Coach Thomas Hogstedt has been successful in recent years with two of the highest profile tennis players in the world…heck, two of the highest profile women’s athletes in the world, Maria Sharapova and Li Na. Most recently Hogstedt parted ways with former world #1 Sharapova, but not before helping her win the 2012 Roland Garros title, which completed the Russian superstar’s career Grand Slam. Now Thomas looks to revive the fortunes of another former world #1, Caroline Wozniacki. While Caroline remains a top 10 player, she has fallen off greatly from her peak playing days. And even in those days, she was plagued by perpetual questions about being #1 for so long without having won a Major. The closest she has come was before she was #1, when she lost to Kim Clijsters in the 2009 US Open final.
I have no question about Caroline’s talent, which I feel is not yet fully tapped. I also firmly believe in Hogstedt as a coach. My question, as it has been with coaches Ricardo Sanchez, Thomas Johansson and anybody else who has coached her is whether they will be allowed to fully hold the coaching reins or will they be subordinate to Caroline’s father, Piotr Wozniacki. I certainly don’t want to diminish or devalue his work. He has done a wonderful job in developing his daughter into a world class athlete and, at one time, the highest ranked tennis player in the world. Although I don’t know Caroline or her father, I can imagine that the bond between them is one firmly rooted in their mutual trust, love and respect of each other. That said, sometimes a father/coach takes a player only so far before another voice needs to come in to guide a player to a new plateau. We saw in 2013 where Marion Bartoli’s father stepped away and let her progress on her own. She ended up taking the next step, the ultimate step in tennis, winning a Wimbledon singles crown. Likewise, I think if Hogstedt is allowed to be in control, he can give Caroline that final push into being something many have thought she would have already been, a Major champion.