Doesn’t it seem as though there have been a lot of changes, new coach-player alliances in 2017? More than usual?
There certainly were plenty of new and newish pairs at the French Open this year – most notably, of course, the new team of Novak Djokovic and Andre Agassi.
As well, the clay-court season brought Jelena Ostapenko together with Spanish player Anabel Medina Garrigues.
Medina Garrigues, 34, has been as high as No. 16 in singles and No. 3 in doubles. She hasn’t played since last August, but says she may not be done yet. She also is tournament director of an ITF event in Spain.
Not that Medina Garrigues could have had a major effect in such a short time. But the fact that her 20-year-old charge went and won the French Open on Saturday will give her coaching credibility a major boost.
Mom as coach, more or less
The interesting fact about that was that, over the off-season, Ostapenko was out looking for a full-time coach. Her problem – as is the case for many of the women on the WTA Tour, especially those whose parents are heavily involved in their careers – is that we’re told she didn’t want to pay the going rate for a quality coach.
Even Medina Garrigues is supposed to be a temporary arrangement. Can’t argue the results, though.
Here are some of the new pairings.
Helena Sukova and Katerina Siniakova.
This one isn’t new, but I don’t recall seeing Sukova around all that much at the Slams.
Elina Svitolina and Frenchman Thierry Ascione (Nicolas Mahut, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga) have been together since the beginning of the season. Svitolina also is listed as working with Gabriel Urpi.
Nick Kyrgios added Frenchman Sébastian Grosjean recently, after working with him a bit in Florida. Grosjean is based there, and so is Kyrgios’ girlfriend Ajla Tomljanlovic. No word on whether this one will continue.
American Jan-Michael Gambill is working with young countryman Jared Donaldson. Donaldson had been working with Phil and Taylor Dent, but added Gambill this year.
Kazahstan’s Yulia Putintseva added Frenchman Cyril Saulnier on a trial during the clay-court season. Saulnier was an associate coach for Genie Bouchard in 2016.
Ana Konjuh has been working with Zeljko Krajan, a fellow Croat, since February. Krajan has worked with Dinara Safina (when she became No. 1), Dominika Cibulkova and Borna Coric.
Russian veteran Elena Vesnina reconnected with former top-10 Russian Andrei Chesnokov at Roland Garros.
It seems to be an annual thing with them; here they are, same place – same court, actually, back in 2010.
It’s only June. No doubt there will be plenty more before the season is done and dusted.