Sharapova hires Groeneveld as new coach

Bradenton, FL ( - Maria Sharapova has hired Sven Groeneveld as her new coach.

Groeneveld previously served as a consultant and coach at the Adidas Player Development Program and has coached Grand Slam champions Monica Seles, Mary Pierce and Ana Ivanovic.

"I'm happy to announce my official partnership with Sven Groeneveld," said the world No. 4 Sharapova. "We've been working together since I got back on the court, and after seeing him on the opposing side for so many years, I'm excited to have him become a part of my team. It has been a very seamless transition and I have had a lot of fun with the hard work we have put in so far. Looking forward to the year ahead."

Groeneveld also heavily consulted for Caroline Wozniacki in recent years, helping her hold the No. 1 ranking for more than a year and reach her lone Grand Slam final, at the 2009 U.S. Open.

The 26-year-old former world No. 1 Sharapova was sidelined with right shoulder bursitis at the end of this past season and was forced to miss the 2013 U.S. Open. The Russian superstar had shoulder surgery back in 2008 and it took her a few years to relocate her game and earn a fourth major title, at last year's French Open, where she completed the coveted career Grand Slam with Thomas Hogstedt as her coach.

Sharapova had also recently employed Michael Joyce and Jimmy Connors, who was with Sharapova for only one tournament this year before they parted ways.

Groeneveld will try to help Sharapova improve against current No. 1 great Serena Williams, who hasn't lost to the tall Russian since 2004, a streak of 13 matches.

Sharapova is scheduled to open her 2014 campaign in Brisbane, Australia, late next month, with Williams and world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka also expected to be on hand for the Australian Open tune-up.