記事リンク先：McEnroe: Goldfine Would Be Good Choice For Roddick
McEnroe: Goldfine Would Be Good Choice For Roddick
Photo By Susan Mullane By Richard Pagliaro
Patrick McEnroe hired Dean Goldfine as his Olympic and Davis Cup assistant coach and has experienced some of Goldfine's coaching skills first hand. During the week of practice prior to the United States' Davis Cup final against Spain in Seville, Goldfine roused players and coaches for a team run nearly every morning.
The man who sprinted through the streets of Seville is now on the fast track to fill one of the top coaching jobs in tennis. Golfdine is the leading candidate to succeed Brad Gilbert as Roddick's new coach.
In an interview with Tennis Week this (Wednesday) morning, the Davis Cup captain endorsed Goldfine for the job and said if Roddick does hire him it will be for the long run rather than the short term.
"I've heard Dean has been mentioned and I don't think that's solidified yet though I know he's at the top of the list," McEnroe told Tennis Week. "I think he realizes that Brad was great for him and that Brad helped him get to the next level, but Andy is a very intelligent guy and he's not the kind of guy who just changes coaches for the sake of change. Whoever he hires, I think, will be with him for a while. I think Andy knows what he wants, he knows what he's got to do to continue to develop as a player and I think he's looking for someone who has a full-range plan for his game and his fitness and who can push him in the way he needs to be pushed. I do know Dino well and if he does get the job I think he would be great and I think he'd do a tremendous job with Andy. Dino is a coach's coach. He's a very dedicated coach, who puts his player first."
The 43-year-old Gilbert coached Roddick to the top of tennis last year. It was the second time Gilbert, who coached Andre Agassi for eight years in a highly productive partnership that saw Agassi capture six Grand Slam championships and attain the No. 1 rank, had coached an American man to tennis' top spot. Clearly, Gilbert is a master motivator, and accomplished coach capable of devising a winning game plan who picks players with prodigious potential to work with. In his 18-month tenure as coach, Gilbert helped Roddick register a 121-26 record and win nine tournament titles.
Praising Gilbert for his work in guiding Roddick to his first Grand Slam championship at the 2003 U.S. Open and for attaining the year-end No. 1 rank last season, McEnroe said Roddick's desire to seek a new direction in his game — combined with the fact the intense Roddick shares some similar personality characteristics with Gilbert — may have contributed to his decision to seek a new coach.
"Obviously, I think Brad did a great job and took Andy to heights he hadn't gotten to yet and Brad's record as a coach speaks for itself," McEnroe said. "Brad deserves a lot of credit. I just think Andy felt he needed to take it to the next level and go in a different direction to get there."
In terms of temperament, Goldfine may be everything Gilbert isn't. An intelligent, subdued presence, Goldfine is not the type of coach you'd expect to conduct a book tour after a season on the ATP Tour, launch his own web site or become a regular on sports talk radio. Goldfine is not the high-profile presence Gilbert is and in terms of sheer vocal volume, comparing Gilbert to Goldfine is a bit like comparing Metallica to Mozart. Throughout his coaching career, Goldfine's focus has been on helping his players and he has a successful track record coaching Todd Martin, who was recently hired by Mardy Fish as his new coach, Mary Joe Fernandez, Xavier Malisse, Aaron Krickstein and 1995 ATP doubles champions Grant Connell and Patrick Gailbraith in the past.
In his eight-year tenure as Martin's coach, Goldfine helped Martin produce his best season as a pro in 1999 when Martin reached a career-high rank of No. 4 and advanced to the U.S. Open final before falling to Andre Agassi in five sets. Goldfine, who remains good friends with Martin, has the reputation among his former players as the type of man more interested in actually coaching than talking about coaching.
"Andy may be looking for someone who's a little more low key," McEnroe said. "I think he and Brad are sort of similar personalities. Obviously, Brad's a great coach and knows the game. I think Andy felt like he needed a change and he needed someone that brings the same kind of tennis mind and skills and is a little bit more low key."
In his work coaching under McEnroe on the Olympic and Davis Cup teams, Goldfine established a good rapport with all the players as a positive presence and earned their respect as a coach who brings a clear, straight forward, diligent approach to his work.
"I can tell you that I've known Dino for a while and that he really worked out well for me and all the guys on the team," McEnroe said. "I brought him in for the Olympics because we had so many guys on the team and all the guys really liked him. He's got a good personality, he's positive, and there's no B.S. about him. The guys know he's worked with an accomplished player like Todd Martin and they respect Dino. He's a real coach's coach and he loves doing it. He's in great shape and he actually gets out there and runs with the guys and leads by example. I think he's got the right personality for the job and at the end of the day it's not necessarily about the coach, but if the player is comfortable with that coach because they spend so much time together."
While McEnroe is close friends with Roddick and his family, he's also an astute analyst, who was one of the first American commentators to tab Roger Federer as a future Wimbledon champion after the Swiss stylist singlehandedly dismantled the U.S. squad in McEnroe's debut as Davis Cup captain. Asked to assess the aspects of Roddick's game he must work on to challenge the top-ranked Swiss for major titles in 2005, McEnroe said the transition game, court positioning and taking command of points earlier in rallies on the strength of his formidable forehand are all areas Roddick can address. The Davis Cup captain said Roddick himself is well aware of the measures he must take to improve and it's conceivable Roddick views this coaching change as the first step on the path to progressing as a more complete player.
"The thing that I've always stressed with Andy is obviously him coming to net more is important, but what he needs to do is transition more effectively and Dean and I have talked about it a lot," McEnroe said. "Andy needs to change his position on the court more so he's more on the offensive. That's the thing that hurts him against a Federer, Hewitt, Agassi or guys who can handle his pace — you can stand 10 feet back behind the baseline to return serve, but then you need to get your butt up on the baseline and use your strength, which is his forehand, his power and athleticism."
As a junior, Roddick played the type of grinding baseline game reminiscent of a Michael Chang and he sometimes drifts back behind the baseline and resorts to that style as a pro. The former Boca Raton resident hit a growth spurt that saw him spring up nearly six inches in little more than a year from age 15 to 16 and it was then that Roddick developed one of the most devastating serves in tennis history. While Roddick has the physique and power of a heavy hitter he occasionally regresses to the counter-punching style of his welterweight junior days.
"Andy can make some inroads on his point construction and work on hitting a huge kick serve and use his talent to take advantage of the width of the court as well as the depth," McEnroe said. "Sometimes, his mentality is hit the forehand as hard as I can from eight feet behind the baseline and against a lot of guys it's not coming back, but when it does come back he sometimes tries to hit it harder instead of moving in an taking better positioning. Andy has the talent to stretch guys out wide and use the angle as well as the depth to put you on the defensive. And that will help him play some shorter points and win matches easier as opposed to grinding away."
A physical player who possess prodigious power on his serve and forehand, Roddick grew into his body and is now going through growing pains with his game as he seeks to solidify the style that made him the world No. 1 and develop a more all-court game that can compete with his top rivals, including Federer, who has an 8-1 record against Roddick and has surrendered just one set in his last four matches with the explosive American.
Closing the gap on Federer may not have played a significant part in Roddick's decision to dismiss Gilbert. It's possible that Roddick, who grew up admiring Agassi and has played several exhibitions with his boyhood hero, has been influenced by Agassi's evolution as a player and his commitment to continuing to explore every possible avenue of self-improvement.
"I don't think the Federer factor was a huge factor in Andy's decision; I think it's more that Andy is committed to becoming the best possible player he can be and this is part of that process," McEnroe said. "He's definitely in great shape, he's committed and he still has a lot of things he can improve upon. Remember, Andy has still got the best serve in tennis, he's got a great forehand and if he comes in at the right time it will make the volley easier on him and as you've seen he handles the high volleys effectively. That's where his transition game will help."
Hiring Goldfine may well be the first approach shot of Roddick's transition to a more refined all-court attack as he continues his ongoing evolution as a former and future Grand Slam champion.