Tonight at the Western and Southern in Cincinnati, Maria Sharapova returns to the hardcourts in her first match since a Wimbledon loss to Michelle Larcher de Brito. More noteworthy is that tonight will be the debut of Jimmy Connors who has signed on as Sharapova’s new coach.
The 60-year-old Connors coached Andy Roddick in 2008 with mixed results. Now he’ll oversee another former No. 1.
“His philosophy is there’s no substitute for hard work,” Sharapova told the Cincinnati Enquirer on Monday. “He certainly emphasizes that in every single practice.
“At this stage of my career, no one’s going to come in and change something drastically. But his experience and work ethic are priceless. It’s been nice.”
Sharapova had previously been under the guidance of Tomas Hogstedt from 2011 until Wimbledon where the split was announced.
A champion in 2011, Sharapova meets Australian Open semifinalist and American No. 2 Sloane Stephens this evening. She missed the earlier hardcourt events because of a hip injury.
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