A 2014 WTA shot guide: Part 5 (overall game-plans) - UBITENNIS
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A 2014 WTA shot guide: Part 5 (overall game-plans)

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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.

  • Overall aggressiveness

Being aggressive is the ultimate goal of every player, but some of them are naturally or tactically more prone to looking for winners earlier in the point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvOVW21bZzE

1) Serena Williams: on serve or on return, you can always count on the world number on to step in and look for a fast ending of the point.

Maria Sharapova by Fabrizio Maccani

Maria Sharapova by Fabrizio Maccani

2) Maria Sharapova: one of the Russian’s best qualities is the ability to put a huge mental pressure on her opponents. This is derived from her will to dictate every point and every rally, from the very beginning. Many have criticized her second serve, for the many double faults it hands, but it’s the price to pay for giving no chance to attack that shot.

3) Petra Kvitova: she is the most hot-and-cold player on tour on a high level. You never know what to expect from her in terms of quality of her game on the day, but you can be sure that she will always try to finish each point as fast as possible.

Camila Giorgi by Monique Filippella

Camila Giorgi by Monique Filippella

4) Camila Giorgi: the Italian has quite a unique game for the standards of her country. There is no dead shot in her game, every ball is a chance for a winner in her tactics. It cannot always pay off, but when it does, it becomes hard to stop her.

5) Ana Ivanovic: the Serb is a capable mover, but she rather prefers to set up the point in order to close with her beloved forehand.

  • Overall defence

Some other players are natural defenders, they cannot play a high-risk game or do not possess the power to dictate their game, so they prefer to wear their opponents down until they find the space for winners.

1) Caroline Wozniacki: the former world number one is probably the best retriever the tour has seen in recent years, for which she received the nickname of Wallzniacki. She ran the NYC marathon in quite a stunning time, would you expect her to be tired after a three hours match?

2) Simona Halep: probably the most natural clay courter in the top 10, the Romanian has an amazing ability to turn defence into offence, which makes it hard to play her on any surface.

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

3) Angelique Kerber: you can never be sure to have closed a point against the German, until the ball bounces twice on the ground. Her speed on court is probably the highest of them all and her ability to give power to the lowest ball keeps her opponents on their toes until the point is called.

4) Agnieszka Radwanska: she moves well and anticipate even better, but when she is in trouble she can always slow down the point with a tricky slice or a smart lob.

5) Jelena Jankovic: the Serb has not had the best of her seasons, but her stunning movements and ability to absorb power make her a very dangerous opponent if you cannot keep your focus high.

  • All good, but no excellence

The title should not mislead the reader, having no bigger weapon is not necessarily a weakness, especially if you can build around having no big weaknesses your strength. If your opponent has a massive forehand, but a weak backhand, you know where to aim, but it is harder to find a lifeline if they are both as good.

1) Ekaterina Makarova: it is hard to find a big flaw in the game of the Russian, probably only the footwork can let her down, but that is about it. It is no surprise she is so often the name you do not expect to reach the later stage of slams.

Dominika Cibulkova by Fabrizio Maccani

Dominika Cibulkova by Fabrizio Maccani

2) Dominika Cibulkova: being so short is all you can blame her for not being more successful than she is. The first few months of this year, there was little she could not do.

3) Andrea Petkovic: she is probably the definition of a thoroughly built player. Her shots are the result of hundreds of thousands balls being played over and over. Her technique may not look any natural, but it is hard it will break down.

Alize Cornet by Art Seitz

Alize Cornet by Art Seitz

4) Alizé Cornet: a born clay courter, she could beat Serena Williams on hard courts and on grass, she can slice, she moves well, has a good backhand and a reliable forehand. Her biggest weakness is her unpredictable mental game.

5) Elina Svitolina: once I read on an American website “she is the best player you probably have never heard of” and there is a reason why. You can see that she has got it all, but she has not blossomed yet, so for now, she falls in this category as a starting point.

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Caroline Wozniacki’s Father Criticises WTA For Lack Of Help For Mothers On Tour

Caroline Wozniacki was not given a wildcard for Rome or Roland Garros.

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Piotr Wozniacki has labelled the WTA as ‘amateur’ for their treatment of mothers on tour as he claims that Caroline Wozniacki should have had more wildcards.

The former Australian Open champion has played ten events since she announced her comeback last year.

Wozniacki has recovered her ranking to 117 in the world and her comeback has resulted in a fourth round appearance at the US Open as well as a quarter-final result at Indian Wells.

However the Dane has not been successful in gaining wildcards recently with both Rome and Roland Garros not offering Wozniacki one.

It’s a decision that Wozniacki’s father, Piotr, has not been happy with as he explained with Sport.PL, “The WTA believes that it is operating in an amateur fashion in the world of the largest professional women’s sport of all sports in the world. They sign contracts with the players and the players are obliged to do certain things under these contracts. And what do they get? Nothing, really nothing!” Piotr was quoted by tennisuptodate as saying.

“All wild cards, and there were 8 of them, were given to the Italians. I understand promoting their players, but how can you give the right to play in a tournament of this rank to such girls who should not even think that they could play in a Masters yet?

“Caroline was number one in her ranking. She won a Grand Slam tournament, won the Masters, played in almost 60 finals of their tournaments and won 30. So we are talking about a complete tennis player, someone who did a great job, who certainly increased the popularity of tennis, who earned a lot of money herself, but let them earn money. even much more.

“And it turns out that when someone like Caroline Wozniacki comes back as Caroline Wozniacki and family, she is no longer welcome. We can’t even prepare Caroline’s starting plan! We train, we prepare, and it turns out that there is nothing to do.

“This is happening because today in tennis everything is based only on relationships, on acquaintances, and not on clear rules. The thing is that if we know the organizers or tournament directors, we get a chance to play, but if we don’t know someone somewhere, they don’t want us there.

“Naturally, after the maternity break, my daughter had zero points. It takes a lot of time to start from scratch and reach the top, but we would do it patiently, but how can we do it when you don’t let a girl like that work for it? The rules in tennis today are such that there is no longer a mandatory wild card for someone who was once in the top 20, had a long break and came back.

“This card was really helpful for tennis players coming back after having a baby and for those coming back from serious injuries. And now Caroline, Angelique Kerber or Naomi Osaka are dependent only on someone else’s decisions. Since last year, all wild cards are the property of the tournaments, and the WTA washes its hands of them.”

It’s clear the Wozniacki family is disappointed as the Dane could be set to cancel her comeback next year.

However there is optimism that Wozniacki will receive one at Wimbledon as she has had past success on grass courts.

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In-Form Iga Swiatek Not Taking Anything For Granted Ahead of French Open Title Defence

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Iga Swiatek says she must remain ‘humble’ heading into the French Open despite being a strong favourite for the title.

The world No.1 is on a 12-match winning streak after claiming back-to-back WTA 1000 titles in Madrid and Rome. A milestone that has only previously been achieved by Dinara Safina and Serena Williams. In her latest match, she dropped five games against Aryna Sabalenka in the final of the Italian Open. She now leads the Belarusian world No.2 8-3 in their head-to-head.

“I’m maybe chilled out compared to Madrid after the final because that final was so surreal. It is a little bit different. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m really proud of myself and really happy.” Said Swiatek.
“I’m happy I was so focused and disciplined throughout the tournament. I feel like I’m in the right place.” 

The confidence is high for the Pole heading into Roland Garros which she will be aiming to win for a fourth time since 2020. In the Open Era, only three women have won the French Open four or more times – Justine Henin, Steffi Graf and Chris Evert.

However, Swiatek is not underestimating the work she will be required to put in to claim another major title. She failed to reach the quarter-final stage at her two most recent Grand Slam events, the US Open and French Open. 

“Obviously I am confident. I feel like I’m playing great tennis but that doesn’t change the fact that I just want to stay humble,” she said.
“Grand Slams are different. There’s a different pressure on the court and off the court. Of course I love to come to Paris and be there. It’s a great place for me to be and I really enjoy my time there.
“But these are hard seven matches that you need to win so I don’t take anything for granted.”

The Grand Slams are the holy grail when it comes to ranking points with the champions claiming 2000 points. In the past Swiatek has focused on her tally and ranking but this year she has a somewhat different perspective. 

“I’m less focused on rankings and points compared to last year. I felt like last year I needed to always to chase. Even though I was first, I felt like I had somebody behind my back.” Said Swiatek. 
“But this year, I just feel like I can focus on myself and not think about that because focusing on rankings is never helpful, I would say.
“There are plenty of things to focus on that we need to spend our energy for, that is just a waste of energy to focus on points and rankings.”

The French Open will get underway next Sunday. 

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Iga Swiatek Demolishes Aryna Sabalenka To Seal Third Rome Title

Iga Swiatek claimed her third Rome title after a dominant victory over Aryna Sabalenka.

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Iga Swiatek claimed her third Rome title by dominating Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-3 to send a big message of intent ahead of Roland Garros.

The world number one completed the Madrid and Rome double with a sensational performance.

Now Swiatek is the titleholder for the three biggest clay court titles as she will aim to defend her Roland Garros title.

The contest was a rematch from the Madrid final but this was far from the three hour contest that was produced in Spain.

Swiatek raised her level of play while Sabalenka committed way too many unforced errors throughout the contest.

The Pole broke on two occasions to wrap up a comfortable 37 minute set as her forehand was doing a lot of damage.

There was a comeback in the second set from the Australian Open champion as she produced effortless and consistent power, making the second set very competitive.

The world number one was forced to save break points as she just managed to be more stable on big moments.

A more controlled second set from Swiatek was rewarded towards the end of the set as once again Sabalenka crumbled under pressure when it mattered.

Two late breaks of serve completed the Swiatek surge as the Pole enters the second Grand Slam of the season in dominant form.

As for Sabalenka it’s a disappointing performance that she will look to put right at Roland Garros.

Roland Garros starts on the 26th of May where Swiatek is defending champion.

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