Gilbert doesn't deny reports of conflict with Roddick's dad;
interested in coaching Golovin
Brad: 'For players like Sampras, Agassi, Federer and Roddick, a good year is winning one Grand Slam'
By Matthew Cronin
Dec 30, 2004
Brad Gilbert was spending part of Thursday shucking crabs and hanging with his wife and three kids, but, even though he could feel the claws scratching beneath his fingernails, he wouldn't let Andy Roddick completely have it for firing him two weeks ago.
Still, Gilbert is still partial shock over what occurred, when Roddick pulled the plug on their 17-month-old relationship.
"I was completely caught off guard. I couldn't see any signs that it was coming," Gilbert told TennisReporters.net. "But I stand by my record with Andy. It was pretty good."
Gilbert said he's not going to walk around swanky Marin County, California, looking like "Bitter Bob," but it's clear he thought his firing was premature. Gilbert coached Roddick to the '03 US Open title and the 2003 year-end No. 1 ranking.
"We'll know in year or two from now when we see what his results are, whether Andy made the right decision," said Gilbert. "He still has improvements to make and whether he makes those with someone else: only time will tell."
Last week, Roddick hired US Davis Cup coach Dean Goldfine as his new coach.
DOESN'T DENY TR.NET REPORT
While Gilbert wouldn't directly comment on TR.net reports for the reasoning for his firing, he wouldn't deny them, either. Two weeks ago, TR.net reported that Roddick fired Gilbert because his coach didn't get along with his father, Jerry; that he wants to call his own shots with a more low key coach; and because the two couldn't come to terms on his training schedule or a financial contract
While Andy did make the call on the firing himself, Gilbert and Roddick's father, Jerry, did clash repeatedly over money and Andy's schedule. Although Jerry Roddick isn't overly involved in Roddick's on-court style or tactics, sources say he involves himself in every other aspect of his son's career. "You have to go through Jerry to get things done," the source said. "Brad didn't want to do that and that's understandable because he's the coach. But the reality is that Jerry is very important to Andy and he trusts him. If you can't get along with the family, it's hard to coach a player."
Gilbert said Thursday that he's taking the high road. "I don't want to get into those issues," he said. "Andy was the boss and it was his decision to make. Tennis is not a team sport. The relationship is between the coach and player and that's the way it should be. As far as I'm concerned, Andy was the one who called me and it was his decision to make."
Even though Roddick failed to win a Slam this year, he did win four titles and led his country to the Davis Cup final. However, Roddick failed to win a title after July and was stunned in the quarterfinals of the US Open by Sweden's Joachim Johannson. Plus, he was obviously down after being scalded by Lleyton Hewitt in the TMC Houston semis and after losing both his matches in the Davis Cup final to Rafael Nadal and Carlos Moya.
"This is tennis and sometimes you have to give the other guys their props," Gilbert said. "You can't win every match. Lleyton played incredible that day and Johansson was serving bombs in the fifth set. Andy had a couple of points there that he could have won, but it could have gone either way. Look, he wins that match nine of 10 times."
GILBERT SAYS HE PROBABLY COULDN'T HAVE HELPED ANDY IN DAVIS CUP FINAL
Roddick didn't invite Gilbert to the Davis Cup final, but Gilbert isn't sure if he would have made a difference anyway.
"Patrick [McEnroe] is the guy on the sidelines there, not me," he said. "Both Nadal and Moya played great. It was on clay. Maybe I could have given him a few tips, but they might not have mattered. The key to me was that Andy played second on Friday. If he would have played first, the pressure would have been heavier on Nadal and Andy would have had a better shot at winning. The only way the US was going to win that tie was going into Sunday up 2-1 and that would have meant Andy playing first and winning. Even if Andy would have beat Moya, Fish was a big underdog in the fifth match against Nadal. But losses like Andy took in Spain; those are part of what make you a tennis player."
There's been speculation that one of the reasons that Roddick parted ways with Gilbert was because he failed to beat top-ranked Roger Federer this year. But Gilbert said that wasn't the case.
"Andy's a tremendous talent," he said. "But Federer has really raised the bar very high and it's up to everyone else to catch up with him. Andy had a pretty good year, but for players like [Pete] Sampras, [Andre] Agassi, Federer and Roddick, a good year is winning one Grand Slam. A great year is winning two. We were a couple points away in the Wimbledon final and Federer came up with the goods. You have to give him his props, but that loss hurt the most. If Andy had won Wimbledon, then we'd be looking at his year a little differently."
Gilbert wouldn't directly say whether he asked Roddick to change his December schedule and focus more on training for the Australian Open than on playing exhibitions, but did infer that his former pupil needs to rethink his commitments. Because of Roddick's exhibition schedule, Gilbert only had four days to work with Andy during the 2003 off-season. "I'm not going too comment on that, but Andy had a very full schedule in 2003 and another full schedule this year. Maybe next year he'll change it. He has a lot going on in his life."
Gilbert hasn't signed on with another player yet, but is interested in coaching France's Tatiana Golovin again, whom he briefly worked with in 2002 and part of 2003. The 16-year-old Golovin made a splash in the Fed Cup final and rose from No. 118 at the end of 2003 to No. 26 at the end of 2004.
"I still love coaching and she has tremendous potential," Gilbert said. "She a great girl who I really like. But if I start coaching her everyone is going to expect her to become No. 1 next year and she's not ready for that yet."
Gilbert also wouldn't deny that he's slightly interested in coaching Taylor Dent, but said he'll leave that situation alone, given that Dent is being coached by the USTA's Francisco Montana.
"After Andy, Taylor has the most potential of the young Americans," he said. "But he seems comfortable with Francisco and his dad (former Aussie Open champ Phil) also has a lot of say into his tennis. But if Taylor is going to make move, it will have to be now."