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
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Arts and Entertainment
music

News
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
Sport
Sergio Aguero prepares for the game
football

Follow the latest events from this Champions League fixture

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

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.

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album