Maria Sharapova says her failed relationship with coach Jimmy Connors wasn’t a double-fault; only one of them did not live up to the parameters of the deal.
That person was Sharapova.
In an article in the New York Times, Sharapova blamed herself for the breakup with Connors after just one match.
“Jimmy came in at the wrong time and in the wrong place,” she said. “I think when he came in post-Wimbledon, I don’t think any coach could have succeeded in the frame of mind I had at that time. Because I was going to practice, and I knew I couldn’t serve, and I knew that there was a good chance I might not play the U.S. Open.
“As an athlete, that’s tough to digest. I was not fun to be around, and it was a tough position for him.”
Connors came on board right after Thomas Hogstedt resigned as Sharapova’s coach in July. The issue with both, Sharapova said, was schedule-based. That’s why she eventually hired former Monica Seles mentor Sven Groeneveld.
Of Connors, she said, “Even though he did commit to more weeks than I thought he could, it still wasn’t a full-time schedule,” she said. “And when I started looking at the options I had, which in the tennis world are not so large, and what I wanted to do moving forward, I thought Sven was going to be a good option.”
Sharapova made a similar announcement on her website about Hogstedt’s departure, as reported by SI.com.
“After almost 3 years of working together, Thomas Hogstedt and I decided to part ways,” the statement read. “Due to personal issues, he was not able to travel in the near future and we both agreed it was the right time to move our separate ways. I am very thankful for all his work, and wish him much success in the future.”
Sharapova said that she and Connors, a former No. 1 player in the world himself, remained in contact, telling the Times that she had “a tremendous amount of respect” for him.
She admitted her parting from Connors was awkward, but she would’ve been more uncomfortable staying in a working relationship she knew wouldn’t work.
“You have to believe in your thinking and what you feel,” she said. “If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, time goes quickly in the tennis world.”
Connors sent word through a representative that he did not wish to comment on the subject.
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