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Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
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britbox Offline
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Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
Johan Kriek, the two time Australian Open champion has joined the Tennis Frontier cast of bloggers.

He wrote an article a couple of months ago regarding countering dominance and reflected on Maria Sharapova's conundrum in Serena Williams' dominance. It's still valid now.

The article is at:

http://www.tennisfrontier.com/blogs/joha...dominance/

Discuss!
11-Aug-2013 07:31 AM
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Kiu Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
Highly controversial subject!
11-Aug-2013 08:54 PM
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tossip Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
he is forgetting that tennis is a mental game and he can give pova all the ammunition he can but to execute this plan is another story...he had to describe Serena as a vicious player and that gives away his bias....
(This post was last modified: 12-Aug-2013 10:08 AM by tented.)
12-Aug-2013 06:46 AM
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britbox Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
He obviously meant vicious as a complement. He didn't say "vicious player" he said "vicious competitor". At least that's how I read it.
12-Aug-2013 06:50 AM
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kskate2 Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
I agree w/ Tossip as most of Maria's problem is mental. The only physical or technical change I would make to her game would be serve patterns. She's become very predictable and Serena picks her serve like strawberries.

I would like to see her come to the net more, but we've been asking this of her for years and honestly I don't see it happening. It's not her game and she doesn't seem all that likely to change it at this stage.
12-Aug-2013 07:47 AM
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the AntiPusher Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
(12-Aug-2013 07:47 AM)kskate2 Wrote:  I agree w/ Tossip as most of Maria's problem is mental. The only physical or technical change I would make to her game would be serve patterns. She's become very predictable and Serena picks her serve like strawberries.

I would like to see her come to the net more, but we've been asking this of her for years and honestly I don't see it happening. It's not her game and she doesn't seem all that likely to change it at this stage.

It's not her game and she doesn't seem all that likely to change it at this stage.
I thought about this also this weekend and I really don't see Maria becoming a serve and volley player for even 30 % of one of her matches but I do think that she can probably use this as a bit of a surprised tactic during a crucial part of a match. If this was Venus, Serena or even Errani(players that plays a lot of doubles) this could work but not Maria. I have stated numerous of times, Maria has a plan A, hit the ball hard, if plan A isn't working, Maria's plan B has always been to go for broke and hit the ball even harder. However, I could see a chip and charge approach shots being added to her game or any type of slice to create a change of pace.
12-Aug-2013 08:01 AM
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britbox Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
It's not her game and she doesn't seem all that likely to change it at this stage.

I'd disagree. It is her game and if she's looking to change the ongoing pattern against Serena then she's going to have to change things up.

If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work, but right now Maria is offering nothing different whatsoever and it's a predictable pattern toward defeat. She hasn't defeated Serena in years... and yet still continues with the same predictable approach to the matchup.
12-Aug-2013 08:11 AM
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kskate2 Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
Brit. You think coming to the net is Maria's game? She doesn't play doubles and she only comes forward when drawn in and even then it's a swing volley. She doesn't draw her player into the net. If she had it her way she would camp out on the baseline the entire match.

Of course if she wants to solve the Serena riddle she would need to change something. But don't you think Michael Joyce, her father and Hogstedt have tried to change things with her? Ultimately, it's up to Maria who she will listen to and what she will incorporate.
12-Aug-2013 08:17 AM
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britbox Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
(12-Aug-2013 08:17 AM)kskate2 Wrote:  Brit. You think coming to the net is Maria's game? She doesn't play doubles and she only comes forward when drawn in and even then it's a swing volley. She doesn't draw her player into the net. If she had it her way she would camp out on the baseline the entire match.

Of course if she wants to solve the Serena riddle she would need to change something. But don't you think Michael Joyce, her father and Hogstedt have tried to change things with her? Ultimately, it's up to Maria who she will listen to and what she will incorporate.

No, I don't think it's her natural game at all, and agree with your assessment of her net game. She's a Nick Bollettieri product.

But surely you lose consistently to one player for ten years and have to try something different? I'm not saying it would work, but what's the alternative? More of the same - regular beatdowns.

Maria has even said herself, she ignores coaches. Perhaps, that's part of the problem.
12-Aug-2013 08:29 AM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
He's spot on. Especially when it comes to facing the harsh realities of analysing videos of losing patterns, see where the pressure points are, what Maria does that doesn't work, what does work - and what Serena is doing better.

She has to move Serena out of her comfort zone, and the examples of Rafa and Chrissy are very instructive. Both re-booted their enterprise to counter a dominant foe. Chrissy threw out the make-up pack and started to sweat on court, bulked up and generally looked at how to move Martina out of her comfort zone. Agassi did a dimilar thing against Pete in Oz in 2000: he began to drill shots directly at Pete at the net, and generally try rough him up to make him less cocky on the big points.

It's necessary and if Maria waits for Serena to have an off-day, she may wait a long time. She has to face this problem head on and take up the challenge. Great article.

By the way, Tossip, make sure you read articles better in future. Your comment is not a healthy one.

Thanks to Johan Kriek for a great blog and tackling a hot topic in an instructive insightful way...
12-Aug-2013 08:52 AM
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RJD11 Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
So if Maria implements some of his strategies, or all,

I guess he doesn't think Serena is capable physically,

or mentally, of making adjustments.
(This post was last modified: 12-Aug-2013 12:01 PM by RJD11.)
12-Aug-2013 12:00 PM
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kskate2 Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
(12-Aug-2013 12:00 PM)RJD11 Wrote:  So if Maria implements some of his strategies, or all,

I guess he doesn't think Serena is capable physically,

or mentally, of making adjustments.

I don't think he's saying that. Serena is not the one w/ the issue. He's suggesting what Maria needs to do to try and get over the hump. If and when Maria institutes any change, I'm sure Serena and her coaches can game plan any necessary adjustments.
12-Aug-2013 12:20 PM
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Kieran Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
(12-Aug-2013 12:00 PM)RJD11 Wrote:  So if Maria implements some of his strategies, or all,

I guess he doesn't think Serena is capable physically,

or mentally, of making adjustments.

Why would Serena adjust a winning game?
12-Aug-2013 12:32 PM
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RJD11 Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
(12-Aug-2013 12:20 PM)kskate2 Wrote:  
(12-Aug-2013 12:00 PM)RJD11 Wrote:  So if Maria implements some of his strategies, or all,

I guess he doesn't think Serena is capable physically,

or mentally, of making adjustments.

I don't think he's saying that. Serena is not the one w/ the issue. He's suggesting what Maria needs to do to try and get over the hump. If and when Maria institutes any change, I'm sure Serena and her coaches can game plan any necessary adjustments.

You are right Kskate and I understand that. But that was my

point. That if Maria made significant changes to her game I'm

sure Serena would make the necessary adjustments.

sorry,I was being a little sarcastic. Coaches have been coming

up with things for years and I have to think the things he

mentioned has been thought of. And maybe even tried.
12-Aug-2013 01:37 PM
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kskate2 Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
(12-Aug-2013 01:37 PM)RJD11 Wrote:  
(12-Aug-2013 12:20 PM)kskate2 Wrote:  
(12-Aug-2013 12:00 PM)RJD11 Wrote:  So if Maria implements some of his strategies, or all,

I guess he doesn't think Serena is capable physically,

or mentally, of making adjustments.

I don't think he's saying that. Serena is not the one w/ the issue. He's suggesting what Maria needs to do to try and get over the hump. If and when Maria institutes any change, I'm sure Serena and her coaches can game plan any necessary adjustments.

You are right Kskate and I understand that. But that was my

point. That if Maria made significant changes to her game I'm

sure Serena would make the necessary adjustments.

sorry,I was being a little sarcastic. Coaches have been coming

up with things for years and I have to think the things he

mentioned has been thought of. And maybe even tried.

Well like I stated earlier, I'm sure Maria's other coaches all had advice for her on what she could do. Some of it may have been the things Johan mentions. We'll never be sure. What we do know is that through 3 coaches and 10 years of tour play, Maria could only muster 2 wins in 2004. Now you add in all the drama that has transpired w/ the Rollingstone article and we're not sure what kind of motivation it will give either player the next time they play each other.
(This post was last modified: 12-Aug-2013 03:35 PM by kskate2.)
12-Aug-2013 01:49 PM
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tossip Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
all these former players really want pova to beat Serena...for what,a coaching job or because they just dont want Serena winning a lot.
Serena has beaten a lot of these so called experts over and ova again...grown men have tried to outsmart Serena by giving their charges advice on court.The list of men that have lost to Serena is getting longer and longer...these are the high profile victims..Cahill,Hogstedt,Maria Jose Fernandes,Sanchez,Smuyk,Brad Gilbert and the next victim will be Jimbo...lol
(This post was last modified: 12-Aug-2013 03:36 PM by kskate2.)
12-Aug-2013 03:30 PM
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RJD11 Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
Coaching Against Serena Williams? Itâ€s Not Easy
By CRAIG O'SHANNESSY



What is it like to coach against the four-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams on Centre Court at the championships?

Well, itâ€s like experiencing a beautiful dream and a horrifying nightmare all at the same time.

Thatâ€s exactly what it was like Thursday for me as part of Melinda Czinkâ€s coaching team, with Williams winning 6-1, 6-4 in a second-round match she controlled from the first shot to the last.

I have coached against Novak Djokovic on center court at the Australian Open and against Rafael Nadal on center court at the Toronto Master,s and never have I felt that a match was played more on the opponentâ€s terms than the player I was coaching.

Williams has the ability to take the racket out of your hands, forcing you to react and counter rather than dictate and control.

Her main weapon is power, and the preferred delivery method is her serve.

Williams won the toss and elected to serve, and the first two points produced aces. She then dropped a 119 m.p.h. bomb down the T that Czink missed long with a forehand return. Thatâ€s world class, even on the menâ€s tour. James Blake, David Nalbandian, David Ferrer and Radek Stepanek also recorded 119 m.p.h. as their fastest serves in the opening round.

Williams hit her third ace of the game at 40-0, and just like that the first game was over and a statement had been made without a word being spoken.

My role with Melinda Czink is specifically strategic, and I work with her coach, Mark Gellard, to form a game plan that maximizes Melindaâ€s strengths and uncovesr the right way to exploit the opponentâ€s weaknesses.

Itâ€s all in the matchup, but Williamsâ€s power is a lethal weapon that can counter the best laid plans. Itâ€s hard to break serve when you are not allowed to hit the ball.

Williams hit 28 first serves in the match and won 27 of them. It was incredible how hard she was consistently hitting it, and how well she was hitting her spots.

It was the most dominant serving display I think I have ever seen – certainly on the womenâ€s tour.

Czinkâ€s tiny window of opportunity existed when Williams missed her first serve (16 times) and Czink got a look at the second serve.

But it proved to be only a slight downgrade in weaponry as Williams won 10 of 16 (63 percent) of her second-serve points as well. Czink was trying to step in and attack the second serve, which was definitely something we targeted before the match, but the depth, speed and kick of Serenaâ€s second serve made it very difficult to make any headway in this area as well.

Czink had to make an adjustment in the match to actually step back a little to create more time and space for the return.

Williams would end the match with 10 aces, including one on a second serve at 5-1 in the first set that kicked sharply off the line in a cloud of chalk.

She served only one double fault and did not have to face a break point on serve in the match.

Melindaâ€s loss was not because she was playing poorly, or not sticking to the game plan – it was because her opponent was not letting her play.

Williams was trying to keep the points as short and powerful as possible while Melinda was trying to develop the point more to create openings to attack. Williams ultimately won this battle as there were only three points out of 96 that got to 10 shots or more.

On the other end of the spectrum, 71 points (73 percent) were decided within the first three shots of the rally. Points came and went in the blink of an eye.

Ultimately Czink could not get into enough points to make Williams uncomfortable and start to erode her confidence. The pressure from Williams serving so well made it easier for her to be more aggressive in her return games and play even bigger once they did develop a rally.

I also worked with Melinda Czink at Wimbledon last year, when she upset world No. 10 Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-4 in the first round before losing to No. 20 Shuai Peng 6-2, 7-6 in the third round. My work behind the scenes crunching IBM match data and analyzing video creates a clear vision of how we want the match to unfold and areas of the court to attack.

On Thursday Serena Williamsâ€s power took over Centre Court, and the game plan became tough to implement. Some days you just have to say too good. Thursday, on the greatest court in the world, was one of those days.
(This post was last modified: 13-Aug-2013 02:28 PM by RJD11.)
12-Aug-2013 09:53 PM
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
(12-Aug-2013 09:53 PM)RJD11 Wrote:  Coaching Against Serena Williams? Itâ€s Not Easy
By CRAIG O'SHANNESSY



What is it like to coach against the four-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams on Centre Court at the championships?

Well, itâ€s like experiencing a beautiful dream and a horrifying nightmare all at the same time.

Thatâ€s exactly what it was like Thursday for me as part of Melinda Czinkâ€s coaching team, with Williams winning 6-1, 6-4 in a second-round match she controlled from the first shot to the last.

I have coached against Novak Djokovic on center court at the Australian Open and against Rafael Nadal on center court at the Toronto Master,s and never have I felt that a match was played more on the opponentâ€s terms than the player I was coaching.

Williams has the ability to take the racket out of your hands, forcing you to react and counter rather than dictate and control.

Her main weapon is power, and the preferred delivery method is her serve.

Williams won the toss and elected to serve, and the first two points produced aces. She then dropped a 119 m.p.h. bomb down the T that Czink missed long with a forehand return. Thatâ€s world class, even on the menâ€s tour. James Blake, David Nalbandian, David Ferrer and Radek Stepanek also recorded 119 m.p.h. as their fastest serves in the opening round.

Williams hit her third ace of the game at 40-0, and just like that the first game was over and a statement had been made without a word being spoken.

My role with Melinda Czink is specifically strategic, and I work with her coach, Mark Gellard, to form a game plan that maximizes Melindaâ€s strengths and uncovesr the right way to exploit the opponentâ€s weaknesses.

Itâ€s all in the matchup, but Williamsâ€s power is a lethal weapon that can counter the best laid plans. Itâ€s hard to break serve when you are not allowed to hit the ball.

Williams hit 28 first serves in the match and won 27 of them. It was incredible how hard she was consistently hitting it, and how well she was hitting her spots.

It was the most dominant serving display I think I have ever seen – certainly on the womenâ€s tour.

Czinkâ€s tiny window of opportunity existed when Williams missed her first serve (16 times) and Czink got a look at the second serve.

But it proved to be only a slight downgrade in weaponry as Williams won 10 of 16 (63 percent) of her second-serve points as well. Czink was trying to step in and attack the second serve, which was definitely something we targeted before the match, but the depth, speed and kick of Serenaâ€s second serve made it very difficult to make any headway in this area as well.

Czink had to make an adjustment in the match to actually step back a little to create more time and space for the return.

Williams would end the match with 10 aces, including one on a second serve at 5-1 in the first set that kicked sharply off the line in a cloud of chalk.

She served only one double fault and did not have to face a break point on serve in the match.

Melindaâ€s loss was not because she was playing poorly, or not sticking to the game plan – it was because her opponent was not letting her play.

Williams was trying to keep the points as short and powerful as possible while Melinda was trying to develop the point more to create openings to attack. Williams ultimately won this battle as there were only three points out of 96 that got to 10 shots or more.

On the other end of the spectrum, 71 points (73 percent) were decided within the first three shots of the rally. Points came and went in the blink of an eye.

Ultimately Czink could not get into enough points to make Williams uncomfortable and start to erode her confidence. The pressure from Williams serving so well made it easier for her to be more aggressive in her return games and play even bigger once they did develop a rally.

I also worked with Melinda Czink at Wimbledon last year, when she upset world No. 10 Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-4 in the first round before losing to No. 20 Shuai Peng 6-2, 7-6 in the third round. My work behind the scenes crunching IBM match data and analyzing video creates a clear vision of how we want the match to unfold and areas of the court to attack.

On Thursday Serena Williamsâ€s power took over Centre Court, and the game plan became tough to implement. Some days you just have to say too good. Thursday, on the greatest court in the world, was one of those days.

All I can say is Wow. When they are doing the oncourt coaching do can the other player hear what the coach is saying to their opponent?
13-Aug-2013 06:54 AM
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britbox Offline
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
(12-Aug-2013 03:30 PM)tossip Wrote:  all these former players really want pova to beat Serena...for what,a coaching job or because they just dont want Serena winning a lot.
Serena has beaten a lot of these so called experts over and ova again...grown men have tried to outsmart Serena by giving their charges advice on court.The list of men that have lost to Serena is getting longer and longer...these are the high profile victims..Cahill,Hogstedt,Maria Jose Fernandes,Sanchez,Smuyk,Brad Gilbert and the next victim will be Jimbo...lol

Erm, the post was about "countering dominance" - that was the whole thrust of it. If he'd used a different example then I suspect you'd have seen that as a slight on Serena, because the Serena/Maria matchup is obviously the glaring example of near total dominance.

To give a very basic analogy, if you can't do arithmetic and fail a test on a "2+2" question where you've answered 5... you wouldn't keep answering 5 on subsequent tests. You'd try something else... it might not work, but it's more logical than trying the same thing over and over and failing.

Let's be realistic - where has Maria ever come out with a significantly different gameplan to tackling Serena?
13-Aug-2013 07:23 AM
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RE: Johan Kriek on Maria's Serena conundrum.
Well the thing Maria really needs to focus on is her serving which was Jimbo's weakest part of his game, so I doubt he is able to help her much there aside from directing her to switch it up there. However, Serena is a smart cookie, and she figures things out and adapts very quickly to her matches. The problem for me in this match up is anything Maria could throw at Serena in terms of consistency and different looks would only work for so long as like I said Serena does learn and adapt better than any player. I think that is the one thing players and coaches fail to realize about Serena, and she gets very little credit for fine tuning her game as she needs to with opponents.
13-Aug-2013 08:59 AM
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