Maramas set to light up Auckland (article)
By David Long
The coach of Eden and Paula Marama believes the sisters have a bright future playing tennis around the world on the WTA circuit.
Nicolas Copin is in Auckland with the Maramas after travelling with them from their Paris base and told nzoom.com that they have the potential to be the most successful New Zealand tennis players in years.
"They can go to the top 50 I think and in doubles they can go even higher because they only play together," Copin said. "So they will do good in singles and very good in doubles."
Copin has been coach of the Marama sisters for three years, which was when Eden and Paula moved from Wellington to France to go to a tennis academy in Paris.
Up until six months ago he coached the Marama's with a small group of other talented young players, but since then he has been the full time coach for Eden and Paula only and said he has seen them improve tremendously during his time as their coach.
"When they came the problem was that they kept getting injured a lot," Copin said.
"So for the first year they didn't play a lot of matches and we tried to concentrate them on being injured less, so now it's a lot better and they dan play all year round without getting injured.
"Now the goal is to play more matches around the world to reach the top."
Eden and Paula are both powerfully built teenagers who like to play aggressive, entertaining tennis, rather than the dull baseline game which is a common complaint of women's tennis and Copin feels they are similar types of players with only a few differences.
"Paula is a bit more easy going while Eden is a lot tougher, but their games are the same," he explains. "They try to go to the net often and I try to encourage them to do this because it will help them reach a higher level."
For the past five or six months they have been playing in ITF tournaments, which is the level of competitions below the WTA tour, before that Paula was playing in a lot of tournaments in France and Eden was playing more on the Junior circuit, but from this year Copin hopes they will both be playing in a lot more WTA events.
"This next year is very important for their improvement and for them to move up the ranking," he said.
"I think Eden will stop playing in the juniors and will play only in the seniors and the goal will to be inside the top 200 by the end of the year and even better in the doubles for Paula."
The Maramas, and particularly Eden, have been called the great hopes for tennis in New Zealand as the sport continues to suffer without any players anywhere near the top 100.
That pressure on Eden could weigh her down and stifle her, but Copin said that as they live on the other side of the world it isn't much of a distraction,
"She's okay," he said. "She knows about it but she's in Paris where it's quiet for her and there's no expectation on her.
"She is very motivated and wants to play for her country in the Fed Cup and try to leave her mark on New Zealand tennis.
"We'll see what happens but we're pretty confident she'll do something okay."