Maria Sakkari hires former long-time coach of Venus Williams and current top-5 player

Sakkari finds a star coach after splitting with Tom Hill in February.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Maria Sakkari hires former long-time coach of Venus Williams and current top-5 player
© Getty Images Sport - Christopher Pike

Maria Sakkari has found a new coach just in time for the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami as the Greek tennis star has started working with David Witt, via Gazzetta Greece. 

After a slow start to the season and a few disappointing losses, world No. 9 Sakkari made one radical move and decided to stop working with her coach of six years, Tom Hill. With Hill, Sakkari turned into one of the best players in the world and achieved her best results but she just wasn't able to make that next step in her career and win a Grand Slam or reach the world No. 1 ranking. 

Just before Sakkari parted ways with Hill, Jessica Pegula - another top-10 player - made a similar move as she decided to ditch coach Witt after nearly five years of working together. Just like was the case in the Sakkari-Hill collaboration, world No. 5 Pegula massively improved under the guidance of Witt and became one of the best players in the world during that period. 

David Witt
David Witt© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman
 

Before the Pegula partnership, Witt was also a part of seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams' team for 12 years. 

Now, Witt is working with another star player as 28-year-old Sakkari certainly hopes Witt can help her improve as a player and also get her closer to achieving her dreams of becoming a Slam champion. According to Gazzetta.gr, the Witt addition is the only change in Sakkari's team as the Greek tennis star has kept the rest of the team intact. 

Maria Sakkari
Maria Sakkari© Getty Images Sport - Christopher Pike┼ż
 

When Sakkari decided to split with Hill and on which terms their partnership ended?

After losing in the Australian Open second round and picking up yet another disappointing and early Grand Slam exit, Sakkari decided to continue working with coach Hill. But after returning to action and losing in her Abu Dhabi and Doha openers, Sakkari put an end to her long-time partnership with Hill. 

On February 13th - just two days before splitting with Hill - Sakkari blew a 6-3 5-3 lead and a match point against Linda Noskova in their Doha match and picked up her third consecutive loss.

"Tom, Thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one. We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible. Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career," Sakkari announced on Instagram two days after blowing a big lead and losing to Noskova in three sets.

Maria Sakkari and Tom Hill
Maria Sakkari and Tom Hill© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman
 

Hill issued a statement the same day, confirming that the two split on good terms and wished Sakkari all the best going forward. 

"After 6 great years together, Maria and I are ending our professional partnership but will continue to remain close friends," Hill wrote on Instagram after Sakkari's announcement.

"Our journey has been filled with incredible achievements: climbing to a career high of world number 3, Grand Slam semifinals, a WTA 1000 title and 125 consecutive weeks in the Top 10.

"Maria is not only an incredible athlete but a great person. Working with Maria has been an absolute privilege and I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved together.

"We both believe this is a step forward in our respective paths, allowing us to explore new opportunities and exciting challenges that lie ahead."

What will Sakkari be looking for in the Witt partnership?

In 2021, Sakkari made her big breakthrough as that was the season when the Greek became a top-10 player for the first time in her career - reached two Grand Slam semifinals - and debuted at the WTA Finals. 

Following a breakthrough 2021 season, Sakkari didn't hide that her intention for the 2022 season and near future was to become a Grand Slam champion and attack the world No. 1 spot. But since making two Grand Slam semifinals in 2021, Sakkari has just made one round-of-16 at the Grand Slam level as her Slam results over the last two years have been marked by early exits.

In early 2022 - after Ashleigh Barty's retirement - Sakkari had a shot at reaching the world No. 1 spot but Iga Swiatek beat her out. Still, Sakkari came close to the world No. 1 ranking as she achieved a career-high ranking of No. 3 in 2022 April.

With coach Witt, Sakkari will certainly be looking to make that next step in her game and get herself back into contention for Grand Slam titles and potentially make a run for the world No. 1 spot.

Maria Sakkari Venus Williams
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