Belgium's Wim Fissette is one of the more famous coaches on the WTA circuit, having worked with several former World No.1s including Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep and he will now be working with Japan's Naomi Osaka.
One of the reasons why Fissette maybe so successful in helping his players is his use of data. Speaking to Sporza, Fissette says he has always been working with data as it helps him prepare the right tactical plan. "Naomi does not always start a match with the right tactical plan and that is why she wanted to work with me.
I am known in the circuit as an analytical coach. That is a hobby of mine. I try to prepare a very correct race plan based on data and always find 2 or 3 things to win the race. I have been busy with data from the beginning of my career.
In the past, I used to watch matches with a piece of paper and a pen. Then I tried to point to my piece of paper to which a player was serving. But for a number of years, we have been working on the tennis circuit with" SAP Tennis Analytics ", a software that provides coaches with all the data and statistics from players.
That data consists of images and figures. That is based on Hawk-Eye The device that says whether the ball was in or out during the game, but that actually records every stroke. In this way, we as coaches get to see exactly what we want to see.
This data enables us to prepare matches even better, but we also have insight into matters in which our own player must become even better." Fissette says that the use of data is quite new in tennis but will continue to become more important.
"Unlike other sports, data use in tennis is a bit new. But it is very clear that players who have started using data in the right way have been very successful. Players who do not work with data do not book the results they want to achieve.
Not much is said about it in tennis, but the top players have also worked with specific companies who have drawn up a perfect match plan for the player in question. Data is important in today's tennis, but the most important thing is still to be able to keep emotions under control.
Players must still be able to think very clearly at difficult moments, make the right decisions and then perform it well. I now call that software my assistant coach. It says a bit about how we should train, but in the end, it's still me who will tell my player which points we will use effectively.
Some can process a lot of information on the job, not others. Every tennis player is different, as a coach you have to take that into account. As a coach, you always have to adapt to the player. But I am convinced that data will become more and more important in tennis. I really enjoy working with it."