During the twilight of last year, Lucas Pouille hired Amélie Mauresmo to help him revive his career. Less than two months later, he reached the semifinals of the Australian Open eventually falling to Novak Djokovic. It was a true honeymoon.
At the age of 24, the Frenchman (No. 28) just had the best Grand Slam performance of his career; ironically, the timing of it was the least expected of all. When the Grande-Synthe born turned to Mauresmo, the day after France lost the Davis Cup final to Croatia, Pouille was concluding a rough 2018, to say the least. “Changing coaches was a firm decision, not that Manu (Emmanuel Planque, his former coach) was doing a bad job, on the contrary, he could not have done any better.”
This was a drastic change. To understand Lucas Pouille, we must return to the end of last year. After the Davis Cup Final, the Frenchman concluded a disappointing year that saw him go from No. 10 to No. 31 in the world rankings. However, the damage was much deeper. He confessed: “I lost the joy of being on the court, of training hard… It was the first time something like that happened to me, I took the time to think about my career, what I wanted to do.”
Then he made the difficult decision to separate from his legendary coach, Emmanuel Planque, to hire Amélie Mauresmo. “I had the feeling that he had a great desire to put all the negativity to the side in order to resume his combeback after the difficult period,” Mauresmo told L’Equipe. “I do not believe in magic tricks or anything like that, or that a difference can be made in a Grand Slam because your name is so and so, it is not realistic,” the Frenchwoman continued.
From the very beginning, Pouille and Mauresmo did a great job. However, despite the fact that they had a strong preseason, the start was difficult. In the first couple of weeks of January, the Frenchman did not win a single match during the Hopman Cup; then, he was eliminated in the first round of the Sydney International to Russian Andrey Rublev.
Nonetheless, Pouille appreciated the presence of Mauresmo by his side. “I was relieved to see that for Amélie, it did not matter, that nothing changed, that she still had confidence in me and that she was going to continue,” he said. “We immediately returned to work, it was important to regain confidence.”
Amélie Mauresmo did not have it in mind to revolutionize the game of her new student, but instead, she lists three projects that are a priority: serve, return (they train between 30 to 40 minutes on this) and precision. Yet, more than tennis, the former coach of Andy Murray (2014 to 2016) has strengthened the overall mentality of Lucas Pouille.
Mauresmo brings you “a lot of confidence”. The change was noticeable: within a month and a half of work, the Frenchman staged a great story. “She gives me a lot of confidence in my game, my mood and my personality. I am now very motivated. Amélie is always focused on each ball and, at the same time, the atmosphere is relaxed. We laugh a lot – there is a good balance. She is a great champion and coach” says Pouille.
“Lucas has found his routine, there is nothing extraordinary,” Mauresmo says modestly, “We, the coaches, are always in preparation mode by watching videos, analyzing the opponent and working on everything we want to relay to the player, and so on. You constantly have to think about the next day and the next opportunities “.
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