Dutch tennis stars Paul Haarhuis and Jacco Eltingh, who won five grand slam doubles titles together during their career and were the top-ranked doubles duo in their time, continue to work together many years after retirement at the Dutch tennis association, KNLTB.
Currently, Eltingh is the head national coach while Haarhuis is the technical and commercial director. Speaking of their equation off the court, Eltingh says, "The basis has always been a high degree of equivalence. Nothing has changed over the years.
Paul made the most decisions on the court. Only when he was not feeling well, I sometimes took over. It has always been a matter of making good agreements, in whatever position anyone was in. In every situation, as a double team, in business and at the KNLTB, we aim for the best possible options." Eltingh says he tries to remain as honest as possible with his former partner even now during their professional association.
'Still, I am at least as critical towards Paul as I am towards other coaches and people I work with. We know each other through and through. That is precisely why it is perhaps easier for us to tell each other the truth. Paul can advise or point out things to do differently.
Conversely, I am in the position that if I believe that when Paul is not doing well in a certain position, I must inform him that it must be looked at critically with any unpleasant consequences. If I left that out because we are more than close friends, I would blame myself.
" Haarhuis says he is happy in his current role, reporting to Eltingh which is a switch from their playing days when he led the duo on the court. "If I want I can make life very difficult for him as my boss (laughing). But seriously, I was more leading on the tennis court than I am now.
Jacco arranged and planned more outside the court, I set the lines on tennis. He said where we were going to eat in the evening, and for example I discussed tactical matters that were appropriate for the game that was to come."