No right or wrong on the road to the top

Every athlete’s path to the top is different. The greatest challenge facing the mentors in ABN AMRO’s Partner of the Future programme is to work with the talented young players to find the right path.

Richard Krajicek explains, ‘If you were to ask every player at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament how they structured their careers, you would probably get 32 different answers. That’s what is so fascinating about this mentorship. Every child is different, every talent is different. Dennis Istomin, for example, is coached by his mother, while Andy Murray’s coach is Amelie Mauresmo, one of the world’s best in women’s tennis. Some players stick with people their own age, while others prefer a more experienced coach. There’s no right or wrong, only what works for the individual concerned.’

Individual solutions for each young player

Esther Vergeer adds, ‘The kids practice extremely hard, on top of the countless hours they spend on their education and playing frequent tournaments in the Netherlands and abroad. It often takes some effort to coordinate everyone’s schedules. Tests and tournaments, catching up on schoolwork, individual training sessions and training sessions with the tennis association: there’s virtually no room left in their schedules. Their parents also devote countless hours to the programme. Every plan for each of the kids is custom-designed. Although we certainly plan to develop group activities, on the whole things are still done individually, simply because tennis is an individual sport.’

The long term matters

Everything revolves around the final result. Krajicek explains, ‘The goal is not only to produce Dutch champions in the programme next year, for example. The long term matters: this is about the future.’

Find out why Richard Krajicek and Esther Vergeer are helping the young players' parents.