asheUS Open final 2006. Maria had just beaten Amelie Mauresmo in a tough semi-final and we had a quick turnaround for the final the next night against Justine Henin.Maria had played Henin and lost the previous five matches and she was pretty much dominating the WTA Tour at that point. Although the previous matches had all been pretty close it was very clear that Maria had to make a few changes. I remember having a late dinner and a few drinks with Yuri (Sharapov) and going over what Maria needs to do to give her, her best shot in the Final. Obviously most people know Maria's game plan is usually pretty simple but with the variety that Henin had she needed to change a few things. In the middle of talking Yuri all of a sudden says, "Have you talked to Dad?" "No, I'll call him in the morning," I replied. "Call him now," he said. "Trust me he's up watching tapes, your dad will come up with something!" Well I called my dad. Yuri was right he was up watching tapes of previous matches between Maria and Henin along with a bunch of other matches. Dad told me to call him in a few hours. My father loved the way Maria plays - her fight, intensity, never making excuses was everything my dad stood for. But one thing he really liked was her pace and how she can hit the ball on a dime. He said everyone is afraid of Henin's backhand, which was one of the most beautiful one-hand backhands a woman has ever hit. But she will never hurt you on the first one. With Maria's pace she's got to make her change grips. Lots of balls down the middle but if she can get her hitting one forehand, one backhand when possible it's where she makes her errors. He also said early in the match when Henin is pulled off the court Maria needs to come in and make her realize she can't just slice it back and get into the point. If she's going to take the U.S. Open she needs to be brave. Now of course a coach is only as good as their player and all credit to Maria she was brave and as usual, tough as nails and got the win. She ended up winning 17 out of 18 points at the net that match. Henin also had some crucial errors on big points because she never found her rythem with the pattern Maria was playing. She went on to beat Henin a few more times, beating her really bad in the quarterfinals of Australian Open the year Maria won. I'll never forget how proud my dad was of Maria and how happy he was, he really loved Maria and she my parents.