Former ATP No. 8 Marcos Baghdatis has announced on Twitter that he’ll be joining Andre Bettles in 2020 to coach Elina Svitolina. The 2006 Australian Open runner-up (lost to Roger Federer) played his last professional tennis event at Wimbledon. A semifinalist at the London Grand Slam thirteen years ago, Baghdatis received a wild card to finish his career at that event. He got his last career win beating Braydon Schnur in the opening round. His last professional appearance was a straightforward defeat to Matteo Berrettini.
I am so glad to announce the next chapter of my life and look forward to Coaching a great athlete and super tennis player #No.6 ranked WTA player Elina Svitolina, working along side Andre Bettles! I want to thank Elina for putting her trust in me. Lets do this! Bring it on 2020. pic.twitter.com/RghOMecRz7
— Marcos Baghdatis (@marcosbaghdatis) December 11, 2019
Baghdatis was recently commemorated at the ATP Finals, alongside other pros that have retired in the past year. Present at the ceremony were Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro, Radek Stepanek and others.
Elina Svitolina has been one of the most consistent WTA players in the past couple of years, peaking to win the WTA Finals last year. Despite staying at the top of the game for quite a long time, the Ukrainian had yet to really threaten to win a Grand Slam before this year. 2019 however, has brought her two maiden Grand Slam semifinals, at Wimbledon and at the US Open.
Marcos Baghdatis’ career not exactly parallel to Svitolina
Baghdatis’ career is like a direct opposite to Svitolina. Despite having never won anything more than an ATP 250, the Cypriot hit a great run at the 2006 Australian Open, winning five-setters over Radek Stepanek, Ivan Ljubicic and David Nalbandian to advance to the championship match. He even managed to stay competitive with then world no. 1 Roger Federer for a couple of sets.
Despite never reaching that heights again, Baghdatis stayed a dangerous floater for the rest of his career. In 2010, he got hard court wins over Federer and Rafael Nadal later on. He also scored a rare feat double bageling Diego Schwartzman on clay in Houston 2016.
What can Baghdatis add to Svitolina’s game? The Cypriot made a career without enormous weapons and maybe it’s the shot selection and “tennis IQ” that the Ukrainian will look for in that partnership. It will certainly be one of the storylines to follow in early 2020 season.
Main Photo from Getty.