Darren Cahill and Brad Gilbert: the tennis super coaches guiding Jannik Sinner and Coco Gauff to glory

Ewan West
Darren Cahill and Jannik Sinner 2024 Australian Open
Darren Cahill and Jannik Sinner with the 2024 Australian Open trophy

Darren Cahill and Brad Gilbert are widely regarded as being two of the best coaches in tennis and both are reinforcing their credentials with Jannik Sinner and Coco Gauff respectively. 

The duo, who both enjoyed successful playing careers on the ATP Tour, have each coached multiple players to major titles and guided stars to Grand Slams on the men’s and women’s tours.

Gilbert helped American star Coco Gauff claim her maiden major crown at the 2023 US Open, while Cahill did the same with leading Italian Jannik Sinner at the 2024 Australian Open.

Here, we look at the distinguished CVs of two of the sport’s great ‘super coaches’.

Darren Cahill

Grand Slam titles won as a coach: 4

Different players coached to Grand Slam titles: 4

Players coached to the world No 1 ranking: 3

Notable players coached: Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi, Andy Murray, Ana Ivanovic, Fernando Verdasco, Daniela Hantuchova, Simona Halep, Amanda Anisimova, Jannik Sinner

Cahill, nicknamed “Killer”, had an impressive playing career, reaching career-high rankings of 22 in singles and 10 in doubles. The 58-year-old, who played between 1984 and 1995, won two singles titles and 13 doubles tournaments.

The Australian earned his reputation as an elite coach in his partnership with compatriot Lleyton Hewitt, who he helped win the first of his two majors at the 2001 US Open.

Under Cahill’s guidance, Hewitt also became the youngest player to attain the ATP world No 1 ranking (a record since broken by Carlos Alcaraz) at 20 years and eight months in November 2001.

Following his split with Hewitt at the end of the 2001 season, Cahill became the coach of Andre Agassi in early 2002 after the American had parted ways with long-time coach Gilbert.

The Australian helped Agassi win his eighth and final Grand Slam title at the 2003 Australian Open and oversaw the tennis great’s return to world No 1 in April 2003. Agassi was the oldest player to top the ATP Rankings at 33 years and 131 days, until Roger Federer broke this record.

Cahill coached Agassi until his retirement in 2006, before working with players such as Ana Ivanovic, Fernando Verdasco and Daniela Hantuchova for the Adidas Player Development Program.

The former world No 22 joined forces with WTA star Simona Halep in 2015 and guided the Romanian to her maiden major crown at the 2018 French Open. Halep was the WTA year-end No 1 in 2017 and 2018 under Cahill’s tutelage, before the pair’s glittering six-year collaboration ended in late 2021.

Following a brief trial stint with Amanda Anisimova, Cahill joined Italian coach Simone Vagnozzi to become part of Jannik Sinner’s coaching team in July 2022.

Since Cahill’s arrival, Sinner has won six ATP titles, including his first ATP Masters 1000 event in Toronto in August and his first Grand Slam at the 2024 Australian Open last month. The Italian has also been a runner-up at three other events, including the 2023 ATP Finals.

During his partnership with the Australian, the 22-year-old has earned an impressive 18 wins against opponents ranked in the top 10, having had just seven beforehand.

Sinner is currently at a career-high ATP world ranking of No 4, having been in 13th position prior to Wimbledon in 2022 when the Australian came on board.

Brad Gilbert

Grand Slam titles won as a coach: 8

Different players coached to Grand Slam titles: 3

Players coached to the world No 1 ranking: 2

Notable players coached: Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori, Sam Querrey, Coco Gauff

Gilbert reached stellar heights during his playing days as he achieved career-high rankings of four in singles and three in doubles. The 62-year-old, who retired in 1995, won 20 singles titles and was a two-time major quarter-finalist.

The American began his coaching career while he was still an active player on the ATP Tour when he joined forces with Andre Agassi in March 1994.

Agassi, who won his maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 1992, was seen by many observers as something of an underachiever before linking up with Gilbert.

During a legendary eight-year partnership with Gilbert, Agassi won a further six majors: three Australian Opens (1995, 2000 and 2001), two US Opens (1994 and 1999), and one French Open (1999) – which saw him complete a career Grand Slam.

Under Gilbert’s guidance, the talented Las Vegas-born star became world No 1 for the first time in April 1995, and achieved his only career ATP year-end No 1 finish in 1999.

Agassi remarkably returned to top spot after his ranking had dropped to 141st in 1997 following a dramatic dip, and he also won an Olympic gold medal in singles at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Following his split with Agassi the previous year, Gilbert became the coach of Andy Roddick in June 2003 and helped the young American have the best period of his career.

Roddick won five titles in a superb three-month spell after Gilbert’s arrival, including his only Grand Slam crown at the 2003 US Open. The American reached world No 1 for the first time in November 2003 and achieved his only year-end No 1 finish that season.

The pair parted ways at the end of the 2004 campaign, after Gilbert had helped Roddick win nine titles and also reach the 2004 Wimbledon final.

Gilbert coached a young Andy Murray between 2006 and 2007 and also spent spells working with Kei Nishikori (2011) and Sam Querrey (2012), before making his big return to coaching with Coco Gauff in July 2023 – his first role in women’s tennis.

The American joined the since-departed Pere Riba on Gauff’s team ahead of the Citi Open in Washington last year and made a huge and instant impact as the 19-year-old won the event without dropping a set.

It then got even better for Gauff with the 62-year-old in her corner when she added her maiden WTA 1000 triumph in Cincinnati and her first Grand Slam title at the 2023 US Open in September.

The American star, who is currently at a career-high WTA ranking of world No 3, has made a strong start to 2024 by defending her title in Auckland and reaching the Australian Open semi-finals.

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