Many top players in the world have already made coaching changes ahead of the 2017 season. (Credit photo to Getty Images/aronaze)
The 2016 tennis season is all but over for the ATP and WTA Tour, and that means players are beginning their preparation for the 2017 campaign, and for many of them, that means finding a new coach.
In what could be a pattern or just a strange coincidence, a lot of top men and women players have decided to go in different directions with their respective coaches.
Here is a list of just some of the players who have switched coaches ahead of the 2017 season:
The two-time Wimbledon champion went through a couple of coaches in 2016. She ended the partnership with David Kotyza, her coach for seven years, in January and went without a coach until hiring Frantisek Cermak in April. On Thursday, Kvitova announced on Twitter that Jiri Vanek will be her coach in 2017. Vanek previously coached Karolina Pliskova and the two split up last month.
The Canadian announced on Wednesday that he will no longer be working with former world number one Carlos Moya, who was part of Raonic’s coaching team since January. Raonic had a breakout season in 2016, finishing the year with a career-high ranking of third in the world and reached his first career Grand Slam final at Wimbledon. Raonic works with Riccardo Piatti full-time, but he has yet to announce if he will be replacing Moya.
With Pliskova’s former coach Jiri Vanek now working with fellow Czech star Petra Kvitova, the U.S. Open finalist decided to hire Kvitova’s former coach, David Kotyza, for the upcoming season.
The American had arguably her best season in 2016, finishing the year ranked eighth in the world and qualifying for the year-end WTA Finals. But she decided to split with coach Thomas Hogstedt heading into next year. The two began working together earlier this summer.
The two-coach system became too much for the 25-year old Belgian and he announced he will be going back to one coach for the upcoming year. Goffin hired coaching consultant Thomas Johansson after the Australian Open in addition to his regular coach, Thierry Van Cleemput, but had problems balancing the two-coach system. He will continue to work with Van Cleemput.
The WTA’s Most Improved Player in 2016 will no longer work with Esteban Carril, who has been a part of her team for the last couple of years. Konta made her debut inside the top 10 this past year, becoming the first British woman to do so since Jo Durie in 1984. Konta has yet to confirm the split, but Carril did confirm it to BBC.
It will be interesting to see the effects, or lack thereof, these coaching adjustments have for these players, as well as the other players on tour who decide to switch things up as well. Having a new voice in one’s ear can be refreshing and make a difference, but is it more important for a player to have chemistry with their coach? It just goes to show you, though, that being a tennis coach for a pro player can sometimes be a short-lived gig.
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.