Erakovic dumps her coach ahead of Wimbledon

DAVID LONG
Last updated 05:00 22/06/2014
Marina Erakovic
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MAKING A CHANGE: Stalled at 66 in the singles rankings, Kiwi No 1 Marina Erakovic has split with long-term coach Christian Zahalka ahead of Wimbledon.

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Marina Erakovic has dumped her long-time coach ahead of Wimbledon, which starts tomorrow.

The New Zealand No 1 had worked with Christian Zahalka, for four years and while he helped take her into the top 40 in the world, she hasn't been able to make the jump to the next level and break into the top 20.

"We split ways just after Birmingham a week ago," Erakovic told Radio Sport yesterday.

"I felt it was time for a change and a fresh start for myself.

"We're still on good terms and I feel good about the decision at the moment.

"I don't have a coach, but it's not as though I'm going to forget to play tennis and I actually have a very good friend and physio here with me, Paul Wilson, so I'm not alone and my dad is in London waiting for us.

"I don't want to rush into getting a new coach, I want to see what I want, look at my options and be smart about the next move."

Erakovic won her eighth doubles title yesterday, in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. Along with her Spanish partner, Arantxa Parra Santonja, she defeated Dutch player Michaella Krajicek and Kristina Mladenovic from the Czech Republic 0-6 7-6 10-8.

It was her first doubles title in over a year and comes shortly after making it to the quarterfinals at the French Open recently, again with Parra Santonja.

But while doubles is going well, she has struggled in singles this year and not since playing in Acapulco in February has she made it into the quarterfinals at a WTA tournament.

"I felt that my game wasn't improving as much as I'd like it to and I felt that a different environment of sorts would help," Erakovic said.

"I would like to take more control of my own game and own path and felt this was the right decision for that."

In the doubles at Wimbledon Erakovic and Parra Santonja have been drawn against the 12th seeds Anabel Media Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova in the first round at the All England Club, while in the singles she plays 16-year-old rising star Ana Konjuh from Croatia.

Konjuh came through qualifying to make it into the main draw and has a ranking of 188, compared to Erakovic at 66.

Meanwhile, in the gentlemen's doubles New Zealand's Michael Venus and his partner from the USA, Bradley Klahn, have been drawn against the American duo of Donald Young and Austin Krajicek.

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