Wimbledon finalist Chris Lewis was so kind as to contribute to Women's Tennis Blog sharing a few words about best New Zealand's tennis player Marina Erakovic, whom he coached for a significant period of time. In the article he points out some characteristics of Marina's game, and analyzes her prospects at the upcoming Sony Ericsson Open where she's a wildcard.
Hi Marija, my name is Chris Lewis. I'm from New Zealand. I stumbled upon your post about Marina Erakovic, and, as Marina's coach for nine years (from the age of 8 until she was 17), I thought your readers might be interested in knowing a little bit more about her.
After reaching the semifinal of Memphis less than a month ago, Marina is the first NZ woman to break into the top 100 for over twenty years. As a consequence, she has now become one of New Zealand's most widely recognized athletes.
Having had a stellar junior career, where she reached number 5 in the ITF junior rankings, her major breakthrough came in the WTA event in Auckland in January when she beat Vera Zvonareva in front of a full house on center court in Marina's home town.
With a first serve over 180kms an hour, a powerful and accurate forehand, a double handed backhand that is extremely reliable (together with a penetrating one-handed slice) and first class volleys, Marina's game is well suited to medium to fast hard court surfaces. She plays particularly well in faster conditions; e.g., indoors and on grass.
Although I don't coach her now (I moved from New Zealand to Southern California just over two years ago), Marina periodically drops in to see me when she's playing in the US. In fact, I spent some time on court with her just last week so got a close up look at her game before she left for Miami a few days ago.
I see she plays Germany's Martina Muller, a player ranked 30 spots ahead of Marina. Hopefully, Marina can continue this year's momentum by winning her first round. If she does, she'll meet Michaella Krajicek, with whom she won the 2004 US Open Junior Title.
Marija, thanks once again for your post on Marina. You do a great job of covering the women's tour.
Additional info: Here you can read what tennis great Monica Seles said about Marina Erakovic.
Chris Lewis now coaches promising young players at the Woodbridge Tennis Club and he's also the owner of Tennis-Experts.com. (photo via Yahoo)