World No. 22 Sloane Stephens has officially parted ways with her coach Paul Annacone according to a release from the American’s management company Wednesday. The coach had been with the top ranked American for the last eight months.
Rumours began to surface that the partnership was on rocky terms following Stephen’s first round exit from the Wimbledon Championships this year, and while Annacone had initally commented saying they were committed, they have now officially ended the partnership in an “amicable” fashion.
“Based on the conversations Paul and I had after Wimbledon, we both feel like it would be a good idea for me to have a fresh start leading into the summer hardcourt swing,” said Stephens, the second-highest ranked American woman at No. 22, in a statement. “I’ve learned a lot over our past eight months together and now just need to meld them into my long term plan. Paul is one of the top coaches in the world and will remain a close friend and confidant. I can’t thank him enough for his time and continued support.”
Stephens joined forces with Annacone last December when she was determined to perform at a more consistent level. The coach was famed for his work with top competitors including Roger Federer, Tim Henman and Pete Sampras. Under Annacone, Stephens, who reached a high of No. 11 in October, has slipped to No. 22. In 2014, she reached the fourth round at the Australian Open and French Open.
“Sloane and I had a lot of good things happen but just couldn’t get the desired consistency. And since we agreed that our situation was causing doubt and confusion in Sloane’s mind, I really wanted her to find clarity leading into the U.S. Open. This is why a change at this juncture made sense.”
“There is absolutely no doubt Sloane is one of the more talented players on the tour and I look forward to watching her have a great deal of success over the course of her career,” Annacone added in the statement.
On Thursday morning, TENNIS.com‘s Matt Cronin reported that Stephens is now being coached by Thomas Hogstedt.