Henin's serve and return of serve prevent her from winning non-French again?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by anointedone, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. anointedone

    anointedone Banned

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    Justine Henin has not won a slam event outside the French Open since the 2004 Australian Open. I think what is holding her back is her serve and return of serve. If you look at all the players in the top 50 her serve and return of serve would be very good. However if you just look at the 8-12 contenders her serve and return of serve would probably be slightly below average among that group.

    Players like Serena, Venus, Sharapova, Vaidisova, Ivanovic, are far superior to her in both those areas, serve and return of serve. Mauresmo does not have a better return, but has a much stronger serve when she is in sync. Hingis and Jankovic do not have better serves, but probably better return of serves.

    I think that is the main thing holding her back from winning an Australian, Wimbledon, or U.S Open again. She needs to upgrade in those 2 areas if she can. What do you think?
     
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  2. Alexandros

    Alexandros Professional

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    Given that she reached the finals of all slams last year and she lost to Mauresmo twice and Sharapova once I don't think it's a matter of any particular aspect of her game holding her back since she has a winning record against both of these players. More of a mental thing.
     
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  3. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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    Neither of those things truly hold her back, it's just her movement on clay is superior to that of other surfaces, and she just has bad luck (I don't think that anyone was going to stop Sharapova at the US Open last year).
     
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  4. anointedone

    anointedone Banned

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    Perhaps you are right. She did look to me to be outserved in the Wimbledon final, and I felt watching at the time that was the difference. Mauresmo was serving much bigger and more accurately, and having an easier time holding. Sharapova in the U.S Open final I felt was serving and returning much more effectively, thus gaining a clear upper hand in the majority of the points before they even began.
     
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  5. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

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    Umm her serve and ROS definitely do not hold her back. She has had serve issues in the past, in 2005 it was all over the place but as of last year it was pretty much up to snuff.

    She has a big serve and good placement. She serves bigger than Sharapova. her fastest serve during last years US open final was faster than Sharapova's. Maybe because Shazza screams like an idiot, her serves seem big. At least Venus is serving up a storm when she screams.

    Henin's problems are (1) she can be overpowered on faster surfaces and
    (2) her mental strength is not up to par. This is VERY evident when she gets behind in a match to someone who is not a mental rat. She gets scared.
    I will always say it should have been a Jelena/Pova US Open final. Jelena had backed Justine into a corner and she was shaking.
    Then stupid Jelena had to be the drama queen that she is and pick a fight with the umpire. Lost her concentration and let Henin into the match.
     
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  6. The Gorilla

    The Gorilla Banned

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    I think she is very slow in terms of footspeed, also because of her extreme backhand grip she ahs to hit the ball in front of her which requires her to get in position extra quick, this is difficult to exploit on clay but there are 2 or 3 people who can on grass, less so on hard.
     
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  7. MEAC_ALLAMERICAN

    MEAC_ALLAMERICAN Legend

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    Mental migdet???

    Justine Henin can hold her own against almost any player, but the fact remains as Slazenger mentioned is that she can get overpowered on the faster surfaces.

    Another thing that I have noticed is that in some players when things get tight you can’t tell by their body language, but when Justine gets tight you can see she succumbs to nerves. Well unless her opponent breaks firsts.

    For someone that is not a fanatic for on-court coaching, she tends to rely a lot on her coach during matches. Her serve and return is not her problem, but the problem my friends is between her ears.
     
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  8. theballboy

    theballboy Rookie

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    http://www.playerdevelopment.usta.c.../women/Justine Henin/PerformanceAnalysis.html

    Take a look at this page, in particular, the video of Henin's forehand, and you'll see why she has most of her sucess on clay courts.

    Henin's a small woman, compared to other top pros. She can't produce the same effortless power strokes that Serena or Venus can. She makes up for it by having considerable takeback, and huge trunk and shoulder rotation on her FH, and to a lesser degree her BH side.

    Nadal puts the same effort into his FH, but he does it to generate enormous spin- Henin does it simply to match the pace of the bigger players on tour. But like Nadal, without a lot of time to set up her shots, they won't be anywhere enar as effective. Meaning that clay, and the currently slowed down Wimbledon grass, are good for her game. Hardcourt isn't. Notice that she has won ONE Tier 1 or higher title on what we call fast courts in years- the 06 YEC. She hasn't won a major tournament on hardcourts since 2004.

    People note that henin's BH slice is superb. What people fail to realize though, is that she seemingly lacks a topspin running BH- I've never seen her hit a winner from a running position, in fact. Her strokes simply can't produce that power from a running position.

    Her return of serve also factors into this. I think she's probably the best in the WTA at getting back hard serves and getting into a nuetral position i nthe rally. This works great on clay- on HC though, there is no way a player can resonably expect to just block a serve back and expect win in rallies with people who hit harder than you.

    And her serve- well, I just think she's gotten to the point in her career where she's realized it'll never be a weapon, and focuses more on punishing her opponents returns- something she's extremely good at. Again, on fast courts, this strategy won't work as well as on clay.
     
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  9. Dolphina

    Dolphina New User

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    I think, depends on her form. When she´s in form, she returns extremely powerful (just look at Madrid last year, against Hingis was incredible) and creates a power in her strokes, that is superior to most players. when she´s not in great form or nervous, she tends to be too passive, and then can be overpowered by other players. Her serve is very good for her height and technique wise certainly more secure and steady than Venus.
     
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  10. MLtennis

    MLtennis Rookie

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    I guess that answers that

    Well - either her serve got better (120 mph is a little faster than she ordinarily serves, but then again her confidence level was huge given the two victories over the Williams') or she's over the mental block. IMHO, I believe she did both of those but overall she has learned "how" to beat everyone else and I believe we may see her win a lot more (including Grand Slams) in the next few years. She's playing her best tennis yet and seems to be getting better each week.
     
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  11. Ripper

    Ripper Hall of Fame

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    The only thing holding her back is her small size. Nothing she can do about that. However, she's so superior, technically, to all other WTA players, past and present, that she makes up for it.
     
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  12. tennissavy

    tennissavy Hall of Fame

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    Actually, she serves around 120mph in many of her matches. Anyway, Henin is great, not just very good, on all surfaces and with her committment to tennis she will probably outshine the Williams sisters and others. However, the Williams sisters have been impressive.
     
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  13. tennispro11

    tennispro11 Hall of Fame

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    Boy were you wrong. It's all been mental for Justine. Her game has always been solid.
     
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  14. blinkinrogue

    blinkinrogue Rookie

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    throughout the uso, i noticed juju improved her ros a lot and is more reliable than her serve. its amazing how many df she gets and still win the tourny without losing a set.
     
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  15. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

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    When has Henin ever served 120mph? That has to be an error. And for you to say she serves around 120 in many of her matches???
    Please how many women serve around 120mph in the first place? None really.

    Yes Venus and Serena can get to about 127 but for the most part they are in the 100s or low to mid 110s. Henin's range is lower but she can crank it up to high 110s.
     
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  16. justineheninhoogenbandfan

    justineheninhoogenbandfan Banned

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    Slazenger is right. Henin can get her up to the high 110s on her day, that is her high point to date however. Still I think that would qualify as a very "big" serve. I dont know how many women outside the Williams can get it up over 120 at all. I am pretty sure Sharapova cant.
     
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  17. phoony

    phoony Banned

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    Justine already won USO so this thread close???
     
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