2010 had some very tough losses/chokes against Henin, the servebot and Clijsters. She should've won those three matches (well, at least taken 1st set off the servebot in Wimbledon) and she knows it; those losses took a huge mental toll on Maria towards the end of the year. She unfortunately ran into Peak Wozniacki at the USO but if it weren't for her record-low confidence levels she would've easily gotten through an inspired Woz. No comments on the Asian swing and the beginning of 2011.
I still love Maria and do believe she has a couple of slams in her but her game was completely retooled. It is indeed a joy to watch on grass but she parted ways with Joyce because she just can't be as aggressive as she used to be pre-surgery; it puts too much strain on her shoulder, no matter how much it has recovered.
Nevertheless, I think she's slowly and steadily drifting more and more towards her all-out aggressive mode, particularly on the forehand. It was indeed the shot which won her RG this year, but it breaks down too much on the other surfaces (even though it looked better than ever at AO until that final
So yeah, in a way, it's a tie between 2011 and 2009 for worst years. Sorry for including 2011, but Maria was atrocious in Australia, IW, Miami, Wimbledon, Toronto, and ESPECIALLY at the USO. She was mediocre in RG and the only highlight of that year was Rome. This year has been wonderful, and she really should've bagged both the AO and Miami, but that's a whole different discussion.