Ana Ivanovic hires Nigel Sears as coach

LONDON -- The head of British women's tennis quit Thursday to become the new coach of former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.

Nigel Sears spent 4½ years as a head coach at the Lawn Tennis Association and was also the captain of Britain's Fed Cup team.

Ivanovic has struggled to maintain the form that won her the French Open in 2008 at age 20. She is currently ranked No. 18.

"I couldn't be happier," said Ivanovic, who was runner-up at Roland Garros in 2007 and at the 2008 Australian Open. "I've admired Nigel for some time now and I can't wait to start working with him on court.

"It was important that I waited for the right coach, and we are both excited about the challenges ahead."

During Sears' time at the LTA, five British women broke into the world's top 100 -- two in the top 50 -- and two girls won Junior Grand Slam titles.

"It's been a real privilege to be in charge of women's tennis at the LTA ... and I feel we've made considerable progress in the women's game over this period," he said.

Sears previously worked with Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova and South Africa's Amanda Coetzer when both were ranked in the top 10.