In a telephone interview with Deccan Herald, Brett spoke about the Hyderabadi’s game, attitude and the troublesome ankle, putting it all in perspective before the second Grand Slam of the year -- the French Open.
Has her success this year taken you by surprise?
Not really. She had been to my academy before. I know she has this big game, which when it matures will help her compete at the highest level. Her ankle injury really hurt her. Who is to say what she would have done at Indian Wells and Miami had she been fully fit. She was striking the ball great and things were falling in place when it finally got her in Dubai.
There has been some talk about her faulty service action -- the ball toss is too high and the elbow starts too low -- are you looking to change it?
It is definitely an area that needs some work and we have been working on it the last week. The way I see it balance and smoothness of motion is everything. It takes time to set things right and it can’t be done in a couple of weeks before a Grand Slam. You need at least three weeks to put it in order and then give her time to pick it up. The good thing is she is fast learner.
How much does she need to improve her fitness by to compete with the elite?
She’s getting better every day and had she not lost so much time because of the ankle I think she would have gone a long way. The important thing for her is to stay healthy because otherwise she is going to spend all her time coming back instead of moving forward.
What does she need to do to break into the top-50?
Again, the most important thing for her is to stay healthy. To get anywhere or do anything you need time both on and off the court -- time to work on the serve, the volley, the body, just everything. Along with that she needs to compete on a regular basis with the top players. She hasn’t really been able to do that these last five months.
In time, could grass be her surface?
Most certainly, she has a game suited for faster surfaces. She can be very dangerous on grass, especially with a forehand like that. It competes with the best. With that shot she can finish a point really quickly. On clay, where there is that much more reaction time, it wouldn’t be quite as lethal as it would be on grass.
Does she really need a travelling coach given that she comes back to you from time to time?
A travelling coach for Sania is something that Mahesh Bhupathi (CEO Globosport, who manage Sania) and I are working on. Given that she has jumped some 400 places in the rankings in the last few months without a travelling coach and that she keeps coming back to the academy on a regular basis it is perhaps worth weighing what it is that she really needs. Besides she also has her family travelling with her.
What according to you is her greatest strength and biggest weakness?
She has great groundstrokes and a good sense of the game, which will help her as her game matures. But, what I really like about her is her attitude -- she loves to compete. Her weakness would be movement.
Are her ankles a 100 percent fit?
I guess they are 100 per cent now but it one thing being 100 per cent and quite another thing for it to allow you to compete at 100 per cent. I think for that she would need another five weeks. I would say that if she stays healthy she would be ready around Wimbledon.
You have worked with a fair share of the game’s young stars what would you tell Sania about keeping her head on her shoulders?
To begin with, I don’t think there is very much I need to tell her on that. Like I said she has a great attitude and a very good work ethic and when you have that there’s always work to be done. For her there is no such thing as sitting back and enjoying what she has achieved so far. She needs to develop as a player and there’s a lot of work to be done