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Sharapova takes on Groeneveld as coach

Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a return to Sloane Stephens of the U.S. at the Women's Cincinnati Open tennis tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio
Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a return to Sloane Stephens of the U.S. at the Women's Cincinnati Open tennis tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio

(Reuters) - Four-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has hired Sven Groeneveld as her new coach for the 2014 season.

The Russian world number four made the announcement on her Facebook page on Thursday after being without a coach since parting ways with Jimmy Connors in August.

Connors lasted just a month after joining the 26-year-old following the Wimbledon tournament in July.

"I'm happy to announce my official partnership with Sven Groeneveld," Sharapova wrote.

"We've been working together since I got back on the court and after seeing him on the opposing side for so many years, I'm excited to have him become a part of my team.

"It has been a very seamless transition and I have had a lot of fun with the hard work we have put in so far. Looking forward to the year ahead."

Groeneveld has previously worked with other top players in Monica Seles, Mary Pierce and Ana Ivanovic.

Sharapova withdrew from the U.S. Open with a shoulder injury and has not played since.

She is scheduled to return to competition at the Brisbane International tournament as she finalizes her preparations for the Australian Open, the year's first grand slam.

(Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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