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Coach Rendy Lu’s visit to Hong Kong


Coach Rendy Lu’s visit to Hong Kong

Taiwanese legend and former ATP No. 33, Rendy Lu, was recently in town on a whirlwind 4-day tour to share his knowledge of the game and shed some insights from his vantage point as a former professional player and as a current coach.  He oversaw NTS training at four different venues and held a number of sharing sessions with parents, in addition to coaches from HKCTA and private academies.

These Speaker Series/Sharing Sessions are an ongoing effort to bring in international expertise whose coaching philosophy and benchmark of excellence can help HKCTA target certain KPIs that will raise the standard and quality of the Association’s training programmes. This is only the first of a number of engagements with international experts the HKCTA has in store, with fields of interests including sports psychology, physical training, and player development, etc, set to arrive in the coming months.

In a twenty-year career spanning from 2001-2021, he is the all-time record holder with 29 singles titles on the ATP Challenger Tour and holds the distinction of being the only player to have competed in 5 Olympic Games in the men’s singles event. Currently, Rendy is working with Chinese No. 1, Zhang Zhizhen (ATP No. 46), while also running his own tennis academy in Taiwan.

See: Rendy’s player profile

Some of the topics Rendy covered are as follows:

Path of Rendy’s junior career
Difference between junior and professional tennis
Reason why some players were able to reach their career-high rankings since joining his academy
“Secret” to Triple-Z’s rise on the ATP Tour
How to maintain intensity and quality on court
How Rendy manages coaching with Triple-Z and his academy
How parents should behave and support their kids
Difference between Hong Kong and Taiwanese juniors
Training blocks and topics before and during tournaments, e.g. Australian Open

During the parents workshop/sharing session at the Olympic House auditorium, Rendy recounted how his parents at first were not entirely supportive of him playing tennis, worrying that his academics will take a nosedive. At one point, he protested by going on a hunger strike (dinner only!). Lucky for him, his conviction won his parents over and they gave him a conditional offer – He must keep his grades up at school at all times. So, once he started, his parents never interfered with his tennis, leaving the technical aspects of the game to the professionals. For him, everybody has a key role to play in a player’s development, both on and off the court, be it the parents, the player, the trainer, or the coach, etc. Communication, therefore, is important for him to maintain a functional relationship within the group.

In a workshop for HKCTA coaches, Rendy shared his experiences from the early days of his career when he first went to Europe in the summer of 1999 where he struggled and lost in the opening round of the first four tournaments in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Czech Republic. He then caught on the tail-end of the American Swing but ended up again in first round exits at the US Open and Nokia Sugar Bowl. However, he managed to fight through some tough challenges and regrouped to capture the ITF Grade 2 Hong Kong Open Junior Championships towards the end of the year, the biggest title at that point of his career. He went on to post a stellar 2000 season and by February 2001, he peaked at No. 3 in the world.

In terms of coaching style, he said he prefers to give the players space to express themselves first, e.g. after a loss, before he sits down to talk to them individually. He pays attention to how the youngsters react and behave, and tries to see things from their perspective. He also maintains that the level of intensity during practice is paramount because good, productive training is usually dependent upon the player’s attitude towards it. How one trains is often equally, if not more, important than whom one trains with. His philosophy is be passionate at what you do, persevere with a positive attitude, and don’t be afraid to try!

Rendy was penning this departing message to all the players, parents, and coaches in Hong Kong while he was on his way to Indian Wells. “I am honored to be invited by HKCTA to come to Hong Kong,” he reflected. “During this short stay, I had numerous exchanges with Hong Kong coaches, players, and parents and I can sense the work and intent the HKCTA is putting in to cultivate players.”

“In every training session, the dedication of the coaches and the enthusiasm and devotion of many talented young players to tennis. The spirit they showed in training, even right after school, is touching. I am deeply impressed by the whole development programme, especially the devotion shown by the parents, whether it’s practices, organising the tournaments or training, they try to give their children the best in any way possible. As long as they build on the positives and show the right attitude, good things will happen. I believe everyone is on the same page and working hard in this direction. I enjoyed my stay in Hong Kong very much, and I hope that I will have another chance to work together with you next time. Thank you, and I hope to meet you again soon.”