As the first slam of the year is almost here, players are hurrying to get some match practice under their belts, and wake up from the slumber of the off-season holiday spirit. While most of the top players have stuck with their coaching teams, there are a few who have made significant changes behind the curtains. Today we take a look at some of the fresh player-coach partnerships that have blossomed over the end of 2018. The Australian Open 2019, will be a testing time for the new partnerships and will give them an idea if things have been going in the right direction or not.
Angelique Kerber ended her partnership with her coach, Wim Fissette, even after having a decent 2018 season, in which she captured the title at the Wimbledon championships, and also made the second place in the WTA rankings. Kerber has announced her new coach as Rainer Schuttler, for the 2019 season. “I am really looking forward to the opportunity of working with Angelique during this phase of her career,” said Schuttler. “She has obviously shown what a great champion she is and I hope my experience can bring a fresh perspective to an already strong team.” Schuttler has been one of the big names in the German tennis history books, and is still the guy with the best result for a German male player in any grand slam.
Victoria Azarenka, has reunited with her former coach Wim Fissette, who after parting ways with Angelique Kerber, will look to push Azarenka to her best. Azarenka, after returning from a long hiatus, has been struggling to find her rhythm. Australian Open 2019, might just prove to be the tournament where Azarenka might hope to shine, after a dull period in her career.
After securing her position as the world number one on the WTA singles rankings, Simona Halep announced the news that she and her coach Darren Cahill would be taking a break from their partnership. The Romanian has decided that she will head into the Australian Open 2019, alone and without a coach. Halep is planning on surviving the first few months of the new season without a coach, which many have advised her not to do. After winning her first slam in 2018, it would be unwise for Simona Halep to experiment on her preparations. However, it does look like Halep has made her mind up and will be without a coach for the first slam of the year.
“The situation is that for the next three to four months, I don’t want to take the coach,” Halep said in an exclusive interview with the WTA Insider. “I’m not thinking about that. I just go with the flow and I’ll see how it works, kind of, alone.”
Sloane Stephens broke ties with her long time coach Kamau Murray who guided Sloane Stephens to her maiden Grand Slam title as well as her highest ranking on the WTA singles rankings. The former US Open champion will be under the wings of Sylvester Black, who has been a part of her coaching team since long. Although Murray is not with Stephens, the two are constantly in touch, and he still drops in a word or two, to advice the American.
The young Canadian, who hogged all the action when she came on to the tour, has been nothing but a fading force on the WTA tour ever since. However, the appointment of Michael Joyce as her new coach might revive her lost confidence. Michael Joyce, who has immense expertise in coaching, was also the previous coach for Maria Sharapova. Eugenie Bouchard has started her 2019 season on a high and will hope to carry the momentum into the Australian Open 2019.
Venus Williams ended her 11 year partnership with her coach David Witt, who has been with Venus Williams through multiple title victories. The decision apparently came as a surprise to Witt, and was a one-sided one, with Venus Williams pulling out of it. “Man, after 11 years, it’s over after a two-minute phone call”, said David Witt. “Wow. After 11 years. Part of you sits there and says that, and the other part says that it was a business decision, which I totally understand, and I respect her decision. I don’t even need to know why; it’s just her decision. It is what it is”, he said.
Venus Williams will travel without a coach for now, as she starts her quest for another slam title at the Australian Open 2019 in the next week.
Lucas Pouille has hired Amelie Mauresmo as his coach for the next few months. Amelie Mauresmo has been alongside Andy Murray, and is one of the few women coaches on the ATP as well as WTA roster. Pouille has struck a chord with her, and has said that he is confident of taking his career to new heights in the near future, with Mauresmo in his corner.
Agassi and DimitrovGrigor Dimitrov has attached Andre Agassi to his bandwagon, ahead of the Australian Open 2019. The addition of Andre Agassi will be an interesting pairing to watch out for, as the multiple grand slam champion might just be the missing ingredient in Dimitrov’s not-so-great career. The Bulgarian, who’s start was halted at the Brisbane International by the Japanese Kei Nishikori, has withdrawn from the FAST4 exhibition tournament, and has instead preferred to reach Melbourne headed of his scheduled arrival. he was seen hitting with Serena Williams a couple of days back, during a practice session.
Alexander Zverev, has hired Ivan Lendl as his new coach, and the results are already visible. The German had Lendl in his corner, as he won back-to-back matches at the ATP World Tour Finals against Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, to win the biggest title of his career. After starting his 2019 campaign at the Hopman Cup, Zverev has announced his withdrawal from Adelaide, citing a hamstring problem in his thigh. This puts question marks on his appearance at the Australian open 2019, after a spectacular end to his 2018 campaign.