Ana's forehand analysed

Ana's forehand analysed

Pros and pundit’s talk about Ana’s groundstrokes, in particular her mighty forehand

Chris Bradnam, Eurosport commentator
“I personally think that Ana’s forehand comes alive when she’s moving around the ball. When the ball’s coming down the middle of the court and she has to move to her left to play the shot, she’s different class. She’s taking the ball on the rise and it’s just devastating.

“I’ve commented on a number of her matches and I’ve really studied it. When she is returning the serve, moving to her left and hitting the in-to-out forehand, she can hit winners anytime.

“The modern game is a lot more about open stance. It’s all about hips and upper body and you can see that in Ana’s strokes.”

Sarah Borwell, Briton who lost 6-1, 6-2 to Ana in the second round of Wimbledon in June
“I had never played anyone of that standard before. I’d never seen the ball come at me that hard before, so it was a bit difficult.

“I was hitting possibly the hardest serves I could, and she was just putting them past me.

“She’s amazing how she takes it on. You never know which way she’s gonna hit the ball, but as soon as she does, it’s past you.

“As soon as I got into the warm-up and I saw the way she hit it and pushed me back straightaway, I realized it was gonna be quite tough.”

Martina Hingis, who lost 6-2, 6-3 to Ana in the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal in August
“She was hitting not just in the middle of the court but also her forehand it was just like winners, winners. I tried to keep it deep but even she stepped away and boom, some very good, really close to the lines and I had difficulty trying to read her game.”

Novak Djokovic, Ana’s mixed doubles partner in the Hopman Cup and Australian Open in January
“Her forehand is really good. For women’s tennis it’s one of the best.”

David Taylor, Ana’s coach
“Her forehand is already one of the most dangerous shots in the world.”

...and finally, BBC commentator John Barrett talking about how television viewers can learn by watching the pros
“The thing to do is always to watch one player only – not the ball. See how they move, see how they prepare for their shots early, see how they anticipate: they’re always reading signals from their opponent. It’s no good just watching the ball.

“Secondly, you should see how professionals, between points, are never rushed. All too often young players get themselves into trouble by rushing around between points without pausing to think what they’re doing.

“The professional will be thinking before the next point exactly what she wants to do, whether she’s receiving – in which case she will take her time, get set and ready to think about the likely direction of the serve from the signals she’s noticed by watching the toss of the other player. When she’s serving she’ll bounce the ball, at which time she’s painting a picture in her mind of where she’s going to serve, and programming herself to do just that.

Also, you should watch what the players do at the change of ends. You’ll see that they carry large bags onto court, within which there are all the things that they need, so they’re always well prepared. Being a professional means you have to be prepared for every eventuality, be it a change of rackets, plasters or new shoes.”

Interviews by Gavin Versi