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Maria Sharapova's ex-coach to train South African youngsters

By Abhimanyu Nagpal    + Follow

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Keywords: Maria-Sharapova | Victoria-Azarenka
Maria Sharapova's ex-coach to train South African youngsters
After Victoria Azarenka's vow of helping out a couple of teenagers in her native Belarus, Maria Sharapova's coach has now decided to help groom youngsters in South Africa.

While he may have broken ties with one of the extraordinary talents of this generation of tennis in Maria Sharapova, former coach Thomas Hogstedt is keeping busy. Hogstedt’s next assignment may not be as lucrative as his last one, but it almost definitely will be a lot more liberating. The Swede will be grooming youngsters in South Africa as he aims to produce yet another Grand Slam champion after already training Li Na and Caroline Wozniacki apart from the Russian in the past.

The 50 year-old is a high profile coach in women’s tennis, and is well respected by all. Having had to deal with the rigors of professional tennis and travelling with the players every week, Hogstedt had perhaps planned on taking a break from it. He had visited South Africa at the tail end of last year, when he was still the coach of the now World No.3 and conducted various coaching sessions and made presentations to coaches as well as the parents of junior players.

Hogstedt has an unusual method of coaching, he is of the opinion that young players should not be exposed to junior level (Grand Slams), and be allowed to develop slowly. The Swede believes that they should focus on developing their techniques more. "Results at an early age are not so important," he said.

This time as he visited ‘the rainbow nation’, he seemed to be a little more serious. In fact, Hogstedt has already picked up a couple of juniors who he will train. The two talented girls are immensely talented according to the Swede, and he says he is going to work on transforming them into world beaters. Here’s what he said of the Kruger sisters:

“I saw from the first day that I could transform Zoe Kruger into one of the best players in the world. Isabella (Zoe"s younger sister) reminds me of Martina Hingis. She plays a very fast and flat game and has great feel for the ball.

I took Caroline Wozniacki, Li Na and Maria Sharapova to the top. Next it will be two young sisters from South Africa: Zoe and Isabella Kruger, who I will make Grand Slam champions for South Africa!”

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