Struggling Maria Sharapova turns to Novak Djokovic’s former coach for help
Maria Sharapova has turned to Novak Djokovic’s former coach Riccardo Piatti as she attempts to arrest her alarming struggles.
The former world number one and five-time Grand Slam winner has managed to play just 12 matches so far this season, the latest coming in a first-round defeat to Anett Kontaveit at the Rogers Cup this week.
That defeat could see Sharapova slip outside of the top 100 players in the WTA rankings, which is a slide proving tough to address as she recovers from a persistent shoulder injury.
She, though, has taken action, seeking out Italian coach Piatti, who coached Djokovic as a teenager, in an attempt to inject some new ideas into her methods.
“I spent a few weeks in Europe working with Riccardo Piatti,” she admitted to the press in Toronta.
“[It] was really nice and just a different perspective from someone that didn’t expect me. I crashed his summer camp.”
“We all had a great time. I worked really hard, but I felt — really, I felt like I had fun at the end of it, which was really important.’
“He’ll be at the US Open, which will be nice. He looks after a few kids so, we’ll be together there.”
Sharapova hasn’t defeated a player ranked higher than 46 since February, and she admits that confidence is at a premium right now.
“I’m still building the confidence and my forms and that’s something that’s just going to come with time and with match play.
— WTA (@WTA) August 5, 2019
“Unfortunately, I just haven’t had that yet, so will just hopefully try to build on it.
“There’s never the perfect scenario. I’m going to be coming up against tough players, long matches, and there are always going to be tests. And I always have to play my best tennis no matter who I play.
“So it will just take time to build that confidence again, because I have struggled with it for a long time.”
Sharapova is next scheduled to play at the Western and southern Open in Cincinnati next week as she attempts to get her US Open preparations back on track.
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