The trials and tribulations of American tennis have been well documented. If it wasn’t for the Williams’ Sisters, there wouldn’t be a major title won by the red, white and blue since Andy Roddick’s 2003 win at the U.S. Open.
Former Division I tennis coach and player at Eastern Kentucky University , Frederico Goncalves, says there is a reason for that and he has a plan and a “method” to bring back American tennis. It’s the “Defensive Fighting Method” and he teaches and more as he oversees the tennis program at Crandon Park Tennis Center, Home of the Miami Open.
As Goncalves describes it, his method is a hybrid of clay and hard court tennis and it works.
“As Director of Tennis at Crandon Park Tennis Center, where I have been coaching high level junior, college, and professional level players for the past two years, I have developed and coached a unique method that blends the best of clay court and hard court play. I have coined this style as the “Defensive Fighting Method.”
The “Method” developed out of Goncalves playing on clay courts, but he was smart enough to see the sport of tennis was changing and the speed of the ball was affecting the sport.
“Because the speed of the game is getting faster (due to technology in the racquets and overall increased athleticism of professional athletes), a more aggressive style of play is needed,” explains Goncalves, who was a top junior player in Portugal. “My Defensive Fighting style of play is a blend of hard court power playing with clay court endurance and stamina, both mentally and physically. I created this after years of analyzing play on the tour, training on clay as a junior player and hard courts as a college player, and noticing the nuanced evolution of the top players in the world.”
Goncalves has witnessed that tennis is just as much a mental sport as a physical sport, and his method feed off that observations.
“An integral component to my Defensive Fighting method is staying focused and disciplined for long periods of time. My unique style of training as a junior with Portugal’s Davis Cup Coach Jose Vilela in 1998-2003, has also helped me develop this in a Defensive Fighting player. At the beginning of every practice, we were partnered up and expected to have a 100-ball rally. It didn’t matter how long it took us to get there, the task needed to be completed before moving on with the practice. This type of practice not only trains players physically, but mentally as well. I coach my players that focus is a muscle, and that you must constantly stay engaged in the task at hand in order to improve focus.”
Staying engaged is the key for elite players as they develop and another key is not only getting kids in the sport of tennis, but keeping kids in the sport of tennis.
“Players today need both powerful play with consistency, endurance, stamina, and mental toughness,” adds Goncalves.
Goncalves is tireless in his efforts as he shaped the young tennis players at Crandon Park.
“My Junior Programs such as Summer Camp and High Performance Training, held at Crandon Park, draws juniors from all over the world. These juniors directly benefit from having professional players practicing in my facility and using my methodology. I train all of my junior players through the Defensive Fighting method.”
The Crandon Park Tennis Center is the home of the Miami Masters.