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Ivanovic targets full-time coach after Gunthardt split


 

Originally published on: 02/11/10 10:37

Former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic admits that her need for a full-time coach is the reason for her split with Steffi Graf’s former mentor Heinz Gunthardt.

The 22-year-old Serb, who slipped to No.65 in the world this July, announced she would be parting company with the 51-year-old Swiss despite a recent upsurge in form that has seen her climb back to No.24 in the singles ladder.

“I’m very grateful to Heinz for all his hard work, and for sharing his knowledge with me,” Ivanovic said in a statement. “We had nice success together and we definitely made improvements to my game.”

Semi-final runs in Brisbane and Rome were the only notable results Ivanovic could muster in the first half of the season, but news of her split with Gunthardt comes after an encouraging spell of form.

Ivanovic reached the last four in Cincinnati in the build up to the US Open and has continued to improve her hard court play since, reaching the quarter-finals in Beijing – before eventual champ Caroline Wozniacki blunted her charge – and winning her first title in two years at the Generali Ladies Linz in Austria.

But with Guntdhardt divvying his time between coaching the Serb and his duties as a television commentator, Ivanovic felt a change was necessary.

“Looking ahead, I really need a full-time coach who is with me at all tournaments and during training periods,” admitted Ivanovic. “Heinz has family and other obligations, which I fully respect, so he is unable to give me the kind of commitment I am looking for.”

Gunthardt, who coached Graf to 12 of her 22 Grand Slam titles, was complimentary of his former charge.

“It’s been a real pleasure working with Ana. She’s got lots of talent and I feel in the last few months the hard work that we have put in started to pay off. If Ana feels she needs a coach at her side full-time to be able to further improve, it cannot be me.

“I wish her all the best and I will be supporting her.”

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