2011 Wimbledon – Nick’s Picks – Women’s Singles Finals
Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs. Petra Kvitova (CZE)
When Kvitova steps on the court, she plays the game on way: Whatever she sees, she hits and wherever it goes nobody knows! She is a very young girl (21 years old). but she hits with a ton of power and has the advantage of bring a lefty. Throughout my almost six decades of teaching tennis, I can say from experience that lefties are a different breed. They see the court dimensions differently, their thinking process is totally different from right-handers, their thinking process is completely different from righties, and they have a huge serving advantage to both the ad and deuce courts.
When serving to the ad court, the low, wide slice serve takes the receiver outside the singles and doubles lines to make the return leaving the entire court open for the server. When serving to the deuce court, the slice breaks into the body, eliminating the receiver from hitting their forehand. If they take it on the backhand, they move in between the singles and doubles lines leaving the court wide open for the server to hit their return shot.
Kvitova is not going to slow down with her forehand. If I were her coach, I would suggest a little more racket head speed and follow through. At times, she slows down resulting in the ball flying out. Her backhand is not a weakness and she doesn’t make many errors from this wing. She will come in at times, and why not? So much of the time she is on the offensive with defensive shots coming to her. By the way, lefties are also well-known for their sharp angles hit from both sides, this drives their opponents bazooka!
Maria came to the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy when she was only nine years old along with her father Yuri, who is a close friend of mine. When she came to me, Yuri was coaching her but he was just starting to learn the game. He acknowledged that he had much to learn and for the next several years Yuri absorbed as much as he could about the game and would take notes all the time. At one point, he suggested Maria try being a lefty and to be honest she could of, but what ended up taking place was that her left-hand got stronger and the results speak form themselves. Yuri was extremely smart and when he reached a point when he thought Maria would benefit from another coach he hired one for her full-time. I only wish other parents would do the same!
Back to her game…no one has more consistent and powerful groundstrokes (with little spin) from both sides than Maria. This is because of the grips she is using. On the forehand side her grip is a strong eastern to weak semi-western and on the backhand side her bottom hand is in a strong continental to weak eastern while her top hand is in an eastern grip that definitely does all the work.
So much talk has been about her serious shoulder injury and how that affected her serve. She tried out several different service motions over the years, and has found one that works for her. For the most part the serve is not a weakness, but against Lisicki she had 13 double faults which she can’t do against Kvitova. I could write volumes about Sharapova, but what it comes down to is that no one competes better and never once, even when she was down 3-0 to Lisicki in the first set, did she look like she was losing. She reminds me of Michael Jordan on the basketball court. You just knew he wasn’t going to let his opponents beat him.
Nick’s Pick – Kvitova is 0-1 against Sharapova with that loss coming in 2010 at Memphis. She is definitely one of the best young players on the tour and I do think she can win multiple Grand Slam titles. At this time, I have to give the edget to Sharapova because she plays like a champions, she feels like a champion and she refuses to lose in the big moments. I think this is going to be a very interesting match and I am going to pick Sharapova in 3 sets.