FORGET the cerebral approach and the finesse that players such as former world No. 1 Martina Hingis used to bring to the women’s game.
The game now is all about power, and that will become an even bigger component of a player’s training, according to Daniela Hantuchova and Peng Shuai.
The duo are in Singapore for an exhibition match at the Clash of Continents tournament at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Saturday and Sunday.
World No. 32 Hantuchova, 29, said: “In a way it is (less fun now), I enjoyed it a lot more when we had longer rallies where you could actually use your head on court.
“The Williams sisters’ (Serena and Venus) entry into tennis has completely changed the physicality of the game for us.
“It’s all about being as powerful as possible now and everyone is in such great shape, so it’s not easy to keep up.”
World No. 40 Peng Shuai, 26, added: “It’s not just the Williams sisters, the likes of Kim Clijsters – even though she’s retired – Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Samantha Stosur are really powerful, too.
“These days, it is not just the guys who are doing weights to improve their fitness before and in between tournaments, girls do that as well.”
Both women doubt this trend can be reversed, with the advent of better equipment that will only enhance the players’ shot force on the court.
While Asians generally tend to pack less power because they are usually smaller-built, Peng Shuai believes that the continent’s players can still hold their own in the future.
The 2010 Asian Games gold medallist said: “Just look at (Chinese world No. 7) Li Na, she is physically strong and has a powerful forehand and can hold her own against the Europeans and Americans.
“That said, it is not just about power; you need also fitness and mental toughness, because sometimes a match can go on for three hours or more and you don’t always have a coach by your side at all tournaments.”
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