Sam Stosur must improve to return to winner’s circle
The way to look at Sam Stosur is as a work in progress. Yes, she won the US Open.
But coach David Taylor and I believe manager Paul Kilderry are trying things with Sam at the moment which will see her lose some matches now but become an all-round champion in years to come.
I spotted the following in her Dubai loss to Jelena Jankovic (who incidentally has made changes to her serve and other parts of her game and deserved the win):
• She tried to get to the net to volley but her form in getting to the ball, carriage of the racquet, the fundamentals of the volley itself and her poor seeing/watching of the ball hurt her.
• Her sliced backhand has become deplorable. She cuts her backswing and stabs at the ball.
• Her top-spin backhand needs huge work to be any kind of weapon.
• She tried valiantly to hit half-volleys off the forehand side with power but overswung and didn’t stay down through the shot or see the ball long enough.
She needs live drills with someone like Taylor/Kilderry where she completes the backswing and the follow-through on her volleys to both sides, practises lobs to forehand and backhand side and directly overhead and she needs to play a guy in these sessions who can outmanoeuvre her so she can learn to be more versatile.
She is often poor in a strategy sense, and she doesn’t attack her opponents’ weaknesses enough. With Jankovic she was trying things, I understand that, but on 10 occasions I saw her overplay forehands out of court by going for 100 percent.
She often hits her shots, serve included, with that 100 percent effort, when 90-95 with a quiet (still) head and deadly placement would be more than adequate.
But she is a great physical specimen, has a great heart and is gracious in defeat.
I’d much prefer she was gracious in victory. That will come if the above is attended to.