Only three weeks remain before Canadian tennis star Genie Bouchard gets on a plane to start her 2015 season at the exhibition Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia.
And as the clock ticks down and Bouchard – as far as we know – remains without a coach after she and Nick Saviano parted ways a few weeks ago, the high-profile and quality candidates are being snapped up like classic vinyl records at a garage sale.
On Monday alone, two big names were essentially spoken for, as world No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska announced that the legendary Martina Navratilova would join her team as a consultant, for some 12-15 weeks a year – mirroring the 2014 trend on the men's side with "supercoaches" Stefan Edberg, Michael Chang and Boris Becker.
As well, although the details remain to be worked out and the deal official, Saviano looks to be planning to work with American Sloane Stephens in 2015.
Or, more accurately, "reunite" with Stephens, with a not-full-time travel arrangement similar to one he had with Bouchard this year.
Saviano and Stephens go way back – even before Bouchard first met him at age 12. The American worked with him during her formative years, then went back and forth between him and coaches provided by the U.S. Tennis Association because he wouldn't travel. After a 2013 season that had more than a few similarities to the season Bouchard experienced in 2014, she struggled this year as she tried to back it up, and live up to the lofty expectations.
High-profile coaches Paul Annacone (formerly with Pete Sampras and Roger Federer) and Thomas Hogstedt (Sharapova, Wozniacki, Li Na, you name it) didn't last long.
Another experienced women's coach, the veteran Eric Van Harpen, whose association with Andrea Petkovic ended at the end of this year, will be working with Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan in 2015.
Now in Delray Beach working with Andrey Golubev, who is a longtime friend of me.I am happy and less stress and hope Andrea has a great 2015!
— Eric van Harpen (@EricvanHarpen) December 8, 2014
Meanwhile, Bouchard was conspiciously quiet on social media for the last couple of weeks. She emerged a few days ago, and included this rather cheeky Tweet.
— Eugenie Bouchard (@geniebouchard) December 6, 2014
Team Bouchard, at this point, is basically down to one: trainer Scott Byrnes, who assured Eh Game that he's happily still working with Bouchard down in Florida.
British hitting partner Tom Burn, who was a consistent presence during the second half of Bouchard's season after a lot of musical chairs in that area, is not with her. Byrnes said Burn had commitments back in the U.S. in December, but could rejoin the team down in Australia.
In the meantime, Eh Game has learned that Bouchard is working with a Serbian coach on a trial basis down in Florida.
Marko Dragic, 30, is a former player (with one career Futures event on his resumé) who originally came to the U.S. to work with the kids at Saviano's Florida Academy.
He didn't work there all that long, and then bounced around some after that. He even advertised his "have ball bucket, will travel" services on a find-a-tennis-pro website a few years ago – touting his "20 years of professional tennis experience in Europe" which, given his age, is an impressive feat.
So he's not the type of top-level coach you would think Bouchard is looking for, as she tries to build on her 2014 season. He reportedly is a very good hitter, though, which at least will allow Bouchard to practice as much as she needs to.
And, she's hitting the gym on a Monday night. So that's good, too.
style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;">Monday night grind crew 💪💪💪 #puttinginWORK
A photo posted by Genie Bouchard (@geniebouchard) on Dec 12, 2014 at 5:37pm PST