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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday March 26, 2024

After an adjustment period, and a few months of poor results, Jessica Pegula is already starting to feel like herself again. The former World No.3, who made the decision to part with longtime coach David Witt after this year’s Australian Open, is starting to get her feet underneath her at the Miami Open and with her new coaching tandem.

Tennis Express

For the moment, she is working with a duo coaching tandem of former doubles stalwart Mark Knowles and Mark Merklein, a former ATP No. 160 who also previously coached alongside Bryan Shelton (father of Ben Shelton) at the University of Florida.

The American says the change suits her well.

“I like the change. I like kind of experiencing something different, talking to different people hearing what they have to say,” she said during a pre-tournament press conference in Miami. “It's been a little bit different, but I've been really enjoying it.”

“I like that It's kind of an open kind of collaborative type of thing. I like that there's multiple people trying to problem solve, multiple people that could maybe want the same thing, but maybe one of them says it a little bit differently and I – for whatever reason – respond to that better.

Pegula has won three matches in a row in Miami and will face Ekaterina Alexandrova in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Pegula will bid to become the first woman to reach three consecutive Miami semifinals since Serena Williams.

She feels that she is ready for the challenge.

"This week I'm already happier. I feel back to myself, I'm competing, I have a good attitude, I don't look like I'm miserable on the court. I'm in good shape and I'm playing well,” Pegula said, according to Courtney Nguyen of the WTA. "I just needed a reset. It's been a crazy couple of years."

A New Perspective, A New Challenge, A New Pegula

Pegula says that her decision has brought about positive change in her approach to tennis. These days, she is hunting for ways to improve and feeding her passion for the sport, and for growth. It wasn’t true last year, she says.

“I think it's been nice. I like having that kind of mindset of problem solving… It's been nice to kind of not feel like you're stuck with just one person all the time,” she said.

Pegula says she feels more challenged now and she ultimately believes it will help her achieve new milestones.

“I just needed something new,” she said, adding: “I felt like I wanted to challenge myself. I felt a little bit on autopilot for the last year, specifically, where I was just playing a lot and I don't know if I felt like I was part of a process. “Obviously you want to win and you want to win matches. but I think the biggest thing as a player, which is what I did so well with [David Witt] when we first started is working on things and trying to improve as a tennis player – not just the ranking, not just winning events – but I think you have to be improving as a player constantly.”

Having turned 30 in February, Pegula made a tough decision and now feels like she can start to grow again – and enjoy herself as she does.

“That's where you find joy in the game,” she said. “The joy of being a tennis player as well. “And I felt like I lost a little bit of that in the last year, which sounds crazy because I still played really well, but there were definitely times where I think I was just playing… I turned 30, I want to make some bigger results. I'm not the same person as I was when I was 25 years old. So I wanted to kind of fall back into that feeling of loving the process of what I'm doing, and getting better as a player. “And I felt like I needed to change to do that.”