House of Payne: Wimbledon star Laura Robson and Chelsea chairman Roman Abramovich have something in common (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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House of Payne: Wimbledon star Laura Robson and Chelsea chairman Roman Abramovich have something in common
You may not think Laura Robson, the prodigiously talented teenage tennis player, has too much in common with Russian oligarch and Chelsea football chairman Roman Abramovich.
But there is one similarity. Both employ coaches who take on the job in the knowledge it may not prove a long-term arrangement.
While Chelsea’s managers are judged on the team’s results, if anything, the tennis player’s coach is an even more precarious position.
Paid directly by the player rather than a corporate body, any dip in their players’ form or a drop down the rankings leaves them in the firing line. Robson, in particular, has been as trigger-happy as any football chairman.
That was the case for Miles Maclagan this week, axed after just four months in the job. Robson may have reached a career-best fourth round at Wimbledon during that time, but she has recently dropped from a peak of 27 to 46 in the rankings and, after a wisdom tooth operation last month, had a string of disappointing results in Asia.
When Maclagan took the role it was always suggested it was on a trial period, an interim like Rafa Benitez if you like, but it’s not a position that ever seems to be terribly permanent.
Frenchman Martijn Bok has been her longest-standing coach, from 2007 to 2010 – a period that included her win at Junior Wimbledon in 2008.
Patrick Mouratoglou lasted just over a year, much longer than Croatian Zeljko Krajan, whose presence at least coincided with Robson making rapid gains up the rankings.
Roger Federer last week outlined he had a three-year plan with his coach Paul Annacone to get him back to world number one and win a major title. Both goals were achieved, and much more.
Peas in a pod: Rafa Benitez and Miles Maclagan appear to be coaches cut in the same "interim" role in recent times
But, at 32, age appears to be catching up with Federer this year so, having dropped to number seven in the world, the coach went.
Robson has a big decision to make about Maclagan’s replacement.
But whoever takes the job will be well aware it is anything but a job for life.
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