Tennis Prose



Cirstea Career Revived By Johansson

Sorana Cirstea is 32 now and at an age when most WTA players are in the home stretch of their careers, ready to fade away into the sunset.

But Cirstea is not your typical, regular player. After ending her 2022 season after US Open with a bad shoulder, Cirstea wasn’t ready to pack it in. The self belief, fire and motivation were still there. So Cirstea made the decision to work with an elite coach with the experience of winning a Grand Slam title and also working with other elite players like Goffin, Sakkari and Coric.

The chemistry and connection between Cirstea and Thomas Johansson, winner of 2002 Australian Open, in four sets vs Marat Safin, is paying dividends. Cirstea defeated Marketa Vondrousova today 76 64 at Miami Open to reach the round of 16. In her previous tournament in Indian Wells she beat no. 5 Caroline Garcia for the first time in her career, before losing to world no. 1 Iga Swiatek 62 63 in the quarterfinals.

Cirstea is 12-7 on the year and 8-1 in her last eight matches in Miami and Indian Wells. In Miami, Cirstea has beaten Contreras-Gomez, Garcia, Muchova, and Vondrousova. She is ranked 74 now and playing with momentum and confidence.

Cirstea generously praises Johansson for sparking her surprise resurgence this year.

“The way I’m playing right now is because of him,” Cirstea told WTA Insider. “He’s improving so many areas of my game and helping me see the tennis with different eyes, to be smarter on the court. This is the reason why I’m playing so good. I’m really happy with the way I’m working with him.

“I think as a player, he could read the game really well and read the opponents really well. So he started to teach me that a little bit. Also, I told him to teach me a little bit of the men’s mentality, the way men handle situations, and hopefully that can help me in the women’s game. He made me smarter on the court. My shots were always there, but sometimes I couldn’t see certain things.”

The Romanian has won two WTA titles in her career and her best ranking was 21 a decade ago in 2013 .

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1 comment

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 27, 2023 at 8:32 pm

    I remember Johansson was the coach that really helped Sakkari to grow into a top player. The first weeks together Johansson had Sakkari working in Monte Carlo for over a week hitting with Marat Safin and Dinara Safina, which surely was a priceless experience and thrill to be around three ultimate elite players, Dinara was world no. 1. So now Johansson has transformed Cirstea from a journeywoman now into a big danger threat. Meanwhile Gauff continues to be coached by her parents and having no idea why she keeps losing, thinking she’s not making the right decisions or being too defensive. A coach like Johansson would definitely help Coco to win a major, she’s so close, IMO. She just needs direction from somebody who won a major, not her parents who likely never play a tennis match at a tournament in their lives.



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