Originally Posted by alfajeffster
Not that I think I'm capable of coaching you, but here's a hint (just in case Papa Williams was busy with his camera instead of scouting the opposition), Serena- watch a few tapes of Maria Sharapova's matches from this week, and even the Wimbledon final (if you can stand it), and notice how many times she hits the ball cross-court, on both the forehand and backhand side. It's almost above 90% of the time, regardless of where she is on the court. She very rarely hits the ball down the line on either the forehand or backhand side, and on that forehand buggy-whip cross-court, if you want to slice a few low to that side and keep it deep, you'll have a sitter forehand volley every time.
Okay, now I've gotten that out of my system. Hope it's a good match tonight!
And, what is the percentage of Serena's shots that go crosscourt or land not far right or far left of the center of the court? If it is not as high as 90%, it has to be in the 70 to 80% range at least? Point being, neither lady in their current form moves the ball around with much consistency.
As to what Serena is supposed to do about it, your proposed tactical response raises more questions than it answers. For Serena to end up in the best position to hit that forehand volley off a backhand or forehand hit crosscourt, she would have to slice the ball down the line off her backhand or forehand. Good luck! She can hardly slice the ball crosscourt with any depth, sting, or consistency. And, that is just on the backhand side. Can she even hit a sliced forehand?
Or, were you thinking that she could slice the ball crosscourt off her backhand side to Maria's backhand in order to get into position? Frankly, that doesn't make things any easier for her. You see, I've also been looking out for patterns. And, here is one that I noted in Serena's match against Lindsay. Serena is having trouble closing the angle when she approaches crosscourt. She's just not that fast or agile. You are, of course, proposing that she do so anyway because Maria will just hit the ball back to her as she approaches the net diagonally. But, here is the catch as Lindsay demonstrated quite well. If you hit a shallow crosscourt shot into the open court in front of Serena as she closes diagonally, she just doesn't have the technique or agility to execute the forehand volley. Point goes to Maria.
As to the condition of Serena's backhand slice, I will acknowledge only that she doesn't look as silly as she once did attempting the shot. That may be an effect of kneeling down for the shot and of staying in that position until she's finished her follow through. But for all those minor improvements, she is still not using her shoulder to hit the shot. There is absolutely no lean to her body when hitting the shot. It is still all arm. Not surprisingly, Serena's slice floats across the net. And, when it bounces, it hardly bites. Less clownish, yes. Better overall, hardly.