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Amelie Mauresmo 02-10-2013 09:45 AM

Article: Agnieszka Radwanska dreams of being number one in the world
 
Tennis / Federation Cup / Brain over brawn

Israel’s Fed Cup team is about to confront Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, one of tennis’ most sophisticated players.

By Elad Zeevi Feb.07, 2013 | 5:00 AM



More speed, more strength, more power. It often seems the key word in tennis today is “more.” That’s what makes Agnieszka Radwanska’s success all the more extraordinary.

Israelis will have the opportunity to watch this unique player in action when she joins the Polish team playing Israel in Eilat on Friday. Radwanska is the odd woman out in today’s tennis scene. At only 56 kilograms and 1.72 meters, she can’t deal powerful serves like Petra Kvitova, or consistently deliver the aggressive winners we often see from Serena Williams. And still, Radwanska is currently ranked fourth in the world.

“My body isn’t built to produce 200-kilometer-per-hour serves,” she explained at Wimbeldon, “so I must find other ways to win points. Sometimes I feel I was simply born to play the way I do.”

The Wall Street Journal recently described Radwanska as “the most refined and tactical player in women’s tennis.” Watching the 23-year-old on court, one can hardly disagree. While other players use their physical power to win, Radwanska kills softly. Her awareness allows her to cover the court and reach almost every ball, and she is capable of producing a wide variety of shots.

Her slices are measured, her lobs precise and her drop shot as accurate as can be. Her forehand is rather well known, since she produces it with a slight bend of the body that resembles sitting down ‏(“I hear people whispering excitedly when I use that shot,” she says.‏). Her misleading moves reflect the fact that her mind works as hard as her legs. Her rivals often produce more winners, but more often than not the final result is in her favor.

Asked by the website The Tennis Space “How to play intelligent tennis,” Radwanska explained: “For me, it’s always been very important to learn a lot of different shots in practice. For example, I like to use the drop shot; it catches my opponents off guard and forces them to come to the net. And then you have drawn them out of position.”
“Studying your opponent allows you to play smart high percentage tennis,” she added. “If you understand court positioning and where the ball is going to come from, you will be able to anticipate your opponents shots before they are hit.”

Playing against Radwanska is therefore much more than an exercise in endurance. It is also a chess game that restarts anew with every point. And she often gives her opponents enough rope to hang themselves.\

“Everybody knows she’s some player,” Ana Ivanovic said after losing last month to the Pole at the Australia Open last 16. “She may not have too many winners, but she has good hands. She definitely can cause you to feel somewhat embarrassed, or lure you try something special. That’s her forte.”

Radwanska, already coined “the current generation’s Martina Hingis,” began training with her father when she was four, and her younger sister Ursula is also a pro, ranked 37th in the world. In 2005 she won the Wimbledon youth tournament and repeated the feat in the following year’s Roland Garros.

Unlike so many players who succeeded at the youth level but failed to make it later on in their careers, Radwanska has almost consistently been ranked in the top 10 since 2008, the same year she became the most successful Polish female player both in terms of rankings and profits. She naturally achieved celebrity status as well, and the iPhone application “Tennis with Radwanska,” which features a game against her avatar-like figure, became a best-selling app in Poland. “I played the game, but I’m not really good at it,” she admitted. “I’m probably much better off on a real court.”
Last year was Radwanska’s best yet. Her victory over Maria Sharapova in the final in Miami was termed by the Polish press “the victory of finesse over power.”

Her coach, Tomasz Wiktorowski, who is also the Polish Fed Cup captain, defined it a turning point in her career. “We have been aware of her talent for years, but such a victory was still missing,” he said − probably aware of what the immediate future would hold. At Wimbledon, Radwanska made it to the finals and showed up sick but still managed to stretch Serena Williams to three sets before losing. Williams urged the crowd to give her opponent an extra round of applause: “Aga is really tough,” Williams said. “She has a fantastic career and she’s still so young.”

After her first Grand Slam Final, the first Polish woman to achieve such a feat in 73 years, she reached her record ranking, second in the world, and was chosen to bear the Polish flag at the London Olympics.

This year, Radwanska knows what she wants: a No. 1 ranking and a first Grand Slam Title. She arrived at Melbourne undefeated after winning the titles in Oakland and Sydney, but was defeated by Li Na at the quarterfinals. “I’ll just continue and try to achieve my next goals,” she declared afterwards. “The first goal is success at the Fed Cup with the national team.”

It might be unwise to bet against her − she’ll probably do it using brain over brawn.

kishnabe 02-10-2013 09:49 AM

She should dream of being a slam champion....Number 1 is pointless with the WTA ranking....though More achievable for her I bet.

Amelie Mauresmo 02-10-2013 09:51 AM

Agnieszka wants both and I believe she can win a grand slam and become number one in the world it is only a matter of time. The article points out Agnieszka pushed Serena Williams to three sets in the Wimbledon final which is very good considering it was her first grand slam final. Agnieszka certainly needs to improve her second serve but I believe in her she is very mentally tough and consistent.

cc0509 02-10-2013 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amelie Mauresmo (Post 7204158)
Agnieszka wants both and I believe she can win a grand slam and become number one in the world it is only a matter of time. The article points out Agnieszka pushed Serena Williams to three sets in the Wimbledon final which is very good considering it was her first grand slam final. Agnieszka certainly needs to improve her second serve but I believe in her she is very mentally tough and consistent.

Radwanska is a clever player but she has losing records vs Serena, Sharapova, Azarenka and Li Na. If she is going to win a slam those other players have to likely be knocked out of the tournament.

OddJack 02-10-2013 10:56 AM

She cant. She is another version of wozniacki. A little smarter but more fragile physically. She will break down just like wozy did. She is a pusher. I dislike her sitting backhands.

cc0509 02-10-2013 11:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OddJack (Post 7204297)
She cant. She is another version of wozniacki. A little smarter but more fragile physically. She will break down just like wozy did. She is a pusher. I dislike her sitting backhands.

She is a lot better and has a lot more shots than Wozniacki does but her problem is that she has terrible records against the players she really needs to beat, i.e. Serena, Sharapova, Azarenka and Li Na.

jones101 02-10-2013 11:09 AM

She can, I believe in her - the force is strong in this one.





iri10 02-10-2013 11:13 AM

Radwanska seems to be one of those players who will remain near the top of the ranking for some time, beating almost everybody that she should be beating.

And yet, I'm not sure she'll be able to get a Slam without some luck in her favor, like not having to face any of Azarenka/Pova/Serena/etc., unless they're walking wounded.

Of course, some of those will eventually fade away from age, but by then the new generation of young players might be developed enough to beat her too.

OddJack 02-10-2013 11:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cc0509 (Post 7204308)
She is a lot better and has a lot more shots than Wozniacki does but her problem is that she has terrible records against the players she really needs to beat, i.e. Serena, Sharapova, Azarenka and Li Na.

She has terrible record because of her style. And she hasnt prove that she is better than wozniack yet.

iri10 02-10-2013 11:24 AM

Also, this quote makes me laugh:

Quote:

Radwanska, already coined “the current generation’s Martina Hingis,” ...
As it turns out, Martina already commented on that in some Eurosport interview. Supposedly she didn't much care for the idea, saying that Radwanska needs to win a slam before you start comparing the two.

Typical Hingis bluntness, and 100% correct in this case.

Amelie Mauresmo 02-10-2013 12:06 PM

Martina Hingis is correct agree does need to win a grand slam to be compared to her. I feel this elusive grand slam title is what Agnieszka needs but she's too talented not to win a major. I also would like to see Agnieszka reach more slam finals too.

Agnieszka does need to start beating the other elite players more consistently. Agnieszka is improving she beat Sharapova to win Miami in straight sets it was a huge win for her.

Agnieszka probably needs to be more aggressive I feel when she takes on the other top women. She can't expect Serena or Azarenka to give her errors they are too consistent. However, the thing I like about Agnieszka is she is constantly working on her game and improving. I would love to see Agnieszka win a grand slam.

veroniquem 02-10-2013 12:25 PM

She doesn't have a major weapon though. She's just consistent. So that's OK for #1 (see Woz) but winning a slam will be tougher.

NadalAgassi 02-10-2013 12:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by veroniquem (Post 7204456)
She doesn't have a major weapon though. She's just consistent. So that's OK for #1 (see Woz) but winning a slam will be tougher.

That is not enough for #1 anymore. Azarenka has raised the bar again for what it takes to be #1. Serena even totally dominating the major events in the last year, and playing more events (and winning some of the small ones) than she has in years hasnt gotten back to #1 yet, although she might the next couple months. Azarenka is super consistent, more consistent than Wozniacki ever was, like Woznaicki plays a heavy schedule, and actually wins some of the major events, and makes it deep in all of them. So it will be alot harder for Radwanska to get to #1 now with Azarenka there than when Wozniacki was.

JustBob 02-10-2013 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cc0509 (Post 7204308)
She is a lot better and has a lot more shots than Wozniacki does but her problem is that she has terrible records against the players she really needs to beat, i.e. Serena, Sharapova, Azarenka and Li Na.

Power trumps shotmaking ability. It's these types of players that spelled the demise of Hingis. Radwanska will never be #1.

THUNDERVOLLEY 02-10-2013 01:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kishnabe (Post 7204154)
She should dream of being a slam champion....Number 1 is pointless with the WTA ranking....though More achievable for her I bet.

Correct. Apparently, she never learned anything from the Jankovic / Safina and Wozniacki disasters of being #1 without a major. The first thing out of her mough should have zeroed in on a determination to win majors....unless she's pretty much telling the world she will "play the computer" and get the 31 ranking, knowing full well she is incapable of winning a major. If the latter is the case, that is a shameful mentality for a sports professional.

jmnk 02-10-2013 02:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by THUNDERVOLLEY (Post 7204631)
Correct. Apparently, she never learned anything from the Jankovic / Safina and Wozniacki disasters of being #1 without a major. The first thing out of her mough should have zeroed in on a determination to win majors....unless she's pretty much telling the world she will "play the computer" and get the 31 ranking, knowing full well she is incapable of winning a major. If the latter is the case, that is a shameful mentality for a sports professional.

yap, because wining a slam truly cements one's legacy. As proven by:

Myskina
Schiavone
Majoli

Are you suggesting that these players are/were better than Wozniacki?

Phoenix1983 02-10-2013 02:20 PM

She'll have to continue to dream, cos it's never gonna happen.

SLD76 02-10-2013 02:44 PM

e
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by OddJack (Post 7204297)
She cant. She is another version of wozniacki. A little smarter but more fragile physically. She will break down just like wozy did. She is a pusher. I dislike her sitting backhands.

yer crazy. wozzy wishes she had the hands, the variety or the net play of radwanska

Tanya 02-10-2013 03:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jones101 (Post 7204323)
She can, I believe in her - the force is strong in this one.





Hahahah thank you for this it made my day.


But really, Radwanska needs to figure out a way to not get hit off the court in later stages of grand slams. That's her problem -- she doesn't beat herself, but if she runs into an on-fire player she has a lot of trouble finding an answer to raw power. Her bag of tricks doesn't have anything to counter it yet....she needs a reliable weapon I'm afraid.

NadalAgassi 02-10-2013 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmnk (Post 7204694)
yap, because wining a slam truly cements one's legacy. As proven by:

Myskina
Schiavone
Majoli

Are you suggesting that these players are/were better than Wozniacki?

Myskina and Majoli sure are. Fraudniacki wouldnt even be in the top twenty back when they played, let alone winning a slam. In addition to winning a slam Myskina and Majoli spent several years straight top 10 at a time womens tennis was actually real which for the couple years Fraudniacki was number 1 it was on the verge of bankruptcy.


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