In one of the most significant coaching hires of the off-season, World No.10 Johanna Konta has brought on Wim Fissette as her coach to begin the 2017 season. Fissette was the long-time coach to Kim Clijsters and has recently worked with Simona Halep, Madison Keys, and Victoria Azarenka until her pregnancy leave last summer.
Konta is coming off a breakthrough 2015 season, which saw her win her first WTA title at the Bank of the West Classic, advance to her first major semifinal at the Australian Open, and surge from No.47 at the start of the season to become the first British woman to finish the season inside the Top 10 since Jo Durie in 1983. Her decision to split with coach Estaban Carrill was met with surprise, but Konta has landed one of the best coaches on tour in Fissette.
Known for his tennis acumen and amiable demeanor, Konta cited their positive chemistry in her decision to bring the Belgian on.
"He was the first coach I trialled and things are going well," Konta told The Independent. "I guess he's been on the Tour for quite some time, so I'm definitely looking forward to being a sponge and absorbing as much of his experience and knowledge through the years."
In the same interview, Konta reflected on her sudden but mutual decision to part ways with Carrill, who had coached her through her meteoric rise over the last 18 months.
"But like with every relationship, I think there comes a point where changes need to be made, Konta said. "For both of us to keep evolving and keep getting better, it was definitely the right time. It gave me the opportunity to go into my pre-season with a new set-up so that I can then start my next season already in the swing of things."
It has been an emotionally tough off-season for Konta after the death of her mental coach Juan Coto. Throughout her surge up the rankings, Konta, once a hot-headed, nervy player who struggled to close out matches, cited her work with Coto for her more grounded, simple approach to her game and career. Coto passed away suddenly in November.
"I know that Juan would be supportive of me continuously improving that area because it's more than just tennis, it's about my life," Konta said. "He's still very much a part of everything that I do, everything that I will continue to do in this sport and this career, and most likely beyond that as well. He has gifted me with an incredible amount of tools and habits that I still to this day am looking to improve, every single day."
Konta begins her 2017 season at the Shenzhen Open, which starts on January 1st, and is scheduled to play the Apia International in Sydney as well to prepare for the first major of the season at the Australian Open.