Pliskova on the Rise
I’ve written a few blogs now about the importance of coaching, and also about the need for more women’s coaches. So, you can imagine I was pretty happy to see Karolina Pliskova winning the Italian Open with the help of her coach and legendary tennis player Conchita Martinez. For those of you that don’t know who Conchazazita is, she was a top player in the 90s, and was the first Spanish woman to win Wimbledon in 1994. Beating none other than Martina Navratilova in the final.
Conchita was always a smart and consistent player. She went on to win 33 WTA titles and finished the year in the top 10 nine years from 1989 to 2000. That’s pretty spectacular in my book. She was also a very decent doubles player reaching the finals of the French Open twice and finishing top ten three times. As Spaniards usually are, Conchita was superb on the clay, which is why I think Pliskova was able to be so successful under her tutelage at the Italian Open. Pliskova has always been a favorite of mine because of her long, smooth effortless strokes. I’ve said before she reminds me of Lindsay Devenport or the other spectacular Czech, Petra Kvitova. Pliskova also has a deadly first serve, and it served her well on the clay in Rome.
When it was all said and done, Pliskova got through Kenin, Azarenka, Sakkari, and Konta in the final. Out of all those matches, her ability to take out Sakkari was most impressive. Sakkari was playing out of her mind during this tournament, taking out Kontaveit in the round of 16 and then a rising Mladenovic in the quarters. Mladenovic was no easy task either. She’s been playing great now that she’s under Osaka’s old coach, Sascha Bajin. Again, not to reiterate the importance of coaching here. But do we see a trend?
I’d be looking to see Pliskova go deep in the French Open, as well as Sakkari, and Mladenovic. Of course, there’s always the threat from Halep and Svitolina on this surface. However, they’re not playing to their usual level. It will be exciting to see nonetheless.