A Chat with Tom Hill: The rising star of the Professional Coaching world
Updated: May 29
Tom Hill (25) is quickly becoming one of the most successful, younger coaches on the WTA Tour. We caught up with Tom, who is currently working with World Top 20 stalwart, Maria Sakarri who has shot to the upper echelons of the game, in style.
Hill was a very talented junior, making it to near the Top 100 ITF Juniors and undergoing regular training stints in Argentina, Spain and the famous IMG Academy in Florida. At 17, Hill encountered a tough injury – which halted his professional dreams – but was encouraged by parents to stay in the sport and enter a scholarship at the prestigious Pepperdine University.
A successful College career followed, but post-graduation – he aspired to enter into the legal world, focussing on Sports and Entertainment. In his words, “my tennis days were almost packed away.”
It was a chance meeting with a tennis team-mate in a bar, where it was mentioned that the IMG academy were looking for hitters to train with some of the best known names at the academy. Hill recalls a phone call from famous agent, Max Eisenbud – just prior to his final college exam. Appreciative of the offer, Hill rushed over to Florida- tasked to play with Wimbledon Champion, Maria Sharapova. “We would hit for 2-3 hours at a time and I was also playing with some of other players at the academy including Madison Keys and Sabine Lisicki.” Sharapova was an advocate of Hill’s playing and tenacity and recommended Eisenbud to keep him in the wider team. Excited, Hill saw this as a temporary solution and still had goals set on working in Law.
It was during his tenor at the IMG Academy - where Tom was approached by an upcoming talent, Danielle Collins (pictured). Ranked 250 in the world at the time – Danielle had noticed him playing and needed some help and mentoring. Tom remarked her tenaciousness and desire to shoot up the rankings, despite “no-one knowing who she was”. Their time together was highlighted by Danielle’s catapult up the rankings – which was highlighted by her Semi Final appearance at the Miami Open in 2018 - where she defeated Venus Williams along the way.
Fast-forwards and Hill is now permanently working with Greek star Maria Sakarri, who recently made the 4th round of the Australian Open and a debut in the world’s top 20 – a huge achievement for the Greek- who is a famous star in her home nation.
I asked Hill how he found life on tour, he alluded to the tough nature sometimes which persists amongst coaches- almost a rivalry. One thing you notice about Hill when talking, is a sense of calm but assurance – someone who strategically plans and thinks and loves the game – an asset which no doubt has led to his successes thus far.
He alludes that improvements can always be learnt and made for players at any level – “try to design your game around your strengths and assets – i.e. if you’re a quick mover, it makes sense to analyse Ferrer, Nishikori – not to try and be a power player.” Parents can work closely with their child’s coaches and understand what type of game they are trying to instil into their junior.
“Travelling on tour is tough but fun,” Hill also enjoys the analytical side of the game- an attribute which we are sure will serve himself and Sakarri well when the tennis tour resumes.
Follow Tom on Instagram at @tomhill95
Follow Maria Sakarri on Instagram at @sakkattack7