Maria Sharapova Talks About New Coach Jimmy Connors
by Tom Gainey | August 13th, 2013, 10:20 am

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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10 Comments for Maria Sharapova Talks About New Coach Jimmy Connors

The Great Davy Says:

Your Great Davy demand to get the fact straight. Ever mug know the old man coaches Roddick in the 2006. The strongest era of tennis.

grendel Says:

Exactly why is Sharapova taking on Jimmy Connors as coach? You can’t help suspecting that being a mega celebrity herself, she feels only someone with an equivalently huge reputation is equipped to give her what she wants. This seems to me a mistake. Sharapova’s celebrity is based on fantasy at least as much as reality. She is, I believe, the highest paid sportswoman in the world. Plus she is photogenic. All this is silly flim flam.

What is the reality? Well, she is the 2nd or 3rd most successful female tennis player on the planet. Not bad. No doubt she dreams of being the best, and Sharapova is the type of whom one might say that to dream is to command. Just throw some loot at the problem.

But actually, it is not really a problem. Serena Williams is just better, much better than Sharapova. That’s how it is.

SG1 Says:


You’re right on the money!

SG1 Says:

Not that I think it would make a difference, but if Maria was looking at a potential coach, Chris Evert would seem like the logical choice. She faced a very similar foe to Serena in her time. Martina was a much better athlete than Chris and went on a dominating run against her. However, Chris eventually found a way to make the rivalry more compelling again.

The problem in the Maria-Serena rivalry is that they essentially play the exact same game. All of Serena’s strengths are a little better than Maria’s. Chris’ strengths were different than Martina’s so there were things she could do mitigate Martina’s athleticism.

SG1 Says:

I wonder if, being American, Chris would consider coaching a non-American. She’s always seemed quite patriotic to me.

Anna Says:

Well, that’s true for now, but I’m pretty sure Sharapova isn’t planning on hanging up her racquet soon (at age 24), where as Serena most likely will begin to lose ground in another couple years. I believe there’s a 5-6 year age difference, much like Rafa and Roger. As she says above, at this point of her career she doesn’t need anybody to make a lot of changes tennis wise, but someone with the actual knowledge and experience of playing championship tennis to keep her motivated and on point. Who better than Jimmy? On the other hand I wish she had a mind set more like Nadal, that is willing to make changes in her game to better her tennis. I can see Maria being number 1 again though at some point in the future, and I doubt it will cost her much at all in terms of loot.

grendel Says:

“On the other hand I wish she had a mind set more like Nadal, that is willing to make changes in her game to better her tennis.”

But Nadal is a great athlete who has the ability, not just the willingness, to adapt. It seems to me that Sharapova has wrung every little bit out of the repertoire which nature has given her. That’s impressive, but it constitutes a natural cul-de-sac.

Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

I think Grendel has it spot on,Maria is a great player against everyone else,its just that when she plays Serena she looks ordinary,trouble is she does the same to every other player,only Vika at her very best,or the Stosur that won the USO in 2010,the Lisicki that beat her at Wimbledon has much of a chance IMO.

josh Says:

Not sure of Connors can help her beat Serena. Maria’s got the game, she needs help with her mental toughness against Serena. I guess that’s probably the most important aspect of tennis, you can have the talent, but if you doubt yourself just a bit, you start hitting errors and double guessing yourself. Don’t think Connors can get her over the hump.

Nadalista Says:

Apparently Maria has fired Connors.

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