Sharapova's Net Game: terrible

ferrari_827

Professional
I was rather shocked at how weak Sharapova's net game was against Clijsters. I mean, she was swinging on all her volleys awkwardly, and just didn't know where to hit it. Sometimes, she would volley straight back to Clijsters when there was a whole open court. At this level of the game, and compared to the rest of her game, Maria's net game is terrible.I would say that many of the WTA have better volleys than Maria.
 

driger

Banned
maria does serve and volley a times, but its not great, like many of the women. shes tall for a women at 6'1", so she sacrifices movement. but she finishs points at the net with swinging volleys rather well, much like monica seles. she was very effective at wimbledon doing that. like roddick she should consider playing more doubles.
 

FuriousYellow

Professional
Yeah, I think she either punched through or swung through every volley. Still, it was good change of tactics as she started winning some easy points off her serve-and-volley. With the high wind that day, her groundstrokes weren't as reliable as they normally were. She needed to get some easy points because Clijsters is such a great returner.

Being a two-hander, I think Maria's just not comfortable playing one handed shots yet. I watched her practicing her slice backhand at the PLO and it wasn't very good for a pro, so I imagine her slice volleys and drop shots aren't that good either. She's still very young and determined though.
 

edge

Banned
Volleys, slices and approaches are not shots most tennis players learn to hit nowadays. They are brought up to hit 2 shots, a FH and BH and be baseline bashers. That's why it's somewhat boring. It is also why Fed and Henin do so well aginst these one-dimensional players. BTW, an appraoch shot at Nick Bolleterri's is an inside out forehand, approaching crosscourt. They wouldn't even know a BH slice approach shot if it came and bit them on the bum.
 

Exile

Professional
no one ever said sharapova was the perfect player and i doubt the volley is a real part of her game. Take agassi for example, he's been playing for like 20 years and his volleys arent exactly 'good'
 

tennissavy

Hall of Fame
Maria vs. Kim this weekend wasn't Sharapova's best match. However, in several of her matches, she volleyed very well-mostly swing volleys. Her wimbledon victory was one of those matches in which she volleyed quite well. Normally, with her timing, it's "good night Irene" when she hits a swing volley at the net. She did it a couple of times against Kim but not enough, not like in some of her other matches. She is also working on one hand and 2 hand slices and drop shots. She has performed them successfully in matches and I am sure she will greatly improve in those areas as well as in her movement, which is adequate for now. As others have mentioned, she is young and improving to be multi-dimensional not just a baseline ball crusher and I think it is great that she has acknowledged that in interviews. She has already proven to many of us that she is deserving of the media hype surrounding her and given some time she might just become the very best female player, not just in ranking but in the viewers' minds. Let's see what develops it will be interesting to see.
 

Phil

Hall of Fame
tennissavy said:
Maria vs. Kim this weekend wasn't Sharapova's best match. However, in several of her matches, she volleyed very well-mostly swing volleys. Her wimbledon victory was one of those matches in which she volleyed quite well. Normally, with her timing, it's "good night Irene" when she hits a swing volley at the net. She did it a couple of times against Kim but not enough, not like in some of her other matches. She is also working on one hand and 2 hand slices and drop shots. She has performed them successfully in matches and I am sure she will greatly improve in those areas as well as in her movement, which is adequate for now. As others have mentioned, she is young and improving to be multi-dimensional not just a baseline ball crusher and I think it is great that she has acknowledged that in interviews. She has already proven to many of us that she is deserving of the media hype surrounding her and given some time she might just become the very best female player, not just in ranking but in the viewers' minds. Let's see what develops it will be interesting to see.
Now that's an obsessed fan if I ever read one...any relation to one MASHA? Talk about spinning a bad match into a good one.
If she's "working on" one and 2 handed slices and drop shots at this point in her career then, why even bother. May as well stick with what got her this far-the groundies and the serve. It's rare that a baseline basher, even at the young age of 18, becomes "multi-dimensional"-slight improvements, yes, but not to the point that anything becomes a weapon.

And she is certainly NOT "deserving" of the media hype surrounding her. No one really is. She's tall, white, blond and has long legs (and speaks English well)-that's the extent of why she is being hyped. In a year or two, another baseline Russian or Euro clone will come along and replace her in the spotlight. I say, big frigging deal. Anna was over hyped too, and obviously, even LESS deserving of the hype, but compared to Maria, she's shorter, better looking, better built, and at least she could volley. Otherwise, not the better player, based on singles titles. In the tennis world, the Marias of the world are circus side shows.
 

Morpheus

Professional
Phil, I agree with the hype part, but I think Maria has more staying power and will be around for awhile. I'm reminded of Davenport when I watch her. Kind of awkward in her movement, but with really hard, flat shots that are tough to deal with. Having said that, I'm all for the next better looking Russian because frankly the game needs more skin if it is to survive.
 

tennis-n-sc

Professional
I hate to agree with Phil on this one but he is right. Who could possibly deserve this much hype? But I still have to believe that with those long legs, blond hair, blue eyes, fair skin and good english, she'll beat Phil's a** with bagels 100 out 100. Maria is young, full of fight, wins, and does not offer the excuses of losing that we have become acustomed to hearing from her American counterparts. I say bring on the gals, and the next ones as well. There is a very beautiful flow to many of these women's game that is enjoyed by many, many people. Beats the dickens out of two shot rallys from the base line.
 
savys got it right-

at 17 maria has an excellant record against the top ten, is consistently in the finals and semis, and currently sitting at #1 in the wta rankings. even billie jean king has publicly stated maria will be the best ever. maria is also a great success story, coming from russia, to escape the cherynoble disaster, and becoming a tennis phenom. maria's behavior is also exemplorary in winning and defeat. the market has determined maria deserves the hype. and the market is usually right. i don't hink shes getting anymore hype than cqapriati, seles, or the williams got. sort of amazing, given all this, the number of detractors she has on this board. i guess life must really be tough at the top.
 

ferrari_827

Professional
I didn't mean to be hard on Sharapova, and I'm quite a fan myself. Yes, she is a very nice person, and highly marketable.

According to ESPN, she is the highest paid female athlete. What's impressive is that despite her fortune, she still takes tennis very seriously and loves to play.
 

Phil

Hall of Fame
Morpheus said:
Phil, I agree with the hype part, but I think Maria has more staying power and will be around for awhile. I'm reminded of Davenport when I watch her. Kind of awkward in her movement, but with really hard, flat shots that are tough to deal with. Having said that, I'm all for the next better looking Russian because frankly the game needs more skin if it is to survive.
Morpheus - She may be around for a few years, but she may also burn out or get injured. Your "more skin" comment is, I think, sad but true. I don't think there are many women's sports that COULD survive based purely on the athleticism of its contestants. At least not in the US market. I used to have this ideal that it was all about the TENNIS, but I'm stupid that way. Eventually I learned. Dollars.
 

HookEmJeff

Semi-Pro
Sharapova's game is pure baseline bashing. She has no slice (either for approach or for defense) and she hits an ugly two-handed volley. I can think of two brick volleys from that Clijsters match and the reaction I had to them. Yikes!
One was a terrible fh volley which she totally framed and dropped about a foot from where she hit it, and another was a low two-handed volley which she netted. Both were disasters when it came to technique. I also don' think I've even seen her hit an overhead off a lob over her head yet. She's not the most athletic girl. She's a good side-to-side mover, but not up and back. In that regard, her game is very Seles.
She's got a great return of serve, serve and groundstrokes...but the rest of her game isn't all that well-developed. It hasn't had to be since she's not playing anything that would make her have to bring up any of those other skills. Still, it would be nice to see her be able to volley a little better.

Jeff
 

Morpheus

Professional
Agree with everything, but I'll add that she has a high degree of mental toughness and intensity. That alone is enough for me to think that we'll be talking about her as a top 10 player or higher for the next decade.
 
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