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Old Feb 5th, 2012, 09:27 PM   #2
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Re: Maria's Coach

Excuse any typos cause I'm typing this from my ihpobe yewwwwww.

Anyway, Michael Joyce obviously coached Maria to become a powerful aggressive baseliner and to dictate matches with first strike tennis. Maria no longer had the serve post-shoulder surgery to do so though and suffere horrible losses before she changed coaches. I'm sure, despite her demeanor, that her confidence was shattered as a result. The game she played under Michael Joyce's guidance ultimately brought her te success and glamour of her early career, but now that it was ineffective, there was nothing left for him to do.

Sure her biggest weapon, her ground strokes would've found their mark eventually, and given her a little bit of success but she would have never been this successful without Thomas Hogstedt.

Thomas Hogatedt is a very good coach and mentor to Maria. At first I was a bit skeptical of his motives and usefulness, but thankfully he managed to get Maria's career back on track after such am arduous journey.

If it weren't for Hogstedt, Maria would not have one of her biggest weapon since her post-shoulder surgery: her return of serves. She has never been this good at consistently crushing both first and second serves which is the biggest aspect for her recent deep runs in the biggest tournament again. Maria's game was never reliant on the ROS but Thomas Hogstedt did something Michael Joyce was unable to do, that is compensate for Maria's lack of serve.

Of course the serve is very important but it was also the aspect of Maria's game that she was struggling the most with. Constantly hanging motions isn't goig to help her. I'm sure her confidence was continually shot down when none of the service motions were working. I feel that Hogatedt was very smart in changing the focus to something she always had - I mean let's face it, the return of serve is basically a "glorified groundstroke" that just deals with more pace than a rallying ground stroke right? Ultimately it became the staple in both her newfound confidence and improved game and hence spectacular results she has now.

The second aspect of Maria's game that Hogstedt seemingly improved, although less apparent, is Maria's defense. This FURTHER reduces the reliance on the serve and as a result making it less of a liability. She's shown great tennis while on the defense the past couple of years and I think her scrambling and foot work (ie balance) is actually one of the reasons why she can keep up without resorting to the type of first strike tennis she was capable of producing when she had a serve. Minus the occasional errorpova (who has been turning up less as less) she can actually rally for an extended time and play with controlled aggression which has also been a key to her rise to the top again.

I think that despite Hogstedt's influence on Maroas game has yet net her a slam, she could no longer play the way she did while under Joyce's influence. And I think without this change, she would forever be stuck in the middle to lower top 20 like Ana is.

I hope this post is coherent lol too hard to read back on what I've typed on the iPhone.
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