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Old Jul 14th, 2013, 06:21 PM   #811
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

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Old Jul 14th, 2013, 06:35 PM   #812
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

So...a Russian woman, sits on a German car, for a commercial in a French magazine.....this American guy's reaction: what car?
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Old Jul 16th, 2013, 02:44 PM   #813
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Maria, the Punkess?Monday, July 15, 2013 /by Peter Bodo

The next time Maria Sharapova loses to Serena Williams, she just may drop all that “She’s a great player, she was just too good today” hooey and snarl, “I’ll follow that b**** to the ends of the earth. . .”

That’s the first thing that occurred to me when I read that Jimmy Connors is Sharapova’s new coach. The announcement was made recently at Sharapova’s website. This will be a marriage of Midwestern punk and Russian princess, creating what. . . Maria, the punkess?

That now-famous line I quoted was first uttered by Connors (with a slightly different curse) at Wimbledon in 1978, when he was asked if he would depart from his customary habit and travel to Australia at the end of the year if it meant preventing his rival Bjorn Borg from completing a career Grand Slam (at the time, the Australian Open was a grass-court event which began in late December). He spat out that brag after taking another whipping from the quiet, dignified Swede in the Wimbledon final.

Of course, Connors may not infuse (or is it poison?) Sharapova’s spirit with the animus that was one of his signal traits. It didn’t really work when Connors formed his last coaching partnership, with Andy Roddick. The protégé remained his edgy but witty and thoughtful self, in marked contrast to his ignorant, crass coach. More to the point, Connors was useful in various ways, but he never did get Roddick over the finish line of a Grand Slam. And that brings us to the question of the moment: “Why Connors?”

It’s a good question to which I can find no satisfying answer.

I say that partly because of the context. Thomas Hogstedt had been Sharapova’s coach for the past three years. A quiet, thoughtful Swede who avoided the limelight (shades of Borg!), Hogstedt re-invented Sharapova as a versatile player, and the net result for the current WTA No. 2 was a career Grand Slam, secured at last year’s French Open.

Hogstedt successfully navigated a complex situation when he signed on as (then) “co-coach” with Sharapova’s hitting partner, Michael Joyce, while both labored in the shadow of Sharapova’s father, Yuri. At the time, Sharapova was ranked No. 18 and spinning her wheels while attempting a comeback from shoulder surgery.

Hogstedt began to get results almost immediately and consistently. In fact, he may be the most underrated coach out there. But the two quietly called it quits soon after one of Sharapova’s few bad losses in recent years, a second-round failure at Wimbledon against world No. 131 Michelle Larcher de Brito.

It appears from Sharapova’s statement that the decision to separate was Hogstedt’s. The only part of the statement that isn’t boilerplate is: “Due to personal issues, he was not able to travel in the near future.”

Connors not only has very big shoes to fill, he’s got very different feet from the man he’s succeeding. Right off the bat, it will be interesting to see how the guy in the Members-Only jacket will get along in Sharapova’s glitzy sphere. He also brings a lot more personal baggage—and clout—to the job than did Hogstedt.

It starts with Connors’ own celebrity. His gig with Roddick represented a return to the limelight, and Connors appears to have enjoyed it. Now he has a tell-all autobiography to sell, and the U.S. Open represents his biggest potential hit. If you were disinclined to believe that Connors is a low-class, self-aggrandizing guy willing to sell out anyone he knows, you no longer have to take his critics’ word for it. You can just read “The Outsider,” in which he makes the case all by himself.

Connors, an eight-time Grand Slam champion, comes at a very high price (don’t ask me how I know this, but I do). This is something neither players nor coaches like to talk about, but it matters—sometimes a lot. Sharapova may have more money than God, but there will be significant pressure to keep the W’s keep rolling in at the pace established by Hogstedt, who presumably was paid considerably less than Connors is getting.

You can see how this promises to be a very interesting liaison even before you get into the Xs and Os. Now let’s get into that.

Connors apparently worked a bit with Sharapova before the 2008 Australian Open, a stint that may have been facilitated by Roddick, who at the time was friends with Sharapova. I don’t recall much about that interlude, but here’s the strange thing to me about this new, formal partnership: Ageing punk and princess are already soul-mates of sorts, aggressive individuals who like to go right at their rivals, bellicose baseliners who hit flat, stinging shots and is forever looking to push back the opponent and move forward.

Neither Connors nor Sharapova have a good feeling around the net, and while Sharapova has a big if erratic serve, Connors’ own serve was poor, and one of the main reasons his succession of rivals—Borg, John McEnroe, and Ivan Lendl—all ended up mastering him.

So what’s Jimmy going to teach Maria? That down-the-line backhand? She already has it. How to unload with the forehand from the baseline and step into the court? She already does it. Unlike Roddick, she already has all the stuff that made Connors good, and even some elements of his game that weren’t so great.

Well, what about footwork?

Connors was one of the most nimble players, and that’s always been an area of concern for Sharapova. But under Hogstedt she made great strides (as attested by her win at Roland Garros), and it’s hard to see much room for improvement—the work’s already been done. Besides, I don’t see Connors as the kind of coach who’ll be found poring over research papers on how to improve footwork, or hobnobbing with the quasi-scientific fitness community.

Well, there’s that whole fighting spirit thing that Connors was famous for. . . But there again: Do you know anyone who thinks that Sharapova’s problem is that she’s too timid, too soft and friendly, or lacking in self-belief? What’s Connors going to do, encourage Sharapova to scream even louder, or clench her fist more frequently?

There is one thing, though, and it probably would be worth a king’s ransom if Sharapova could pull it off: It’s what Connors might do to help her beat one player. And I think you all know of whom I speak.

Perhaps Sharapova hired Connors thinking that both the shake-up it represented and the nature of her new coach might somehow give her that extra bit of confidence she needs to take down Serena, whose 14-2 advantage in their non-rivalry tends to take some of the shine off Sharapova’s accomplishments.

Sharapova may be hoping that Connors’ simmering hostility and high degree of self-regard will rub off on her, or that the sight of his face in the player box will instill her with that extra bit of determination or self-belief she needs to break the Williams hex. Or maybe she’s just hoping that the liaison will give Serena the jitters, or plant seeds of doubt. That would be worth the price she’s paying for Connors.

The funny thing is, if that comes to pass, it may be for reasons having a lot more to do with Williams’ age than anything Connors says, does, or represents. Serena will be quickly closing on 32 during the U.S. Open (Sharapova is just 26), and even she at some point must slow down. The one sure thing in this world is that Sharapova is quietly waiting, with a six-year advantage in age, to extract some payback from Williams. It will make Sharapova look much better in the history books.

In the end, this seems a dream gig for Connors, a match made in heaven, or perhaps in that other place.
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Old Jul 16th, 2013, 02:48 PM   #814
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

Posted by Mexicola + written by Bodo + long = Not reading.
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Old Jul 16th, 2013, 03:03 PM   #815
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

Quote:
he next time Maria Sharapova loses to Serena Williams, she just may drop all that “She’s a great player, she was just too good today” hooey and snarl, “I’ll follow that b**** to the ends of the earth. . .”
Stopped here. Tells you how retarded that man is.
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Old Jul 16th, 2013, 03:10 PM   #816
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Originally Posted by AnnieIWillKnow View Post
Posted by Mexicola + written by Bodo + long = Not reading.
Pretty much
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Old Jul 18th, 2013, 12:35 AM   #817
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

An analysis of how dominant Masha has been on outdoor hard over the past year - http://secondserveace.wordpress.com/...hard-facts-ii/
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Old Jul 19th, 2013, 03:58 AM   #818
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

Great reading


Tennis Now

Can Jimmy Connors and Maria Sharapova spark up a renaissance at the US Open?

By Chris Oddo


Connors-Sharapova (July 18, 2013) -- After parting ways with her coach of three years, Maria Sharapova shocked the tennis world when she announced that she'd hired eight-time Grand Slam champion Jimmy Connors to be her new coach on July 13. Connors, out of the game in most capacities since 2008, has made more news revealing lurid details of his past than he has as a tennis tactician of late.

His new tell-all memoir “The Outsider” hit bookstores in early May, but Connors apparently has the itch to do more than talk about his career. He's ready to get back into the game and pour every ounce of his being into helping Maria Sharapova achieve her goal of winning more Grand Slam titles.

So how can he help the world No. 2, a player who has already completed the career Grand Slam and held the No. 1 ranking? Many, it seems, think the relationship is doomed to fail, and that it won't last more than six months. But before we judge too quickly, let's look at a few misconceptions that have surfaced recently about the relationship.

Misconception 1: That Connors can't teach Sharapova anything on the court.

Most argue that Sharapova already has everything she needs to be her best, and there's really nothing that Connors can do to help her. In a technical sense, I tend to agree. Sharapova's groundstrokes are something to be gawked at, not deconstructed, but where Connors can help Sharapova is in tactical areas such as shot selection, spin deployment and variety. Far too often, Sharapova hits hard and harder, which allows her better opponents to get comfortable with her pace of shot. Perhaps Connors can get her to vary her pace and her patterns a bit. It might not seem important when she's reeling off bagels in the early rounds of Grand Slams, but when she runs into her arch nemesis Serena Williams, a little variation and the element of surprise could go a long way.

But, tactics aside, Connors' greatest effect will undoubtedly be his ability to inspire belief, confidence and swagger in Sharapova. She seems to have it in spades against everybody but Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, but against those two—that's where Connors will earn his paycheck.

For those of us who like to speculate on what Connors is and isn't capable of achieving as Sharapova's coach, keep in mind that the mind is a very powerful tool on a tennis court. Connors had one of the shrewdest, most opportunistic mentalities in the game when he played, and it will be up to him to instill that mindset in Sharapova.

Misconception 2: That Connors did a bad job coaching Andy Roddick.

Many people seemed to want to write off the whole Connors-Roddick pairing as a failed experiment, but in reality Connors had great success with Roddick in the early going. Roddick was on a downhill trend after the 2005 Wimbledon final, and he hadn't won a title in 10 months. When he signed on with Connors, the wins started coming. He won Cincinnati and rode a 12-match winning streak that took him all the way to the US Open final in 2006.

It wasn't Jimmy Connors that was bad for Andy Roddick in the ensuing months that saw Roddick drop five straight decisions to Roger Federer, including said US Open final in 2006. It was Roger Federer.

That Roddick caught fire the very moment he joined forces with Connors is certainly no coincidence. Whether it was tactical, emotional or just a short-lived halo effect, Connors helped Roddick elevate his game, and fast.

Misconception 3: That the relationship won't last long.

What's the over-under on how long Connors will actually coach Sharapova? Lots of people think that the pairing won't even last until next year's Australian Open, particularly if Sharapova falls flat in New York later this summer. But many felt the same way about Roddick and Connors. Even Roddick didn't know if they'd last a week, as he famously told reporters, “I was definitely anxious before we started working together, and I didn't know if it was going to last more than three days,” at the US Open in 2006.

That pairing lasted until early 2008. With Connors and Sharapova so eager to prove themselves, there is plenty of room for this pairing to last as long, even longer, especially if results come early.

Misconception 4: That it will take time and patience before results are garnered.

See item No. 2. Connors has already proven that he knows how to come in and help a player engineer a revival at the drop of a hat. Sharapova has everything in place already, and so does Connors. Don't expect any significant changes, just a lot of confidence building and maybe some tinkering here and there. The fact of the matter is that Sharapova doesn't need much to get over the hump. She just needs a new perspective and a few solid ideas on how to approach the Serena-Vika mystery. Connors will surely give her that, both philosophically and tactically.

Misconception 5: That Connors can't help Sharapova improve her serve just because he himself didn't have a great serve.

Did Jim Courier do wonders for John Isner on clay without being a 6-foot-9 giant with a 145 mph serve? Did Uncle Toni ever play the French Open? So why does Jimmy Connors have to be a great server to help Maria Sharapova get more from her serve?

Tennis writer Peter Bodo argued that Connors' serve was a weakness and wondered how he could possibly help Sharapova with her serving woes in this wildly entertaining piece, but what gets overlooked by Bodo is the fact that Sharapova already has one of the best serves in the game, she just needs better tactical awareness of how to use the serve to better exploit her opponent's weaknesses and keep them off balance with variety.

Connors doesn't need to use his serving expertise to teach her that, he just needs to use his world-class tennis acumen, something that he has, as they say, coming out of his ears.
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Old Jul 19th, 2013, 07:44 AM   #819
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

Awesome article. This line is so important:

Quote:
The fact of the matter is that Sharapova doesn't need much to get over the hump. She just needs a new perspective and a few solid ideas on how to approach the Serena-Vika mystery
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Old Jul 19th, 2013, 07:50 AM   #820
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

^ That's a very nice article, obviously it only takes in consideration the bright sides, but still, it's what I thought reading Bodo's article. The fact that a coach didn't achieve a thing or wasn't great in some aspects of the game doesn't mean he can't teach something about it to his player.
As he said, Uncle Toni was never a great player, nor was Thomas, yet he brought Maria to win RG...
Same thing for the game: even if Maria already has a good baseline FH/BH (as Bodo said) it doesn't mean there's no way of improving.
I was thinking about it yesterday, remembered how Ljubicic on tv during some tournament this year talked about Federer and said even him, the GOAT, is now a better, more complete player than he was 4-5 years ago, because no matter how good you already are, the more you play the better you get. So I think there's a lot of space to improve for Maria, in every aspect
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Old Jul 19th, 2013, 07:51 AM   #821
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I think the article had to happen that way especially after Peter Bodo's annihilation
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Old Jul 19th, 2013, 02:46 PM   #822
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One thing that bothers me about article after article dissecting Maria's game is that these writers continue to pair Vika with Serena as if Maria struggles equally with both. Maria has NO Vika problem. Any perceived mental block ended in Stuttgart last year. She crushed her there, she should have won in New York, because she was the better player, she beat her easily in Istanbul, and she was the dominant player in Paris. The only reason that match even went 3 was because of Maria herself getting sloppy. Any match aginst these 2 is always on Maria's racquet. If she plays anywhere near her best, Vika gets beaten like a drum every time. That isn't the case with Serena. Even if Maria plays well, she still needs help.

I realize that Aussie Open final in 2012 stands out because it was a major and it was ugly for Maria. And I think this continued misconception that Azarenka "owns" Maria was born from that one match. No doubt she played really badly and it was Vika's breakthrough, so she deserves all the praise. But it was ONE match. And even if you want to go back to those other hard court losses in 2011 and early 2012 as proof of Vika problem, you have to remember that Maria's game still ranged from being a mess to just adequate in those days. If wasn't until the clay season of 2012 where everything finally clicked in. Of course she was going to stumble against a good player like Azarenka with that kind of form.

So when Maria is playing close to her elite level, as she has frequently been over the past 15 months, at best, Vika is even with her, at worst, Maria dominates her. It's only when Maria gets error-prone that she can lose to her. I will continue to laugh at writers who continue to laud Vika as her superior and a "mystery" to Maria. If anything, I see Vika as the one getting more nervous and frustrated with her recent results against Maria. She realizes that Maria can bully her and overpower her whenever she wants if she's playing well and it's getting harder for her to dictate anything.
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Old Jul 19th, 2013, 03:55 PM   #823
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mexicola View Post
One thing that bothers me about article after article dissecting Maria's game is that these writers continue to pair Vika with Serena as if Maria struggles equally with both. Maria has NO Vika problem. Any perceived mental block ended in Stuttgart last year. She crushed her there, she should have won in New York, because she was the better player, she beat her easily in Istanbul, and she was the dominant player in Paris.
I am not as optimistic as you, Mexicola, (never thought the day would come ) on the mental block ending in Stuttgart last year. While I agree that Maria is getting the right tactics in dealing with Vika after Stuttgart, I think all of their matches after Stuttgart shows that Maria can get edgy as she tries to close Vika out.

USO Semi - Up a set and break and then loses the second set 2-6 and drops serve while trying to stay in the match.
Beijing Final - Didn't see this, but sounds like Poova() made an appearance after Maria got bored from feeding bagels to Li and Kerber (that match ).
Istanbul Semi - On fire in the first set and then wobbles a bit and has a tighter second set as Azarenka steps up somewhat after MTO (I think/assume there was an MTO there, but don't recall exactly).
RG Semi - Amazing first set after going down 0-1 and losing multiple breakpoints to go from 0-40 to deuce on Azarenka's serve, disastrous second set and regroups in the beginning of the third set, but still drops break leads twice at least and loses multiple MP's while trying to serve it out the first time.

I think Maria's mental problem against Azarenka comes from the pressure Maria feels to maintain that form from her first sets in all of those matches throughout the match. If she doesn't maintain that form, it gets messy and Azarenka can easily get back into the match.
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Old Jul 19th, 2013, 05:41 PM   #824
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The fact is they're close for the second best spot this year, we will be able to say who's been better only at the end of 2013. I don't think Maria has any mental problem against Vika, they're just really at the same level right now.
Last year USO for example she lost because she was tired after two very hard 3 setters in a row vs Marion and Petra, then they had two straight sets win/loss @ Beijing and YEC, why would you say she has a mental problem against someone who isn't Serena?
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Old Jul 27th, 2013, 06:40 AM   #825
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

Another brilliant article.
Sharapova, Connors and Vincenzo Pentangeli - Eight people shaping the Maria and Jimmy business
by Joel Drucker


Maria Sharapova: CEO

Sharapova has made one of the great comebacks. At the end of 2010, Sharapova was ranked 18 in the world. While unquestionably her 2008 shoulder surgery had been a factor in her decline, it was hard to imagine Sharapova at that point reemerging as a significant Slam contender. That the medium for her resurgence would be clay was downright implausible.

But given Sharapova’s skill at hiding in plain sight, it’s a tale that will never be told with the depth and nuance it deserves. Sharapova is all business. It’s fascinating that one of the best stories ever written about Sharapova was a 2011 New York Times story about her corporate partnerships. Similar to the way Russian science fiction tales were allegories for that nation’s political environment, Sharapova’s extensive comments in that story inadvertently (?) reveal her approach to the tennis: ambition, tenacity and, in the interest of the best possible outcome, controlling as much of the process as she can.

Just don’t expect her to talk much directly about her tennis. Pluming the craft – inside the lines, practice sessions, tactics, strokes and the lessons gained from wins and losses – is a whole other matter. The tennis is, as her new coach Jimmy Connors once called it, “my own personal business.”

Ivan Lendl: Model

Wait a sec, what the heck is he doing here? Lendl represents a distinct coaching model for Connors. Call it the uber-champion as coach. Though not new – Billie Jean King aided Martina Navratilova – the uber-champion operates in a way different than is often seen in pro tennis.

Most coaches need the job, serving at the behest of the player; quite different from team sports where the players report to the coach. The employer-employee nature of tennis player and coach demands a certain kind of persuasive engagement on the part of the coach. According to ex-pro and psychologist Allen Fox, “Ultimately the coach has to have power, and that’s not so simple given that the coach is at the behest of the player. But the great player brings a bigger level of credibility. It also helps that he probably doesn’t need the money.”

Go take charge of the match and use that forehand, Lendl has likely told Murray. He likely knew this before he ever met Lendl, but hearing it from an eight-time Slam champion with a dictatorial forehand added even more heft.

Then there was the matter of Murray’s emotional woes, the negative energy that would erode his confidence in Grand Slam finals. Go whine to your mommy, said Lendl. Start whining around me and all you will get is a death stare. Don’t even think I need this gig, for I have won far more than you. But yes, I will continue to believe in you so long as you fulfill our agreement.

Here, the model for Connors of the uber-player as tangible presence. Ethereal? Perhaps, but picture yourself as a financial planner. Imagine Warren Buffett sitting nearby, engaged in your practice. The ethereal can prove motivational.

Serena Williams: Problem

Murray’s issue was emotional negativity. Sharapova’s problem is, alas, far less controllable, coming in human form in the person of Serena Williams. Sharapova can problem-solve anyone else in tennis. That’s not to say she will always beat Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova or other top players. But versus anyone but Serena, Sharapova knows she can will herself into the battle, compete hard and likely win.

But Williams is a difficult matchup. Williams is faster, serves better and can match Sharapova from the ground. It might also frustrate Sharapova to know that while her supreme self-belief can often tip the scales in her favor versus all others, in that department too Serena is at least her equal.

One thing a player always needs from a coach is engaging language. That might well be even more true at the very highest levels of the game. Paul Annacone, coach to such titans as Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, told me years ago that, “when you’re that high up the rankings it’s about figuring out how to maximize your offense.” For the coach, it’s a matter of finding the right words, ideas and concepts that trigger success. Perhaps Thomas Hogstedt’s language had grown too familiar. Perhaps.

Gloria Connors: Nucleus

In the early ‘70s, at a time when tennis was still perceived as an understated garden party, Connors turned it into an electric carnival. It would be interesting to know how much Sharapova knows about her coach’s early years.

But surely she is drawn to the visceral, impassioned spirit Connors brought to competition, a foundation laid by his mother Gloria. A player good enough to play the US Championships at Forest Hills, Gloria was brilliant at explaining the binary, zero-sum nature of tennis, that the game was at heart a form of real estate conservation and, even more, personal preservation. Go after every ball. Kill or be killed. Smother them with footwork. Don’t back off. Bring out your tiger juices.

Will Connors employ Gloria’s exact words? Questionable. But surely he will channel Gloria’s concepts.

Pancho Segura: Sage

While Gloria was Connors’ undergraduate guru, Pancho Segura helped him earn a doctorate. The court was Segura’s classroom, the cocktail napkin his chalkboard for numerous diagrams on how to build points wisely. Might Connors place a call or two to his former dissertation advisor? Says Segura, “Sharapova doesn’t need to hit that hard all the time. She could come in on her return more. Or she could sneak in and volley. She’s got to get in a higher percentage of first serves.”

Jimmy Connors: Presence

Since the end of his playing days, Connors has intermittently searched to create a role for himself in tennis – forays into TV, an 18-month coaching gig with Andy Roddick and as we’ve since learned, time with Sharapova prior to the ’08 Australian Open (a tournament she won with some of the best movement, court management and ball-striking of her career).

Most of all, though, Connors has been Citizen Connors, self-exiled, living a comfortable life in the Santa Barbara area. But man does not live by golf alone. Scratch any ex-athlete deeply enough and you’ll often uncover a restless soul. No one ever associated Connors with passivity. He’s now 60, likely looking for, as they say in his beloved Las Vegas, one big final score, one more piece of action that will keep him relevant and, yes, visible.

Given the motivation, skill and success of a Sharapova, what will Connors actually bring her? It’s hard to imagine him adding technical dimensions to her game. At this stage of her career, Sharapova will likely not be adding a slice backhand or an increased use of the serve-volley.

It will be fascinating to see how Connors engages with Sharapova. With Roddick he did not travel to all tournaments. Lendl doesn’t go to all Murray’s events. But ever since she stopped working with Robert Lansdorp in 2005,Sharapova’s coach has been with her week in and week out. Will Connors? What will he say to her on those televised coaching breaks? Will he talk publicly following her matches –win or lose? Or will he assume the qualities of a sphinx?

But again, like Lendl with Murray, the potential is there to provide a presence.Connors was fond of saying he never changed his game no matter who he was playing. Surely that’s catnip for the resolute Russian. But Connors also loved to say, “there’s a game within a game within a game.” Cryptic as that might sound, if you look past the bravado and bluster of a Connors match you will see a number of subtle shifts in tactics, tempo, timing. Perhaps, just perhaps, some of those notions will seep into Sharapova’s head as she manages her way through matches – not just versus the problematic Serena but versus all opponents. “I guarantee you this,” says Segura. “Jimbo will improve her knowledge of the game.”

Werner Heisenberg: Observer

No, this is not a German Davis Cup player from the pre-Becker era. Werner Heisenberg was a physicist who coined a term known as “The Uncertainty Principle.”One major aspect of Heisenberg’s concept addresses the way objects change when placed under observation.

Such will happen now with Sharapova. We will seek to spot tell-tale signs of the Connors influence. More emotion? Taking the ball earlier? Striking more boldly? Technical shifts on certain strokes? Better footwork? All of these, for example, were questions asked constantly about Connors’ impact on Roddick.

Butseriously, will we really know or is it our desire to see these changes thatwill fuel the story? It would take significant evaluation ofmatches before and after she started working with Connors to truly determinethe scope of any of Sharapova’s improvements.

Rest assured that the non-scientific study will commence at Sharapova’s first match under Connors’ eye.

Vincenzo Pentangeli: Reminder

In the movie The Godfather II, for a number of reasons a mobster named Frank Pentangeli has chosen to testify to a Senate committee and officially implicate the man he once reported to, Michael Corleone. Pentangeli’s testimony could likely topple the Corleone regime and send Michael to jail. With Pentangeli under close watch, killing him is impossible.

But then, on the day of his appearance, Frank looks across the room and spots a man he hasn’t seen in decades. It’s his brother, Vincenzo, brought in by Michael from their ancestral homeland,Sicily. This was the place the Omerta, the code linking family and loyalty, had been formed. Vincenzo’s mere presence reminded Frank of what the two had agreed to at a prior time. Vincenzo said not a word. Neither did Frank, who instead recanted his prior statements.

This is how it will go with Connors and Sharapova. Over practices, before and after matches, at meals and over the phone, they will form their own Omerta, an approach and understanding of the tennis that will be theirs and theirs alone. A point will come when Connors and Sharapova needn’t exchange a word. As it was with Vincenzo and Frank, the message will be implicit. Just business.
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