Dirk Hordorff

Dirk Hordorff (GER) is a very active person. Dirk is not only a passionate professional tennis coach and manager, but also a lecturer in sever universities in Europe. He has worked with top players such as Janko Tipsarevic, Rainer Schuettler, Yen-Hsun Lu, Ricardas Berankis, Guido Pella and others. Dirk is currently a Vice President of German Tennis Federation, Vice President of Hessen Tennis Federation, but also a businessman and CEO in sports management and real estate companies which he created. There is no doubt tennis is a passion for him and we know he is someone that cares about the sport and his players.

Dirk, since you are not 30 anymore, how difficult can constant relocating on tour be, how do you still handle traveling so much?

DH: When I was under 30 I was not travelling on the tour, worked in my companies. I started to travel in later age, and I don’t have a problems with it. It all depends on how you arrange your travel schedule.

When you start working with a new player, what is your approach when it comes to the first time personal / performance evaluation? Doesn’t matter if it’s on the paper, in your computer, or in your head. Which are the things you want to test, observe and find out about the player before you start with corrections and improvements? Family support and chemistry, relationships, or mental, physical attributes, tactics, technique…?

DH: If you start with a new player you should be aware whether you are able to help him or not. You have to also make sure that you both go for the same goals. I’m not the person who likes to find out over internet, computer, or videos about a player. After I make my mind how we should proceed, I like to have a personal talk with the player. You need to have the picture in your mind how the player should play after you worked with him and then see, whether the player and you agree on this. For sure all points you mentioned are important.

Which mental, physical, technical, tactical and social environmental attributes, skills and abilities do you recognize as the most important? Please choose in order.

DH: Every person is different and every player has different talents and possibilities. There is no system which works for everybody. If I would find the system which works for everybody I write a book and stop coaching. It is important to understand and find the way how to proceed and improve for each player.

Maybe you never thought of it this way, but everybody does it. Naturally or with certain established system. Do you have a specific methods in order to find out who you are working with?

DH: My good feeling at the end and the believing whether I am able to reach the goals. Luckily I was successful with a lot of players, but the way it worked was never the same. For me it’s important to see that the person is honest and has a good character. This is more important for me then the final ranking we reach. I want to enjoy every day of my life and this is not possible without a good character.

Ok, so we have some knowledge and notes about the player. What do you think about regular monitoring and whole game evaluation/analysis? Is it needed and how often?

DH: You need to evaluate your work every day. You need to see whether you are on the right track, or you need to make some adjustments. You need to learn every day together and try to improve the player and yourself.

Do you as a coach need or find the after match / after season statistics useful and how?

DH: For sure statistics are a big help when analyzing the performance. But statistics shows you only one part of the picture, the other part is in your head. I believe more in what I see and what I have in my mind instead of only following the numbers. How does a statistic help you for example with the first serve, if the player chooses to serve in the wrong directions? There are so many more important things which you should be aware of, that statistics. Numbers are just one part of the story.

Do those statistics tell you who the player is, or do they only show you what he did in the match or season in numbers? Is player a number? What is your opinion?

DH: A player is not a number and as I said, statistics are only one part, but not the main part. Stats are sure helpful to use when analyzing match or season. This makes the game so exiting, so many aspects and points of preparation are influential in order to find ways to improve. And this brings the coach new challenges every day. That’s why tennis is for me the most exiting sport.