'Two Drop Shots All Year': Navratilova Highlights How Swiatek Can Improve

'Two Drop Shots All Year': Navratilova Highlights How Swiatek Can Improve

by Nurein Ahmed

She may have won a tour-leading six WTA titles and finished the year as No. 1 for a second time, but Iga Swiatek has room for improvement, according to Martina Navratilova.

The 67-year-old tennis icon spoke to WTAtennis.com and was amazed by the turnaround the Polish star managed to produce after the US Open, going 11-0 in the final two tournaments and finishing with a flourish. Swiatek regained the No. 1 ranking she lost momentarily to Aryna Sabalenka in New York.

Navratilova reckons Swiatek has "gotten better" but accentuated the key areas she can work on during preseason. There are no stains to Swiatek's baseline game according to the 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, but wants to see her incorporate volleys, notably the "transition volley."

"It was amazing the way she came back after the US Open, where by her own admission she was tired. And then she pulls an 11-0 finish out of the hat. I hope she takes a good vacation and gets herself ready for next year."

"The thing I’d target is getting to the net. I mean, she’s gotten better but there’s still a long way to go on the volley front, particularly that first volley - the transition volley, which is probably the most difficult shot in the game."

Navratilova, who is one of the most intelligent pundits around, also wants to see the 22-year-old add more pace to her serve and mentioned the importance of using a drop shot. She explains that because Swiatek tends to pin opponents well behind the baseline due to her mammoth topspin, she could reap off big with a drop shot.

"I think that’s where she can improve the most. Iga still has a tendency to run back to the baseline when she really should be going forward. And if she gets that going? Watch out."

"She can still get a few more mph on her serve, too. The groundstrokes are solid as a rock. And the drop shot - I think she had something like two drop shots all year. When she adds that and uses it at the right time - because with her topspin she really pushes people back behind the baseline - she’ll be even more deadly."

Swiatek finished the 2023 season with 68 match wins and six titles, more than any WTA player. Remarkably, she had one more than during her career-best year in 2022 when she won two Slams. Additionally, she was the highest prize money earner on the women's tour, banking $9,857,686.


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