Mark Hlawaty(williams aussie open hitting partner)
He started hitting with the sisters in 03. He had previously hit with Monica Seles and Martina Hingis. Each year, the player that he's hit with at the Aussie Open, has went on to win or be runner-up.He also hit a liitle with Venus at Wimbeldon.
I found an article from 2003 about him and his relationship with the Williams Sisters,it's quite inteesting.
Aussie backdrop to Williams show
By BRUCE MATTHEWS
WITH bleached blond hair, silver eyebrow ring and zany humour, it didn't surprise that Australian tennis player Mark Hlawaty is fitting easily into the glitzy Williams world.
Behind the non-conformist eccentricity is a fine ball-striker who instinctively knows the practice requirements of the top women competitors.
Melbourne-born Hlawaty, who has lived in Perth for 11 years, linked up with Monica Seles and Martina Hingis as a hitting partner for past Australian campaigns.
The partnerships were so successful the Williams sisters snapped him up this year.
Just in time, too. At 32, the same age as Andre Agassi, he has tossed in coaching to go back on the tour for a final two-year fling.
Hlawaty has already won a singles title in just his third tournament, beating Wimbledon junior champion Todd Reid in the final on grass at Barmera in South Australia in November after coming through the qualifying rounds.
But the comeback is on hold while he prepares Venus and Serena to square off today against each other for the Australian Open singles title.
"They are fairly similar styles, I think Serena hits it a little flatter off the ground. I wouldn't say they are clones, but they are very similar in what they do. Big off the first serve, both return great," Hlawaty said. "That's the other side that's different to so many of the other girls, they do return the ball so early.
"As soon as you hit the serve, the next shot is coming straight back at you. You are under the pump from the very first ball unless you come up with a quality first serve. Both have similar requirements and the difference comes more so if one of them is playing a different style of opponent.
"If someone is slicing a lot, like Serena's first match against (Emilie) Loit, the French girl. We did work a lot hitting a lot of slices to her."
Serena is a self-proclaimed perfectionist while Venus is more relaxed. But the unpredictability keeps their Aussie hitting partner literally on his toes, such as the dovetailed practice sessions before their semi-finals on Thursday.
"When we were doing some ball-feeding to Venus out of the basket, she wanted to make sure she finished with it being spot on and feeling good," Hlawaty said.
"Venus jumped on first for about 45 minutes and then Serena came on when Venus's time was up. So it basically ended up being about two hours of work.
"They want to make sure when you're hitting with them that you get a lot of balls back and don't make too many mistakes. You have to do everything you can so that when they go out to play, they are in the right frame of mind and ready to rumble.
"They are definitely the benchmark with their power, that's for sure. The other one who came close was Monica.
"They hit the ball so hard and so consistently, you wonder how far you would have to go down the rankings for them to be competitive against the men."
Hlawaty was a tough opponent on the satellite circuits in the 1980s, playing finals against the calibre of Mark Kratzmann.
"If I can pay my way in two years, I'll be happy. I'm too old to do anything great. Everyone has said maybe I'm crazy, but it's a challenge. If the worse comes to the worse, I've gone out and done something I want to do," he said.
So who will hold aloft the winner's trophy on Rod Laver Arena this afternoon?
"Once it's game time, the game face will go on and it will be just another opponent with no holds barred. Once the match finishes, it's straight back into family mode. It's an amazing ability," he said.
"I reckon it will be 22-20 in the third set, 17 hours long, or it could go for three days. Going on the semis form, you would say Venus looked a little sharper. But, with the day's rest, who knows. My prediction: a Williams will win it."