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View Full Version : Sharapova would be so much better if she would just go the damn net


The Witch-king
Aug 21st, 2011, 10:26 PM
Every time I watch her play - with the exception of that Wimbledon final - I'm amazed and completely frustrated by her never taking advantage of the momentum she has in rallies. Soooo many points wasted because she refuses to approach! It's sooo annoying.

Let me add that I know that this has been said for years and I could understand that she didn't feel the need to improve this aspect of her game in the beginning when everything was going well and she was a little more consistent but you'd think a way of shortening points would be the first thing she would have added to her game when she became more erratic off the ground and lost the agility she had when she was younger. But you never hear her coach telling her to move forward during the changeovers. What's that about?

Even damn Jankovic is looking like a pro at the net.

ETA Every time I watch her PLAY... before the Pova fans come for me :scared:

fouc
Aug 21st, 2011, 10:30 PM
So true.

Keegan
Aug 21st, 2011, 10:33 PM
She should work with a former player who knows how to play at the net. Navratilova for example, who is a phenomenal serve and volleyer. I'm sure Navratilova could do wonders with Sharapova, especially as she is so tall and as a huge wingspan. However, I think her movement stops her from utilising the court.

Galang
Aug 21st, 2011, 10:34 PM
Completely true. She totally loses momentum in the rally because of this.

TennisViewer531
Aug 21st, 2011, 10:48 PM
i totally agree..

hablo
Aug 21st, 2011, 10:50 PM
There is a reason why she stays away from the net: she just doesn't have the skills to be up there. :shrug:

The Witch-king
Aug 21st, 2011, 11:04 PM
There is a reason why she stays away from the net: she just doesn't have the skills to be up there. :shrug:

I don't buy that. That's the old Tennis Forum underestimation schtick that I find absolutely ridiculous. That's the same rhetoric that says Venus doesn't know where her serve is going or Serena is fat or Wozniacki is a pusher. It's popular opinion but it's simply not true.

Sharapova's a professional tennis player, OF COURSE she can volley. She hits volleys on for like a minute before she plays every match and every time she does that I don't see her spraying the ball around like someone who doesn't know what she's doing. What she lacks IMO is either confidence to hit those shots in matches or a game plan that revolves around approaching the net. Or both.

Also, I'm not suggesting she chip and charge the net like Navratilova or S&V every point I just think she would benefit from taking advantage of the points where she has that forward momentum which would give her a relatively easy first or second volley to knock off. I also think just being up at the net would score her easy points against opponents that are not used to having to hit good passing shots by putting a bunch of pressur on them to produce.

Damn I sound like Volcana... all I need is a story about my playing tennis in the 70s with wood rackets to add to the mix. :tape:

Sammo
Aug 21st, 2011, 11:09 PM
Hold on, she sucks at the net. Well I guess she's good enough to do put-aways.

shoparound
Aug 21st, 2011, 11:11 PM
It might be because she doesn't have the natural anticipation for the balls at the net and has given up trying.

duhcity
Aug 21st, 2011, 11:14 PM
Maria and about 65% of the tour

DragonFlame
Aug 21st, 2011, 11:19 PM
Meh, the net isn't the biggest issue. Her problem is she's serving like a sack of potatoes. Fortunatly for her in this match she's playing someone who might have a worse serve then her...

Lots and lots of drama, but mostly pathetic quality of play in the servicegames. I just can't believe these girls have no clue what to do on serve.

The Witch-king
Aug 21st, 2011, 11:25 PM
Meh, the net isn't the biggest issue. Her problem is she's serving like a sack of potatoes. Fortunatly for her in this match she's playing someone who might have a worse serve then her...

Lots and lots of drama, but mostly pathetic quality of play in the servicegames. I just can't believe these girls have no clue what to do on serve.

You know why her serve has been so off, right? Because she has to rely on her hit or miss baseline game. If you knew there was a way to consistently and easily win points there would be a LOT less pressure on her to hit great serves all the time.

timafi
Aug 21st, 2011, 11:58 PM
Amelie worked wonders with Mika Lllodra who is a master at the net :bowdown: last year so if Maria wants to spare her body more she should consider it :shrug:

faboozadoo15
Aug 22nd, 2011, 12:17 AM
When she won the Australian Open, she came to net more than anyone else in the draw. I think she needs to get back to that mindset, even if it's with the drive volleys.
Several times against Vera and Jankovic she stayed back when she would have had a putaway at the net.

dsanders06
Aug 22nd, 2011, 12:45 AM
First time I can ever recall agreeing with the OP.

I think it's understand that she refuses to smash, because there it really would just put too much stress on her shoulder. But, when she was in her prime, she was always charging the net... her touch volleys were always horrible, but she used to have a great swinging volley. She needs to get back to that... I guess in practise she's just been focussing so much on her serve that netplay has been neglected somewhat.

doooma6816
Aug 22nd, 2011, 12:48 AM
she has great drive volleys...she used to end rallies by drive volleys so often! I don't know why she isn't doing it now.

faboozadoo15
Aug 22nd, 2011, 12:51 AM
she has great drive volleys...she used to end rallies by drive volleys so often! I don't know why she isn't doing it now.

It really stood out against Vera and Jelena who are terrific defensive players. They threw a lob up, and it's almost like Maria had to start from scratch. She has so many more angles to work with and time to rob her opponent of when she swings away at net. I'm sure her coach will be drilling her on this...

theFutureisNow
Aug 22nd, 2011, 12:56 AM
Maria has less incentive than any other player to go to the net since she has been easily #1 this year in rallies.

The reason she isn't dominating is because her serve has been extremely weak for most of the year. Of course a weak serve removes some opportunities to go to the net also, since the best time is after a strong serve.

She can go to the net though. As fabooza said, when she won the australian open, she had by far the best net stats those two weeks.

Linguae^
Aug 22nd, 2011, 01:00 AM
Everyone would be much better if they come to the net.
Net is so efficient and beautiful, but really tough and dangerous! New era of women's tennis doesn't inclued the net play much, but you can do soo much and get points a lot easier if coming and being good at the net. :hearts:

madmax
Aug 22nd, 2011, 01:03 AM
Maria won plenty of points at the net during the clay season - she was even succesfully digging half-volleys in Radwanska match if I remember correctly. It's all about confidence for her - when she feels good and is not doubting herself her game is still a joy to watch.

alfonsojose
Aug 22nd, 2011, 03:14 AM
I agree but i think it's more about her sensing her footwork and fitness are not t their best levels. I know i sound repetitive but, again, lok At Pova at Ao 2008. She has never been a great volleyer and never will, but since she's slower now it get more complicated to get the net properly.

wateva
Aug 22nd, 2011, 05:18 AM
anyone who says that maria is a good volleyer should watch her SF match against amelie in wimbledon 2006. it was pure horror! :tape:

Maria rocks
Aug 22nd, 2011, 07:50 AM
She did it :bounce::bounce::bounce: WELL DONE MARIA. NOW GO AND WIN THE US OPEN:bounce::bounce::D XX

God she won and she dug deep and battled to win that. It was a brilliant win. She has played exceptional tennis all week and you lot are still slating her?!?!?!!? UNBELIEVABLE

swim4life227
Aug 22nd, 2011, 08:03 AM
anyone who says that maria is a good volleyer should watch her SF match against amelie in wimbledon 2006. it was pure horror! :tape:

Well nobody said she should become a serve and volleyer. However, there is so many times where she gets a short ball, gives it a big crack, and then doesn't follow it to the net. Someone like say, Venus, would always do that. Most of the time she'd probs just be hitting the ball onto the other side of the open court. Also, she needs to learn to hit OVERHEADS. She's waits to hit swinging volleys and half the time she hits it right back to her opponent. Until she learns how to do that she won't ever go to the next level of winning a slam again. She simply isn't ever gonna get away with that and her erratic serve for 7 matches.

bandabou
Aug 22nd, 2011, 08:16 AM
Agreed...specially since her movement has become this bad. She has enough firepower that she puts immediate pressure on most opponents, sooo...even if it was just for the drivevolley, would be smart for her to start coming to the net more often.

Rui.
Aug 22nd, 2011, 10:39 AM
Didn't Lenglen once say that going to the net was for those afraid of battling it out on the baseline? :oh:

Joey Darling
Aug 22nd, 2011, 10:46 AM
She needs to face one challenge at a time. What I see here is one, simple fact: Due to her inconsistent serve, she can't possibly serve and volley. I mean... Not to sound ignorant, but you can only break towards the net so many times, or attempt it, before you just get tired and say to hell with it. A lot of the confidence of being up at the net comes from the old serve and volley technique. Sit and ponder on that thought for a bit.

Once she gets her serve back to a normal level... IF she ever does, look to see her up at net more. Whether it be serve and volleying, or charging the net when she feels it's right... If she gets that serve in control then she will be the volleying machine some claim that she was when she won the AO.

A lot of if's in that, I know... This is just an iffy bit of a subject, though.

bandabou
Aug 22nd, 2011, 11:31 AM
Good point..I guess for Masha getting the serve back to working is more important right now than her net-game.

Reptilia
Aug 22nd, 2011, 11:48 AM
Every time I watch her play - with the exception of that Wimbledon final - I'm amazed and completely frustrated by her never taking advantage of the momentum she has in rallies. Soooo many points wasted because she refuses to approach! It's sooo annoying.

Let me add that I know that this has been said for years and I could understand that she didn't feel the need to improve this aspect of her game in the beginning when everything was going well and she was a little more consistent but you'd think a way of shortening points would be the first thing she would have added to her game when she became more erratic off the ground and lost the agility she had when she was younger. But you never hear her coach telling her to move forward during the changeovers. What's that about?

Even damn Jankovic is looking like a pro at the net.

ETA Every time I watch her PLAY... before the Pova fans come for me :scared:

One of the few time I agree with you. :lol:
She definitely needs to work on this part of her game, but we all know she is stubborn as anything. :rolleyes:

Beat
Aug 22nd, 2011, 11:50 AM
Everyone would be much better if they come to the net.

but a lot of the players don't have the groundstrokes to set up a perfect situation to approach the net. sharpie has, but she never takes advantage of it. she could and she should, even though she's not very good at the net. like the OP says, it's bewildering.

KBlade
Aug 22nd, 2011, 11:54 AM
Sharapova could be good at the net, but quite simply, her game just isn't based off touch, and although she's tall, she's not the athlete that Venus is, and I find it quite easy to imagine her getting jammed by her opponents at net.

If she could incorporate net skills into her game though, she would be very formidable. Whether she can or not is another story, especially at this point in her career. She's won so many matches just from out-hitting her opponents from the back of the court, even in her second career. Why change her game up now?

borrowedheaven
Aug 22nd, 2011, 12:02 PM
I've heard on the TV a while back that one of the commentators went to watch a practice session and that he saw her practising her net skills for hours, and that she just couldn't get it right. Somethings you just aren't good at, no matter how hard you try.

Bingain
Aug 22nd, 2011, 12:14 PM
^^^ Good point. Also, volley skills are just a part of the ability to play at the net. There are also touches, reflex, agility, anticipation, and feeling comfortable at the net. Look at what Jimmy Connors did to Andy Roddick (who eventually has a decent volley skill but always looks like a fool at the net).

timafi
Aug 22nd, 2011, 01:11 PM
^^^ Good point. Also, volley skills are just a part of the ability to play at the net. There are also touches, reflex, agility, anticipation, and feeling comfortable at the net. Look at what Jimmy Connors did to Andy Roddick (who eventually has a decent volley skill but always looks like a fool at the net).

Amelie who is 32 and has retired for 2 years now would whoop Roddick's ass at the net;his approach shots and volleys are so bad:help::tape:

Volcana
Aug 22nd, 2011, 01:24 PM
She's adequate AT the net. Gettting there is the problem. She's slow, so she can't really approach from the baseline, and if she takes a short ball and follows it to net, she's vulnerable to lobs. Both because of shoulder strain if she tries overheads, and having the footspeed to get back to the ball.

And she's still a terrific baseline player. Why leave a superior position for one that puts you at risk?

tennisbum79
Aug 22nd, 2011, 01:24 PM
It is easy NOT convincing these tall women that it is in their best interest to go to the net whenever possible.

It took the entire world, from BJK, Pam Shriver, Martina Nav, Chris Evert to Johnny Mac, MJF even Mary Carillo and Dick Enberg to finally convince Venus that she had more up sides going to the net than staying back.

Before she finally saw the merit, her only trips were limited to the high, athletic swinging volleys


So, maybe Maria will see the light some day.
But I can see why she is hesitant, she is not comfortable being up there, it is not her natural habitat, she seemed lost after hitting the first shot when waiting for the reply.
The sense of anticipation, reading the opponent intent is not yet there.

Svetlana)))
Aug 22nd, 2011, 01:28 PM
I don't think she should approach the net when the point is neutral because she's horrible and not natural at the net. However, I agree that when she's in charge of the point, she should approach and hit powerful swinging volleys ala 2005-2006

tennisbum79
Aug 22nd, 2011, 01:31 PM
And she's still a terrific baseline player. Why leave a superior position for one that puts you at risk?

Because it would shorten the rallies, which is a good thing for Maria.

When get yanked side to side, her forehand goes away, soon followed by her backhand, especially when the shots are deep in the corners.

It the end, it will enhance the baseline play, it will increase the number of shots in her strike zone, those with potential to not be in her strike zone will be dealt with at the net.

Siderophyre
Aug 22nd, 2011, 02:24 PM
This reminds me of an analysis I read years ago I think in World Tennis magazine. They were discussing a beat-down that Navs had just handed to Chris Evert - they looked at the percentage success at net for both players. Well of course Martina had a huge number of net approaches and a net winning percentage of about 80%. As it turns out Chrissie had a higher net winning percentage in that match - obviously because she only came in about five times and only when it was a clean put-away. Apparently fans argued that Chrissie should have come in more and would likely have won the match (and others) if she had, because her net stats were so good - sound familiar? Clearly a crock of shit.

Same for Sharapova. She might benefit from coming to the net a bit more on dead cert shots, but really she's got to go with her own strengths.

Monzanator
Aug 22nd, 2011, 02:49 PM
Sharapova is an aggressive baseliner; her volleying skills have deserted her over the years. Right now she needs to fix the serve, that's the main issue and far more important then net play & volleys :shrug:

@little levity
Aug 22nd, 2011, 02:50 PM
Everyone would be so much better if she would just go the damn net.

vozas
Aug 22nd, 2011, 03:03 PM
Amelie who is 32 and has retired for 2 years now would whoop Roddick's ass at the net;his approach shots and volleys are so bad:help::tape:

Right??

That fail slice he does before going to the net. I don't think I recall ever seeing him NOT being routinely passed by whoever he's playing. And he's been doing it for years.

tennisbum79
Aug 22nd, 2011, 05:25 PM
The best way to sell the net rush thing to the tall girls like Sharapova and Venus is to tell them

The exhausting, injury-causing East-West (vice-versa) base line running will be greatly reduced, leaving only balls in your best strike zone.
Not only will the North-South run(required by the net rush) will be a tiny fraction of East-West baseline run, but it puts any player at the net in a position of strength, even more so for you, because of your natural physical gift .
Long limbs to get there fast, long reach to cover the net.

The rest such as reflexes, court/net positioning, anticipation, volley technique comes with practice.

LightWarrior
Aug 22nd, 2011, 06:54 PM
This reminds me of an analysis I read years ago I think in World Tennis magazine. They were discussing a beat-down that Navs had just handed to Chris Evert - they looked at the percentage success at net for both players. Well of course Martina had a huge number of net approaches and a net winning percentage of about 80%. As it turns out Chrissie had a higher net winning percentage in that match - obviously because she only came in about five times and only when it was a clean put-away. Apparently fans argued that Chrissie should have come in more and would likely have won the match (and others) if she had, because her net stats were so good - sound familiar? Clearly a crock of shit.

Same for Sharapova. She might benefit from coming to the net a bit more on dead cert shots, but really she's got to go with her own strengths.

Evert was a much better natural volleyer than Sharapova, especially in the latter stages of her career. Plus in those days players didn't even play drive volleys. I don't see the comparison.
Back to the topic it has to do with Maria's shoulder I think. She doesn't even do overheads anymore. How can you come to the net even when your overhead is not even part of your game ? It's kind of sad. During the Cincy final there were so many times where she was dominating the points but against a good retriever like Jankovic because her drive volleys are not good enough, she's forced to step back and ends up losing the points. She could make it so much easier.

Volcana
Aug 22nd, 2011, 07:07 PM
Because it would shorten the rallies, which is a good thing for Maria.

When get yanked side to side, her forehand goes away, soon followed by her backhand, especially when the shots are deep in the corners.

It the end, it will enhance the baseline play, it will increase the number of shots in her strike zone, those with potential to not be in her strike zone will be dealt with at the net.We ARE talking about a top five (or so) player right? Her groundstrokes obviously are NOT 'going away' all that much.


NOTE: For those of you who think all she has to do is fix her serve, that isn't going to happen. Right now, she's doing right by accepting the DF's, and fighting past them.

tennisbum79
Aug 22nd, 2011, 07:40 PM
We ARE talking about a top five (or so) player right? Her groundstrokes obviously are NOT 'going away' all that much.
In time they do go way, yes.
That usually after she has been yanked East-West (West-East) in some many rallies in the match, that her long body with moving part start not cooperating, especially for shots hits from corners on the run.
A sure sign of this on the backhand is when she switched to left hand forehand because the 2 hand backhand is not in place.


NOTE: For those of you who think all she has to do is fix her serve, that isn't going to happen. Right now, she's doing right by accepting the DF's, and fighting past them.

I am not one of them.

But I am of the opinion that she wants to "live with this effectively" w/o too much damage, she had to improve her ground game, ala Dementieva.
One way of making that improvement if to go the net.

It no only adds a new weapon to her game, moreover, as a byproduct of this newly found net game, she will reduce the number baseline ground she has to hit.
The probability of having "good shot" ( in her strike zone) will also increase, decreasing errors counts on baseline and hopefully taking pressure of her serve.

That is my view from the keyboard anyway:lol:

wally1
Aug 22nd, 2011, 08:43 PM
Agree with the OP, but it isn't just Sharapova, you could say the same about probably the majority of WTA players. So many of them hit a great ground stroke which really stretches their opponent, but then allow the rally to return to neutral by staying camped on the baseline. Li Na is another prime example.

Siderophyre
Aug 22nd, 2011, 08:57 PM
Evert was a much better natural volleyer than Sharapova, especially in the latter stages of her career. Plus in those days players didn't even play drive volleys. I don't see the comparison.


The point is that Evert - as you say - was a better natural volleyer and still did not make it work for her as an ongoing tactic. It's not bloody likely that Sharapova - who has bugger all feel at the net - could suddenly become a viable net rusher.

tennisbum79
Aug 22nd, 2011, 08:58 PM
Agree with the OP, but it isn't just Sharapova, you could say the same about probably the majority of WTA players. So many of them hit a great ground stroke which really stretches their opponent, but then allow the rally to return to neutral by staying camped on the baseline. Li Na is another prime example.
You are right, Jankovic did alot of it yesterday as well.
But the point most posters are making its that, myself among them, for tall women like Maria and Venus, there is a very big up-side to it than they see.
If Maria can somehow be convinced of this, she would more incentive to go the net and more drive to succeed at it if it is turns out to be a slow start.


Having said that, on the scheme of things, among men or women, there is no one better at this than Gael Monfils, he literally helps out the opponent to get back in the rally so he can go back camping and scrambling on the baseline.
I have to say this, because usually when these matters are discussed, the conversation quickly veered off towards " if ATP is doing it, why can't the WTA?".

NeoZod19
Aug 22nd, 2011, 09:27 PM
Absolutely!!! They are 2 things that she should DO and Now!!! Go to the NET and more Drop Shots!!! It's effortless and a sure win for her guarantee!!!

smarties
Aug 22nd, 2011, 09:40 PM
Do you remember her win at the US Open against Henin :worship: She came to the net so often and played brillantly; Don't understand why she doesn't do it more often :confused:

VishaalMaria
Aug 22nd, 2011, 11:08 PM
She doesn't need to go to the net. But she has done in the past and can knock off volleys.

It's that damn serve of hers. If she wasn't dfing, she'd have more slams by now and she'd be beating players like voskoeboeva in two.

@little levity
Aug 22nd, 2011, 11:25 PM
I saw Maria play at Wimbledon this year and she impressed me no end. I think it was an incredible effort on her behalf that she made the final, considering she couldn't serve properly and watching her in Cincy, she still can't. If some of the other players showed 5-10% of the determination Maria shows, then they'd be far better players than they are now.

For me personally, the elite players like Maria don't play tactics, they play on pure instinct and at the present time, she isn't. So, if she starts trying to do something different, I think it could backfire, so that's why she sticks to what she knows best.

The Witch-king
Aug 23rd, 2011, 09:22 AM
She doesn't need to go to the net. But she has done in the past and can knock off volleys.

It's that damn serve of hers. If she wasn't dfing, she'd have more slams by now and she'd be beating players like voskoeboeva in two.

The serve is not isolated from the other parts of her game. Why do you think she double-faults more in matches where her opponents are as good or better than her off the ground?

And she desperately needs to go the net! I can't stress that any more.

thegreendestiny
Aug 23rd, 2011, 09:23 AM
This is why Venus has 7 and Maria only has 3. :o

timafi
Aug 23rd, 2011, 11:03 AM
Right??

That fail slice he does before going to the net. I don't think I recall ever seeing him NOT being routinely passed by whoever he's playing. And he's been doing it for years.

don't get me started with that short floating "slice" of Roddick.It makes me:banghead::banghead:;:sobbing::sobbing: and :happy::happy: in embarrassment watching Roddick and thinking of Amelie;especially how she schooled both Maria and Henin at the 2006 Wimbledon:bowdown::bowdown:

Fantasy Hero
Aug 23rd, 2011, 12:28 PM
i think it's much better if she stays down to the baseline as her movements (mostly netdash) are terrible which would mean she's arriving late at the net everytime she goes for it. Assuming that she can improve her netdash she lacks of any kind of "touch" so her volleys would be just awkward. :facepalm: