PDA

View Full Version : What should Azarenka do about her game? (if anythng_


Volcana
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:21 PM
There wasn't anything wrong about how Azarenka played in her QF vs Serena. She did her thing, she did it well and then Serena projected herself to the level of tennis Serena is capable of playing when motivated. Right now, Serena's best is better than Azarenka's best. But in the normal course of development, Azarenka will improve and refine what she does well now. She'll improve without changing her decision making. Will that be enough to win slams?

Aside from all the Azarenka-Safina style players, the Chinese will produce another couple small fast players with weak serves who hit demonic angles. The Human Backboard wll still be around, Sharapova will hopefully have found her form again, Kuzzy may be having a last hurrah, plus the occasional Bondarenko-Radwanska.

Does Azarenka need anything else? Recall that, Davenport, Capriati, Pierce, Clijsters, Hings, ASV, Sharapova,Kuznetsova all won multiple slams without substantially alteraing their games. (Venus, Serena, Justine DID make changes, which may be why their total slm singles wins are higher, but that's not the point of the thread.)

RYNJ
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:25 PM
I think she just needs to develop a better serve and I think she will. Out of all the young girls coming out, she is def. the one I see (hopefully) winning GS's. Her ground game is good and so are her returns. Though I do believe she should become more of an all-around player which she is capable of doing.

mdterp01
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:25 PM
Azarenka doesn't have the mental fortitude just yet. Even up a set and 4-0 and dominating Serena, she obviously had too much self doubt. Otherwise, she wouldn't have taken her foot off of Serena's throat just enough to allow Serena to get back in that match. It was a winnable match for Azarenak. She just eased up that slight little bit and that was enough for Serena. The game is there. Between the ears was the decider for that match.

DOUBLEFIST
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:28 PM
Serve better and learn how to RAISE and match the level of her opponent when they are raising theirs, which of course is somewhat of a mental thing. She needs to find away, when she's missing, to not go for the lines so much but dial it back a bit until she can find her game again.

Against Serena, the other day, there was little she could have done though. The match, when First-strike-arena starts dialing in, is pretty much on her racket against everybody.

MakarovaFan
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:36 PM
Yea i agree i dont feel it was Serena just playing to good but more Azarenka getting tight and letting it slip away....with that said her mental fortitude and belief is what she lacks! Oh and btw (Venus, Serena, Justine DID make changes, which may be why their total slm singles wins are higher, but that's not the point of the thread.) umm what exactly did Venus do to SUBSTANTIALLY change her game?

Lucemferre
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:37 PM
Her serve is pathetic.

Volcana
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:38 PM
Azarenka doesn't have the mental fortitude just yet. Even up a set and 4-0 and dominating Serena, she obviously had too much self doubt.I don't think it's self-doubt, so much as inexperience. She didn't know that up a set and 4-0 was the time to bear down and play harder against an opponent like Serena. She figured she coud just keep doing what she was doing. Especially given their past match history.

TheItalianStyle
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:41 PM
I think she's on the right track.
She had one huge disadvantage, which was her mental side and her attitude. But I think she has improved it a lot in the last few months; she is far more positive now, last year in the match against Serena she would have collapsed mentally.

Now she has to work on her serve, especially because she is a tall girl, so she could use that shot a lot better.
Another thing she should do is being more aggressive, but this one is another thing she is already doing from the beginning of this year.

oleada
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:49 PM
Developing a better serve would do wonders.
She's already improved her defense, all court game and mentality in the off season. Clearly she is putting in the work.

Break My Rapture
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:52 PM
Spice up the serve. :tears:

Cakeisgood
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:53 PM
She still cant hit through her opponents. Her shots still sit up quite a bit until she's basically forced to flatten out the shot (usually on the BH side).

If she wants to play Big Babe tennis, that's fine, but she just does not hit the ball hard enough and or flat enough right now.

And contrary to popular belief, I thought Azarenka couldn't have done any more against Serena. GOATRena is just unstoppable.

hurricanejeanne
Jan 30th, 2010, 06:04 PM
Her first serve could use more bite to it, she has pretty decent placement on it, but it could be better. Her second serve needs better placement.
And while I like that Vika can add spin and flatten out the ball, she needs to be able to flatten it on more often so the ball doesn't sit up as much at times. And she needs to continue to be aggresive when she can, she's already started to do that more.

allrounder
Jan 30th, 2010, 06:06 PM
She needs a better first serve because with her current one she's always going to be a bit vulnerable to players coming back at her like Serena did. Even against lower ranked players she rarely has that many easy service games. She looks a bit quicker around the court than she did towards the end of last year though and her defensive play has improved too. I'd like to see her come in and volley a lot more than she does do when she stretches her opponents out wide instead of staying back on the baseline like a lot of players do. The CC forehand has also been a bit of a weakness in the past but it is steadily getting better.

Overall though it's definitely the serve needs the most work doing to it because she was statistically the best returner on tour last season, so with many more free points on her own serve it could make so much difference to her results.

Temperenka
Jan 30th, 2010, 06:06 PM
During the Australian Open, she came to the net more than I have ever seen her. Continuing to do that will help her immensely in the long run... especially as she keeps playing/succeeding in doubles.

Her attitude and ability to handle her emotions got better with the coaching change as well. She would not have won that match against Vera had she played it last year... nor would she have been able to take Serena to a tiebreak in that second set after Serena won so many games in a row.

Things are coming along nicely for her. So far she has slowly made steps in her career, and if she continues to do so... she should win a slam within the next couple of years.

That darned serve needs to get better though. I don't understand how it is so weak. She is tall and has plenty of power. She just needs to find the right motion, in my opinion.

Volcana
Jan 30th, 2010, 06:11 PM
what exactly did Venus do to SUBSTANTIALLY change her game?Look at Venus in 2000-2001. She barely came at net at all. She's one of the most effective volley-ers on tour now.

Also, in 2000-2001, Venus hit a very flat ball, and hit near fullpower almost every shot. These days, she hits almost everything with topspin, except attempting the winning shot on a point.

\Have you actually been watching tennis over the past ten years? How could not have noticed that?

pokey camp
Jan 30th, 2010, 06:30 PM
She's had people comeback on her from impossible positions so many times.

0-4 here against Serena,
6-4, 4-0 against Aga (YEC)
6-1, 5-3 against Caro.(YEC)
5-2 in the 3rd, 30-15, 5-3 0-30 against Maria (China Open)

After each of those matches people fell all over themselves saying Azarenka didn’t choke, that she was just outplayed. And really having watched them, I think that’s fair (except for maybe the Caro one, that was chokey)…

But I’m not sure what that says about Vika’s game really.:confused: Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a trend, yadda, yadda, yadda.
She still cant hit through her opponents. Her shots still sit up quite a bit until she's basically forced to flatten out the shot (usually on the BH side).

If she wants to play Big Babe tennis, that's fine, but she just does not hit the ball hard enough and or flat enough right now.
Yeah, I think that's part of the problem. That and the serve... I can’t count how many return aces I’ve seen fly past her at near the end of these types of matches…

Midnight_Robber
Jan 30th, 2010, 07:21 PM
:) at your last post Volcana. (I agree but she can revert to old habits when it gets tight, unfortunately. And I wish she'd flatten the ball out sometimes and stop retrieving everything cross-court. But, ahem.)

Anyway - Azarenka, hmmm. Just chiming in, but yes, she needs to do more with her first and second serves. More speed, but also more variety with pace, spins, angles and placement. In the second set her serve was highly readable and so attackable.

She did a very good job of immobilising Serena (hitting to her feet constantly) and forcing her to move in the first set, but she didn't turn up pressure in the 2nd set. She didn't play badly but as Volcana points out, she didn't seem to *think* that she needed to go up a gear (or two) and shut the door on her opponent. She merely remained consistent (and even a little less intense), with the same plan in place - and she paid the price.

As for mentally - well, she didn't brat out which I think is a serious step in the right direction.

MarieC
Jan 30th, 2010, 07:25 PM
The serve is definitely where the focus should be.

Other than that I would say stop with the grunting. It causes the crowd to get on her case which in turn frustrates her

bandabou
Jan 30th, 2010, 08:27 PM
Better serve...for such a tall girl her serve is pretty weak. Her game is built for hardcourts.Wimbledon is gonna be a struggle..

Yorker
Jan 30th, 2010, 08:38 PM
The serve. It seems like she puts topspin on both the first and second. I didn't really see her flatten it out at all and it didn't have many MPH's on it. If she had a good serve, there might have been a chance Serne wouldn't have come back, It needs to be bigger and it will help her close out opponents easier. I want to see it flatter with less spin on the first.

DOUBLEFIST
Jan 30th, 2010, 08:46 PM
Look at Venus in 2000-2001. She barely came at net at all. She's one of the most effective volley-ers on tour now.

Also, in 2000-2001, Venus hit a very flat ball, and hit near fullpower almost every shot. These days, she hits almost everything with topspin, except attempting the winning shot on a point.

\Have you actually been watching tennis over the past ten years? How could not have noticed that?
You make a good point about Vee's net game. It's better now than then, but as far as hitting with more topspin, that's regression not progression. That's Venus playing it safe. And back then, she was fully capable of hitting with topspin too, and often did when she wasn't confident in her strokes. That's Vee in defense mode, more topspin for margin, retrieve and look for the error. The problem is, these days that's largely how she plays from the outset.

miffedmax
Jan 30th, 2010, 09:49 PM
Yeah, well, we all know what happened last time I fell for a tall, Eastern European blonde uttering the famous words "If she just fixes her serve..."

You'd think I'd learn, wouldn't you?

The thing though that sets Vika apart from Lena and Dinara is a mean streak. I'm not saying Lena and Dinara are saints, but they just don't seem to have that on-court nastiness that Serena, Justine, TOB and yes, even the immortal Nasty Myskina had.

Vika may need a few more times in the fire. But I think she'll deliver.

Golovinjured.
Jan 30th, 2010, 10:25 PM
Serve. She's a tall, strong girl and that serve should be a bigger weapon than it is.

She's got the temperament, I think she's got the head of a champion as it is.

Donny
Jan 30th, 2010, 10:32 PM
Look at Venus in 2000-2001. She barely came at net at all. She's one of the most effective volley-ers on tour now.

Also, in 2000-2001, Venus hit a very flat ball, and hit near fullpower almost every shot. These days, she hits almost everything with topspin, except attempting the winning shot on a point.

\Have you actually been watching tennis over the past ten years? How could not have noticed that?

Venus of 2000-2001 had better results than Venus of any other period of time though. Do we really consider her game to have 'improved'?

In other words, are you arguing that 2000-2001 Venus couldn't have won theo5, 07, and 08 Wimbledons?

SIN DIOS NI LEY
Jan 31st, 2010, 12:16 AM
As her record against the top 8 is awful , I would say she needs Time

After 2012 the tour will be weak .

LightWarrior
Jan 31st, 2010, 12:20 AM
Nothing gamewise. She's a headcase like Dementieva and most of the wta players. She needs to hire a psychologist. Tennis is 90% mental.

Corswandt
Jan 31st, 2010, 07:00 PM
She still cant hit through her opponents. Her shots still sit up quite a bit until she's basically forced to flatten out the shot (usually on the BH side).

If she wants to play Big Babe tennis, that's fine, but she just does not hit the ball hard enough and or flat enough right now.

Agreed. Sometimes you feel that Azarenka's natural instincts are aggressive while her game is just not big enough for her to actually overpower her opponents. Wozniacki was a bit the same before Sven the Svengali transformed her into an x-treme pusher. Azarenka's shots are hit with a bit more spin than those of the average power baseliner; this means she's way more consistent than the stereotypical ballbashers, but also that her shots aren't as penetrating, even though they're very deep and accurate.

Right now, she can come across as a gutsier Zvonareva with somewhat inferior defensive skills.

And contrary to popular belief, I thought Azarenka couldn't have done any more against Serena. GOATRena is just unstoppable.

Agreed as well. Once Serena finds herself down in high stakes matches (or better, matches she actually cares about winning), she'll stop rallying, stop playing tennis actually, and go into "shock and awe" mode. Crude, but if it works, there's really nothing her opponent can do.

Corswandt
Jan 31st, 2010, 07:15 PM
I agree with what most people have said in here BTW - the aspect of Azarenka's game that could use improvement is her serve.

But it's actually a bit more complicated than merely adding raw km/h to her 1st serve.

Azarenka's serve clearly trades pace for placement and a higher %. She doesn't win any free points off it at all, but that's not what her serve is meant to achieve. Unlike the 1st serves of nearly all other top or so-called top players, it isn't meant to win the point outright or even to start the ensuing rally from an advantageous position, but rather to allow her to start rallies on her serve from a neutral position, and to protect her from ultra-aggressive returners as it gives them far less 2nd serves to step in and whack away. Problem is, this only works when she can be assured of winning nearly all the rallies (i.e. when up againt scrubs, which she tends to whomp with the utmost ease). Once she begins losing most rallies, she'll struggle to hold serve since she'll have to work hard for every point, and won't be assured of winning them in the end.

So it would indeed make sense for Azarenka to have a bigger 1st serve that, even if it didn't replace her current one for most matches, she could switch on when she needs to win a few quick points on serve. I think it can be done; her serve motion is actually quite good from a technical POV: it's smooth, reliable and gives her a great extension. So it's only a matter of adding some more racquethead speed.

BTW for another example of a player who doesn't win any free points off her serve because she sees it merely as a starting point for rallies: Alona Bondarenko. Alona's serve is interesting also in that there's virtually no difference between 1st and 2nd.

Jane Lane
Jan 31st, 2010, 07:15 PM
I definately agree with everyone here--her mentality and attitude have improved leaps and bounds since last season. I saw her play doubles with Bepa at the USO last year (it was against the Bondarenkos in RD1) and when she was missing, even in doubles, she was smacking her racket and all that. Coaching change definately has helped; after all, look what he did with Vera.

However, for 5'10, her serve needs improvment.
Aside from that, she's the best contender of the young guns, no doubt.

Fantasy Hero
Jan 31st, 2010, 07:22 PM
the only thing she has to do is shut up and think more about her game instead of yelling :rolls:

dscho99
Jan 31st, 2010, 07:25 PM
There wasn't anything wrong about how Azarenka played in her QF vs Serena. She did her thing, she did it well and then Serena projected herself to the level of tennis Serena is capable of playing when motivated. Right now, Serena's best is better than Azarenka's best. But in the normal course of development, Azarenka will improve and refine what she does well now. She'll improve without changing her decision making. Will that be enough to win slams?

Aside from all the Azarenka-Safina style players, the Chinese will produce another couple small fast players with weak serves who hit demonic angles. The Human Backboard wll still be around, Sharapova will hopefully have found her form again, Kuzzy may be having a last hurrah, plus the occasional Bondarenko-Radwanska.

Does Azarenka need anything else? Recall that, Davenport, Capriati, Pierce, Clijsters, Hings, ASV, Sharapova,Kuznetsova all won multiple slams without substantially alteraing their games. (Venus, Serena, Justine DID make changes, which may be why their total slm singles wins are higher, but that's not the point of the thread.)



She should tone down her extremely annoying screams.

LoLex
Jan 31st, 2010, 09:34 PM
I don't think there is something she can change in her game.. now she can only improve it. In AO I noticed she has started to think more about the tactic, she played some nice short cross-courts and wrong-footers. Finally she uses her brain. But her mental attitude is completely wrong right now and she should work on it if she wants to win big matches with top players.

Seyz
Jan 31st, 2010, 09:45 PM
She has stuff to work on.
Mostly mental fortitude and going for her shots on big points.
Stamina. Usually starts off strong, but can buckle with time.
Going to the net more.
and she can still work on the serve. In face the whole tour can work on their serve. They have to catch up to Serena's serve if they want to beat her.

Serenita
Jan 31st, 2010, 09:51 PM
serve, serve,serve. Her serve is pathetic.

Nicolás89
Jan 31st, 2010, 09:55 PM
Na Li said it clearly "if she want win the point, just ace". :worship: