Well, folks, I didn’t think it was possible, but the WTA has just gotten more incestuous and intriguing.
— sascha Bajin (@BigSascha) March 4, 2015
That’s right. It looks like Serena’s long-time hitting partner Sascha Bajin, who was noticeably absent from her team in January at the Australian Open, is now working with Victoria Azarenka. Wow.
For some context, Serena once said this about Bajin: “He’s much more than a hitting partner. He’s my older brother. He’s family.”
It was almost three months ago (TIME. It flies.) when I wrote this post about the WTA coaching carousel during the offseason. At that point:
-Eugenie Bouchard had split with Nick Saviano.
-Sloane Stephens had split with Thomas Hogstedt and hired Nick Saviano.
-Simona Halep had split with Wim Fissette and hired Victor Ionita
as her coach and Hogstedt as her “coaching consultant.”
-Madison Keys had hired Lindsay Davenport and Wim Fissette.
-Agnieszka Radwanska had hired Martina Navratilova.
Since then, a lot has happened:
-Davenport decided to take a bigger role with Keys, so Keys decided not to work with Fissett after all. She made the semis of the Australian Open.
-Bouchard went through the Australian Open without a coach, then hired Sam Sumyk, Victoria Azarenka’s old coach, before the public even knew that Azarenka and Sumyk had split.
-Azarenka then hired Fissett. And now, to complete her team, it looks like Azarenka has acquired Bajin.
I’ll say it again: WOW.
I’m sure we’ll find out a lot more in the coming days, but from my end, this seems like a great move for Azarenka. She’s friends with Bajin and Bajin has inside knowledge on Serena, the greatest player in the game and a player that Azarenka, when she is in to form, has been very close to beating in Slam finals.
I mean, it couldn’t hurt, right?
Also, it turns out I might be an oracle:
Vika should hire Sascha. Really shake things up.
— Lindsay Gibbs (@linzsports) February 6, 2015
You want storylines? THE WTA WILL GIVE YOU STORYLINES.
(ETA: I’ve been reminded that Angelique Kerber has also split with her coach, Benjamin Ebrahimzadeh. Maybe she can pick up Hogstedt?)