It was a few minutes after 5 p.m. And, despite the five-hour difference with Hamburg, Kevin Konfederak answered the call from Ole. He arrived in the German port city to accompany Francisco Cerundolo (30º), post title at the ATP 250 in Bastad and victory in the first round of the ATP 500. From there He began to chat with this medium for almost 20 minutes to talk about how his link with the second Argentine racket in the ranking arosehis tastes outside of tennis, his fanatic side of reading and how he takes advantage of talks by soccer coaches like Marcelo Bielsa either Pep Guardiola and then try to lower them day by day.
Konfederak valued Cerúndolo’s participation on grass. (IG/kevinkonfederak)
-One analyzed the Bastad draw before the tournament began and saw names like Casper Ruud (5th), Andrey Rublev (8th) and Pablo Carreño Busta (23rd). Did you expect last week to be Fran’s title week?
-We came from a very good grass tour, in which he played, trained and competed at a very high level. At Queen’s, his first tournament on the surface, he played like he was brick dust. He moved very naturally. Later in Eastbourne he played a great game against Tommy Paul in what was two hours of high-flying tennis and closed against Rafael Nadal In the cathedral, which ended with pleasure little by little because we couldn’t get to that fifth set and see what would happen. Because beyond the fact that it is Nadal, I think that Fran would have been encouraged to go for everything.
-Beyond being the surface of all life, was it difficult to adapt to dust again?
-As soon as Wimbledon was over, we went to train in Munich for a week in the city. Fran killed herself training as she has done since we started working together. She adapted to the powder very quickly, we adjusted a few things and we arrived in Bastad, where the conditions are those that he likes with slow courts. Also, from the day we entered the club and hit the ball he felt comfortable and he noticed that he could accelerate the ball to do a lot of damage. Later, in the first round there could have been a little bit of nerves and tension, but he pulled it off well and Starting with the match with Ruud, he felt comfortable from the start and saw that he was at the level and that he had everything to get past him. There he finished convincing himself that he was there to make noise.
How did the relationship between the two come about?
-We met in a tournament at the end of last year: I was accompanying another player and we approached to chat and the dialogue occurred naturally. At that time, he asked me if I could think of someone to recommend him because he was without a coach. He also told me that he had thought of me, but he knew that I was doing the paperwork to go to the United States.. Anyway, we stayed in touch and since in January my trip to the United States had been delayed, we got back together, We did a test in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, a tournament that he won and, since then, I told him that I would put on his shirt and that I would get on this train whose final destination we still do not know.
Kevin Konfederak, with Carabelli (left) and Cerúndolo (right), in the first tournament with his player. (IG/francerundolo)
Konfederak’s idea was to settle for a time in the United States to work as an assistant coach at a university, a place he knows more than well since he graduated in that country as Bachelor of Marketing. Former No. 1 in the minor categories (Under 14 and 16) in Argentina, came to be ranked 17th in the Junior ranking and even reached 485th in the professional ranking, after having lifted his first future title. But his body told her enough. It wasn’t what he wanted. Despite the fact that many agreed that the tennis player trained in Hebraica had everything to be one of the Argentines with the best future, He put an end to his career and at the age of 23 he undertook this path towards studies, where he changed his racket for books.
Precisely, reading is one of his passions outside of his job as a coach. Beyond the daily work routines, Konfederak tries to take time to read. And to continue contributing knowledge to his curiosity. “I consider that I read a lot and get little things from different coaches, characters, series, movies, from any area that I think can serve as an example and that can later be transferred in a talk or in a dialogue. When I feel that it can resonate in the moment and I use it”, explained the former coach of Guido Pella and Guido Andreozzi.
Cerúndolo won his first title in Bastad. Photo Johan Lilja/Twitter @NordeaOpen
And one of the phrases he uses the most with his work team is “Brick by brick” (brick by brick). Why? The protagonist himself told it. “This is how a biography of Will Smith begins, in which it is said that the father made him and his brother build a wall from a very young age. Then, he recounts how he would start laying the bricks one by one and how many times they would get tired and angry. However, the father told them to simply focus on laying one brick at a time, “explained Kevin, who usually watches conferences and talks by Guardiola, Bielsa and Diego Simeone to continue nurturing his knowledge.
-Returning a bit to tennis, when do you think Fran made the famous click to finish the jump?
-He is breaking barriers very fast. Fran has both a tennis level and a physical level, so when her head and his order accompany him, his tennis shoes start to fly. After the tour of South America, in which he felt comfortable and played well, I saw him train in Buenos Aires before traveling to the United States and with his team we said “at any moment shake it up” and just three weeks later he arrived in Miami with the semifinals.
Cerúndolo was consecrated in Sweden last week. Photo Johan Lilja/ @NordeaOpen
KONFEDERAK’S ANALYSIS OF THE CERUNDOLO GAME
“It is very clear he has one more change on the right, I don’t know how many have that speed that he can find. Without a doubt, that is a terrible weapon, because at any moment it can stop you. In addition, he improved his backhand and his mobility a lot, and not only does he shake you with his forehand, but it is also difficult for his rivals to win the points because he is strong from both sides, runs the drops well and improved the closings forward. I think that every day he adds little things to his game and he is becoming a more complete player, who on top of that has that driving weapon that destabilizes in that way. I reiterate he has that plus, but he will be a very complete player, so I wouldn’t pigeonhole him into a big right or anything particular,” he described.