Jan de Witt: The Kommunikator

Feb 28, 2020
Robert Davis / Editor-in-Chief
Jan de Witt is quick to say hello and even quicker to say goodbye. He does not chit chat, play Facebook or use WhatsApp. Jan can be gruff, demanding and at times brutally honest. Yet despite all that it does not appear to have harmed the relationships with his players or colleagues over the many years he has been coaching on the ATP Tour. On the contrary they seem to prosper because of De Witt’s ‘take it or leave it’ attitude.

Corrado Tschabuschnig of Topseed Management has worked with Jan de Witt since he brought Viktor Troicki to him 13 years ago.

“If he feels that the player is trying, he will push him patiently,” says Corrado. “But, if he sees that the player is not trying, then he will not compromise in any way, not for his money nor for fame.”

“Jan is very honest and very clear,” says Jarkko Nieminen. “He says things that you have to hear. You might not like it at the time, because sometimes it is negative. Sometimes when I won a match Jan would tell me that the way I played that day is not going to help me achieve my goals.  And then sometimes when I lost, he would be very pleased with what I was trying to do. I felt he was more interested in my long-term development and not just the moment. That made it very easy for me to trust him.”

Trust is a word that comes up a lot when players talk about Jan de Witt. I spoke with Nikoloz Basilashvili during the Shanghai Masters and it came as a surprise to me to learn that he had never had a tennis coach before working with Jan. “Because I did not trust them,” admits Basilashvili. “A coach can destroy everything with just one sentence. But with Jan it is different. I trust him completely.” “There must be somebody who stops you from making a mistake,” says De Witt. “And other times push you to do the right thing. As the…
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