Bastian Suwanprateep, coach at the Alexander Waske Tennis-University, has been the key person behind several of the Indian Mens Tennis Players and most prominently – Prajnesh Gunneswaran. This interview is a follow-up from the interview last year.
Bastian reflects on the progress with Prajnesh in 2018 and thoughts on the 2019 season. This conversation was done with Mr. Bastian in December 2018 and we have kept the content as it is.
This is the 5th article of the 9-part series on Prajnesh Gunneswaran.
- Prajnesh Gunneswaran – Inspiring story of a once written-off for good Tennis player
- A parent’s perspective into the journey of Prajnesh Gunneswaran
- 1987 Davis Cup final team members share their thoughts on Prajnesh Gunneswaran
- The man whom Prajnesh SOS’ed and who revived Prajnesh’s career – Christian Bosse
All the articles are also published on http://www.thebridge.in
This is what you told me when we met at the French Open last year – ”Our main goal is to make Prajnesh break into the Top 100 in the next 10-12 months.” Thoughts on the progress so far.
Very good. He is exactly on the path that we discussed. French Open main draw is realistic now. Praj is #110, does not have much points to defend till the cut for the French Open. Anyway the goal for the next year is to finish top-100, top-70.
So I am confident that he will make the Paris main draw this year.
What are you the most happy about the progress (from #256 to #104) and what could have been better
Praj’s mental progress has been good. He is more confident, has more self-belief, is playing more aggressive and improved his game style this year. It all changed in his mind-set, he now believes that he can beat all the good players – specially the top-100 players.
The overall progress for the last year has been great, so no real concerns. We really want him to be end of year top-100 player – not come into top-100 when he has less points to defend and then drop out by end of year. We want him to remain a top-100 player.
You had also mentioned about taking time away from the opponent. How do you feel the progress has been here
It has improved a lot but it was still one of our top focus areas in our pre-season training. In the 2.5 weeks that he was here at Offenbach, we worked a lot on his court position, his transition, mid-court game and also the volleys. To make him play aggressive and play that game style more naturally.
And Praj practiced really hard. We have 2-3 weeks of really hard practice schedule. We both agreed at the end of the pre-season camp that it could not have been better. Everyday we were at 100% and got the best out of each day.
Tournament schedule for 2018. How do you intend to mix the ATP Tour and Challenger events.
We will start with the Pune ATP and then the Australian Open. After that, it will be a mix of ATPs (where he will make the main draw of a few of them, hopefully) and Challengers – this is the plan till the summer.
As soon as his ranking is that high, that he will be main draw in ATPs itself, we will switch the proportion to more ATP Tour events.
We have a plan A and plan B and we will choose one or the other depending on the start to the season.
What is the one thing that stands out to you about Prajnesh (game or personality), that he should never change?
I’ve been with Praj for about 7 years now and I really like his personality. At the end of the pre-season in our camp, we have an event called the Christmas battle and he won the buffalo title!
He is a very honest guy and he is very dependable. You can always count on his word and if he says something, then you know he is doing it.
How is Hanu Patel progressing!
He is progressing well and he also won the Buffalo award for Juniors! We took him now into our professional department now. He actually did great, directly made couple of points. He played the U14 Orange Bowl qualifying where he qualified after winning 4 matches, won 1 main round match and then lost in the 2nd round.
He is now getting used to playing more and more international events and we are really happy with his progress.
Also we need to remember to focus on the progress and not too early on the points or rankings as such. That is not our main focus with Hanu.