Lisicki Coaching Situation

Sabine practicing before her match against Sara Errani in Cincy (Photo by me)

Sabine practicing before her match against Sara Errani in Cincy (Photo by me)

News has come out that Sabine Lisicki has split with coach Guillaume Peyre after the US Open and now is coached by Philipp Born.  We saw Born at the Hong Kong Open and the Toray Pan Pacific Open, but still didn’t know an actual change officially took place.  She’s not the most transparent in letting everyone know when she makes a change.  Most of the time it comes through the woodwork weeks later, which was true this time too.

It’s disappointing news to me.  Sabine had her best stretch of the season with Peyre as coach during the US Open series.  Her four tournaments with Peyre included three 3rd round appearances and a first round loss.  She lost in each tournament to current top 10 players. Ivanovic in Stanford, Aga in Montreal and Cincy, and Sharapova at the US Open.  She was beating the players she could and should beat, but just getting tripped up by the best in the game, which was fine.  We were just looking for improvements from the beginning of the season. We didn’t NEED a breakthrough.

Sabine had some disappointing moments in those matches she lost and wasn’t much of a threat in any of them.  She came close to beating Aga in Montreal, but failed to take a set in any of those other matches she lost.  It would’ve been great to see her put up a bigger fight against Aga in Cincy or against Sharapova at the US Open coming off that performance in Montreal.  Maybe that’s what led Sabine to look for a new coach.


Sabine during her first round match in Cincy vs Roberta Vinci getting some coaching advice from Peyre. (Photo by me)

From the start I was on board with Peyre.  I saw a change in her coaching box: no mom or dad!  She usually goes to a coach, then after a few weeks or months, she goes back to her dad to be her primary coach.  This is Wozniacki’s problem too.  They go back to what’s comfortable.  The thing is that both players need to improve their games.  The person that would know best to make those tennis changes is a person who is involved in tennis primarily throughout their life and is focused on the sport.  I saw Peyre and I thought this could be it.  Sabine knows she needs a new coach and is ready to commit to it.  She’s changing her lifestyle and putting tennis as her primary focus to get to where she should be.  I loved what Peyre would tell her during on court coaching sessions and in the practices I saw in Cincy.  He would give her tactics to use in the match and what has worked for her so far. He would tell her to relax and kept it light. He would show her the technique she needed on a shot in practice.  It seemed like Peyre was doing everything right and what fans of hers would love to see out of a coach. All this success wasn’t enough for this coaching relationship to be permanent though :/

Honestly, Peyre might not have been the coach that would turn everything around for Sabine.  I think I was just excited to see him as coach for the reasons I mentioned before.  She was going away from her dad as coach and her parents weren’t around.  Peyre was saying and teaching her good things. He doesn’t have the pedigree of coaches other players have, or coaches Sabine has had in the past, however.  Maybe from the start Sabine just had him on a temporary basis through the US Open (like I said she’s not the most transparent).  Or it could’ve been that she needed more results to buy into this and continue it.  Either way we’re onto Born now and we’ll be looking for the same improvements to her game.

Sabine's new coach, Philipp Born, celebrating Sabine's win in Hong Kong

Sabine’s new coach, Philipp Born, celebrating Sabine’s win in Hong Kong

I don’t see Born as the permanent fix either.  Sure Sabine won the first tournament they were together for, but it wasn’t he most challenging tournament.  Born didn’t have a lot to do with that title.  Sabine wins that if Peyre was still on board.  Looking forward, Sabine only has three tournaments (possibly more with Sofia and Fed Cup) left in 2014, so it looks like Born will be there until the end of the year.  During the offseason she may look around for a permanent fixture at the coaching position for the 2015 season.  I hope to see this happen.  What Sabine needs more than anything is a long commitment at the coaching position.  If the results aren’t happening don’t just fire him or her and move on.  Stick through it. When there’s constant change, each coach will tell her different things, which will leave her confused.  It takes time for a plan to work out in terms of what you’re trying to accomplish on court.  Something that may take more than a month, which is how long her coaches are staying on for.  Hopefully that permanent coach will come for the 2015 season so Sabine can accomplish her potential and maybe even a Wimbledon trophy 😉

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