Friday, February 6, 2015

Sam Sumyk Dumps Victoria Azarenka for Eugenie Bouchard

by Savannah

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With the above selfie, captioned "Let's start with a selfie Serious Sam" Eugenie Bouchard confirmed what Canadian journalist Stephanie Myles reported early Friday morning, that Sam Sumyk was now her coach.

Most fans waited for formal announcements from both Bouchard and Victoria Azarenka but it seems that's not what's going to happen. Sumyk and Azarenka have been together for about five years. Before Azarenka he coached Vera Zvonareva. His strength seems to be building confidence in a player so that they can maximize their game. Bouchard needs someone to break her "game" down to the studs, someone who will start from "let's see if you can hit the ball over the net" and help her to think on court instead of bashing the ball over the net with all the subtlety of someone wielding a sledgehammer.

The interesting part is that Sumyk's wife, Meilen Tu, the former player, is Victoria Azarenka's agent and works for Lagardere, the French PR firm. She also travelled with Victoria and her husband. Bouchard left Lagardere for IMG and Jill Smoller, Serena Williams long time agent, is now the lead person on her account. Did Sumyk get a deal for his wife? With no formal announcement that situation, as I type this, is unknown.

In the end tennis is a business and no matter how serious fans feel about Bouchard Sumyk made what he feels is the best deal for himself. Yeah, he looks like a deer stuck in headlights in that selfie, like a man who may only now be realizing what he's done, but he made his bed and now he's got to lie in it.

I have read unsourced reports about Smoller having had several coaches tryout with Bouchard including Larry Stefanki. As I said these reports are unsourced.

Azarenka is now looking for a new coach and United States sources are saying she will have one by next week. There's a lot of snark around about how Sumyk dumped the superior player but someone thinks he can make her a Slam winner otherwise he wouldn't be there.

Doesn't this remind you of the Li Na situation where she found out Thomas Hogstedt would be coaching Maria Sharapova either online or in the newspaper?

Anyway let's see how long this lasts. If someone who has known her for years said publicly that he didn't want to travel anymore rather than coach her (that's the tennis equivalent of a politician saying he's resigning to spend more time with his family by the way) I don't know if Sumyk is ready for the ego he's going to be dealing with. Then again why should I care? He's made his bed...


Karen Williams said...

To say that I am disappointed with the Sumyk/Bouchard partnership would be putting it mildly. My only hope is that the next time Azarenka meets her on a tennis court she gives her a whipping. When Sumyk worked with Vera & Vika he worked with 2 players who were willing to listen & who had talent in abundance. I am sure that Bouchard somewhere believes she has talent (see Gilles Simon for the definition of talent) but frankly until she is willing to listen to someone she will always be stuck in the land of Almost

Savannah said...

I was stunned and disappointed at the same time by this move.

I was also surprised that it took so long for any confirmation and that it came via a selfie with a rather stunned looking Sumyk shows me that no one wants to answer questions about how this came about.

Are there large sums of money involved? Probably.

What happens to his wife? Will she still work with Vika?

And more importantly will Bouchard listen to anything Sumyk has to say?
She thinks she's great now so that negates his approach to coaching and I don't think she's going to be willing to change her approach to her game since in her mind it's "perfect".

This is going to end in disaster for both of them. I have no sympathy for them either.

Karen Williams said...

Me neither. None whatsoever. Maybe Sumyk's wife got a call from IMG. This just looks and smells really bad

jo shum said...

It's a shocker. While Vika openly said she is not in this trend of coach changing and how could I imagine Sam doing this.

How is the reaction inside tennis circle?

And why do you said Bouchard doesn't listen to ppl?

jo shum said...

a shocker, considering vika openly said she is not in the trend of coach switching. so i assume genie approached sam during AO... err... so weird, if this was going to happen it's better done in off season. but, i don't like genie doing that and feel even worse about sam.

may not be a good idea to shake things up, i just don't like the way this is done.

Savannah said...

Hi Jo. Welcome.

Tennis "journalists" are an odd bunch.
The reporter who broke this story was out there by herself for an eternity in Tennis Twitter. simply reposted a link to her story. It wasn't until late in the day that you saw insiders like Matt Cronin commenting on the hiring and then in very neutral tones. There have been no official statements from Bouchard's camp or Azarenka's camp. I admit I haven't been on Twitter today so something could have been released by now.
I have no way of knowing how this was done and by releasing a selfie and not an official statement Bouchard is being allowed to avoid the questions even the bought and paid for journalists that cover tennis would ask. Does this smell? Yes it does. Azarenka has been silent about the change focusing on tweeting with Gael Monfils and Dustin Brown.

Why do I say Bouchard doesn't listen to coaching advice? Would any coach worth his or her salt let a player of his show up on court with a game like hers? Why did she think it was okay to show up at a major without a coach?

Sumyk has a reputation for dealing with temperamental players. It remains to be seen whether he's bit off more than he can chew with this player.