Originally Posted by Asherahpova
I agree with both dsanders and TheDawnTreader in a way.
I do think it was necessary for Maria to add more spin on to her shots after the 2010 horror days because she just didn't have the serve or the consistency to play that offensively. However, it is definitely hurting her in her matchup with Vika and Serena on hard. I mean every time she just hits a FH off a big shot of Serena's I'm semi-cringing waiting to see how high the ball will bounce, knowing it's gonna land right in the strike zone.
And what Pavstry said is also completely correct, it just makes it worse that she hits it deep and central. Maybe the added spin wouldn't be as much of an issue if she actually used the lines but she doesn't, no angles, no width. Everything goes central.
I do think it might be time for Thomas to try and flatten out the strokes again, she has the serve to set them up these days, plus I feel like she's so stranded mentally a lot of the time, her instinct is to attack but Thomas has given her a slightly more conservative game so she get's confused between instincts and practice. Never moving forward, letting a lot of balls bounce first instead of drive volley, completely backtracking from the net and stranding herself mid court. We've all seen her do this in every match.
I do think her current game style needs to stay for the clay, there are very few people who will be able to beat her if she plays well on it. But I don't get why they don't seem to realise, different surface different tactics. I do know Thomas has said to her numerous times 'where are the angles we practiced?' so maybe it's just down to Maria not doing as instructed but I don't believe that would happen in every single match she plays.
While serve, movement, FH, have all seemed to improve this season for the most part. I think there's been a stagnation tactics wise. Maria just simply does not have the movement to defend spin loaded shots on a hard court like Nadal does. I really hope he does get her to flatten out her shots again, I mean she was doing it last OG very well so she can do it, it would would wonders for the nonexistent BH DTL. Before it comes to that though, I want to see what effect actually implementing the angles and using width can do for her vs. Serena and Vika.
It's tough I don't want the BBB 2010 inconsistency off the ground but she's always gonna come off a very distant second to Rena away from clay these days. This Maria can still beat Vika on her good days but as we've seen in those matches too, she wins the points where she steps in and flattens it out.
I posted this in the Doha thread but it's relevant to this discussion definitely. The problem is really with Maria's game, I don't think there is as much of a mental block as people believe here. In a lot of their matches I've seen Maria frustrated and fighting, demanding to beat her but not able to. I think she's pressed when it comes to Serena although she'll hardly show it but definitely not scared.
The main problem is just that she isn't going for any lines off the clay courts these days, and with players vs Serena and Vika who are more consistent and better athletes she needs to be so she can get them out of position.
I think her current game can work if she uses width, angles and goes for the lines but not these central shots or even when going for a winner leaving too high of a margin for error.
I think she should change hitting partners too. I've never heard anything overly impressive about Maria in practice, that she misses more than the other players etc. and now there are people here who have seen Vladmir in action and think he is unimpressive too. It makes sense considering she routinely misses 'routine' shots. She should be drilled to the point where they aren't misses.
It's no disrespect to him though, I value all that he has done for Maria and would be sad to see him go. But at the end of the day preventing Maria from stagnating game wise is more important than keeping someone on the payroll, no matter if they are a great guy or not.