Tennis: Erakovic parts company with coach

By Matt Brown

Marina Erakovic plays a backhand shot during Wimbledon. Photo / Getty Images
Marina Erakovic plays a backhand shot during Wimbledon. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand tennis number one Marina Erakovic has a new coach on board ahead of her US Open campaign.

The 28 year old has parted company with her mentor for the past two and a half years, Spaniard Eduardo Nicolas, and has started working with Auckland-based Wesley Whitehouse.

Erakovic is languishing at 113 in the world rankings and has to play qualifying (starting tomorrow) at Flushing Meadows.

She revealed to Radio Sport she made the decision to split from Nicolas after last month's WTA tournament in Bastad, Sweden.

"The reason really was personally I felt I needed a change. I think Nico improved my game quite a bit especially my backhand, but I felt a little stuck and needed a little more learning or something new.

Nico and I still have a very good relationship, but tennis is like that and you have to do what's best for you."

For the first time in her professional career, Erakovic will be coached by a Kiwi and it means a reduction in travel, during the offseason.

"I asked Wesley to work with me at the US Open and do the upcoming tournaments in Asia. It's a nice change for me because it's the first time I will be working with someone from New Zealand and it's great that I can sort of go home and do everything at home really. It's a nice change." Erakovic said.

In recent years Erakovic has spent the off season having training blocks in Florida under former coach Chris Zahalka and more recently in Barcelona with Nicolas.

"It's very much a welcome change and I can always look to pop over to Melbourne for a couple of weeks and play with the players there to get the competition, but it's nice to have the options in the Southern Hemisphere."

Erakovic made a run through qualifying to reach the third round at Wimbledon in July. But Flushing Meadows has always been a struggle for the Kiwi, having only once reached the second round.

Her build up has been restricted to a weeklong training camp in Los Angeles, after a three week break at home following a couple of clay court tournaments in Europe.

Erakovic hoped to play qualifying last week in Cincinnati for some hard court tennis, but couldn't get in due to the strong field, so she's lacking match-play.

"It would have been great to get more tournaments on hard courts before the US Open, but I am playing well, am feeling comfortable and we will see what happens. I have definitely acclimatised so will give it a good crack."

Erakovic says she has been working hard on her serve with Whitehouse.

"Wesley has a great serve, and I'm just trying to be aggressive and come in a bit more. At this stage of my career it's not like I am going to be making huge changes, it's just subtle things I can improve.

- NZ Herald

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