Radwanska faces down power to combat big hitters

Mon Jan 6, 2014 3:19am EST
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Power is not one of the things used to describe Agniezska Radwanska's tennis game.

Touch, guile and tenacity would be more appropriate for the world number five, who begins the defense of her Sydney International title in the second round against American qualifier Bethany Mattek-Sands.

Radwanska, who combines her off-season with university studies, has realized she will probably never blast the likes of world number one Serena Williams or powerful Russian Maria Sharapova off court.

So, like other top women players on the circuit, she gets used to combating what is blasted back across at her with two male hitting partners.

"I have couple of hitting partners, they're guys, so of course they're playing stronger than the girls," Radwanska told reporters in Sydney when asked what she did to try to compete with the taller, more powerful women on tour.

"So of course the practice (is) always a little bit harder and you do much more in practice to be prepared ... for the match."

Radwanska is the only player in the women's top five who is playing this week to fine tune her preparations for the season opening grand slam in Melbourne that starts on January 13.

Williams, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and Sharapova all played in Brisbane, while China's Li Na won the Shenzhen tournament in her homeland.

Radwanska skipped her title defense in Auckland to play the Hopman Cup this year after she spent more than two months away from competitive tennis following a grueling Asian swing at the end of 2013.   Continued...

Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland hits a return to Angelique Kerber of Germany during their WTA tennis championships match at Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul, October 24, 2013. REUTERS/Murad Sezer