Player’s Perspective – Sergiy Stakhovsky


Mar 5, 2017
ELITE TENNIS / Q&A
ATP Player with a career-high ranking of World No. 31

You have had two coaches (Boris Sobkin and Fabrice Santoro) that could be described as polar opposites. What attracted you to work with Boris? What attracted you to work with Fabrice?

SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: As a player it has been very hard for me to find a coach who I can trust, and I believe trust is a key factor in the player-coach relationship. I worked with Sobkin (as an assistant to Youzhny, Boris was always Misha’s coach and helped me along) because I liked his coaching philosophy, every practice had logic and a goal, everything was close to match-based exercises, which was a different practice style than I had for the rest of my life. When I was starting with Boris I was young (24) and was looking for something new. With Santoro it was a completely different story. I had tremendous respect for Fabrice’s game (we played twice on tour against each other), and I remember how he was capable of finding a slightest flaw in your game and could squeeze himself through this gap or hole in your game. Most importantly for me was that Fabrice and I share many life and moral values. I wouldn’t be lying if I said that there are very few people who play or have played on tour with such high moral grounds and dedicated professionalism in every way. To sum it up, Fabrice is a genius strategist for matches and Boris is a genius mind for practice.

Do you prefer feedback immediately after your matches, or do you prefer to wait a while? And how do you take critique? SS: I think I am steam-headed. Sometimes after the match is not the best time for such feedback, although I do always want to hear something. I am a very hard person to argue with, I am usually trying to answer everything (which is not good most of the time) but again, I always take criticism from people who I trust. Fabrice Santoro had a game that required exquisite touch and imagination, was his coaching style similar? Did…
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