April 19, 2024

Open Court


Konta confirms Joyce as new coach

Johanna Konta has confirmed that Michael Joyce will be her new coach.

“Michael is a fantastic coach with a great pedigree and I’m really excited to work with him. 2017 has been amazing but I feel like there is so much more to come,” Konta told the WTA website. “The plan is for Michael to travel with me full time through 2018.”

The 44-year-old American already has been in the U.K. for a week and had already come to terms, although the official announcement came only Wednesday.

The two have begun preparing for Konta’s first tournament of the season in Brisbane, the first week of January.

Konta parted ways with Wim Fissette in October after the best season of her career. Fissette quickly signed on with former No. 1 Angelique Kerber, who parted ways with Torben Beltz. Donna Vekic snapped up Beltz.

Got that straight?

Great opportunity for Joyce

Joyce, who coached Maria Sharapova for many years, left his job working with American Jessica Pegula this year to work with Victoria Azarenka as she returned from maternity leave. 

Given Azarenka’s well-publicized custody issues, which seem a long way from resolved and are keeping her off the court indefinitely, Joyce had to consider his options. 

Jobs with top-10 players aren’t that easy to come by – despite the increasing turnover from year to year. So the opportunity was a no-brainer.

(Nearly) all-female team

Konta’s team is now complete. She also has strength and conditioning coach Gill Myburgh, physio Milly Mirkovic (longtime physio for the LTA) and mental coach Elena Sosa on her payroll.

It has probably been underpublicized that Konta’s entire team – with the exception of Joyce – is female.

Can you think of any player – female or male – for whom that’s the case? It would be great if it became a trend.

Konta hasn’t played since early October in Beijing. A left foot injury kept her off the court, and kept her from likely qualification at the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore.

She hasn’t won a match since the third round of the Premier 5 event in Cincinnati in mid-August, and has more than 1,000 ranking points to defend in the first month: a semifinal in Shenzhen, a title in Sydney and a quarter-final at the Australian Open.

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