Sharapova's Ex-Coach to Train South African Kids

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By Rachelle Corpuz | September 27, 2013 1:43 PM EST

Thomas Hogstedt, former professional tennis player and coach of Russian top tennis player Maria Sharapova, has decided to share his expertise in tennis by training South African kids.

In 2010, Sharapova hired Hogstedt to be her coach. Back then, she had been globally ranked no. 18. When Hogstedt became her full-time coach in 2011, her performance drastically improved. She won two Women's Tennis Association titles. She also made it to the French Open semifinals and Wimbleton finals.

In 2012, Sharapova won the Grand Slam title in the French Open and regained the world's no. 1 spot. Under Hogstedt, she made it to the Australian Open finals, and the U.S. Open semifinals. She has also won a silver medal in the Olympics.

In 2013, they parted ways. "Thomas Hogstedt and I decided to part ways after almost 3 years of working together," Sharapova said in a statement on her official web site. "He will not be able to travel in the future and we both decided that this is the right time to go on our separate ways. I am extremely appreciative for all his hard work and I could only wish him the very best," she noted.

Aside from Sharapova, Hogstedt also mentored Carol Wozniacki and Li Na, who belong to the pack of the greatest tennis players in the world.

Hogstedt may no longer be working with Sharapova but he knows how to keep himself busy. He will be training kids from South Africa whom he finds equally rewarding. He had already been there in 2012 and had several coaching sessions. He has spotted two South African girls with amazing talents and believes both of them will have a future in the world of tennis.

"I brought Sharapova, Na, and Wozniacki to the top. I will make sure that these two South African girls, Zoe and Isabella Kruger, will become grand slam champions in time," Hogstedt said.

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