Tennis: Vekic's coach keeps golden girl grounded on path to top

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom, June 17, 2013 (AFP) - The coach of Donna Vekic is making sure the latest golden girl of women's tennis keeps focused after bursting into the limelight after reaching Sunday's final in Birmingham.

Vekic, a 16-year-old London-based Croatian, reached her first grass court final here and will make her Wimbledon debut in a week's time.

During these important few days she will receive reminders of how to avoid the pitfalls en route to the top ten - offered by a man who knows about them.

He is David Felgate, who made his name helping Tim Henman, a fellow Englishman, reach the world's top four, and who has coached Vekic since she was 11.

"The aspirations of the family are to go to the top, and she may say she wants to win a Slam," Felgate says. "I am happy with that but it's all about what she does now.

" I can say she is outstanding in her heart and her head. She likes coming to the net, but she's not good enough to do that all the time.

"I can tell you she has a big forehand and will have a big serve, and that she is working on her movement. She needs to move better.

"It's great that there's this success but really it's all about what she tries to do now and how she keeps practising." Felgate is seeking to prevent the intelligent and photogenic teenager doesn't get ahead of herself amidst the attention which both her looks and her aggressive tennis skills may well generate.

Comparisons have already been made with Maria Sharapova who made her first mark here when she was only 16 and went on to win the Birmingham and the Wimbledon titles within three weeks of each other.

This is heady stuff, motivating Felgate to ensure Vekic keeps her mind on her day-to-day work, while not blocking out the sponsorship opportunities which in due course may multiply.

Felgate admits he was unhappy with Vekic during her semi-final with former champion Magdalena Rybarikova last week, and had a real go at her during a rain break.

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