2012 CitiOpen Interview: Irina Falconi and Coach Jeff Wilson
Steve Fogleman, TennisEastCoast.com
Jeff Wilson is an accomplished coach who has done a lot for former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket and Tennis East Coast favorite Irina Falconi. Less than a week ago, he took veteran South African player Chanelle Scheepers under his wing as well.
The most striking part of the interview is how much Irina has changed over the last year. Though she may sound ebulliently youthful on her WTA blog, The Eyes of Irina, she has grown so much since last summer at the Inaugural CitiOpen at College Park. The eyes of the world were on her at the US Open and she’s become an all-around veteran at managing media. Here’s Jeff and Irina on focus, training and Scheepers.
It seems like you learn so much in the first two sets with your new doubles partner that by the time you get to the superbreaker, it’s already over.
My partner and I definitely come out aggressive and know what our intention is. We know our game plan in the third set. We like to play under pressure a little bit, when it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty.
What about that crazy scoreline against Melanie Oudin where you two got bageled in the first set, then went on to win 10-1 in the breaker?
Honestly, I think they came out firing and we weren’t full gear and ready to go just yet. Once we got Jeff out there, he told us the game plan. It was just a matter of executing.
Have you learned a thing or two from your veteran partner Scheepers?
Very much so. Not only on the court but off the court, what she does with her food, fitness and stretching, she’s taught me all that.
Jeff, you’ve been coaching Chanelle Scheepers for how long now?
(checks watch) Since Sunday. Five days now.
What’s your summer itinerary, Irina?
I’m going to Montreal, hopefully take a week off, then Dallas and the US Open.
What changes have you made since I last saw you in Charleston, Coach?
Irina’s been on the road straight since mid-April. She was in Europe for 11 weeks with out a break, so we haven’t had much time to invest. We’re looking for some pockets in the schedule so we can rest her body. It will be a good opportunity to give her body a break. She’s extremely healthy because of the way she takes care of her body. The way she stretches, the way she prepares, the way she eats. We haven’t been able to invest in changes per se, other than the usual clay court to grass, and grass to hard court mentality. We’re looking forward to giving her a bit of a breather from having to wake up and doing all that.
Irina, All that blogging. How do you do it?
On my Ipad…
Your blogging has proved that you have a future in communications. Do you see yourself as a commentator some day?
For sure. I could definitely do that.
I’ve definitely experienced the heat. We”re staying at an absolutely great hotel. It’s difficult with the time being so late with the matches, but I’ve loved it so far.
How’d you like that rooftop bar at the old Hotel Washington downtown?
It was awesome.
Isn’t the summer heat just as bad in Washington as it is in Atlanta?
JW: Hotlanta is called Hotlanta for a reason.