Originally Posted by Griffin.
Yeah I loved the changes I saw in her forehand. For me the biggest issue with it post-surgery is that she doesn't get enough width on it, because where she would usually reverse the follow-through she was now hitting through it across her body (probs to alleviate stress on the shoulder, kind of like her overhead phobia) and the shot suffered because of it. But I feel like towards the end of the season she was getting a lot more width on the cross-court and was able to get her arm through the shot better on down the lines so it's a much crisper shot. She's absorbing pace a lot better on that side lately too. I'm sure it's just her becoming for comfortable with it.
The backhand looked slightly different too. Like more of an open racket face after the take-back, but it's still a beautiful shot like always.
What I really like about Hogstedt is that I feel he truly has a long-term approach to Maria's tennis. There have been steady improvements made basically since they started working together (when you take away a couple of injuries she's had). That's what makes me so excited for 2013, because there's nothing to say that these improvements won't continue.
Agreed 100%. Her forehand from the US Open onwards this year was the best it's been since the surgery imo (best of all were sets 2 and 3 against Bartoli at the US Open, where she just suddenly started ripping FH winners at will right from the back of the court). I feel like she's finally found the happy medium where she's putting some topspin on it to keep it secure, but still hitting through it smoothly enough and transferring her weight enough for it to really get through the court. Until then, usually since the surgery, she'd been trying to either hit it uber-flat a la 2004-08Pova which was just too inconsistent for her post-surgery (2010), or going to the other extreme and just brushing up the back of the ball on the FH side and leaving it to sit up really short a lot of the time (2012, the nadir being the crap she was producing off that wing at Wimbledon this year
I actually kind of hope Maria and Hogstedt are spending LESS time on her serve than I'm presuming they did the last couple of offseasons, and instead are really working on her forehand and return, because those are the things that stopped her having even more success than she did in 2012. But I agree with you, I can't help but feel that if she just makes a few improvements, she could be on course for something REALLY special in 2013. But that might just be the delusional fanboy in me talking