Category Archives: Coaches

The 2014 Coach Smackdown

On the heels of the announcement that Boris Becker will coach Novak Djokovic, today we learned that Stefan Edberg will be part of Roger Federer‘s team for the first ten weeks of the season.  There will be more men’s Grand Slam champions in Australian Open coaching boxes than in the singles draw.

We’ve probably wrenched all possible commentary out of the head-to-head matchups of today’s slate of top players, so why not turn to their coaches instead?  Steve Tignor got us started:

I put together a list of 15 coaches and advisors, including Becker, Edberg, and Ivan Lendl, along with such names as Juan Carlos Ferrero, Goran Ivanisevic, and Michael Chang.  Many of them never played each other, since not all of their careers overlapped, but many of them did.

Becker, Edberg, and Lendl figure most prominently in these matchups, while Chang, Ivanisevic, and Sergi Bruguera also played plenty of matches against their fellow coaches.

Novak’s new coach barely edges out Andy Murray‘s coach as the king of his generation of advisors.  His 66-38 record against these 14 colleagues is slightly better than Lendl’s 47-28.  In eight of ten head-to-heads, Becker came out even or better. But one of those, as Tignor pointed out, is the matchup against Lendl, which the Czech leads 11-10.  If coaches can possibly accomplish such a thing, this pair might make Djokovic-Murray matches a little more interesting.

The other unfavorable head-to-head of Becker’s is my favorite quirky stat of the lot.  Twice in April 1993, when Becker was ranked fourth in the world, Franco Davin defeated him.  That’s a little better record for Davin than Juan Martin del Potro‘s 3-11 record against Djokovic.

Here’s the whole set of head-to-heads.  Don’t worry–in a few days the regular season will be back in full swing.

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