MATCH POINT: Amanda Anisimova (USA) defeats Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) in the 2022 Melbourne Summer Set.

Editor's Note: Amanda Anisimova moved into the third round of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5 win over 22nd seed Belinda Bencic.

Amanda Anisimova may be only 20 years old, but she carries herself with the maturity and poise of someone who has been around much longer.

In many ways, she has. Tennis fans remember watching her burst onto the scene in 2019 and winning her first WTA tournament as a 17-year-old in Bogota. Her aggressive baseline game earned her rock-solid results, including a run to the semifinals at Roland Garros that year.

Anisimova seemed poised to step into the role of teen prodigy, but as it so often does, life got in the way. The American’s swift rise ground to a halt in the years following the sudden passing of her father and long-time coach Konstantin—from a career-high ranking of No. 21, she fell to outside the Top 80 in 2021.

Anisimova’s dad is never far from her mind, and when she finally returned to the winners’ circle two weeks ago at the Melbourne Summer Set, it was fitting that he was one of the first to get a social media shout out.

As she continues her climb back up the rankings, Anisimova also revealed a new name in her coaching circle with Darren Cahill joining her for a trial period in Australia. Full of confidence after her second title, the 20-year-old has quickly gone from outsider to sleeper pick, with the potential to make a deep run at the Australian Open and beyond.


“I’m coming off of a title so I feel good. I played some pretty good tennis last week,” Anisimova acknowledged after her first-round win over Arianne Hartono. “I had a very good preseason and I’m feeling confident. On top of that my body feels strong. I have my fitness coach here with me and we’ve put in a lot of work. Everything feels good, so I’m just excited to play.”

That confidence, almost a requirement to execute her aggressive high-risk, high-reward game, has been on display in Melbourne—even if it has not all been smooth sailing. Three of her five matches at the WTA tournament went to a deciding set, and at the Australian Open, Anisimova had to fight back from a set and a break down against the Dutch qualifier to reach the second round.

Cahill supervised her warmup but wasn’t at her match due to his broadcast commentary commitments. Despite admitting to an off day due to “some personal stuff,” Anisimova said that Cahill’s presence was felt during her 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 opening win.

“I was thinking of stuff he would probably be telling me,” she said. “He said a lot of helpful things in the last couple of weeks. I was trying to keep that in the back of my head.”

She added, “It’s kind of just about putting me in a good place from the start, and helping me stay relaxed and calm. I think [Darren] does a really good job of that because he’s a really great person.

“When I’m in that environment, I think that’s when I play my best tennis.”


Anisimova returned to the winners' circle in Melbourne with her first title win since 2019.

Anisimova returned to the winners' circle in Melbourne with her first title win since 2019.

Cahill, who is based in Adelaide, ended a long and successful partnership with Simona Halep last year in favor of staying close to home and reducing his travel obligations. That’s when Anisimova, who was set to start her season in Australia, reached out to him during the off-season for a trial period.

“He sees my game really well. He sees what I should be working on and the things that I don’t do so well. Right now his main focus is trying to improve my strengths, just trying to sharpen them up and just trust in them more,” she explained. Anisimova’s serve and backhand, which can break down in tight moments, are currently under scrutiny by Cahill and her team.

The American hasn’t yet revealed if the trial period will extend beyond the Australian Open, but she’s already reveling in the benefits—on and off the court. When asked if there were any perks to employing an Aussie coach while in the country, Anisimova revealed that there are plenty.

“He definitely has some connections in Australia. That’s a bonus,” said Anisimova, who will will take on reigning Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic in the second round. “For now, we’ve been going to Chin Chin a lot, and he’s been able to make a lot of the reservations. I always have the request to eat downstairs. So that’s been going well.”