Rainer Schuettler is the last German player to reach a Grand Slam final and is now playing as a legend for the V Chennai Warriors franchise in the second season of Champions Tennis League (CTL). Schuettler has now successfully moved into the world of coaching with his Schuettler-Waske Tennis University in Germany that is frequented by some of the top players on the tour. Here is an exclusive chat with Sportstar .
Question: Tell us about your University and how it started?
Answer: The problem we had in Germany was we had good juniors but the transition to men’s tennis was not very easy. Alexander Waske and I wanted to help guys from Germany and from other countries and guide them into the professional tour. Lots of people are number one or two in juniors but seem to fall by the wayside when they move up and we wanted to make sure they don’t do the mistakes a lot of people have done in the past.
What is the most interesting aspect of your job as a coach?
For me the most challenging is not to dictate your game to somebody else. It is a very complex thing from technique to mental approach to physique and you need to have a vision of a player. You have to see every player individually see how he is playing and what are his weaknesses and work to address the weak areas.
India’s Sumit Nagal trains in your University. Have you had a look at him? Your thoughts?
I practised with Sumit last week to prepare for the CTL. He is playing well and won the Wimbledon junior doubles. He is a great talent, very professional and works hard. I hope he can make the transition and be successful on the tour.
Does starting on clay help players develop an all-round game? Spain, where players predominantly on clay, has produced a lot of top players…
I don’t really think it makes a difference and it is up to the individual. You see Serbia or Switzerland produce a lot of good players and I don’t think they play on clay like the Spaniards. Yes, it helps you to develop your game especially physically since the points are longer, but you can do that even on a slow hard court.
A lot of Indians train at your academy. What are the areas they need to improve to break into the top league?
You have to realise there are a maximum of 100 people in the world who the public is talking about. The competition is very tough and the tennis is getting very physical. You need to work really hard. With Novak, you see how he prepares from what he eats, to doing yoga or mental training. You need to be 100 percent fit and give it your 100 percent and then you might have a chance.
How much does foreign coaching help?
It does help. I know Somdev Devvarman came from the U. S. college system and was in the top 100. A lot of guys are coming to our academy. The Chinese have hired a lot of foreign coaches. David Ferrer and Justin Henis have academies there to help young Chinese players.