Simone Vagnozzi exclusive: “Proud of what I have done in these years, I am now ready to start a new adventure”

Simone Vagnozzi - Foto Sportface

Simone Vagnozzi is one of the most prominent coaches in the Italian tennis scene and has contributed decisively to the total growth of the tennis movement in Italy. His collaborations, so far, have highlighted a technician of the highest caliber and have led some players to overcome themselves on the most important fields in the world. From 2016 to 2019, he was at the head of Marco Cecchinato, who, in those years, reached the semi-finals of Roland Garros (by defeating Novak Djokovic) and the sixteenth position of the world ranking, while, in the last three years, has successfully coached Stefano Travaglia, who reached the final in an ATP 250 on hard court and a spot among the top 60 players in the world. We had the great opportunity to ask him some questions about his past, present, and future and the coach from Ascoli was looking forward to starting a new adventure.

The speech started from the analysis of what is happening to his new academy, founded to give Marche a center able to create professional tennis players. “The academy is doing very well and I am particularly pleased with how it is developing. Now I’m not following any professional, so I can spend more time on it. I am happy with the staff that I have available because they are people who want to learn and grow. We have so many young people who want to make a certain kind of journey. I like the idea of building, starting from the basics and organizing a job that will bear fruit in the future. It’s very satisfying to be able to help a boy grow up. At 16 I had to leave home to go from Sartori to Caldaro: in the Marches, in fact, it was difficult to find a situation that would allow me to get to professionalism. In our region, we have always had talents that have been forced to leave to aim higher. Kids from outside are coming to the academy now, and that means we’re doing well. Trying to create something in the area has always been my wish“.

The academy, however, did not miss the desire to return to Marche to live the Tour daily. I’m ready to start again after the end of the collaboration with Stefano. I took a few months to recharge, given the covid situation. It’s never nice to end a working relationship during the season, but now I want to get back involved in an important project. With a young boy you must build in a long-term perspective and the immediate result counts relatively, because we focus more on the improvement steps for the future. What I miss, however, is the tension of having to bring my student to the result, that daily adrenaline that you live in the Tour during the important tournaments and prestigious matches. When you train a professional player, the result is the most important part. There, too, we need to think about technical, tactical, and physical growth, but this is a completely different matter. Having said that, I’m not in a hurry, and I want to wait for the right project, since I would like to train a guy with high ambitions. Female circuit? I do not preclude anything, even if it inspires me more than the male one: I have much more experience and I feel more ready”.

For the results achieved in his previous collaborations with Marco Cecchinato and Stefano Travaglia, Simone Vagnozzi could be called the Midas King of coaches: everything that touches, becomes gold. “They were two different experiences at different times in my life. With Marco it was my first experience, we did a great job and I am proud of what we have achieved together. I learned a lot too. With Stefano, however, it was more the confirmation of what good I had built with Marco and I started from a different past with greater security inside me. Mistakes? I have a clear conscience: I have made them, but they have always been dictated by the desire to improve them and in good faith. I regret nothing: everything I have tried to do has always been oriented to their improvement. My goal has always been to become a better coach every day and this passes by the results of the guys. In any case, when I started working with Stefano, I did a work diametrically opposite to the one done with Marco, also because, at the character and technical level, they are two different players. It was an important test that gives me the confidence to be able to do well with the next player to come. The skill of a coach is to be able to manage various types of players and not only those of a certain category. My two landmarks are Riccardo Piatti and José Perlas. I don’t judge them on the technical side because I can’t afford it, but under their guidance, 90% of those with whom they have worked have reached the best ranking. I would like in the future to approach them as results and experiences. The challenge as a coach, according to my vision, is just this: train a tennis player, bringing him up and getting even more important results“.

As for the next collaboration, Vagnozzi outlined the sketch of the perfect new customer: I would like to have in my hands a guy with a potential that is not yet fully expressed, maybe around 21-22 years, with which to build through my ideas to achieve good results. Foreign player to raise the bar? It would not matter. With an Italian player it would be easier for a matter of communication. I speak good English, but by expressing myself in Italian, I think I can transfer much more my feelings of the moment. It would still be a challenge, an extra stimulus to embellish the curriculum: currently, there are many that are climbing and are very interesting. Alcaraz, of all foreign players, is what drives me crazy the most. Every time I see him, he gets so much better and every tournament he does puts something new in his luggage. For example, at the beginning of the year it served almost exclusively in kick, while now it varies much more. He has an experienced and safe guide, which makes a difference and affects so much. For his age, he is very mature in the field, so his future will be very interesting”.

Finally, the Ascoli coach has released beautiful words for Paolo Lorenzi, retired from tennis played at the end of his adventure at the US Open: “Lorenzi? I wrote him a private message because I preferred it this way. He was an important figure for many Italians. With stubbornness, desire, intensity has reached goals that almost no one expected from him. He gave so much energy to others and want to try. Paolo has contributed to the growth of the movement in an important way and has always given a positive image, of a serious boy and a great professional. He made a lot of people realize that hard work can get you to the top. Coach? Yes, I would see it well. He knows how to train to get to the top. I saw that he is also very good in the journalistic part, so I think he has more avenues. After so many years in the Tour it is never easy to get back on track right away. I am convinced that, any job will succeed”.