Melbourne marked the venue for the reunion between Justine Henin and her former coach Carlos Rodriguez. Henin is back for the Australian Open for the first time since 2011 as a commentator for Eurosport while Rodriguez is now working with the young American Amanda Anisimova.
Speaking to the DH website, Rodriguez says, "We spent four hours chatting yesterday. We are still in contact because Justine is the godmother of Mateo, my second son, but that made us very happy. It brings back great memories, with Justine's victory in the final against Kim.
It was a great moment, because It was the first Grand Slam tournament that Justine had tackled as the world number 1. She had a lot of pressure because she had already triumphed at Roland Garros and the US Open, but she managed to honor her rank.
" Rodriguez also spoke to RTBF about his new role with Anisimova and the changes in women's tennis since his last coaching experience. He says, "Today, things have changed. And to be an "updated" coach, you must also adapt to the evolution of society.
Because the children who are playing now are the reflections of our society. And you have to know how to adapt. I am now 56 years old, it's not nothing. And I have to move on. Everything is hard (laughs)… It is not easy to question myself at my age.
But wanting to learn, and wanting to be better, is my motto. And the second is to help. Help children have a different taste for tennis and love tennis. We'll see if I succeed or not.' Rodriguez, who also worked with Li Na earlier, says he had a tough time before he finally decided to come back to the tour as a coach.
"Competition, yes, I missed it . But if I am asked today to choose between my family and the circuit, I have a hard time. I made an enormous effort to be there. But hey, it's a choice. My wife supports me, as always, when I undertake such adventures.
But it's not easy. Already, for several years, almost six, I said "no" And in the end, it was not I who decided. The strategy of the academy I work for in China has changed. And that is the reason why I am here today.'
The 56 year old adds that while he had coaching offers from several people, he chose the American Anisimova because he saw that as the best learning opportunity for himself. "I won't give you names, but there have been several possibilities.
And I chose the youngest, because it is the most difficult for me, it is the one that will put me in the most difficulties. So I will learn more. And it is the one that will challenge me the most in relation to my approach. Now you have to see if I have the capacity to be able to put in place what I want with it.
But I have to approach it from a whole different angle than before. I think a lot about how, from a girl of the new generation, who has talent, I can be able to bring structure, discipline, and rigor. The question mark always remains the same: will I be able to make her surpass herself, to have fun in surpassing herself? Will I help her focus more on her, as a human being, than on her tennis, to try to shine, here and elsewhere?'