Ana’s game examined

Ana’s game examined

Jason Fransen, a coach to several ATP and WTA professionals, saw Ana in action for the first time during the Pacific Life Open, his home tournament. He was kind enough to share with us his analysis of Ana’s game. Please note that the opinions that follow are Fransen’s and are completely independent of this website:

“I watched Ana for the first time against Shenay Perry then again when she played Elena Dementieva. What impressed me most were her smooth strokes. She hits the ball so gracefully: it was good to see.

“She stood way into the court to receive second serves and attacked Perry’s really well. Standing so close in against Dementieva probably caused the Russian to serve so many double faults, so that was another good tactic.

“I am told that Ana is known for having a huge forehand, that it’s her biggest weapon. I would like to see more shoulder rotation when she plays the shot. She doesn’t use her left hand to take the racket back, which means that her shoulder isn’t tucked under her chin, which doesn’t allow for as much torque as it could. On the backhand there’s great rotation. I think it’s her most dependable shot.

“I am a big fan of her backhand, not just the driven backhand but her backhand slice. It’s a gorgeous shot that keeps the ball very low and Perry at least could not handle it. She really outplayed Perry in every way. That impressed me because the stadium was just dead. Everyone had gone home after the Agassi-Haas match and it was almost empty. Those were very, very easy conditions to lose one’s focus, but Ana’s concentration didn’t waiver.

“What I did like about her forehand was that she varies it well. Usually she’ll hit drives but sometimes she imparts so much spin on the ball that the racket follows through over her head, like Rafael Nadal.

“She could do with adding more shoulder turn on the serve too, which would add perhaps 5mph in pace to her deliveries. I like her second serve, it has a lot of kick which women players often find difficult to return.

“I’d like to see her not get so flustered. Even against Perry, whom she was beating easily, she got mad at herself when she was broken. I don’t like to see players get frustrated with themselves. Too often it can lead to a breakdown in their game.

“Something else I think she can improve on is the way she watches the ball. When she’s under pressure she seems to be looking at the target instead of the ball, which isn’t the right thing to do.

“Against Dementieva Ana’s level in the first set was so high. She was just ripping forehands! In fact, her level was so high that it wasn’t a surprise that it dropped because it’s just so difficult to maintain that quality of tennis for more than a set.

“Ana moves forward well. She has a strong, muscular build and kind of reminds me of Jennifer Capriati, the way she moves around the court. She’s fast, moves well and is quite athletic but she still looks very feminine. Just by watching her for half an hour you can tell that she loves to compete.

“She has tonnes of potential. It’s good that she’s doing well now, but it’s also exciting that she has room for growth and improvement.”

Interview by Gavin Versi