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Sascha Bajin and Kristina Mladenovic discuss new partnership: ‘We book our flights for Sunday’

“I don’t want to sound like I’m cocky or something, but I don’t start working with players unless I truly believe they can beat anybody they play. Given this time on the WTA Tour, when you have 18 tournaments and 18 different winners, Kiki could be more than one of them. 

“I don’t want to say we’re gonna win this or we’re gonna win that, but knowing now what I’ve seen in practice, I told her look, when we go to tournaments I want you to understand I go there and we pre-book our flights for Sunday. I don’t even want her to think about quarters. No. We go there to win, we take it one round at a time and we respect our opponents, but at the same time I do believe that there is nobody she needs to fear.”

Asked what he hopes to bring to Mladenovic’s game, Bajin said the focus is on improving her backhand, serve, and decision-making.

“It’s not a secret,” Bajin said. “All the players know that maybe her backhand is not the greatest shot. She has an unbelievable forehand. I worked with Serena for eight years. If I can teach someone something it must be a backhand. 

“Service percentage, the percentage itself is a little bit low. I worked a lot with Naomi on her big serve. We worked with Caroline always. All that comes with the players I worked with, I learned so much. 

“And overall also, just the structure in her game. There was a lot of things that were a little bit unnecessary in certain situations in the match. I want her to understand why not do this at that time and why do this at a certain time.”

“I can’t change [the serve] in the middle of the season. Half the season is over. The beautiful thing about Kiki is that for us it’s pretty clear about what we have to work on in order for her to improve, which is a good problem to have. Now it’s just about me picking and choosing the battles for now and saving certain things for later. 

“But the serve, we’re going to keep working on it but I’m not changing anything. It’s already gotten better and that’s all credit to the mother too.”

“I know that when I play my best tennis – I played all the best girls who are consistent in the Top 10 – I feel like I already have it so it’s about me coming back to this consistency,” Mladenovic said. 

“On top of that, I feel like I have the margin where I can improve. Small details in everything, a little bit more. Fitness is on a great path, serve can be a bit faster with more consistent percentage, more winners on the forehand. 

“I know when I have that I was at my highest ranking at No.10. So that’s obviously where I want to come back as fast as possible and aim for more. That’s definitely a goal.” 

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