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Sharapova relishing life with current coach

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Originally published on: 22/05/12 00:00

For the first 19 years of her tennis life Maria Sharapova had only two coaches – her father, Yuri, and, in her later years, Michael Joyce – but the world No.2 is now relishing her work with Thomas Hogstedt. The Swede became her coach at the start of last year, having previously worked with Li Na, and has helped the 25-year-old Russian return to No.2 in the world rankings.

Since Hogstedt started working with her, Sharapova has won titles in Rome (twice), Cincinnati and Stuttgart, and reached the finals at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open. Her appearance in the final at the All England Club last summer was her first at a Grand Slam tournament since the 2008 Australian Open.

“It was a difficult change for me because I was used to having the same voices for so long,” Sharapova said of her appointment of Hogstedt. “My father coached me since I was very young. He’s still very much part of my career to this day and goes to all my practices when I’m at home. Michael [Joyce] was also coaching me for seven years and when you’ve had a similar voice for so long you’re used to it.

“It’s great but sometimes if a new person tells you the same thing for some reason it feels like it comes to your brain a little bit differently and you react with a change. It’s not like Thomas came in and changed something in my game. He didn’t make me a clay-court specialist or anything.  I think it was more encouragement. He came in and believed in me.

“His goal was to get me back to the top and he brought a lot of energy to my practices. It was like we did new, fresh things. It was tough, no doubt.  When you know that something has worked for you in the past it’s tough to let go of that. It was just a step that I had to make.”

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