The unusual but brutal backhand of Elina Svitolina

Elina Svitolina is a player I have watched for about 4/5 years. I’ve always had her down as an all-rounder which isn’t a bad thing but over the last year her weapons have become more dangerous and none other than the backhand.

The two handed backhand is one of my favourite shots in tennis it is so beautiful and brutal at the same time but can be dangerous if the timing is off but watching Elina pull this shot off time and time again you have to watch and applaud.

I used the word unusual in the title and this is a compliment to Elina for the shot she plays.

Majority of players play this backhand with the body up-right and the racket swinging from behind the body and around side on but with Elina her backhand is different the swing is at an angle and the contact with the ball to the racket leaves a bigger margin for error as she hits it on the top of the racket as you can see below.


The balance on her foot is so delicate and to get this contact spot on which she does so well is a credit to her and pulling off this winner down the line makes it more special.

Hitting the ball close to the top of the racket is dangerous but when it’s executed perfectly as she does so well and often the contact could not be better.


Another one in the second set, leaning on that foot and crouching forward to pick her shot and she did it so perfectly and the follow through on the racket head with it right up and side on following that movement from the backhand connection.

As well as this backhand to produce winners she also uses a more generic backhand but it is so nice to watch a different shot.

With this shot and her other weapons she is a dangerous wherever she plays and with two big titles to her name already she is one to watch at Indian Wells and beyond!



Which ladies will star at Tennis Paradise?

Expect the unexpected at Indian Wells. Often described as the 5th Grand Slam this is always an opportunity to go big. 2018 celebrates 10 years since this tournament became a Premier Mandatory on the WTA tour and in the previous 9 tournaments there has only been one multiple champion that being Victoria Azarenka and oh yeah, she’ll be there!

The pressure is there for the top ranked players on the tour and it’s an equal pressure to do well and all will have an eye on the draw especially with Serena and Vika back in the mix.

Serena has arrived!

Serena has been on site for a few days. The 22 time Grand Slam champion who won Indian Wells in 2001 for the first and only time has been practicing as she posted on snapchat. Serena only returned a few years ago to Indian Wells along with sister Venus after the racist abuse they both suffered in 2001.

The crowds are going to flood in for the appearance of Serena back on a competitive tennis court and the support I imagine will be like something we have never seen before

Vika can play!

Part of the rules under the custody battle Victoria Azarenka has been in says she can’t leave California with her son Leo. However Indian Wells is in California so all noise suggests participation is likely. She won Indian Wells back in 2016 and I am surprised she has not opted to play the Indian Wells 125k event this week just to build up match fitness.

va sw

Battle for No.1

Two former champions. Wozniacki in 2011 and Halep in 2014 will battle for world number one once again but if you ask both I’m sure they’d rather take the title here in Indian Wells. Both have been playing some good tennis this season and I’d expect them to continue this here. Halep is back at world number one and with the way she has been playing with the intensity on court I’d say pressure is on her!

Eli and Garbine

Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza are two to watch here. The heat could be an issue for them but watching Elina in Dubai I was really impressed with the way she composed herself on court on route to another title this year. I do feel that if both want to succeed her in Indian Wells they might need to be a bit more pro-active and on the front foot earlier.

Sharapova’s chances

Tennis moves on. I said this after her defeat to Kerber in Melbourne. Kerber was brutal and Sharapova was answerless. I question why there hasn’t been any changes to her game when she was banned as the game adapts and I don’t see her a contender here. I recently watched her play Monica Niculescu and I remember writing that it got unnecessarily messy very quickly and despite being a two time champion I can’t see her adding to her trophy cabinet here.


Title defended! Svitolina wins Dubai again!

Elina Svitolina has firmly put her name in winners circle for Indian Wells and Miami with her title defence in Dubai.

Elina didn’t drop a set against Osaka, Kerber and Kasatkina on her way to her winning her 11th career.

All week the Ukrainian number one has been in fine form and has looked comfortable and in the zone.

So far this year she already has two Premier titles to her name in Brisbane and now Dubai securing more Top 10 wins and looks set for another strong year on the tour.

The next few weeks will be interesting as there is a pressure on those at the top to perform at Indian Wells and Miami as ever but then the adaption to clay court will be something to look at going forward.

One aspect of her game I loved watching this week was her backhand but I will come onto that in a piece over the next few days as well as looking at what to expect from Elina for this year.


Svitolina 6-3 6-0 Allertova – No nonsense, ruthless and brilliant!

Not many tennis matches begin just after midnight but that was the case for Elina Svitolina and Denisa Allertova after a marathon day on Rad Laver Arena but after a shaky opening game from the Ukrainian it was a no nonsense business as usual match by the fourth seed.

It can be difficult to prepare for such a late match when a start time is so unknown and to start that late at night or early in the morning depending on how you look at it can be tough but she had no issues.

I don’t think all-court players sometimes get the credit and recognition they deserve and Elina has always been so dangerous but has channelled it all into this solid game and I’d love to see her pick up the title here, it will be a monumental effort but she is in the winners circle right now!





Australian Open Day 5 – Jo and Nick put on a show! Business as usual for Svitolina and Wozniacki!

We are nearly half way through the Australian Open. Today saw the hottest day of the championships reaching 42 degrees on court which is mad but it didn’t stop the usual suspects from doing their thing.

Svitolina and Wozniacki progress untroubled!

Elina Svitolina played in the heat of the day but it didn’t seem to bother her at all. The Ukranian saw off her fellow countrywoman 6-2 6-2 in around an hour to book her place in the fourth round and is on course to make the semi-finals without having to play a seeded player.

Caroline Wozniacki was the last lady on court today in Melbourne which means when she made it onto court it was only about 20 degrees. However the Dane was ready and from the get go Wozniacki just took control and it was a joy to watch her play like that.

Hat’s off gents!

Once this tournament is all over we will look back at the matches of the tournament and not much will top Jo v Nick. These two left it all out on court and even though it was a very intense four set match they had fun and shared a lovely embrace at the net after.

Before the match Nick was saying how he looked up to Tsonga when he was a kid and followed his practices and matches during Jo’s run to the final in Melbourne in 2008.

The performance from both was exceptional but I felt it was a statement from Nick which said I’m here to win, he has fun and gets frustrated but his tennis today was exceptional!




Australian Open Day 1 – Bencic stuns, Grigor and Rafa cruise but top American’s fall!

The Australian Open never fails to deliver and on day 1 we saw some surprises and of course upsets as the seasons major opener got under way at Melbourne Park

American Wipe-out!

The day began with 13 American’s taking court in Melbourne and the number 13 ended up being unlucky for with only 3 American’s progressing to round two. Incredibly the day saw Jack Sock, Coco Vandeweghe, John Isner, Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams amongst others lose with the only winners being Ryan Harrison, Nicole Gibbs and 22 year old qualifier Mackenzie McDonald!

Venus out! Bencic through!

Belinda Bencic’ comeback from injury has been exceptional. The Swiss star has battled hard on the tour winning a long streak of matches before joining up with Roger Federer in Perth where they won the Hopman Cup but has now fully announced her return with this big win against last years Runner up!

Welcome Rafa!

After a few months off the world number one looks very sharp and was very impressive in his 6-1 6-1 6-1 victory against Estrella Burgos. The biggest cheer of the evening in Australia was when Nadal’s serve was broken by Burgos but nothing was stopping this man in his quest for another title down under!


Marathon wins for youngsters!

Kevin Anderson and David Ferrer came up against Kyle Edmund and Andrey Rublev respectively but their time in Australia has been short lived for this year as the Brit and the Russian managed to construct good solid wins against two tour regulars who know what it takes to go deep in majors!

Business as usual!

On a day of a few surprises there were wins for Wozniacki and Svitolina (who were both very impressive). Dimitrov was also in action winning 3,2 and 1 as well as wins for Ostapenko, Kyrgios and Cilic whilst tour veteran Victor Troicki had to come from two sets down but also a shoutout to Monica Puig who fought incredibly hard against home favourite Sam Stosur to come through in three sets.

Day 2 will see Sharapova, Djokovic, Federer and many more in action!



New ladies champion in Melbourne?

On Monday it begins. 128 ladies will begin the fight for the first major of the year. Only 2 of the 128 have lifted this title before them being Angelique Kerber back in 2016 and Maria Sharapova 10 years in 2008 so are we due a new champion? I believe so, but who?

Caroline Wozniacki

As the world number one back in 2011 Caroline did make it to the semi-final in Melbourne before being defeated by Li Na who then lost to Kim Clijsters in the final. Since her semi-final appearance in 2011 she has only made the second week once in the last 6 years and that was in 2012.

Statistically it is her second best major but she hasn’t had much success here in recent times and with a surprise defeat to Georges in Auckland you never know what might happen. The draw has been favourable for Caroline and pushing on from Singapore is the challenge this year.

Elina Svitolina

Elina is in good form, the all court player won Brisbane to start the year and is now looking a contender in Melbourne.

The weather isn’t great at this point but when it does get very hot that endurance will be key and Elina has the ability to really push during these conditions. She hasn’t made it past the third round but after her run in Brisbane.

Venus Williams

Not many players have more experience in Melbourne than Venus. She was a finalist in 2003 and in 2017 but is yet to pick up the title and last years run in Melbourne was one of the stories of the year so could she further that story this year? I wouldn’t read too much into the early exit against Kerber in Sydney as Venus always performs when it matters!

Garbine Muguruza

Two time major champion in Paris and London I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere down the line she adds Melbourne to that list, will she do it this year? I’m not sure.

Following her exit from Brisbane there has been no tennis since for the two major champion who pulled out of Sydney with a thigh injury and retired in Brisbane with cramp to begin the year.

Karolina Pliskova

Pliskova did ok in Brisbane but I still think we are way off winning a major still, I think she will be a contender at Wimbledon but a ruthlessness is still missing in her game and it let her down in Brisbane against Svitolina who asked question and should have had the answers but didn’t seem to want it as much.

Simona Halep

And finally the world number one. Halep is yet to win a major and the pressure is on her as the top seed. The draw has not been kind to her at all with a potential match against Kvitova in round three. If she were to get to the final she might have to defeat Kvitova, Pliskova and Muguruza on route which would be very tough and unlikely despite her win in Dubai.

caro 1