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Spate of changes creates "tough environment" for WTA coaches
It also reflects that players perhaps now do not take "as much responsibility."
Published Apr 11, 2019
Veteran WTA coach David Taylor, who is about to start working with his fifth player in two and a half years, says his job is tougher because of frequent coaching changes at the top of the women's tour.
Taylor will begin to guide Daria Gavrilova, having also recently worked with Jelena Ostapenko, Naomi Osaka, Madison Keys and Elise Mertens. Previously, he was the longtime coach of Samantha Stosur and Ana Ivanovic.
In an interview with TennisSmash, the Aussie coach noted the game has become more lucrative and players now have bigger teams.
"Prize money has dramatically increased in women's tennis in five to 10 years. And I really think there's a lot more vested interests in the women's game. I think that's got a big part to do with the change," he said.
"There are a lot of other people involved—parents, managers, federations, whatever. There's a lot of external influences that probably were not there before."
According to Taylor, players were previously more likely to stick with coaches who helped them climb the ranks. By contrast, several successful partnerships have recently finished—Osaka and Sascha Bajin, Sloane Stephens and Kamau Murray, Angelique Kerber and Wim Fissette, Venus Williams and David Witt, and Simona Halep and Darren Cahill.
"But now the top players are really changing quickly, especially when they're having success, which is hard to understand," he said. "I do not like it—I'm someone who's quite structured and likes stability. So for me it's a tough environment to work in now.”
Coaching requires consistency and repetition, adds Taylor, which is difficult with all these changes. It also reflects that players perhaps now do not take "as much responsibility" for their performances, even as increased competition makes it tougher for them to win on a frequent basis.
Gavrilova's coaching change is more conventional—she has exited in the first round of seven of her eight events this season.
The Aussie player and Taylor are scheduled to work together during the clay-court season.