Originally Posted by Rollo
The frightening thing for her opponents is how fast she has been willing to try new things. The use of serve and volley and even a drop short or two demonstrates she isn't just going to sit still.
Very good points. Maria is working fast to get any "one-dimensionality" out of her play.
When I saw her first awful dropshot against Myskina, I groaned, because very few players can produce effective dropshots. But her next two were gems, that show she has been practising incorporating this element into her game. The long dropshot from the baseline was one of her best shots of the tournament.
The key questions are:
1. Will she learn when to use the power and when to rein it in?
2. Serena really exploited the angles on a tennis court in 2002 (see the
French open in particular!). Will Sharapova learn this skill?
3. Continuing the develop serve and volley, the drop shot, adding spin to her second serve. and using slice.
I think power is one of the keynotes of Maria's play. She is not going to become a Momo, specialising in loopy shots once the big serve has gone in. She will probably continue hitting 90% of her shots like bullets, though at the YEC I noticed she was able to trade loopy precise shots with the best.
Maria will probably try to build up her 1st serve power a little this year, since she is still below Momo and Serena in this area. She wants to be slow and careful with this, not to have the same sort of injuries.
I also think she will work more with Lansdorp on the angles, and improve in this area. Whether she will come in more to volley is the big question. Most baseliners seem very reluctant to do this...