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New coaches for Johanna Konta and Victoria Azarenka as WTA off-season rings the changes

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 7 Nov 2018
  • Victoria Azarenka has reunited with former coach Wim Fissette
  • Johanna Konta confirms Dimitri Zavialoff after split with Michael Joyce
  • More news from Elina Svitolina, Belinda Bencic, Maria Sakkari, Eugenie Bouchard and more
Johanna Konta and Michael Joyce, seen here during a training session in January 2018, have ended their coaching collaboration after less than a year (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Victoria Azarenka reunites with Wim Fissette while Johanna Konta confirms Dimitri Zavialoff in spate of WTA Tour coaching changes.

As always, the start of the WTA Tour off-season has brought a flood of coaching announcements as the stars of women’s tennis adjust their teams and start looking ahead to 2019. 

Johanna Konta: From Joyce to Zavialoff

British no. 1 Johanna Konta has confirmed that she will be working with Dimitri Zavialoff going forwards, after ending her partnership with coach Michael Joyce in early October. Veteran American coach Michael Joyce has worked with Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, but his time with Konta was not a success. The British player was ranked as high as world no. 4 in July 2017 after reaching the semifinals of Wimbledon but ended 2018 down at world no. 39 with a 28-23 win-loss record for the season.

French coach Dimitri Zavialoff, who has worked with Stan Wawrinka and helped Timea Bacsinszky break into the top 10, worked with Konta for a trial week at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. The British player made the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Daria Kasatkina and has confirmed Zavialoff as her coach for 2019.

Eugenie Bouchard brings Joyce on board 

Joyce has moved on to work with Eugenie Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist and former top-10 player currently ranked world no. 89. 

Victoria Azarenka reunites with Fissette

Former world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka will be working with Belgian coach Wim Fissette in 2019. 

Fissette has worked with top WTA Tour players including Kim Clijsters, Simona Halep, Konta and Angelique Kerber, whose successful 2018 season – which included winning Wimbledon and returning to the world’s top five – he oversaw. Kerber and Fisssette announced that they were ending their partnership ahead of the WTA Finals Singapore.

Azarenka and Fissette formerly worked together from February 2015 until May 2016, a period which saw Azarenka win the ‘Sunshine Double’ – capturing the Indian Wells and Miami titles back to back – before pregnancy ended her season and collaboration with Fissette.

Azarenka notionally returned to competition in June 2017 after giving birth to son Leo the previous autumn, but a custody dispute kept her almost completely off the tour until March 2018. The Belarusian has climbed from world no. 204 to world no. 63 over the course of the 2018 season but repeatedly struggled with injury and her season ended with a retirement against Camila Giorgi in Tokyo. 

Elina Svitolina commits to the course

Elina Svitolina with the WTA Finals Trophy  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
WTA Finals Singapore champion Elina Svitolina has confirmed Andrew Bettles as head coach in the wake of winning her biggest career title.

The Ukrainian, now ranked world no. 4, has had Bettles in her team for some time with the British man serving as hitting partner and travelling coach from 2016. Svitolina’s head coach was formerly Thierry Ascione of France but the two split after the US Open when Svitolina lost in the fourth round to Anastasija Sevastova. Bettles was Svitolina’s sole coach until the end of the season and presided over her run to the title in Singapore.

Petchey goes from commentating to coaching

Mark Petchey, former coach of Andy Murray, has gone from Sky Sports commentator to coach after Sky stopped broadcasting tennis in the UK, losing the rights to Amazon Prime.

Petchey worked with Murray early in his career before the two split in 2006 and has also worked with WTA players. He will be coaching Greece’s Maria Sakkari, the 23-year-old who finished 2018 as the world no. 41 after reaching the biggest final of her career at the Premier-level Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose in July.

Kiki Bertens boosts her team

After her successful 2018 season saw her win titles in Cincinnati, Charleston and Seoul and break into the top 10, Kiki Bertens is sticking with head coach Raemon Sluiter but has added another Dutch ex-player, Elise Tamaela, as part-time coach and travelling physiotherapist.

Samantha Stosur splits with Eagle

The 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur announced on Twitter that she is no longer working with fellow Australian Josh Eagle. The two have been working together for two years. The former top-10 player briefly dropped outside the top 100 earlier this season and ended 2018 at world no. 69 after losing her last six matches of the year.

Belinda Bencic ousts Platenik

Former top-10 player Belinda Bencic will no longer be working with Slovakia’s Vladimir Platenik. The Swiss 21-year-old was ranked as high as world no. 7 in February 2016 but a terrible back injury saw her ranking drop outside the top 300 in 2017. Bencic is currently ranked world no. 39 after reaching her first WTA Tour singles final for two years in Luxembourg, where she lost to Julia Goerges.

Neither Bencic nor Stosur have announced new coaches yet.  

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New coaches for Johanna Konta and Victoria Azarenka as WTA off-season rings the changes

Victoria Azarenka has reunited with Wim Fissette after the Belgian split with Angelique Kerber, while Johanna Konta has moved on from Michael Joyce to Dimitri Zavialoff as WTA Tour stars prepare for 2019 season

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