MADRID, Spain - World No.5 Karolina Pliskova has promoted Conchita Martinez to full-time coach and is no longer collaborating with Rennae Stubbs. Pliskova confirmed the news in a post to her website, noting Martinez's expanded role began after the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February.
After splitting with her coach Tomas Krupa after Wimbledon last summer, Pliskova brought on Rennae Stubbs as her coach. Due to Stubbs' commentary responsibilities, Martinez was brought on to share the coaching duties. With Stubbs and Martinez in her corner, Pliskova has enjoyed consistent success. She surged through the last half of the 2018 season to grab one of the last spots for the WTA Finals, where she made the semifinals.
Pliskova spent her off-season with Martinez in Tenerife, Spain, and began 2019 with a title in Brisbane, Australian Open semifinals, and her first Premier Mandatory final at the Miami Open.
"I had the chance to work with the both of them for a while and I think there were good things and bad things about changing the weeks," Pliskova told reporters at All Access Hour ahead of the Mutua Madrid Open. "So I decided to work with Conchi only because I like the work, so there's no reason why I should have somebody else on the team."
"I like so much to work with Conchita, she knows it," Pliskova said with a laugh. "Of course on clay I think she's the best because she can teach me a lot of new things. She was so good on clay and also on grass, so I think the best weeks are coming."
Pliskova has improved year-over-year on clay, but her preparation this season was interrupted by a viral illness that had her on antibiotics for two weeks after Miami. Though she spent 10 days in Barcelona practicing with Martinez, Pliskova says she's still battling to get her health and fitness back.
"Probably I'm not going to be 100% ready and play the best tennis, but so far I'm playing so that's good," Pliskova said.
A semifinalist at Roland Garros in 2017, and champion in Stuttgart and semifinalist in Madrid last year, Pliskova remains a threat on clay. The clean-striking Czech sits at No.9 on the WTA Insider Clay Court Power Rankings. With Martinez, a 1994 Wimbledon champion and 2000 French Open finalist, in her corner there is only room for improvement. They just need to get her health in check.
"I think year-by-year I'm maybe getting more confident on clay, which is important because before I just didn't really trust myself that I could play on this surface because we know I am not the fastest," Pliskova said.
"You need to move good on clay, it's just a different game. You need to be a little bit more patient which I was not before. So I tried to use different types of games, different spin, we're working on that and I think it can only help."
"She's a great player on any surface," Martinez said. "When you're a complete player you can play on any surface. I think that's the best.
"I think on different surfaces, here on clay, you have to learn and move well. She's improving in a lot of areas. She has to continue to be aggressive and we're working on the movement and different things.
"She's already a great player so we're trying to make little changes here and there. But she has great talent so it's very easy to work with her and tell her something. She does it straight away so it's really easy for me."
Pliskova plays Dayana Yastremska in her first round match in Madrid.