Last Updated on June 1, 2023
Belgian tennis player best known for her results playing in doubles is 27-year-old Elise Mertens.
Elise Mertens, a professional tennis player, was born on November 17, 1995, in Leuven, Belgium. Her family includes her father, Guido Mertens, a craftsman specializing in church furniture, and her mother, Liliane Mertens, a school teacher. Elise got her start in tennis when she was just four years old, inspired by her older sister Lauren.
Instead of going to a traditional school, Elise was homeschooled, which allowed her to focus on her passion for language studies. She’s also a big animal lover and shares her home with four dogs and various birds. One of her earliest tennis-related memories is watching Kim Clijsters play, who quickly became her idol.
Mertens’ professional journey began at the Kim Clijsters Academy in 2015, where she continues to train today. Before joining this academy, she trained with the Belgian Federation during her early teenage years, and she also spent a year at the Mouratoglou’s Academy. She officially turned professional in 2013. Mertens’ preferred court surface is grass.
Who is Elise Mertens’s coach?
Alexander Kneepkens And Seppe Cuypers
Belgian tennis player Elise Mertens started working with Alexander Kneepkens again in 2022, following her split with Philippe Dehaes. Mertens was assisted by Kneepkens, alongside Belgian team captain Kirsten Flipkens, during the United Cup in Perth. After her partnership with Dehaes ended in November, Kneepkens, who had previously coached Mertens for a period in 2022, stepped back into the coaching role.
Mertens confirmed the renewed collaboration, emphasizing its long-term nature. “This is not a temporary arrangement but a longer collaboration,” she noted. Mertens added, “I play at Tenkie’s academy, the Wilson Luxilon Tenkie Academy in Hasselt, and I work with Alexander and Seppe Cuypers. Seppe will also travel to Australia with us. I believe we have a good team. I worked with Alexander for a while last year and he accompanied me to a few tournaments as well.”
When asked about her decision to work with Kneepkens, Mertens highlighted his understanding of women’s tennis and his empathy. “Alexander is someone who understands women’s tennis. He is tactically very astute and very compassionate,” she explained. “I think that’s crucial because you spend more time with your coach than with your own family. It really needs to click, and I do have that feeling with him.”
In response to comments from various tennis analysts who suggested that her busy schedule, combining singles and doubles, might affect her singles performance, Mertens defended her approach. “I get asked that question a lot. But I view doubles as a positive thing. I can practice a lot of skills in doubles that will benefit me in my singles matches. I plan to continue doing both.”
Former Mertens coaches
In August 2022, Elise Mertens announced Philippe Dehaes as her new coach for a trial period running through the end of the year. This was the third coaching change for Elise in just over a year, after working with Robbe Ceyssens and Simon Goffin. They ended their partnership in November 2022.
Elise commented on her time with Dehaes, saying, “From a tennis perspective, I like to work hard on the details, but he didn’t align as much with that. He’s a wonderful person, and we never had any disputes. When you’re working with a coach, it’s almost a seven-day-a-week commitment, and you see your coach even more than your family, so it’s crucial that the relationship works. I’m not sure if I’m difficult to work with. I have high standards, but I believe that’s common among all top-tier athletes.”
Regarding their partnership, Dehaes explained, “Elise asked me for help until the season ends, and then we’ll reassess. After the US Open, we’ll evaluate how things went.”
Philippe Dehaes is a well-known Belgian coach who has trained some of the world’s top male and female tennis players. He has worked with players like Xavier Malisse, Christophe Rochus, and more. Between 2007 and 2009, he served as the technical director of the Justine Henn Tennis Academy and is currently the Co-director of YourTenniSchool.
Most notably, he coached Daria Kasatkina, who emerged as the champion of the 2018 Kremlin Cup, played two Grand Slam quarterfinals, and finished the year as the World No.10 and the top-ranked Russian player. However, his subsequent coaching stints with Monica Puig, Emma Raducanu, and Kaja Juvan did not yield significant results.
Elise Mertens has changed several coaches in her career. Before partners with coach Dehaes, for seven months she was coached by David Goffin’s brother, tennis coach Simon Goffin.
Simon Goffin was born in 1989 in the USA. He has been working for a year at the Kim Clijsters Academy where Elise Mertens trains. He started his coaching career on the circuit in 2016 alongside the German Andrea Petkovic, before coaching Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for two and a half years until March 2019. Pavlyuchenkova managed to win tournaments at Monterrey, Rabat and Hong Kong and reached World No.15 at the end of 2017 and Strasbourg International in 2018 under his mentorship.
He started training Mertens during preseason and in the period together she won hers fifteenth doubles title at Dubai Open, played finals in doubles at Birmingham Classic and Wimbledon Championship and regained her World No.1 ranking in doubles. In July 2022 they parted ways.
“I’m very grateful for his support and advice, but our different views on how to become a better player have proven to be too challenging. I wish Simon all the best and I’m sure he will find a new challenge very soon.” Mertens announced on Instagram.
From 2016 until few months at the beginning of 2018 and later from early 2019 until the end of 2021 she was coached by Robbe Ceyssens who also happens to be her emotional partner.
Robbe Ceyssens was born on 6th April 1993 in Belgium. He is a former tennis player who played on the ITF circuit and had a short career as a junior as well. He has since then turned to coaching; works at the Kim Clijsters Academy where in 2015 met Elise and started dating shortly after. He has been her coach in few occasions, but longest from 2019 until end of 2021.
Under his mentorship she began season 2018 by defending her title at Hobart International, and also winning it in doubles. Then she reached semifinals at Australian Open and became third Belgian to do that. Then she had some difficult weeks and hired new trainer.
From April 2018 for few months her mentor was her former coach at Kim Clijsters Academy, Rick Vleeshouwers.
Rick Vleeshouwers is 36 years-old Dutch tennis coach who works at Kim Clijsters Academy. During the period working with Elise, she won the double crown at Lugano Open, winning it both in singles and in doubles. Then she won Morocco Open in singles before she hired new coach.
Her third coach of 2018, since July, was German ex-tennis player Dieter Kindlemann
Dieter Kindlemann was born on 3rd June 1982 in Sonthofen, Germany. He is former professional tennis player. He reached his highest individual ranking on the ATP Tour on 26 July 2004, when he became World No.130. Dieter is a four time Challenger and one time ITF Tournament Champion. After his retirement, he served as Maria Sharapova’s hitting partner. Later, he joined the coaching teams of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Laura Robson, and Madison Keys, helping the American reach her first Grand Slam final in 2017.
“I think it was time for a change because you need somebody who has the experience already. Dieter is very experienced. I think he’s a really great coach. We understand each other on and off the court. I’m trying to go upwards and I think he’s a person who can help me.” said Mertens about her new coach.
Guided by Kindlemann she won 2018 Wuhan Open in doubles, and reached her highest ranking in singles as World No.12. This collaboration didn’t last long
“Moving forward means continually learning about how to build the perfect team. Not stopping until we get it 100% right. Thank you Dieter for your professionalism and passion.” wrote Mertens on her Twitter account at the end of 2018.
For her 2019 Australian Open campaign Mertens hired veteran Australian coach David Taylor.
David Taylor was born 13th October 1972 in Tumut, Australia. He began playing tennis at age of eight, was ranked in the Top 100 as a junior on the ITF and competed at the Satellite and Futures levels. He started coaching in 1992 and during his career was working with Martina Hingis, Maggie Maleeva, Alicia Molik, Maria Kirilenko, Ana Ivanovic, Samantha Stosur, Ajla Tomljanovic, Naomi Osaka, Jelena Ostapenko and Madison Keys and had great results.
With Mertens he didn’t have success at Australian Open where she lost in third round, but later he led Elise to her first premier title at 2019 Qatar Open.
Since March 2019, Mertens reunited with her boyfriend Ceysenss. She kept with good result and won Indian Wells and Miami Open in doubles alongside Aryna Sabalenka, completing the Sunshine Double and became just fifth double pair in history to achieve that. At US Open playing with Sabalenka reached the final with ease, dropping just one set along the way. She ended the season ranked No.17 in singles and No.6 in the World in doubles.
Season 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic was tough for every player, but when the tour resumed, she managed to play Prague and Linz finals and Cincinnati semifinal. At the end of the year she won Ostrava Open in doubles.
Mertens had tremendous start of 2021, by winning her sixth WTA singles title at Gippsland trophy. Later at Australian Open, she and Sabalenka won their second Grand Slam title as a team defeating Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the championship match. At Istanbul Cup she won another title in doubles this time with different partner, Russian Veronika Kudermetova. Mertens hit a huge milestone in her doubles career on 10 May 2021 by becoming the world No. 1 for the first time, joining Kim Clijsters as the second Belgian player to do so. The grass-court season brought her the Wimbledon title in doubles alongside Hsieh Su-wei. She became the first Belgian player to win three overall as well as different Grand Slam titles in doubles and kept her unbeaten record in Grand Slam finals intact. Then she won her second Indian Wells in doubles and finished the year as World No.1 in doubles. After all that titles in the period training togheter, Mertens and Ceyssens decided to part ways.
“Robbe and I have decided to end our coach-player partnership. It has been an incredible adventure together. No words can describe how much we have learned from each other. I wish Robbe the best for the future“. said Elise Mertens when they ended up working together.
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Elise Mertens’ achievements with different coaches
We have collected in the table the data about the trophies won by Elise Mertens under the guidance of various coaches.
|Coaches||Years of Completion||Titles|
|Alexander Kneepkens & Seppe Cuypers||November 2022 – ongoing||–|
|Philippe Dehaes||August 2022 – November 2022||2022 – Monastir|
|Simon Goffin||January 2022 – July 2022||2022 Dubai Open (in doubles)|
|Robbe Ceyssens||January 2016 – April 2018 March 2019 – December 2021||2017 Hobart International |
2018 Hobart International
2018 Hobart International (in doubles)
2019 Indian Wells (in doubles)
2019 Miami Open (in doubles)
2019 US Open (in doubles)
2020 Ostrava Open (in doubles)
2021 Gippsland Trophy
2021 Australian Open (in doubles)
2021 Istanbul Cup (in doubles)
2021 Wimbledon (in doubles) 2021 Indian Wells (in doubles)
|Rick Vleeshouwers||April 2018 – July 2018||2018 Lugano Open |
2018 Lugano Open (in doubles) 2018 Morocco Open
|Dieter Kindlemann||August 2018 – December 2018||2018 Wuhan Open (in doubles)|
|David Taylor||January 2019 – March 2019||2019 Qatar Open|