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Old Jun 24th, 2013, 06:58 PM   #796
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

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is there a video of her and nole talking?



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Old Jun 24th, 2013, 07:28 PM   #797
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

Yeah, Maria shut those Serena questions down really fast.

Loved her answers about Graf.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 10:43 AM   #798
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

Sharapova's Master Plan To Beat Serena

By TOM PERROTTA

When Maria Sharapova plays her second-round match at Wimbledon this week, people will marvel at her power, gawk at her good looks and perhaps crack a few jokes about her shrieks. But they'll ignore the real Sharapova entirely.

Of all the women on the tour today, none has done more to adapt to the sport's evolution, and her own physical gifts and liabilities, than Sharapova.

There was the unexpected growth spurt and the need to add muscle to her lean frame, which cost her some speed. And the shoulder surgery that forced her to retool her serve, which robbed her of an essential weapon for several years. As tennis shifted from the power era of Venus and Serena Williams and Lindsay Davenport, to the über-athlete era of Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, and finally to today's game, where spin and depth are increasingly blended with power, Sharapova has adjusted her approach to keep pace.

"Everyone thinks Maria is just a ball basher, but I don't care who you are, you don't have the career she's had by just hitting the ball and not thinking," said Michael Joyce, her former coach.

In the last few months, Sharapova has hired a video-analysis expert to help her solve the enduring riddle that is Serena Williams, who has beaten her 13 straight times since 2005, most recently in the French Open final. It's an investment in technology that few top tennis players have made, despite advances in the field.

"She still has a mission to beat Serena," said Thomas Högstedt, her current coach, after the French Open final. "She knows what she has to do, but she still has to believe a little bit more in it."

Sharapova's rivalry with Williams picked up intensity last week, after a Rolling Stone article quoted Williams talking critically about a top-five player and her boyfriend, a couple the article's writer guessed was Sharapova and Grigor Dimitrov. In a pre-Wimbledon news conference, Sharapova responded with comments on Williams's presumed relationship with her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou. Sharapova declined to speak further about the spat after her first-round victory Monday. "I've said everything that I wanted to say about the issue," she said.

Before the French Open, Craig O'Shannessy, a coach based in Austin, prepared video clips and a report on Williams for Sharapova's camp, at its request, he said. After the French Open final, he followed up with more clips and analysis. "The game evolves, opponents evolve and the game plan must evolve," O'Shannessy said.

O'Shannessy's videos show patterns that work—and fail—against Williams. He calls the open court "an illusion," because Williams excels at being aggressive while moving to the open court. The solution: Hit behind Williams as often as possible, forcing her to move in one direction, reset her feet, and then go back in the other direction.

Opponents look to attack Williams's forehand crosscourt, since that's where she makes most of her errors. Still, Sharapova too often takes risks down the line, O'Shannessy said, especially from defensive positions. And she hits too many backhands from the middle of the court, when she has time to sidestep and hit forehands.

This isn't the first time Sharapova has relied on video. At the 2006 U.S. Open, she went into the final against Justine Henin having lost their last four matches, including their semifinal at that year's Australian Open. Joyce's father, a former photography director for television shows such as "Little House on the Prairie" and "CHiPs," scoured Henin video to suggest tactics for Sharapova.

"Henin had extreme grips," Joyce said. "My dad said, 'If Maria can hit down the middle and make her switch grips as often as possible, she'll get more errors.'" Sharapova won, 6-4, 6-4.

While Williams poses a bigger challenge than Henin, Sharapova's toughest opponent has been her own body. When she beat Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final, the 17-year-old Sharapova wasn't as tall, and she was rail thin. "She was a little girl," Joyce said.

She was more aggressive than Williams, too, and had a stronger serve. Sharapova's second serve averaged 97 miles per hour in that match, compared to 86 mph for Williams. She slugged second serves and won 71% of those points, and she hit startling winners on the run. Sharapova is now taller, and heavier by necessity: It takes muscle to stay healthy and maintain power. She can't hit on the run quite as well.

"I don't think she's every going to defend as well as she did when she was 17 or 18, because her body won't allow it," Joyce said.

The same goes for her serve. Back then, Sharapova had a lower toss and a more violent motion with a deeper knee bend; she didn't hit up and out on the ball, as the best servers do. She just attacked it straight on, which put stress on her shoulder. Her current serve is modeled on the "shoulder over shoulder" technique that has spared many shoulders from injuries. But she doesn't hit it with as much abandon since she had surgery in 2008.

Since Sharapova began working with Högstedt, she has improved her footwork and fitness, and worked on taking control of points as soon as possible so there's less running to do.

"The women's game has improved extremely in the last two years—not many realize," Hogstedt said, citing the general pace and intensity of rallies. "The one who controls the first shot almost all the time wins the point."

Right now, that woman is Williams, but don't bet that Sharapova can't adapt. She has been doing it for years.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...902131438.html
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 12:53 PM   #799
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

That's an excellent article and very interesting take. I guess Martha is not sitting on her ass waiting to be beaten by Sarin isn't it. I do agree with the 'open court' illusion, Sarin moves too well to be consistently hurt by that.

Also I love how she talked about Graf, who is my absolute second favourite women tennis player.
It's a pity she didn't get to play her, I think we'd have a cracker of a rivalry much like Martha vs Juju Heng.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 05:12 PM   #800
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

Maria Sharapova & Grigor Dimitrov Hold Hands During Wimbledon First Rounds!

http://www.justjared.com/2013/06/25/...-first-rounds/
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 06:45 PM   #801
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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 it’s a fact that Maria’s growth spurt affected her game, limiting things she used to do, forcing her to adjust. She doesn’t move as well as she used to and there are certain shots she can’t perform like before. It’s 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, it’s clearly not close to the consistent weapon it once was. And I read laughable comments on GM recently that suggested Maria’s serve is better now than it ever was and she can’t use that as a reason for any losses or struggles. And it’s 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. I’ve also made the argument that Joyce brought up, in that it isn’t 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 hasn’t been easy for her, working with all of her limitations, but she’s 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 she’s 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 isn’t easy for her to do that all the time. And I think that’s why we’ve seen such lopsided losses in recent years to the more athletic players like Serena, Vika, and Li.

So I’ve gone back and re-examined several of Maria’s tough losses and come away thinking that maybe they weren’t as bad as I thought and I was too tough on her. She’s always doing the best she can with what she has to work with.
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Old Jun 26th, 2013, 12:00 PM   #802
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

^ Still, I believe Maria has grown and evolved into a different player. There's no way to know what would have been. It would be very interesting to see what happens if the Maria of old plays in a match against the Maria of today. I think present Maria would find a way to win. I believe in her much more.
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Old Jun 26th, 2013, 04:00 PM   #803
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

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^ Still, I believe Maria has grown and evolved into a different player. There's no way to know what would have been. It would be very interesting to see what happens if the Maria of old plays in a match against the Maria of today. I think present Maria would find a way to win. I believe in her much more.
On grass, 17-19 year-old Maria would absolutely demolish today's Maria. In fact, clay is probably the only surface I'd give current Maria an advantage over teenage Maria.

I don't have the belief you do. I'm still in the camp that thinks pre-surgery Maria was better than post-surgery. She had more variety and shot-making ability. She didn't have the strength or endurance of today's Maria, but she was much more fearless.
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Old Jun 26th, 2013, 07:05 PM   #804
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

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I don't have the belief you do. I'm still in the camp that thinks pre-surgery Maria was better than post-surgery. She had more variety and shot-making ability. She didn't have the strength or endurance of today's Maria, but she was much more fearless.
I second that 2000%
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 11:43 AM   #805
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Maria Sharapova speaks to the media following her second round defeat to Michelle Larcher de Brito.


Q. We're very unused to see you losing to unseeded opponents. Did you put that down to the quality of her play, the court? What was the issue today?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think it was a combination of everything. I give her a lot of credit. I think she played extremely well today. She was really solid from the baseline. I don't feel like I was aggressive enough, that I hit the ball deep enough. I wasn't ready after the returns or the serves. She's someone that plays extremely aggressive. I just wasn't there.

Q. You seemed to be unhappy with the state of the court. You slipped a couple of times. Were you unhappy with the surface today?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't think I've ever fallen three times in a match before in my career, so that was a little strange.
But that's certainly not an excuse. I think today I've seen a lot of players fall and take a few hits and a few injuries. So I think that's just part of the game, part of what we have to deal with.

Q. How would you describe the court conditions and what you experienced today?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It was a bit slippery on the outside.

Q. Most of your press conferences so far this week, people have been asking you more about Sugarpova, Serena, boyfriends. Has that been a distraction for you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I've handled a lot of things off the court in my career. I'm a four time Grand Slam champion. I've been No. 1 in the world. I don't know if you can call those things a distraction.

Q. Are the courts different in any way this year that you've noticed?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just noticed a few more players falling a bit more than usual. And understandably the first couple of days, they're always a bit like that, but I don't think I've seen as much as I have maybe in the last few years.

Q. The lip readers who looked at the television pictures think that you said to the chair that, This court is dangerous. Is that what you said to her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, after I buckled my knee three times, that's obviously my first reaction. And because I've just never fallen that many times in a match before.
Those are the conditions that are there for my opponent, as well. Just took a lot more falls than she did today.

Q. You played a solid first round. How big of a blow is it to get out of the tournament that you like this much?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's frustrating. You certainly don't want to lose matches, I mean, whether it's early or late. As I've said, this tournament is extremely special, and it's definitely tough to lose.
But I'm going to keep my head high about it because there's no other way, and try to find the positives out of what I have today and my career, set new goals, and just keep moving forward.

Q. Did you hurt yourself? Are you injured? Are you okay?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I haven't really checked my hip yet. I haven't had time. But I think I strained a little bit the muscle.

Q. When you said you weren't there today, you don't know why?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, sometimes, you know, you go on the court, like I said, it's a combination of I thought my opponent played really great tennis. She was solid. She didn't make many mistakes. Sometimes on a bad day, you know, your opponent can make a few mistakes.
But all the credit to her. She played extremely well from start to finish, and I just wasn't doing the right things.

Q. After you slipped once or twice, is it now in your mind every time you try to stop that your feet could leave you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'd probably be lying if I said that you don't think about it, because obviously when you do, you know, fall twice or three times, I mean, yeah, you do think about it. Maybe if I fell all the time on the court, that's just part of the way I play, but I rarely see myself on the ground, so a little bit.

Q. How much does that uncertainty about your footwork or the surface seep into your entire game? There were returns you were missing. Did it generally leave you completely rattled?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, that's not an excuse. I'm not making an excuse about the court. That's not why I made errors or I didn't make returns.
As I said, the situation on the court was exactly the same as it was for my opponent. I just didn't deal with it as well as she did.
I can't make excuses for my errors. Those are in my own hands.

Q. Do you think Wimbledon needs to check the courts just to make sure they're safe?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I'm not sure. I'm not a groundsman. I've never really worked on grass courts before. Especially those courts, even Centre Court, Court 1, 2, 3, maybe having the opportunity to practice on them a few days before, because no one can practice on them. The first few days, you just know that they're going to just be really different. Other than that, I have no clue how to change that.
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 09:40 PM   #806
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

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On grass, 17-19 year-old Maria would absolutely demolish today's Maria. In fact, clay is probably the only surface I'd give current Maria an advantage over teenage Maria.

I don't have the belief you do. I'm still in the camp that thinks pre-surgery Maria was better than post-surgery. She had more variety and shot-making ability. She didn't have the strength or endurance of today's Maria, but she was much more fearless.
Yup, yup and yup.
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 10:07 PM   #807
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the Maria who won NY at 19 yo was just
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 10:10 PM   #808
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the Maria who won NY at 19 yo was just
My favourite Maria ever
I agree too that the old Maria was better for faster courts, and it kills me realizing it.
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Old Jun 29th, 2013, 05:15 AM   #809
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

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On grass, 17-19 year-old Maria would absolutely demolish today's Maria. In fact, clay is probably the only surface I'd give current Maria an advantage over teenage Maria.

I don't have the belief you do. I'm still in the camp that thinks pre-surgery Maria was better than post-surgery. She had more variety and shot-making ability. She didn't have the strength or endurance of today's Maria, but she was much more fearless.
And that's the key isn't it? Martha 04-06 was always about confidence, with confidence she can pull off anything, drive volleys, conventional volleys, dropshots... USO06 encapsulates Martha at her attacking best.
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Old Jun 30th, 2013, 02:40 AM   #810
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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 it’s a fact that Maria’s growth spurt affected her game, limiting things she used to do, forcing her to adjust. She doesn’t move as well as she used to and there are certain shots she can’t perform like before. It’s 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, it’s clearly not close to the consistent weapon it once was. And I read laughable comments on GM recently that suggested Maria’s serve is better now than it ever was and she can’t use that as a reason for any losses or struggles. And it’s 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. I’ve also made the argument that Joyce brought up, in that it isn’t 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 hasn’t been easy for her, working with all of her limitations, but she’s 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 she’s 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 isn’t easy for her to do that all the time. And I think that’s why we’ve seen such lopsided losses in recent years to the more athletic players like Serena, Vika, and Li.

So I’ve gone back and re-examined several of Maria’s tough losses and come away thinking that maybe they weren’t as bad as I thought and I was too tough on her. She’s 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.
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