Tennis

Engage the player: Jamie Delgado

Jamie Delgado.

Jamie Delgado.  

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Coach Jamie Delgado, who was associated with one of the best players in the current era Andy Murray, says that it is important to engage with a player before providing inputs.

“Even if it is Andy, you have got to engage the player before providing the inputs,” said Delgado, as he watched the Road to Wimbledon action at the Gymkhana Club.

Making the player think and analyse is half the job done, and Delgado has mastered it. He is encouraging, cheerful, looks the player in the eye and conveys his points in a simple way, to ensure easy absorption as he spent time with the under-14 girls in clearing their doubts.

When a girl approaches him to seek his observation, Delgado connects swiftly to her wavelength and asks a couple of questions before giving key points to better her game.

Delgado holds his head in both hands when the conversation moves to the current plight in the lower echelons. Quick to admit that he is not familiar with all the new rules, Delgado just cannot digest the removal of ATP and WTA points from the lower tournaments, the shrinking of the qualifying draws from 128 to 24 and the ridiculous low number of four in Challengers.

Delgado is also of the firm belief that the sport’s good aspects have to be brought back to ensure a healthy growth, as otherwise there would not be a big enough pool to generate high quality players.

The 41-year-old recalled his numerous visits to India, specially the Satellite circuit in 1996, which featured Mahesh Bhupathi, the then top-100 player Mark Petchey of Britain and Laurence Tieleman of Italy.

When one mentions that the circuit was dominated by an Italian, Delgado recalls ‘Filippo Messori’, as if it was yesterday.

The Challengers, played a few years later are fresh in his mind, as Delgado remembers that Leander Paes won in both Lucknow and Chandigarh, beating him in one of the finals in two tie-breaks.

“There is a tendency to train a lot these days, at least back home in Britain. Leander and Mahesh played a lot of tournaments. They were not training that much. You learn a lot in matches, get used to situations and learn to deal with them. You learn to lose, to come back and play better the next time. It was a lot of fun, playing tennis around the world. I am not sure about the situation nowadays.”

He was very subtle in hinting that he was still on the job, saying, “waiting for Andy to return to the game from rehabilitation.”

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 8:47:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/engage-the-player-jamie-delgado/article26524163.ece

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