Marina Erakovic wants to 'slap' away competition

DAVID LONG
Last updated 05:00 29/12/2013
Marina Erakovic
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NEW APPROACH: Marina Erakovic in action against Laura Robson.

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Marina Erakovic will unleash her new "slapper" shot on her unsuspecting opponents at the ASB Classic tournament this week.

The Kiwi No 1, who will play American Lauren Davis in the first round, has spent most of the past month working away in Florida with her coach, Christian Zahalka, perfecting the shot which she plans to unveil at the Classic, as well as looking to approach the net more in points.

"We have been adding a few things, coming in a bit more and try to finish things off at the net," Erakovic told Sunday News.

"Also, I like to hit the ball pretty heavy and that's usually my game, but I've also been trying to add in what we call the slapper shot. It's short and it's high, you just smack it really hard and flat, like a pancake.

"It's just going to be another tool in the bag.

"Chris, my coach, is a really smart tennis guy and I feel like we have a good relationship and I trust him a lot with my game. So I feel like we're heading in the right direction."

Erakovic's two biggest weapons have always been her forehand and serve and it's with these that she wins most of her points.

But by being a more well-rounded player and having an extra weapon she could make a decent jump from her world ranking of 46.

Erakovic says there aren't many women on the circuit who look to play the slapper shot, but there are some men who use it.

"Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, he likes to run around and then slap that one down the line inside out," Erakovic said.

"Bernard Tomic plays like that non-stop, he is a very wristy player. It's more to do with the pace difference of the shot.

"As opposed to the heavy spin, you shoot one through like a flat rocket." Erakovic hasn't played a competitive match since September, deciding to come home to New Zealand early because of the death of her grandmother. However, she has been training the house down in Florida and feels she's got herself in good shape for the new campaign.

"It was basically full on tennis," she said. "I did a bit of fitness now and then, but I'd spend three to four hours a day on the court.

"I was playing a lot of tennis, there were heaps of players to play with. All of the USTA girls were there.

"I was there for about 20 days, the first day my hands were torn, I had the Nadal hands with plasters on. But I thought it was worthwhile.

"I feel that you get the practice in, you get to feel the ball of other players and the weather is good too.

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"The only thing is that I have to fly from here to there and then back again." Meanwhile, Erakovic says she's considering signing up to Twitter, so that she can share her thoughts with those interested in her throughout the year.

"I was thinking about it this year," she said. "I am on Instagram, but what would I say? Am I an interesting person? I don't know.

I might do it, I guess people like to hear what's going on from New Zealand on the tennis side of things."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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