Coach, Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova: 10 questions about Sascha Bajin
From player to hitting partner to renowned coach, Sascha Bajin has come a long way in the world of tennis. Here are responses to some common queries you may have about the the German
Who is Sascha Bajin?
Aleksandar “Sascha” Bajin is a tennis coach most notably known for coaching Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova, as well as a former professional tennis player and former hitting partner to several top players, including Serena Williams. Bajin was born on October 4, 1984 which makes him 36 years old as of 2021.
Which country is Bajin from?
Bajin is from Germany and is of Serbian origin.
Was Bajin a tennis player himself?
Yes. Bajin played for a short while on the men’s ATP Tour, reaching No. 1149 in singles and 1180 in doubles. His last tournament as per the ATP Tour came in 2008. As a junior, he reached No 256 in the ITF rankings.
Did Sascha Bajin work with Serena Williams?
Bajin first came into the spotlight as the hitting partner for Serena Williams. He was part of Williams’ team for eight years.
Bajin was part of the WIlliams camp for 10 of her Grand Slam titles. In an interview to the New York Times, Bajin recalled their time together. “We really did go through a lot. There were so many highs with Serena, it’s so hard to name one. I was at the Olympics with her. Just spending every day with one of the world’s greatest athletes is just beautiful.”
If you ever wondered what exactly the role of a hitting partner is, here is what Bajin told the New York Times in the 2015 interview.
“You have to be able to read minds, you have to be able to read body language,” Bajin said. “You have to put your own needs back and you have to swallow quite a bit. But at the same time, it’s just a certain feel for situations, when you know you have to push somebody, when you have to take it easy, when you have to switch it up. And be a little bit of a role model, too.
Which other players did Sascha Bajin work with as a hitting partner?
Which player is Bajin currently coaching?
Bajin has been working with former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova since November 2020. During their partnership, Pliskova reached the final of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, where she was defeated by Ashleigh Barty.
Which other players has Bajin coached?
Bajin began his coaching career by working with Japan’s Naomi Osaka. During their time together, Osaka won the 2018 US Open and the 2019 Australian Open. He was named the winner of the inaugural WTA Coach of the Year for his work with Osaka at the end of the 2018 season.
After winning their second Slam together, Osaka announced that the pair had parted ways. In April 2019, Bajin began working with Kristina Mladenovic and the pair worked together till October 2019. After that, he worked with Dayana Yastremska until September 2020.
Why did Sascha Bajin and Naomi Osaka split?
The sudden split between Osaka and Bajin on the back of winning successive Grand Slam singles titles came as a major surprise to the tennis world.
While neither Osaka not Bajin aired any dirty laundry in the media, they both have spoken about the split since then and given their sides of the story.
“Everyone thinks it was a money-related issue, but it wasn’t. For me, that’s one of the most hurtful things I’ve ever heard. I travel with everyone on my team, I see them more than my family. I would never do that to them,” Osaka said in an interview to the WTA Tour in February 2019. “I’m not going to say anything bad about him because, of course, I’m really grateful for all the things that he’s done. I wouldn’t come here and say anything bad. The biggest thing is I don’t want myself to think to be successful I have to put success over happiness, because if I’m not happy being around certain people I’m not going to torture myself. Especially since Charleston and Beijing and stuff. So I’d rather just surround myself with people that I really like and that truly care about me and are just really positive. I think I’ve been able to do that.”
In his book, “Strengthen Your Mind: 50 Habits for Mental Change:, Bajin also spoke about the split and said he would be open to working with her again in the future. “Right now, it still hurts, but I certainly don’t hold a grudge against Naomi for ending our partnership. I was there to help her achieve her dreams, and it was always going to be her decision whether we continued working together or not,” Bajin stated. “I could even see myself working with Naomi again, should she want to. I like to think that it’s not over and that we could work together further down the road. There have been occasions in tennis when a player and a coach have split, and then reunited, so it wouldn’t be the first time; it wouldn’t be that unusual. Naomi is taking a different path for now, and so am I, but who knows what will happen in the future?”
Has Sascha Bajin written a book?
Bajin has written a book, “Strengthen Your Mind: 50 Habits for Mental Change”. The book was published in Japanese, and ghostwritten in English by tennis writer Mark Hodgkinson.