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Navratilova: Kvitova can learn from Sharapova

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Originally published on: 26/06/12 00:00

Martina Navratilova believes that Petra Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion, can learn from Maria Sharapova’s example that it is never too late to add extra dimensions to your game.

Navratilova was impressed with the way that Sharapova improved her movement on clay to such an extent that she won the French Open. “Maria didn’t get that sliding backhand by accident,” Navratilova said. “I’m sure she practised it time and time again. I haven’t talked to her, but I guarantee that’s what she did because now it looks as if she’s been doing it her whole life. So you can totally change your game.

“She’s moving better. She’s got better with her footwork on clay. That doesn’t really translate on to the grass that much, but she’s just better, period, at movement, and her serve is better than last year. She’s less predictable. Now she mixes her serve up better and the double faults are not an issue, so she’s a better player.”

Navratilova thinks that Kvitova could also make improvements to her movement. “I think she just needs to get a little lighter on her feet,” she said. “It’s so easy to fall back on that and think: ‘I can just power through this.’ Well you can four out of five times, but the fifth time it’s going to go out and on clay that doesn’t win and in the wind that doesn’t win.

“When things go your way, great, but when they don’t that’s when perfect technique comes in handy and perfect footwork. You don’t have to be a Nadal or a Djokovic, but I would definitely watch tapes of them and try to emulate that.”

Who does Navratilova see as the biggest threats to Kvitova this year? “Sam Stosur should be, but she’s got a horrible record at Wimbledon. Maybe she’ll figure it out. Of course, Serena Williams is the best grass-court player out there. Her game is perfect for the surface. She doesn’t have to move that much and her serve is huge, she’s a great competitor. Azarenka, maybe. She had a three-setter against Kvitova in the semis last year, so that’s kind of a toss-up. Depends how the draw plays out, but I think Sharapova’s going to be hot, so I think it’ll be the same old, same old – Azarenka, Serena Williams and Sharapova.”

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