That first article pretty much covers everything that's been discussed here regarding Maria's game over recent weeks and months. That she's not as good a player compared to before the shoulder surgery, that she's better on slower courts, that Thomas helped her develop more topspin to her shots, that she can't sustain depth and consistency with her shots on fast courts, getting exposed by more athletic players, and that she hit a wall with Thomas as coach and wasn't progressing anymore.
It's a good article though, and lays out the real concerns that are evident for Maria at this point in her career. That 2012 clay court run and the French title in particular are what made these past 4 years worth it. Take away that one big major title and what did Maria really accomplish under Thomas?
Bless Maria, she's been trying so, so hard since the surgery to improve and thank goodness she got the French. But when I watch matches of hers post-2009 and compare them to 2004-2008, I still come away feeling it's night and day with the difference. She was such a more well-rounded, confident, and flat-out better player in the early years.
Connors or no Connors, whether you like or hate the move, I wonder if any coach is capable of instilling the piece or two that's needed in Maria's game for her to be more effective on faster courts and to be able to hold her own against the younger, more athletic players that continue to come. Or is she going to continue to look older, slower, and more robotic where matches like the de Brito one become more frequent.