Coach-player relationship key on WTA Tour
After looking shaky in her loss to Venus Williams on Thursday night, Jelena Jankovic talked about how badly she needs a coach.
“I'm in negotiations to find a coach, to get a coach,” said Jankovic, the 2007 Family Circle Cup champion.
“I really want to work because it's difficult like this, not having anyone when I've gotta work on some technical things.”
The coach-player relationship is one of the ongoing dramas on the WTA Tour, with partners changing and deals brokered constantly.
Jankovic, a 27-year-old from Serbia, is between coaches and has lost her first match in three straight events.
“Having someone that keeps a different voice in your head, that can help you a little bit,” she said. “It's important, you know. I'm at the stage of my career where I'm getting older and I need little more help than maybe before, where I could do it at times alone, with a hitting partner.”
Nadia Petrova, the 13th seed and the 2006 Family Circle Cup champ, also tried to go it alone with just a hitting partner last year. She is now working with Ricardo Sanchez, former coach to Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki, the 2011 Family Circle Cup winner.
“It's very difficult, so much on your shoulders,” Petrova said of life without a coach. “You have to be in charge of everything. Sometimes you just don't have any energy and motivation to push yourself.”
Petrova, now ranked 35th, has 10 career singles titles and was ranked as high as No. 3 in 2006.
“When Ricardo came back in the picture and joined the team, we went back into working on my weapons,” said Petrova, 29. “It's very crucial for every tennis player to have this kind of person with you, because you do need some kind of guidance.
“You need the person who can just push you in the moment when you don't feel like doing it.”
Venus Williams, famously coached by her dad growing up, said the key to the coach-player relationship is simple.
“No. 1, get along,” she said. “I guess if you can learn from each other, that would be the perfect dynamic.”
Courtesy of Dove, more than 250 Girl Scouts from South Carolina will be on hand Saturday night for the Family Circle Cup's “40 Love: A Night of Empowerment” celebration.
Among other things, the celebration will honor the “Original Nine” of women's pro tennis.
The night will also include appearances by Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Martina Hingis and John McEnroe.
ESPN2's coverage of the Family Circle Cup includes a 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. time slot today, 1-3 p.m. for Saturday's semifinals and 1-3 p.m. for Sunday's championship match.
Crowds totaled 7,822 for Thursday's day session and 6,249 for the rain-shortened night session. That brings the total to 58,404 for the week.