Foot Fault!

Calling all the lines of professional tennis

Ricardo Sanchez and Jelena Jankovic’s Personality Make Thunderous Returns in Cincinnati

Remember him? That’s Ricardo Sanchez, the narcissitic coach who has built up quite a notorious reputation in his time around the WTA tour. His nadir came during 2008 Stuttgart when both his charge Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams produced a classic encounter, running each other from side to side before collapsing after practically every point. Even though both players took a long time to catch their breath between points, Sanchez decided to whip out a stopwatch whenever Venus served and began to heckle both her and the umpire while parading the stopwatch for the camera to see. He has lived in infamy ever since.

However, for all of his personality defects, he’s also a great coach and the driving force behind Jelena Jankovic’s rise to the number one ranking in 2008. Perhaps due to the fact that he is one of the few people on earth more self-absorbed that Jankovic herself (I still love you, JJ!), he is probably the only coach who has really been able to keep Jankovic disciplined without compromising her free-spirited personality - both of which are massively important to her on-court results. And hiring such a tough task-master is possibly an indication that Jankovic is finally ready to care about her tennis again.

Evidently, Sanchez’s re-appointment is already reaping some rewards as not only did Jelena dispatch Iveta Benesova with the loss of only three games yesterday, but she also displayed the vintage JJ that we have come to both love and miss in her presser afterwards, recounting her eventful trip to the Cincinnati courts before her match as only Jelena can.

So I open you back with open arms, Rikkie. I may have issues with you - major issues - but let’s hope that you can continue to bring back the JJ we know and love.

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