Coaching's out for Agassi

Coaching's out for Agassi

Andre Agassi sat out the last match for his team, the DBS Singapore Slammers, in the Singapore leg of the International Premier Tennis League at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Thursday.

The eight-time Grand Slam champion was instead on the sidelines offering his observations to his teammates - such as Serena Williams, Lleyton Hewitt, Pat Rafter and Nick Kyrgios - and perhaps even some coaching.

But don't expect the 44-year-old American to go the way of retired greats such as Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Goran Ivanisevic and Michael Chang and turn to professional coaching any time soon.

Agassi told The New Paper: "I wasn't really coaching, I was sharing my perspectives."

"Coaching is a different deal - coaching is not what you know, it is what your student learns."

"To really do that, you have to spend time. A lot of these guys know what's been said, they may even have heard it before, but there's a reason why they don't do it, and coaches need to get to the bottom of that."

"I enjoy talking tennis, I enjoy debating it. But I will never have the time, or the desire at this stage of my life, to give that necessary time to doing it well," added Agassi, who is heavily involved in his philanthropic work, especially in education.

But he is still a keen follower of the sport, and predicts that world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will dominate the sport next year, assuming the Serb stays injury free.

Agassi said: "I have to (tip) Djokovic heading into the next year or two, he seems like he just can hit cruise control and be a level above, and that's a huge luxury.

BIG STATEMENT

"He doesn't have to play lights-out to beat the top guys. He just has to play contained, which is a big statement to how well he's playing."

The 27-year-old won seven titles this year and also retained his World Tour Finals title in London last month.

Djokovic beat all of his Big Four rivals - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray - this year, and finished at the top of the ATP rankings for the third time in four years.

But Agassi cautioned: "A lot of things can happen, as we know. One minor injury at the wrong time and that tournament's gone and maybe that part of the season's gone."

"I don't underestimate how much has to go right. But, if everything goes right for everybody, I've got to say he's the one I'll point to."

sayheng@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Dec 6, 2014.
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