Coach And Pupil Make Dream Run In Tallahassee
Retired ATP World Tour player Peter Luczak advanced to the doubles final with his pupil, Marc Polmans
It’s not unheard of for a tennis player to come out of retirement and either dabble on the ATP Challenger Tour or make a full comeback, but Peter Luczak is breaking new ground by coming out of retirement and continuing to take home trophies.
The 36-year-old Luczak, affectionately known as “Looch,” retired from pro tennis in 2012 after a successful career that saw peak him at No. 64 in singles in the Emirates ATP Rankings, in addition to winning 12 ATP Challenger Tour singles titles. After spending the next three years serving as a coach and hitting partner for former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, he’s now been working with rising Australians Marc Polmans and Blake Mott.
While traveling with Mott last spring for a series of Futures events in Italy, he teamed up with him in doubles for a one-off tournament and the pair won the title. This week at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Tallahassee, Florida, Luczak and 18-year-old Polmans beat two seeds on their way to the doubles final, where they narrowly lost to No. 1 seeds Dennis Novikov and Julio Peralta. Although Luczak was delighted at the result, he admitted that playing this week wasn’t part of the plan for him.
"I was watching Blake and the next thing I know, Marc comes up to me and says, “Mate, we’re playing,” said Luczak. “I still like to stay reasonably fit and there are a lot of good young players I can hit with at the National Academy in Melbourne (Australia). Marc did most of the work this week, though. I just came along for the ride.”
Polmans won the boys’ doubles title at the Australian Open in 2015 and has quickly proven that he could become an established player on tour. The teenager has already won nine Futures doubles titles, but his run this week with Luczak in Tallahassee is his biggest result to date. Polmans is far from content with his doubles success, though, and said that Luczak has been helping him develop the tools needed to produce equally strong results in singles.
“Peter’s a really good clay court player, so he’s got a lot of tips on getting shape and depth on my shots. He’s got a pretty strong forehand as well, so he’s also trying to show me that,” said Polmans. “He’s teaching me a lot out there with the doubles this week and he’s calling the shots, so he can help me out on the pressure situations.”
It’s only natural to wonder if Luczak and Polmans will team up for more events this year after their surprise run, but Luczak was quick to diffuse any possible talk of even a part-time comeback.
“That’s my schedule these days: one tournament a year,” he joked. “I’m lucky to be coaching two kids who work hard and want to get better. I’m still very competitive and will leave it all out there when I get a chance to compete, but I’m very happy coaching these days.”