So when I went to Indian Wells last year I totally fell in love with Ana's hitting partner, Marcin. He was funny and dorky, and he had this habit of saying "Sorry Ana" all the time, which has become a running joke between Love All and I. You can see him hitting with Ana in the video above and here.
Marcin was a great hitting partner and of course, she won that tournament. She then continued to work with him through the clay court season, and we all know how that turned out. But after Paris (possibly after Wimbly) he had to return home to be with his family. And we all know what happened to Ana after that.
Anyway, I'm convinced that Ana's success is directly tied to Marcin. I'm sorry, but the facts don't lie. So how happy was I to see that Anas already contacted him to be her hitting partner in IW this year. Hopefully (sorry Marcin!) he's able to do so:
Ivanovic has hired Rozpedski, the director of tennis at The Lakes Country Club in Palm Desert, to hit with her again when she returns to Indian Wells to defend her title. However, if things go well for Rozpedski, they might reverse roles.
Rozpedski defeated Yusuke Kusuda 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday in his second-round match in the BNP Paribas Open challenger tournament. If Rozpedski wins today against David Johnson and again Monday, he will advance to the four-player prequalifer of the BNPP. And if he wins both of those matches, he will get into the qualifier. And if he wins two more matches there, Rozpedski will get into the main draw, which features the world's top 75 players.
And Rozpedski could be in the market for a good hitting partner, say the former No. 1 women's player in the world.
“She's going to be my hitting partner,” Rozpedski joked. “I'll pay her to be my hitting partner.”
In case Rozpedski doesn't make it into the main draw, this will be the third year he worked as Ivanovic's hitting partner. He had done so well, Ivanovic's people invited Rozpedski to come to Europe last year to help the Serbian prepare for the French Open.
So Rozpedski spent 10 days with her in Belgium, 10 days in Berlin, then Rome and Amsterdam, leading up to the French Open.
“It was amazing. It was such a great learning experience, tennis-wise, fitness wise,” Rozpedski said. “I learned how you get a tennis player to peak at the right time. She played the French Open final and that was a great match, and her semifinal match was incredible. And every match she played, it's as if we played with her.”
Marcin has had nothing but nice things to say about Ana. He said she's the only player he's ever hit with that actually paid him to be her hitting partner. Apparently tourney hitting partners are usually volunteers. But he said Ana understood he had a wife and kids so she paid him pretty well.