Credentialled coach Robert Lansdorp has been profiled in an illuminating piece on Tennis Channel.
The Indonesian-born Dutch coach has worked with four players – Tracy Austin, Pete Sampras, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova – who won multiple Grand Slam titles and rose to world No.1.
Lansdorp, notable for his work in improving players’ groundstrokes, has an unforgiving, demanding coaching style based around repetitious drilling to develop confident, aggressive, flat shots, as well as building focus and concentration.
His gruff, blunt style comes through in the piece, with the 79-year-old hurling insults at his young prodigies.
“That was such a wimpy ball,” he tells one. “You screw around and I’ll throw you in the pool.”
“I don’t know why I said ‘right’, because it was bad,” he says to another.
And this pearler, after one of his students plays a solid overhead: “Oh, you’re not as dumb as you look.”
Davenport, whose son is currently receiving lessons from Lansdorp, believes that although his methods are “unorthodox”, they are extremely effective.
“Robert is very loud. You immediately feel his presence as soon as you walk on his court,” she says.
“Robert is definitely not for everyone,” adds Austin.
Says the man himself: “I love to see something grow. I get that pleasure of taking a kid and making the kid better.”