Jessica Pegula shares growing pains of her new coaching arrangement

Pegula prefers having multiple problem-solvers on her team

Robert Prange/GettyImages
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2024 has been very different for America's second-highest-ranked female player, Jessica Pegula. Early losses at the United Cup and the Australian Open, an injury that kept her out of the February Middle Eastern swing and unable to defend points earned last year, a milestone birthday (30), and a coaching change all occurred in the first two months of the year.

The consistent Pegula contending in the late rounds of singles and doubles with partner Coco Gauff has been missed this year. Pegula lives in Florida and is accustomed to the Miami conditions so the Miami Open could be her breakout tournament. She will face Canadian Leylah Fernandez for the first time in her career in the Round of 32 on Sunday.

Pegula hired Mark Knowles, a Tennis Channel analyst, and Mark Merklein. Both Marks are knowledgeable and accomplished but are too busy with other obligations to be Pegula's full-time coach. Because of this, a collaborative co-coaching relationship has evolved with Pegula traveling with different coaches at different tournaments depending on logistics and schedules.

What Pegula said about the coaching change

Pegula told Tennis Channel's Prakash Amritraj after her Round of 64 win that the new coaching change took some getting used to. She explained that working with David Witt for five years made the two comfortable with each other.

She likes multiple voices and multiple problem-solvers in her camp instead of being "stuck" with one person. Pegula said that it suits where she is in her career and believes other players may adopt a similar approach in the future.

Some have speculated that Pegula's coaching change is likely prompted by a desire to be more successful at Grand Slams. She is a perennial quarterfinalist who has not broken through into the later rounds. Martina Navratilova recently shared her opinion that Pegula is not good enough to win a Grand Slam without some help from major upsets or issues with other top players.

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