Bradenton - Former world number one Maria Sharapova has hired Sven Groeneveld, one-time mentor of Monica Seles and Mary Pierce, as her new coach.
The Russian tennis star has been without a formal coach since an ill-fated experiment with eight-time Grand Slam champion Jimmy Connors, which lasted just one match at the WTA tournament in Cincinnati in August
"I'm happy to announce my official partnership with Sven Groeneveld," Sharapova, ranked fourth in the world, said Thursday.
"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, of the Netherlands, is a respected coach who has worked with numerous players as a consultant and coach in the Adidas Player Development program.
He consulted with Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki during her spell atop the world rankings, helping her reach her lone Grand Slam final at the 2009 US Open.
Sharapova, 26, split with long-term coach Thomas Hogstedt after a second-round exit at Wimbledon.
Later in the season she was sidelined by bursitis in her right shoulder, missing the US Open and the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul.
Sharapova is expected to return to competition at the Brisbane International, a 2014 Australian Open tuneup that starts December 30.