Great Britain’s Laura Robson has decided to hire American Jesse Witten as her traveling coach and hitting partner, and employ Nick Saviano as a coaching consultant.
TENNIS.com has learned that Robson tried to hire Australian coach Mark Woodforde to coach her, but the two couldn't come to terms financially, as he apparently asked for too much money.
The 19-year-old Robson may look to hire another coach in the future but will stay with this arrangement through at least the 2014 Australian Open. Even if she does add another coach, he or she will still consult with Saviano.
TENNIS.com has also learned that Robson has hired fitness trainer Mark Wellington to travel with her full time. Wellington has previously worked with Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka.
Some reports, including the Daily Mail, had it that Robson had hired Saviano as her head coach and would split his time with her best friend, Eugenie Bouchard, but the Canadian player said on a Toronto radio program (The FAN 590) that Saviano would function as her head coach and would travel with her to all the tournaments.
“Any player can go and train at his academy and I think she’s training there now and that's how he operates and that's fine with me. But on the road he’s only going to be coaching me,” said the 19-year-old Bouchard, who was just named the WTA Newcomer of the Year after finishing the year ranked No. 32.
The 45th-ranked Robson has been without a coach since parting ways in October with Miles Maclagan, who is now the coach of Samantha Stosur.
Witten has apparently retired from playing after competing in Futures and Challengers most of this year and ending the season ranked No. 662. The former University of Kentucky standout reached a career-high No. 163 in 2010. He does not have a lot of coaching experience, but is considered to be a good hitting partner with a lot of coaching potential.
Robson has worked on and off with fellow left-hander Saviano since she was a junior, around the same time that Bouchard, American Sloane Stephens, and Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig all worked with him. Robson will train at Saviano’s academy for at least six weeks during this off-season.
After reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon, Robson reached a career-high No. 27 ranking in July, but has since slid to No. 45. She will begin her 2014 season in Auckland.