Coach David Witt has announced that Jessica Pegula informed him she decided to part ways, a move that left him "totally surprised."
Witt, who coached Venus Williams for 11 years before the two went their separate ways in 2018, joined Pegula's team in the summer 2019. Over the next four and a half years, Witt helped Pegula take her game to another level and turn into one of the best players in the women's game.
But after a strong end to the 2023 season - winning Seoul and finishing as runner-up at the WTA Finals - world No. 4 Pegula hasn't been very impressive at the start of the new season. After going 1-1 at the United Cup, Pegula claimed two three-set wins in Adelaide before being forced to withdraw from her semifinal match due to a stomach issue. At the Australian Open, Pegula shockingly lost to world No. 44 Clara Burel in the second round.
Following a rough start to 2024, Pegula decided to make a major move.
“It was a total surprise to me. Never saw it coming," Witt told TENNIS.com.
Witt after parting ways with Pegula: It's a tough business
“We’ve had a great friendship for five years, so it’s very tough. I really value my relationship with my player just as much as I love coaching," Witt said.
“It’s a tough business. I’ve been pretty lucky that I’ve only been with two players the last 15 years.”
Pegula, who will be turning 30 later this month, broke into the top-100 for the first time in 2019. Since hiring Witt, Pegula has won four WTA titles - made six Grand Slam quarterfinals - reached the WTA Finals final - and achieved a career-high ranking of No. 3 in the world.
Reflecting on their success, coach Witt said it made him "happy" to see Pegula improving and making notable results but also added that their ultimate goal was to win a Grand Slam.
Pegula is currently out of action and it will be interesting to see if she adds a new coach before the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami.