In the lead up to the U.S. Open, The New York Times ran a short feature on Sascha Bajin, Serena Williams’ hitting partner. The piece was nice, but quite brief by NYT standards. Perhaps it was just an excuse to run a shirtless picture of the man known as “Big Sascha.”
The relationship between Williams and Bajin is probably without precedent. A German-born Serb, Bajin was a promising junior player in the late ’90s. But when he was 15, his father (who was also his coach) died in a car accident, and Bajin lost his motivation. In 2007, he was working as a coach in Munich when he received a call to serve as a hitting partner for Williams, and he has been by her side ever since.
Serena has yet to win a Grand Slam tournament this year, but she is favored at the U.S. Open, and has a favorable draw. The tournament begins Monday.