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Kerber reunites with former coach Torben Beltz

hannahwilks in News 28 Jul 2020
Angelique Kerber and Torben Beltz in 2016 (PA Images)

Angelique Kerber and Torben Beltz will be working together for the third time, while Johanna Konta will be working with Thomas Hogstedt.

As the hoped-for return of top-level tennis draws closer, with the Palermo Ladies Open – the first ATP or WTA event since early March – beginning on 3 August, there have been some interesting coaching moves among the top women.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Kerber has reunited with former coach Torben Beltz, according to a press release issued on Monday.
Kerber, currently ranked world no. 21, has a long history with Beltz. The pair first started working together when Kerber first turned pro in 2003 and Beltz was her coach throughout the German left-hander’s climb into the top 100, her memorable US Open semifinal run in 2011 and her rise into the world’s top five at the end of 2012. But they split in 2013 after a mediocre season for Kerber saw her slide out of the top 10 again.

Beltz was re-hired by Kerber in 2015, and he was her coach during the most successful season of her career so far. In 2016, Kerber – who had never made a Grand Slam final before – won the Australian and US Opens, an Olympic silver medal, reached the Wimbledon final and rose to world no. 1.

Kerber struggled to maintain that form during a 2017 season which saw her fail to defend any of her titles, miss out on qualifying for the WTA Finals and end the year outside the top 20, after which she and Beltz split.

Beltz went on to coach Donna Vekic while Kerber hired Wim Fissette, former coach of Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka among others. While working with Fissette, Kerber won her third Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in the summer of 2018 – but she and Fissette split in October 2018.

Kerber worked with Dieter Kindlmann in 2019, but it was a largely undistinguished season: She lost in the second round of Wimbledon, where she was the defending champion, and her best results were runner-up finishes at Indian Wells and Eastbourne. She started 2020 as the world no. 18.

While working with Beltz, Donna Vekic improved tremendously, going from outside the top 50 to a career-high world no. 19 in November 2019 after reaching her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal at the US Open. It was therefore a surprise when Beltz announced on social media that their partnership would be ending due to ‘different views in setting up the practice and tournament schedule for the restart of the tour’, and raised even more eyebrows when Vekic responded: ‘Well this is the first time I’m hearing of different views in practice and tournament schedules …?’

 

The split with Vekic, however, makes sense now that Kerber has announced the reunion. The German has not yet committed to playing the US Open or the clay-court events in Europe coming up over the next couple of weeks.

In other coaching news, British no. 1 Johanna Konta has ended her partnership with Stan Wawrinka’s former coach Dimitri Zavialoff due to difficulties in travelling together for the remainder of the season. The world no. 14 will be working with Thomas Hogstedt, a veteran coach best known for working with Maria Sharapova and Li Na.