Serena Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, to work with Simona Halep

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Serena Williams’ coach for a decade, Patrick Mouratoglou, is going to work with another Grand Slam champion and former No. 1, Simona Halep.

Mouratoglou announced his partnership with Halep via social media, creating a formidable pairing – and raising questions what this means for the future of Williams as a player.

The owner of 23 major singles titles, a record for the professional era, Williams has not competed anywhere since hurting her right hamstring in a first-round match at Wimbledon in late June last year.

“Today I am starting a new chapter in my coaching career: I am now the full-time coach of Simona Halep. In the last 8 months, I realized how much I missed coaching,” Mouratoglou wrote. “It is the passion of my life, and I still feel like I have so much to give.”

Mouratoglou said Halep, a 30-year-old from Romania who won the French Open in 2018 and Wimbledon in 2019, went to his tennis academy for a training block before last month’s tournament at Indian Wells, California.

He said he stopped by some of her practice sessions to watch.

“At the end of the week, she asked me if I was available to coach her. I have the highest respect for her, but it was out of the question at the time. A few weeks later, I had a conversation with Serena, and the door opened for me, at least short term, to work with someone else,” Mouratoglou said. “I will keep you updated on what’s coming next soon.”

Mouratoglou and Williams began working together shortly after she lost to Virginie Razzano in the first round of the 2012 French Open. That was the only opening-match exit for the American at any Grand Slam tournament until her injury-forced retirement in the first set on Centre Court against Aliaksandra Sasnovich on June 29.

Williams was 30 when Mouratoglou came aboard; she won 13 of her Grand Slam singles trophies before that and 10 since.

She will turn 41 in September and is currently ranked 246th because of her lack of action on tour.

Halep, who defeated Williams in the 2019 final at the All England Club, first reached the top ranking in 2017 and is now 20th.

Halep missed a chunk of last season because of a torn left calf. After reaching the semifinals at Indian Wells in March, she withdrew from the Miami Open because of a left thigh problem.

She announced in September she would no longer be coached by Darren Cahill after six years together.

“Excited for a new chapter,” Halep wrote on Twitter. “Let’s get to work @pmouratoglou.”

Gael Monfils withdraws from French Open with wrist injury

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PARIS — A thrilling five-set victory took a toll on Gael Monfils, whose withdrawal from the French Open handed No. 6 Holger Rune a walkover to the third round.

The 36-year-old Frenchman said he has a strained left wrist and can’t continue.

He battled Sebastian Baez for nearly four hours on Court Philippe Chatrier before beating the Argentine 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 in a first-round match that ended at 12:18 a.m. local time.

The victory was Monfils’ first at tour level this year, as the veteran was coming back from heel surgery.

“Actually, physically, I’m quite fine. But I had the problem with my wrist that I cannot solve,” he said. “The doctor say was not good to play with that type of injury. Yesterday was actually very risky, and then today definitely say I should stop.”

Monfils reached the semifinals at the French Open in 2008 and made it to the quarterfinals on three other occasions.

Mikael Ymer fined about $40K after default for hitting umpire stand with racket

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

PARIS — Swedish tennis player Mikael Ymer was docked about $40,000 after being disqualified for smashing his racket against the umpire’s chair at a tournament the week before he competed at the French Open.

An ATP Tour spokesman said Ymer forfeited about $10,500 in prize money and 20 rankings he earned for reaching the second round of the Lyon Open. Ymer also was handed an on-site fine of about $29,000.

The spokesman said the ATP Fines Committee will conduct a review of what happened to determine whether any additional penalties are warranted.

The 56th-ranked Ymer, who is 24 and owns a victory over current No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, was defaulted in Lyon for an outburst late in the first set against French teenager Arthur Fils last week.

Ymer was upset that the chair umpire would not check a ball mark after a shot by Fils landed near a line. As the players went to the sideline for the ensuing changeover, Ymer smacked the base of the umpire’s stand with his racket twice – destroying his equipment and damaging the chair.

That led to Ymer’s disqualification, making Fils the winner of the match.

After his 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 loss to 17th-seeded Lorenzo Musetti in the first round at Roland Garros, Ymer was asked whether he wanted to explain why he reacted the way he did in Lyon.

“With all due respect, I think it’s pretty clear from the video what caused it and why I reacted the way I reacted. Not justifying it at all, of course,” Ymer replied. “But for me to sit here and to explain? I think it’s pretty clear what led me to that place. I think that’s pretty clear in the video.”