Maria Sharapova’s Video Analysis

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

In the last few months, Maria Sharapova has hired a video-analysis expert to help her beat Serena Williams:

O’Shannessy’s videos show patterns that work — and fail — against Williams. He calls the open court “an illusion,” because Williams excels at being aggressive while moving to the open court. The solution: Hit behind Williams as often as possible, forcing her to move in one direction, reset her feet, and then go back in the other direction.

Opponents look to attack Williams’s forehand crosscourt, since that’s where she makes most of her errors. Still, Sharapova too often takes risks down the line, O’Shannessy said, especially from defensive positions. And she hits too many backhands from the middle of the court, when she has time to sidestep and hit forehands.

This isn’t the first time Sharapova has relied on video. At the 2006 U.S. Open, she went into the final against Justine Henin having lost their last four matches, including their semifinal at that year’s Australian Open. Joyce’s father, a former photography director for television shows such as “Little House on the Prairie” and “CHiPs,” scoured Henin video to suggest tactics for Sharapova.

“Henin had extreme grips,” Joyce said. “My dad said, ‘If Maria can hit down the middle and make her switch grips as often as possible, she’ll get more errors.’” Sharapova won, 6-4, 6-4.


  1. Dan Kurt says:

    When will tennis drug-testing bring down these steroid, growth hormone, blood doping wonders? Just asking.

  2. Isegoria says:

    Apparently you’re not the only one to think that tennis has a steroid problem. (Hat tip to Wobbly.)

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