Maria Sharapova hires Jimmy Connors as new coach after splitting with Thomas Hogstedt
The coaching shuffle comes after Sharapova lost in the second round at Wimbledon
Connors won eight grand slam titles before working with former world No. 1 Andy Roddick
It didn’t take Maria Sharapova long to find a new coach.
Two days after announcing she was ending her successful three-year partnership with Thomas Hogstedt, Sharapova said former great Jimmy Connors will be Hogstedt’s successor.
“I have known Jimmy for many years and we briefly worked together in 2008 just before the Australian Open,” Sharapova told her website. “I am really excited about our new partnership and looking forward to the upcoming tournaments.”
The coaching shuffle comes about two weeks after the U.S.-based Russian was upset by qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito in the second round at Wimbledon.
“Due to personal issues, (Hogstedt) was not able to travel in the near future and we both agreed it was the right time to move our separate ways,” the world No. 2 had said. “I am very thankful for all his work and wish him much success in the future.”
Read: Larcher de Brito sends Sharapova packing
Connors won eight grand slam titles.
Like Sharapova, he was a steely competitor who never gave an inch. Some of his most memorable battles came against fellow American John McEnroe.
Connors’ backhand is regarded as one of the best ever.
When his playing days were over, Connors kept a relatively low profile and mostly stayed away from tennis circles. That changed when he decided to work with a slumping Andy Roddick in 2006.
The move paid instant dividends for Roddick, as he reached the U.S. Open final two months later. Their association lasted two years, with Roddick saying he resigned.
Connors’ autobiography was released earlier this year.
It was under Hogstedt, a former touring pro from Sweden, that Sharapova completed her grand slam collection last year at the French Open.
The victory was sweeter for Sharapova because it was her first grand slam title after a shoulder injury that derailed her career. She lost to Serena Williams in the final of this year’s French.
Sharapova’s movement noticeably improved under Hogstedt – adding to her fierce ground strokes and intense desire to win.
But their last tournament together didn’t go as planned, with Sharapova slipping twice on the grass at Wimbledon against Larcher de Brito and suffering her earliest grand slam exit in three years.
The loss, however, allowed Sharapova to watch the end of boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov’s marathon five-set loss to Grega Zemlja.
Hogstedt left Li Na to work with Sharapova at the end of 2010, with the Chinese baseliner then reaching the final at the Australian Open while Sharapova crashed out in the fourth round.
Read: Sharapova takes swipe at Williams
Li, the French Open winner in 2011, has the same agent as Sharapova in Max Eisenbud.
Sharapova formerly worked with Michael Joyce and her father, Yuri.
Earlier this week, another former No. 1, Ana Ivanovic, severed ties with Nigel Sears, the father of Andy Murray’s girlfriend.