home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 9, 2020

Dani Vallverdu

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Q. Welcome to Brisbane and welcome to the WTA.

Q. But can you just talk, first of all, just kind of how the partnership with Karolina kind of came about? And, yeah, start there.
DANI VALLVERDU: So we started talking in November at the end of the season. She was obviously looking for someone new and I was lucky enough that she contacted me. And we had some good conversations at the end of November, and then we agreed to do some weeks in December together. A bit of a relaxed trial in a way. I was very happy to help her during the off-season and see how things were. And it went fantastic we were both very happy to how the couple weeks practice went, and then yeah, we agreed to start working now at the beginning of the year. And to be honest, I couldn't be any happier to how things have been going, so looking forward to it.

Q. How have you -- how well did you guys know each other before she reached out?
DANI VALLVERDU: Not that much. Maybe she knew a little bit about me because of the time that I spent with Tomas in the past. Obviously spent a lot of time working with Ivan Lendl as well in the past, so I'm sure she had heard my name somewhere.

Q. Somewhere in Czech?
DANI VALLVERDU: Yeah, somewhere. So, yeah, so I mean, I was contacted by her manager some time in November, but we didn't really know each other that well. I don't think we had spoken to each other before. Obviously, I hadn't been around the WTA tour before, so it was difficult for us to know each other. Obviously I knew of her game and I mean, as a tennis fanatic I watch a lot of tennis and I've watched plenty of her matches, and so from that side of it I knew her quite well, but I didn't really know her as a person and that's what I'm happier with, I would say. I think she's a wonderful person and an extremely hard worker, and I think it's going to be an exciting partnership.

Q. What's your kind of read on her game and what she can necessarily improve on? I mean, she's been one of the most consistently good players on the tour. I know that she has goals in terms of the slams and things, but in terms of the -- yeah, where do you do you see the margins for improvement?
DANI VALLVERDU: I think the margins at that level they're not that big, as we all know, I've said this before. She has achieved big things before. And on the WTA tour compared to the ATP, once you've done that in the past, I think the hurdle to win the Grand Slams is not that big. She's beaten top players before, she's won big events before, she's been No. 1 in the world, so the question whether she can do it or not, I don't think it's there. I mean, I think she knows she can do it. The players that she's competing against, they know she can do it. But it's about making it click at the big moments in the slams. Obviously, it's a bit different, the format at the slams of having the day off. You need to know how to handle that. There's a couple extra matches to win the event. You need to know how to handle that. So it's, obviously, there's a couple hurdles to get over for her, but I don't think the question mark is that big whether she can do it or not. Obviously, there are things to improve on on her game, but I think the margins are tiny at that level and I think obviously, she's a very aggressive player, she has an amazing serve, but at the same time I think she's a great returner as well. I think she puts a lot of pressure on the other girls when she's on the return. On the return, I think she can take charge of matches pretty quickly, so it's about being able to use those strengths in the big moments in the big events.

Q. Was it surprising about Pliskova?
DANI VALLVERDU: Not really. Like I said, I have some Czech connections from the past and I wasn't that surprised, to be honest. I was a little bit surprised just because maybe I don't have any experience on the women's tour, maybe that's can be a bit of a question mark. But by the same time, I think luckily I'm quite flexible. I'm not, I've done my coaching over the last few years, obviously, I have the base of ideals that I have that I try to follow them as much as I can, but at the same time I think good coaching means listening, adjusting, trying to get the best out of players, and that's what I've been trying to do. So maybe that's why she feels that I can bring something to her game, because I'm not that stubborn about my ways. I'm stubborn on some things and obviously some things that need to be done that I feel that are key to being successful, but at the same time, I'm quite flexible when it comes to adjusting to a different player, which I think it's something that is very important to do as a coach.

But again, to answer your question, I was not that surprised, but on the one hand the only reason why it might be a little bit surprising is just because I didn't have any experience on this side of the game. But I'm very excited. I think it's a great challenge. I think it's going to make me grow as a coach and hopefully I can bring something to her game.

Q. Working with Pliskova and also with Olga, how are you sharing the coaching work?
DANI VALLVERDU: So, yeah, we're both her coaches. We're going to split the weeks as best as possible. I'm still working with Stan Wawrinka, so I will be doing both. And the weeks that I'm not with Karolina, then Olga will be there. But at the same time we'll do some weeks together with Olga. I've known Olga for a long time. I'm very close with one of her friends, so we have known each other for awhile and we have a great relationship, so I think that that also made sense. She had already agreed to working with Olga before I took the job. And then also her fitness trainer, I had worked with him when I was working with Tomas. So already the team that she had in place was appealing to me because I knew them all and I knew their work, so that also made my decision a lot easier. Even though I didn't know her, I knew her team quite well, so I think that's made the transition a lot easier because I didn't come into a new team that I didn't know anybody. I came into a team where I knew everybody personally and professionally. So I think that's made kind of the dynamics on the team a lot easier from the beginning.

Q. Do you already know which weeks you will be out on the coach?
DANI VALLVERDU: No. At the moment, obviously, here in Australia we'll both be here in Brisbane and at the Australian Open, and then as much as I can, to be honest. I love working with her. It's been great the last few weeks, and even here. I arrived last night. But even today, I mean, it was my first match with her and I very much enjoyed it before the match, after the match. But we haven't really specified exactly which weeks they are going to be. But luckily we also have Olga, which I think she's fantastic and I do trust her very much. I do like the way she works, so I think the combination is going to work quite well.

Q. Looking ahead to Melbourne, I'm curious what your take is on when you were mentioning the days off and the different formats, obviously, of the slams, for the women it's a little bit different because they're actually used to playing back-to-back-to-back best of three matches at tour events. Then you get to the slams and you have that day of rest. The guys, it's different because of the format and it's more recovery-based, I presume. So do you see it, having to kind of coach it differently than when you worked with the guys?
DANI VALLVERDU: Yeah, definitely. We have spoken about it already. Every player deals with it differently. I'm starting to understand how she deals with it. And obviously, it's something that I had in my mind before I started coaching her and I started talking to her, how to approach the slams. And that's something that we're going to have to both find the balance. I'll hopefully give some suggestions that might help. I'll be listening to her a lot about her feelings about what concerns her, what doesn't concern her, and then try and find the right balance that works for her.

Yeah, so for some of the girls it might be a bit of a challenge kind of understanding what to do, what not to do, maybe too much time to think before matches. But the way I see it, actually, I think I see it as a massive positive because I'm really into preparation. Not only preparing for the season, but preparation before matches. So hopefully we will find the right balance that we don't use it as something negative as, oh, I have too much time on my hands what am I going to do with it? I'm going to think too much about the match. But actually we'll use it in a way to say, okay, now we have 36 hours, 24 hours to prepare for the next match. So hopefully that mindset will help her.

Q. Is it different for you, from a coaching perspective, coming in to a tour where, that is a little bit more wide open, that is a -- doesn't have a big-4 guys and, obviously, you coached one of the big-4 guys, but kind of, yeah, maybe just a different mentality of the opportunity that's available every single week.
DANI VALLVERDU: Definitely. I think it's exciting and at the same time frightening in a way, because even a match like today, I think the format and I think the level of the girls is pretty even, I would say. I mean, for a moment there when the third set started, I was like, okay, this match I know that Karolina has the edge, but it can go either way. I think you have a lot of young girls playing good tennis now and the top you see it moving quite often through the year. So I see it as an opportunity and at the same time when you're at the top like Karolina is at the moment, it's finding the right way and the right mindset to try and stay as consistent as possible and understanding that because she's been there, done it before, she has that edge over anyone else. But at the same time, yeah, tournaments are wide open and that's exciting for her and for everyone else. I mean, even though some girls might see it, oh, maybe the girls at the top, they keep moving the rankings back and forth, but the girls at the top also have the chance to almost win every event, which is nice and exciting, I think.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297