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Old Sep 11th, 2012, 10:14 PM   #1
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°Improvement°

I really wonder what you think of the term "Improvement".

Is there a steady improvement of quality of tennis in one player's career?

What players are examples of improvement over and over?

Which players had their peaks long ago and will never reach it?


We always say here things like:
"She has to fix her serve and then she will be Top 5."
"If her movement is better, she will improve a lot"

But it is still very hard to improve a single part of the game.

Examples:
Wozniackis forehand.
Dementievas serve.
Pattys topspin backhand.
Ivanovics ball toss backhand.
Pavlyuchenkovas fitness.
Lisickis risk-management.
Bacsinszkys forehand.
Stosurs backhand.
Na Lis mental aspects.


And now: Azarenkas serve.
Can she really improve it?
IMO Azarenka served better in years before than in USO 2012.
She always had brillant 1st serve percentages. Her serve was never really impressive, but she was able to serve with 75% 1st serve.
This summer she was not able to serve with 70+% 1st serve but she did not improve her serve really.
I don't see a steady improvement. Do you?

Best examples for good improvement in the last time:

Serena Williams serve is even better than it was before.
She clearly improved it from a very high to a super high level.

Sara Errani plays better this year. Probably because of the new racquet, her topspin has more pace and her defense is even better than before.

Angelique Kerber did a fantastic job in improving so many parts of her game and her fitness. That was impressive.

Andrea Petkovic did not play natural slice balls, but she tried to mix her game a bit and made improvements in terms of variety.

Agnieszka Radwanskas first serve is better than before. We don't count the tournaments of the last weeks, but before she was serving better since September 2011 than before. She clearly improved her first serve.

Laura Robson did play her best tennis at USO 2012. She fixed her serve and was able to compete on a great level. That was clearly better (in many aspects) than her tournaments before. Probably because of the new coach.

Some parts of the players game remain at the same level for a long time, some parts get better or worse.

But do you think a steady improvement is a logical thing (so, a player gets better and better or is there a peak at some point and afterwards there is a decrease of level of play)?

We always say for young players that they have to improve and than they will be Top xx. It is clear to me that improve the mental aspects with more matches on Tour but to improve a single shot or footwork or variety is very difficult. Especially during the season.
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Old Sep 12th, 2012, 02:13 AM   #2
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Re: °Improvement°

Great thread.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 08:51 PM   #3
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Re: °Improvement°

Robson clearly improved also because of her new trainer Krajan.

The trainer can affect the game of a player a lot,
even Serena improved some aspects since she works with Mouratoglou.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 09:14 PM   #4
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Re: °Improvement°

Henin improved her fitness and forehand, then she dominated in 07.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 09:15 PM   #5
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Re: °Improvement°

Quote:
Originally Posted by rnwerner View Post
Robson clearly improved also because of her new trainer Krajan.

The trainer can affect the game of a player a lot,
even Serena improved some aspects since she works with Mouratoglou.

She's also been working with andy murrays fitness coach jez green too
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 09:28 PM   #6
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Re: °Improvement°

Quote:
Originally Posted by rnwerner View Post
Robson clearly improved also because of her new trainer Krajan.
Unlikely that Robson's recent success is down to Krajan. They haven't been together long enough yet. It probably won't be until the off season before Krajan will be able to make real improvements in Laura's game. She's been injury free recently which inevitably yields better results and greater confidence. She also appears to have stopped growning, often a point at which teenagers improve their game as they become used to the dimensions of their own body.

Where technical flaws are concerned, the player has to want to make the change and be 100% committed to it. Wozniacki's forehand is a case in point. For her to improve her forehand she would have to alter her grip, her footwork and stop the over-rotation of her body. There is only one way she could achieve that. Hire a full time coach and clear her diary for the off season so that they can work on it. Cancel any exhibitions, photo shoots, talk shows, Christmas and work all day every day to make those fundemental changes because 9 weeks isn't very long to change the way you've been doing something for 15 years.

Last edited by bobito : Sep 24th, 2012 at 06:49 AM. Reason: speling and !punctuation"
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 09:30 PM   #7
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Re: °Improvement°

Sharapova improved her movement especially to her backhand side, that's why she won the French.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 09:31 PM   #8
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Re: °Improvement°

Marion's serve. At least it looks more natural now
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 10:45 PM   #9
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Re: °Improvement°

IMO the most blatant improvement Iprobably have ever seen on tour is Azarenka this year. She went form being mentally crazy on court to becoming composed and collected in just one off-season and her results have been stellar.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 11:00 PM   #10
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Re: °Improvement°

Wozniacki's serve is improved.

Pova's movement and serve have also improved since the shoulder injury.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 11:09 PM   #11
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Re: °Improvement°

Quote:
Sara Errani plays better this year. Probably because of the new racquet, her topspin has more pace and her defense is even better than before.
I thought she changed her racquet the week before the US Open and had to get out of a contract?
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 11:19 PM   #12
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Re: °Improvement°

As a rule, most players won't improve much, if at all, past their first couple of seasons as pro players in purely technical terms. The exception is ROS, which (with the exception of the players for whom it will always be a massive liability) is usually one of the main weaknesses of young players but steadily improves with experience and match play.

Scrubs sometimes improve their results significantly if they can find the proper motivation to work harder (through a good coach, through ditching offcourt distractions etc. and/or improving their fitness) so that they become the frontrunners to take advantage of holes in draws etc. But that rarely, if ever, is related to any technical changes/improvements on their actual games.
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 04:06 AM   #13
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Re: °Improvement°

How much can Pavly improve, rnwerner?
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Old Sep 24th, 2012, 10:45 AM   #14
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Re: °Improvement°

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobito View Post
Unlikely that Robson's recent success is down to Krajan. They haven't been together long enough yet. It probably won't be until the off season before Krajan will be able to make real improvements in Laura's game.
On the contrary. He gave her the confidence which was missing before. And made her believing she can beat anyone.
The main task of the coach is to improve the mental strength of the player.
That's exactly what did Krajan for Robson and Hogstedt for Sharapova. And that's the main reason for their success.
Many commentators talk about technical improvements of certain shots, but rarely about the psychological impact of the coaches. Big mistake.
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 05:10 PM   #15
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Re: °Improvement°

Pavlyuchenkova can improve a lot of aspects.

She is the type of player who has some sensational aspects (groundstrokes) and some weak parts (mental strength, fitness, 2nd serve).

There were times in 2010 or 2011 where she played very well (even the serve was there), but she was not able to finish close sets or matches. She was always nervous in the end of sets matches.

Now her serve is away (20 DF against Scheepers in Tokyo) and her movement is not at her peak as well.

The main issue and question is:
Why was Pavlyuchenkova not able to improve steadily from 2009 to 2012. It seems like she was clearly better (in several aspects) in 2010 and 2011 than this year.
It's not a stagnation, but a decrease of level of play. And that is strange.

Her talent is IMO huge and the question now is if she has to improve her serve by playing matches and matches or by a training session of several weeks to focus on things like 2nd serve.
Does she has to do this in the off-season, between tournaments or while tournaments?

But this is a positive analyse.
There is also the possibility to say that her serve is just not better and that she always will have problems on 2nd serve. Probably more easy to improve is the fitness because there hard work seems to guarantee some improvements.
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