How many fitness academies are there in India
& quot; The frustrated come to us & quot;
The former Davis Cup player speaks in an interview about the continuation of his double career, injury problems and the work in his academy.
last edit: Oct 18, 2011, 9:29 pm
Alexander Waske is currently leading a double life: at least until the end of the season he is still on the road as a professional tennis player and at the same time heads the Schüttler-Waske Academy in Offenbach, which has been on everyone's lips not only since Angelique Kerber made it to the semi-finals at the US Open. The 36-year-old from Frankfurt speaks in an interview with tennisnet.com about tried and tested ambition, sophisticated recipes for success, good advice and what Florian Mayer has in common with him.
Mr. Waske, you actually wanted to end your professional career after the US Open - what changed your mind?
Alexander Waske: I never said that. I probably won't play a single again if I don't play another tournament just for fun. It's true, basically it was my last match at the US Open, but only in the singles.
You had not played in three years due to your injury. Was the end difficult after all, or did you already make friends with the idea?
Waske: Of course I had to get used to the topic. And the US Open has always meant a lot to me. My brother was there in New York, that was great. He was there from the beginning of my career and that he was there for what was probably the last match of my career was a nice thing.
Is the double competition a kind of consolation?
Waske: If you can't play for so long and then come back and can at least play doubles, that's still great and works well. And you have to say that my arm is not perfectly healed. I need an hour of physiotherapy every day and I have to do a lot for the arm to keep it supple and relieve the tension. I'm very happy that he can do the double. And you have to be realistic somewhere.
You could be a cautionary example with your medical history. Do players like Benjamin Becker come up to you and ask for advice?
Waske: I recently asked Benni how he was doing, and not just because his elbow was injured. And he wants to stop by the academy soon to get fit. But basically everyone has to decide for themselves what to do if they are injured. But recently I talked a lot with Andrea Petkovic and told her that she should stay "smart" with her knee. What's the point of playing tournaments now for the devil? She should recover, do rehab and then start again next year. But Petko is very hard on herself, she goes over the pain. But I hope that you can learn a little from my example. That you have to listen to your body and when in doubt you have to take a step back.
But that's exactly what is difficult for the players who are under constant pressure, have to defend points, and who actually play all the time. There are seldom breaks in there.
Waske: I don't want to hear from any top player that the season is too long. As long as Nadal and Djokovic can still fly to Indian Wells for an exhibition match in Colombia and then continue to play in Miami and others permanently play show matches for a lot of money and have the energy for it, the season is definitely not too long.
But still, many players put a lot of pressure on themselves and don't know when to take a break.
Waske: That's right, and that's why you need someone who looks at it from the outside and has the big picture in mind. Our head coach did very well in training with Petko. She was constantly taking steps to avoid knee pain. So he went to her and told her in all friendship that it didn't make any sense and that the training was over for her. You talked for a long time and now she's probably doing a little less. But of course it is difficult to curb your own ambition. I always found that difficult.
How ambitious are you now at the age of 36?
Waske: I still go out on the pitch with maximum aspiration in order to win. I always give everything. It was also annoying to me recently because I didn't play the way I expected it to be despite all the circumstances. I can't train as much as I used to, and my whole daily routine is different now, but I'm still doing it with full commitment.
In Bangkok you were just slightly defeated with Michael Kohlmann in the final. Doesn't that make you want more?
Waske: First of all, I said that I would play until the end of the season. Here in Stockholm and then in St. Petersburg are my last two tournaments with the Protected Ranking. Then I agreed with Philipp Petzschner to play two Challengers. I just have to take a look now, I'm in 160th place and I'm still 300 points missing for the top 100. That was my goal until the end of the season.
But how can being a professional be reconciled with the management of an academy?
Waske: By not doing one or the other training session anymore. The main focus for me at the moment is clearly on the academy. Of course, private life falls by the wayside.
But that also means that you have now learned to delegate when you are on the road so much yourself?
Waske: Sure, the academy works independently. But we have our own system, we train our coaches ourselves and then all players should be trained by us.
What is your academy's recipe for success? In the last few months, true miracles could be heard from Offenbach ...
Waske: I think we do a lot of things differently. We have clear structures and clear ideas of how we want to change something. We've always been portrayed a bit as a fitness academy, but that's only half true. We pay a lot of attention to fitness, but more importantly, we change the technique of the players.
Do the players even allow that? Some players don't even change the club model in their lives ...
Waske: You also have to see who comes to us. Above all, it is those who are frustrated and do not know how to get ahead. They then speak to us, want to change something and are usually also open to new things. In addition, they see how it works for others too. And tennis professionals are known for always wanting to improve.
How exactly is the work going?
Waske: We film the players and then show them their weak points. Very few players who come to us have seen themselves play before. We are very detailed and many say afterwards that they have never worked with them on the technology. We then show them what to do differently. The player doesn't feel at all comfortable with it at first, of course, but then we film again and put the two videos on top of each other. Then they always say: 'Right, that looks a lot better' and then the head is behind it. Then, because they see it looks better, they are ready to work on it and implement the changes.
So the basic principle is technology improvement?
Waske: We're changing the technology, the footwork and making them fitter. Our big secret is that we work very individually. We only ever have two players on the pitch, there are no group training sessions. We work closely together, from technology and tactics to mental training. Whether Petkovic, Kerber or Stebe. We have our own style and it works.
You are good friends with Florian Mayer. Wouldn't you like to have him in your academy?
Waske: First of all, I have to say that I'm really happy for him. Top 20, beaten Nadal - what he does with Tobias Summerer has to be right. This is great work. I would certainly do a few things differently, but I don't know whether that would be more successful. Flo is an extremely sensitive person and maybe this is all just right for him. I would also train harder with him, try to make him even better. But maybe that would be exactly counterproductive. And there is no need for action at all with Flo.
What would you hope for him in the next few months?
Waske: I hope that he will raise the bar even higher for the next season and start attacking the top ten. Why not? I wrote to him right after his win against Nadal: "It's a great feeling when you've beaten him, isn't it?" I will certainly never forget mine.
Interview conducted by Petra Philippsen
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