Victoria Azarenka has hired Wim Fissette as her new coach.
The former world No. 1, who parted ways with coach Sam Sumyk after the Australian Open, has been practicing with Fissette for the past week and says it is working out very well. Sumyk, who worked with Azarenka for five years and during two Grand Slam title runs, is now coaching Eugenie Bouchard.
Fissette formerly coached fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters and, last year, Simona Halep. With Fissette in her corner, Halep finished 2014 ranked No. 3 after reaching the French Open final and WTA Finals. But the Romanian ended their relationship after the season, wanting to work with other coaches from her own country. The 23-year-old is now coached by Victor Ionita.
Azarenka’s friend and agent, Meilen Tu—a former player and the wife of Sumyk—says that Victoria is excited to be with Fissette.
“After five great years with her former coach Sam Sumyk, he has decided to move on and she wishes him well,” Tu said. “Vika is looking forward to a fresh start coming off of a year of injury and she is eager to focus on playing great tennis.”
Currently ranked No. 50, Azarenka will play Doha next week, a tournament she won in 2012 and 2013. Azarenka struggled throughout an injury-filled 2014, during which she broke up with the singer Redfoo. Azarenka admits that she was depressed after he ended their relationship.
Azarenka says she feels much better this year. In her first match of the season, in Brisbane, she lost 6-4 in the third to Karolina Pliskova after three hours of play. She then defeated Caroline Wozniacki in the second round of the Australian Open before falling to Dominika Cibulkova in the fourth round.
Two weeks ago, Azarenka played for Belarus in Fed Cup Group I play and won both of her matches, beating Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova and Great Britain’s Heather Watson.