Wimbledon finalist Chris Lewis was so kind as to contribute to Women’s Tennis Blog sharing a few words about best New Zealand’s tennis player Marina Erakovic, whom he coached for a significant period of time. In the article he points out some characteristics of Marina’s game, and analyzes her prospects at the upcoming Sony Ericsson Open where she’s a wildcard.
Hi Marija, my name is Chris Lewis. I’m from New Zealand. I stumbled upon your post about Marina Erakovic, and, as Marina’s coach for nine years (from the age of 8 until she was 17), I thought your readers might be interested in knowing a little bit more about her.
After reaching the semifinal of Memphis less than a month ago, Marina is the first NZ woman to break into the top 100 for over twenty years. As a consequence, she has now become one of New Zealand’s most widely recognized athletes.
Having had a stellar junior career, where she reached number 5 in the ITF junior rankings, her major breakthrough came in the WTA event in Auckland in January when she beat Vera Zvonareva in front of a full house on center court in Marina’s home town.
With a first serve over 180kms an hour, a powerful and accurate forehand, a double handed backhand that is extremely reliable (together with a penetrating one-handed slice) and first class volleys, Marina’s game is well suited to medium to fast hard court surfaces. She plays particularly well in faster conditions; e.g., indoors and on grass.
Although I don’t coach her now (I moved from New Zealand to Southern California just over two years ago), Marina periodically drops in to see me when she’s playing in the US. In fact, I spent some time on court with her just last week so got a close up look at her game before she left for Miami a few days ago.
I see she plays Germany’s Martina Muller, a player ranked 30 spots ahead of Marina. Hopefully, Marina can continue this year’s momentum by winning her first round. If she does, she’ll meet Michaella Krajicek, with whom she won the 2004 US Open Junior Title.
Marija, thanks once again for your post on Marina. You do a great job of covering the women’s tour.
Additional info: Here you can read what tennis great Monica Seles said about Marina Erakovic.
Chris Lewis now coaches promising young players at the Woodbridge Tennis Club and he’s also the owner of Tennis-Experts.com.
Hey, great post on Marina. I was stoked to see that she broke into the top 100, it’s a big deal. It will be great if she can get into the main draws of the Grand Slams, especially Wimbledon. Interesting to see Chris Lewis says she plays well on grass.
Playing Martina Muller in Miami, it’s exciting. Muller’s one of my favourites, she’s cute, and crazy. But go Marina.
“But go Marina.”
I see your wishes brought Marina good luck. I was pleased to see that she won in 6-2 in the third today.
Woo, good for Marina.
Chris Lewis, very cool to hear from you. Your 1983 Wimbledon run was before my time, but it’s great to see that a New Zealander had that kind of success. I’m sure the country stood still.
Good to hear from you, too, Rowan. Because of the time difference between NZ & the UK, my matches at Wimbledon were televised in NZ during the early hours of the morning. The viewing support that I recieved (& every other type of support) was phenomenal.
Tennis, which was already very popular in NZ at the time, became even more popular.
Which is why it’s so great to see Marina doing well as she’s putting tennis in NZ back on the international map after many years of a sad decline in the sport there.
Fantastic to see Chris Lewis posting on this site about Marina. It is fantastic to see Marina doing so well and as Chris says she is receiving recognition in NZ, although I believe she deserves more! Even though it is a long way out she definitely deserves a nomination in the Halberg Awards (national NZ sports awards). I was actually at the match in Auckland (NZ) when Marina beat Vera Zvonereva and it was awesome – she played a fantastic match, kept her cool and her serve was a huge weapon. The crowd really got behind her – it was pretty exciting.
I also remember keenly watching Chris Lewis, and watched him live at a Davis Cup tie at the ASB Stadium in Kohimarama, Auckland! This must feel a few years ago now!
Fiona, I also watched a bit of the match with Zvonareva on the internet, and I remember the crowd was ecstatic. I also remember how Marina stayed confident and calm. It must have been a good feeling being there in person.
Rowan, great to hear from you. You know I was a huge fan of you blog, pity you don’t write it any more. I hope you’ll at least follow New Zealand’s tournaments again.
Chris, thank you for contributing to Women’s Tennis Blog. You did a fantastic job. I hope my readers will see more of you in the future.
Sorry I didn’t reply to your comments earlier. I agree, Marina should definitely be one of the finalists in the Halberg Awards. I’d be staggered if she isn’t.
I was on the judges panel of the Halberg Trust for a few years, during which time there wasn’t a single tennis player who was a finalist. And there hasn’t been one since. Hopefully Marina will change that. She sure deserves to!