Maria Sharapova

Grand slam winner Maria Sharapova will be a prominent representative of the Russian Olympic team at the London Olympics.

Olympics - Previews - Day - 1

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia drinks water during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Maria Sharapova of the Russia Olympic tennis team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Maria Sharapova of the Russia Olympic tennis team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Olympics - Previews - Day - 1

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a forehand during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Olympics - Previews - Day - 1

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia smiles during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Olympics - Previews - Day - 1

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia serves during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Olympics - Previews - Day - 1

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova at ESPYs

The Championships - Wimbledon 2012: Day Five

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Maria Sharapova of Russia returns the ball during her Ladies' singles third round match against Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei on day five of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

French Open Women's Champion Maria Sharapova Of Russia Poses Getty Images

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: French Open women's champion Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen near the Eiffel Tower after her victory earlier in the day in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Russia's Maria Sharapova Poses AFP/Getty Images

Russia's Maria Sharapova poses with her trophy in the clockrooms after winning against Italy's Sara Errani the Women's Singles final tennis match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, on June 9, 2012 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / POOL SINDY THOMASSINDY THOMAS/AFP/GettyImages

Maria Sharapova Of Russia Plays Getty Images

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova Of Russia Kisses Getty Images

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia kisses the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen after the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova Of Russia Celebrates Getty Images

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in her changing room after her women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Sindy Thomas - Pool/Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova Of Russia Is Sprayed With Champagne By Her Physical Trainer Juan Reque (L) And Her Hitting Partner Getty Images

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia is sprayed with champagne by her physical trainer Juan Reque (L) and her hitting partner Cecil Mamiit (R) as she makes her way to her changing room after her women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Sindy Thomas - Pool/Getty Images)

Maria Sharapova Of Russia Plays Getty Images

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

TOPSHOTS Russian Tennis Player Maria Sharapova Poses With Her Trophy In Front The Eiffel Tower On June 9, 2012 In Paris, AFP/Getty Images

TOPSHOTS Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova poses with her trophy in front the Eiffel tower on June 9, 2012 in Paris, after winning the Women's Singles final tennis match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIKPATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GettyImages

Maria Sharapova Of Russia Celebrates With The Coupe Suzanne Lenglen In The Women's Singles Final Against Sara Errani Getty Images

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Konta turns to ex-Sharapova coach for 2018

Michael Joyce coached Maria Sharapova to grand slam glory and Johanna Konta hopes he can help her improve on a promising 2017.

Johanna Konta appoints Maria Sharapova's former coach Michael Joyce

Fortunes in sport can change quickly, as was underlined on Wednesday when British No. 1 Johanna Konta announced the hire of Michael Joyce, Maria Sharapova’s former coach. How strange to think that a starry-eyed Konta was hammered 6-2, 6-2 by Sharapova at Wimbledon two years ago. Now she is ranked No. 9 in the world, 51 places above her conqueror that day, and is able to attract the best-qualified coaches in the world. Joyce was a moderately successful player on the men’s tour, reaching a high point of No. 64. But his greatest achievements arguably came during the seven years he spent as Sharapova’s coach. She won both her hard-court grand-slam titles – one in New York, the other in Melbourne – during that period, while also climbing to No. 1 in the world. In her book, she describes Joyce as “a great coach and an even better friend”. That relationship ended in 2011, after “our practices lost their spark,” in Sharapova’s words. Since then Joyce has spent some time in a lower-profile role with Jessie Pegula – a prospect from New York State who has been held back by injuries – before signing with former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in March. That partnership never had a chance to establish itself, however, because of the custody battle that developed over Azarenka’s son Leo, preventing her from attending any events since Wimbledon. 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 on Wednesday in a statement. A post shared by Michael Joyce (@mjoyce73) on Apr 11, 2017 at 8:42am PDT “Michael is a fantastic coach with a great pedigree and I’m really excited to work with him,” said Konta, who has also parted company with regular hitting partner Andrew Fitzpatrick. “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.” As with managers in Premier League football, tennis operates a merry-go-round in which any recognisable figure who comes on the market usually finds a new employer before long. Konta’s discarded coach Wim Fissette has already signed up with Angelique Kerber, who finished the 2016 season as world No. 1. 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. Wim Fissette (left) has joined forces with Angelique Kerber Credit: Getty images Having split with Spain’s Esteban Carril at the end of 2016, she spent only one season with the Belgian Fissette. In that time, however, she won the Miami Open and reached the semi-final of Wimbledon – two feats that outstripped anything we have seen from a British woman since Virginia Wade 40 years ago. In character, Joyce is likely to be more outspoken than either of his predecessors, who were both softly-softly types. In 1995, the novelist and tennis enthusiast David Foster Wallace devoted 12,000 words to a detailed feature about Joyce the player (he was then ranked No. 79) and produced the following elegant observation. “What Michael Joyce says rarely has any kind of spin or slant on it; he mostly just reports what he sees, rather like a camera.  You couldn't even call him sincere, because it's not like it seems ever to occur to him to try to be sincere or nonsincere.” If Joyce remains as direct as he was then, it will be interesting to see how Konta relates to him during the lean patches that inevitably crop up in any tennis career. Meanwhile, the Australian Open confirmed on Wednesday that Serena Williams has entered January’s event – although this does not necessarily mean that she will attend. Azarenka, a two-time former champion, has not.

Johanna Konta appoints Maria Sharapova's former coach Michael Joyce

Fortunes in sport can change quickly, as was underlined on Wednesday when British No. 1 Johanna Konta announced the hire of Michael Joyce, Maria Sharapova’s former coach. How strange to think that a starry-eyed Konta was hammered 6-2, 6-2 by Sharapova at Wimbledon two years ago. Now she is ranked No. 9 in the world, 51 places above her conqueror that day, and is able to attract the best-qualified coaches in the world. Joyce was a moderately successful player on the men’s tour, reaching a high point of No. 64. But his greatest achievements arguably came during the seven years he spent as Sharapova’s coach. She won both her hard-court grand-slam titles – one in New York, the other in Melbourne – during that period, while also climbing to No. 1 in the world. In her book, she describes Joyce as “a great coach and an even better friend”. That relationship ended in 2011, after “our practices lost their spark,” in Sharapova’s words. Since then Joyce has spent some time in a lower-profile role with Jessie Pegula – a prospect from New York State who has been held back by injuries – before signing with former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in March. That partnership never had a chance to establish itself, however, because of the custody battle that developed over Azarenka’s son Leo, preventing her from attending any events since Wimbledon. 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 on Wednesday in a statement. A post shared by Michael Joyce (@mjoyce73) on Apr 11, 2017 at 8:42am PDT “Michael is a fantastic coach with a great pedigree and I’m really excited to work with him,” said Konta, who has also parted company with regular hitting partner Andrew Fitzpatrick. “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.” As with managers in Premier League football, tennis operates a merry-go-round in which any recognisable figure who comes on the market usually finds a new employer before long. Konta’s discarded coach Wim Fissette has already signed up with Angelique Kerber, who finished the 2016 season as world No. 1. 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. Wim Fissette (left) has joined forces with Angelique Kerber Credit: Getty images Having split with Spain’s Esteban Carril at the end of 2016, she spent only one season with the Belgian Fissette. In that time, however, she won the Miami Open and reached the semi-final of Wimbledon – two feats that outstripped anything we have seen from a British woman since Virginia Wade 40 years ago. In character, Joyce is likely to be more outspoken than either of his predecessors, who were both softly-softly types. In 1995, the novelist and tennis enthusiast David Foster Wallace devoted 12,000 words to a detailed feature about Joyce the player (he was then ranked No. 79) and produced the following elegant observation. “What Michael Joyce says rarely has any kind of spin or slant on it; he mostly just reports what he sees, rather like a camera.  You couldn't even call him sincere, because it's not like it seems ever to occur to him to try to be sincere or nonsincere.” If Joyce remains as direct as he was then, it will be interesting to see how Konta relates to him during the lean patches that inevitably crop up in any tennis career. Meanwhile, the Australian Open confirmed on Wednesday that Serena Williams has entered January’s event – although this does not necessarily mean that she will attend. Azarenka, a two-time former champion, has not.

Johanna Konta appoints former Maria Sharapova coach as Wim Fissette replacement

Johanna Konta appoints former Maria Sharapova coach as Wim Fissette replacement

Johanna Konta appoints former Maria Sharapova coach as Wim Fissette replacement

ERD01. Istanbul (Turkey), 26/11/2017.- Maria Sharapova of Russia signs memorabilia for fans after winning against Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey during the Teb Bnp Paribas Tennis Starts Series match in Istanbul, Turkey, 26 November 2017. (Estanbul, Tenis, Rusia, Turquía) EFE/EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

ERD01. Istanbul (Turkey), 26/11/2017.- Maria Sharapova of Russia takes selfies for fans after winning against Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey during the Teb Bnp Paribas Tennis Starts Series match in Istanbul, Turkey, 26 November 2017. (Estanbul, Tenis, Rusia, Turquía) EFE/EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

ERD01. Istanbul (Turkey), 26/11/2017.- Maria Sharapova of Russia signs memorabilia for fans after winning against Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey during the Teb Bnp Paribas Tennis Starts Series match in Istanbul, Turkey, 26 November 2017. (Estanbul, Tenis, Rusia, Turquía) EFE/EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

ERD01. Istanbul (Turkey), 26/11/2017.- Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates with the trophy after winning against Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey during the Teb Bnp Paribas Tennis Starts Series match in Istanbul, Turkey, 26 November 2017. (Estanbul, Tenis, Rusia, Turquía) EFE/EPA/ERDEM SAHIN