Carlos Rodriguez, best-known as the former coach of once dominant women’s tennis player Justine Henin, was interviewed by Matt Cronin for FOXSports.com and gave harsh reviews of some currently top WTA players.
Ok, the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova can be satisfied, but Jelena Jankovic could feel more than offended. However, we can’t blame Carlos for being honest; I doubt he wanted to insult anyone.
- Which players does Carlos Rodriguez consider the best?
I have a lot of respect for the other players, but outside of the Willamses and Sharapova, the rest are still really poor.
You can't teach [how to fight.] You can learn a lot of things, but you cannot change the natural personality of a player. With Serena, Venus, Justine and Jennifer Capriati, they have the personality that even when they weren't enjoying it, they could go through. There's no question that Maria, Serena and Venus are far and away from the other players. Their quality is too good.
- On Jelena Jankovic:
That's the face of tennis today, with a player who is reaching No.1 without winning a Grand Slam. It's a sign. She's a good player, but when you see Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters, they not only win Grand Slams, but they have the charisma. They give something extra, not only hitting balls. There's more behind them.
- On the recent struggles of Ana Ivanovic:
I think Ana can do big things, but she needs more maturity. It's very difficult for a player to learn what to do when she's in trouble. Ivanovic is not able to have a Plan B or C to solve the situations, and she loses complete control. The coach can help with this, but in the end, it's up to the player to find for herself what possibilities will work. The coach can only help you to a certain point.
- On his short coaching of Anna Chakvetadze:
Anna seems like she wants to work, but I told her, at the end of the day, deep inside of you, you don't want to try to go further and to push yourself more to succeed. I cannot help you if you don't have the will to do something, even if I'm the best or worst coach in the world. She has the talent. But she's really confused as to what she needs to do to succeed to do to become a No. 1 or No. 2 player in the world. She's not ready to make the sacrifices it takes to go to the top, there's not question about it. A champion is one inside and outside the court, and when you take Anna outside the court, she's really a disaster.
- On Nicole Vaidisova's potential:
She's amazing. It comes back to the entourage she has around her. It's so important. When you are talking mental, these girls are very strong, but when you are talking emotional, it's very hard. The emotional takes over the mental and she completely loses the way. It's a pity. I hope someone can take care of her because she's charismatic and is a really good player, but her emotional (state) and the intelligence is not that good.
- On Serena Williams:
Serena has the quality, and everything she needs mentally and physically to do it she has. But is she going take care of herself and prepare to go into action? If she does that, I think Serena has another two or three great years left.
- On Maria Sharapova:
She showed that she's able to dominate, but it's not a question of once in a while, it's a question of regularity and the only way she can do it is to concentrate 100 percent on her tennis. If Maria doesn't do that, she's never going to find the consistency throughout the year. In tennis, to be a champion, you have to choose to do everything you have to succeed in your sport. I think today Maria is unable to do so.
She has to concentrate, practice and live for her tennis — no endorsements, publicity and wasting time outside of the court with other things that distract you from No. 1. Once and for all, in front of the mirror, she has to ask herself, 'What do I want to achieve in my career?' I have all the possibilities to be No. 1 and stay there for a long time, but this is the price I have to pay.
Additional info: Carlos also commented on Justine Henin’s possible return to tennis. He said Justine retired because she needed to prove to herself that she can do more than just hit the ball and will only likely consider a comeback once she has taken a very necessary mental break.