How Serena Williams' Dominance Has Sparked Recent Coaching Changes

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How Serena Williams' Dominance Has Sparked Recent Coaching Changes
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Serena Williams with coach Patrick Mouratoglou at the WTA Championships in Istanbul.

Serena Williams was recently named WTA Player of the Year for the fifth time. Coming off what could be considered one of the best years in the history of women's tennis, Williams talked about room for improvement.

"I have some areas where I can do a lot better for next year, and I look forward to it...Overall, I'll remember the wins, but I also want to learn from my mistakes so I don't repeat them," Williams told the Associated Press

She can do better? Better than 78-4? Better than going undefeated on clay? Better than a record $12,385,572 in prize money?

No wonder several top challengers have hired new coaches. Williams' dominance has sparked a rash of coaching changes.

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Paul Annacone, seen here coaching Roger Federer, has been hired to coach Sloane Stephens on a trial basis.

Postseason coaching moves are nothing new. What better time to reassess strategy? However, this year's coaching carousal seems fueled by a desire to figure out the "Serena situation." 

Players with a good game have realized whatever they were doing just isn't good enough. Therefore, the coaching carousal keeps spinning.

Maria Sharapova recently announced she's hired Sven Groeneveld

Sharapova got off to a good start in 2013. She won 36 of 41 matches and titles at Indian Wells and Stuttgart. Williams did not compete in either of those tournaments.

Sharapova returned to the French Open final to defend her 2012 title. However, Williams defeated her. After a second-round exit at Wimbledon, she axed coach Thomas Hogstedt. She hired Jimmy Connors and fired him after a loss to Sloane Stephens in Cincinnati. 

A four-time Grand Slam winner, Sharapova is probably not content with collecting also-ran accolades. She's banking on Groeneveld to help her solve the Serena puzzle. 

In November, Samantha Stosur cut ties with her long-time coach David Taylor and hired Miles Maclagan

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Thomas Hogstedt, seen here coaching Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon 2013, is now coaching Caroline Wozniacki.

Players seeking to win their first Slam also switched coaches. Caroline Wozniacki, a former No. 1, hired Sharapova's old coach, Hogstedt

Simona Halep, who had the best year of her career, announced a coaching change too. The underachieving Laura Robson hired Nick Saviano

Sloane Stephens hired Paul Annacone on a trial basis. Annacone split with Roger Federer after the U.S. Open. Stephens was one of only three people to defeat Williams last year. The two have reportedly been working together in Los Angeles.

If Stephens shows significant improvement, she may want to extend the relationship. Li Na hired Carlos Rodriguez on a trial basis last year. They continue to work together. It's been a productive partnership. Li reached No. 3, a career high.

Meanwhile, Williams continues to work with Patrick Mouratoglou, the coach credited with helping her become a more consistent player. 

Unlike her opponents, Williams has probably done more to elevate her coach's career than he has hers. 

 

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