© Ella Ling

Serena Williams

Five things about Serena Williams's hitting partner

   

Five things about Serena Williams’sĀ hitting partner, Sascha Bajin:

Bajin has the highest profile of all the hitting partners on the women’s tour. That’s despite the fact Maria Sharapova employs Vladimir Voltchkov, who you might remember as the man who once went deep into a Wimbledon draw, inspired by repeat viewings of Russell Crowe’s Gladiator. Bajin has an extremely close relationship to Serena, closer than most other player-hitting-partner relationships. He once told The New York Times that it was as important to crack jokes as to feed backhands. “If a player is happy off the court, they will be happy on the court,” he said. Williams once said of Bajin: “We’re best friends – we spend too much time together. Why do we get on so well. He’s a Libra and I’m a Libra.”

Bajin was a promising junior, but, according to The New York Times, he “lost the discipline to practice” after his father was killed in a car accident. Serena and Bajin met in Munich in 2007 when she was in the city and was looking for a new hitting partner.

He once claimed that the actor Dennis Quaid stole his date at a party on Valentine’s Day. Bajin disclosed on Twitter that Quaid made the move on his date while they were doing karaoke at a party at Serena’s house. Quaid then apparently asked Bajin to drop him and the woman back at Quaid’s hotel. “This chick had the nerve to get out and stay with him. All of that on Valentine’s Day. Nice one right? So put together it’s like this. I simply got Quaided. He stole my date and made me drive him and her back to his hotel.”

Jelena Jankovic once tried to poach Bajin, while Serena was missing from the tour because of ill health. “I heard about Jankovic’s interest, but it seems to me that he was not interested to go somewhere,” Serena said. “He knew that I would return, and never gave a hint about going to work with someone else. It is unlikely that he would find someone better than me.”

Bajin likes some of the perks of the job. “I was at the Grammy after-show party. I was there with Kanye West and Snoop Dogg. Wow.”