Sharapova, longtime coach take a break

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

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.”