Watching Ana ivanovic v Serena I felt I noticed really good footwork. Particularly in changing direction. Something the men are much better at. It might just be that she wasn’t being pushed around enough and thus exposed but it felt like she was just nimble. Not something I associate with Ana in recent years. Back in 2008 she seemed similarly confident. That’s what comes when you’re able to get in position all the time.
I’ve been wondering for a long time what exactly makes the men’s game so much more of a spectacle than the women’s. I realised recently that it is footwork. Particularly the ability to change direction. I’ve heard that the top women can hit hard enough, play the spins etc and when you get a good match between one of the top 10 it can almost reach the quality of the men’s.
Though it rarely lasts. At the slams it becomes so obvious because you switch between men’s and women’s matches all the time and the comparison is completely fair. They are playing on the same courts, time zone, weather etc. yet a shot that’s just a rally ball on the men’s tour goes for a clean winner in the women’s all because the women can’t change direction quickly enough to get there.
That’s why I’m looking for women players who move well. When you consider other sports like gymnastics where women are incredibly nimble and powerful you realise there is no question the women can match the men. I just wished they realised it themselves.
I’m watching Wawrinka v robredo right now. The power, the attack and the defense all come from their feet. Both can get anywhere on court and back almost instantly. They do it many times every point. This is common on the men’s tour.
It’s also the biggest improvement I have made to my game. Not running fast in one direction or for a long time but changing direction quickly. Making sure I’m in the best position to both attack and defend.
So I Hope what I saw in Ana’s footwork, and the cat like approach of Sloane Stephens are a sign of things to come.