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Schnyder returns to former coach

Van Harpen will begin working with Schnyder again later this month Keystone Archive

Three days after sacking tennis coach Vito Gugolz, Patty Schnyder has announced that she is to resume training with her former mentor Eric van Harpen.

The Swiss women’s number two parted company with Van Harpen on fairly bad terms two years ago, after being persuaded to fire him by controversial German faith healer Rainer Harnecker.

Harnecker, who also became Schnyder’s lover, was accused of brainwashing the Basel player during their four months together. During that time, Schnyder lost contact not only with Van Harpen but also with her family.

Her more recent split with Gugolz was a less emotional affair. Schnyder said on Tuesday that she had got on well with Gugolz on a personal level, but that she was dissatisfied with her performances on court.

At last month’s Australian Open Schnyder suffered a surprise first round defeat, which saw her fall back five places in the world rankings to 29th.

Van Harpen will begin work with Schnyder after the next two tournaments in Paris and Nice. His contract will be on a temporary basis to begin with, taking in the WTA events at Indian Wells, Key Biscayne and Amelia Island.

Schnyder’s manager, Töns Haltermann, said that a more long-term arrangement had not yet been discussed.

Van Harpen’s first spell as Schnyder’s coach began in 1996. The Dutch coach helped the Swiss player record her first five tournament wins and climb into the world’s top ten, before Harnecker’s arrival ended their collaboration at the start of 1999.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR