Sloane Stephens and Paul Annacone have decided to end their coaching relationship after eight months. Stephens, 21, hired Annacone, the former coach of Roger Federer and Pete Sampras, at the start of the season in January. She will reportedly work within an unnamed coach on a trial basis during next week's Citi Open in Washington D.C.
"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 hard court swing," said Stephens in a statement from her management company. "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."
Said Annacone via statement: "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.”
The Stephens-Annacone partnership never seemed to click. Stephens, who began the season at No. 12 in the WTA rankings, has fallen to No. 22 after seeing her results fall short of her breakthrough 2013 season. Stephens has yet to win a WTA title (or make a final) this year, and her streak of making the fourth round or better at six consecutive Grand Slams ended last month at Wimbledon, where she lost in straight sets to Maria Kirilenko in the first round.
While Stephens has struggled to find her rhythm this season, her peers seem to have passed her by. Eugenie Bouchard, 20, cracked the top 10 after winning her first WTA title and making her first major final at Wimbledon. Other younger players like Madison Keys, Monica Puig and Donna Vekic have broken through this year to win their first titles.