Re: Evolution of Maria's Game - 2004-2013
I think dsanders is right about the serve tbh, it's as good as it can likely get with the current motion, although IMO it could be a lot better with a new one. Yeah there's a noticeable difference in variety, but she has at leat used variety in important matches, mixed it up well in most stage of the RG final and the serve out wide in the AD side was (amazingly) the only thing that worked in her AO SF (I think she hit like 5 aces out wide iirc). It's also supposed to be the hardest on the shoulder so that could be a reason why.
And tbh, even with her predictable serve, it get's her by 99% of the time. It's actually something that proves to me how overrated the Vika ROS is, if it was as GOAT as it was made out to be why does she never do more on ROS?
I also think the main problem is she never backs it up correctly, doesn't follow it in when she can or never goes for the lines after it.
BH DTL and not coming in are the major problems, along with this constantly central BS. Oh and hitting straight back to the opponent each and every time...and even her inside-out FH CC seems less potent, she really does need to go for the lines when it's there. Yes, construct the points but 90% of the winners she hits could have been hit 3 strokes earlier these days.
A lot of what she needs to do is just the very basics, hit to the open space, follow good shots in and BEND THE KNEES (this is something that really affects her BH DTL and her grass game). These are blatantly obvious flaws and ones I'm confident Connors can correct.
If he decides to change anything technically I think it should be OK too, generally speaking old school technique was more sound and I don't think he'll shy away from bringing in technique specialists. The main difference between the WTA and the ATP IMO is that nearly every WTA player has major technical hitches in all but one of their shots, so he could really be of a lot of value there.
It could well be 2014 before we see the benefits, if any, of this partnership but I think we'll at least see a bolder/more aggressive Maria in Cinci/USO.
Oh and lastly, she's still tough as nails but I'm hoping given his character he can get her cockiness back. I'm sure it'll irritate me at stages but arrogant/kuntpova needs to return asap, I can count the times I've heard "That's the way" since she came back.