Originally Posted by Mexicola
That article confirmed things that a lot of us have been saying about Maria for years, but were dismissed by haters as just tired excuses. But itís a fact that Mariaís growth spurt affected her game, limiting things she used to do, forcing her to adjust. She doesnít move as well as she used to and there are certain shots she canít perform like before. Itís a fact that her shoulder problems wrecked her old serve and required her to reconstruct it in a way that at least helped her remain competitive. However, itís clearly not close to the consistent weapon it once was. And I read laughable comments on GM recently that suggested Mariaís serve is better now than it ever was and she canít use that as a reason for any losses or struggles. And itís also a fact that her physical build of being tall, skinny, slower, and having lesser athleticism led her to having to do things differently to compensate for her shortcomings.
And for her to be saddled with these things and still achieve what she has and to remain a viable top 5 threat for all these years is a testament to her as a person and player. Her work ethic and perseverance have been amazing. Iíve also made the argument that Joyce brought up, in that it isnít easy to play the style Maria plays and be successful and consistent. She has never been a brainless ball basher. It takes tremendous skill to pull off her high risk game and win as much as she has.
I do miss Maria being able to hit running winners more often. I watch many of her old matches and also marvel and get excited over her ability to create those angles and hit winners on the move and to defend better and turn defense into offense. She had deceptive speed in those early years. A lot of her opponents underestimated that aspect of her game. But I like that Maria continues to work hard today at trying to create new strengths and finding what works best for her body type. It hasnít been easy for her, working with all of her limitations, but sheís maximized just about everything she could out of her God-given abilities.
There were times when I used to believe Maria was an underachiever as a tennis player, probably because I bought into that early success and hype and thought she should have won more. As I said, Maria is talented and skillful, but looking at the big picture and understanding the type of player Maria is physically, I now believe sheís probably one of the great overachievers in tennis history. There are always going to be disadvantages she has to overcome when she faces the very best players and it isnít easy for her to do that all the time. And I think thatís why weíve seen such lopsided losses in recent years to the more athletic players like Serena, Vika, and Li.
So Iíve gone back and re-examined several of Mariaís tough losses and come away thinking that maybe they werenít as bad as I thought and I was too tough on her. Sheís always doing the best she can with what she has to work with.
Couldn't have agreed more on this post - great observation of a player over her growth
I've been watching Maria since 2005 and I can tell the change of her game has been tremendous. 04-05 was about speed and extreme angled winners on the run/ on defence. 06-08 was about taking control of the points and be an ultra aggressor on court and it defined her game style. 09-10 years of struggle after the surgery and she was trying so hard to be able to compete again at top level; she sacrificed her serve with loads of double faults and work on the returns A LOT than she would have preferred and it finally gained her the place at top 20 just to stay competitive 11-13 thank god Thomas was on board and she became a great consistent elite player again with more stable performance on all surfaces although the final record is woeful.
NEVER ever had she been a brainless ball basher. She thinks clearly on court and knows what she should/shouldn't do. Yes she might lose some but it is how her game should be played and she is not going to change that. Serena can't play a plan B to win either. In fact no one can because players might be forced to alter a bit if the game doesn't win however it's not the way they like to win a match. You lose because the other end plays the game better on the day.