x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Jimmy Connors may be the attitude antidote Maria Sharapova needs

Former champion knows what it takes to win, and if he can make Russian hate losing more than she loves to win, he will have done his job, writes Ahmed Rizvi.

Russia's Maria Sharapova, left, has decided Jimmy Connors, right, is the right person to coach her to further successes.
Russia's Maria Sharapova, left, has decided Jimmy Connors, right, is the right person to coach her to further successes.

Maria Sharapova has just named Jimmy Connors as her new coach and some of her fans are already fearing the worst.

Their "huge egocentric personalities" are being offered as reasons for concern, but that might just be the reason for them to click together.

Connors worked with Andy Roddick for more than two years, and Roddick was not the most considerate guy on the tour.

He was all swagger and attitude, and Connors helped him be more consistent in their time together, the highlight being when Roddick reached the 2006 US Open final. Not bad for two people with massive egos.

Connors clearly knows what it takes to win.

"People don't seem to understand that it's a war out there," he once said. And we all remember his unforgettable: "I hate to lose more than I love to win".

If he can make Sharapova feel that way about defeats, especially about losing to Serena Williams, then he will have done his job.

Connors never lost his zest for the game. "Tennis was never work for me, tennis was fun," he once said. "And the tougher the battle and the longer the match, the more fun I had." That attitude might be the change that Sharapova needs after three years of being coached by Thomas Hogstedt.

"Excited to be working with four-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova," Connors said on Twitter. "Adding to that number is the goal." As we all know, Connors has seldom failed in achieving his goals.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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