World No. 3 Maria Sharapova has fired her coach, eight-time Grand Slam champion Jimmy Connors after just one match, a 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, loss to American Sloane Stephens in the second round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
The 26-year-old Sharapova, a winner of four Grand Slam titles, hired Connors last month after parting ways with Thomas Hogstedt, her coach for two and half years. That coaching change was made after Sharapova lost to Portugal’s Michelle Larcher de Brito in the second round of Wimbledon.
“It’s not the right fit for this time in my career,” Sharapova said in a statement.
Because of her schedule, Sharapova will head into the U.S. Open in less than two weeks with only one hardcourt match.
[Sharapova] withdrew from two U.S. Open lead-up tournaments in Stanford, California and Toronto, Canada. She cited a hip injury she picked up at Wimbledon, but the withdrawals also gave her a longer training block with Connors.. . .
Sharapova confirmed after the match that she would not take a wildcard into next week’s New Haven Open, and will instead return to Florida to train.
Jimmy Connors for his part seemed to be taking the news in stride.
On Aug. 7 he posted on Twitter:
Practice hard, work hard, train hard--- but nothing like playing the matches. Next week in Cincinnati--- stay tuned!!!
And then on Thursday, he wrote:
Back home in SB-- family,pups, and home cooking. Oh-- I forgot, and a vodka on the rocks.
Former world No. 1 Andy Roddick, a host for the soon-to-be-launched Fox Sports 1, poked fun of the sudden split on Twitter. Roddick was coached by Connors from 2006 to 2008.
Who took the under on a match and a half for Connors/Sharapova ?? If you did, congrats on your newfound wealth .... You smell terrific
It is unknown whether the Russian will hire another coach before the U.S. Open.