Perth, Australia – Seles hopes new coach will propel her back to No. 1.
Monica Seles has employed one of the most respected coaches in the game in a bid to enhance her dream of returning to No. 1 in the world.
Seles, currently at No. 4 in the WTA rankings, linked up with Harold Solomon during the close-season, after Solomon split from Jennifer Capriati in October.
Solomon helped revive Capriati’s career last season, after guiding the fallen star back into the world’s top 20.
And Seles, whose reign as outright number one ended after her stabbing in 1993, has been impressed by Solomon’s success rate.
Over the last 12 months, the American has preferred to travel the circuit with several hitting partners, including her brother, Zoltan, and Bobby Banck.
And although, at 27 years of age, Seles insists she “knows what is required of her”, the move for Solomon indicates a change of mood.
“Harry is a great coach with a great reputation and when I heard he was available, I was very excited about having the chance to work with him,” said Seles.
“I think we are linking up at the right time for each other. We understand what we want from each other and from the relationship.
“This is a very imprtant year for me. Last season was good and it has given me even more motivation now. But I realise that I have to start beating the top three or four players on a regular basis, so there are still improvements to be made.”
The Yugoslav-born left-hander has never left the top ten since returning to the Tour 27 months after her April 1993 stabbing at the Hamburg Open.
But by her own admission, Seles, who was number one in the world at the age of 17, has often lacked sufficient motivation to earn another stay at the top of the women’s game.
Solomon has already made adjustments to her game, for her second serve has shown improvement in her appearances at the Hopman Cup in Perth. And her famous grunt has hardly been heard. But Solomon’s biggest influence so far has been to persuade Seles – the most famous exponent of the double-fisted grip on both wings – to use a one-handed grip on the forehand at certain times.
The move is designed to enable Seles to deal better with the power and accuracy boasted by the three players above her in the rankings – Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis.
Solomon and Seles will have to wait until the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne on January 15, to work together in public for the first time. Solomon has stayed in America because of “family issues”, while Seles has travelled to Australia.