The Swede is working with David Goffin for the second time and hopes to get his charge on track. Former Australian Open champion and World No.7 Thomas Johansson is ready to hit the ground running with David Goffin. The pair began working together about three weeks ago after the Belgian split with longtime coach Theirry Van Cleemput in Australian and Johannson and his former charge Filip Krajinovic parted ways.
The Swede has history with Goffin as he was a part of the Belgian’s team in an advisory role in 2016. As World No.20 Goffin looks to get his season on track in Miami ahead of a round of 16 clash with American Frances Tiafoe, Johansson, who know is the head coach, knows the pair will have their work cut out for them with all the young guns in the game rising and becoming a part of the conversation.
“I think this time is more challenging because I think the depth in tennis now is amazing, Johansson said. “Now is the first time ever that the youngsters are coming up and actually challenging the big guns. The mental part of the game in today’s tennis is that the youngsters are coming up. As you get older you are more aware of the risks, you are more aware of the dangers on the court. These youngsters, they are coming out firing left and right.”
Goffin has had his share of injuries over the years, including a badly sprained ankle, an eyed injury and some arm problems, but he’s in better health now and ready to make improvements.
“He has been very unlucky with injuries,” Johansson said. “The good thing now is that he’s healthy, he’s hungry, he wants to work hard. He knows what he’s capable of. Now he just needs a couple of months with no injuries and hopefully some good results.”
Johansson wants his charge to think aggressively and to beat his opponents to the punch.
“With David we are trying to make him play a more offensive game, to not be afraid to come into the net, to take a little bit more risk sometimes, because if you go up sometimes against Novak, Rafa or even a guy like Tsitsipas, you have to try to play smart against them. It’s very tough to beat them from the baseline, so when the opportunity comes you have to strike.”
But he also knows that Goffin’s break and butter is quickness, defense and counterpunching. Not blessed with great size or power, Goffin relies on an ability to use the whole court and an ability to use his speed and finesse to create problems for his opponents.
“David is not a player that is basing his game on power. His game is based on being quick on the court, changing directions really fast. And the same with his serve, he doesn’t have a serve like [bigger players] but he serves tactically very good,” he said. “You have to be smart on the court and you have to know what kind of battles you have to fight against them, and sometimes it’s not about the power it’s more about changing directions really fast or cutting corners on the court—that’s what David is one of the best guys in the world at.”
Despite a 4-6 start to 2019, both Johansson and Goffin believe that a big win can change the complexion of a season. Perhaps that time is coming here in Miami.
“We try to work on a couple of things that I think is a key in his game. Maybe he hasn’t had the start of the year that he would have liked, but we try to work smart, we try to work on a couple of things. … a big win and things can change.”