Coach In The Spotlight - Mehdi Daouki
As part of our regular 'Coach In The Spotlight' feature, we are holding a series of short interviews with GPTCA members sharing their coaching success story. We have this week put Mehdi Daouki, our A level coach, in the hot seat and asked him some quick fire questions.
1. What is your current work in progress?
The D Academy will open in September, I will be the founder and head coach.
2. How did you begin coaching pro players? How long have you been coaching?
I started coaching when I was 19 years old to make some money and pay my coach... In 2001 I went to the WTA tournaments as a sparring partner with one Moroccan player. I liked the job immediately, coaching, preparing matches, doing fitness, talking strategy and working on relationship... I decided to be a full-time pro coach and I put all my energy into that project. I passed my French State diploma, the PTR and after that I worked with a pro player in France. I had an opportunity to join the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy team in 2006.
3. What keeps you motivated to come to work each day and keep coaching through the years?
I believe every day is a different day. I believe that every single match, every tournament and also every player is unique. When I wake up in the morning, I'm enthusiastic to learn more about life, about players, about how to make our relationship better, and how to perform with them. I wake up to learn more about myself, challenging myself.
4. What skills/characteristics do you look for in your players?
I try to look everywhere :) I think each player has skills somewhere... I like to find what makes a player different from the others, what his unique features are... It's very interesting to look for it with a player who is concerned. But for sure I can notice and appreciate his mentality, performance attitude, and of course the technique and physical capacity can make a difference.
5. What is the biggest challenge you've had as a coach and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was assisting Patrick Mouratoglou and being part of his coaching team for 6 years. He gave me the opportunity to work with him and to coach some of the best players in the world. I think Patrick is one of the best coaches on the tour nowadays. He helped me and pushed me a lot, with him I learned what the high level coaching really means. He was always telling me: if you want the best, you must give the best. So I had to push myself to the limit...
6. What is your most successful coaching moment so far?
The most successful coaching moment... well I think the players should be able to judge. I would like to talk about emotions and relationships. I won 2 tournaments with Aravane Rezai, she is extremely talented. We had some incredible practice sessions. Her win in Bastaad (2010) came after an amazing week. After this tournament, she reached her career-high ranking (#15), and we were talking about being number one in the world, about what kind of decisions we needed to make...
I also like helping players achieve their goals, win tournaments or try to get into a Grand Slam main draw... When players win their first tournament on the tour (juniors or pro tournament), it is always very special, you can really feel it and shear it with them... I have a great memory of one win with a junior girl player in Madrid, 10.000$. After being injured for 3 months, it was her first pro win and one of my proudest moments...
7. What advice would you give to new coaches?
I don't know if i can give an advice but I think if the coach tries to be - and stays himself, if he keeps listening to his players, listening day after day, maybe it could help him to perform his best.
8. What inspires your work?
Better man = better athlete = better tennis player.
What inspires me is the humanity, working with different players, players of different cultures and nationalities, but also with different beliefs. The goal is to find the way to win and perform, that's what inspires me.
9. What is your next coaching goal?
My coaching goal is to work with a player who believes (s)he can win a Grand Slam and be number one in the world, because in order to win it, you have to believe in it first.
Paris Course in Photos
C-Level Course in Offenbach, Germany
Rome Course Completed
ATP Chairman Brad Drewett Dies at 54
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