With Wimbledon just around the corner, now is a perfect time to reflect on some of the grass-court favorites that are looking to do some damage this year!
There’s no denying the incredible run that world No.1 Iga Swiatek has had this year, and there’s no doubt she’ll look to continue her astronomical performance in the upcoming Wimbledon 2022. Nevertheless, despite her immense success, grass-court tennis is a different ball game in many ways, and the Pole will have to do battle with some of the best in the business for a consecutive Grand Slam title. One of these obstacles in her way is none other than the formidable Karolina Pliskova.
Karolina Pliskova has the ideal playstyle for Wimbledon
In the same way that clay courts reward players with heavy topspin, grass courts favor those with a powerful flat shot. Karolina Pliskova is notorious for dishing out a fast and aggressive forehand that allows her to hit winners from anywhere on the court. Her backhand is not quite as strong, but still a force to be reckoned with, and she is able to hit extreme angles on both of her groundstrokes to take control of the point.
Needless to say, the fast-paced and “skiddy” surface of Wimbledon’s grass courts is ideal for players like Karolina Pliskova, but it goes beyond just groundstrokes. At 1.86 meters tall, the 30-year-old has an awesome height advantage which greatly complements her already fast-paced and precise service game. With an average speed of 175 km/h on her first serves, Pliskova is well-known for her ace count, which is among the highest in the WTA, having served the most aces of any player in the years 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019.
The doubles factor
Another critical factor for Pliskova’s grass-court prowess is the fact that she is an accomplished doubles player. Securing five WTA doubles titles to her name as well as a career-high doubles ranking of world No.11, the Czech has shown an arsenal of skills that are not very common in the singles competition. These are skills that are highly transferrable for grass-root tennis, and will certainly be a factor for Wimbledon success.
Doubles tennis is a game that rewards serve and volleys far more than groundstrokes, and any successful doubles player undoubtedly possesses skills in these areas. What many do not realize is that the formula for winning grass-court singles matches is quite similar to that of winning a standard doubles match. The results of big serves and skillful volleys are amplified on grass courts due to the faster and lower bounces.
Karolina Pliskova is no stranger to winning points off her massive serve and well-placed volleys, occasionally combining the two for a successful serve-and-volley tactic that allows her to win quick and easy points. More commonly, perhaps, is that her powerful groundstrokes consistently open up opportunities for her to execute her skillful net play.
The biggest factor here, of course, is the flat and fast nature of Pliskova’s playstyle, which encompasses her serves, groundstrokes, and volleys for a deadly combination that simply begs to be rewarded by the grass court.
Promising grass-court results
Speculation aside, Karolina Pliskova has certainly produced the hard evidence of successful results that undoubtedly sway in favor of grass tournaments. Having reached the final of Wimbledon in 2021 and received the runner-up title after an epic and close contest with former world No.1 Ashleigh Barty, Pliskova is well-acquainted with high-stake Grand Slam matches.
Karolina Pliskova has secured grass-court titles on several occasions, including Eastbourne and Nottingham titles, and has also been the finalist for same-surface tournaments such as the Birmingham Open and, of course, Wimbledon in 2021. Impressively, Pliskova has maintained a solid record on hard courts and clay courts despite her grass-suited playstyle, a strong testament to her overpowering gameplay that finds success no matter the conditions.
It’s no wonder that Karolina Pliskova has maintained her Top 10 ranking so well despite succumbing to a series of injuries this year, as she is able to perform well in all the different types of tournaments each season. With her proven track record on grass courts and the absence of such results from Iga Swiatek, we may well see Karolina Pliskova put an end to the world number one’s incredible streak of domination at Wimbledon 2022.