Simona Halep has hired fellow Romanian Victor Ionita as her new coach for the 2015 season. In addition, Thomas Hogstedt, former coach to Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki, will serve as a coaching consultant for the first three tournaments of year at the Shenzhen Open, Sydney International and Australian Open. After being fired by Wozniacki after the Australian Open this year, Hogstedt began working with Sloane Stephens in July. Halep's manager Virginia Ruzici confirmed the hires.
After yet another breakthrough season in 2014 that saw Halep make her first Slam final at the French Open and finish the season at No. 3, the 23-year-old chose to split with coach Wim Fissette in favor of a Romanian coach. She's found that with Ionita, who coached her countrywoman Sorana Cirstea to a career-high No. 21 last year. Comparatively, Halep and Cirstea's games are complete opposites. Cirstea never saw a ball she didn't want to crush for a winner. But the hiring of Ionita and Hogstedt seem to signal Halep's continued desire to work more offense and aggression into her game.
Halep begins her season as the top seed at the Shenzhen Open on January 4th. In the meantime, she's already back to training:
This post has been updated.