Before both the Australian and French Opens 2018, you’d have won 9/10 arguments with the view that 23-year-old Ukrainian Elina Svitolina held the best chance. Unfortunately, these are just two examples of Slam underachievement from this undisputed talent. Lack of Slam achievement contributed to the parting of ways with coach Thierry Ascione. Veteran American coach Nick Saviano takes the reins until year’s end.
Svitolina Needs to Work on Slam Preparation in the Off-season
Ahead of the Australian Open 2018, the Ukrainian’s robust serve and potent ground stroking saw her capture the title in Brisbane. Her form had momentum; she had more than enough ability, but something went awry in Melbourne. The course of events repeats at the French Open. Svitolina comfortably dispatched of Simona Halep in Rome, retaining her Premier level title. She followed this up by losing to Mihaela Buzarnescu in the French Open 3rd round.
A recent first round defeat to the explosive Aryna Sabalenka (Wuhan Open) and a disappointing defeat to Krunic (China Open) suggests that Svitolina’s mind is wandering towards the off-season, already.
Svitolina has Many Plusses to Put Right the Slam Focus Wrong
Injury doesn’t really plague her; the Ukrainian is good at keeping herself match fit. Svitolina has so many weapons, including an ability to grind opponents down with her pronounced baseline game. The Ukrainian knows full well that a Slam is within her gift. It is being able to focus over the fortnight format that needs instant attention.
Svitolina’s Long Term Coach Needs Slam Pedigree
The general consensus is that Nick Saviano has taken the reins until the year’s end. Svitolina’s remaining schedule is expected to be light. The Ukrainian is 0-2 under Saviano. Eugenie Bouchard and Sloane Stephens are among previous players to work under Saviano. Whether or not he is the right fit for Svitolina remains to be seen. The search continues for someone who can form a long-term Slam winning partnership with the Ukrainian. On ability, Svitolina is capable of winning Australian Open 2019. However, the transitory nature of her current coaching situation is not conducive with helping her with that aim.
It’s an often overlooked scenario, but Svitolina’s form is suffering. Coaching uncertainty can’t be helping, at a time when she should be focusing on Slam preparation.