Wimbledon 2019: Barbora Strycova - the net striker
Boris Becker is omnipresent in Wimbledon. As a contact for former protégés such as Novak Djokovic, but also as a TV expert, and if you listen to him in this role, then the 51-year-old seems a bit disappointed. The pros avoid attacks on his beloved lawn, avoiding the aggressive Becker game, because the rubber is now slower and the balls jump higher in the final stages of the tournament than years ago. Serve-and-Volley, the direct attack after a serve, has long ceased to be a game-critical tool.
In the women's semifinals Becker, three-time London champion, should come at his expense. The Czech Barbora Strycova lies the game on grass. Unlike her competitors, she storms the net because she likes her strengths better. And she will need them in the semi-final against Serena Williams on Thursday.
55 times on the net - in just two sentences
Strycova has a lot of ball feeling, her volleys are played with care. Also in doubles, where she celebrated her biggest success so far, she is on the side of the Taiwanese Su-like Hsieh in the semifinals. Eight tournament victories in the individual stand against 43 titles in doubles. That's probably where their affinity for network attacks comes from. In double, the players act alone because of their basic positions ahead. So Strycova appeared in the clear two-set victory against the German Laura Siegemund 55 times on the net. By comparison, her semi-final opponent, Serena Williams, dared only 14 times in three straight sets against Alison Riske.
The changes of the game have besides the condition of the places still further reasons. Fewer professionals count the impact in their repertoire to the most important blow, the volleys are neglected, instead, the focus is placed in training early on a good return. This is also very important in Wimbledon. Roy Emerson, twelve-time Grand Slam winner from Australia, recently lamented the lack of training of tennis talents. Therefore, so the 82-year-old, also suffer "the beauty of the game".
While in former times almost exclusively strong players in Wimbledon dominated, today determine the Returnspieler the happening. Last year saw the triumph of two professionals, Angelique Kerber and Novak Djokovic, who do not define themselves over the serve or a solid volley. Strycova could do something about it this year.
Victoria Jones / DPA
At the age of 33 for the first time in a single semi-final of a Grand Slam: Barbora Strycova.
Against Konta and Bertens no sentence delivered
The 33-year-old, who is in the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, has defeated well-known players in the rounds. Against the British tennis hope Johanna Konta and the Mitfavoritin Kiki Bestens she did not make a sentence. Now with Serena Williams an even bigger challenge awaits Strycova.
The US-American had to struggle in the run-up to the tournament with big problems. Most recently she had failed in Paris in the third round. But on the way to her 24th Grand Slam victory, the 37-year-old seems to remember her strengths in time. Above all, their serve should decide on the outcome of the game. If Strycova succeeds in defusing him, she could endanger Williams with her courageous game.
It is already the fourth duel of the two in a Grand Slam tournament. Not one of them could decide the Czech. With success Strycova would probably make happy also Boris Becker and his former rival John McEnroe. He recently said that "Wimbledon is no longer Wimbledon". With their game Strycova wants to change that, at least for a short time.