Former top-20 player to work with David Taylor until Wimbledon

Tennis - Daria Gavrilova lost the opening six matches in 2019 and she was forced to chance something in her coaching staff

by Jovica Ilic
Former top-20 player to work with David Taylor until Wimbledon

After a string of solid results in 2016-17, Daria Gavrilova had cracked the top-20 after winning the title in New Haven in August 2017, defeating Agnieszka Radwanska and Dominika Cibulkova for her first and so far the only WTA crown.

Daria played in the semi-final in Sydney and Acapulco last year and the results were not that good in the rest of the season, advancing into the last eight only three times overall and failing to keep the position in the rankings and stay in the top-50 where she spent the last couple of years.

Kicking off 2019 season ranked 35th, Daria has struggled to find the rhythm or winning margin in the first three months, bowing out in the opening round in Brisbane, Sydney, Australian Open, St. Petersburg and Acapulco, dropping the Fed Cup tie against Danielle Collins and heading to Indian Wells with no triumphs under her belt (she has been struggling with Achilles problems).

In the desert, Gavrilova finally started to play better, beating Dayana Yastremska and Mihaela Buzarnescu before suffering a tight loss against Elina Svitolina in round three. Determined to change something and bring her career back on the right course, Daria has decided to change the coaching staff and add David Taylor to the team, choosing Rabat as their joined event.

The 46-year-old has been in the coaching job since 1992, working with Martina Hingis, Ana Ivanovic, Naomi Osaka, Jelena Ostapenko, Elise Mertens, Madison Keys, Sam Stosur, Alicia Molik and other Australian players while serving as Fed Cup captain on a few occasions.

Daria and David will join forces until Wimbledon and they will decide about the possible extension after that. “When we decided to start, she’s been very good in communication already. She’s set out goals, wanting to get a lot more defined in her playing style; looking for forehands, using her movement in an offensive way, not just a defensive way.

She has clear patterns of play to build her game around and I like that, the fact she’s looking to be a lot more structured. I think, being Australian, and for so long the Fed Cup captain and just involved in Australian tennis, even though I’ve coached outside of Australia for so long, I’ve just taken a real notice and interest in Gavrilova.

I was an excellent friend with Stefano Barsacchi when he did quite a lot of strength and conditioning work with Dasha and watched a lot of matches together with him. Also, I’ve known Daria's former coach Nicole Pratt all my tennis life as well.

So I’m going into it with eyes wide open and know what Dasha is capable of. I think it’s gonna be a very easy start, just because I know her so well. Her movement lets her be a great competitor. And I think we all know Dash for her feistiness and competitiveness and not willing to lose points, and staying in points.

Again that’s a lot to do with movement – this is a big part of her make-up as a player. So we have to get that right. And then I think she can get back on track”. Taylor said.

Wimbledon Daria Gavrilova