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only_one_maria
Jun 17th, 2008, 12:38 PM
I can only speak out of frustration at today's result. I knew it wouldn't be easy switching from clay to grass with virtually no time to practice, but I feel that this should have been done last week. After Maria's early exit from the French there was plenty of time to practice on grass, but she chose to stick with clay.

Is this her coach's plan? He wants her to play a lot on clay to develop her match intelligence. this is what Maria said to a spanish newspaper:

'He (Van Harpen) teached me to be more patient and find the balance between attack and defence. day after day I like to play more on the clay and feel better every day. Clay is the best surface to learn.'

I see the point she's making. A year ago on these boards the common criticism was that Maria had a lot of shots but didn't know when to use them. She may have improved in this area. But if you look at Maria's results since her 4th round Australian Open, she has gone 15-3 on clay and 1-6 on other surfaces! I know she trains in Spain and I assume that she works on clay courts. But has she forgotten how to play on other surfaces?

Van Harpen is no fool and knows Maria has a game to succeed on Hard and Grass Courts. But he obviously still sees Maria as a 'work in progress'. In the end it's a fairly short career and Maria can't concentrate on clay forever. I think it is good that maria has a long term plan, but it's a bit frustrating for us fans who need to be patient.

Spiritof42
Jun 17th, 2008, 07:34 PM
Maria has never done well on grass. I don't expect too much from her at Wimbledon, though I hope she can at least win a match, something she hasn't done since 2005. But she should do OK during the summer hard court season.

watchdogfish
Jun 17th, 2008, 10:54 PM
I was puzzled too at why Maria chose to play Barcelona instead of Birmingham but thinking about it she got 5 wins there and if you look at her grass court record she may not have had a good run at Birmingham. Maria is very much a confidence player and getting 5 wins and a tournament title is probably a huge boost to her mentally no matter what the tier or surface. So in a way it's probably good she did choose to play on the clay and get her confidence up ready for Wimbledon. Clay is the best surface to develop your shots so I think it will help her more on the hardcourts later in the year.

the cat
Jun 19th, 2008, 01:57 AM
Yes. Too much clay court tennis for Maria and not enough rest for the grass court season.

Nikkiri
Jun 19th, 2008, 03:12 AM
She's never really had great grass results so I don't think an extra week would make much of a difference to be honest. She may have lost 1st or 2nd round but instead she won a title and got back into the top 20. Nothing to complain about.

only_one_maria
Jun 19th, 2008, 10:09 AM
But Maria has the game to do very well on grass. I cannot understand why so many other players should do well on grass and not Maria. Pete Sampras won one match in his first 3 years at Wimbledon. Apparently he used to moan that he hated playing on grass. I wonder if Maria is facing a psychological barrier. I hope she remembers her 3 set match against Jankovic at Birmingham last year.

DAVAJ MKirilenko
Jun 19th, 2008, 03:04 PM
But Maria has the game to do very well on grass. I cannot understand why so many other players should do well on grass and not Maria. Pete Sampras won one match in his first 3 years at Wimbledon. Apparently he used to moan that he hated playing on grass. I wonder if Maria is facing a psychological barrier. I hope she remembers her 3 set match against Jankovic at Birmingham last year.

It's just funny with grass. It looks like you need 1 big result to like it.
Krajicek was never great at Wimbledon and didn't even want to go in 1996. Things can change fast.

Personally I think that Maria has more a clay game than a grass game.
No big weapons and is not attacking as much as needed.
Her volley can help her on grass. but she needs a shot to get in position at the net. In Rosmalen she was mostly too late to hit volley's and we know it's not cause of her movement.

only_one_maria
Jun 19th, 2008, 03:49 PM
Maria likes fast courts. She has had her better results on them. She has a good slice which is useful on grass. On clay you stay at the back of the court having to hit big groundstrokes. I think Maria likes the ball coming onto her racquet at speed. Clay is her weakest surface.