Maria Sharapova hires Jimmy Connors as new coach

Shane Bacon
Busted Racquet

The disappointing season for Maria Sharapova might soon turnaround thanks to her announcement that a new coach would be taking over.

Sharapova announced on Friday that she would be parting ways with Thomas Hogstedt, her coach of three years, and a day later already had a former Grand Slam champion lined up to help improve her game.

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Jimmy Connors, the eight-time Grand Slam champion and former coach of Andy Roddick, is going to take full-time duties with the 26-year-old. The two have worked together for short stints in the past, but never on a full-time basis and Sharapova seems excited about the future.

"I am happy to announce that Jimmy Connors will be my new coach," Sharapova announced on her website. "I have known Jimmy for many years and we briefly worked together in 2008 just before the Australian Open. I am really excited about our new partnership and looking forward to the upcoming tournaments."

This season has been an interesting one for Sharapova. A semifinals loss to Li Na at the Australian Open was tough, but the Russian star did card two victories before heading to France and making it to the finals at the French Open. There Sharapova lost in straight sets to Serena Williams, but was hopeful to make a run at Wimbledon before getting upset in the second round by Michelle Larcher de Brito.

Her second round loss at Wimbledon was the earliest Sharapova had been bounced at the grass major since 2009, so a change seemed inevitable, especially when Hogstedt said he wouldn't be traveling as much with Sharapova in the near future.

Connors helped Roddick quickly after taking over as coach for the American in 2006. Roddick made his second U.S. Open final ever that year, but couldn't get past Roger Federer, who beat him in four sets.

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