By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta appoints Michael Joyce as her new coach heading into 2018
  • Formerly worked with Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka
  • Three thoughts on the appointment
LONDON, UK – British No. 1 Johanna Konta confirmed she will be working with Maria Sharapova‘s former coach, Michael Joyce.

 

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As expected, British No. 1 Johanna Konta confirmed the appointment of Mike Joyce as her coach, heading into the new season. Joyce is a hardened veteran, having coached Maria Sharapova from 2004-2011, and last year worked with Victoria Azarenka as she made her return to competition following the birth of her first child.

However, Azarenka’s continued custody issues have seen her unable to travel to compete, and Joyce has been snapped up by Konta as her third coach in as many years.

After a breakthrough year in 2016, which saw Konta make the Australian Open semi-final, and claim her first WTA title in Stanford, she split with Esteban Carril, and under Wim Fissette she won two more Premier titles in Sydney and Miami, with the latter being her biggest title to date.

However since reaching the Wimbledon semi-final, not to mention a career high of World No. 4 in the summer, her form has taken a surprising dip. She finished the season with just two wins after losing to Venus Williams at SW19, and after a five-match losing streak, with a berth in Singapore for the WTA Finals once more on the line, she called time on her season after struggling with a foot injury.

In a statement (reported by the WTA), she said: “I’m delighted to confirm that Michael Joyce will be joining my team for 2018.

“Michael is a fantastic coach with a great pedigree and I’m really excited to work with him. 2017 has been amazing but I feel like there is so much more to come.

“Our first tournament together will be the Brisbane International and the plan is for Michael to travel with me full time through 2018.”

 

Britwatch Brainstorm – Three thoughts on the Konta and Joyce partnership

  • There is no doubt that Joyce is an experienced pair of hands – under his guidance Sharapova won the US Open (2006) and the Australian Open (2008) and reached the World No. 1 ranking, and in fairness he did not have much time to get going with Azarenka this year.
  • In the past Konta seemed to need coaches who were calm, measured and good buy-ins to her process-led approach. By her own (actually quite hilarious) admission she descried herself off the court as ‘high maintenance’ and perhaps this triple shift of coaches might indicate that. Joyce seems to be a pretty no-nonsense kind of guy but maybe this is what Konta needs to harden up.
  • Towards the tail end of the season, it was almost as though she had lost the ability to battle back through adversity. Where in 2016 she was accustomed to coming back from a set down to scupper higher seeds, now she was the hunted and it did not sit well.
Konta is scheduled to play Brisbane and Sydney, where she is defending champion.
The Brisbane International takes place between 31 December 2017 – 7 January 2018.

 

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