Maria Sharapova recounted her father’s plan and the “reason” for removing him from the coaching position

Maria Sharapova revealed she was carefully planning on how to notify her father Yuri Sharapov about her decision to end their partnership and also praised her father for doing his best to understand the situation and accept it.

 

Sharapova, who made her first tennis steps with her father in Russia, moved to the United States when she was just seven after Yuri Sharapov was advised by Martina Navratilova to do so. During the entire process, Yuri became very much involved in Sharapova’s development and that remained when his daughter eventually turned pro.

But it wasn’t like working with her father wasn’t paying off as Sharapova was just 17 when she famously became a Grand Slam champion at 2004 Wimbledon and just 18 when she became the world No. 1 for the first time in 2005. While Sharapova was off to an outstanding start to her career, she soon realized that she would need a new voice if she wanted to give something else to her game.

After beating Ana Ivanovic in the 2008 Australian Open final for her third Grand Slam title, Sharapova – who was 20 at the time – decided it was time to make that move.

“Tennis-wise, I have to give him so much credit. He was in his early 30s with $700 in his back pocket. He was trying to find any kind of job that would help support, you know, string my next racquet for my next tournament,” Sharapova said on Bloomberg’s The Deal with Alex Rodriguez & Jason Kelly.

“The greatest gift that he gave me was acknowledging that at some point he will have to step back. And for a father in sport, particularly in tennis, as a father of a girl that’s won Grand Slams with him, is a very tough acceptance to have

“I did that after my third Grand Slam at the Australian Open. I wanted to have that independency. It was more for me than anything else. It was not about money, not about victories.

“I won the Australian Open and I drafted a really good email. I just thought I was gonna do this much better on email and craft my thoughts better. And I did. And I couldn’t look at him in the face while saying that. But I also knew that he knew it was coming. He just didn’t think it was gonna happen after I just won my third Grand Slam.”

Sharapova’s coaches after splitting with her father; the role her father then had

“I never really fired him. He was still very much involved. I guess the only thing that, and when you say fired, like you evolve, right? And that’s one of the hardest, the challenges that I find now is like, what you needed two, three years ago, perhaps is not what you need for the future,” Sharapova said.

“The fact that he was able to step back and say, ‘Hey you do this.’ He was still very much involved. He’d call all the coaches and speak to them after matches. He’s always the first person I’d call. It wasn’t like I went to my coach, I called my dad.”

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