Reem's Dubai diary: Wozniacki hires Serena's ex-hitting partner Sascha Bajin

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Wozniacki and Bajin (Photo via QTF)

Ever wondered what the protocol was when a player decides to hire her friend’s former coach, or hitting partner?

The coaching carousel on the women’s tour never stops and it’s often tough to keep track of the constantly changing players’ entourages.

I still think of Petra Kvitova when I see David Kotyza, even though he now coaches her fellow Czech Karolina Pliskova; while Sascha Bajin, Serena Williams’ former hitting partner, will always be associated with the American legend in my mind, even though he has worked with three other players since.

Bajin is a recent addition to Team Caroline Wozniacki, who has hired him as a hitting partner on a trial basis until Charleston (starts in April).

He spent years working with Serena Williams before joining Victoria Azarenka, who is now taking time off after delivering her baby last December.

Bajin was briefly seen working with American Sloane Stephens but is now with Wozniacki, who is a good friend of Williams.

“I definitely talked to Serena about it, too. Just wanted to hear. And also how she feels about me working with him. You just want to know that you don’t clash,” Wozniacki said on Monday.

“She said he’s a very hard worker, and she has nothing bad to say about him. She likes him a lot.

“We are trying it out a little bit until Charleston, and then from there we both want to see how it’s going and how we feel. But he’s a great guy. He know knows what he’s doing. He brings a lot of positive energy, as well. He’s a hard worker.

“I’m enjoying having him on my team, and we had a good start so far. Let’s hope that it continues.”

Wozniacki, who is coached by her father Piotr, admits Bajin’s role is beyond that of a hitting partner.

“He helps my dad. He looks at the matches, too. He scouts and they talk a lot what they feel I can improve on and things like that,” said the world No15.

“He comes with inputs and practices. He’s definitely a hitter plus. Assistant coach, I guess.”

Fuzzy on the rules

Wozniacki may be making smart hiring decisions, but when it comes to the WTA rules, she did get a bit confused yesterday.

The Dane is seeded No10 in Dubai, while Barbora Strycova, who had the same number of ranking points as Wozniacki during the week the seedings were made, is No9 in the draw.

After Johanna Konta’s last-minute withdrawal, Strycova took the Brit’s spot in the draw, which gave her a first round bye.

Wozniacki however did not have a bye as the No10 seed.

“Unfortunately I didn’t have a bye which I would have loved right now,” said Wozniacki, who made the Doha final last Saturday and played her opening round in Dubai on Monday (Doha and Dubai are a 45-minute flight apart).

“I have the same amount of points, I think, as Strycova. I’m not sure quite how it’s calculated. I think they told me it’s because she had played more tournaments than me last year, which doesn’t really make sense.

“But anyway, I’m through to the next round. I’m not gonna complain. It’s all right. I’m just gonna grind it out.”

The actual rule is that when players have the same number of points, the tiebreaker for the higher ranking spot is the number of points accumulated at the grand slams, Premier Mandatories and the Premier 5s.

If those points are tied, then the number of tournaments played is the tiebreaker.

Strycova had 75 more points that Wozniacki in the categories mentioned above, which is why she had the higher seeding and got the bye following Konta’s withdrawal (thanks to WTA Insider for making the calculations).

I’m sure Wozniacki will agree that that makes more sense.

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Novak Djokovic parades trophy in Paris

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The Serbian wrapped-up his Career Grand Slam with a four-set win over Andy Murray on Sunday and is now the owner of 12 Grand Slam titles.

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#360stats: Djokovic’s RIDICULOUS numbers

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Djokovic is the holder of four Grand Slam titles.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic finally achieved his dream on Sunday at Roland Garros. In a dramatic and nerve-racking final, the Serb defeated Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 to complete the ‘Djoker Slam’; Djokovic now holds all the four slams at the same time, a feat last achieved five decades ago by Rod Laver.

Here, Sport360 relives all the numbers and statistics from Sunday’s historic final.

4 – Consecutive Grand Slam titles for Djokovic, who becomes just the third man in history to hold all four majors at the same time, joining Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 & 1969). Novak is also the only player to win four slams in a row with the current three-surface set-up (grass, hard, clay).

20 – Grand Slam finals for Novak Djokovic. He is now tied for second place with Rafa Nadal on the all-time list for most appearances in major finals – behind Roger Federer (27).

6 – Consecutive Grand Slam finals for Novak Djokovic (from 2015 Australian Open). Only Federer has managed to do better with streaks of 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals (2005 Wimbledon – 2007 US Open) and 8 consecutive Grand Slam finals (2008 French Open – 2010 Australian Open).

50 – Djokovic joins Federer as the only players to have recorded 50+ match wins at each of the Grand Slams. The Swiss is the only player to record 60+ match wins at each of the Grand Slams.

4 – Djokovic joins Federer as the only players to have reached atleast four finals at each Grand Slam event. Federer’s record is AO-5, FO-5, WIM-10, USO-7, while Djokovic’s is AO-6, FO-4, WIM-4, USO-6.

4 – Djokovic becomes only the fourth player in the Open era to hold the first two legs of the calendar Grand Slam. He joins Rod Laver (1969), Mats Wilander (1988) and Jim Courier (1992) as the only players to have won the Aus-French Open double.

8 – Djokovic is only the eighth male player in the history to complete the Career Grand Slam. At 29 yrs. and 14 days old, he is the 2nd oldest man to achieve this feat; the oldest being American great Andre Agassi (29 yrs. and 38 days).

Tennis-Djokovic-Stats

8 years 5 months – From winning his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open in Jan 2008, it has taken Novak 8 years and 5 months to complete the Career Grand Slam – the longest period to achieve this feat. Agassi had the previous longest gap at 6 yrs 11 months.

12 – Victory at Roland Garros was Djokovic’s 12th Grand Slam title. He is tied at fourth on the all-time list with Roy Emerson, trailing Federer (17), Nadal (14) & Sampras (14).

Roland-Garros-Stats-Djokovic

46 – ‘Big’ Titles (Grand Slams, World Tour Finals, Masters 1000) for Novak Djokovic, which includes 12 Grand Slams, 5 World Tour Finals and 29 Masters 1000 triumphs. Federer is the all-time leader with 47 ‘Big’ Titles (17 Grand Slams, 6 World Tour Finals, 24 Masters 1000).

28 – Consecutive Grand Slam match wins for Novak Djokovic, a new Open Era Record.

Consecutive-Grand-Slam-match-wins

$100m – During this year’s Roland Garros, Novak became the first player in tennis history to cross the US$100 million mark in career prize money (by reaching the QFs).

65 – ATP Tour titles for Novak, who has passed Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras (64 titles). Novak now holds the sixth position in the Open-Era tour-level titles list behind Jimmy Connors (109), Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (88), John McEnroe (77) and Rafael Nadal (69).

23-23 – The top two seeds have met in a Grand Slam Final on 46 occasions in the Open era and each seed has won 23 times.

16,950 – With his French Open victory, Novak now has 16,950 ATP ranking points, an all-time record (more than the World No.2 & 3 combined).

Clay, Grass, Hard – Novak joins Roger and Rafa as the only players to hold Grand Slam titles on Clay, Grass and Hard simultaneously.

17-9 – Since the start of 2015, Djokovic has managed to win more titles (17) than matches lost (9).

12 – Novak managed to win Roland Garros title on his 12th attempt, a record for most attempts before winning the title in Paris (2005-2016).

4 – Novak became the fourth player in the Open era to win a particular Grand Slam title after losing his first three finals at that Grand Slam event; joining Ivan Lendl (USO), Goran Ivanisevic (WIM) and Roger Federer (RG).

French-Open-Grand-Slam

7 – This was the 7th Grand Slam final meeting between Djokovic and Murray, which puts this pair in joint-second position for most meetings in a Grand Slam Final. Federer-Nadal: 8, Djokovic-Nadal: 7, Djokovic-Murray: 7.

2 – Djokovic-Murray became only the second duo to compete at all four Grand Slam finals after Djokovic-Nadal.

1937 – Andy Murray was the first British Player to reach the final at Roland Garros since Bunny Austin in 1937.

10 – Andy Murray became the tenth player in the Open era to reach all four Grand Slam finals. At 29 yrs. and 21 days, he is the third oldest to achieve this feat (ahead of Rosewall and Laver).

20% – Murray has managed to win only 20% of his Grand Slam finals (2-8); which is the worst record for players with at least 10 Grand Slam Finals (Open era).

4 – Murray joins Federer and Lendl as the only players to have finished as runners-up at all the four Grand Slams (Open-Era).

2 – Murray also joins Jim Courier and Fred Stolle as the only three men in history to have won 2 of the 4 Grand Slam titles and finished as runner-up at the other two Grand Slams.

10 – Murray has now reached 10 Grand Slam finals, equalling Fred Perry (8-2) for the most appearances in a Grand Slam final by a British man.

2-12 – Murray is 2-12 in Grand Slam matches against No.1 ranked players – including 0-4 at Roland Garros.

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