Hi fellow Kim fans!
As quite a few of us have now had the chance to watch Kim again, I thought this was a good time to post this kind of thread. Where do you think Kim's level is at since her comeback and what aspects of her game do you think she needs to work on most?
Personally, I think her level is already comparable to that of 2006-2007
, maybe a bit lower. Obviously she's still quite far off from her best (2003-2005).
I've seen various reports of her game from people who've watched her matches (I only saw her match against Kuznetsova last week). The following aspects of her game were considered to be in need of improvement
by these posters:
percentage and speed. Percentage wise, her serve already looks a lot better in Toronto than in Cincinatti. However, some people have said it lacks speed at times. This is completely the opposite of reports from the end of May/beginning of June. Her former coach Carl Maes told on Belgian TV that he was actually most impressed by her serve during the grass court exhibitons. Maybe Kim shifted her focus to training other strokes after being quite statisfied with the serve at that time?
While her forehand looks in better condition than when she retired, her backhand still needs a bit of work. Especially high bounces and taking the ball early are areas that can be improved.
I think right now this is one of the biggest issues. Kim seems to have regained close to her old fitness and foot speed. But her foot work (those little extra steps and freshness) still looks somewhat lazy at times, causing her to arrive late at times or in bad postinioning before hitting the ball. She also doesn't seem to push off from her left side to the center of the court as efficiently as before yet. All these details contribute to her not being able to hit rabbit-like-running-mode, which allowed her to use her defensive skills to their maximum potential. That part of her game was not only a steady source of winning points, but even moreso an important mental weapon to demoralize opponents who had to hit not 1, not 2, but 3 extra balls each point. So that still needs some work. We should note too, however, that today's match against Azarenka was her 7th in 10 days already (including the doubles match with Wickmayer) so we should cut Kim some slack for being a bit tired and getting used to this high frequency of matches again, which can certainly have its consequences in terms of freshness, court speed and movement.
her game level still seems to fluctuate up and down trough matches, causing her to have difficulties following up patches of good games and taking leads. This should be all right with some more match rhythm though!
5. Mental strength:
as mentioned in the previous point, a consistent pattern in almost all of her comeback matches up to now (5) has been the loss of a lead, sometimes quite comfortable. (4-1 against Bartoli, points for 5-3 in the 2nd versus Kuznetsova, 4-2 versus Safina, 3-1 versus Baltacha, 4-1 versus Azarenka 2nd set). Part of this is due to lack of consistency, but another part of it is getting used to dealing with playing the big points again. Extra focus on BP, gamepoints etc. Realising that she's still better than most of today's girls and that she should be closing out her leads! Hopefully this will come with time too.
I would like to add, that, so far, I'm very proud of Kim and the level she's reached. I think she already is worthy of a place in the top-10. However, as a fan, I'd like to see her progress to a level as close as possible to the old Kim Kong level
Hence the extreme detailed critique (which pales in comparison to my proudness).
What do you guys think?
Feel free to add more to this list, or to contradict what I said if you feel I was wrong! Hoping for a nice discussion to get some insight about Kim's new game. Greets,