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View Full Version : If you could tweak Dani's game ....


Volcana
May 4th, 2004, 06:25 PM
... what would you have her do?

Things to remember

a) She became a top five player with the game she has. Change for changes sake isn't likely to result in better results. There isn't a lot of room aboove where she's already been.

b) She's ranked like #46 now. Leaving things alone likely won't help either.

Me, I'd work on these things.

Footwork. She's got the longest legs in the world, and like Venus, this can make it tough to set up for shots. You over run things when you're all legs.
Learn to hit some topspin with the open stance backhand. Not a lot, just enough to get some more cushion. Those ultra flat shots can miss too easily.
Get off the baseline. This means more footwork. Train on how to go from running from side to side to running forward. A player of her height would be very difficult to pass, but the open stance is exactly the wrong footword to facilitate moving forward. Not saying she should change how she hits, just practice shifting to running forward more.
Get a slice. Nothing major, but its something you have to have to play midcourt tennis. The ball is often around your ankles. If you don't have an effective slice, you wind up popping theball up ad your opponent gets an easy winner.
What I'm really saying is, I remember a Dani who was more of an allcourt player. Somewhere along the line she turned into a baseline killing machine. Well, now the machine is broken, and I think it might help to return to her all court roots.

I'm sure actual Hantuchova fans have better and more ideas than I about this.

Foot_Fault
May 4th, 2004, 06:36 PM
I dont personally feel it's her game. She definately has the tools, the footwork, the shots. It's Mental and her confidence is SHOT. Tweak wise...she just need to devise a game plan, i think she plays her Opponent and NOT THE BALL. She conforms to what they are doing and not doing what she want to do, and her game is designed to dictate not defense on most occassions.

I think once she get her head back into the game, she'll be Stellar once more.

darrinbaker00
May 4th, 2004, 06:59 PM
If Daniela were the unscrupulous type, she'd admit to having an eating disorder and apply for a medical exemption to use steroids..... :devil:

Seriously, though: Daniela does not, repeat, DOES NOT need to overhaul her game. She needs to hire a nutritionist and a personal trainer, take the rest of this year off to get in shape, and come back strong in 2005. She's got some of the cleanest strokes I've ever seen in my life, but because she's so thin, she wears down easily. Daniela's only 21 and the Tour isn't going anywhere, so a prolonged break won't hurt her in the long run. ;)

sartrista7
May 4th, 2004, 07:05 PM
But she's not too thin any more - just look at the numerous Warsaw pics around. She looks pretty healthy, actually, and has done so since the start of the year.

I actually think her game is different to the game which got her to No 5 in the world - I'm sure I've read somewhere that the mechanics of her groundstrokes have altered substantially for whatever reason. Maybe one of her fans could confirm; certainly they look more awkward, especially the forehand.

Otherwise: not just footwork, but speed full stop. She is far, far too slow and always has been. Wherever her tactical sense went, it needs to return - she did once appear to be able to think her way through matches, but she hasn't been doing this for at least two years. And she definitely needs a shot or several of confidence.

Ryan
May 4th, 2004, 07:15 PM
I remember at being amazed with some of the shots Dani pulled out last year and in 2002. Now I think she really needs a shrink. Also, I think she plays the ball too much and not her opponent. For each person she plays she HAS to develop a gameplan. I remember seeing her play Nagyova? at the US Open and she got caught in a moonball fest and just couldn't cope. If she can play her own game and learn again how to counter her opponent's game thne she can win a lot more.

GrahamD
May 4th, 2004, 07:50 PM
...
I'm sure actual Hantuchova fans have better and more ideas than I about this.
I'm sure you're right;) :p

I really wouldn't 'tweak' much of her game, she's got tons of natural ability, it's just that she hasn't shown much of it for quite a while now.

It's simply a matter of confidence, that's all. She just needs to start racking up a few wins, but at the level she's playing at at the moment, she's only destroying what little confidence she has with a string of first and second round losses. I hate to admit it, but I really do feel she needs to drop down a level and play some more Tier III's to build her confidence up again.

Topher950
May 4th, 2004, 08:04 PM
In her match against Vakulenko at the US open last year...all i remember is how she DiDNT HIT HARD.....she was just hitting up hte center of the court.....she needs to hit the corners again. Do you remember that dtl backhand at IW the year she won....ohh man it was SWEET!!!

SelesFan70
May 4th, 2004, 08:11 PM
It's definetly more mental, and I dunno how to fix it! :sad:

Edward.
May 4th, 2004, 09:13 PM
If Daniela were the unscrupulous type, she'd admit to having an eating disorder and apply for a medical exemption to use steroids..... :devil:

Seriously, though: Daniela does not, repeat, DOES NOT need to overhaul her game. She needs to hire a nutritionist and a personal trainer, take the rest of this year off to get in shape, and come back strong in 2005. She's got some of the cleanest strokes I've ever seen in my life, but because she's so thin, she wears down easily. Daniela's only 21 and the Tour isn't going anywhere, so a prolonged break won't hurt her in the long run. ;)

She is not underweight. She does not need a nutritionist. Go and look at some recent pics of her, instead of referring to pictures of her as she was at Wimbledon 2003. Nearly 10 months have passed since that you know.She realised she was underweight and has done well to put the weight back on.

brunof
May 4th, 2004, 09:14 PM
I remember at being amazed with some of the shots Dani pulled out last year and in 2002. Now I think she really needs a shrink. Also, I think she plays the ball too much and not her opponent. For each person she plays she HAS to develop a gameplan. I remember seeing her play Nagyova? at the US Open and she got caught in a moonball fest and just couldn't cope. If she can play her own game and learn again how to counter her opponent's game thne she can win a lot more.
As mentioned it was the Julia Vakulenko. (Who hit about 3 balls in according to the stats in the first set.) I was amazed during those few points in the second set tiebreaker, I didn't know Julia could moonball so well, and it was clearly frustrating Daniela. Maybe it was just the TV, but it seemed to me Daniela had no power during that match -- it looked as if she was trying to push the moonballs down, but with no force at all, letting Julia hit another and another. Where was the power? In the matches I saw Daniela play in late 2003 (Asagoe - Wimbledon meltdown, US Open - Julia Moonballing more than Conchita would consider tactical, and the Harkelroad choke) she totally lost all fight. I remember seeing her for the first few times in 2002, and she had fight -- somewhat like Maria, pumping her fists to get through matches. I hope it all returns and Daniela can return to the top.

I do agree that she has always seemed a bit slow despite her long, gazelle like legs...

brunof
May 4th, 2004, 09:15 PM
Dictionary -
Hantuchova: See Bedanova :help:

beauty_is_pink
May 4th, 2004, 09:27 PM
ah! a thread that isn't bashing Daniela..:) how nice!

Anyways, confident is a major issue for Daniela, being #5 in the world then suddenly dropping fast to #41 -- not the best thing to smile about.

I seriously think she should start playing Tier 3 tourneys to boost her confidence up, play against lower players than her will move her rankings and mentality up. Daniela's stubborn, and (but) like everyone she'll think that she's a top player and should not have to play someone 'under' her league -- "you've got to the top 5, why the hell would you play players that are ranked #100 right?" but you hafta push aside the "pride" and whatever it is you have, and think realistically, this isn't suppose to be a slap in the face for Daniela, but rather a "tune up" to playing with the bigger hitters.

darrinbaker00
May 5th, 2004, 03:14 AM
She is not underweight. She does not need a nutritionist. Go and look at some recent pics of her, instead of referring to pictures of her as she was at Wimbledon 2003. Nearly 10 months have passed since that you know.She realised she was underweight and has done well to put the weight back on.
I realize that she's put on weight since Wimbledon '03, but in my opinion, she's still too frail to be a serious threat (to be fair, so is Maria Sharapova, but she's still growing). Daniela has the same body type as Venus Williams (short torso, L-O-N-G limbs), so I think she can get up to at least 140 pounds and not lose any quickness or foot speed. ;)

Volcana
May 5th, 2004, 03:47 AM
I realize that she's put on weight since Wimbledon '03, but in my opinion, she's still too frail to be a serious threat (to be fair, so is Maria Sharapova, but she's still growing). Daniela has the same body type as Venus Williams (short torso, L-O-N-G limbs), so I think she can get up to at least 140 pounds and not lose any quickness or foot speed. ;)
You know, I hadn't thought of it in that light. Dani was a month shy of nineteen when she win IW. Now she's 21. And maybe she weighs the same, but she sure doesn't weigh a pound more. In any player without OVER-weight problems, the years between 19 and 21 are spent filling out, adding muscle, and maybe growing a last half-inch of so. Maybe Dani is exactly what she was two years ago. But every player under 24 is two years stronger.

darrinbaker00
May 5th, 2004, 03:51 AM
You know, I hadn't thought of it in that light. Dani was a month shy of nineteen when she win IW. Now she's 21. And maybe she weighs the same, but she sure doesn't weigh a pound more. In any player without OVER-weight problems, the years between 19 and 21 are spent filling out, adding muscle, and maybe growing a last half-inch of so. Maybe Dani is exactly what she was two years ago. But every player under 24 is two years stronger.
B-I-N-G-O! She's exactly where she was when she was ranked #5, and she was too thin and weak then. I'm not saying she should turn herself into Ms. Olympia, but an extra 20 pounds of muscle wouldn't hurt. ;)

Volcana
May 5th, 2004, 04:09 AM
B-I-N-G-O! She's exactly where she was when she was ranked #5, and she was too thin and weak then. I'm not saying she should turn herself into Ms. Olympia, but an extra 20 pounds of muscle wouldn't hurt. ;)
It's also gonna take AT LEAST a year to add that. Is she mentally too fragile to endure a continued lack of success that long?

By-the-by, gotta say I don't by the 'confidence' arguement.

One thing I've ssen that Dani seems to lack is a 'feel' for control of a point.

The best I've seen at this recently is Agassi. Even when he's on the run, he seems to know exactly when his opponent hits a shot that allows HIM to seize control of a point. And even if it takes him another five shots to win the point, once he's got control, he doesn't surrenders it. You can beat him with a 'hero' shot, of course, but you'll be attempting that shot from where HE wants you to attempt it.

Cybelle Darkholme
May 5th, 2004, 05:14 AM
I dont personally feel it's her game. She definately has the tools, the footwork, the shots. It's Mental and her confidence is SHOT. Tweak wise...she just need to devise a game plan, i think she plays her Opponent and NOT THE BALL. She conforms to what they are doing and not doing what she want to do, and her game is designed to dictate not defense on most occassions.

I think once she get her head back into the game, she'll be Stellar once more.
Exactly. leave her game alone and find her a new head quick!

davenport_1
May 5th, 2004, 05:18 AM
If Daniela were the unscrupulous type, she'd admit to having an eating disorder and apply for a medical exemption to use steroids..... :devil:

Seriously, though: Daniela does not, repeat, DOES NOT need to overhaul her game. She needs to hire a nutritionist and a personal trainer, take the rest of this year off to get in shape, and come back strong in 2005. She's got some of the cleanest strokes I've ever seen in my life, but because she's so thin, she wears down easily. Daniela's only 21 and the Tour isn't going anywhere, so a prolonged break won't hurt her in the long run. ;)

I agree....I think some one needs to shove a pizza down that girls throat and MAKE HER LIKE IT! I would like to see her take the year off for a couple of reasons

1.)she needs time to get in shape
2.)She to find and work with a better coach
3.)She should stop playing so I don't have to watch/hear about her awful tennis

SpikeyAidanm
May 5th, 2004, 05:39 AM
Footwork.

That affects everything else, including timing of shots, confidence, weight u name it...

Rohin.
May 5th, 2004, 05:47 AM
Well She has allready put on some 8-10kg of muscle this year apparently so it's something she has been working on.
And It's not easy for some people to put on weight you know. I find it almost imposible personaly I can eat what ever I like sit at home and do nothing and not gain a single pound. Now some might say I am lucky but for others it's just as painful as not being able to lose weight (not me I love it :D)

Any way back to the topic Daniela's serve IMO is not what it used to be and especialy at the start of this year she had some really bad technical faults but most of them have been fixed now.

She really need's to gain some confidence again she has played the odd good set or match this year but it's been very inconsistant despite her efforts to work hard and get back playing the way she would like. A few wins in some tier III tournements could really help give her that winning feeling again.

Volcana
May 5th, 2004, 06:08 AM
Why can't she just bang the thing into a corner, charge the net and pick off the volley? It takes her what? four steps to get from the baseline to the net?

Rohin.
May 5th, 2004, 06:21 AM
It would also help if she could cut out the UE a bit last week against Pistolesi she hit 42 winners but 60 odd UE in just two sets.

She also came to the net 15 time's in that match and was succsesfull on 13 occasions so she does try to get to the net.

oddkayla
May 5th, 2004, 07:35 AM
She should work on her foot speed. That girl is slow. She moves well side to side, but forward?

She must also go back to basics. If she was playing the same game that took her to no 5, she would be in the Top 15 at the least. She simply has abandoned all the basics that work for her. Even her graceful shots have disappeared.

A shrink to bolster her confidence would not hurt. She should give that Belgian guy that Ernie Els hired a call. He swears by him!

wateva
May 5th, 2004, 07:55 AM
She shld work on everything, especially movement and she shld get her serve back and fatten up!

mandy7
May 5th, 2004, 08:01 AM
yo, wateva-dude!! WHATEVER!!! :rolleyes:
fatten up? she looks good, not every girl has to be fat to be succesfull..
she's looks healthy

i agree on the serve, that used to be better

wipeout
May 5th, 2004, 11:09 AM
Daniela looks just fine with her weight now. :)

http://www.inside-tennis.net/gal.php?gd=warsaw-day1&img=warsaw29.jpg (http://www.inside-tennis.net/gal.php?gd=warsaw-day1&img=warsaw29.jpg)

http://www.inside-tennis.net/gal.php?gd=warsaw-day1&img=warsaw20.jpg

She could maybe build some more upper body muscle since she has a basic build a lot like Venus, and since Venus has it, then it's hard to argue with. ;)

smarties
May 5th, 2004, 07:57 PM
Daniela looks just fine with her weight now. :)

http://www.inside-tennis.net/gal.php?gd=warsaw-day1&img=warsaw29.jpg (http://www.inside-tennis.net/gal.php?gd=warsaw-day1&img=warsaw29.jpg)

http://www.inside-tennis.net/gal.php?gd=warsaw-day1&img=warsaw20.jpg

She could maybe build some more upper body muscle since she has a basic build a lot like Venus, and since Venus has it, then it's hard to argue with. ;)

Dani's weight is fine now and btw, Venus isn't exactly Ms Olympia.People tend to put her and Serena in the same shoe but there's like a major difference :rolleyes:

Anyway, back to the topic, Dani and her coach have stated that confidence is the major thing that they've got to work on. And I find it ridiculous that some people are saying things about her game when most of them haven't seen her play recently :rolleyes:

DA FOREHAND
May 5th, 2004, 08:00 PM
Win the lottery and hope that's enough to hire Steffi Graf as her coach. Get fitter still too thin, and get a shrink to work on her head.

Albireo
May 5th, 2004, 11:29 PM
Harold Solomon had already identified several technical flaws in her game-- flaws which he mentioned that she had "developed," with the implication that they weren't there in previous years-- and had started work on their correction during his brief tenure as her coach. (It might be noted that the last time she had wins of any significance, Solomon was coaching her.)

Tangential to the confidence issue, one of the major issues in Hantuchova's losing pattern last year was a lack of decisiveness on court. Once matches started getting tight, she seemed to lose any ability to strategize or even decide on a shot-by-shot basis what to do with the ball (glaring examples abound in the matches v. Asagoe at Wimbledon and v. Vakulenko at the US Open). Often she would set to hit one shot and then seem to change her mind at the last moment, resulting in a badly-unforced error; she missed more sitters and overheads last year than anyone I've ever seen. IMO, she was/is thinking too much, rather than trusting her first instinct.

Your initial list, Volcana, seems sound. (FWIW, Sears apparently has had her working with a nutritionist since the clay season of last year; make of that what you will.) According to her website, she's been suffering from an unspecified injury to her right arm, which may or may not have been the reason for her sporadic schedule the last three months. Perhaps Hantuchova would be well-served to skip RG this year-- she has little to defend there, and her form still seems far too poor for a realistic run of any consequence on her least-favorite surface-- to start preparing for the grass, on which she has at least a decent chance of bettering her 2003 performances.

Volcana
May 5th, 2004, 11:39 PM
Three years ago, the consensus did NOT think Dani was 'slow'.

I have noticed one other thing. Dani often hits her forehand with her arm bent. That's what players do when they want more contorl. When you're on balance and taking a swing, you entend your arm completely. Asuuming you're sure of where the ball will go.

Hmmmm ... I may have just undercut my own arguement about confiidence.

Watch Jenni C when she on balance and taking a medium siazed whack at the ball. It looks like she had wings. BOTH arms are fully extended. Dani USED to swing like that. But now, her forehand is one of a player who's concerned about control.

ico4498
May 5th, 2004, 11:47 PM
"Harold Solomon had already identified several technical flaws in her game-- flaws which he mentioned that she had "developed," with the implication that they weren't there in previous years-- and had started work on their correction during his brief tenure as her coach." - Albireo

long shot question but did he specify the flaws?

nice post!

Albireo
May 6th, 2004, 12:01 AM
"Harold Solomon had already identified several technical flaws in her game-- flaws which he mentioned that she had "developed," with the implication that they weren't there in previous years-- and had started work on their correction during his brief tenure as her coach." - Albireo

long shot question but did he specify the flaws?

nice post!


I don't recall if he identified them or not; Epigone and Bracey might know.

Guys?

croat123
May 6th, 2004, 12:40 AM
I'd make her EAT the BAGELS and BREADSTICKS she gets served ;)

really, it's all mental. she has so much talent, all she has to do is focus and regain some confidence.

wipeout
May 6th, 2004, 11:39 AM
Dani's weight is fine now and btw, Venus isn't exactly Ms Olympia.People tend to put her and Serena in the same shoe but there's like a major difference :rolleyes:
I know Venus isn't like Serena. I meant Daniela could still gain a little more muscle and be like Venus, not a lot more and be like Serena (if that was even possible for Daniela). :)

Justine H-H gained a little more muscle over last year and it seems to have helped her.

smarties
May 6th, 2004, 08:07 PM
I know Venus isn't like Serena. I meant Daniela could still gain a little more muscle and be like Venus, not a lot more and be like Serena (if that was even possible for Daniela). :)

Justine H-H gained a little more muscle over last year and it seems to have helped her.

It helped Jstine because she's so small and she lacked power; Dani doesn't lack power with her current weight.

BK4ever
May 6th, 2004, 08:13 PM
Dani looks great with her new weight. She will come good again, she just has to get her confidence back.

emptyhead
May 6th, 2004, 08:33 PM
Now this is truly one of the players which saddens me when I see how their career has turned out. For me Daniela is one of those players that's graceful yet powerful with her game.
It's probably she's had too many people telling her what to do too many times, most of these coaches are full of crap, theyre only hinging around the player to get some cash, and their face on tv at the tournaments.
She needs someone who is purely interested in her welfare to have a good chat with her, get her to start eating properly and forget all this modelling nonsense. There's nothing wrong with her game at all, and it's so sad a player of this calibre has fallen by the wayside. I for one hope she can make a successful return

bandabou
May 6th, 2004, 08:55 PM
I havenīt seen any of her matches this year, but last year I saw her play Kim her lack of power was glaring. She just couldnīt hurt Kim in anyway....so i think she needs to oompphh her game up.