Tall Chinese leftie Xiyu Wang (*2001 / CHN) is an upcoming young player with tremendous potential. Just a few days ago, she captured in New York the 2018 US Open Junior Girls’ title (finals win against Burel/FRA) and this, together with her other excellent junior results, brought her onto the position of the #1 at the ITF Junior Girls’ ranking (as of September 10, 2018). Besides that, she has won two titles at the ITF Future events in the US$ 25’000 category this past summer as well already and this helped her to the current top 250 WTA ranking.
Wang has an almost ideal tennis body with long extremities. For her age, she has already quite highly developed tactical playing varieties and is well capable of an attacking all-court game, which she applied quite successfully also during her recent US Open campaign. Her overall tactical possibilities are then in my opinion slightly limited by certain technical weaknesses in her strokes. In this article, I would like to look at her forehand. Wang is playing her forehand in a very aggressive manner, but this stroke is prone to rather frequent mistakes, mainly due to the quite clearly visible overactivity in the elbow, which is often limiting the possibility of an ideal body energy unloading and thus leading to both limited power and reduced control of the stroke. This weakness is then quite typical with many, mainly young players, who are missing the proper understanding of the ideal helix form of the Tennis 3.0 strokes, which are becoming more and more to the decisive benchmark at the top levels of the game. For Wang, figuring out the ideal helix form of her forehand with its optimal “3 Step Tennis Stroke Regulation” might be one of the ultimate tasks on her way to the potential tennis greatness.
The photos below document the mentioned forehand troubles, as seen during the finals match in New York on the first Sunday in September 2018. It is well visible that Wang’s elbow is often staying very close to her body during the active part of the follow through (= follow through 1). This signals that the rotational body energy is not the all-dominant driving force behind the strokes shown. The desired way of striking (the image of the stroke in the brain) is then in general very closely (subconsciously) connected to the spacing and vice versa. Such forehand as shown here can do reasonably well when the pressure from the opponent is rather limited, but it can become a certain liability when the big pressure of the top players will come along and when the most efficient strokes with limited margin will be needed. Besides the limited power output, potential problems are then in the area of the ball receiving (incoming ball power absorption) as well as in the stroke precision under the pressure as more elbow flexing activity goes hand in hand with a reduced margin control and higher stroke volatility.
On the bottom is also small documentation of the above-mentioned problem from Wang’s lost three-set match during the 2017 French Open Junior Championships (against Andreescu/CAN).
This article covers certain aspects of Xiyu Wang’s forehand and forehand in general only! Further extensive photo galleries and more details (inclusive improvement possibilities/suggestions) about her forehand and other strokes as well as about the strokes of other players are available upon request at drmgb11(at)gmail.com. Some significant details of this kind, necessary for a peak tennis performance as well as for a sustainable tennis training/development in general, are being discussed also in the seminar “TENNIS 3.0 – Future of the Game”, which is available worldwide upon request – www.tennis30.com / www.tennis30.cz
Photos (September 2018 & June 2017) & text (September 2018) copyright by Dr. Martin G. Baroch. Any further publication of either any of the photos and/or texts with the explicit written permission issued by the author/copyright owner only!! All instruction provided reflects just the personal opinion of the author and neither the author nor the CPTA accepts any responsibility for potential damages, direct or implied, of any kind!!