Maria Sakkari makes radical coaching decision after just recently praising her coach

Sakkari spoke highly of coach David Witt several times but now they are not working together anymore.

by Dzevad Mesic
Maria Sakkari makes radical coaching decision after just recently praising her coach
© Getty Images Sport - Elsa

Maria Sakkari has made a radical move after losing in the Berlin first round and picking up her third consecutive defeat as the world No. 9 is ending her partnership with coach David Witt that started just in March. 

After losing to Victoria Azarenka in the Rome round-of-16, Sakkari very disappointingly picked up a French Open first-round exit and continued her negative streak at Grand Slams. On Tuesday, the 28-year-old Greek returned to action but it didn't go well as she got bounced 4-6 2-6 by Azarenka in the Berlin first round. 

And after her latest defeat, Sakkari seemingly felt that she needed shock therapy and decided to end things with coach Witt, according to Vicky Georgatou of SDNA. 

The news of Sakkari splitting with Witt comes just days after the former world No. 3 said that she replaced previous coach Tom Hill with Witt because she felt that the old coach couldn't help her anymore and that she needed a new but the right voice to help her achieve her biggest tennis dreams. In the past, Witt worked with Venus Williams for 11 years before his five-year stint with Jessica Pegula.

"The coach is very important. There is always room for improvement, even if you are  No. 1. I've reached No. 3 and now I'm No. 6, I want to reach the top though," Sakkari told SDNA just a couple of days ago. 

"And to do that I need to have the right person by my side. I felt that my previous coach could not help me anymore, we stopped our cooperation very amicably. The boundaries had been lost a little because we had become very good friends. I needed someone more experienced next to me."

David Witt
David Witt © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

In her recent interview, nothing in Sakkari's comments indicated that she was thinking about replacing Witt. 

What Sakkari said at Roland Garros about replacing Hill with Witt?

With Hill, Sakkari became and established herself as one of the best players in the game as during their six-year stint, the Greek won a WTA 1000 title - made two Grand Slam semifinals - three times reached the WTA Finals - and also achieved a career-high ranking of No. 3 in the world. On paper, those were great results and Hill did an extraordinary job of making the Greek one of the best in the game. 

But in the last two years, the feeling was that Sakkari's improvement stalled and that she wasn't making any significant improvement. And although the Greek tennis star was able to stay inside the top-10 for the majority of the time, she just wasn't a contender in Grand Slams or a real threat for the world No. 1 spot.

All of that led to Sakkari making a hard decision to split with Hill in February. Around the time Sakkari split with Hill, Pegula also decided that she and Witt should go their separate ways. Since Witt had a rich resume, Sakkari grabbed the opportunity to hire him. 

Before the start of this year's French Open, Sakkari called Hill "a brother" but admitted that they reached the point where she felt she couldn't improve her game anymore. 

“It’s never easy when you have to take that decision. I just felt like we couldn’t help each other anymore, and that’s what I told him. We had a very nice chat in Doha. I think we could both see that we couldn’t continue together, we couldn’t get good results anymore, from working the two of us, for now," Sakkari said of her split with Hill at Roland Garros. 

“We finished on good terms and Tom will always be like a brother to me. I’m happy he gets to be back on the tour (coaching Peyton Stearns). I’ll always be there for him, no matter what. I just felt like I needed something different, which I found now with David.”

Maria Sakkari and Tom Hill
Maria Sakkari and Tom Hill© Getty Images Sport - Hector Vivas

Sakkari had only words of praise for coach Witt just three weeks ago

Just three weeks ago, Sakkari was full of praise for coach Witt, describing him as "a very relaxed and laid-back person." Since Sakkari can get too emotional on the court and at times get very stressed, she felt that having a person like Witt could also help her in the emotional part as well. 

“It was easy. It was actually nice to hear someone else. Nothing personal against Tom, of course, it was just nice to have a different voice. David is very experienced, very mature, he’s been on the tour for so many years and he’s worked with two very good players," Sakkari said in Paris. 

“[It's great] being able to have a person that experienced in my team, and very laid-back and just relaxed. Because my character is very Mediterranean, I get stressed, I get emotional, but since I’ve been working with David, a lot of things have changed in me. I don’t feel any stress from the box, which is great.”

Maria Sakkari
Maria Sakkari © Getty Images Sport - Elsa

Sakkari appeared to be happy with Witt but now she is again in a position where she needs to find a new coach. 

Maria Sakkari