In January, the Australian tennis player bulged in his chest and was full of pride Three local tennis players shouted for champion: Ashley Barty in the singles, Nick Kyrgios with Thansi Kokinakis in the doubles took ocean sport to the top.And behind that there is the silent work of many people, and one is Gabriel Echevarria. He is a performance coach at Melbourne Tennis Australia. He is responsible for the physical preparation of all professional players in central Melbourne. His job is to provide a team around the players (look for him as a coach, physical trainer, masseur, psychologist or nutritionist), part of his role in the union is to educate the young professional so that he understands this shift towards professionalism: “The idea is to create players who are independent, not dependent on the federation, who have their resources and the ability to choose who can take them to the next level, and in this way the federation can help the youngest,” explains the Argentine born in San Nicolas de los Arroyos.
– How did you come to Tennis Australia?
– She taught teaching in Rosario, then got her bachelor’s degree, and then she got a master’s degree in Sports Science and Physical Activity in Barcelona. I started working there At the Francis Roig Academy (where players like Rafael Nadal, Feliciano Lopez and Fabio Fognini among others passed). Many players from the United States and . attended the academy I have established a link with Jose Higueras and Patrick McEnroe. that they They created a player development program for the USTA (American Tennis Association) and called me to work there, I was there for several years and finally in 2019 the Australian Federation wanted to do something similar and they contacted me To be part of the team. In Australia it is divided into Melbourne and Brisbane and I am in Melbourne.
– What are these programs looking for?
The first thing we ask is the development of sports. Generate a good solid foundation with good The number and quality of players. Then tennis was bornAs grand tournament winners or Week 2 winners, to achieve that you have to evolve from a very low level. Higueras and McEnroe formed a very diverse group of coaches and coaches with the idea of creating a generation (96/97/98. Tommy Ball, Francis Tiafoe, Riley Opelka and Taylor Fritz).
In the United States, they began to explore boys aged 13-14 and invited the best to the center where they had tennis training focused on different areas and did various tests in the physical readiness section where they analyzed the progress, the areas they should develop, what abilities What they have, what they can offer athletes, and how they can be helped. The idea was to guide them from adolescence to what could be a young professional. They identified academies in the United States that had an elite program and assisted those places, telling them about their business philosophy and striving for certain similar standards across the country.. The most important thing is that you are working on long-term projects, and immediate results are not sought, and this allows the young tennis player not to rush and allows him to develop other aspects, In coordination, in its aerobic capacity, its strength and flexibility. for exampleReilly Opelka has a height similar to that of John Isner, however, since he has worked with the youngest since his youth, he has better mobility, suffers fewer injuries, and wins on many surfaces. And it was all because development at an early age. When Opelka was a boy he reached with serve and ball, but since the USTA was aimed at long-range players and Grand Slam players, they knew they had to prepare the youngsters so they would be physically ready and play more.
in the United States, Echevarria worked with players Christina McHale, Coco Gauff, Alison Riske. While in Australia, he did so with Daria Gavrilova, Kokinakis, John Millman, Alex Bolt, James Duckworth, Storm Sanders, Priscilla Hawn, Olivia Jadeki. Among the many players, the goals for the Argentine are varied.
I started the year a bit strange, with two very different goals for the players I worked with…
With Ashleigh Barty we worked hard to achieve the peak performance of the Australian Open which was her great goal and she achieved it.was Success is for her, for the program, as well as for the country. She had bad taste after losing the semi-finals in 2021, which is why the idea was to hit peak performance this year. On the other hand, the goalDaria Gavrilova was due to get back in shape after being unemployed for nearly two years after sustaining an Achilles tendon injury.. Getting Dasha back and taking it to her best performance little by little is a very different job than that of Barty, who was already trying to achieve the goal of establishing herself at number one and winning the Australian Open. In Daria’s case, work has been done on a gradual increase in loads, let’s see how she responds day in and day out as she plays in high competition.
– Have you limited the amount of titles obtained, so that new children will join the sport?
– We did not specify it quantitatively, but of course seeing the result of the assistance given to Barty crowning the title is a success for the programFor the organization, for the championship and for the country. Because what better ambassador than Ash to pay more attention to tennis and make it grow. Now many boys and girls view her as their idol and this encourages participation at a young age. It affects Ash’s title very positively. But he was a great support and a great testament to the work we’ve been able to do as a federation.
What are the differences between developing a tennis player and a tennis player?
– There are some differences and it is important to understand at an early age, the dosage of loads, the type of loads to be taken, and to understand the differences. Women tend to develop at a younger age, so results are coming soon. And sometimes you want to achieve these results with boys, the fact is that it takes longer for a boy to grow than a girl. Just the maturation of the issues. This is why we still see girls who are fully developed at 15 or 16 and not boys. Alcaraz is an example, that at the age of 15 or 16 he was playing very well, but he was rather skinny, and he had not experienced his second growth spurt, and the woman achieved it earlier, so the way of dosing the loads is different, and it is important to know these differences. A teenager cannot develop in the same way as a young professional
– What differences do you see between South America and those confederations?
The first big difference is that these two countries have major leagues, and that generates a huge amount of resources for them to pour into this sport. All in all, the good thing is that they are turning it over to development. This allows the creation of national player development programs. This allows us to do exploration and see needs from an early age and see a little bit faster development, unlike other countries that don’t have these resources. Not only in economic terms, but also with the number of championships they have. For example, the United States has many leagues, many playing possibilities, many possibilities for scoring and also having a league behind it that can offer invitations to both novice and professional players, and this creates an accessible or slightly faster path towards professionalism. In South America, how hard it is to compete at a young age means that friction is at a later age, so it costs more and takes longer to get out. Associations that have a major tournament can plan generations for the long-term. They help boys from 16 to over 20 years old to actually plan which tournaments they will play, how they will help them and so on.
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