Who agrees that the courts in most tournaments are too slow? I went to a tournament in La Habra this weekend. I remember about 10 years ago 2 of my students won their open event in mens and womens, I was very proud and am still proud of those players now professionals in their own right. I saw a bunch of talented players, but so one dimensional it was sad. When brought to the net, because they had to due to a short ball most looked clueless. Roger Federer recently said that the courts should be sped up, I agree. They even made Wimbledon slower, that is crazy to accommodate baseliners. Enough already who want to watch acute topspin for hours, I don't ,I want the variety that could be brought back with the speeding up of some of the courts. The use of extreme grips and polyester strings is limiting the time players can play. I am not suggesting we go back to wood mind you, that would be funny, many things that can be done with the frames of today cannot be done with woods. There are different styles of play that are not being promoted due to the slower surfaces. Tennis is an exciting game, but one dimensional baseline play is straight up boring. I have taught for 30+ years and teaching my students the tools to play include volleys. Roger is right! Speed wimbledon to the speed we know and love. Thank You
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That is what I see with most juniors. They don't know how to volley with finesse or timing. They either slap their volleys or try to do a wild drive forehand volley. Their approach shots make no sense because they are trying to hit it 60 mph! If the courts were sped up, I don't know if they would learn anyhow. They would just keep doing these things possibly.
I can fix their dance, been doing it for so long. This was an event with all levels of play, even the open players were soooo one dimensional. I was surprised some had some heat on their serves and then didn't take advantage by following instead they backed up, I was not impressed at all. Topspin is important with today's game, I am also an expert regarding strings and rackets, stringing and playing for the last 40+ years. I understand, but it's gone far enough. Tennis is a great game and with the slow courts it has favored clay courters. Enough already! Remember the great players over the years, they weren't one dimensional clones. I know they made changes and they didn't work in my opinion, slowing down Wimbledon was stupid, why? so clay court players could compete, to bad, let them learn how to play on fast courts or stay in Europe and play on clay all they want.
Mark, Amen brother, Tim and I discussed this previously. I believe there should be four distinct surfaces that pro's play on. Hard court, indoor(hard or carpet), grass, clay. All four should have noticeable changes in speed and style of play. Serve and volley players will have success, as well as all court players, and baseliners will have their surface, some players will be able to crossover and some won't, no big deal. Why shape the courts to fit one style of play, it's crazy, should basketball raise the hoop to 11 feet, that wouldn't be good for 6 footers. So if Raonic and some more young guns come on tour with cannon serves, are they going to slow the courts even more to give baseliners an advantage, stupid, make so all types of styles can compete evenly.
I'm not alone Thank God! I have a lot of work ahead of me, and so do other teachers that really care. The idea of the 4 surfaces is what it used to be. Thanks for the post, I was surprised to see the limitations of the open players at that tournament. The decision to slow the game down was wrong, we now have a bunch of western grip players that are getting injuries from using stiff strings like luxilon, Roger uses gut mains so he can have some feel by using the poly crosses it helps to hold tension. I Love tennis, it has done so much for me and my family. My newest goal is to get children involved that wouldn't otherwise have the access. I have worked in some well known clubs in California since 1978, I have seen so much change, not all good. I have had some wonderful teachers along the way. If Sven Davidson was alive today he would be saying what the hell is going on, and he was a famous clay court player who won the French. I must say the 10 & under change is wonderful and should have been implemented years ago. I had a bucket of Nassau low compression balls 15 years ago, most folks weren't getting the concept, hindsight is 20/20
Well, strangely enough, I and another 41 year old 5.0 got to play friendly doubles against young twenty something Open competitors in the La Habra tournament. We won 6-1! But it was what I was saying in my previous comment here.
They tried to slap volleys, they were shaky on their serves, double faulting alot and overhit and underhit groundies. I didn't get to volley much myself, only put up lobs and midrange balls, and simple approach shots. Didn't seem like they had the variety of skills I grew up with.
I have no problems with juniors knowing heavy topspin, but a player has got to know how to flatten the ball out as well. And vice versa. My ideal student would be able to change the amount of spin according to the situation at hand. I would be against developing a heavy topspin only player, and would be against developing a flat only player.
Variety thanks for your comment, I agree. Some teachers aren't teachers they are collecting money and going threw the motions. I was very surprised at the limitations of many of those players.
Good example is the very last point of the World Tour finals against Djokovic. He was well too far to the left to come in and approach on an inside-out forehand.
A former tour friend of mine pointed out Fed's chop volleys. I agree, he doesn't force a baseliner's shots into his favor the way McEnroe used to. He almost just sits there expecting them to fold on a few of them.
Federer's inside out forehand was, in effect, a cross court approach shot - a tactical error. Plus, he was a bit far back to come in, so he gave Djokovic extra time and his choice of cc or dtl to pass. If he had hit down the middle, or hit a backhand down the line, he would have had a better chance. In any event, it wasn't as if Federer gave Djokovic a big target dtl. He covered it as well as anyone could even though he hit the wrong target. Djokovic just hit a great shot.
But that is what I am getting at, a cross court shot is a tactical error. Giving up that much space is a big mistake. Especially on match point against the Djokovic down the line backhand, his strength.
In chess, a tactical error is never made up by athletic ability. A tactical error, though not a blunder, can lead one to an inevitable loss.
Here's another similar point where Federer makes the same mistake against Djokovic: 2007 Montreal. I have it cued to the right moment.
That was a bad decision by someone who isn't that comfortable at net.