A 2014 WTA shot guide: Part 4 (Move your feet, keep your head) - UBITENNIS
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A 2014 WTA shot guide: Part 4 (Move your feet, keep your head)

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TENNIS WTA SHOT GUIDE – It is offseason time, so Ubitennis is having a look at the past year and rating the WTA players for their abilities in each of the fundamentals of tennis.

 

Season is officially over now. Fed Cup has been won, the Finals have given their verdict and the ranking has finally been decided.

Yes, 2014 is over for tennis fans, but in a little more than a month, the next season will start and, as usual, every player will be immediately tested for all the hard work they will have put in these weeks away from international competitions.

But before this will happen, we thought it would be interesting to redact a guide to the best ground strokes and fundamentals that shone during the past season, as to set a standard for the next one and check who will improve or decline in each section.

  • Footwork

In a game where you run a lot and most of the power of shots is given through legs, the footwork is key to being in a good position for hitting at the best of your chances. Natural talent and hard work can make it seem a rare gift, but it is an aspect which is often overlooked.

1) Simona Halep: the short girl from Constanta gives somewhat of a reminiscence of Justine Henin in the way she moves around the court. It is hard to catch her on the wrong foot, she is light and fast, as much as you start wondering if her feet do touch the ground.

Camila Giorgi Eastboburne 17 June 2014 by Giulio Gasparin

Camila Giorgi Eastboburne 17 June 2014 by Giulio Gasparin

2) Camila Giorgi: the Italian’s foot-speed is different from the Romanian’s, it is not as delicate, but it is as effective. It appears to be more of a full-legs movement but she is just as fast. Do not get distracted by her massive power the next time you watch her playing and you will see an incredibly nervous but powerful dance.

3) Agnieszka Radwanska: the Pole’s best quality is the ability to read the opponents’ intentions and so anticipate their shorts, but she could not do much if her feet were not as light and fast as they are.

4) Alizé Cornet: the French best ranked player is one of the best movers on tour. Her complicated and mixed game is depending on her speed on court, but her ability to move as well on grass show how good her footwork is.

Caroline Wozniacki, Eastbourne 2014 by Giulio Gasparin

Caroline Wozniacki, Eastbourne 2014 by Giulio Gasparin

5) Caroline Wozniacki: the Dane’s defence, contrary to the girls that precede her, is based on the actual speed on court, rather than anticipation. However, this does not diminish the quality of her footwork.

Honourable mention: Serena Williams, when she is fit and focused, her feet fare as fast as nobody else with the same muscled structure.

  • Mental toughness

One can be born with an amazing mental attitude or have developed it though the years. However it came to be, there is no doubt that having an ice-cold mind is as important as a big forehand or massive serve.

1) Maria Sharapova: she can look in despair, she can seem on the verge of losing as many times as it is hard to count, but she almost always comes out victorious. There are not as many players that can win as much despite facing an inspired opponent or a bad day.

2) Eugenie Bouchard: finding a great run at the Australian Open when you are still a young player puts you under enormous pressure. She dealt with it stunningly and always found her best game when it most mattered. The only two flops were at her home tournament and at the WTA Championships, but these do not diminish her merits in this department.

Serena Williams by Art Seitz

Serena Williams by Art Seitz

3) Serena Williams: knowing to be one of the greatest players ever puts you under immense pressure, especially if you are on a quest for more slam titles. Her season was pretty much a disaster under this section until the US Open, but her ability to set everything aside in New York and later confirm it in Singapore made her rise in the ranking.

4) Caroline Wozniacki: she left the Roland Garros with one win in two months, a minor injury and a broken heart. In all honesty, it takes quite some guts to bounce back the way she did.

4- ex aequo) Simona Halep: she rose from nowhere last year and many thought it was likely she would slip back to anonymity once the confidence was gone. She reached a career high at number two and the final of the WTA Championships, that is quite something.

Sara Errani Stuttgart 2014

Sara Errani Stuttgart 2014

5) Sara Errani: yes, she should be sixth, but we she deserved more than an honourable mention. If you are that short, with a genetic shoulder problem that does not allow you serving with any power, it takes a lot of mental strength to keep fighting season after season, match after match like she does.

5- ex aequo) Andrea Petkovic: coming back from injuries is not easy, coming back over and over again is harder, but achieving your best results at the nth comeback is simply remarkable.

To be continued next week, with the overall top 5s!

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WTA unveils rebrand including new logo, marketing campaign and alignment of tournament tiers

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The WTA has unveiled a comprensive rebrand including a new logo, marketing campaign and alignment of tournament tiers. 

 

The Women’s Tennis Association WTA has introduced a new corporate identity redifining the organization’s strength as a collective utit of inspiring players and tournaments. 

The rebranding includes the WTA’s first logo redesign in 10 years and coincides with the announcement of a simplified numerical naming system for women’s tournaments. 

The new brand identity and marketing campaign has been developed for the WTA by design agency Landor Australia and will be fully integrated across the WTA, including television graphics, print materials, tournament branding, advertising, promotion, digital and social media. 

The WTA’s new brand image incorporates a dynamic reworking of the familiar letters W, T and A, with a tennis ball functioning as the crossbar of the A, and marks the return of a silhouette of a female tennis player. The serve is the only shot in tennis where the player has the absolute control and where the point begins. 

The logo brings a return of a kinetic energy and makes reference to the sport’s global nature, framing the player within a circle that evokes the universal spirit of the WTA platform. 

“The WTA is built on the grit, passion and determination of generations of athletes and tournament promoters. Our new logo embraces the visual language of tennis and celebrates heroic women who come together for “The Game”. We will wear it as a badge of pride and a reminder of the power of unity among strong individuals, by joining forces, we build something bigger than ourselves”, said Micky Lawler, President of the WTA and head of marketing initiatives.   

The WTA For the Game campaign will be highlighted by 30 and 60 second commercial spots as well as influencer stories that will be broadcast, published and posted across WTA player, tournament and affiliate channels. Fans are provided new insights into the individual narratives of players as they describe the defining moments that have shaped their tennis journey and what gives their game purpose. 

The “For the Game” campaign features a series of videos with in-their-own words storytelling from Naomi Osaka, Madison Keys, Garbine Muguruza, Ashleigh Barty, Petra Kvitova, Barbora Krejcikova, Su-Wei Hsieh, Bethanie Mattek Sands and more players from the tour’s singles and doubles ranks. 

The WTA also worked with the ATP to create consistency and alignment across professional tennis. Both Tours will share the same tournament tier and nomenclature system to create simplicity for fans and consumers starting from 2021. WTA tournaments will now be categorized as WTA 1000 (incorporating the former Premier Mandatory and Premier 5 tournaments), WTA 500 (formerly Premier 700), WTA 250 (International) and WTA 125 (125k Series). The revised nomenclature is not tied to specific ranking points (which stay the same) or prize money, it is a categorical system to help define WTA tournament categories. “Fans really respond to the unified approach which tennis is uniquely able to provide. We see it with ticket sales at combined women’s and men’s tournaments, viewership on shared broadcast platforms and the popularity of the “Tennis United” digital content series co-created by the WTA and ATP amidst the challenges of the 2020 season. Adopting this streamlined tournament naming system is 100% about making it easier for WTA fans, corporate partners and the media to engage and follow the sport”, said Lawler. 

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Father Of Dayana Yastremska Reveals The Reasons Behind Her Lacklustre Season

Alexander Yastremsky says his daughter was ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to a personal issue.

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Rising star Dayana Yastremska struggled on the Tour during the second half of 2020 due to a family-related issue, according to her father.

 

The world No.29 closed out her season with three consecutive first round losses at the French Open, Ostrava and Linz to players who were ranked lower than her. Yastremska looked to be on course for a strong year after reaching the final of the Adelaide International in January. However, since then she has only managed to reach the quarter-final stage in one out of 10 tournaments played.

Reflecting on his daughter’s difficult season during an interview with Ukrainian Tennis, Alexander Yastremsky says she had been ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to her mother having a series of surgeries on her eye.

“People were complaining like why Dayana had such poor results at Roland Garros and afterwards but they didn’t know it was a hard time for her mother,” he said.
“Before the first round she had a retinal detachment. She went through three surgeries in Paris and two more at home. Everything is fine now but at that time Dayana was broken mentally.”

Besides her mother’s health scare, Yastremska had to find a new structure in her team after the departure of Sasha Bajin following the US Open. Bajin, who is the former coach of Naomi Osaka, worked with her for less than a year. Last week it was confirmed that he will be working with Karolina Pliskova in the new year.

“Sascha Bajin is a good coach, very helpful but it turned out he wasn’t ours,” said Alexander. “I don’t look at this partnership as a mistake for Dayana, it was another experience for her but I don’t see any advantages either.”
“Everyone looks only at how good you play and what result you get.”

Prior to Bajin, Yastremska worked with Belgium’s Olivier Jeunehomme who guided her to three WTA titles between 2018-2019. Since his departure, she is yet to add to her title tally but did rise to a ranking high of 21st earlier this year.

“It’s not easy to work with Dayana she has a tough personality,” her father admits. “Relationships on and off the court are very important for her.
“Right now we have a new team, very positive and committed . That’s the key for us. There’s no need to brag about their achievements. Results will come and time will tell. Our focus is on the off-season and hard work.”

Yastremska has started her off-season in Dubai. She ends the year with a win-loss record of 15-12 and has made just over $486,000 in prize money.

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Karolina Pliskova hires Sascha Bajin as new coach

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Former world number 1 player Karolina Pliskova has hired German coach Sasha Bajin for the upcoming 2021 season. The Czech player has split up with Daniel Vallverdu. 

 

Under the guidance of Vallverdu Pliskova has not won a single title in 2020 but she reached her second final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, the tournament she won in 2019 beating Johanna Konta. This year she was forced to withdraw from the Rome final against Simona Halep due to an injury problem. 

Pliskova successfully defended her 2019 title in Brisbane and lost to Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in the third round of the Australian Open and was defeated by Elena Rybakina in the quarter finals in Dubai. She lost to Ons Jabeur in Doha. In her first tournament after the suspension due to the pandemic Pliskova was beaten by Veronika Kudemertova in the second round at the Western and Southern Open in New York. At the US Open Karolina was knocked out by Caroline Garcia in the second round. 

The Czech star lost in the first round in Ostrava after winning the first set. 

Bajin parted his ways with Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska in 2020. The Ukrainian player was not happy after Bajin praised Naomi Osaka, who beat Yastremska at the US Open. 

Pliskova introduced her new coaching team to her fans on Twitter. 

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