Tennisopolis : Tennis Social Network

Tennis footwork is the basis of any shot ability.  In the modern game, quick footwork is needed as the ball is traveling faster.  In the past footwork was everything, because it was needed to hit through the ball, with standard size racquets.  The newer racquets have softened the need to square up to the ball, and have produced tennis elbow and lots of injuries due to arm generated shots.  Bigger racquets, seem to breed less concentration on the ball, and shorter swings.  I am not referring to the Pro game, the pros's use smaller racquets, and of course have great footwork.  As a experiment, try using a standard size racquet, like a wood racquet, or old T-2000 connors used.  Actually it is a good teaching tool for footwork, as you have to pay attention, and hit through the ball, with the right body position and balance.  The ball machine is a good tool to hone strokes, and work on proper  footwork. 

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Comment by Mark Munoz on February 19, 2011 at 10:36pm
I just read my blog entry and I just wanted to confirm , that the responses to my blog  none really understood what was being said.  Let me repeat that my article was for club player level footwork which includes all that are on this site, not the pros, Pete Sampras said  before he thought of kids, if he had a kid, he would have his use a wood racquet to start learning tennis with.  In his opinion and mine is it does develope good footwork, and you also learn to produce pace with body and balance more then flicking shots over or wristing your shots.  In my blog I stated,  " I am not referring to the pro game, the pros use smaller racquets, and of course have great footwork."  The pros dont use big beamed racquets and 110 inch dimensions, there midsize or midsize racquets.  And good footwork is not just closed stance, Bjorn borg lead the way of open stance, topspin off both sides and didnt  cry when he lost!
Comment by Tim Prapong on February 19, 2011 at 12:19pm

Open stance is not lazy by any means, if it is done with a full shoulder turn and a full pivot. I am aware of and absorbed alot of Mark Papa's argument. He has the support/stance ideas, but he does not understand how the new swing requires a different support structure. 

If one followed the form Nadal and Federer uses at the point of contact, a nearly straight arm, there is no way the elbow is going to flex backwards unless there is late contact. Fed hits the ball with the arm ahead of him, giving little elbow flex side to side. Nadal hits the ball with the same "away" but closer to the body, but the elbow is going upwards, with little flex, until he follows through and bends the elbow above his head.

Why would these two players use the open stance and not get tennis elbow? I would not call them lazy or mediocre. They are the top two players in the world.

Comment by Richard Hasse on February 19, 2011 at 6:14am

A hitting stance that allows the upper body to achieve an 8 or 4 o'clock position and is quicker to achieve can be found at  It apears that the pros tend to hit this way.  Some of the old footwork techniques were not efficient enough for a fast game.  The open stance is the real problem.   The open stance is the mark of a lazy, mediocre player.  You could play with a T-2000 or a frying pan for that matter and not get tennis elbow if you ditched the open stance.

Comment by Tim Prapong on February 18, 2011 at 7:42pm

I think that the T-2000 would give me tennis elbow! lol 

Watching and emulating Fed's footwork is probably more relevant to today's game than even Connors' vaunted footwork. 

Over the years, I love Connors to death, and his footwork was the best of anyone. But if I were to use his footwork, it would not mate well with my strokes. His footwork was for the flat, square hit strokes he had.

If you truly hit in the Fed manner, there is little chance of having tennis elbow, because he hits so far out in front, with his forearm as support, directly behind the racquet, on either side. He does not hit directly square, but with alot of racquet tilt at contact.

Bigger racquet headsize seems to create bigger swings, because it is lighter overall than the wood and aluminum racquet. Less plow and more allowance for slappy, wristy shots. Connors had a very compact swing. Laver, Rosewall had nice compact swings with their wood racquet era. Mac had a compact game because of his start in wood.

I don't mean to disagree with your blog this much, Mark, but this is my opinion upon reading it.

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