Originally Posted by DOUBLEFIST
My bottom line: Maria needs to do some serious soul searching. She's at an age where nothing will come as easily as it had, and as she gets older there will be only more distractions. Hard to believe if your name is Sharapova, but it's true. She needs to ask herself what price she's willing to pay to get it back together. Personally, I don't think Connors is the right guy.
I see his addition as a USO stunt. Maria needs a coach that she will let push her where she hasn't been willing to go and demand of her things that others are likely afraid to demand.
Anyway, thanks for the response and thoughts and indulging my interloping.
Oh, you're preaching to the choir about that one.
The day it was announced he was her new coach was the most upset I've been about anything related to Maria in 9 years of following her. I just have no respect for him as a coach or person. But it's done and nothing can change that. All you can do is hope for the best.
What this pairing does do is put enormous pressure on Maria for 2014. She should get a pass for the rest of this year, considering everything that we've documented about the injury/layoff/coach. However, I believe Maria MUST win a major next year or there's a very good possibility in my mind that she won't win another one again. If she goes slamless in 2014, I think it's a certainty Connors won't be around beyond that because he's only on board for majors and when it's not happening relatively quickly, he'll bolt. Like we saw with Roddick. So then Maria would be facing the prospect of yet another coaching change for 2015, which means another transitional period, as she goes on to 28 years of age. And the players coming up are only getting younger and more athletic, so it won't be easy for her to keep holding them off.
I believe 2014 to be a make or break year for her as far as majors go. And if she manages to win one and this partnership looks like it's making progress and her game is executing at a consistently high level, then it's possible she'll win more then one major and continue to be a championship factor for a few more years. She just needs that breakthrough for her confidence and to alleviate the pressure and scrutiny that this "SharaConnors" thing has brought.
But it all hinges on what she does in 2014.