Nick Bollettieri: Kvitova must go for broke or fearless Maria will eat her up

The Wimbledon Files

Petra Kvitova plays this great game of ours with a simple plan.

Here it is: whatever she sees she hits, and where it goes nobody knows.

She will only play one way this afternoon on Centre Court in what is by far and away the biggest moment of her young career. She is only 21 but she is big, strong and a runner. Man, she covers the court at speed, there is a real energy about her. And she has one big weapon against Maria Sharapova. She is a lefty.

Now I've been teaching and coaching tennis for six decades and lefties are far, far different from the majority of players – I'm talking those who are right-handed. They see the dimensions of the court differently, they have far more wrist acceleration and – I can't really explain this – plenty of this breed seem to have a different thought process.

There are two big advantages that Kvitova's left-handedness brings her with the serve and she will need both of them to combat Sharapova, who stands out with her crashing returns. The Russian's serving was a battle she too often lost in the semi-final but she kept breaking back to prevent her opponent from getting away. Kvitova has to serve well.

When, as a left-hander, she serves to the advantage side it naturally takes the returner off the court and so opens it up for the server, this is even more so on grass with the ball bouncing lower. And when Kvitova serves to the other side, look out for how she will direct it into Sharapova's body, trying to restrict her use of that thumping forehand. The aim is to make right-handed opponents return backhand and that again forces them off court into the alley.

Kvitova must make her serve count. That is all important. I watched Maria, 3-0 down and break point to go four love in the semi-final against Sabine Lisicki. And you know what? Maria stood there and said: "Hey baby, there's no way you're gonna win." It's a look I know so, so well. She's had it since she was nine years old and first arrived at my academy. Back then she was so skinny that if the wind blew she would be lifted off her feet, but she had that attitude, boy did she have a winning attitude, and it used to scare girls a lot older than her I can tell you. Jelena Jankovic was two years older but she couldn't cope with Maria.

She has come through some tough times in recent years, with that serious shoulder op, and it's that ballsy attitude that has got her out the other side. Now she's pretty damn close to being back to her formidable best. She's moving better and the courts in the second week help her as the bounce does not keep as low and there's more dirt around which helps with grip. The longer rallies go on, the more it will favour Sharapova. She proved that against Lisicki where she was impressively mobile.

Kvitova's second serve is not as good as Lisicki's and Sharapova knows how to break – just look what she did to Lisicki despite her own serve malfunctioning. Sharapova had 13 double-faults in the semi – and still won with plenty to spare. That's amazing and the problem for Kvitova is you can't imagine her serving so poorly again.

Holy cow, will Kvitova come at Sharapova this afternoon. It's the only way she knows how. Her stats from the semi-final against Victoria Azarenka show that she made plenty of errors and blazed plenty of forehands wide or long. But she kept going for it. She's not going to change her philosophy and she mustn't. Her only chance is to go for broke, but this Centre Court is a stage Sharapova is well used to. Kvitova's time will come over the next few years but this afternoon Sharapova has the game, the power and the experience to give her the edge.

Mr B's A-Zee

W: What else? It has to be for Wimbledon. Whether it's watching the big boys bash the hell out of each other on Centre, keeping an eye on one of my juniors on an outside court or bumping into old friends and foes around the grounds, this is a very special place all the way from the tradition to the tennis. I love it.

X: Ability alone is not going to win you a Grand Slam. You need to have something else – the X-factor. An indefinable quality that marks out the winners.

Win a week at my academy

Want a week's tennis holiday at my IMG Nick Bollettieri Academy in Florida? Included in the prize is five days' top-class tuition.

The prize can be for an adult wanting to shape up his or her game, or for a child who wants to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Andre Agassi, Monica Seles and Maria Sharapova, among other players who went from being kids under my tuition to No 1 in the world.

What you have to do is answer this question: How many games will there be in today's women's final? Send me your answer (and predict how long the match will last, in case we need a tie-break) to bolly@independent.co.uk and the correct one will win a signed hat or T-shirt.

I will be putting a question every day and all the winners will go into the hat for the big prize to be drawn at the end of the fortnight: a week at the IMG Nick Bollettieri Academy.

Coaching tip of the day

Let's talk doubles because I know that's what many of you guys like to play. In doubles the serve and first return are the keys to success. For first serve, take a little pace off and you will get more in – and win more points. The returner is rarely looking to be aggressive on the first serve so taking a little pace off should not cost you.

Today's Big Match: Maria Sharapova v Petra Kvitova

Maria Sharapova / Petra Kvitova

Russian / Nationality / Czech

24 / Age / 21

Bradenton, Florida / Residence / Fulnek, Cz Rep

Right-handed / Plays / Left-handed

6ft 2in / Height / 6ft

6 / World Ranking / 8

23 / Career Titles / 4

$15.2m / Career prize-money / $2.6m

W36 L7 / Wimbledon Record / W12 L3

Winner / Wimbledon Best / Final

W1 L0 / Head-to-head / W0 L1

8-15 / Odds / 6-4

Bollettieri's Prediction: Sharapova in three

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project