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Beyond the Baseline

Caroline Wozniacki hires Thomas Hogstedt as her coach

Caroline Wozniacki celebrates after defeating Annika BEck to win the Luxembourg Open. (NICOLAS BOUVY/EPA) Caroline Wozniacki celebrates after defeating Annika Beck to win the Luxembourg Open. (NICOLAS BOUVY/EPA)

Caroline Wozniacki has hired Thomas Hogstedt as her new coach, according to Danish website Ekstra-Bladet.

Hogstedt split with Maria Sharapova after Wimbledon, ending a successful partnership of almost three years in which she rebounded from shoulder surgery to win the 2012 French Open and recapture the No. 1 ranking. The Swede has also coached Li Na.

According to comments from Wozniacki and Hogstedt, the goal of the new partnership is for the Dane to break through and win a Grand Slam tournament.

"I want to develop my game and will work harder than ever before," Wozniacki told Ekstra Bladet. "And I know that when I put in the work, I am a player who can win a Grand Slam."

Hogstedt will replace Wozniacki's father, Piotr, as her primary coach. Last week, Piotr told Championat.com that the WTA Championships would be his last tournament as her coach and that a new coaching appointment was coming.

"Now I'll just be dad," he said. "My mission -- to leave and let Carolina and her trainer to work."

Only time will tell whether Piotr can actually keep his distance -- and whether Caroline wants him to -- but this is a very positive hire for her, coming at a crucial time in her career. In October 2010, at just 20 years old, Wozniacki overtook Serena Williams at No. 1. She enjoyed a 16-month reign despite not making a Grand Slam final during that stretch.

Her weekly consistency at tour events bolstered her ranking, but since the rise of Victoria Azarenka and the resurgence of Williams and Sharapova, Wozniacki has struggled. From 2010 to 2011, she won 12 titles and finished both seasons at No. 1. Since then she's won three titles and finished both years at No. 10.

Hogstedt has been in hot pursuit ever since he split with Sharapova (and perhaps even before then). In addition to Wozniacki, Laura Robson was also reportedly trying to secure his services. The Dane is obviously the more fully formed and accomplished player at the moment and, like Sharapova, her competitive instincts are second to none. Upgrading her game will involve improving her technique and tactics, rather than serving as an armchair psychologist. Also, Hogstedt's friendship with Wozniacki's father may have tipped the scales in her favor.

Wozniacki has brought in outside help before, but her previous attempts at hiring an independent coach outside of her father have never panned out. For years she has used Sven Groeneveld's assistance through the Adidas Player Development Program, and she had brief stints with Ricardo Sanchez and Thomas Johansson in the last two years.
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