Originally Posted by Mexicola
I agree. I don't think a new coach would change her at all. At this point, it's all about Maria. Whether it's stubborness or a lack of confidence, she just refuses to implement anything new to her game. I believe Thomas is a good coach who is a student of the game and understands what it takes to win and what would make Maria a better player. But he can only do so much. It's ultimately up to Maria to apply what's taught in practice. But other than a little better movement and fitness, and maybe a slightly more reliable serve, Maria's game hasn't changed physically or tactically at all under Thomas.
Whether it's Thomas or any new coach, do you think Maria would be receptive to "Hey, we're really going to work on volleying and net play." "Let's develop a reliable slice backhand." "Time to add a kick serve." "We're going to improve your drop shot ability." Drill after drill after drill for her weak areas. It sure doesn't appear that she's interested in that.
I think Maria is one of the easiest players to prepare for on tour because you know exactly what you're going to get from her. It's clear the top players love playing her and always seem to go GOAT and perform with confidence because they only have to prepare for her pace. Maria doesn't do anything to keep opponents off-balance or surprise them. Sure, that style is enough to overpower the lesser-tiered players and get Maria into late rounds, but the dissapointing results against the Vikas, Serenas, Lis, and Agis of the world speak to her limitations. The best players aren't going to be beaten by power alone.
Maria is only hurting herself with her Plan A only approach. I'd love it if one day Maria just went nuts on the court in a match she was struggling in and started drop-shotting, lobbing, slicing, and randomly serve and volleying all over the place. Even if the chances are it wouldn't work well, I bet it would unnerve her opponent and maybe turn the momentum of a match. I just want to see Maria unafraid to mix it up from time to time. It would be so beneficial to her in the long run.
you are right, in fact I wasnt talking about kick serves or slice backhand but about the use of easier shots like topspin shots. At some points in the past she started to use them to get back in position in long rallies (RG 2007?) but since she became a better athlete she stopped to use this kind of shot again. Damn today before the injury Naną was already out of focus simply because Vika started to hit topspin balls with high trajectory... this is what Maria is unable to do, and actually is the only kind of shot that Serena is unwilling to play
So for instance this is a kind of shot she can hit, she simply stopped using it. Na Li under Thomas' coaching became a better athlete too but was Rodriguez the one who changed partially her game imho. I think that training Maria is hell tough but still she isnt improving anymore while she can do a lot more imho