One Match Was One Too Many For Maria Sharapova and Jimmy Connors
Added by Rory McQueen on August 20, 2013.
What is a teacher? I’ll tell you: it isn’t someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows.”
― Paulo Coelho
(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Cliff Drysdale said it, but he was quoting Chris Evert when he said,“What is it that Maria thought Jimmy could teach her at this point, she’s a champion already?”
Now this quote works on numerous layers, but at its basic form Chris is right. Why would Maria Sharapova go seeking a new coach, a coach who never has trained a champion, a coach more known as a loner then a team player? He wasn’t goingto teach her how to win, she already knows that, and Connors especially wasn’t going to teach her about being classy, since Connors has never been known as one of the gentlemen of tennis. The contempt he showed his opponents is nothing compared to how he treated Chris Evert. There are many reasons to write a memoir, some like to set the record straight, most need money, but Jimmy went to that extra level, he needed that last moment under the sun. To get there he sacrificed his honor, betraying Chris by telling a story about her and something that occurred almost 30 years ago. Which brings me back to the start, why would Maria reach out to Jimmy Connors as a coach?
She has all the obvious reasons to look for answers, between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, winning titles has become an almost impossible road to venture. Maria, like many women players must feel like all those NBA teams who were forced to face Michael Jordan in his prime. You can imagine and plan for all the possible ways to win, but once you get on the court, Serena becomes tennis’ air Jordan, crushing most of her competition.
Maybe it was seeing the success of Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl that inspired her choice of Connors. But like the quote above states, the true teacher inspires the student to give his best in what they already know. Lendl didn’t teach serves, or forehand returns, Lendl taught Murray how to win. He gave him the confidence to believe the abilities he already possessed were enough to become a champion, and he was right.
Jimmy sold Maria on a vision, a vision that lasted all of one match. Whatever happened between them no one will know, but both are still left searching. Jimmy for a way to capture one more moment under the sun, and Maria, well she is searching for what matters most, a championship. Will the US OPEN be the place where she conquers Serena, I can’t say, but not having Connors in her corner can only help her.