In an effort to improve her singles performance, Dinara Safina has committed to a doubles play. The 15th-ranked Russian has doubled her coaching staff and hopes hiring two coaches - Heinz Gunthardt, Steffi Graf's former coach, and Croatia's Zeljko Krajan - will prove to be an invaluable investment in her game.
"I have everything new this year - it's a completely new life," Safina told Paul Malone
of The Courier Mail.
"Heinz was helping me at the U.S. Open and now we are together all season. He isn't able to travel full time because he has a family and Zeljko will travel full time with me. I hope it's worth it. But you have to spend some money to earn something."
The defending Gold Coast champion launches defense of her Tier III title next week. Safina is seeded third behind top-seeded Nicole Vaidisova and second-seeded Nadia Petrova in the tournament and will open against Australian wild card Jarmilia Gajdosova followed by a possible second-round meeting with Italian Flavia Pennetta.
Patty Schnyder is seeded fourth, Shahar Peer is seeded fifth and 2006 Australian Open champion Amelie Mauresmo is seeded sixth. To vew the draw, please click this Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts
Safina must elevate her game against top opponents if she is to crack the top 10 this season. She was 2-14 vs. top 15 opponents last season with her lone victories over top 15-ranked players coming in a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, victory over the then seventh-ranked Martina Hingis in the Gold Coast final and a 7-6(6), 6-2 victor over a sixth-ranked Anna Chakvetadze in Moscow.