September 20, 2023

Open Court


Ostapenko-Bajin trial brief as Bajin returns to Team Pliskova (video)

This year’s late-season WTA 1000 tournament in Guadalajara – the final event for most players – was a bit of a petri dish for potential new player-coach associations.

For Belinda Bencic and new coach Dmitry Tursunov, it was a debut.

For Jelena Ostapenko and Sascha Bajin, it was … a trial?

A short-lived one, as it turns out.

On Tuesday, Karolina Pliskova announced that she and Bajin would be renewing their association, after the the pair parted after more than a year and a half together – after this year’s Wimbledon.

Bajin – Ostapenko an odd couple

The association between Bajin – a muscular, relentless physical fitness nut – and Ostapenko – less so, although she never seems to get tired during a match – was an intriguing one.

You’d figure he could do a lot of work on the physical side, in addition to trying to get her serve straightened out.

It seemed like an inspired choice, in that sense.

Here’s how they looked in Guadalajara.

In a post-match interview after her win over Genie Bouchard, Ostapenko was … pretty noncommittal and cagey about Bajin.

Which isn’t surprising; as funny as she is to listen to, she really rarely gives up too much.

Most of Ostapenko’s attempts at bringing another coach into her circle have been short-lived and ill-fated.

So we’d expect she’ll just go back to her regular deal as the 2023 season begins.

Unless she has another surprise in store.

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