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View Full Version : Sharapova is the real deal


Rollo
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:03 AM
This is NOT a thread about how wonderful (or awful) Sharapova is as a person.
She seems perfectly capable of being a bitch on a personal level, and her father is no prince charming, but then again so are a lot of other WTA stars and their parents.

Big deal. All that is par for the course.

I'm here to talk about Sharapova the player.

And Rollo says: Sharapova the player is a force to be reckoned with, and feared, and respected.

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.

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.

Thoughts?

Dan23
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:12 AM
Good post...Im certain Maria will be working on all those aspects of her game. :)
Whether they can be successfully moulded into her game will remain to be seen but there have been some positive signs at these championships with inclusion of the serve/volley and the drop shots which at times earned her some important points.

bandabou
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:14 AM
Maria is for real.....had my doubts at first, but those are over. Girl has plenty of potential.

beauty_is_pink
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:17 AM
i admit she is a good player, im not denying that for sure.

and when she's down (example: 0-4) she jus fights, she chick jus doesnt give up. she'll do anything to win: she'll scream, yell, pump her fists, bang at her chest (freaky, but yeh).. jus anything.. i think it intimidates the players... i wouldnt be surprise if it scares them anyways. and the looks she gives for winning a point or her opponent making a UE is :scared:.. like shes thinking "DONT MESS WITH ME B*TCH"

Lemonskin.
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:18 AM
I'm liking the serve-volleying. I'd love to see that implemented more!!!

faste5683
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:22 AM
Maria is for real.....had my doubts at first, but those are over. Girl has plenty of potential.

Potential means expected to become or be; Maria has surpassed having potential and is now developing her future legacy. Like Rollo said, Maria is the real deal, right now.

:wavey:

kabuki
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:27 AM
Maria's intensity and fight, and willingness to beat the shit out of the ball whether it is the first point or the last point reminds me of Monica.

russophile
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:27 AM
some of you are hard to convince eh?! i was already sure of masha's potential whan she won her first title.

Doc
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:28 AM
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.

Thoughts?
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...

kabuki
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:31 AM
some of you are hard to convince eh?! i was already sure of masha's potential whan she won her first title.

Thanks, Nostradamus.

bandabou
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:31 AM
Potential means expected to become or be; Maria has surpassed having potential and is now developing her future legacy. Like Rollo said, Maria is the real deal, right now.

:wavey:

I agree....I guess I used the wrong definition of potential. :lol:

faste5683
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:33 AM
I agree....I guess I used the wrong definition of potential. :lol:

:lol:

That's o.k. I looked it up... :eek:

:wavey:

bandabou
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:47 AM
:lol:

That's o.k. I looked it up... :eek:

:wavey:


:yeah:

Doc
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:48 AM
and when she's down (example: 0-4) she jus fights, she chick jus doesnt give up. she'll do anything to win: she'll scream, yell, pump her fists, bang at her chest (freaky, but yeh).. jus anything.. i think it intimidates the players... i wouldnt be surprise if it scares them anyways. and the looks she gives for winning a point or her opponent making a UE is :scared:.. like shes thinking "DONT MESS WITH ME B*TCH"

Yes. Her spirit and her will to win are a vital element in her play. That willingness to guts out a match and force a win are irreplaceable.

tennischick
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:59 AM
i agree that her tennis growth spurt has been awesome. when she collapsed after her victory last night you saw someone who had put everything out there to win. what's not to admire about that? :worship:

as for the ongoing character assassination, i suspect that that has more to do with some fans disappointment that Serena did not get revenge last night. but what we have here is the making of a terrific rivalry between these two top players with similarly aggressive styles.

Orion
Nov 17th, 2004, 01:14 AM
Back when Sharapova won Tokyo and Seoul, a lot of people complained that a Wimbledon winner should be playing Tier 1 and 2 tournaments only, and compete against the best. But here's the result of her playing the lower tounraments: she had the opportunity to incorporate a dropshot, a lob, and an improved slice volley into her repertoire in actual matches, not just practice courts. She learned the hard way at the USOpen that a top level tournament is no place to incorporate new aspects into her game. With her constant need to improve, she probably will never play only top level tournaments, because she will want match practice to add elements to her game. A few people could learn from that example. Mauresmo on her return of serve, Dementieva on her serve, V. Williams on her forehand, S. Williams on her errors in general, Capriati on her serve, Sugiyama on her backhand, the list goes on and on. The best way to learn is to start against the basics. All someone needs is a month of lower lever tournaments, and they are golden for the rest of the season. Plus, think of the free ranking points from lower level tournaments: almost a walk into the quarters at least, and a great chance to face lower players before meeting them at Grand Slams or Tier 1's. The opportunities are endless. Sharapova is definitely the real deal.

Rollo
Nov 17th, 2004, 01:15 AM
All your observations are spot on IMO Doc-though I think that she will be more likely to serve and volley because grass is already her favorite surface.

Power and intensity will always be her tradmarks. As you say, she'll never be Mauresmo. The dropper can be a deadly weapon though for a power player, because the other girls retreat to handle the power.

BTW-I saw Masha's match vs. Molik in Philly two weeks ago and she used the drop shot a few times in that match.

tennischick
Nov 17th, 2004, 01:24 AM
Back when Sharapova won Tokyo and Seoul, a lot of people complained that a Wimbledon winner should be playing Tier 1 and 2 tournaments only, and compete against the best. But here's the result of her playing the lower tounraments: she had the opportunity to incorporate a dropshot, a lob, and an improved slice volley into her repertoire in actual matches, not just practice courts. She learned the hard way at the USOpen that a top level tournament is no place to incorporate new aspects into her game. With her constant need to improve, she probably will never play only top level tournaments, because she will want match practice to add elements to her game. A few people could learn from that example. Mauresmo on her return of serve, Dementieva on her serve, V. Williams on her forehand, S. Williams on her errors in general, Capriati on her serve, Sugiyama on her backhand, the list goes on and on. The best way to learn is to start against the basics. All someone needs is a month of lower lever tournaments, and they are golden for the rest of the season. Plus, think of the free ranking points from lower level tournaments: almost a walk into the quarters at least, and a great chance to face lower players before meeting them at Grand Slams or Tier 1's. The opportunities are endless. Sharapova is definitely the real deal.what an intelligent post! such a gem in the middle of all the hating. i agree completely -- there is nothing like actual match play to help you incorporate new aspects into your game. it's one thing to learn these things in practice, yet another to try them in a match. in practice Monica Seles moves into net and hits terrific vollies. in a match, she stays planted at the baseline. in practice Steffi hits an awesome double-handed backhand. in a match, she goes for the slice.

old habits die hard, especially when you are older. Maria is young enuf to keep adding variety to her game. and i agree that it is in lesser tournies that she can risk trying out new aspects to her repertoire, knowing that she always has her bread and butter shots to fall back on if the going gets tough. Grand Slam is no place for practice. more power to Maria that she had the power to tolerate all the bashing she got for playing these lesser tournies. look how well it all paid off!

Dan23
Nov 17th, 2004, 01:37 AM
what an intelligent post! such a gem in the middle of all the hating. i agree completely -- there is nothing like actual match play to help you incorporate new aspects into your game. it's one thing to learn these things in practice, yet another to try them in a match. in practice Monica Seles moves into net and hits terrific vollies. in a match, she stays planted at the baseline. in practice Steffi hits an awesome double-handed backhand. in a match, she goes for the slice.

old habits die hard, especially when you are older. Maria is young enuf to keep adding variety to her game. and i agree that it is in lesser tournies that she can risk trying out new aspects to her repertoire, knowing that she always has her bread and butter shots to fall back on if the going gets tough. Grand Slam is no place for practice. more power to Maria that she had the power to tolerate all the bashing she got for playing these lesser tournies. look how well it all paid off!
Indeed it has worked out good for Maria to play those tournaments.
They came at just the right time for her to build confidence and work on some key areas of her game. Her results since then have been superb.
I think Maria can become a good player at the net, she has great reach and an ability to react quickly. Its clear she is working to become better at these aspects which will help her to take advantage of the court position some opponents find themselves in against her. Shes not afraid to listen, learn and work hard to improve her game.

russophile
Nov 17th, 2004, 04:03 AM
Thanks, Nostradamus.
your welcome

tennischick
Nov 17th, 2004, 04:34 AM
Women's Match of the Day

Los Angeles - Final
Maria Sharapova def. Serena Williams 4-6 6-2 6-4

Serena Williams loves her body. Just ask her. Or don't; she'll tell you anyway. But on this day, her body did not love her.

Serena started strong against Maria Sharapova; in a match that seemed to be all about serving, she managed the first break at the end of the opening set, and soon went up a break in the second. And then things started to go wrong. She seemed to be almost unable to play. Sharapova roared through the last five games of the set. Serena eventually got off-court treatment (apparently for an abdominal strain).

Our feature today talks about how good the WTA trainers are. Obviously this one was, because Serena came roaring back, winning the first four games of the final set before Sharapova held to get on the board. But then the pain seemed to come back. Sharapova broke, and what had started as a serving contest started to look like a breaking contest. Sharapova held, then broke Serena for 4-4, helped by three Serena double-faults as the American tried to create a serve that didn't hurt her stomach. And we were left rewriting the ending of this report for the third time. Sharapova held for 5-4, and Serena had to serve to stay in the match. She couldn't. She got most of her serves in, but produced enough errors to let Sharapova break for the match.

And so ends a year of utter frustration for Serena: Only two titles, neither of them a Slam, only one a Tier I. She will end the season at #7, her worst year-end ranking since 1998.

For Sharapova, though, it's a breakthrough year. She had a lot of help -- both her semifinal and her final opponents ended up hurt. But she still won the Round Robin matches that put her in the semifinal and final; had she not done that, it wouldn't have mattered.

She wasn't really very consistent in 2004, which is why her ranking is still relatively low -- but she is the only player to earn two of the five biggest prizes in tennis (the Slams and the Championships). She will doubtless get -- and will deserve -- consideration for Player of the Year. She'll also end the year at a career high of #4.

As if she needs more attention.

www.tennisone.com (http://www.tennisone.com)

TFan1156
Nov 17th, 2004, 04:35 AM
I for a while thought she may go down the tubes with all the media attention, but I believe her now when she says that tennis is her passion, first priority, and that she wants to win many grand slams. Often she seems to be in her own world on the court, driven, obsessed with winning. And she is making a lot of enemies. A good sign... ;)

dreamgoddess099
Nov 17th, 2004, 05:07 AM
Didn't that term "the real deal" go out in the early 90's? Come on get, with the times man.

Rollo
Nov 17th, 2004, 06:33 AM
Dreamgoddess wrote: Didn't that term "the real deal" go out in the early 90's? Come on get, with the times man.As an old man who was already old enough to drink in the 1990s I think I've earned the right not to have to be "with the times" Dreamgoddess;)

And for those who thought Maria would (or will) just be a flash in the pan Rollo has this to say: Dream on:)

Gandalf
Nov 17th, 2004, 06:54 AM
She's got a lot of things going for her, and she definitely is achieving that aura that separates the truly great players from the good ones. I like that she's trying new things-hopfully other players will follow her example (do you hear me, Venus?).

Sharapower
Nov 17th, 2004, 07:22 AM
I started some thread after Maria’s Wimbledon win and a lot of people considered it ridiculous:

http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=124105

Just four months after, we see that a new Sharapova is in the making, who implements a lot of variety in her game.

The serve and volley, and in general the classic volley, as opposed to the swing volley that is extensively used in the women’s game, is the future of the female top-level tennis. Maria’s coaching team knows that. I don’t know if Maria herself is eager to it but that’s very likely because she didn’t wait for long to try it in big matches against tough opponents. And it appeared globally successful, though her volley is far from being perfect now. The amazing thing is that we see by our own eyes that she’s improving it match after match and the word “fear” seems not to exist in Maria’s language. Her opponent hit a passing shot winner? Never mind, Maria’s going to try again and succeed. That is the key for an attacking player: to always remember that it’s far easier to make winner out of a volley than a passing-shot, especially when a match has lasted some time.

Playing some doubles, particularly mixed doubles, will help Maria a lot to improve her net game and her reflexes. She is not anticipating enough yet.

Along with the net game, she needs to build an alternate sliced backhand approach for short and low-rebound shots from her opponents. She tries it too but it’s not convincing yet, not well placed nor deep enough to really bother the opponent.

Another flaw that she still needs to fix is her current inability to bend her knees properly when she volleys or when she’s sent a low-rebound ball.

Maria and her staff know that the whole tour is going to study her game with attention, so by implementing new things, they anticipate in order not to let opponents build a winning tactical pattern, which would be possible if she remains one-dimensional. Right now, I guess it’s very threatening for any of her opponents not to know what she’s going to try on the next shot.

Lemonskin.
Nov 17th, 2004, 07:26 AM
As an old man-born who was already old enough to drink in the 1990s I think I've earned the right not to have to be "with the times" Dreamgoddess;)

And for those who thought Maria would (or will) just be a flash in the pan Rollo has this to say: Dream on:)
Hehe I like a person who refers to themselves in the third person :D

And you're right... She's good, and will be around for a long time :D

Jaime Bahena
Nov 17th, 2004, 10:06 PM
Didn't that term "the real deal" go out in the early 90's? Come on get, with the times man.


This quote coming from a poster going by the name of "dreamgoddess." How lame and 1950's is that?

Jaime Bahena
Nov 17th, 2004, 10:08 PM
I started some thread after Maria’s Wimbledon win and a lot of people considered it ridiculous:

http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=124105

Just four months after, we see that a new Sharapova is in the making, who implements a lot of variety in her game.

The serve and volley, and in general the classic volley, as opposed to the swing volley that is extensively used in the women’s game, is the future of the female top-level tennis. Maria’s coaching team knows that. I don’t know if Maria herself is eager to it but that’s very likely because she didn’t wait for long to try it in big matches against tough opponents. And it appeared globally successful, though her volley is far from being perfect now. The amazing thing is that we see by our own eyes that she’s improving it match after match and the word “fear” seems not to exist in Maria’s language. Her opponent hit a passing shot winner? Never mind, Maria’s going to try again and succeed. That is the key for an attacking player: to always remember that it’s far easier to make winner out of a volley than a passing-shot, especially when a match has lasted some time.

Playing some doubles, particularly mixed doubles, will help Maria a lot to improve her net game and her reflexes. She is not anticipating enough yet.

Along with the net game, she needs to build an alternate sliced backhand approach for short and low-rebound shots from her opponents. She tries it too but it’s not convincing yet, not well placed nor deep enough to really bother the opponent.

Another flaw that she still needs to fix is her current inability to bend her knees properly when she volleys or when she’s sent a low-rebound ball.

Maria and her staff know that the whole tour is going to study her game with attention, so by implementing new things, they anticipate in order not to let opponents build a winning tactical pattern, which would be possible if she remains one-dimensional. Right now, I guess it’s very threatening for any of her opponents not to know what she’s going to try on the next shot.

Maria also makes a gorgeous magazine centerfold, legs and all!!!

Tratree
Nov 17th, 2004, 10:53 PM
I saw her first WTA match when she was 14 at Indian Wells and was telling everyone from that day on that she was the "real deal." I'm glad to see how well she is doing. She will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come and experience and maturity will only make her that much better of a player.

Lemonskin.
Nov 18th, 2004, 12:35 AM
She wasn't really very consistent in 2004, which is why her ranking is still relatively low

Hmmm... I didn't realise #4 in the world was relatively low...

Doc
Nov 18th, 2004, 01:11 AM
Looking at the stats for some of Maria's matches at the YEC, I see how much she does seem to be producing more net play.

Vs Serena:............. Serena ............................... Maria
Net Approaches ... 5 of 5 = 100 % .................. 11 of 18 = 61 %

Vs Myskina:............ Myskina ............................... Maria
Net Approaches ... 7 of 11 = 64 % .................. 25 of 37 = 68 %

This, I think, is a very healthy development for Maria, and may indeed (as Orion says)be a result of Maria using her lower tier tournament entries to practice her volleying under match conditions.

tennischick
Nov 18th, 2004, 02:02 AM
Hmmm... I didn't realise #4 in the world was relatively low...relative to #1 it is. and she has the talent to be #1. she certainly closed out the year like a #1 player.

Sharapower
Nov 18th, 2004, 04:47 AM
Maria also makes a gorgeous magazine centerfold, legs and all!!!
does she :lol: ?

Sharapower
Nov 18th, 2004, 05:10 AM
relative to #1 it is. and she has the talent to be #1. she certainly closed out the year like a #1 player.
#4 is OK for now. If she showed up better during the US hard-court season, reaching semis or quarters in all those tournaments, she probably would be the year-end #1 for sure, but that would be a very difficult situation to manage for her, too early, so her 2005 season would be very tough with all pressure.

The funny thing is that people on this board, especially those who hate/dislike Maria, criticize her, when she happens to do some bad or average performances, as if she was already the #1.

dreamgoddess099
Nov 18th, 2004, 05:15 AM
Until you've fulfilled it, potenial is only potenial. Hingis was a better player at 16 than Maria is 17 and everybody said over and over how she was going to win this many grandslams, how good she was, she was unbeatable, ect. You can't predict how good a player is really is until they are playing under pressure. You swing freely when you're a teen with no pressure, the true measure comes once the high expectations are put on you and you have sponsers and fans to please.

tennischick
Nov 18th, 2004, 05:37 AM
Maria is the new Hingis -- hated for beating a Sister. so mature :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Sharapower
Nov 18th, 2004, 05:49 AM
Until you've fulfilled it, potenial is only potenial. Hingis was a better player at 16 than Maria is 17 and everybody said over and over how she was going to win this many grandslams, how good she was, she was unbeatable, ect. You can't predict how good a player is really is until they are playing under pressure. You swing freely when you're a teen with no pressure, the true measure comes once the high expectations are put on you and you have sponsers and fans to please.
Winning two majors is already kind of fulfilling some potential, but I completely agree that Maria still has the potential to improve her technique, which makes it very likely that she would win number of grandslams in the future, sooner or later.

As far as the pressure resulting from sponsors and fans expectations is concerned, I think Maria knows it already well now. She lived the situation during the summer. Now she's going to experience the pressure of defending a rank. But the way she is, so fierce and so willing, I buy that she's going to cope with it very well.

I don't necessarily expect her to win a grandslam in 2005, but if she's healthy, she's going to remain top 5, she'll be consistent reaching semis or at least quarters of big tournaments and she will win 4 or 5 more titles at least.