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.”