WATCH: Serena Williams’ Coach Teaches Soccer Legend How to Hit Forehand Like Rafael Nadal

Published 11/02/2021, 5:30 AM EDT
PARIS, FRANCE May 29. Serena Williams of the United States leaves trying as Rafael Nadal of Spain arrives for his training session on Court Philippe-Chatrier in preparation for the 2021 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on May 29th 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)


Patrick Mouratoglou, coach of Serena Williams, is undoubtedly one of the best tennis coaches in the world. So much so that he is now turning retired soccer great Denilson into a tennis pro. Interestingly, Mouratoglou taught the Brazilian about wrist acceleration using soccer and Rafael Nadal as examples.

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Before taking a tennis racquet in hand, former winger Denilson was considered one of the best Brazilian players. But after looking at him striking forehands fearlessly, he might be training to be the new ATP star. Funnily enough, Mouratoglou even captioned their training video as “Getting ready for our first Grand Slam.”

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WATCH: Recovering Rafael Nadal Continues to Ace the Tennis Ball on a Different Court

Serena Williams’ coach asks retired soccer player to emulate Rafael Nadal

First and foremost, Mouratoglou showed Denilson how to generate acceleration behind forehand shots. He told the Brazilian star, “Imagine you have a whip,” while teaching him how to hold a tennis racquet. The Frenchman then encouraged him to hit hard and not worry about the ball landing.

“Like Rafa hits the ball like crazy, but the ball is always in the court, because of this (acceleration of wrist),” Mouratoglou said. Following that, the Coach gave him tips on his grip hold and explained the difference between rigid and light grip. Once the lessons got over, Denilson started smashing forehands identical to Rafael Nadal himself.

Before this, the Frenchman also played tennis with another Brazilian soccer legend, Ronaldo. Later on, Ronaldo even bestowed the Coach with a soccer jersey.  

Frequently, Mouratoglou also shares many notable tactics and tricks about the top players on the ATP Tour. For instance, he also unveiled how to hit a single-handed backhand as his mentee Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Moreover, the Coach is also a mentor for Coco Gauff, besides Serena and Stefanos. Not to forget the rising stars that will enter the WTA and ATP Tour after graduating from the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy.

Serena and Patrick’s incredible partnership

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Beginning their journey in 2012, Serena and her coach Patrick have won 10 Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal together. More importantly, the team has defied many odds to keep coming back from adversities.

Serena Williams with coach Patrick Mouratoglou as they head to training before the start of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on June 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Earlier, Patrick admitted he’s unaware of Serena’s decision for the 2022 comeback. As for him, he is equally passionate as the tennis queen to clinch the long-awaited 24th Grand Slam title.

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Summing up, the French coach will continue to help beginners and professionals learn the art of tennis. Only time will tell if he will get to be in Serena’s box once again or not.

Watch this story: Mother-Daughter Bond: 15 Times Serena Williams and Olympia Melted Hearts with Twinning Moments

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Purav Joshi

1349 articles

Purav Joshi is a Senior Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 1000 tennis articles.

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