Ana has appointed Australian David Taylor as her new full-time coach. Taylor, who took Alicia Molik from 138 to No.8 in the world rankings, will travel with Ana while continuing his role as Australia’s Fed Cup captain on a tie-only basis.
“I am very excited about this,” said Ana, who will begin working with Taylor on 17 July. “I am at an important stage of my career and I need someone who can really help me to improve and achieve my goals. I think that David has all the right qualities.
“He’s very positive and a really nice guy. I think he’s going to be very good for motivation and we will have great communication on court. He was always my first choice, so I’m really happy.”
Taylor was a successful junior player and the hitting partner of several top players, including former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez. He coached at the Hopman Tennis Academy at Saddlebrook resort in Florida before taking charge of his first professional players, Japan’s Naoko Kijimuta and Yuka Yoshida, whom he took to 38 and 55 in the world rankings respectively.
He is well known to Ana, having also coached her occasional doubles partner Maria Kirilenko and her former practice partner, the now retired Magdalena Maleeva. He lives in Geneva, Switzerland, not far from the 18-year-old’s training base in Zurich.
Taylor said: “I’m very, very excited about coaching Ana. She’s a very special talent. I think she’s the most exciting young prospect in women’s tennis. Her forehand is already one of the most dangerous shots in the world and she has a very big serve.
“But there’s so much more that can improve and will improve. She has a great work ethic and loves tennis. Combine all those things and it’s an exciting prospect.”
During Taylor’s partnership with Molik the Australian embarked on a run that saw her only once lose to a player ranked beneath her in 50 matches. The streak included winning a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and four Sony Ericsson WTA Tour titles.
“That kind of consistency is so important if you want to reach the top 10,” said 34 year-old Taylor, who also briefly coached former world No.1 Martina Hingis.
Taylor is Ana’s third coach since she began playing on the Tour. She started her professional career with Dutchman Eric van Harpen then quickly turned to Hungarian Zoltan Kuharsky, who took her to a career-best ranking of 16, before they split in April of this year.
Adidas’s Sven Groeneveld coached Ana on a temporary basis during the French Open and Wimbledon, as per her partnership with the clothing manufacturer.
Ana has appointed Australian Scott Byrnes as her new fitness trainer, having parted company with Switzerland’s Pierre Paganini. Byrnes, a distinguished conditioning coach, will work exclusively with Ana for between 100 and 150 days per year.
“Scott is a very talented trainer and, like my new coach David Taylor, a very nice guy who is fun to work with,” said Ana. “This is an important quality and I am confident that Scott will help me a lot with many areas of my game. I am very excited about my new coaching team.”
35-year-old Byrnes was formerly a fitness trainer at the Australian Institute of Sport, before taking up the same role with the Australian Fed Cup team. He worked alongside Taylor with Alicia Molik, whom the pair took from 138 to No.8 in the rankings, and also served as Anna Lena-Groenefeld’s fitness trainer.
“I’m very excited about working with Ana,” said Byrnes. “We’ve done almost three weeks of work. It’s been intense and already we’ve seen some pretty good results. She’s very gifted. She is a quick learner and retains the technique of a new activity very well.
“I’m looking forward to working with her in the coming years and helping her achieve her goal of becoming world No.1.”
Taylor said: “We’re taking a holistic approach to Ana’s fitness. She is working very hard on all areas, but of course we’re careful not to overdo it. We’re looking to build up Ana’s strength, court movement, quickness and power endurance. It’s not just about improving her stamina but about helping her recovery time and injury prevention.”
Ana decided to end her agreement with Paganini because the Swiss was unable to take on a sufficient workload due to his commitments with his countrymen Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, as well as the Swiss Davis Cup team.
“I am very grateful to Pierre for all the work that he did with me,” said Ana. “He’s a great fitness coach and we got on very well. He really improved my footwork, conditioning and some other areas of my game. I wish him all the best.”
Paganini echoed Ana’s sentiment. “I am very proud to have worked with Ana. I enjoyed it a lot,” he said. “She’s an unbelievable person and a great player. She has a great team and I wish her the very best. I think she will have a great career.”