A budding friendship and rivalry between coaches from Swiatek and Sakkari
By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday, June 8th, 2021
Trainers, friends – and rivals. Tom Hill, Trainer of Maria Sakkari, and Piotr Sierzputowski, Iga Swiatek's trainers, have developed an affinity for one another over the past few years.
"Piotr is one of my closest friends on the tour," Hill said at a press conference today. “He texted me last night at 2am: 'This is going to be a fun game'. I said yes'."
Sierzputowski says when he started training on tour, he expected the coaches to be rude with someone else. But he's now learned that coaches can be great conversationalists even if they don't divulge competition secrets.
"When I came here, I'm actually fresh on the tour compared to other coaches. There were rumors that nobody is talking to anyone," he said. "Everyone is tricky, take care because everyone will try to make your life harder. It was just the opposite."
Hill said he is more than impressed with Swiatek's game and he knows Sakkari will have his hands full with the Pole in Wednesday's quarter-finals.
"Iga, she's a fantastic player, honestly," he said. “It's phenomenal. On sand, especially where it's slower, she has time to use her forehand, great form. Very physical, very fit player. Also plays very strategically. So it will definitely be a challenge. "
Maria Sakkari's coach Tom Hill (26) and Iga Swiatek's coach Piotr Sierzputowski (28) are two of the youngest coaches on the WTA tour.
"Piotr is one of my closest friends on the tour. He texted me at 2am last night, it's going to be a fun match. I was like, Yeah." # RG21 pic.twitter.com/4rD1Ht0q8R
– WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) June 8, 2021
Hill says Sakkari, who is in her first Grand Slam quarterfinals on her 21st appearance on a major, just needs to relax and play without losing.
“I just believe Maria can play her game, play loose, play free,” he said. “Maria has nothing to lose and I tell her that every day. She has nothing to lose. Against Kenin in the last game, Kenin was a finalist last year. Had nothing to lose. Iga is the defending champion. She's got the pressure. She is the one who is expected to win, who is expected to reach the final, who is expected to win the tournament.
“I think Maria can win. I know she can win. Doesn't mean she'll win. I just want Maria to enjoy playing on Chatrier, just show what she's really good at and we'll see what happens. "
Regardless of the result, we can look forward to many more encounters between these two talents and their coaches in the future.