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Report: Maria Sharapova drops Jimmy Connors after loss in Cincinnati

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Maria Sharapova crashed out in the opening match of her first tournament with Jimmy Connors as her coach. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova crashed out in the opening match of her first tournament with Jimmy Connors as her coach. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

One and done. After working together for just over a month, Maria Sharapova has reportedly fired Jimmy Connors after just one match.

The London Times reports Sharapova made the decision just hours after losing to an error-riddled match to Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3 on Wednesday in the second round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In the wake of her second-round loss to Michelle Larcher de Brito at Wimbledon last month, Sharapova announced that she parted ways with long-time coach Thomas Hogstedt and was pairing up with Connors. She subsequently 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.

Andy Roddick, now a host for soon-to-be launched Fox Sports 1, was the only player Connors coached before being hired by Sharapova. Roddick offered his thoughts on the quick-split via Twitter:

With the start of the U.S. Open less than two weeks away, 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. That means the four-time Grand Slam champion will head to Flushing having played just one match on hard court since Wimbledon.

After Sharapova’s loss to Stephens, Connors appeared ready to shrug it off and get back to work to help Sharapova prepare for the U.S. Open:

Then last night he sent a, in retrospect, amusing tweet revealing he was back home in California taking in a stiff drink. Note his Russian drink of choice:

  • Published On Aug 16, 2013
  • 41 comments
    maria_pashova
    maria_pashova

    In this match Connors showed that he doesn't know what coach means. It is not only in the practice courts, it is also during the matches. And to be a woman's coach is a completely different thing. He was so nervous that his player felt all that pressure. Sharapova meltdown was because of the strategy she was supposed to do. I watched that match and it was a comedy of errors. Sharapova - 65, Stephens - 54 I think. In the first set Sharapova was running all over the place, she was going for the rallies, not for the winners - she made only 4 winners for the entire first set. This is not her play but she executed it perfectly. In the second set the result was obvious - she was tired, she fought hard but dropping in energy caused her constant double faulting and errors. The third set was a complete meltdown because Sharapova couldn't go for this game plan and as a result she begun making basic mistakes and errors. As for Stephens - I like her play, she is very talented but in this match she was frightened from the name Sharapova, not the actual play and double faulted on match points. The match ended with unforced error.

    In the press conference Sharapova took full responsibility for her play and was willing to continue working with Jimmy. Something happened after that between the two of them. Over all I think it is the right decision for Maria Sharapova because obviously they didn't make a good team. Sharapova lost her first match with Thomas Hogstedt but she didn't fire him. So there must be something deeper than just this match.

    KeithJacobson
    KeithJacobson

    This is funny... one match and fire your new coach. Pathetic.

    MichaelHilton
    MichaelHilton

    Jimmy was a remarkable player...no question.  But all the equipment changes (improvements) dictate that virtually every stroke in the game is different to some degree.  He can't coach what he doesn't know, and knowing requires that it's part of HIS game.   I'm pretty sure it isn't. What he could coach is intensity and concentration, but she already has those features.  Retire, Jimmy.  Play some excellent club doubles.  Coach a high school team.  (I did that for nearly 30 years)

    Tom14
    Tom14

    Did Billie Jean King envision that her tour would be littered with such a group of head cases? 

    r.currier3
    r.currier3

    Only other thought on tennis coaches and who can make a difference....I am very impressed by whoever has been involved with Aga Radwanska's physical training and gamesmanship evolution.  Not only has that woman turned into a physical specimen; she has the most all-around interesting ground game of any woman in the sport at present.  She had a paddy-cake game several years ago; today, the woman has a first serve; can change up the pace/spin of her shots; can hit out with some of the sport's biggest hitters; is one of the best drop-shot makers in the game; and can bend down to ground level to hit the low ball.  Her trainer/coach deserve a lot of credit.  With Connors and Sharapova, we'll never know.

    r.currier3
    r.currier3

    That match against Stephens was such a mental meltdown....just more of the same from the string-bean, over-grown blond with nada a bust-line.  What has any coach of hers done to bolster and expand her game?  She plays exactly likely she played 10 years ago, a baseline to baseline, ground-stroke gunslinger....only her screaming distraction tactic has gotten louder and more obnoxious.  Not one refinement or embellishment... 
    How about a scream-off between she and Azarenka.....about the only competition she seems well suited for.

    craig1
    craig1

    Sharapova has made no fans after this hasty move. 

    I'm not a big Connors fan these days, especially after his recent details laden memoir, but the man certainly knows about the mental aspect of Tennis, which is something the diva has always had issues with. He will be considered one of the top competitors in this sport, of all time.

    Frankly, her cow going into labor shrieks will only be more irritating before, because now I'll recall her stupid moronic move!

    ICHUSE2
    ICHUSE2

    Stankapova strikes again! What a sucker Jimmy was!!!!! He should known better than to deal with her at all!!!! I hope she loses in the first round of the USO.....

    cdns211
    cdns211

    My guess is " an issue had arisen"...

    mjhellund
    mjhellund

    Connors probably tried hitting on her. His picture is in the dictionary next too "boor".

    dre
    dre

    You cant save everyone.  I feel that playing one match does not produce results.  It takes time and hard work.  I think she just wanted something too quickly and Connors told her like it is and she didnt want to hear that. 

    muser
    muser

    She's just about finished. Connors couldn't save her. 

    jessica4stein
    jessica4stein

    Vodka on the rock is so wrong. Now I know why their pairing didn't work out.

    MichaelC
    MichaelC

    Never thought too much of this union (gave it 6 months MAX) since the two didn't "fit" - Maria already possesses what Connors brings to the table, namely attitude, fitness, and mental fortitude. At this point, after all she's accomplished, Maria needs to tweak her game from a strategic standpoint - more variety, more net play, more subtlety ... and Connors just doesn't have that background.

    She needs a "real" coach, not some glorified name coach with next to zero experience actually COACHING elite players (just Roddick). But to cut him out after a month and a single match ... somewhat disrespectful, no?

    DavidHarte
    DavidHarte

    The fact that she's done so little and he's won so much makes her look ridiculous.

    But she's just another Anna at the end of the day: highlight commercials, ignore the lack of titles.

    riley8
    riley8

    Maybe he tapped it.

    topsport1
    topsport1

    beeezzzzzarrrre....will go down as one of the weirder footnotes in tennis history

    cleopatra209
    cleopatra209

    @craig1 you say shreiks! more like screams, like you are being murdered! jimmy must have been appalled. she was quiet in practice, then came out screaming like she was being murdered, he ran screaming from the stadium!!

    saveserves2371
    saveserves2371

    @nbaberry , that's  one of the dumbest things ever seen. Serena Williams doesn't take steroids  Steroids dramatically reduce breast tissue. But Serena Williams has the most womanly figure on tour - with voluptuous breasts! See youtube video:" Serena Williams Does the Splits." See what pops out at you.


    It is the flat-chested woman tennis pro who is the likeliest candidate for steroid use. Justine Henin even Looked like that terrible PED cheat, Lance Armstrong. They both had those small, wiry bodies with deceptively explosive power despite them. And Sharapova "worked with" Victor Conte, infamous PED lab owner, who talked about "working with" her On CAMERA!


    Serena Williams passed more than SEVEN rigorous drug tests just Last Year, one of her most dominant years ever. That's more than we can say for some Eastern European women pros we could name. Sesil Karantantcheva, anyone? Sesil Kararantcheva was Banned from pro tennis for Years for her PED use. The irony for ignorant racists stupidly pointing the finger at the Naturally hard-working Williams sisters? Sesil Karantantcheva, while Juiced to the GILLS, beat a Clean, honest Williams sister whose official ranking Unjustifiably Fell as a result!


    Moreover, Venus and Serena believe the human body is a temple. They would be the LAST people on tour to take that poison just for a mere "sports advantage."

     MG
     MG

    No doubt, but imagine her with giant treetrunk roid thighs too..ick.

    cleopatra209
    cleopatra209

    @nbaberry that is how ignorant people like you roll. why do you think that there are so many no breast  female tennis players like screamapova, stosur and others. them roids are coursing through their veins, completely overwhelming  their estrogen.  serena is all female. no testosterone/ roids there. she has the T and A to prove it. so, stop attacking her. everytime you do, i will bring up the no breast, high testosterone female tennis players, which number in the dozens.

    ICHUSE2
    ICHUSE2

    Straight ignorant....

    cleopatra209
    cleopatra209

    @jessica4stein he probably needed a stiff drink after listening to all that screaming. he couldn't believe that he had signed on as her coach!

    craig1
    craig1

    @MichaelC  It's actually amazing how stupid you are in regards to Tennis. You actually have the nerve to suggest that Jimmy Connors has nothing to offer.?  You have never picked up a racket? I'm pretty sure this is the case based on what little you said.

    bongturk
    bongturk

    @topsport1 she comes off looking like a real prima donna. she makes 62 unforced errors and somehow that is his fault? maybe he wanted her to do twenty laps after that performance and she had a commercial shoot to do.  Who would be desperate enough to want to take that job now? Well, if she gave someone a guaranteed contract, maybe.

    saveserves2371
    saveserves2371

    MG, Again, the most Noticeable change is not in the legs!  Steroids cause a Dramatic Reduction in Breast size in women. But Serena Williams has the most voluptuously womanly shape on the women's tour! Flat-chested women are the most likely steroid users. But I find it hard to believe that any top woman pro would risk it. Some women pros have already been Banned for Years for PED use. Sesil Karantantcheva, anyone?


    Serena has worked harder than her contemporaries - winning both Major Singles Championships AND Major Doubles Championships when they (Sharapova et al were only playing singles. And Serena has that wonderfully curvaceous musculature in the legs to show for it.

     MG
     MG

    no roid treetrunk leg serena...hahaha yer funny, she od'd long time ago.

    jiggyjay
    jiggyjay

    @JoshuaGibson @DavidHarte doesnt matter... trust me she is NOT the player that jimmy conners was ... dont get hung up on random "metrics" ... back then players didnt care so much for winning every slam 

    some of the greatest didnt even make the trip t o australia for assie open preferring to stay home for the holidays etc


    conners was a much better player than maria

    saveserves2371
    saveserves2371

    @ MG, .?!? Cleopatra is right so What the heck are you babbling about? "Tree trunks" don't have that kind of curvaceous musculature, either! Serena's legs are like some seasoned dancers' legs. See Britney Spears. And The player who most likely "Od'd" was poor Martina Hingis who was kicked out of tennis for cocaine use!


    Btw, look up steroid cheat, Sesil Karantantcheva. It is the Eastern European woman tennis  pro who was most likely on PED's! Sesil was banned from pro tennis for years After she "beat" a Clean, honest Williams sister whose official ranking Unfairly Fell as a result! Rabid racists need to realize how delusional they appear to Normal people who deal in Reality!

    JoshuaGibson
    JoshuaGibson

    @jiggyjay Connors won the Australian Open, so the fact that he didn't travel to play has no bearing at all on whether or not he won the career slam.  It was the French, which he  played many times, that he failed to win.  My point is not to claim she's the "player Connors was" but merely to scoff at the notion that she is some kind of pathetic player with a "lack of titles."