of paradise. In 2008 “the Horsti” died tragically in a way that has not yet been completely clarified.
Nevertheless, reaching this year’s final in Roland Garros was perhaps Thiem’s greatest success. As a player and coach, you see things differently. For Dominic, the defeat in the Paris Final felt as if you had to turn around 200 metres below the summit of Everest as a mountaineer. Maybe you’ll have to wait two or three years for your next chance and maybe it won’t come back at all. These are the thoughts that go through your mind as a player. And that gnaws extremely at someone as ambitious as Dominic. But tennis is still a game after all. All in all, the worst moment in my coaching life was when I got the call (June 2008) that Horsti Skoff had died. Something like that is really bad.
But there is a lot at stake, even if tennis is just a game. Sure, they have to prepare themselves intensively and work hard, but sometimes our choice of words is simply stupid, we talk about “weapons” and “bombs”, “grenades” and that you have to “kill” a ball, but in the end it is and should remain a game and no one has to be sorry at all. There are journalists who actually feel sorry for Dominic because he works so hard. I don’t understand that. He lives his passion! Then there’s the eternal topic with the renunciation of disco, etc. Who needs disco if he can do what he really loves?
In a recent interview with the “Kurier” you said that it would have been wiser to finish your medical studies first and then become a coach. But as a son of a doctor you have acquired a basic medical knowledge. To what extent did this help you as a trainer? There is no knowledge, no matter in which area, that does not help you, no matter in which area of life. I think even a really good carpenter would do many things better than others as a trainer because of his different perspective. And as a better coach you can become a better carpenter. Medical school is the only thing in my life that I haven’t finished, but what I’ve learned has been enough to help me develop as a trainer. Especially at the beginning the medical knowledge was very helpful. Understanding physiological processes is one of the basics of the coaching profession.
You in particular are considered to be an extremely tough trainer who at the very least pushes the limits of his abilities. Toughness is the basic requirement, not more, and pushing the limits is exactly the right formulation. There are many coaches who can really teach you something, but unknowingly go beyond physiological limits. And overtraining is a thousand times worse than being undertrained, because it can have a negative effect for weeks. Knowledge and, of course, experience help.
The cooperation with Dominic Thiem is based on both. How much does it touch you when you see him on the big tennis stages today, perhaps on occasions like the publically drawn invasion of London’s O2 Arena? This invasion honestly doesn’t touch me at all. I am not a person who is particularly fond of productions. If I know that the player is well prepared and then perhaps, as in the recent match against Nishikori in London, can end the season with a win and an attractive performance, then it has a much stronger effect on me. I’m not prone to goose bumps, but I know, for example, that Dominic’s mother Karin likes to sit outside in the box before a match because she’s looking forward to the invasion. And I fully understand that. It’s like other mothers graduating, where everyone throws their hat in the air because they made it.
So what gives you the greatest pleasure in your place? When a player finally builds things into the match that you’ve been training for months. This often happens suddenly when you don’t expect it anymore, surprisingly often even in an important moment – these are things where my eyes can get a bit wet. Do you know how beautiful it is when something finally bears fruit?
Does the personal closeness between Dominic Thiem and you also bring disadvantages? No. I don’t think you can help someone decisively if you don’t really know him well. The first task for a coach is to understand the athlete. And for that, logically, you first have to get to know him well. An architect once wanted to plan a house for me, perhaps that was objectively better than my house, but I wanted it to be different. If he had known me better, it would have been completely different. That’s what I mean. That also applies to an athlete. And the older he is, the more it applies. I would put it that way: You are at the same time a leader for the athlete and a service provider for his career and the less you have to be the first, the better you did your job.
“No one should believe that Dominic is as malleable as plasticine.”
What about Dominic? The Dominic is not one who opens himself very proactively, you have to pull things out of his nose. With Dominic, progress takes longer than with others, but he makes much fewer setbacks. Conversely, this also means that every step in his development should go in the right direction.
Have there never been any resistance from him in your relationship? I was a person of respect for him from the beginning, I never had to fight for my authority with him simply because of the age difference. We were always per you, but never in such a way that a “you asshole” would have said himself easier for him than a “Mr. asshole”. There was already this necessary distance. For me he was also always like an open book. I always had all the information from his parents, from other coaches who worked with him or were on the road. I always knew what to do, so there was never any potential for conflict, not even after defeats. Not from his side because he knew that I knew what I was doing and not from my side because there was no match where he didn’t try the best. He has also learned on every single day to this day. Dominic is a stroke of luck for a coach, the perfect protégé. But you can’t say that he would be a simply knitted personality.
In what way is he complicated? Nobody should believe that Dominic is malleable like modeling clay, he is like granite or, better, like diamond. If he doesn’t want something, he doesn’t want it. But it’s incredibly charming how he doesn’t do things that get on his nerves. He also has a memory like an elephant. There is nothing he forgets. Unbelievable.
The way started about 15 years ago with Dominic Thiem led the one into the Top-10 and the other finally into the coaching Olymp.
Probably also influenced by his own origins and upbringing. To what extent do you support the lifelong expansion of Dominic Thiem’s horizons? The fact that he also deals with other things than tennis balls is very important, especially now when his career is getting a certain publicity effect. His great interest in health, animal welfare and environmental protection is good for me and his commitment to these issues is good for me. That is an additional dimension. It’s tricky where it becomes political. Basically, Dominic is a political person, but hopefully he will not make a public political declaration for the next ten years. I do not think that is appropriate. Yes, it is important that you use your level of awareness for important things, but you must also be aware that you are a layman. Dominic is a tennis player, not a polite expert, not a scientist. Many people overestimate themselves and believe that because they are good tennis players, good actors or whatever, they can make fun of politicians, for example. I believe that as a layman you should always have respect. And I also believe that you basically become a politician because you want to help other people, not because you want to get bribed or do any other nonsense.
He or she could also do it for the sake of prestige. Every human being has a need for recognition. Every athlete. As a coach, I have a need for recognition. I want to be recognized. If you are recognized, you will do something, and you will be recognized for success. As long as it is lived out under morally good conditions, an urge for recognition is not a bad thing; on the contrary, it is a breeding ground for extraordinary achievements.
How satisfied are you with Dominic Thiems sporting development? Many people don’t know that he had a serious illness between 16 and 19 (a bacterial intestinal disease), which ultimately cost him almost four years. This means that he is missing, so to speak, one fifth of his possible career. And yet he is extremely far away. Basically, not many mistakes have happened to us. Of course he is always thrown back by small injuries, illnesses and sometimes he really plays terribly bad points, sets, games, tournaments, but when I think of how he used to egg the other twelve-year-olds at home in Lower Austria and now stands up and shoots the balls around the ears with a Federer or a Djokovic almost on a par, then it would be presumptuous and coquettish not to be satisfied with the sporting development. Nevertheless, one or two things don’t run quite smoothly again and again. That’s often my fault.
And human? It is quite challenging to work with him, because he can be a real stubborn skull. He questions everything, takes nothing for granted, he is not someone who is passionate about something new, but basically he is a real dream son-in-law. Not that he should now marry one of my four daughters (laughs), but he is simply a good guy, authentic, honest, loyal, he already unites many qualities in himself, which I consider desirable. For his human and sporting development it was crucial that his parents, his grandparents and his whole family were always there. He was never judged by his performance. Even as a child they didn’t tell him after a match that he could have done this or that better. They said we enjoyed watching you again. It couldn’t have been better, the Thiems defined the term “tennis parents” in a whole new way, lovingly and withdrawn and totally committed at the same time. The Thiems are also a family with an extremely strong cohesion. The children are safe and equipped with a healthy self-confidence. I don’t know of any area where Dominic feels insecure.
The most coveted position in tennis is that of world number one. For me, however, this does not only define a sporting status, but also includes more, including the role of the worldwide ambassador of an entire sport. Would Dominic Thiem be a good number 1? Not yet, but he could become one pretty soon. There are few conditions he would not have. He knows his profession well, he is intelligent, eloquent, he looks really good and he is one who can cut a good figure in almost any environment. He knows that you are nothing better as a person just because you play tennis better than others. He expresses himself very well in German, constantly improves his English and now understands French better and better. He is not a self-promoter, but he takes his profession very seriously and it is clear to him that in the time after Federer, Nadal and Djokovic others have to temporarily go to the command bridge. Dominic is one of those I trust to do this job.
What else would you like to teach him? I want him to serve better and return. I want him to play better forehand and backhand, to better complete and pass, to serve better and smash better, to recognize situations faster and to resolve them correctly more and more often. And that he can do everything else that defines a tennis professional better. I just want him to keep improving every day. You can’t imagine how much I always look forward to the preparation time. What goes on this month before the new season is also an energy reservoir for me for the next ten months. And as a person I just want to know what is important for him and help him to achieve it.
To the final: Would you actually like to look after another player so intensively? I already feel like it and in my academy there are some really good young people, including a 17-year-old Russian, in whom I see a lot of potential, but I’m 57 now and it would be very difficult to live side by side with Dominic for the next few years. And after his career I’m probably over my peak too.”
Updated 13.12.2018; 21.05
Time for new video?