Alex Bogdanovic is not usually mentioned alongside Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray, but the world No 161 is to benefit from the guidance of a coach used to working only with the best. Following Brad Gilbert's parting of the ways with Murray last week, the Lawn Tennis Association, which pays the American's wages, announced details yesterday of a revised contract for its most high-profile employee.
The original deal, said to be worth £750,000 a year, was due to run until July 2009, but it has been cut back by eight months and halved to 20 weeks a year. Gilbert, who wanted more time for other commitments and will not receive any compensation, will spend at least 15 weeks working with Bogdanovic. He said he was "really excited" and confident he would "continue to make real progress".
Roger Draper, the LTA's chief executive, said on Radio 5 Live: "We have set Brad a new challenge of getting Alex into the top 100 and also 'upskilling' our coaches and inspiring the next generation to follow in Andy's footsteps. He will largely be based on tour with Alex, travelling around with him. His first training camp is the first week in December."
Bogdanovic has consistently failed to realise his potential and has never broken into the world's top 100. The 23-year-old left-hander has regularly frozen on the biggest stages, particularly in the Davis Cup, though John Lloyd, the British captain, says he is prepared to give him another chance. As Britain's second highest-ranked singles player Bogdanovic would be the natural choice to fill the second singles spot alongside Murray for the World Group tie against Argentina in Buenos Aires in February, raising the intriguing prospect of Murray and Gilbert working in the same camp again.
Working with Bogdanovic will take Gilbert to less exotic destinations, as the player's ranking means he competes mostly on the Challenger circuit. Among the venues he has visited this year are Lanzarote, Wroclaw in Poland and Mons in Belgium.
"From what I've seen of him, Alex Bogdanovic should be doing a lot better," Gilbert said earlier this year. "His game is much better than his ranking. It just shows what can happen. If he really puts things together, I see no reason why he shouldn't be in the top 40 in the world. He's plenty talented enough."
Since reaching the final of a Challenger event in Cardiff seven months ago, Bogdanovic has been knocked out in the first round 11 times and made only three quarter-finals, although he has had injuries. He has played in eight events on the main tour this year but his only victories were in the Artois Championships at Queen's, when he beat Hyung-Taik Lee, the world No 47, and Jamie Baker before losing narrowly to Roddick.Reuse content