from Tennis Week
by Richard Pagliaro
There's a tennis revolution taking place in Scottsdale that aims to alter traditional tennis training with a comprehensive approach to player development.
The Scottsdale-based International Tennis USA hosts the adidas player development program, a comprehensive tennis training facility offering programs designed to develop world class players.
"This is going to change the game of tennis," ITUSA executive director Rafael Font de Mora said. "It is a completely new and refreshing attitude toward training and developing tennis players. We stress team work and a positive philosophy in a personalized approach to bring out the best in each player."
Font de Mora, who may be best known to tennis fans as the long-time coach of Meghann Shaughnessy, created the ITUSA and the adidas player development program in an effort to integrate all aspects of player development — technique, tactical training, biomechanics, footwork, fitness, nutrition, mental toughness, management and media training — into one training facility.
"We give players the whole package, the whole solution, under the same umbrella," Font de Mora told Tennis Week.com in an interview from Zurich. "We have everybody on the staff working with players taking the same approach and and focusing on the same goal so that really helps players progress to fully achieve their potential."
The program has ambitious aims — in addition to developing elite players, Font de Mora created the adidas player development program with the goal of changing the shape of the sport. In that sense, it is one of the few tennis training centers that actually strives to foster fan support of tennis.
Font de Mora has company. In addition to Shaughnessy, who he coached since her days as a junior player competing in Arizona-area events to her rise to a world-ranking of No. 11, Font de Mora will be joined by a pair of former No. 1 players — Stefan Edberg and Martina Hingis — who will work with rising pros Vera Zvonareva and Dinara Safina at the adidas player development camp, which will be staged at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort in the first week of December. At the conclusion of the player development week, Edberg will stay in Scottsdale to host the Stefan Edberg Fantasy Camp, December 5-7th. The fantasy camp offers two full days on court with Edberg, Shaughnessy and the internationally renowned ITUSA professional staff. This fantasy-filled weekend includes clinics, exhibitions and one on one interaction with the world’s best, along with a welcome reception breakfast each morning and a Saturday evening dinner.
"Bringing the Stefan Edbergs and Martina Hingis' of the world to aspiring players is what you need to do to show players the correct ways to train and practice," Font de Mora said. "It's a great asset for the kids to have role models like these champions to learn from. It's a very unique concept and we also have (Edberg's former coach) Tony Pickard coming. When I go to some tournaments and see the crowds decrease and the fan interest in tennis getting worse, I feel a responsibility to do something that is going to help make the sport better. And I really believe the concept we've created with the adidas player development program can help save tennis."
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