Birmingham: Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic is seeking the coach who will help one of the most naturally talented players on the circuit return to the top.
Ever since the 6-foot-1 (1.86-meter) Serb with the intimidating serve and lethal forehand won the French Open three years ago, she has underwhelmed on tour. It took Ivanovic until last year to win another title - she picked up two - but she has yet to get back even to the quarterfinals of another Grand Slam. She was ousted in the first round of the recent French Open.
Her lack of confidence has at times been both painful and very public.
She has watched the long sequence of success of compatriot and friend, Novak Djokovic, this year, and says she has often thought "could I borrow just a bit of your confidence?"
Injuries have exacerbated her problems. Even this year, while withdrawing from events citing an abdominal strain, fatigue and a wrist injury, she has maintained a top-20 ranking. But the physical and psychological issues might be alleviated by the insight, structure, and organization provided by a top-class coach.
Ivanovic traveled with only a sparring partner for most of this past year, having parted suddenly with coach Antonio van Grichen, and she thinks the ensuing instability in her regimen and in her mind has affected her results.
"It's been a bit of a struggle and a little up and down - and that's been happening for the last couple of years in my career," the 23-year-old said sadly.
"I want something more stable. I want something more solid. I know it's not easy to find a good coach, but it's something I should consider again."
Ivanovic did noticeably better at big tour stops in Indian Wells and Miami in March when she had access to Darren Cahill's coaching through one of her sponsors, Adidas. She scored five wins, including one over Jelena Jankovic, a former world No. 1, and held five match points against Kim Clijsters, the US Open champ.