American Sloane Stephens officially announced yesterday that she and coach Paul Annacone have split.
“Based on the conversations Paul and I had after Wimbledon, we both feel like it would be a good idea for me to have a fresh start leading into the summer hardcourt swing,” said Stephens who didn’t name an immediate replacement. “I’ve learned a lot over our past eight months together and now just need to meld them into my long term plan. Paul is one of the top coaches in the world and will remain a close friend and confidant. I can’t thank him enough for his time and continued support.”
Added Annacone: “Sloane and I had a lot of good things happen but just couldn’t get the desired consistency. And since we agreed that our situation was causing doubt and confusion in Sloane’s mind, I really wanted her to find clarity leading into the U.S. Open. This is why a change at this juncture made sense.”
The 21-year-old Stephens has struggled this season. After reaching a career-high No. 11 last fall, Stephens has slipped to a current ranking of No. 22. And a new batch of American stars like Taylor Townsend, Alison Riske and Madison Keys are moving up the ranks ready to overtake her.
This year Stephens reached the fourth round at both the Australian and the French, but stumbled losing in the first round at Wimbledon, her earliest exit ever at a Slam since her first appearance at the 2011 French Open. She also continues to fall apart in non-Slam WTA events.
Stephens, who is currently competing in World Team Tennis, will return on the WTA next month in Montreal. She has never won a WTA title nor made a final.
In addition to Stephens, a partnership that began last November, the 51-year-old Annacone has been the coach of Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Tim Henman. He presently serves as a commentator on the Tennis Channel.
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