Has Maria Sharapova Already Fired Jimmy Connors After One Match?
by Tom Gainey | August 16th, 2013, 9:23 am

The partnership between Maria Sharapova and new coach Jimmy Connors may not have lasted long. According to the London Times, after losing Tuesday night to Sloane Stephens in the second round at the Western and Southern in Cincinnati, Sharapova promptly fired Connors in his coaching debut with the Russian.

Earlier this week Sharapova sounded hopeful about having Connors aboard.

“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.”

Clearly something changed and the ice queen Sharapova wasted no time firing the legend. With two very large personalities, it was an odd pairing from the start. In our poll at the time just 30% of you thought it was a good hire.

Sharapova lost to Michelle Larcher de Brito in the second round at Wimbledon in June which led to the firing of longtime coach Tomas Hogsted, then hired Connors a month ago. Because of a hip injury she was unable to play until this week in Cincinnati.

There is no official word from Sharapova on the story. The former No. 1 is not scheduled to play again until the US Open in 10 days.

UPDATE: This has now been confirmed

And Andy Roddick, who worked with Connors before, gave his response:

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17 Comments for Has Maria Sharapova Already Fired Jimmy Connors After One Match?

Tennis Fan Says:

Probably she had a modeling photo shoot and Jimbo wanted her to practice. Anyway I doubt she could grunt on her serve as well as he could. Also he takes away abit from her spotlight too.

josh Says:

Not surprised by this. Maria has the talent, but no mental toughness. She needs a coach that can help her overcome her mental mistakes and doubts. Connors was never going to be able to help her with this.

Polo Says:

Au contraire, josh. Maria has mental toughness but not a lot of talent. She is all power shot and power scream.

Polo Says:

By the way, why would anyone hire Jimmy Connors as a coach? Has he coached anyone successfully? He was with Andy Roddick once and the only thing it did was hasten Roddick’s decline.

grendel Says:

Maria Sharapova is a ridiculous prima donna, and hiring Connors is a characteristic idiocy. But she has oodles of talent. She doesn’t have great variety,but if del Potro is talented, if Berdych is talented, so is Sharapova. She is a phenomenal striker of the ball.

metan Says:

All melted into one, Sugarpova. Have any one tried it?. Yummy!.

Sorry Tom Gayney, out of topic.

RZ Says:

I’m guessing it’s a personality thing. Maybe she didn’t like his reaction to her loss, because one match typically isn’t enough to say something is/isn’t working. Plus she got off to a really good start in that one match.

roy Says:

truly, connors is a genius coach. he took andy roddick and tried to make him a vintage net-rusher, coming in on big loopy forehand approaches.
it worked great. check out the oz open match with federer where roddick unveiled this new genius tactical approach: kamikaze volleyer!
the biggest serve in the game lost a set 60 on hard court as federer just smacked easy pass after pass.

yes, roddick and sharapova are so smart though, right? i mean roddick’s got that awesome iq and his stripper wife is even smarter we’re told! and sharapova is a self-declared renaissance woman.

roddick was so smart he bought what connors was selling because connors was a top tennis player in a different era with no coaching experience. so why question anything.

sharapova, smart as she is, realised not only did connors invent the kamikaze netrush, he must be a great coach because he was a top player from a different era who worked part time with one player once.

Polo Says:

Roddick hired Connors as a coach with the ultimate goal of winning a major and beating Federer. Failed on both counts.

Jack Lewis Says:

Having a keyboard without a shift key would make you bitter too.

SG1 Says:

For a period of time, Roddick did play better with Connors as his coach. It’s not fair to blame Connors for Roddick losing to Roger at the USO and the AO. Roddick, like Sharapova, had some glaring issues in his game. Federer, like Serena, didn’t.

By the time a player has made it to the tour there isn’t much a coach can teach them in terms of stroke fundamentals. IMO, the job of a coach is to look at the opponents and see what can be exploited and what tactics should be used.

Jimmy was as smart a player as has ever played the game. He could make just about any match competitive. And if he couldn’t, his opponent was probably playing out of their mind.

I agree with Grendel. The issue isn’t Connors. It’s Sharapova. I don’t think Connors can help her beat Serena. I do however believe he can help her to beat just about everyone else. And Sloane Stevens is no slouch. On any given day, she can beat anyone with that game of hers.

Ben Pronin Says:

Why is Connors getting so much hate?

Polo Says:

It is not hate for Connors per se. I am just baffled that somebody will attribute the term “genius coach” when he has not done anything to earn such attribute. Connors as a “genius player” I would have no problem with.

Bonnie Says:

I don’t understand why people think it is Connor’s fault that Sharipova lost. She is the one who didn’t play well enough to win. Not Connors fault. Marie has to take responsibility for herself.

Dan Martin Says:

Bonnie I agree coaches can’t make or miss shots

Faleye o kehinde Says:

Sharapova said it only few days ago that there’s no coach in the world that can impart any drastic changes to her game at this juncture of her career,Yes, she should simply accept her own weaknesses rather than blaming Connors. Connors is right by his philosopy that no subtitute to hard work, period

josh Says:

@Polo, very good point. Maybe she doesn’t have much talent and mental toughness! If she had mental toughness I feel she would be able to at least will herself to wins against Sloane and maybe even the likes of Serena. Not sure which direction she’ll go now.

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