Sharapova, longtime coach take a break

Grunt Work, Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova failed to reach the quarterfinals of a major last season.
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Matt Cronin

Matt Cronin is a senior editor at Inside Tennis magazine and the co-owner of the award-winning


Former No. 1 Maria Sharapova and her longtime coach Michael Joyce have agreed to take a break from each other, has learned.

Sharapova and Joyce split a little more than a week ago at the tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, where she was upset in the quarterfinals by Greta Arn.

Sharapova is in Melbourne, Australia, with coach Thomas Hogstedt, whom she hired during the offseason to work with her and Joyce.

Sharapova and Joyce were together six and a half years, and he coached her to two Grand Slam titles, including the 2008 Australian Open. They became close friends during the period, but their coach-player relationship began to get stale last season, when Sharapova failed to reach the quarterfinals of a major.

Sharapova is happy with Hogstedt, whom she met in Florida when he was working with Tommy Haas. Hogstedt also coached China's Na Li last year to the semifinals of the Australian Open.

“He sticks to his job,” she said. “He's out there to try to make me better in different aspects of the game. I think that his experience can definitely help me, a new voice. I worked with Michael and my dad for so many years, I think it's just really positive to bring someone in.”

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