Tags: maria sharapova | jimmy connors | tennis | coach

Maria Sharapova Fires Jimmy Connors; Tennis Star Axes Coach After Loss

Image: Maria Sharapova Fires Jimmy Connors; Tennis Star Axes Coach After Loss

Monday, 19 Aug 2013 07:13 AM

By Clyde Hughes

Women's tennis star Maria Sharapova has fired eight-time Grand Slam champion Jimmy Connors after one match, according to reports based on statements from both Sharapova and Connors.

The London Times' Neil Harman, calling the paring of Sharapova and volatile Connors an "unlikely liaison," reported Friday that the two had only a few practice sessions before Sharapova fell to Sloane Stephens (2-6, 7-6, 6-3) in the second round of the Western & Southern Open last week.

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"It’s not the right fit for this time in my career," Tennis.com reported that Sharapova said in a statement emailed to the website.

Tennis.com wrote that Sharapova jettisoned coach Thomas Hogstedt after her second-round loss at Wimbledon. Sharapova worked with Connors briefly before in December 2007 before the Australian Open while she was with coach Michael Joyce, stated Tennis.com.

According to Sports Illustrated, Sharapova, a former No. 1 ranked women's player, withdrew from two U.S. Open lead-up tournaments in Stanford, Calif. and Toronto after signing on with Connors, giving them more time to train together.

The apparent rocky relationship could be traced on Twitter, per Sports Illustrated.com, with Connor writing on Aug. 13 after Sharapova's loss to Stephens: "Every good round starts with a bogey — Not the start we wanted, so back to work tomorrow."

Things changed by Thursday, with Connors tweeting: "Back home in SB — family, pups, and home cooking. Oh — I forgot, and a vodka on the rocks."

That's in contrast to Sharapova's comments to Tennis.com after the Stephens' loss, where the Russian tennis player gave no hint of trouble brewing between her and Connors.

"It's great to have his support," Sharapova said, wrote Tennis.com. "I'm enjoying being part of his experience and him, just the understanding of certain situations. He's been there, done that. It's just nice to have. But when you're out on the court, if it gets to 5-all or 6-all in the third set, you're worrying about you and your opponent and, to be honest, not so much what's around you or your coach or the crowd."

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Tennis.com said it was Sharapova's father and former coach Yuri Sharapova who made the call to Connors telling him he was out as his daughter's mentor.

Related stories:

Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams Wimbledon Tennis Feud Smolders

Marion Bartoli Retires From Tennis Citing Rigors of the Sports

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