Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Johanna Konta appoints Maria Sharapova's former coach Michael Joyce

Johanna Konta appoints Maria Sharapova's former coach Michael Joyce

Johanna Konta has confirmed a big-name signing as her new coach, as befits a player ranked just inside the world’s top 10.

Michael Joyce was a moderate player on the men’s tour, reaching a high point of No 64, but he made his name by coaching Maria Sharapova for nearly seven years at the high point of her career.

During that successful period, which extended from 2004 to early 2011, Sharapova won both her hard-court grand slam titles – in New York and Melbourne – while also climbing to No 1 in the world.

Konta and Joyce – who is a 44-year-old Californian - had already been spotted training together at the All England Club, and she made the news public today in a statement.

“Michael is a fantastic coach with a great pedigree and I’m really excited to work with him,” she said. “Our first tournament together will be the Brisbane International [in the first week of January] and the plan is for Michael to travel with me full time through 2018.”

Joyce will be aware, however, that these positions can be insecure. Konta has parted company with her coach at the end of each of the last two seasons, despite some major achievements in both years.

Having split with Spain’s Esteban Carril at the end of 2016, she spent only one season with the Belgian Wim Fissette. In that time, however, she won the Miami Open and reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon – two feats that outstripped anything we have seen from a British woman since Virginia Wade 40 years ago.

“2017 has been amazing,” said Konta in her statement. “But I feel like there is so much more to come.”

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