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Rick Macci Analysis: Sofia Kenin

Rick Macci Analysis: Sofia Kenin

Legendary coach Rick Macci has been delivering succinct analyses of the games of several leading pros (past and present) through in depth interviews with Florida Tennis editor Jim Martz. Macci continues in this post with his views on Sofia Kenin. 

When I coached her she was a little peanut at age 5 and I coached her until she was 12. Scariest little creature I ever taught.

I took her to a convention in Marco Island and we did many videos with USPTA. I predicted she’d win a Grand Slam, which she did.

So now you fast forward the story, she wins the Australian Open. Now people want to know what happened? (Ranked No. 4 in 2020, she started this year at 280 and jumped to 30 in October).

First off, whenever that happens you’ve got to have your head on straight, you’ve got to keep your eye on the ball, stay focused, got to stay injury free. All those things came into her mindset.

But she has the game. She has such an extreme amazing knowledge of the game of tennis: where to hit it, why to hit it there. She has a very good understanding of how to exploit weaknesses.

She doesn’t hit the ball super hard like Venus or Serena, but her court savvy is amazing.

Above: When Sofia Kenin started out in tennis, she worked with Rick Macci. Photo: @ArtSeitz.

When she was a kid, a bomb could go off on the court next to her and she wouldn’t even look over there.

I think mentally she has it. Her mind was her greatest strength. And now it has kind of worked against her, but she’s on the way back. Don’t count her out.

She’s going to win some Grand Slams. She’s going back into the top 10. I think just handling all the fame and her life changing, and injuries, it takes a long time.

Confidence you can’t buy at Walgreens, you can’t buy at Publix, you can’t buy this over the internet. Confidence is a fleeting thing. You can get it in the blink of an eye.

Not just tennis but football, baseball, basketball. It’s crazy, like a golfer. He makes one putt, he’s probably going to make more. A basketball player, he shoots that jumper and makes it from 30 feet, he thinks the next one is going in. Like a quarterback, he throws an interception and he thinks, I hope I don’t throw an interception!

Confidence is a scary, scary thing. So, I think that’s the wild card with Sofia. But I believe in this young lady. I think she can come all the way back. She’ll win Grand Slams. How far is up to her, but she has the game. But more importantly she has the heart and she has the mind.


Interview with  Rick Macci was conducted by Florida Tennis Founder and Editor Jim Martz. This article also appears in the November/December 2023 issue of Florida Tennis Magazine. Be sure to subscribe for expanded coverage, exclusive interviews, and in-depth tennis news. Top Photo:  @ArtSeitz.

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