WTA Insider: How did you get into tennis?
Beltz: I started when I was seven years old. I played a lot of tennis in Germany. I played all the leagues in Germany and Bundesliga and everything.

When I was 16-years-old I already got my first trainer license in Germany. We have to do a license. It's called a C License, B License, and A License. So I knew pretty early that I'd like to coach a bit.

So I started when I was 16 to do my first license, but I was also playing a lot. I had more the goal to be a professional tennis player. I played prize money tournaments, futures, and then I played college tennis, which was really good for me in America.

I went to Anderson College, Clemson University, practiced there a lot. So I played there for two years, which also helps my game a lot. After the two years, I went back because I tried to play futures, ATP events for myself. Then I started to hurt my shoulder a little bit. I stopped playing and I went to coaching.

"It's nice to be able to work with the top athletes together and try to make them better every day."

I had a Bundesliga team which I coached. Pretty funny, my first team, Wahlstedt, all the girls we are talking about now, like Goerges and Barthel, they were all playing. So I was kind of the head coach and all the girls were on the team. It was a good team.

Then I started with Angie [Kerber] when she was 16. They were looking for a coach who could help her with the first steps on the tour, play 25Ks, and the junior Grand Slams. So I started with her when she was 16. That was my start of it.

Torben Beltz speaks to Angelique Kerber during an on-court coaching timeout at the 2012 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. (Getty Images)

WTA Insider: What drew you to tennis?
Beltz: What attracted me? For sure it was my parents. Both of my parents are playing tennis as well. So I started to hit against the wall at the tennis club. My parents played at the court. I play against the wall. So I guess that's how many players pick it up.

I started to love it. And then I played a lot of junior tournaments and I liked it so much. I played a lot when I was young and I'm still loving it, so it's fun.

WTA Insider: What do you like about it?
Beltz: The challenge, the competing, one against one. I really like it.

I just loved the sport because you can just go with friends and just go out and play. Also in Germany, the club scene is pretty big. It's not that big anymore, but when I was young a long time ago, it was still big. We had a lot of club matches, a lot of practice together. It was a good system and I had many friends playing tennis so it was fun.

Torben Beltz and Donna Vekic pose at the 2019 Upper Austria Ladies Linz. (Jimmie48)

WTA Insider: Do you have a coaching philosophy?
Beltz: When I was sixteen, it was just a thing on the side, because I was still playing. It was just good at the club to teach a little bit some kids, make some small money on the side.

When it got more serious I really liked the challenge. It's nice to be able to work with the top athletes together and try to make them better every day. I think that's really the thing I like to do right now and which really fulfills my life, I would say. Try to make them better every day and to work with young players. I think it's a great job and it's a great challenge for me.

I think the philosophy kind of changes. If you play with the club level players it's more about having some fun. That was also the goal at the time to get more kids into tennis. Let's make it fun and really try to show them how much fun is the sport.

Now with the top, top players, I don't have to sell because they know how nice it is. So it's really about trying to get out of the players the best they can do every day, and especially to get them ready for the big tournaments like Zhuhai and the Masters and really try to get them ready for the big stage to play their best tennis.

"I think it's really important to stay positive. In tennis, every week is a new challenge and a new possibility to play good."

WTA Insider: What's the most important thing you've learned coaching at the top level?
Beltz: I think it's really important to stay positive. In tennis, every week is a new challenge and a new possibility to play good. Even if it's sometimes not going your way, it's not about going up.

So I think for me as a coach, we're trying to stay positive and we're trying to see the process to try to get better. I think we're trying to do this. I think this is also what's most important for me as a coach, to try to stay positive and to stay focused, trying to have an intense practice all the time, even if the player is not feeling that great.

WTA Insider: How do you get players to trust the process and not get too attached to being results-orientated?
Beltz: It's a combination. The player has to trust the coach, believe in the coach, believe in what I'm saying and doing with her. So I think it's a combination.

I'm trying every day also to give my player the feeling that I am there for her and that I have my thoughts and that I really try to prepare the practice good. I try to educate myself, to evolve positively as a coach, to try to educate myself to get better at coaching. I think if the player sees this, I think also she believes more in my work.

Torben Beltz during an on-court coaching timeout with Donna Vekic at the 2019 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic. (Jimmie48)

WTA Insider: What does a day in the life of a WTA coach look like?
Beltz: It depends on the time, if it's offseason or at a tournament. We have a new platform now where I can watch the matches so I'm trying from the hotel to watch the matches and to see what my player is doing good and bad and really trying to get this right. Also trying to prepare some videos to show my player so she can see what she's doing good or bad. At night, I try to prepare the practice for the next days.

And then in the day we have breakfast together, then we have practice in the morning together, we have lunch together, we have practice in the afternoon and then fitness. The whole day is pretty planned and pretty packed. We're trying to have a good day every day and to be positive.

WTA Insider: Do you have a lot of free time as a coach?
Beltz: I have free time. I like to play some golf sometimes.

It's also a good challenge because on tour you have a lot of free time actually. For sure we are coaching on the court and we are preparing, but we also have to handle the free time. But I like to be alone sometimes. I like to play golf if I can. The good thing is we are always at the sunshine so we can play golf a lot.

Torben Beltz (right) and Raemon Sluiter (center) sit courtside at the 2019 Western & Southern Open. (Jimmie48)

WTA Insider: What is the vibe like among the WTA coaches?
Beltz: I think it's really good. I have no problem with anybody. I have many good friends on the coaching tour. It is really fun. We all see each other every week. So it's good to see each other. I think if we have a good time together, sometimes we go play golf together, we have a drink somewhere. I think we all get along pretty well.

WTA Insider: Do the coaches talk a lot with each other about their own players and experiences?
Beltz: I think it's more easy with the coaches to get along better than the players. We talk about tennis for sure because it's all we love, tennis.

But I think I will not tell any secrets and I think all the other coaches will not tell me any secrets. I think we get along pretty good and we have some good guys on tour.

WTA Insider: What's a bad day for you as a coach?
Beltz: I think also the coaches are results orientated. For sure it's tougher when the player is losing. I think that sucks. Everybody can agree to that. That is a tougher day, if the player is losing a tough match, maybe three sets or something.

I think for me the toughest is if my player is playing good and she's losing and she's feeling hurt. For me it hurts a little bit also. We as coaches have some tough days.

But it's the same as a player. We don't let it get to us and get too much down. It's trying to stay positive and see the next day and then we can work the next day and in tennis, we have the chance to do it the next week and do it better.

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