September 22, 2023

Open Court


Elina Svitolina announces Juska and Bresnik as new ’22 coaching team

(Photo: Top Five Management)

After parting ways with Andrew Bettles in late October, top WTA player Elina Svitolina’s management team announced her next moves Thursday.

Svitolina will have the Latvian Andis Juska as a travelling coach. And she’s also adding experienced longtime guru Günther Bresnik as a “consulting coach” for 2022.

Bresnik has worked with about as many players as you want to name – from Boris Becker to Dominic Thiem. These days, he has been working with Svitolina’s husband, Gaël Monfils.

That’s handy – but it’s also a double-edged sword if one or the other decides Bresnik is no longer the right fit.

Juska, 36, is not a particularly experienced coach at the top level. But he has travelled extensively with fellow Latvian Jelena Ostapenko.

Ostapenko paying rapt attention to coach Andis Juska during an on-court consult (WTATV)

He also worked with Amanda Anisimova – in both cases, he was a hitting partner often called into action to upgrade as coach when the player was between coaches.

As a player, Juska reached a career high of No. 226 in singles and No. 136 in singles in the late 00s.

Monfils and Bresnik on Arthur Ashe Stadium at this year’s US Open. (Stephanie Myles/OpenCourt)

The end of the “Young Coach Growing with Player” era?

It wasn’t long ago that coaches like Bettles and Iga Swiatek coach Piotr Sierzputowski were somewhat of a trend in women’s tennis. Thomas Hill, currently working with Maria Sakkari, is also in that group.

On the WTA Tour, rare are players (and their families) who appear willing to invest in a top-flight, big-name, experienced coach to bring their games to a new level.

These were young (male, of course) coaches who could be hired at reasonable rates. Being a full-time coach on the WTA Tour was a big opportunity for them.

And in families where parents play a major role, a younger coach is seen as less of a dominant influence.

Being closer in age with their charges, it has been looked upon as a plus that the coach and player could grow and evolve together at the top level.

But all trends end.

Piotr Sierzputowski with Iga Swiatek on the practice court at Roland Garros last spring. By December, he was out. (Stephanie Myles/Open Court)

Hill appears to still be going strong with Sakkari. She had her best season in 2021 and qualified for the WTA Finals. So there’s no reason not to keep going.

But the other two were turfed this year.

Swiatek replaced Piotr Sierzputowski with Thomas Witkorowski, another fellow Pole who worked for years with the best Polish female player ever, Agnieszka Radwanska.

Juska at Roland Garros with Amanda Anisimova. (Stephanie Myles/Open Court)

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