"Thought this day would never come" "Maria Sakkari coming for No. 1": Fans react as Greek splits with coach Tom Hill after dropping out of top 10

Maria Sakkari with her former coach Tom Hill (inset)
Maria Sakkari with her former coach Tom Hill (inset)

Maria Sakkari has ended her six-year-long partnership with coach Tom Hill, just a day after the Greek dropped out of the WTA top 10.

Sakkari has had a barren run on the tour recently. She suffered a poor finish to the 2023 season and is currently on a three-match losing streak since the Australian Open.

At the Qatar Open, seventh-seeded Sakkari was handed a first-round bye, following which she faced Linda Noskova on Tuesday (February 13). The Greek squandered her chance to wrap up the encounter at match point in the second set as Noskova staged a comeback with a score of 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 to hand her opponent yet another defeat on the road.

Sakkari's defeat saw her drop out of the top 10 (live rankings) for the first time since September 2021. A day later, Sakkari and Hill announced their mutual split on social media. Hill stated that he would maintain a close friendship with the Greek despite parting ways professionally.

"After six great years together, Maria and I are ending our professional partnership but will continue to remain close friends," Hill wrote on Instagram.

Tennis fans online were quick to react to the development. One fan expressed disbelief as they never expected the split to happen.

"Holy c**p! I truly thought this day would never come," the fan wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Another user maintained that the split was a welcome change, as they expect Sakkari to now improve and challenge for the World No. 1 spot.

"She's coming for no. 1," the fan's tweet read.

Here are a few more reactions from tennis fans:

Maria Sakkari pens heartfelt note after parting ways with Tom Hill

Maria Sakkari at the 2023 Miami Open
Maria Sakkari at the 2023 Miami Open

Maria Sakkari shared a heartfelt note on social media reflecting on her split with coach Tom Hill. The former World No. 3 thanked the Brit for his support and the shared memories on and off the court.

"Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one. We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible," Sakkari wrote on her Instagram post.

Sakkari reflected on how Hill had shaped her to be a better individual and wished him the best in his future endeavors.

"Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back. Good luck on the next chapter in your career," she added.

Maria Sakkari and Tom Hill commenced their partnership in 2018. Sakkari has won two WTA titles on the tour so far, claiming both under the Brit's tutelage. Hill also guided the Greek to her career-high ranking of World No. 3 in March 2022.

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Edited by Pritha Ghosh
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