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Apoleb
Apr 3rd, 2011, 12:26 PM
Yes, another thread about Maria's problems with a very lame title.

So why is the Maria of now unable to compete at the same level she did from 2004-2006 and from the brief showing at the 2008 AO?

It's not mental.

I don't think there's much pain in her shoulder currently. She seems to complete her strokes on the forehand and serve just fine.

The way I see it is that she's simply going for far too much from very tough positions on the court. The thing is she doesn't have that many options anyhow so she's forced to play that game: if she rallies her side to side movement will be easily exposed. But in 2004-2006, she was making those shots, now she isn't. It seems to be an issue of a loss of agility, footwork and movement around the ball. If she can't get herself into good position, she's not going to make those very low % shots. Her timing is also off.

She has similar problems on the serve in my view. She can't time the serve well. The action looks all over the place. How can she hit a serve inside her own service box? She has lost coordination on her strokes.

Is her case similar to many of the previous generation who played a good 2-3 years at a very good level, then slumped off never to return? Vaidisova, Chakvetadze, Ivanovic...etc? Did her far-from perfect technique on the forehand and serve finally unravel?

azinna
Apr 3rd, 2011, 01:08 PM
One has to still consider injury, and the mental issues that arise from any adjustments in technique.

But I agree with you in essence: she won those slams and big tournaments by hitting a dazzling array of barely-medium-to-low percentage shots. From first stroke to last, and from first point to last. Over and over again. That meant very little margin for error. Not just on the court but also in her head. It may have all looked natural. But we're seeing that with Maria, a split second of doubt produces an errant stroke or serve. A growth spurt, injury, shift in weight or loss of a quarter step does the same.

As does a tour significantly better at defense. Good opponents are now returning Maria's formerly damaging shots. Not always with interest, but often while moving her around. Or placing the ball out of her strike zone. And they will pounce if she hits anything short or 3/4 pace. It may look like ball-bashing, and it can be error-filled. But the players are now maneuvering opponents and working the percentages at the pace Maria, Serena and Venus used to hit. If Maria feels more pressure to go for unsound shots, it's because she rightly feels -- or even knows -- she's toast if they don't go in.

.....

young_gunner913
Apr 3rd, 2011, 01:13 PM
Watch the Miami final again, that highlighted nearly every fault in her game. Service woes, ball bashing and spraying errors, brick hands at the net, poor shot selection, horrible movement, and most imporatntly: no Plan B.

Chris 84
Apr 3rd, 2011, 01:21 PM
the injury plays a role perhaps.

and i actually do think it is mental. at the top of her game, maria looked like she really believed she was the best, even when she wasn't necessarily the best at all. such an attitude is beneficial in any player, but especially someone who relies on power and going for their shots. i just don't think she expects to win every match any more, i don't think she considers herself "the best".

so for me, it is mental, plus the injury.

Irute
Apr 3rd, 2011, 01:24 PM
(...)

It's not mental.

I don't think there's much pain in her shoulder currently. She seems to complete her strokes on the forehand and serve just fine.

The way I see it is that she's simply going for far too much from very tough positions on the court. The thing is she doesn't have that many options anyhow so she's forced to play that game: if she rallies her side to side movement will be easily exposed. But in 2004-2006, she was making those shots, now she isn't. It seems to be an issue of a loss of agility, footwork and movement around the ball. If she can't get herself into good position, she's not going to make those very low % shots. Her timing is also off.

She has similar problems on the serve in my view. She can't time the serve well. The action looks all over the place. How can she hit a serve inside her own service box? She has lost coordination on her strokes.
(...)

I wrote it before so I am repeating myself a little. Maria back when she was winning was a lanky teenager I suspect much lighter then today. Maria is a grown woman today, still beautiful and lean, but her body filled up a little, her muscles are more packed. She is a very tall girl so only slight change in her body build leads to bigger differences in weight. Movement was never her strength, but with increased body weight it is even more difficult. She may have to find an alternative strategy to her game or enrich it to be successful. Maria has to make it easier for herself to get into shot positions that she likes. She simply lost her agility and trying to regain it maybe banging head against the wall.

goldenlox
Apr 3rd, 2011, 01:25 PM
She is not a great mover, not great at the net.
She needs to hit very hard, precise groundstrokes, and that's not easy.
But the key is still her serve. She held once against Vika, once against Caro at IW.
Dulgheru broke her 10 times.
If you cant consistently hold serve, you wont beat good players.
She had very soft quarters at both IW & Miami. But when she played YEC players who were in form, the breaks were too much to overcome

I like the way she competed at Miami. Didnt do that against Caro, where Caro was going to do it also

Rollo
Apr 3rd, 2011, 01:30 PM
One can't argue with a lot of what's been written above. One thing I'd focus on if I were Maria would be court positioning and putting away short balls. She's gotten in the habit of smacking a great groudie and expecting to win the point right there. Instead the ball floats back to mid court, Maria backs up, and either hits another laser or makes an error in no man's land. Even if she wins the point she has to hit extra hits.

And big babe worth the name from Seles to Serena would come in and put those mid courts shots away for winners by stepping into the court or hitting winning swinging volleys.

And Maria is capable of doing just that. It's a matter of confidence and practice unless something is wrong with her shoulder. In the final she had a couple of chances to hit routine overheads. She opted instead for strange looking shots.

Keep being aggressive Maria, but don't treat the net like a radioactive zone!

Onjanae.
Apr 3rd, 2011, 01:41 PM
I can back this up with anything concrete, but I think Maria's natural left handedness might have a slight negative impact on recovery. Her forehand (which she hits right handedly) has been her weaker shot her entire career and is almost as unreliable as her serve. Venus Williams is also a natural lefty and her serve and forehand have proven to be liabilities, more so after major injury lay offs. I don't know exactly why this should be cause hinderance, but I think it plays a factor. Playing against natural handedness (assuming you're not totally ambidextrous) might complicate matters. Harder to retrain the motion perhaps with the added issue of post injury adaptation.

I also believe Sharapova's is still having mental difficulties. I'm no pro, but I know when I play and I feel just a bit tense, sometimes the ball goes in, but it can also go out and everything feels very laboured. She hasn't won any big titles and it must be hard for someone of her status to assume an up and comer mentality. [Plus probable sponsor threats to drop her without big wins] I'm not convinced she's handling the psychological pressure well, and as a result is probably just not feeling her game well out there. She needs big wins and against big names to really begin the comeback to consistency.

:shrug:

Apoleb
Apr 3rd, 2011, 02:06 PM
As does a tour significantly better at defense. Good opponents are now returning Maria's formerly damaging shots. Not always with interest, but often while moving her around or placing the ball out of her strike zone. And they will pounce if she hits anything short or 3/4 pace. It may look like ball-bashing, and it can be error-filled, but the players are now maneuvering opponents and working the percentages at the pace Maria, Serena and Venus used to hit. If Maria feels more pressure to go for unsound shots, it's because she rightly feels -- or even knows -- she's toast if they don't go in.I am not sure about this. From 2004-2006, she had to play Henin, Clijsters, Mauresmo, Dementieva frequently and often with success (and when losing, losing very tightly). I don't think the tour now is significantly better at defense. I mean, is Azrenka really that good on defense. Sure there's a Caro, but someone like Dulgheru would've been trounced a few years ago.

I wrote it before so I am repeating myself a little. Maria back when she was winning was a lanky teenager I suspect much lighter then today. Maria is a grown woman today, still beautiful and lean, but her body filled up a little, her muscles are more packed. She is a very tall girl so only slight change in her body build leads to bigger differences in weight. Movement was never her strength, but with increased body weight it is even more difficult. She may have to find an alternative strategy to her game or enrich it to be successful. Maria has to make it easier for herself to get into shot positions that she likes. She simply lost her agility and trying to regain it maybe banging head against the wall.This is what I had in mind. A stronger, more powerful build but with less agility hasn't done too much good for her game. I actually think even now she can hit with more power than at any time before, but not from the range of positions she used to. It's similar to what Jankovic suffered when she beefed up in the 2008 off season. She was no longer I think to be as aggressive from the backhand side when she was out of position or pushed wide.

I guess it's a mixture of a technique very vulnerable so that changes in weight/agility and an injury leading to a long lay off have all messed up the dynamics of her coordination and her positioning especially on the forehand and on the serve.

debby
Apr 3rd, 2011, 02:11 PM
Because Sp!ffy jinxes her. :oh:

I think her injury broke her mentally, and she needs time to regroup herself mentally.

Because yeah she makes these ugly UEs, but the question is : "why does she hit them at such crucial moments?"
We all knew Pova had no plan B, she has always played like that, the thing is that she used to be clutch on huge points.

Shaun:::
Apr 3rd, 2011, 02:15 PM
she still needs more time to regroup herself:spit:

bandabou
Apr 3rd, 2011, 02:24 PM
Two things:
Serve is gone..yesterday she was even having swinging misses after the toss! :help: A player like Maria needs to have the serve working, so that she can be on the offensive from the first strike.
Mental game isn't what it used to be. 3-4 in the second set..Maria does a great job of getting back in the match ( helped of course by Vika, but still).. so you CAN'T lose that game on a df and make it 3-5 so that Vika can go serve for it!

She used to be the 3rd mentally strongest player in the game ( after Serena and Juju), but now she's slipped a lot in this department. It's costing her matches.

thegreendestiny
Apr 3rd, 2011, 02:39 PM
Teenage Masha >>>> Current Masha

It's funny how she's having a Hingiseque progress in her career.

Back in the days, her service was one of the best. Back then she moves a lot better and she wasn't that tall and was very lean. I wished she stopped growing at 6 feet. She WAS gutsy and doesn't seem to get intimidated. Now you can see nerves destroy her game. :tape:

Another thing is that money drained her motivation and hunger. What a crying shame. At least Serena never stopped craving even when she was earning millions.

Talula
Apr 3rd, 2011, 03:00 PM
Her serve is gone. Without that her confidence/dominance of the point is severely diminished and her game falls apart, with no plan B.

Now she is engaged maybe she should marry (with a watertight pre-nup in place), have a baby and take maternity leave and come back with the motivation of unfinished business - a la Clijsters.

young_gunner913
Apr 3rd, 2011, 03:05 PM
Her serve is gone. Without that her confidence/dominance of the point is severely diminished and her game falls apart, with no plan B.

Now she is engaged maybe she should marry (with a watertight pre-nup in place), have a baby and take maternity leave and come back with the motivation of unfinished business - a la Clijsters.

Why does everyone think that players can just go off and have a baby and come back and everything will be fine and they'll win slams. It's really such a stupid statement to make. Do you people not realize how much carrying a child wears on a woman's body, not to mention going through birth. Kim's comeback was good, but it's not something anyone and everyone can do. Justine didn't have a kid and look at how much trouble she had in her comeback trying to stay healthy.

Craig.
Apr 3rd, 2011, 03:08 PM
One step forward, two steps back (as Corswandt said in an earlier thread). Can't bring any momentum to the big matches. Fights like crazy, but without a serve, there's only so much fighting you can do.

And tbh, her level of play has regressed so much and she's not consistent enough to beat a top player playing well. :shrug:

bandabou
Apr 3rd, 2011, 03:19 PM
Teenage Masha >>>> Current Masha

It's funny how she's having a Hingiseque progress in her career.

Back in the days, her service was one of the best. Back then she moves a lot better and she wasn't that tall and was very lean. I wished she stopped growing at 6 feet. She WAS gutsy and doesn't seem to get intimidated. Now you can see nerves destroy her game. :tape:

Another thing is that money drained her motivation and hunger. What a crying shame. At least Serena never stopped craving even when she was earning millions.

Uhumm..or maybe we should've seen this one coming: she just never did have the natural athletic ability..even at her best she was a tad faster than Davenport, who compensated it with a good serve and fighting spirit.

Now the serve isn't as good anymore and she needs to move more..but her body can't handle that anymore.

pov
Apr 3rd, 2011, 03:49 PM
IMO the following paragraph from tennis.com about sums it up:

You know Sharapova can fight but, as Mary Joe Fernandez pointed out, you can also see more “doubts and hesitation and insecurity.” You could see that when, down 1-5 in the first set, Sharapova tried to hit a drop shot she shouldn’t have attempted and ended up mistiming it; the ball fell a few feet from her. You could see that a few points before, when Azarenka hit a great backhand passing shot, partly because Sharapova approached so tentatively. You could see that in the second set, too, when Sharapova was broken for the first time after she served a double fault. In fact, Sharapova held just once in this match.

azinna
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:07 PM
I am not sure about this. From 2004-2006, she had to play Henin, Clijsters, Mauresmo, Dementieva frequently and often with success (and when losing, losing very tightly). I don't think the tour now is significantly better at defense. I mean, is Azrenka really that good on defense. Sure there's a Caro, but someone like Dulgheru would've been trounced a few years ago.

Defense was just one of the factors mentioned. But anyway, Justine has an excellent h2h against Maria: including several straight-set scalps in '05-06. Amelie's h2h is also strong, especially during the '04-06 period. And Kim's h2h is more than decent: she won all their matches through to 06. Let's not forget: Serena won that key Aussie '05 semi playing some truly flexible defense.

Henin, Clijsters, Mauresmo and Serena gave Maria very different defensive problems. But one thing was certain: if they were at 90% and able to astutely mix offense with defense, keep her moving and place the ball in uncomfortable places, Maria had to be at her highest level to hit through to a win.

As for the current crop of players: on average the Top 40 players can now certainly absorb much more of Maria's power and once oppressive rally shot. Maria hates being neutralized. Always has. And the good ones like Azarenka and Caro can do so with considerable ease. They know how to ask Maria to hit winners from the wrong place and off the wrong ball. They know how to get her on her back foot. And to fluster her even more with the damaging return. They are not simply waiting for the error; they are making sure it comes. And this is just one more thing Maria does not need to deal with as she's trying to re-find or reshape her game.

I may be on thin ice for saying the following: but I feel Venus has somewhat similar problems and seems to mentally collapse in similar ways.

......

Corswandt
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:07 PM
It seems to be an issue of a loss of agility, footwork and movement around the ball. If she can't get herself into good position, she's not going to make those very low % shots. Her timing is also off.

That's pretty much the issue.

SuperMasha depended not just on her serve but also on being very sharp; her footwork was about as good as it could be considering her size, and, like nearly all Florida bashers, she was trained to take the ball very early.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XswvE556stQ

It isn't immediately apparent just how insanely good her ballstriking is here, shot after shot, because she isn't really going for WOW! winners. But the depth, accuracy and pace of every single shot (the whole match used to be - maybe still is - uploaded, and it's nearly all of the same quality that you see in this compilation) is astonishing. And - this is actually the main point I'm trying to make - at the time this final wasn't even rated as a classic.

Even when Sharapova wasn't sharp (and when she wasn't sharp, you'll remember that even the lowliest of scrubs could force her to play at least one tight set), she had three assets that helped her overcome nearly all difficulties:

I) her mental edge over nearly all her opponents;
II) the natural timing of her shots, which were never more dangerous than in tight situations;
III) and from August 2006 onwards, the SuperMasha serve.

Nowadays, though sometimes you'll still see glimpses of the first two assets here and there, the third is gone, and what you have is a lumbering, erratic, one-dimensional baseliner with clumsy footwork and a wonky FH. Her ground game has deteriorated significantly and her serve is now wholly unreliable.

Without a serve, the 2009-2011 Martha is forced to rally for nearly every single point on her own service games. Without good footwork, the 2009-2011 Martha is forced to loop up even her once rock-solid BH and play neutral rallies against opponents who are faster and more consistent than she is.

And she's doing it against midranked players that are for the most way stronger from the baseline than their 2006-2007 counterparts.

brickhousesupporter
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:09 PM
Loss of aura? Maria was once a elite player. Elite players can win games just by stepping on the court. If the players fear them they come in thinking I have no chance. Now everyone thinks they can beat Maria. They know her serve is weak and if they start teeing off on a couple of second serves, they will get double faults. Many matches are won in the locker rooms and right now, the locker room chat about Maria is that she is beatable.

Corswandt
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:17 PM
Did her far-from perfect technique on the forehand and serve finally unravel?

According to leading TF expert OsloErik, Martha's FH technique is not only a liability but a major hazard to her health and physical integrity. IIRC he used very unpleasant imagery - something like a bone-crushing meatgrinder with blood dripping out of it with each shot? A highlight of TF hating.

I wrote it before so I am repeating myself a little. Maria back when she was winning was a lanky teenager I suspect much lighter then today. Maria is a grown woman today, still beautiful and lean, but her body filled up a little, her muscles are more packed. She is a very tall girl so only slight change in her body build leads to bigger differences in weight. Movement was never her strength, but with increased body weight it is even more difficult. She may have to find an alternative strategy to her game or enrich it to be successful. Maria has to make it easier for herself to get into shot positions that she likes. She simply lost her agility and trying to regain it maybe banging head against the wall.

Sharapova's last growth spurt took place throughout 2005. By late 2005 - early 2006 she was clearly less agile than she had once been, and for a while her progression seemed to have stalled (those were the Semipova days), but eventually she learned to use her height to her advantage with the SuperMasha serve later in 2006.

Bottom line the heavier figure she's carrying right now wouldn't be a problem if she could still hit the ball with the same reckless abandon she did back in 2006. Her firepower relied much more on timing, and leverage effect from her long limbs, than on body mass (the sturdy Ivanovic being an example of the latter - now that she's trimmed down, her ground game has clearly lost a lot of power).

brickhousesupporter
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:23 PM
Yes, another thread about Maria's problems with a very lame title.

So why is the Maria of now unable to compete at the same level she did from 2004-2006 and from the brief showing at the 2008 AO?

It's not mental.

I don't think there's much pain in her shoulder currently. She seems to complete her strokes on the forehand and serve just fine.

The way I see it is that she's simply going for far too much from very tough positions on the court. The thing is she doesn't have that many options anyhow so she's forced to play that game: if she rallies her side to side movement will be easily exposed. But in 2004-2006, she was making those shots, now she isn't. It seems to be an issue of a loss of agility, footwork and movement around the ball. If she can't get herself into good position, she's not going to make those very low % shots. Her timing is also off.

She has similar problems on the serve in my view. She can't time the serve well. The action looks all over the place. How can she hit a serve inside her own service box? She has lost coordination on her strokes.

Is her case similar to many of the previous generation who played a good 2-3 years at a very good level, then slumped off never to return? Vaidisova, Chakvetadze, Ivanovic...etc? Did her far-from perfect technique on the forehand and serve finally unravel?
Has Maria's Body changed much from her US Open and Aus Open wins......I don't think so. She was a big bitch then too. I just think players see her differently now, and she sees herself differently now too.

Slutiana
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:24 PM
IMO the following paragraph from tennis.com about sums it up:
I think that is it in a nutshell, really.

There's no doubt that her game, particularly movement, has regressed (though it was actually fairly good earlier on in the week). But what strikes me more than anything is that she just seems to be completely clueless on the court in all aspects - serve, court-positioning, movement, shot selection etc.

Though her power is always cited as her strength, she was never even close to being the biggest hitter on the tour. While the Williams sisters' strokes were/are bullets, her's were laser-like and precise, and though she was always so intense and hardly elegant, there was always a feeling that the pace she hit at was comfortable and safe for her, as opposed to her hitting at full strength on every shot. I mean check out what most (including me) consisder the most devastating performance of her career;

srjaas8C18s

It was just... so easy.

Now it's a completely different story. When she is aggressive, she is always trying to hit the cover off the ball, with the ball flying out the stands and into the crowd. And in addition to that, she has lost the direction and width she was so good at creating before. So many of her shots these days just end up landing straight down the middle because not only is she afraid to go close to the lines, but she just doesn't know what to do.

It's ok against slow movers like Stosur, Safina, Petkovic etc. but even the likes of Dulgheru and Azarenka have no problem retrieving most of those shots. And then of course we watched in IW as Maria kept on attempting to smash the ball down the centre time and time again, with Woz just strolling to each shot and waiting for the inevitable error.

Then we factor in the service and movement woes and we have 2011 Maria Sharapova.

I hoped that Hogstead would attempt to address it, but so far she is playing in exactly the same way as she did under Joyce. However, one of the reasons she played Henin so tight last year was because the clay forced her to switch things up and to go back to basics, with placement over power and cleaning up any short ball with drive-volleys and the occassional conventional volley putaway at the net. I hope she'll continue with that on the clay again this year.

Corswandt
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:32 PM
But what strikes me more than anything is that she just seems to be completely clueless on the court in all aspects - serve, court-positioning, movement, shot selection etc.

I) she's trying to play the game she once played but without the required tools to do so she once had;
II) nothing in her game, not even her BH, can be fully relied upon anymore and is likely to fall apart at any given moment. Small wonder she looks so tentative out there.

madmax
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:33 PM
According to leading TF expert OsloErik, Martha's FH technique is not only a liability but a major hazard to her health and physical integrity. IIRC he used very unpleasant imagery - something like a bone-crushing meatgrinder with blood dripping out of it with each shot? A highlight of TF hating.





Pova's lasso forehand is nothing new or innovative in tennis - I assume this shot was borrowed into Masha's arsenal from such great like Pete Sampras, along with his serving technique obviously. The main difference is that Maria was never athletic and sturdy girl and her playing style is very very physical - she basically becomes tired at the end of the tournaments and all the grinding and fighting takes it's toll in the final. Her serve being a huge mess is still the biggest issue though. She can still hit blistering winners and returns like she used before, but with her serve abbandoning her it's just too much hurdle to overcome. And it's really strange, because it looked like she found that serving rhytm last year in summer, when she was hitting 11 aces per match, but now it's once again all over the place. Let's see how she plays this clay season - I think slower courts will be even better for her current game, when she is not rushed and has time to prepare her big swings.

pov
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:33 PM
I
I hoped that Hogstead would attempt to address it, but so far she is playing in exactly the same way as she did under Joyce.
:yeah: Yeah. I don't get what's up with these coaches. Do they just want to get that pay cheque so they're codling her? They also haven't addressed how tense she seems to be almost all the time.

harloo
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:34 PM
That's pretty much the issue.

SuperMasha depended not just on her serve but also on being very sharp; her footwork was about as good as it could be considering her size, and, like nearly all Florida bashers, she was trained to take the ball very early.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XswvE556stQ

It isn't immediately apparent just how insanely good her ballstriking is here, shot after shot, because she isn't really going for WOW! winners. But the depth, accuracy and pace of every single shot (the whole match used to be - maybe still is - uploaded, and it's nearly all of the same quality that you see in this compilation) is astonishing. And - this is actually the main point I'm trying to make - at the time this final wasn't even rated as a classic.

Even when Sharapova wasn't sharp (and when she wasn't sharp, you'll remember that even the lowliest of scrubs could force her to play at least one tight set), she had three assets that helped her overcome nearly all difficulties:

I) her mental edge over nearly all her opponents;
II) the natural timing of her shots, which were never more dangerous than in tight situations;
III) and from August 2006 onwards, the SuperMasha serve.

Nowadays, though sometimes you'll still see glimpses of the first two assets here and there, the third is gone, and what you have is a lumbering, erratic, one-dimensional baseliner with clumsy footwork and a wonky FH. Her ground game has deteriorated significantly and her serve is now wholly unreliable.

Without a serve, the 2009-2011 Martha is forced to rally for nearly every single point on her own service games. Without good footwork, the 2009-2011 Martha is forced to loop up even her once rock-solid BH and play neutral rallies against opponents who are faster and more consistent than she is.

And she's doing it against midranked players that are for the most way stronger from the baseline than their 2006-2007 counterparts.

:worship::worship::worship: Excellent Post! This pretty much sums up everything that's wrong with Maria's game these days. I will also add that maybe she isn't willing to dedicate so much of her life to tennis anymore. People have to realize that these young women train for YEARS as children without so much as a social life. At some point they have to want some kind of freedom and independence.

After the loss, I was wondering what happened to Yuri. He was very instrumental in Maria's success and now you don't see him around at all. I feel like Maria is trying to grow up and do things on her own terms now. Yuri was like a drill sergeant and when she was younger she had no option but to accept his way of coaching. I believe she's just trying to find a happy medium somewhere in her game and personal life.

Tennis Observer
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:38 PM
[...] Is her case similar to many of the previous generation who played a good 2-3 years at a very good level, then slumped off never to return? Vaidisova, Chakvetadze, Ivanovic...etc? [...]

IMO it's not a good idea to compare Masha to said players:

Career Prize Money (http://www.wtatennis.com/SEWTATour-Archive/Rankings_Stats/Career_Prize_Money_Top_100.pdf) (as of 3/21/11)

Maria Sharapova $ 13.990.094
Ana Ivanovic $ 8.070.851
Anna Chakvetadze $ 3.819.101
Nicole Vaidisova $ 2.740.268

Ferg
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:38 PM
Shes not as good as people want her to be.

tonybotz
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:46 PM
Confidence

GrafMariaPetraK
Apr 3rd, 2011, 04:49 PM
I for one am just grateful to have Maria back in the game after her shoulder injury,she just could of retired and just made an easy living off being Maria Sharapova,but deep down Maria must know that she has the game to win Grandslams again or why would should she bother.Maria is doing everything right in my mind she has hired a new coach, got to a semi and a final since being back from flu she had, Hogstedt will hopefully really help her and get confidence again in her serve and every aspect of her game.

bandabou
Apr 3rd, 2011, 05:00 PM
That's pretty much the issue.

SuperMasha depended not just on her serve but also on being very sharp; her footwork was about as good as it could be considering her size, and, like nearly all Florida bashers, she was trained to take the ball very early.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XswvE556stQ

It isn't immediately apparent just how insanely good her ballstriking is here, shot after shot, because she isn't really going for WOW! winners. But the depth, accuracy and pace of every single shot (the whole match used to be - maybe still is - uploaded, and it's nearly all of the same quality that you see in this compilation) is astonishing. And - this is actually the main point I'm trying to make - at the time this final wasn't even rated as a classic.

Even when Sharapova wasn't sharp (and when she wasn't sharp, you'll remember that even the lowliest of scrubs could force her to play at least one tight set), she had three assets that helped her overcome nearly all difficulties:

I) her mental edge over nearly all her opponents;
II) the natural timing of her shots, which were never more dangerous than in tight situations;
III) and from August 2006 onwards, the SuperMasha serve.

Nowadays, though sometimes you'll still see glimpses of the first two assets here and there, the third is gone, and what you have is a lumbering, erratic, one-dimensional baseliner with clumsy footwork and a wonky FH. Her ground game has deteriorated significantly and her serve is now wholly unreliable.

Without a serve, the 2009-2011 Martha is forced to rally for nearly every single point on her own service games. Without good footwork, the 2009-2011 Martha is forced to loop up even her once rock-solid BH and play neutral rallies against opponents who are faster and more consistent than she is.

And she's doing it against midranked players that are for the most way stronger from the baseline than their 2006-2007 counterparts.

Well said...aura's gone, serve's gone...and then it becomes a struggle.

BuTtErFrEnA
Apr 3rd, 2011, 05:46 PM
Pova's lasso forehand is nothing new or innovative in tennis - I assume this shot was borrowed into Masha's arsenal from such great like Pete Sampras, along with his serving technique obviously. The main difference is that Maria was never athletic and sturdy girl and her playing style is very very physical - she basically becomes tired at the end of the tournaments and all the grinding and fighting takes it's toll in the final. Her serve being a huge mess is still the biggest issue though. She can still hit blistering winners and returns like she used before, but with her serve abbandoning her it's just too much hurdle to overcome. And it's really strange, because it looked like she found that serving rhytm last year in summer, when she was hitting 11 aces per match, but now it's once again all over the place. Let's see how she plays this clay season - I think slower courts will be even better for her current game, when she is not rushed and has time to prepare her big swings.


her style was never physical in and of itself (compared to a jj or woz)...she was always fit as a fiddle....she was never a grinder in her days...she just took care of lower ranked opponents with ease and always had enough in the tank later...

even now i don't think she's tired at the end of tournaments, she just can't hit past players today like she once did, leaving her in a state of, like tuti said, hitting everything down the middle cause she's hitting too many errors, or trying to come to net etc which she's not comfortable with...check how often she tried to drop shot caro and vika...simply cause she couldn't hit pass either, which was unheard of unless maria was playing against serena/jh/kim/amelie who all had amazing defense

Pops Maellard
Apr 3rd, 2011, 08:51 PM
I don't think we need to make yet another "What's wrong with Maria" thread at this stage.

She played one of the worst matches of her career VS Caro at IW. I thought for sure she'd lose confidence and bomb out early in Miami, but she went one better.

I think in the Miami final she was probably just fatigued and that's why she played worse. Maria seems to feel it more than other players if she endures a long match, and she had two three setters in a row (VS Dulgheru and Petkorazzi).

Her performance in Miami final was unfortunate but understandable. I think she should carry a lot of confidence heading into the clay. :D

*Nefertiti*
Apr 3rd, 2011, 09:01 PM
She needs to train more.

Smitten
Apr 3rd, 2011, 09:40 PM
The serve is only part of the excuse. Although it is a complete mess.

Off the ground, Martha is not even swatting opponents she should be handling. Instead she is getting drawn into 'practice session' type crosscourt rallies and then losing the points.

Sean.
Apr 3rd, 2011, 10:13 PM
Part of the problem is she grew and her body filled out. Unfortunately she didn't adjust to it and that threw her game off, her footwork/agility/movement got worse and it messed up her groundstrokes and serve.

Vartan
Apr 3rd, 2011, 10:19 PM
Because of the virus, Maria had 10 days to prepare for IW/Miami, I am more than satisfied with her results. Give her time.

moby
Apr 3rd, 2011, 10:57 PM
Though her power is always cited as her strength, she was never even close to being the biggest hitter on the tour. While the Williams sisters' strokes were/are bullets, her's were laser-like and precise, and though she was always so intense and hardly elegant, there was always a feeling that the pace she hit at was comfortable and safe for her, as opposed to her hitting at full strength on every shot. I mean check out what most (including me) consisder the most devastating performance of her career;This is it basically. There are actually two "old" Marias to consider - even though there were both very successful.

2004 Maria won Wimbledon hitting ridiculous low percentage flat groundies. But it led to a lot of random losses, even though she was able to will her shots in in the tightest moments of the biggest matches.

By 2005, Maria had become an aggressive grinder in order to get consistent results week in week out, hitting hard (but not with all her power) and with incredible depth and consistency until her opponents collapsed under the unrelenting pressure with an error or a short ball - she would often be comfortable playing 20-stroke rallies, or however long it took to win the point. Her footwork around the ball then was very precise on her favourite hard court, but the safer shotmaking took a toll on her Wimbledon chances and she was never the same there.

Since her injury, Maria has lost something on the footwork and the laser-like precision you point out. She used to have so much time to prepare for her groundstrokes even when scrambling - and when she hit her backhand - it was as though there was a ball-magnet on the strings, so cleanly did she hit it in the sweetspot every time. Now she just flubs her groundstrokes. Her groundgame now is at its best, interestingly, when she reverts to her do-or-die risky shotmaking, the same kind of instinctive play that led to inconsistent results but great heights when she first broke through in 2004. If anything, she can hit the ball even harder now. Unfortunately, she doesn't have her 2004 serve anymore ...

If Martha 2011 buys a reasonable serve for a fortnight this June/July, and Williamsx2 are out/rusty, she has a great shot at Wimbledon.

It's hard to see her being a strong contender on hardcourts unless she can regain her footwork though.

Smitten
Apr 3rd, 2011, 11:13 PM
The funny thing is this version of Sharapova has an outside chance to be a top 5 player after Wimbledon.

With Schiavone and Stosur defending so many points this clay season and Li caught in limbo, she could easily keep rising up the rankings.

Direwolf
Apr 3rd, 2011, 11:18 PM
People are unmotivated really. Too much money being made.

Apoleb
Apr 3rd, 2011, 11:19 PM
If Martha 2011 buys a reasonable serve for a fortnight this June/July, and Williamsx2 are out/rusty, she has a great shot at Wimbledon.

It's hard to see her being a strong contender on hardcourts unless she can regain her footwork though.

Her footwork should be more of an issue on grass than on hard courts. Of course her opponents will have less of a chance to bring balls back, but they will be harder to deal with and it's unlikely that her serve will get her many free points.

Vartan
Apr 3rd, 2011, 11:22 PM
Her footwork should be more of an issue on grass than on hard courts. Of course her opponents will have less of a chance to bring balls back, but they will be harder to deal with and it's unlikely that her serve will get her many free points.

Maria was Serena's toughest opponent at last year's Wimbledon.

Corswandt
Apr 3rd, 2011, 11:25 PM
Her footwork should be more of an issue on grass than on hard courts. Of course her opponents will have less of a chance to bring balls back, but they will be harder to deal with and it's unlikely that her serve will get her many free points.

Sharapova's results on grass have been subpar ever since her last growth spurt. She became very vulnerable to upsets, and hasn't beaten anyone of note on grass in ages.

AcesHigh
Apr 3rd, 2011, 11:28 PM
This is it basically. There are actually two "old" Marias to consider - even though there were both very successful.

2004 Maria won Wimbledon hitting ridiculous low percentage flat groundies. But it led to a lot of random losses, even though she was able to will her shots in in the tightest moments of the biggest matches.

By 2005, Maria had become an aggressive grinder in order to get consistent results week in week out, hitting hard (but not with all her power) and with incredible depth and consistency until her opponents collapsed under the unrelenting pressure with an error or a short ball - she would often be comfortable playing 20-stroke rallies, or however long it took to win the point. Her footwork around the ball then was very precise on her favourite hard court, but the safer shotmaking took a toll on her Wimbledon chances and she was never the same there.

Since her injury, Maria has lost something on the footwork and the laser-like precision you point out. She used to have so much time to prepare for her groundstrokes even when scrambling - and when she hit her backhand - it was as though there was a ball-magnet on the strings, so cleanly did she hit it in the sweetspot every time. Now she just flubs her groundstrokes. Her groundgame now is at its best, interestingly, when she reverts to her do-or-die risky shotmaking, the same kind of instinctive play that led to inconsistent results but great heights when she first broke through in 2004. If anything, she can hit the ball even harder now. Unfortunately, she doesn't have her 2004 serve anymore ...

If Martha 2011 buys a reasonable serve for a fortnight this June/July, and Williamsx2 are out/rusty, she has a great shot at Wimbledon.

It's hard to see her being a strong contender on hardcourts unless she can regain her footwork though.

Agreed with everything except for Wimbledon. I think she has a better chance at the summer hardcourts, but USO will be a bigger struggle with Woz, WS, Kim, etc.

jenny161185
Apr 3rd, 2011, 11:36 PM
I dunno after seeing her at Miami and IW Im happy and thinking she's definately on the right road back. I think she can only improve and someone with that much spunk and tenacity, theres no way Im going to write her off. Even with all those unforced errors, she very nearly got back into that match, just a pity its the clay season now!!

CR3WLFC
Apr 4th, 2011, 12:05 AM
People are unmotivated really. Too much money being made.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH






























:weirdo:

Smitten
Apr 4th, 2011, 12:07 AM
Maria was Serena's toughest opponent at last year's Wimbledon.

Not because of anything she was doing to be frank. She hit a few random, huge returns by guessing off some first serves but this is nothing to console yourself with.

moby
Apr 4th, 2011, 12:26 AM
Agreed with everything except for Wimbledon. I think she has a better chance at the summer hardcourts, but USO will be a bigger struggle with Woz, WS, Kim, etc.No I agree with this. I think there are just too many people who can play on hard for Maria in her current form to deal with.

AcesHigh
Apr 4th, 2011, 01:22 AM
No I agree with this. I think there are just too many people who can play on hard for Maria in her current form to deal with.

True. The summer tournaments before USO are usually up for grabs though.

nelsondan
Apr 4th, 2011, 01:27 AM
Because of the virus, Maria had 10 days to prepare for IW/Miami, I am more than satisfied with her results. Give her time.

I agree. She had the flu, the ear infection, and she said she had lost weight, but she looked about as healthy as I have seen her during this week. I think she is still finding what are the best possible body contours to fit the skills she now has--I have to wonder if her new coach is helping her subtly reshape her game accordingly. I am optimistic. I saw more confidence, even in the face of all those errors. She is getting better.

Nico_E
Apr 4th, 2011, 01:43 AM
like Federer and Williams sisters showing lately.. you cant go on at your best level forever

its just the same with the Ice Queen, altho she lacks as much talent as the names above so her fall is more dramatic, but she did will to reach a Final again

MB.
Apr 4th, 2011, 02:03 AM
The thing people forget about Maria Sharapova is how young she is. I think it's because of how long she's been around--she already has 3 GS titles and been on top of the rankings.

The girl's only 23 years old.

As long as she has the desire to compete at the top level, she can keep doing it--as she's demonstrated these past few weeks in IW and Miami. She's top 10 again--the forehand, the ROS, the fight are still there. If/when she gets the few clinks with the serve worked out, she'll be a contender at the Slams again.

Anabelcroft
Apr 4th, 2011, 02:54 AM
She is not a great mover, not great at the net.
She needs to hit very hard, precise groundstrokes, and that's not easy.


Her movement is not the same as it was few years ago simply because she is a bit heavier now which prevents her from a perfect preparation for all those groundstrokes she missed yesterday...

lefty24
Apr 4th, 2011, 03:01 AM
I don't get this thread. She was probably one of the most if not the most consistent players through out IW and Miami. She is in the top 10 again. I think she's only going to keep on improving.
Then again, there is probably going to be another one of these threads next time she loses.

Sp!ffy
Apr 4th, 2011, 03:33 AM
You guys are so depressing.

FYI: People cant play perfectly forever@@!!@~!!~!!~~!!111!~!!1!!!

LeRoy.
Apr 4th, 2011, 03:45 AM
Maybe she needs some big fat Arab d!ck in her ? I mean, it always works for you, right ?

AcesHigh
Apr 4th, 2011, 03:45 AM
Of course she'll be back soon (that's what people have been saying for 4 years now)

darrinbaker00
Apr 4th, 2011, 03:50 AM
Yes, another thread about Maria's problems with a very lame title.

So why is the Maria of now unable to compete at the same level she did from 2004-2006 and from the brief showing at the 2008 AO?

It's not mental.

I don't think there's much pain in her shoulder currently. She seems to complete her strokes on the forehand and serve just fine.

The way I see it is that she's simply going for far too much from very tough positions on the court. The thing is she doesn't have that many options anyhow so she's forced to play that game: if she rallies her side to side movement will be easily exposed. But in 2004-2006, she was making those shots, now she isn't. It seems to be an issue of a loss of agility, footwork and movement around the ball. If she can't get herself into good position, she's not going to make those very low % shots. Her timing is also off.

She has similar problems on the serve in my view. She can't time the serve well. The action looks all over the place. How can she hit a serve inside her own service box? She has lost coordination on her strokes.

Is her case similar to many of the previous generation who played a good 2-3 years at a very good level, then slumped off never to return? Vaidisova, Chakvetadze, Ivanovic...etc? Did her far-from perfect technique on the forehand and serve finally unravel?

If I knew what was wrong with Maria, I'd tell her, not you.

starin
Apr 4th, 2011, 04:28 AM
she should play doubles. work on her serve and learn how to put away balls instead of letting pushers constantly reset the point with deep floaters.

another thing I don't get is why she is trying to serve harder now than in her peak on 1st and 2nd serves. Her avg. first serve used to be around 100mph with the hardest around 108. She's added a few mphs but it's costing her in dfs.

lefty24
Apr 4th, 2011, 04:31 AM
she should play doubles. work on her serve and learn how to put away balls instead of letting pushers constantly reset the point with deep floaters.

another thing I don't get is why she is trying to serve harder now than in her peak on 1st and 2nd serves. Her avg. first serve used to be around 100mph with the hardest around 108. She's added a few mphs but it's costing her in dfs.

I agree, except I'm pretty sure her serves are at a slower mph. I think what she should do is lower her ball toss.

BepaMaria
Apr 4th, 2011, 04:33 AM
Look, shes slowly regaining form. She just reached the SFs at IW and finals in Miami! These results may not be as good as what she was capable of before her injury, but they are certainly signs that she is regaining confidence and correcting the flaws in her game.

If she just raises her level slightly more, shes gonna return to the top 5 and dominate the clay season:shrug:. I really don't know what this fuss is all about. We should have more faith in her:yeah:.

Volcana
Apr 4th, 2011, 04:42 AM
It's the injury. You have to understand what a torn rotator cuff is, what the do to repair it, and what you have when healing is complete.

A rotator cuff is on muscle. It's an interconnected mass of muscles and tendons and ligaments. 'Tear' is a bit of a misnomer. It does tear, but which parts, and how much. I've had this injury, and I rehabbed with a half a dozen other people who had it, to varying degrees. Mine was bad. The power is back, and most of the control, but at certain angles, it just gives way. Mostly when I close my shoulder too far forward. Like a slight adjustment when hitting a forehand or serve.

Look at it this way. Graft Alexandra Stevenson's shoulder onto Sharapova, and then have Sharapova insist on trying to play the exact same way. Even better, graft on Wozniacki's shoulder. Is the piscture clearer now. Sharapova shoulder is a mass of scar tissue and new connections. It does a lot of what it used to, but not all of it. And you REALLY lose a lot of fine control, which is what a rotator cuff is all about.

So she can't hit as wmany winners, as early in points. Which exposes other flaws in her game.

The problem is the injury.

It's like Venus and the ab injury. Sh e's not STILL injured there. But the injury was so back that, even after it healed, she was never physically the same.

Sharapova will no more ever be the same player, than if she had an injury that left one leg an inch shorter than the other. She can compensate. She won't be THE SAME.

Vartan
Apr 4th, 2011, 04:52 AM
Of course she'll be back soon (that's what people have been saying for 4 years now)

3 years ago she didn't need to be back, :wavey:.

azinna
Apr 4th, 2011, 05:16 AM
....It's like Venus and the ab injury. She's not STILL injured there. But the injury was so bad that, even after it healed, she was never physically the same....

Yeah, took Venus a few years to reshape her game enough to win again at Wimbledon. By then we had someone with slight though significant changes in her service motion and backhand. We'll see with Maria if Venus' athleticism and talent are requirements for this sort of post-injury return to champion form.

GoldenHotshots
Apr 4th, 2011, 06:17 AM
No that's not right. Maria in her peak always made a lot of unforced errors, the difference is that she never let it affect her the way it does now. But you can't really compare her level from 2004 - 2006 to now. Maria was only a teenager then, obviously when you become older, things about you change; physically and mentally. One thing people may not want to consider; maybe Maria has already reached and passed her peak? It happens to players who acheive such success at such a young age as she did. This slump has not been going on for a few months, or one year, it's been going on for years now. But I think what she needs right know more than anything is a lot of matches. She'll get better and better the more matches she plays. Unfortunately, she still doesn't want to adjust her schedule and do some tournament whoring, and she should be fine to do it. Her fitness :cough, :cough: is pretty bad for someone who is only 23.

bandabou
Apr 4th, 2011, 06:46 AM
That might well be another thing to think about indeed..that we just might have seen the best of Masha and from now on it's just a F here, a Tokyo title there. When was the last time Maria was even competitive with a real elite player playing well? Is that against Serena at Wimbledon last year..and even then we KNEW Maria was gonna lose, didn't we?

3 years of hoping seems to be a long time.

Talula
Apr 4th, 2011, 07:15 AM
Maybe she needs some big fat Arab d!ck in her ? I mean, it always works for you, right ?

:lol:

GoldenHotshots
Apr 4th, 2011, 07:29 AM
That might well be another thing to think about indeed..that we just might have seen the best of Masha and from now on it's just a F here, a Tokyo title there. When was the last time Maria was even competitive with a real elite player playing well? Is that against Serena at Wimbledon last year..and even then we KNEW Maria was gonna lose, didn't we?

3 years of hoping seems to be a long time.


Yeah, totally agree. If this slump was just going on for 6 months, or even a year, I would be the first to say that every player goes through a bad patch, and she will be back, but it's been going on for 3 years now, and she has shown little (if any) signs of improvement. In my opinion, she really needs to see a sports physologist if her struggles truly are, mental because I doubt a coach can help her with that. It is really painful to see a multiple slam champ struggling like this.

thegreendestiny
Apr 4th, 2011, 07:58 AM
Maybe she needs some big fat Arab d!ck in her ? I mean, it always works for you, right ?

Mods, please ban this pervert. I feel violated reading his post. :mad:

Vartan
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:01 AM
Yeah, totally agree. If this slump was just going on for 6 months, or even a year, I would be the first to say that every player goes through a bad patch, and she will be back, but it's been going on for 3 years now, and she has shown little (if any) signs of improvement. In my opinion, she really needs to see a sports physologist if her struggles truly are, mental because I doubt a coach can help her with that. It is really painful to see a multiple slam champ struggling like this.

Hello? Maria just had the best 2 weeks in the 2 years that she has been back.

LeRoy.
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:08 AM
Mods, please ban this pervert. I feel violated reading his post. :mad:


LOL :haha:

OneSlamWonder
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:09 AM
I don't think Maria is faulty player. On contrary I think she is a true champion.

Honestly I feel sad that the injury really displaced her so much but we have to face the facts. She is without injuries for quite some time. I think she can get back there.

Yes, she is erratic, but we cannot blame her. She never pushed, she played big. If she cannot make those points, she makes an error, no matter serve or a winner.

But only thing I see as faulty is that she might be lacking a plan B. You cannot always be in good form or even have a good day. If she finds a way to cope with her own daily form her confidence will be back.
Or even, in worst possible option that her serve is dead, she should find another way to just rely on something else.

All in all, I hope she is back, I enjoyed her tennis before and do now on a good day. When I see her being down, I just feel sad...truly.:sad:

GoldenHotshots
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:10 AM
Hello? Maria just had the best 2 weeks in the 2 years that she has been back.

And received two beatdowns by 2 players she should be beating with her eyes closed :rolleyes:

Vartan
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:15 AM
And received two beatdowns by 2 players she should be beating with her eyes closed :rolleyes:

:rolleyes: GIVE MARIA TIME.

Wozniacki is no Greta Arn and Azarenka is no Petkovic.

GoldenHotshots
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:18 AM
You're right about Maria lacking a Plan B. All proffesional athletes should have some sort of back up plan, which Maria lacks. When she's on, she's just on. But when she's off, she's off badly and it makes it a whole lot easier for players to beat her. She needs to volley regularly, add slices to her game, come forward to the net, she needs to add some variety into her game. It would help her a lot.

KBlade
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:21 AM
I really think it's more of a confidence issue. In my opinion, most aspects of her game are equal to her old self, and I think personally her movement is a little better. Her serve is definately not of the old level, but there are no serious technical flaws that appear to be the issue, and lets face it, since when has a good serve been a pre-requisite of a Top 10 player?. The difference is, in the last 3 years, she has only really taken one big title (Tokyo), and she has failed to take any big scalps or make any impact at the slams. Add into the fact that she's been bundled out more than her fair share of times at smaller events, and all of a sudden, the doubts start to creep in, and so do the errors and double faults. I still think the fight is there, but she needs a big win, and she needs one soon. It seems everytime Maria has looked like being a serious title threat, she ends up being routined in a final.

GoldenHotshots
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:29 AM
What's really worrying to me is that all of her losses this year have been in straight sets, actually they have been all beatdowns. A peak Maria with a peak serve would be dominating the game right know given how weak the field is today compared to 2005 and 2006.

Libertango
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:33 AM
Confidence. Or lack of. You can't be a champion without it, it's the foundation of any champions game in any sport. Serena owes half her earnings to it.

It might be a bit like the chicken and egg conumdrum; has Maria's serve gone because she lacks confidence, or does she lack confidence because her serve has gone? Maybe a bit of both. Ultimately it always comes back to confidence though. The injury really did her in - it did more damage to what's between her ears than it did to her body IMO. All her technique problems, her movement, her serve, whatever - they all wouldn't be such issues if she had the mental strength she once had to back them all up and compensate.

bandabou
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:33 AM
A good thing is that she's now back in the top 10, so this means avoiding the top players till say the QF's and later. The problem as Kblade points it: Maria isn't competitive at all against the big guns..ok, she almost beat Kim in what was it, Cincinnati..but that resulted in another prove of how shaky Maria's mental game has become.

Then she gets totally schooled by Caro in IW and now can't hold serve to save her life against Vika. When is she gonna turn it around?

GoldenHotshots
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:44 AM
I agree; her fans say "Give her time, she's improving." When exactly has she improved? She struggles to beat the likes of Duglergu and Petko, and gets crushed whenever she meets anyone half decent. If she can't even beat the likes of Viki in a big final, how will she ever win anything big again? She still hasn't managed to get to a grand slam SF in over three years.

KBlade
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:48 AM
I agree; her fans say "Give her time, she's improving." When exactly has she improved? She struggles to beat the likes of Duglergu and Petko, and gets crushed whenever she meets anyone half decent. If she can't even beat the likes of Viki in a big final, how will she ever win anything big again? She still hasn't managed to get to a grand slam SF in over three years.

She has improved more in the last 2 weeks that she has in the last 6 months. Although I still think she needs a big win, and she now struggles against players that would normally not pose so much of a challenge to her, I really think her latest results are very respectable. Petkovic is a very good player, and she's on the rise, so she really has nothing to lose and nothing to fear when facing the big guns. Delgheru also played an incredible match against Maria. They were both tough three setters, and many other players would've simple mentally folded. And although Azarenka is generally a pretty hot and cold player, usually when she does actually reach finals, it means she's playing pretty well, plus, the Miami surface seems to suit her.

Vartan
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:00 AM
I agree; her fans say "Give her time, she's improving." When exactly has she improved? She struggles to beat the likes of Duglergu and Petko, and gets crushed whenever she meets anyone half decent. If she can't even beat the likes of Viki in a big final, how will she ever win anything big again? She still hasn't managed to get to a grand slam SF in over three years.

Did you forget that Maria is not the only one who has lost to the likes of Viki in a Miami Final? In 2009, Serena lost winning one less game than Maria.

Mistress of Evil
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:05 AM
If the question is asked the other way around it will be easier to answer.:)

Did you forget that Maria is not the only one who has lost to the likes of Viki in a Miami Final? In 2009, Serena lost winning one less game than Maria.

Rena was injured back then. :wavey:

Vartan
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:24 AM
Maria's brain was injured back now, :wavey:

Mistress of Evil
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:30 AM
brain injury is incurable :bigcry: I should know Lenochka had one, too :crying2: she is probably still recovering even in retirement :sobbing:

debby
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:32 AM
Justine should come back... she used to bring the best out of Maria... :o

madmax
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:46 AM
Justine should come back... she used to bring the best out of Maria... :o

this...only a trully great champion can inspire other champion to play her best. Maria has no inspiration from the current crop of weaponless pushers.

bandabou
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:53 AM
Did you forget that Maria is not the only one who has lost to the likes of Viki in a Miami Final? In 2009, Serena lost winning one less game than Maria.

Insisting and insisting naming Maria and Serena in the same sentence!:banghead:
Serena was injured..besides Serena already had won the '09 oz open, so she wasn't in need of a big result.

Masha otoh? still looking..

VishaalMaria
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:47 AM
Did you forget that Maria is not the only one who has lost to the likes of Viki in a Miami Final? In 2009, Serena lost winning one less game than Maria.

Are you really that desperate in trying to convince yourself that Maria will be alright, and her losing in the fashion that she did was no big deal?

I know it's an unfortunate cliche', but Serena was injured and therefore barely moving against Azarenka, whereas Maria was fighting hard to make it a match. The difference was one game in favour of Maria. You really want to highlight this? :lol:

And also, it's not just this one match. Serena had won her tenth major and was going to win her eleventh before and after her loss to Azarenka respectively.

It's not losing Vika which is the problem, its losing in the fashion that she did.

BuTtErFrEnA
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:55 AM
this...only a trully great champion can inspire other champion to play her best. Maria has no inspiration from the current crop of weaponless pushers.


:lol: ok :lol:

Adal
Apr 4th, 2011, 03:47 PM
I don't know how about you guys, but she was never really 'back' as far as I'm concerned. Surely she is playing better now than at the end of 2010/start of this season, but it doesn't really seem like a huge improvement. Serve is still a huge mess, groundstrokes really inconsistent. The only point where I've seen the Maria I know was during the second and third sets of her match against Petkovic, and still that's probably just the level she'd have at the early stages of the tournament back in 2007 (one of her worst years prior to the slump).

She didn't really have any big wins here (her win against Stosur is not impressive at all IMO considering that Stosur could hardly hit a ball in the court). She barely got though the scrub that was Dulgheru and her loss against Azarenka was more than expected (even though I still hoped she could pull through). And that's the case with her these days - the first time she faces a decent opponent who is in a good form, she has no answers. It just happened that the first time she's faced some decent play on the other side of the net was in the final. Pure luck.

Sadly I don't think she's improving, moving forward. It always seems like a step forward, then two steps back. Where is the great level tennis we've seen from her in 2009 (Tokyo, Stanford)? How come the last GS QF she's reached was in 2009 RIGHT AFTER she came back from her injury? How did she suddenly go from challenging Serena and being close to beating Kim to losing to Vesnina and whoever she lost at the end of last season? Seems like every time she's gaining some momentum, something goes wrong.

At this point it's just better to expect the worst and feel happy whenever she does get some results even if it's beating some scrub in 3 tight sets after chocking massive leads, than have some high expectations and be disappointed.

[/debbiedowner]

Corswandt
Apr 4th, 2011, 03:56 PM
I don't know how about you guys, but she was never really 'back' as far as I'm concerned. Surely she is playing better now than at the end of 2010/start of this season, but it doesn't really seem like a huge improvement. Serve is still a huge mess, groundstrokes really inconsistent. The only point where I've seen the Maria I know was during the second and third sets of her match against Petkovic, and still that's probably just the level she'd have at the early stages of the tournament back in 2007 (one of her worst years prior to the slump).

She didn't really have any big wins here (her win against Stosur is not impressive at all IMO considering that Stosur could hardly hit a ball in the court). She barely got though the scrub that was Dulgheru and her loss against Azarenka was more than expected (even though I still hoped she could pull through). And that's the case with her these days - the first time she faces a decent opponent who is in a good form, she has no answers. It just happened that the first time she's faced some decent play on the other side of the net was in the final. Pure luck.

Sadly I don't think she's improving, moving forward. It always seems like a step forward, then two steps back. Where is the great level tennis we've seen from her in 2009 (Tokyo, Stanford)? How come the last GS QF she's reached was in 2009 RIGHT AFTER she came back from her injury? How did she suddenly go from challenging Serena and being close to beating Kim to losing to Vesnina and whoever she lost at the end of last season? Seems like every time she's gaining some momentum, something goes wrong.

At this point it's just better to expect the worst and feel happy whenever she does get some results even if it's beating some scrub in 3 tight sets after chocking massive leads, than have some high expectations and be disappointed.

[/debbiedowner]

It had to be said.

Craig.
Apr 4th, 2011, 04:08 PM
this...only a trully great champion can inspire other champion to play her best. Maria has no inspiration from the current crop of weaponless pushers.

Yeah ok :weirdo:

Craig.
Apr 4th, 2011, 04:09 PM
I don't know how about you guys, but she was never really 'back' as far as I'm concerned. Surely she is playing better now than at the end of 2010/start of this season, but it doesn't really seem like a huge improvement. Serve is still a huge mess, groundstrokes really inconsistent. The only point where I've seen the Maria I know was during the second and third sets of her match against Petkovic, and still that's probably just the level she'd have at the early stages of the tournament back in 2007 (one of her worst years prior to the slump).

She didn't really have any big wins here (her win against Stosur is not impressive at all IMO considering that Stosur could hardly hit a ball in the court). She barely got though the scrub that was Dulgheru and her loss against Azarenka was more than expected (even though I still hoped she could pull through). And that's the case with her these days - the first time she faces a decent opponent who is in a good form, she has no answers. It just happened that the first time she's faced some decent play on the other side of the net was in the final. Pure luck.

Sadly I don't think she's improving, moving forward. It always seems like a step forward, then two steps back. Where is the great level tennis we've seen from her in 2009 (Tokyo, Stanford)? How come the last GS QF she's reached was in 2009 RIGHT AFTER she came back from her injury? How did she suddenly go from challenging Serena and being close to beating Kim to losing to Vesnina and whoever she lost at the end of last season? Seems like every time she's gaining some momentum, something goes wrong.

At this point it's just better to expect the worst and feel happy whenever she does get some results even if it's beating some scrub in 3 tight sets after chocking massive leads, than have some high expectations and be disappointed.

[/debbiedowner]

Yup.

doomsday
Apr 4th, 2011, 04:11 PM
:lol: ok :lol:

This is absolutely true. Maria was asked about the field being empty w/o WS and Henin and maybe now it's time to dominate etc.... Sharapova said that she doesn't think this way and she wants all champions to be here cause it give her more motivation, Maria loves to compete against the very best.
I'm not sure she sees Wozniacki and Co as her "mains rivals" when she steps on court I know it sounds harsh but it's true :lol: anyway they're gonna be here for a long time so Maria better find a way to beat them, we all know she can.

Craig.
Apr 4th, 2011, 04:15 PM
This is absolutely true. Maria was asked about the field being empty w/o WS and Henin and maybe now it's time to dominate etc.... Sharapova said that she doesn't think this way and she wants all champions to be here cause it give her more motivation, Maria loves to compete against the very best.
I'm not sure she sees Wozniacki and Co as her "mains rivals" when she steps on court I know it sounds harsh but it's true :lol: anyway they're gonna be here for a long time so Maria better find a way to beat them, we all know she can.

:help: Doesn't it make it that much more humiliating/embarrassing for her that she gets thrashed by them then? I love Maria, but some of her fans :weirdo:

doomsday
Apr 4th, 2011, 04:22 PM
:help: Doesn't it make it that much more humiliating/embarrassing for her that she gets thrashed by them then? I love Maria, but some of her fans :weirdo:

Considering how bad she played, absolutely not. I'm not the one who created this thread but you can see many people here agree that Maria was awful and not only because of Azarenka.

Joe.
Apr 4th, 2011, 04:26 PM
Some posters on here are just damn stupid- bringing up events and happenings which are to no relevance of this thread at all.:tape:
The thread title 'Whats wrong with Maria?' has nothing to do with Serena so stop comparing her to Maria...

bandabou
Apr 4th, 2011, 05:01 PM
This is absolutely true. Maria was asked about the field being empty w/o WS and Henin and maybe now it's time to dominate etc.... Sharapova said that she doesn't think this way and she wants all champions to be here cause it give her more motivation, Maria loves to compete against the very best.
I'm not sure she sees Wozniacki and Co as her "mains rivals" when she steps on court I know it sounds harsh but it's true :lol: anyway they're gonna be here for a long time so Maria better find a way to beat them, we all know she can.

Then she's to just wipe the floor with them in less than 1 hour..like Serena did with Safina & co. Only then she can talk and act like she's royalty.

TennisFan66
Apr 4th, 2011, 05:15 PM
this...only a trully great champion can inspire other champion to play her best. Maria has no inspiration from the current crop of weaponless pushers.

Good to know :scratch:

allhailwilliams
Apr 4th, 2011, 05:46 PM
To start, Maria was never great. The media needed a great white dope to root for against the Williams. That first slam against Serena at Wimbledon was a fluke. Maria did play very well though, Serena played shell shocked the entire match. Looking at sharapova now makes me wonder how can any good player with movement lose to her. She's too ugly and flat chested in my opinion to win anything.

doomsday
Apr 4th, 2011, 05:54 PM
To start, Maria was never great. The media needed a great white dope to root for against the Williams. That first slam against Serena at Wimbledon was a fluke. Maria did play very well though, Serena played shell shocked the entire match. Looking at sharapova now makes me wonder how can any good player with movement lose to her. She's too ugly and flat chested in my opinion to win anything.

The world against WS is that it? We know the story spare us the details.

Vartan
Apr 4th, 2011, 06:25 PM
:rolleyes: Maria, prove them wrong.

denny5576
Apr 4th, 2011, 08:48 PM
Several good posts. Many remarks spot on. But many wrong conclusions.
The reason? Many authors ignored the reality of the training process.
Maria’s results (IW and Miami) are good, but her game was approx. 70% - 75% from the level May- June and August 2010
Why 10 months later Maria’s form is worse, but not better?
In order to have stable and improving form you must have stable and improving training process. Then the testing at some tournaments must be completed before the training work could convert into game improvements. Flashes of improvements do not count because they disappear exactly like they appeared.

From April 2009 till now Maria never had more than 2 months training without changing something. All 2009 days were days of change.
The mental pressure increased, instead reducing in 2010, because of the unexpected loss at AO 2010. The progress made during May – June 2010 was lost in July because of Sasha (or you could call it “love”). That scenario repeated after USO as well and the August form disappeared like never existed..
Only after Xmas (December 2010) Maria decided the wedding is not a priority. The insufficient training was exposed in Auckland and Melbourne. Then in Paris came the illness and again the training process was aborted.
So, the form shown by Maria now is logically the best possible. No magic here, everything is clear. All highs in the form were cut down and the training again and again had started from a level lower than before.
When Maria will complete a training process, at least 4-5 months long and stable, without interruptions and forced changes, then her form will be completely different. Much better. Could be even better than of 2008.
Then you could make the right conclusions.

bandabou
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:02 PM
Nice theory, Denny..but '08 Sharapova ain't happening without a serve and Maria for all intents seems to have lost that serve.
Or indeed, we might just have to accept reality: Maria is what she is now..and never will become what she used to be.

le bon vivant
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:23 PM
I saw highlights from her match against Justine at the AO 08 and USO 06, and it seems like she has lost sooooo much flexibility and agility today. Her movement is like Hantuchova level now. Its so easy to get her out of position and make her go for a shot that shes not prepared for. On top of her service woes.

She needs a complete retool of a lot of stuff in order to compensate for her weaknesses and be great again. She like where Venus was in late 2004-early 2005, but Venus had the athleticism and talent to build on, Maria doesnt. Shes a great player so I hope she can get it together, its been like 3 years now...

denny5576
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:47 PM
Nice theory, Denny..but '08 Sharapova ain't happening without a serve and Maria for all intents seems to have lost that serve.

Correct, without good serve Sharapova model 2008 cannot exist.
But have a look at Maria - Serena Wim 2010. Her serve was even better than in 2008. So, it was proved Maria can serve faster and better than before.

Craig.
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:53 PM
Correct, without good serve Sharapova model 2008 cannot exist.
But have a look at Maria - Serena Wim 2010. Her serve was even better than in 2008. So, it was proved Maria can serve faster and better than before.

With 3 aces and 7 DFs, it was better than in 2008? :unsure:

denny5576
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:08 PM
With 3 aces and 7 DFs, it was better than in 2008? :unsure:
Yes.

madmax
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:25 PM
With 3 aces and 7 DFs, it was better than in 2008? :unsure:

Maria won plenty of cheap points on her serve in that match...barring DF's, which basically cost her the match, she served really well.

moby
Apr 4th, 2011, 11:21 PM
She needs a complete retool of a lot of stuff in order to compensate for her weaknesses and be great again. She like where Venus was in late 2004-early 2005, but Venus had the athleticism and talent to build on, Maria doesnt. Shes a great player so I hope she can get it together, its been like 3 years now...

Yeah, took Venus a few years to reshape her game enough to win again at Wimbledon. By then we had someone with slight though significant changes in her service motion and backhand. We'll see with Maria if Venus' athleticism and talent are requirements for this sort of post-injury return to champion form.

What is this talent that Venus has that Maria doesn't, athleticism aside? I think of Maria as a better natural ballstriker than Venus from the baseline.

The Dawntreader
Apr 4th, 2011, 11:24 PM
What is this talent that Venus has that Maria doesn't, athleticism aside? I think of Maria as a better natural ballstriker than Venus from the baseline.

Venus has a much better transition game.

Kairi
Apr 4th, 2011, 11:24 PM
What is this talent that Venus has that Maria doesn't, athleticism aside? I think of Maria as a better ballstriker than Venus from the baseline.

why is this even a comparison..Venus' Athleticism>>>>>Marias...for one thing, SPEED...Venus is built like a track star..no offense, but while Sharapova is talented, i wont deny it, she isnt built like an athlete, more like a tall model..she's strong, YES, but apart from that......:o

Craig.
Apr 5th, 2011, 12:04 AM
Maria won plenty of cheap points on her serve in that match...barring DF's, which basically cost her the match, she served really well.

That's just it. Maria's DFs, the few that she'd make in the beginning of 2008 (particularly in Melbourne) never really had any bearing on the outcome of her matches.

azinna
Apr 5th, 2011, 12:55 AM
What is this talent that Venus has that Maria doesn't, athleticism aside? I think of Maria as a better natural ballstriker than Venus from the baseline.

Maria may be better at flat groundies, but not anything else. Over her career, Venus has been more potent with a wider variety of shots. It's an edge but a significant one. I'd say her serve was and is better than Maria's. At her peak, Venus' use of the drop shot and slice was more effective (see Davenport matches). And her transitioning to and execution at net could simply overwhelm.

Since 2003, Venus has rarely gotten her full package going again, but she's drawn on aspects of it during those post-injury slam runs. Even her loss to Justine at that US Open semi in '07 displayed differences from Maria that weren't simply athletic.

......

jacobruiz
Apr 5th, 2011, 01:09 AM
Very few people seem to understand how traumatic and debilitating the type of shoulder surgery Maria underwent actually is. The whole game of any right-hander depends upon the condition of their right shoulder and Maria's is forever altered.
Shallow posters may speak of this as "an excuse" and whine "the Shoulder again" but this injury and subsequent surgery were known to experts to be very serious and career-threatening.

I'm afraid Maria has been robbed of a truly great legacy here and it is quite sad, to me and her real fans anyway.

AcesHigh
Apr 5th, 2011, 01:32 AM
Maria may be better at flat groundies, but not anything else. Over her career, Venus has been more potent with a wider variety of shots. It's an edge but a significant one. I'd say her serve was and is better than Maria's. At her peak, Venus' use of the drop shot and slice was more effective (see Davenport matches). And her transitioning to and execution at net could simply overwhelm.

Since 2003, Venus has rarely gotten her full package going again, but she's drawn on aspects of it during those post-injury slam runs. Even her loss to Justine at that US Open semi in '07 displayed differences from Maria that weren't simply athletic.

......

Totally agree. And that 2007 was a past her prime Venus.. yet she displayed (along with Justine) better tennis than Maria and most of the top 10 today could never generate.

denny5576
Apr 5th, 2011, 01:37 AM
Very few people seem to understand how traumatic and debilitating the type of shoulder surgery Maria underwent actually is. The whole game of any right-hander depends upon the condition of their right shoulder and Maria's is forever altered.
Shallow posters may speak of this as "an excuse" and whine "the Shoulder again" but this injury and subsequent surgery were known to experts to be very serious and career-threatening.

I'm afraid Maria has been robbed of a truly great legacy here and it is quite sad, to me and her real fans anyway.
I am fully aware what such injury is and how it could affect the performance of the athletes. However, not only Maria said several times the shoulder is not a problem, but there is not any evidence the operated shoulder performs worse than before. Maybe mentally Maria is affected, but physically and technically the shoulder does not create problems and should not be used as an excuse for the poor form of Maria.

KBlade
Apr 5th, 2011, 01:49 AM
Well, Maria is a natural left hander... So Naturually the next step is to change hands and use the other shoulder? :lol:

jacobruiz
Apr 5th, 2011, 02:01 AM
I am fully aware what such injury is and how it could affect the performance of the athletes. However, not only Maria said several times the shoulder is not a problem, but there is not any evidence the operated shoulder performs worse than before. Maybe mentally Maria is affected, but physically and technically the shoulder does not create problems and should not be used as an excuse for the poor form of Maria.

What do you mean "there is not any evidence"? Maria is a mere shadow of her former 3-time slam winning self. And the fact that she refuses to complain means nothing - she has NEVER complained throughout her career. She played with a misdiagnosed rotator cuff torn in 2 places for over a year and refused to mention the pain in regards to her losses!

Maria said several times in 2008 how much she admired Tiger Woods when he won the US Open golf tournament playing with a torn ligament in his knee. Woods never mentioned his injury until after he won the trophy and announced he would immediately undergo surgery. This apparently really impressed Maria and I got the feeling she felt a kinship with him.

The WTA has so many drama queens playing that if a player prefers to play without complaining or making their ailment into front page news we think they are "fine" and pain-free. I am not saying that Maria is in pain but in my mind there is no doubt that her new shoulder is not allowing her to swing freely and fearlessly like she used to be able to do so well.

Rome
Apr 5th, 2011, 02:14 AM
I saw highlights from her match against Justine at the AO 08 and USO 06, and it seems like she has lost sooooo much flexibility and agility today. Her movement is like Hantuchova level now. Its so easy to get her out of position and make her go for a shot that shes not prepared for. On top of her service woes.

She needs a complete retool of a lot of stuff in order to compensate for her weaknesses and be great again. She like where Venus was in late 2004-early 2005, but Venus had the athleticism and talent to build on, Maria doesnt. Shes a great player so I hope she can get it together, its been like 3 years now...

You need to look at the match alot closer. Justine was not hitting short angles pulling maria off the court which would make maria go for lower % shots. Instead she was blasting the ball deep and hard and short shots that Maria killed. But deep shots don't hurt maria it's the short off pace balls angle balls that hurt maria it seems. And her Forehand is no help to her she needs to hire Davenport to be her coach.

Shafanovic.
Apr 5th, 2011, 02:18 AM
I am fully aware what such injury is and how it could affect the performance of the athletes. However, not only Maria said several times the shoulder is not a problem, but there is not any evidence the operated shoulder performs worse than before. Maybe mentally Maria is affected, but physically and technically the shoulder does not create problems and should not be used as an excuse for the poor form of Maria.

This is what I think is happening. She's mentally affected by the shoulder and she psychs herself out maybe?

I don't know, but an injury like that would always play in the back of your mind.

alfonsojose
Apr 5th, 2011, 03:23 AM
She's in a good direction right now. Serve can be improved. She should try to take afew miles off and still can be dangerous. I'm pretty sure Davnport didn't serve as hard as peak Pova but still it was a good serve. She tries to smack the ball on very firts delivery.

moby
Apr 5th, 2011, 03:41 AM
Venus has a much better transition game.

Maria may be better at flat groundies, but not anything else. Over her career, Venus has been more potent with a wider variety of shots. It's an edge but a significant one. I'd say her serve was and is better than Maria's. At her peak, Venus' use of the drop shot and slice was more effective (see Davenport matches). And her transitioning to and execution at net could simply overwhelm.

Since 2003, Venus has rarely gotten her full package going again, but she's drawn on aspects of it during those post-injury slam runs. Even her loss to Justine at that US Open semi in '07 displayed differences from Maria that weren't simply athletic.

......Yeah, I agree with what you guys are saying, although I do think that quite a bit of this versatility that Venus shows is an upshot of her physical attributes of athleticism, especially the part about her ability at net. I don't think of Venus as having great hands - but her reach and athleticism gave her a net coverage that is unparalleled in the history of tennis and allowed her to compensate for her weaknesses at the net. Venus would also cheat by closing in completely on top of the net to avoid hitting low volleys, which made her susceptible to lobs, even if her height took care of most of that problem.

I guess I just never thought of Venus as being "able to manipulate a racket" better, or "able to time the ball better" than Maria, the two criteria that dominate my personal interpretation of tennis-specific talent. Maria's improvisation with a racket is one of the best (off her groundstrokes), for all her ball-bashing cachet. The way I see it, Venus could have played virtually any sport and succeeded. I don't think Maria could have succeeded at any sport other than tennis. The fact that Maria has 3 slams speaks a lot about her tennis-specific talent.

azinna
Apr 5th, 2011, 04:14 AM
^It's, of course, hard to separate out an incredible athleticism from what Venus does on the court. But one can definitely do it. One often does something similar with Maria. In other words, I don't buy the whole Maria-isn't-an-athlete thing. You don't win slams -- even Wimbledon -- without being an athlete. But I can see how minimizing her athleticism let's us see other facets of her game.

I say an ability to execute a range of shots -- and effectively, against top opponents -- is central to tennis-specific talent. Compare tapes of their matches, moments when they're there for the ball, set and trying to change the dynamics of a point. Maria "bricks" much more often than Venus.


.....

bandabou
Apr 5th, 2011, 05:14 AM
Yeah, I agree with what you guys are saying, although I do think that quite a bit of this versatility that Venus shows is an upshot of her physical attributes of athleticism, especially the part about her ability at net. I don't think of Venus as having great hands - but her reach and athleticism gave her a net coverage that is unparalleled in the history of tennis and allowed her to compensate for her weaknesses at the net. Venus would also cheat by closing in completely on top of the net to avoid hitting low volleys, which made her susceptible to lobs, even if her height took care of most of that problem.

I guess I just never thought of Venus as being "able to manipulate a racket" better, or "able to time the ball better" than Maria, the two criteria that dominate my personal interpretation of tennis-specific talent. Maria's improvisation with a racket is one of the best (off her groundstrokes), for all her ball-bashing cachet. The way I see it, Venus could have played virtually any sport and succeeded. I don't think Maria could have succeeded at any sport other than tennis. The fact that Maria has 3 slams speaks a lot about her tennis-specific talent.

Mannn....I thought we were past the "only winning because of athletic-ability, without any REAL talent"-stage?

moby
Apr 5th, 2011, 05:46 AM
Mannn....I thought we were past the "only winning because of athletic-ability, without any REAL talent"-stage?When did I say that? I just think that what distinguishes Venus from the near-greats of her generation such as Maria and Lindsay is her athleticism and not her "talent". These are obviously all very talented people. And to azinna, these are obviously all very athletic people too.

Sp!ffy
Apr 5th, 2011, 06:05 AM
I think it's a little funny how you guys can try to resolve this conflict all you want but none of this, unfortunately (or fortunately), will never reach Maria herself. :lol:

chuvack
Apr 5th, 2011, 08:50 AM
What's wrong with Masha? More like what's right with her. She is playing as well as could possibly be expected. She can't hit a 2nd serve because of the bum shoulder. But her forehand is a decent weapon considering how awkward her technique is on it, and her backhand is as good as ever.

bandabou
Apr 5th, 2011, 09:07 AM
When did I say that? I just think that what distinguishes Venus from the near-greats of her generation such as Maria and Lindsay is her athleticism and not her "talent". These are obviously all very talented people. And to azinna, these are obviously all very athletic people too.

In other wors..give those near greats Venus's athletiscism and they'd school Vee 0 and 0 anywhere anytime, right?! :lol: If it only it were that easy.

perseus2006
Apr 5th, 2011, 09:41 AM
So, what is wrong with Pova?

Not much is the real answer. Let's enumerate:

1. She looks great.
2. More physically fit that at any time in her career.
3. Her fashion display in 2011 is simply "off-the-charts" fantastic.
4. She has just posted one of her best back to back efforts at IW and Miami.
5. Her tennis is improving dramatically this year. The only item I can agree on with posters is that Pova is starved for match competition. The more matches she plays, the more her game will come together. She needs matches, more matches and then a few more matches. She will straighten out the issues as the number of matches accumulate.

azinna
Apr 5th, 2011, 11:52 AM
When did I say that? I just think that what distinguishes Venus from the near-greats of her generation such as Maria and Lindsay is her athleticism and not her "talent". These are obviously all very talented people. And to azinna, these are obviously all very athletic people too.

I understand the reasons why Venus has distinguished herself from her generation. And why, too, Maria is special. But this is about comparing the actual games of two players, rather than the conventional wisdom on both.

You asked a specific question about talent in Venus versus Maria. I don't think that can be answered just by comparing their ability to hit flat ground strokes. Nor by comparing the one aspect of their games that stands out, what they are "known for."

I've already mentioned the range of specific shots Venus has been able to execute more effectively than Maria, against top opponents. I've already suggested a review of their matches to compare what they are able to do when set. It's fine if you want to still hold onto weakened versions of the it's-primarily-athleticism take on Venus.

I feel for Maria. I want her to return to the very top. Win at least another slam. But a shoulder injury is hard to recover from, and she'll need an effective Plan B. Or a more versatile set of Plan A's. This has always been demanded of great players over the course of their careers. It will be a tough road back, and her ability to succeed as others did isn't solely dependent on being blessed with exceptional athleticism.


......

Apoleb
Apr 5th, 2011, 09:52 PM
I don't think that can be answered just by comparing their ability to hit flat ground strokes. Nor by comparing the one aspect of their games that stands out, what they are "known for."

I've already mentioned the range of specific shots Venus has been able to execute more effectively than Maria, against top opponents.


......

I think what moby is saying is that what you mentioned can be accounted for by her supreme physical (or as a better word, athletic. These are all madusah-like dubious terms) ability, particularly her transition game and coverage of the net, and not specifically by her "shot making" ability (I use the term kind of loosely here - as in spin, touch, accuracy, timing..etc ). And I really don't think the drop shots and the slices you mentioned (and that she pulls off once a blue moon - admittedly she used the slice in Wimbledon more often but still) are particularly important features in her repertoire that have allowed her to stay on the top level despite her injury.

azinna
Apr 6th, 2011, 12:46 AM
I think what moby is saying is that what you mentioned can be accounted for by her supreme physical (or as a better word, athletic .....

I know what moby is saying. I responded to that specific point on the previous page and this one. Basically, it's an error to reduce the greater versatility in Venus' game to athleticism. That's the problem with comparing conventional wisdom, or letting it do the close observation for you.

I know how hard it is for many tennis observers to say Venus has more talent than another top player. In part because it wasn't the sort of thing people said and saw when she broke through and dominated. Like Graf, it was all about the power and athleticism.

As for your own point, I think any appropriate definition of "tennis-specific talent" or "shot-making ability" would have to give Venus the edge over Maria. Now, if you were comparing Venus to Lindsay, or Venus to Serena....


....

hdfb
Apr 6th, 2011, 12:58 AM
So, what is wrong with Pova?

Not much is the real answer. Let's enumerate:

1. She looks great.
2. More physically fit that at any time in her career.
3. Her fashion display in 2011 is simply "off-the-charts" fantastic.
4. She has just posted one of her best back to back efforts at IW and Miami.
5. Her tennis is improving dramatically this year. The only item I can agree on with posters is that Pova is starved for match competition. The more matches she plays, the more her game will come together. She needs matches, more matches and then a few more matches. She will straighten out the issues as the number of matches accumulate.

Point 3. You can not be serious right?