er a period of 3 yrs I moved from a 9 handicapper to scratch using the same obsessive analysis.
As ive improved (I used to play to a reasonably high level when very young) and got back to some of the consistency of my teens Ive also assessed my strengths and weeknesses as a player.
Ive recently spent a lot of time purposely playing baseline tennis to improve my consistency. In this scenario I found the Prince Ozone Tour (customised) the best racket from a number of playtests. I continued with this racket even tho I couldnt serve with it. This in turn made me realise the obvious. I am an aggressive S&V.
My recent racket exploits have revolved around what benefits this side of my game and in doing this Ive had to take into account that I will have to compromise in other areas of my game.
Ive moved back to a smaller headed racket, its better for serving and volleying and is more stable. Im in the middle of playtesting a number of rackets but the leaders of the pack are the Wilson kps 88, Head pro tour 600 (90's racket) and the Graphite Pro 600 (an 80's racket).
Ive found the only rackets worth their salt are the older models, their materials and the way they are made are far superior to todays models which are tinny and unstable. The only rackets Ive found to be anywhere near to yesterdays models are the pro staffs and the new kps88 ticks all the boxes. ery smilar to the pst90 below but with a little more swingweight and ooomph.
The other important factor is a change in string set up from all poly to gut.
This has had by far the biggest affect on my game and cannot be underestimated. My serve has become a monster, it has always been the best part of my game its just now so much more. I can understand the big serving pro S&V so much more, the pace, spin, swerve is unbelievable and the grip on serve enables you to get into the net. My 2nd serve is so much more penetrating now as I can go for it much more due to the grip and trajectory from the racket.
I do have to ciompromise on groundstrokes tho, no longer can a swing away freely hitting heavy topspin shots. My technique is much more important. I have less room for error and have to be controlled and think a little more. I am still hitting heavy topspin with my extreme grips just not what it was like with the larger headed prince racket. Im hitting harder and flatter so at the moment making a few more errors than normal but making it up by not losing my serve.
Ive started looking at the coverage of Mcenroe, edberge, Ivanisevic, sampras etc from when I grew up and its like a breath of fresh air. Very aggressive. Good servers going for there shots when recieving.
I must of known there was always a reason i liked Edberg's game when I was younger.
Just to say Im very happy, I will always playtest different rackets, but now Im playing to my strengths and working on those areas that I have had to compromise, all in all, Im in transistion but the benefits are already showing with winning games that would normally be a little more difficult…
layer from Småland (a Southern province in Sweden, annotation), who tomorrow plays an exhibition match at the Kungliga Tennishallen.It was there that Edberg left the ATP Tour in 1996 after a fairytale-like career during which he recorded a total of 42 tournament titles, including six of Grand Slam.
An aggressive yet soft and attacking play characterized Edberg, whose retirement meant the end of the great successes for truly serve and volley players. Australian Patrick Rafter and Britain's Tim Henman still played that style a few more years, but encountered obstacles in the form of slower balls and surfaces.
«With the softer balls that are available today, it is harder to play serve and volley. But I think it would succeed and that it also could give anyone trying it an advantage, because many today block the returns. It's a shame that it has almost disappeared from tennis», says Edberg, who still does not think it was better before.«No, today's men's tennis is fantastic and Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are definitely better than the top players a decade ago. They are better trained and play much faster. Murray can also be counted there. Although he has not taken a Grand Slam title, for years he has been in the top quartet which dominates».
And behind?«There I am not so sure that it has become so much better».
Stefan Edberg thinks Novak Djokovic can dominate the next one or two seasons. «But he is unlikely to repeat what he has done this year», says Edberg who believes that world number two Rafael Nadal's heyday may be over.«A golden period usually lasts three to five years, Federer has had his time and it may be the same with Nadal. But both are still so good that they are in with a chance of Grand Slam titles».Robin Söderling?«He is just behind the top four and has the potential to take a Grand Slam title».
As for net play, has he got much to learn from you?«Almost all of today's players can improve a lot there. Although Robin will never get a serve and volley player, he can develop his net playing the same way as Mats (Wilander) did.The audience at the Kungliga Tennishallen in tomorrow's exhibition match will see more volleys than during the entire next week at the Stockholm Open.«I hope we can offer reasonably good entertainment», says Edberg for the meeting with five years younger Goran Ivanisevic.During his career, the Croat was considered one of those dreaded bomb-servers that reduced the entertainment value to the point that the game was made slower.The match will also be a small preview of what we have to expect next year when Edberg, John McEnroe and other six players will take part in a Champions Tour tournament in Stockholm.«Abroad, interest is great for the tour and I hope it will be the same here», says Stefan Edberg.