The Czech power hitter proves that the simplest answer is usually the right one.
It’s unlikely that you’ll ever have a serve as smooth and uncluttered as Karolina Pliskova’s. She makes the game’s most complicated shot look easy. All she does, it seems, is toss the ball up and hit it for aces. The unprepossessing 24-year-old led the WTA in them last year. The first thing to learn from Pliskova is to try to cut all wasted motion out of your delivery. Toss, reach and hit: that’s all you need to do.
Pliskova is proof that tennis, like life, is all about timing. Tall but slight, she hits with as much pace and penetration as any WTA player. Pliskova can generate this easy power because her ball-striking is so clean. That, rather than strength, has always been the true source of power in tennis. Ask your pro if there are drills or exercises you can do to sharpen your hand-eye coordination. On court, the first step to hitting your strokes cleaner is also the simplest: watch the ball hit the strings.