No doubt, 2020 was not the year everybody had imagined. That includes Karolina Pliskova who had a year to forget. Despite winning the Brisbane International earlier this year and reaching the Italian Open final, she failed to produce consistently on the main tour or to advance past the third round at any of the Grand Slams. Which may well be why she now has a new coach: Sascha Bajin.
On November 27, 2020 the Czech player made the news official on her social media pages. Bajin, who parted ways with his most recent charge Dayana Yastremska after the US Open, won the WTA Coach of the Year in 2018, after guiding to Naomi Osaka to the 2018 US Open title and solidifying himself as one of the foremost coaches on the WTA Tour. However, despite helping Osaka win the Australian Open in early 2019, the pair surprisingly parted ways shortly after that.
Before coaching Osaka, he was the hitting partner of Serena Williams, and Bajin also worked with Caroline Wozniacki, before coaching Kristina Mladenovic in 2019 and the aforementioned Yastremska during the abbreviated 2020 season. There is no question then that Bajin has a lot of experience, experience that may well help Pliskova in her quest to win a Grand Slam title.
The move follows Pliskova’s announcement on November 4th, 2020 that she was parting ways with Daniel Vallverdu. She stated that time commitments were the main reason for her decision to terminate their relationship. Vallverdu, who had previously coached Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov, was also a part of Stan Wawrinka’s coaching team and that may have contributed to the decision. Regardless, he will now have more time to work with Wawrinka and help him with his game.
With new coach, Pliskova will now look to finally win a Grand Slam title. This year, the Czech star was eliminated in the second round of the French Open and US Open, with her best effort reaching the third round at the Australian Open. Ultimately, Pliskova clearly has room for improvement and she will be hoping the addition of Bajin is the final piece of the puzzle she needs.
Pliskova may have the qualities to be a Grand Slam champion, but whether she can be mentally strong enough is another question. One she has yet to answer. But will 2021 be the year where she finally reaches glory in winning a Grand Slam title?
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