2) Movement - It's gotten better within the last year, but it is really suspect on grass. With Nicole's serve and forehand she should be able to go far at Wimbledon, but her movement stopped her this year IMO.
can let her down. She doesn't quite have all the tiny steps around the ball yet, and sometimes she hits the ball too late or too early because she hasn't moved forward or backward to the right place. Even midcourt balls which she should be hitting easy winners off, can often force her into error.
She also needs to learn to move diagonally
to cut off short-angled crosscourt shots - a shortcoming I've noticed in every single Nicole-match I've analysed. She's still playing like a rook, when she could so easily become a queen.
3) Plan "B" - When things just aren't going her way (i.e. vs. Mauresmo in Melbourne, vs. Golovin in Zurich, vs. Petrova in Linz, etc.) I'd like to see Nicole adapt and do something different. Sometimes she just tries to keep hitting winners and she basically self-destructs.
But she does have great versatility. I've seen her hit dropshots, sliced backhands and come to the net quite often. But the quality
of the dropshots, and especially the sliced backhands, could be greatly improved IMO.
Anymore things you've noticed?
4) Consistency. Nicole is a very hot-and-cold player. Sometimes she plays like she should be ranked #1, but there are times when she's just plain awful. Hopefully she will become more consistent with experience, although that hasn't been the case with everyone I've inducted into my Eternal Fanship.
5) Mental strength. In many ways Nicole has the mentality of a champion, but it's still a far cry from Maria Sharapova
. Sometimes Nicole has a tendency to look back and overanalyse her mistakes, instead of thinking positively about the future of the match she's playing.
6) Service-action. When I saw her play at Moscow, she was using an abbreviated backswing, which is a real retrograde step IMO. I realise that this was due to a shoulder-injury, so I sincerely hope it will have fully healed by 2007, because at the French Open 2006, Nicole's serve was the best I've ever seen in women's tennis - not just speed, but the regularity with which she hit the lines and corners!
Dr. Andrew Broad