NEW YORK (Reuters) - Karolina Pliskova will undoubtedly win a grand slam title at some point because she, unlike many other players, is able to control her aggression, according to former world number one Mats Wilander.
The world number one has yet to prevail in a major but Swede Wilander, who is at the U.S. Open as an analyst for Eurosport, thinks she will achieve that goal in the next two years.
“I think Pliskova is the next young player to win a slam,” Wilander said in his daily chat with Reuters at Flushing Meadows, after the 25-year-old Czech made light work of Magda Linette of Poland on Tuesday.
“She doesn’t really have a weakness apart from her movement maybe. The way she plays ... she’s smart, she serves well, she’s going to become a player that you’re going have to beat because she’s not going to beat herself anymore.”
Wilander explained that Pliskova has been getting much better at finding the balance between aggression and accuracy.
“That’s one of those changes that most players cannot make,” he said.
“Once they play aggressive tennis, it’s not easy to stay aggressive but not beating yourself by missing, and she is sort of working towards perfecting that.
“It’s a fine balance and she’s getting good at being aggressive without making unforced errors. It’s controlled aggression.”
Other players are as aggressive as Pliskova but just being a hard hitter does not win you grand slam titles.
“A lot of other players have not made that correction like Madison Keys, she’s just hitting the ball really hard, Coco Vandeweghe is just basically hitting the ball very hard most of the time,” said Wilander.
“Pliskova is becoming an all-round player that’s why I think there is no question that she’s going to win a slam.”
Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza are Wilander’s favourites for the title at the U.S. but the Swede is confident Pliskova’s time will come.
“She looks comfortable being number one in the world which is rare,” he said.
“Her drive is to win a slam. She has easy goals to set. She’s improving and she’s going to continue to improve over the next couple of years because she has not reached her goals.”
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Nick Mulvenney