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Wade: Radwanska “could definitely” win a slam


 

Originally published on: 15/05/12 00:00

How different would Agnieszka Radwanska’s season look this week were it not for Victoria Azarenka?

Last week, the Pole lost to the world No.1 for the sixth time this year in the semi-finals in Madrid, adding to earlier defeats to the Belarusian in the semi-finals in Stuttgart, Doha and Sydney and the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and Indian Wells. Azarenka aside, the only blotch on Radwanska’s copybook came in a quarter-final exit in Kuala Lumpur in March, but only because a right elbow injury prevented her from taking to court. In February, the 23-year-old Krakow native beat three top 20 players to reign in Dubai before bettering world No.7 Marion Bartoli and three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova in back-to-back matches to win her biggest title yet, and the ninth of her career, at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. 

Radwanska, like her friend Caroline Wozniacki, has been coached by her father, Robert, for much of her life but this year she decided to leave him at home. She now works with Tomasz Wiktorowski, Poland’s Fed Cup captain, and Borna Bikic, who used to coach Jelena Dokic, and climbed to a career-high No.3 in the world last week. She’s won 32 of 38 matches in 2012, and has drawn a fair share of praise from those within the game as a result.  

“I’m absolutely thrilled that Radwanska’s doing so well,” said British pundit and three-time Grand Slam champion Virginia Wade, who believes that the quietly assured Pole offers something different to her fellow players at the top of the women’s game.

“She’s not a mega star, strutting around like she owns the world, but if you watch her she’s magnetic. She chases everything down but yet she’s not really a defensive player. She’s always in the right place and she has amazing instincts.” 

Radwanska has never been beyond the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam and will be looking to surpass her fourth round best at the French Open later this month. She’s just 5’8", but while Radwanska is the only one of the current top-four ranked players in the women’s game to measure under six-foot, that doesn’t mean she can’t compete on the biggest stage, insists Wade.

“She uses her legs so well to withhold the power from the other players. A lot of taller girls don’t use their legs and get down but she does,” said the 1977 Wimbledon champion. “She’s so smart. She’s worked really hard on developing her serve and she can tie anybody up in knots. I’m not thinking of her being No.1 in the world but I think she could definitely win a Grand Slam.”

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