At Flushing Meadows he was part of the US Open’s hitting partner program, on hand to help players tune up for key matches.
Ahead of Andreescu’s
round-of-16 clash with the left-handed Taylor Townsend, Genender was asked to mimic Townsend’s game, employing an aggressive net approach tactic during warm ups.
He also replicated Nadal (as best he could) by standing far behind the base line on serve as Medvedev worked on his strategy to counter the Spanish great in his first grand slam final.
“Daniil is a great guy, really down to earth,” said Genender, who also hit with Naomi Oska’s conqueror Belinda Bencic. “He was very relaxed and knew the magnitude of what was coming.”
Medvedev, 10 years Nadal’s junior at 23, showed real grit, coming back from two sets down to square the match at 2-2 before losing in five sets. Not that Genender is taking any credit for himself.
“I tried to emulate what Rafa might use,” Genender added. “We saw the way [Medvedev] took the two-handed back hand and took it across court. He was more effective with that play. He showed fight.
“He showed how prepared he was for the battle. We only hit for 25 minutes. Most of his warm up was physical, making sure his body was in the right state to go with Nadal for five hours.”
‘Fan for life’
Despite the intensity of their workout, Geneder managed to steal a brief moment for himself.
“Rafa was about to walk on the court, he was about to warm up after us,” Geneder said.
“I caught him out of the corner of my eye and he’s watching me serve. In that moment it hit me how real this experience was. I will be a fan for life of the game, of Daniil personally and tennis as a whole.”