Amazing stat I read...

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Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 11:05 pm

First topic message reminder :

Murray is 2/25 against top 5 since April 2013!

This will not help Murray win another slam.

simple question: why is it so low?
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by kingraf on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 4:34 pm

bogbrush wrote:90kg is heavy! It's 14st 2lbs!!

I know he's tall and built like a brick s***house but still, that seems heavy. The heavyweight division in boxing starts only 2lbs higher.

it certainly is. Here's 6'3 89.6kg Steve Cunningham http://www.15rounds.com/hernandez-cunningham-make-weight-020312/

here's a 6'3 90kg Andy Murray
http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/andy-murray-turns-up-heat-7164519#oV2jCDTurkFOhAQP.97

Same weight apparently
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by HM Murdock on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 4:44 pm

Lydian - a tour de force!

I loved reading through that. I've always been able to see that Murray's forehand looked different to the other three but to have it explained is fascinating.

Thanks!

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Guest on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 5:02 pm

lydian wrote:Ok, some more forehand analysis...have chopped pics up and stuck together so its easy to see differences.
I've also reversed Nadal so its easy to compare all as right-handers!  

...

Thanks for reading!
A privilege to read Sir.

That helps to explain my observation that Murray seems less smooth in his movement, a bit clunky, not quite balanced, leaning over, reaching.  You mention he uses a traditional approach - but that Fed/Nads/Djo use a classical approach. Would be interested to learn the various timelines of the traditional vs classical approach. I assume traditional came first followed by the classical approach.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by socal1976 on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 5:33 pm

I do still have a question as to why the down line FH for Murray would cause him more problems in terms of rotation causing the injury when he has to rotate more for the CC and Inside out fH. I agree wonderfully researched posts and work by Lydian. This site has some great writing on tennis and this was some of the best. But I would like to know Lydian's thoughts on that issue.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 6:18 pm

Reposted here as it was near bottom of last page for anyone else to see.

Ok, some more forehand analysis...have chopped pics up and stuck together so its easy to see differences.
I've also reversed Nadal so its easy to compare all as right-handers!

1. First FH unit turn

So you can see here the following:
1. Red circles - Nad/Fed/Djo all take racquet back immediately on the first step...Murray doesn't which means he can be late on FH prep when balls are hit hard
2. Yellow circles...Na/Fed/Djo all move their leg on the racquet arm forwards...this is classic open stance preparation. Murray instead uses the traditional opposite leg forwards. This has the dual issue of making him bend over more (!) and slower to react to balls outwide because he's had to bring the other side leg over first...this creates real issues for him on clay because if rushed he's then sliding on the wrong leg, versus the others who can slide into the FH in open stance and hit a FH back. This is the basis of what I was saying the other day about his back being strained by his base technique...he has to reach/stretch more than the others due to the "wrong" leg being put forward at the start of the FH prep.
3. Finally, Nad/Fed/Djo can already be seen to have a more stable/considered FH stroke...Murray's already looks rushed, and it is because he's got more ground to cover with his technique.


2. Take-back/hitting zone

Again, some key differences:
1. Red circles - Nad/Fed/Djo all have their weight transferring to the opposite leg so rotational power is unloaded smoothly and they have a wider axis to swing around. Murray's weight is on the same leg side as racquet meaning his core rotation is affected and lacks the same power in the follow through. In other words Murray is having to put more early power into the stroke than the others who rely more on innate swing. This will strain Murray's back.
2. Its probably harder to see on this shot but you can see on the ones I put up yesterday that Murray is leaning back more than the others. This is because his weight is on the wrong leg...i.e. the back leg.
3. Also, what is harder to see is that Nad/Fed/Djo all use stretch shortening cycles in their FH far more than Murray. This means that mid prep when the racquet is taken back, the head is pointing at the wall behind them with the wrist cocked. They then accelerate the racquet head forwards in a whipping motion. Murray does this far less because his racquet head position is different at the midpoint. This means he gets far less spin. Nadal creates SSC's like no other player. His FH is still pretty much unique to him through sheer wrist angle position leading to massive whip-acceleration. Kyrgios has an interesting FH, but his spin is from a rapid windscreen-wiper action employed at the end of the stroke.
4. Because Murray's weight is leaning back and he's following a more traditional low to high arc, this means he can often "top" the ball into the net. Which he does. It also happens because he changed his FH from western to semi-western but sometimes it slips back to W again, and this exacerbates the "topping" effect.
5. This preparation means Murray finds DTLs hard to hit also because he's generating less spin that the others...because the net is 6 inches higher at the tramline than middle. Lendl worked hard to get him to generate more spin, but to get that he having to bend even more with his technique to amplify the low-high stroke arc he has. More back work again.

3. The follow-through

Here you can again see differences. Nad/Fed/Djo have all finished with weight transference to the opposite leg. But not Murray, who finishes leaning back on the same leg. And because of this he's more prone to errors.
You can also see how much more dynamic the FHs are for Nad/Fed/Djo and why they develop so much more RPM than Murray. The open stance lets players uncoil more as weight shifts smoothly from one side to the other.

I hope you can see why Murray's FH technique has several issues. Many of which I feel are responsible for additional strain on his back and why its not as effective or dominating a shot (in general) vs. the big 3.

Thanks for reading!
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by bogbrush on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 6:30 pm

Well worth the repost. clap

The last bit about finishing on the starting leg has always baffled me. Even going back to the farthest reaches of my own coaching I always understood weight transfer through the shot was critical.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 6:33 pm

Thanks for your comments guys, more to follow on BH and serve (when I get time...probably serve first). Welcome all comments, thoughts and counter opinions of course!

It's an interesting one socal because it seems counter intuitive. My thoughts on it are principally that Murray's technique & grip combo means he generates far less spin, so to get it over the high part of net on DTL he needs to bend lower to generate more whip (ie. More racquet low to high as he has a SW grip...can't do what Nadal/Djokovic do with their W grips, and Fed plays open stance). If you watch him play those shots unless the ball is high he reaches bends over to get the whip. I also believe because his left leg is over (vs open stance) that hitting DTL doesn't allow a smooth unloading from that position. Try playing a DTL shot stood where you are now from Murray's typical technique...it's easier to come through fully and hit the cross court FH by rotating on the back foot, which is what he tends to do and ends up leaning back. So the truncation also I feel doesn't allow dissipation of coiled energy on the shot.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 6:38 pm

Yeah me too BB, it's a biomechanic nightmare waiting to happen.
It's because he went from DHFH to SHFH I reckon...with a DH shot you have to put the opposite leg across first...and it was such a habit for Murray he couldn't shake it when he went to SHFH.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by socal1976 on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 7:05 pm

lydian wrote:Thanks for your comments guys, more to follow on BH and serve (when I get time...probably serve first). Welcome all comments, thoughts and counter opinions of course!

It's an interesting one socal because it seems counter intuitive. My thoughts on it are principally that Murray's technique & grip combo means he generates far less spin, so to get it over the high part of net on DTL he needs to bend lower to generate more whip (ie. More racquet low to high as he has a SW grip...can't do what Nadal/Djokovic do with their W grips, and Fed plays open stance). If you watch him play those shots unless the ball is high he reaches bends over to get the whip. I also believe because his left leg is over (vs open stance) that hitting DTL doesn't allow a smooth unloading from that position. Try playing a DTL shot stood where you are now from Murray's typical technique...it's easier to come through fully and hit the cross court FH by rotating on the back foot, which is what he tends to do and ends up leaning back. So the truncation also I feel doesn't allow dissipation of coiled energy on the shot.  

It could be that he needs to generate that extra little bit of spin that he doesn't naturally have with his swing that like you say he has to get lower on the dtl FH, I could see that being the case, its a very good point. That could make sense but wouldn't that still lead you to conclude that maybe his FH flaw from the beginning was what did it. I mean the selling out part with Lendl to go big FH tennis I understand. But then I would say that it just comes from his poor FH form in general. Because you should be able to execute a down the line FH without hurting yourself as a world class pro. Plus we must remember he already has had a very long career in terms of matches and years on tour, the natural wear and tear does have to get factored into it.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Guest on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 7:18 pm

Very insightful lydian. clap

I find tennis mechanics similar to golf mechanics. Sometimes it's those that generate the most unusual results. Look at Arnold Palmer and Bubba Watson's swings. No way should they generate straight drives or approaches, but they did.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 8:30 pm

Oh absolutely socal, his FH technique is a key part of his injury problems. No wonder Lendl spent so much time on the shot. Agree wear and tear an issue also. But hes's not able to beat the other too 4 these days...so something has changed...either reverting back to old habits, loss of variety or physical issues. Or bit of all?

Sorry NS, I mustnt have stated that properly...classical is the same as traditional. Its Nadal, Djokovic and Federer who have the new style ooen stance forehands...probably all linked to their clay roots.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Guest on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 8:55 pm

lydian wrote:... Sorry NS, I mustnt have stated that properly...classical is the same as traditional. Its Nadal, Djokovic and Federer who have the new style ooen stance forehands...probably all linked to their clay roots.
So Murray is using a traditional approach to forehand drive whilst Fed/Nads/Djo are using a new approach to forehand drive.  

Your reference to the clay suggests perhaps they are using a traditional clay court approach to forehand drive (???) with the novelty of translating it onto the grass and hard courts?  

It seems to me the traditional approach to forehand drive that Murray is using is wrong - so why would it have developed in the first place to become traditional --> was there an advantage to the approach under conditions prevailing in the past?

Maybe you are suggesting Murray's approach is correct for a double handed forehand drive but not for a single handed forehand drive?  It makes me wonder how Murray could have got to where he is with such a, what looks to be, unbalanced forehand drive shot.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 10:56 pm

Yes Murray is using an "old" technique as did many other players brought up in the UK (or other countries) where the surface bounce is predominantly lower. Hence why UK players have been historically terrible on clay. Many players used to get taught to bring their left foot over to the FH side...it allowed you to place your weight and have a solid base to hit those lower balls from. However, with the modern game came faster racquet head speed, more spin and higher bouncing balls. It meant there was a need for another way of coping with faster, higher balls. Andre Agassi was probably the first real all court exponent of the new open stance approach. It's a much more effective stroke for dealing with higher bouncing balls...which is obviously something you see on clay more too. So many clay court players use an open stance.

With the game as a whole going more clay-like, ie slower and higher bouncing, so this FH technique has come into its own and the close stroke - more on lower bouncing courts, eg grass, has been negated. In other words, Murray growing up on faster/lower courts has had to adapt his game to current conditions and he's done pretty well but as discussed possibly at a price. Most other players haven't had this issue as many of today's top pros were brought up on clay.

In terms of the BH side, the closed technique is much better and you'll
always see Djokovic use that too...an open stance backhand lacks power on the BH side so you won't see a SHBH player do it. Djokovic is such a great returner because he can play effective returns from an open stance with his DHBH. Look at all the great returners - Connors, Agassi, Murray, Djokovic - all DHBHs and all able to block fast serves back using open stance BHs.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Guest on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 11:42 pm

Thanks. There is a lot to consider. So Andre Agassi was a trailblazer for the modern game.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Sat 23 Apr 2016, 8:37 am

In many respects NS...but a real driver of the modern FH game was actually his coach...Nick Bolletieri who analysed the evoution of the game needed and taught his players to move away from closed to neutral to open stances.

However, its more complicated than stance. The real key to modern FHs is use of wrist lag...or stretch shortening cycles...this is what has massively increased pace and rpm. Agassi had prodigious power but his spin rate was about 1800 rpm and we have seen that increase massively thereafter.

I would state the modern FH style/technique progressed in jumps through these guys...
Borg > Lendl > Agassi > Muster > Bruguera > Kuerten > Rios > Roddick > Federer > Nadal.

Who will be the next guy we look back on and say he took the FH forwards?
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Born Slippy on Sat 23 Apr 2016, 1:12 pm

lydian wrote:Yes Murray is using an "old" technique as did many other players brought up in the UK (or other countries) where the surface bounce is predominantly lower. Hence why UK players have been historically terrible on clay. Many players used to get taught to bring their left foot over to the FH side...it allowed you to place your weight and have a solid base to hit those lower balls from. However, with the modern game came faster racquet head speed, more spin and higher bouncing balls. It meant there was a need for another way of coping with faster, higher balls. Andre Agassi was probably the first real all court exponent of the new open stance approach. It's a much more effective stroke for dealing with higher bouncing balls...which is obviously something you see on clay more too. So many clay court players use an open stance.

With the game as a whole going more clay-like, ie slower and higher bouncing, so this FH technique has come into its own and the close stroke - more on lower bouncing courts, eg grass, has been negated. In other words, Murray growing up on faster/lower courts has had to adapt his game to current conditions and he's done pretty well but as discussed possibly at a price. Most other players haven't had this issue as many of today's top pros were brought up on clay.

In terms of the BH side, the closed technique is much better and you'll
always see Djokovic use that too...an open stance backhand lacks power on the BH side so you won't see a SHBH player do it. Djokovic is such a great returner because he can play effective returns from an open stance with his DHBH. Look at all the great returners - Connors, Agassi, Murray, Djokovic - all DHBHs and all able to block fast serves back using open stance BHs.

Good post this. I think the fact that Andy was probably taught classical forehand technique is a more likely explanation than anything else that has been suggested. He obviously grew up on faster courts than the other guys and has, in my view, probably been the player most damaged by the emphasis on ever greater spin and bounce.

A couple of points on the shot comparisons. First, loading the back leg is a recognised technique for dealing with wide balls or (as appears to be the case in the Murray example) balls which land very near the baseline. Here's a coaching clip in relation to that technique:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfaZQT_DDR4

Andy, of course, doesn't utilise that technique on all forehands. Here are some more recent slo-mos of his forehand in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjyQThnMrhs

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Guest on Sat 23 Apr 2016, 4:16 pm

Born Slippy wrote: ... A couple of points on the shot comparisons. First, loading the back leg is a recognised technique for dealing with wide balls or (as appears to be the case in the Murray example) balls which land very near the baseline. Here's a coaching clip in relation to that technique:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfaZQT_DDR4

Andy, of course, doesn't utilise that technique on all forehands. Here are some more recent slo-mos of his forehand in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjyQThnMrhs
Excellent post.  So it seems Murray varies his forehand technique.  An advantage of loading the "racket leg" is getting to the ball you wouldn't have got to using loading of the "opposite leg".  When the ball is coming towards him he uses the "opposite leg" loading, when the ball is moving away from him he uses the "racket leg" loading.  Now I can see the advantage during any game of tennis of using the "racket leg" loaded forehand.  That said there is something about his action that doesn't seem as smooth as Fed/Nads/Djo.

This may help to explain why Murray himself is so good at returning serve and general retrieval.  

This sort of begs the question - do Fed/Nads/Djo use the "racket leg" loaded forehand when the ball is going wide of them?  If they don't - why not?  That would mean they are getting to the wide ball earlier than Murray so that they can use the "opposite leg" loaded forehand.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by summerblues on Sun 24 Apr 2016, 3:17 am

Thanks Lydian for the summary. It is interesting to see the comparison. That said - and while I am no expert on technical details of FH - I feel that the comparison you give overstates the difference between the forehands of the four. All four of them may - depending on the circumstance - hit their FHs off either their back foot or front foot.

I do not know, maybe Murray does it more often than others but I am fairly sure that Fed at least, if not the others, also hits good many of his FHs off the back foot. And again, they all will hit them either way depending on the circumstances.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Sun 24 Apr 2016, 8:38 am

Absolutely SB (and others - thanks for good comments and analysis), what I presented is their normal FH preparation, clearly I can't cover all situations. Hence you'll see my photo analysis not start with them on the run or in an obviously strained position. Typical technique FHs are what they play 75-80% of the time so the analysis I portrayed stands in general. It's what they "normally" do in regulation rallies.

But yes when pushed/rushed/stretched they all have the capability of playing different stance FHs but the variations are not their modus operandi. Federer usually plays somewhere between an open and neutral stance but nowhere near a closed stance. If left with no time or the ball is hit deep to his feet then yes he may revert to leaning back but those are more the exception. His average rpm is 2800 which simply wouldn't be the case if he was hitting when leaning back all the time.

Nadal nearly always plays open stance, it's how he generates > 3300 average rpm. Sometimes his stance will go a little neutral when his right leg is further forward than right but it's not closed.

Murray can play open stance but does so rarely, it's not his modus operandi for producing the stroke...hence why he generates typically 1700-2000 rpm. Novak is in the middle and like Federer plays between open and neutral stances with his extreme Western grip.

Clearly if any of the guys are pulled out wide and need to make a running FH then that might be from closed position but that's different in that they're having to get to the ball as fast as possible then play a stroke on arrival. So yes you get variations but we're discussing what they normally do, and what characterises their style, otherwise this would become a tomed thesis on technique. The key thing here is that Murray's technique is distinctly different from the other 3...less rpm, more closed, less wrist lag,  more leaning back and different prep & follow through. Sure there are similarities too but these are IMO outweighed by the differences...and it's why Murray can't usually dominate a match with his FH (unless he's going for broke flat hitting which he can't usually sustain) like the other 3 can...and do.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sun 24 Apr 2016, 9:33 am

If I can just go back to a point made way earlier on saying losing Valverde was a big loss I disagree. If he was such a sizeable influence then pray tell where are the massive improvements he has brought to Tomas Berdych? If anything the Birdman is regressing.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 24 Apr 2016, 12:13 pm

I wasn't convinced by Mauresmo's appointment but she seems to have done a good job. If we ignore the fact he has been mugging around somewhat post-baby it's been a very strong period of his career.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Guest on Sun 24 Apr 2016, 1:12 pm

Hi Lydian & Born Slippy, I don't want to jump the gun with what I see as a careful progressive unmasking of the technical aspects of the elite players that is occurring on this thread, but another thread has gone a bit bananas.  In that other thread I made a certain preliminary conclusion, and I would like your thoughts on this preliminary conclusion which I believe is a fair summary of one aspect that has been discussed on this thread.

Preliminary conclusions for the consideration of Lydian & Born Slippy.  
1) Andy Murray compared to Federer/Nadal/Djokovic has some technical deficiencies in his game that are ultimately limiting his ability to compete with and defeat them in tennis matches as indicated by the raw data of his grand slam matches and the data of his post 2013 results against them.  
2) Lendl, did not address those deficiencies but rather worked through them and over them to get Murray quickly competing at a higher level that enabled him to win his two slams and the Olympic title in a relatively short space of time.  
3) But ultimately these uncorrected technical deficiencies caused Murray's body, i.e. back, to break down under the physical intensity of the Lendl approach.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Sun 24 Apr 2016, 2:17 pm

It's all relative when we talk about "deficiencies" but yes I think that's a fair summation NS. The Lendl "majoring" of Murray's FH has also curtailed Murray's use of variety too.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Guest on Sun 24 Apr 2016, 6:16 pm

The worth of a theory is its explanative power.  This theory has high explanative power.  It also explains why Murray prefers to be a passive, counter-puncher.  He himself says he prefers the counter-punching style.  If he had a technique that allowed him to apply power with ease, such as a FH power stroke - then he would prefer a more attacking style of play.  But the analysis reveals weaknesses / deficiencies in his basic technique which does not allow him to apply power easily as would be needed for an attacking style of play.  Hence his preference, greater comfort, with the counter-punching style.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Sun 24 Apr 2016, 7:13 pm

Smile absolutely, nicely summarised NS.
And conversely you can see how good the technique is for Nadal and Federer to have dominated matches with their FHs. This is why is makes me laugh in the past when people said Nadal had no talent, just lungs. If they they knew the basis of the game properly they would never make such statements because these kind of FHs and the ability to execute and dominate with them match in, match out requires such technical mastery and superlative footwork - these things don't come along often!
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Guest on Sun 24 Apr 2016, 8:34 pm

I have mostly enjoyed Rafael's style of tennis - his 100% commitment and focus, his passion and energy in his play.  I sometimes feared for him because I thought he would destroy his body.  He never seemed to get easy points with his serve, it was all about point construction and then the kill.

In terms of seeing the technical aspect of his game plus the technical aspect of other tennis players game - that was my weakness.  I have never been coached and it was only through trial and error that I worked out which end of the racket I should be holding.  But I have been slowly learning, mainly through reading other people's comments then reflecting on them.

I know with Rafael Nadal - he has a very unusual and technically complex stroke action - that causes a certain "whippy-ness" when the racket reaches the ball - and it is this technically complex and skilful action that gives Nadal his special power to spin and control the ball more than any other player.  The ball spin creates the phenomenon described as the "heavy ball".

Ps: I suppose Del Potro had a technical weakness that caused an over strain on his wrist that effectively blighted / ended his tennis tournament winning days.  The original great hope for British Women's tennis was Laura Robson but it seems she too may have to eventually hang up her racket.  Tennis can be a tough and unforgiving sport.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Sun 24 Apr 2016, 10:14 pm

But it's great to learn hey NS Smile

The beauty of tennis is its complexity and the opinions that affords us all.

Nadal isn't without issues technically...his BH is not great tbh due to him having a dominant right arm and his serve is also "adequate", at least he can out heavy work on it so it's actually hard to attack.

In terms of his spin, he has amazing use of wrist lag. It's the theory of stretch shortening cycles. Well worth a read if you get time...it's about rapid relaxation and contraction of muscles. So if you watch Rafa pull his racquet arm back he'll turn his wrist backwards which is a coiling of latent energy. At this point his racquet will face the back wall. His arm is effectively loaded...and basically wants to unload/uncoil.

So he'll immediately uncoil the wrist and arm by powering forwards towards the ball. This creates massive whip action towards the ball. The time lag between coiling and uncoiling is critical...it's milliseconds...any longer and the effect of SSC is lost. It's completely different from how guys hit balls 20 years ago.

It's not easy to explain...have a surf on the topic.

But Nadal himself has improved and refined his FH...he doesn't sit back and change nothing, even his peerless FH. Read here: http://www.tennisunleashed.net/rafael-nadal-the-master-of-change-part-2/

Finally, to see what a SSC forehand is in practice, what Rafa hitting balls in practice from behind here at WTF. If you watch his FH go back, he loads the extension and then rapidly uncoils to hit the ball in a "slap" like action. Once you've spotted it it's hard to ignore and you look for it in other players...I try to play it myself but it's a fiendishly difficult thing to achieve because it's a resetting of your whole kinetic chain in playing a FH.

Rafa using SSC forehands...watch from 6:00 to 6:49 to see what a nightmare it would be rallying with him as a club player trying to handle that level of spin and power, which he makes look easy.
Look for the pull back and wrist snap, it sounds like a shotgun going off.
In my opinion it's still a pretty unique shot in tennis the amount of snap he gets, when Rafa's timing it well (which he hasnt been over the past 12-18 months) there is no better shot.
You can also see him hitting mainly open stance but some variants too.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by socal1976 on Sun 24 Apr 2016, 11:44 pm

Lydian, isn't what you are talking about SSC really what I was taught to roll and brush the FH. The wrist snap is to increase the dwell on the ball. I mean you make it sound very complicated but that last little wrist snap on the serve or the FH is bringing the wrist into the kinetics and mechanics of the swing. Where in the past the wrist was meant to be more stable and less dynamic through the shot. Am I getting your post correct, and talking about the same thing. The way I was taught what you are talking is to brush the FH or roll the wrist.    That is where the late kick or movement comes from the wrist snap. Where the ball bounces and actually seems to speed up and accelerate again after the bounce. Its part of the reason that a heavy spinning ball is harder to time in that its seems to pick up speed after the bounce and then once it gets to peak height it starts to drop again and slow down rapidly. That is why you have to take a heavy ball either on the rise before it kicks, or after it kicks and literally  the ball has spent all the energy then you can hit. If you hit it right as its kicking you just can't time it well and you will be late probably missing net or dropping short.

So what you are talking about is the wrist roll or last little wrist snap on a serve or FH is basically what I am long windedly asking?

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Calder106 on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 10:29 am

Nore Staat wrote:Hi Lydian & Born Slippy, I don't want to jump the gun with what I see as a careful progressive unmasking of the technical aspects of the elite players that is occurring on this thread, but another thread has gone a bit bananas.  In that other thread I made a certain preliminary conclusion, and I would like your thoughts on this preliminary conclusion which I believe is a fair summary of one aspect that has been discussed on this thread.

Preliminary conclusions for the consideration of Lydian & Born Slippy.  
1) Andy Murray compared to Federer/Nadal/Djokovic has some technical deficiencies in his game that are ultimately limiting his ability to compete with and defeat them in tennis matches as indicated by the raw data of his grand slam matches and the data of his post 2013 results against them.  
2) Lendl, did not address those deficiencies but rather worked through them and over them to get Murray quickly competing at a higher level that enabled him to win his two slams and the Olympic title in a relatively short space of time.  
3) But ultimately these uncorrected technical deficiencies caused Murray's body, i.e. back, to break down under the physical intensity of the Lendl approach.

While I feel point 1 is a factor I do think that a lot of the problem is more mental than technical. Points 2 and 3 are just really supposition and in my view unfair to Lendl.

Murray had back problems as long ago as 2005, 2006, 2007. He also had the right wrist injury in 2007. Although the back problems were put down to growth at the time it does point to a weakness in the back.

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/andy-murray-i-always-believed-i-was-going-to-make-it-520231.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/5029854.stm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-455046/Wrist-injury-casts-Andys-Grand-Slam-prospects-doubt.htm

Then there is the bipartite patella issue. Mention has been made of the size of Murray's thigh muscles. I would suggest that these have been built up to take pressure off of the knee. It is what I was told to do when I had knee problems.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8704999.stm

So how much have these problems knee, back,wrist affected the way he can play ? Do they limit his movement in some ways ? Who knows it is all speculation but it is a different perspective to saying he has flaws in his FH technique and he sold his soul to the devil (Lendl) to win his slams.


At the end of 2011, before Lendl came on board, Murray pulled out of Basel with a glutimus maximus strain and a couple of weeks later the WTF with a groin strain. So there were signs issues with his body then. After that he had a full winter training programme and the 5 hour match against Djokovic before Lendl could have any real input on his game. For those reasons I think pointing the finger at Lendl is wrong. Especially as Lendl was really brought in to deal with the mental side at the sharp end of slams.




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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Born Slippy on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 10:56 am

Thanks Calder. Good post. I thought Andy had earlier back issues when he was a teenager but I couldn't find reference on a quick search.


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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 11:17 am

Guys, I just also posted on the Barca thread so wont repeat that here.
Yep, Andy and injuries go a long way back. Interestingly, the wrist injury in 2007 is thought to be one of the reasons why he stopped working with Gilbert because Brad told him to play through the injury (Rotterdam? Cant remember now...) but that made it worse, Murray had to retire and after the match a MRI showed he had torn wrist ligaments...so missed the next couple of slams. Needless to say they parted ways in the autumn!
As I mentioned on the other thread, Lendl's main thrust with Murray was to get more power in his FHs (and yes work on the mindset). Murray was known for playing a whippy, slower style FH due to his defensive game basis. That meant he had to come off the back foot and really drive through the shot...to extend the follow through. This was probably quite a shift for Murray and I'm convinced it strained his back (or exacerbated an already weakened back).
Saying he sold his soul to Lendl is obviously not whats trying to be said here, Murray/Lendl agreed he needed more power there and they worked on his game together. But something led to the back issue getting worse...and usually a change of biomenchanics is the issue with backs. You refer to back issues back in 2005-7 but then he had years without back issues too. Then Lendl comes along, FH power goes up and pop, there goes the back. I feel he's not hitting through the ball like he did with Lendl now...that's not to say he doesn't sometimes when the opportunity presents...but on average I reckon he's whipping the ball again more to save the back in general. This is causing his game to have less punch than when he was winning OG/USO/Wimb. Let's see what happens through 2016...maybe he can find a balance of power/spin that's higher than 2013-15 but doesn't stress his body out for surgery again.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 12:38 pm

lydian wrote:Guys, I just also posted on the Barca thread so wont repeat that here.
Yep, Andy and injuries go a long way back. Interestingly, the wrist injury in 2007 is thought to be one of the reasons why he stopped working with Gilbert because Brad told him to play through the injury (Rotterdam? Cant remember now...) but that made it worse, Murray had to retire and after the match a MRI showed he had torn wrist ligaments...so missed the next couple of slams. Needless to say they parted ways in the autumn!
As I mentioned on the other thread, Lendl's main thrust with Murray was to get more power in his FHs (and yes work on the mindset). Murray was known for playing a whippy, slower style FH due to his defensive game basis. That meant he had to come off the back foot and really drive through the shot...to extend the follow through. This was probably quite a shift for Murray and I'm convinced it strained his back (or exacerbated an already weakened back).
Saying he sold his soul to Lendl is obviously not whats trying to be said here, Murray/Lendl agreed he needed more power there and they worked on his game together. But something led to the back issue getting worse...and usually a change of biomenchanics is the issue with backs. You refer to back issues back in 2005-7 but then he had years without back issues too. Then Lendl comes along, FH power goes up and pop, there goes the back. I feel he's not hitting through the ball like he did with Lendl now...that's not to say he doesn't sometimes when the opportunity presents...but on average I reckon he's whipping the ball again more to save the back in general. This is causing his game to have less punch than when he was winning OG/USO/Wimb. Let's see what happens through 2016...maybe he can find a balance of power/spin that's higher than 2013-15 but doesn't stress his body out for surgery again.

Apologies to you lydian for my crabbit (Scottish dialect) posts towards you in the last 24 to 36 hours. Hug

If I could I'd offer my own thoughts on why Murray's stats V the very best players have dipped and I wouldn't concentrate too much on forehand technique.

Lets remember he has undergone back surgery so that cannot of helped his stats at all. Also in this time these stats go back over he has lost Lendl as his coach who I'd say is the one coach that managed to get Murray to be more aggressive and hold more belief in himself. Since his departure and with slam losses it is inevitable that belief will erode away again. For me the biggest Achilles Heel with Murray is in the mental department. This is not to say he is generally mentally weak as he has proven that is not so in many tough matches where he has recovered from impossible positions in matches. It is the key matches against the best players when I'd question his belief. More often than not he too easily goes into his shell or is distracted by things that don't affect others. Things like the roof closing at Wimbledon 2012 V Federer and he mentally disappeared thereafter, then at the Australian Open with Feather-Gate when he allowed such an immaterial event to throw him off track mentally and then when he allowed Novak's 'injury' play on his mind and so on and so forth. The big three don't have incidents such as this and that is the biggest difference. For the best Murray to show himself he needs everything to align for that to happen. He needs his first serve to fire which in turn helps his general mental demeanour which in turn ups his aggression levels and in turn keeps his mental demons at bay. Those things don't happen often enough and haven't in recent times but wouldn't put that down to forehand technique.

Apologies again lydian. thumbsup
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 1:21 pm

Hey CC - no worries, thanks for reaching out Smile
I think we can all get "crabbit" from time to time, especially when our players are in question.
Its just opinions back and forth at the end of the day, something to pass the time in the sport we all love. I'm sometimes guilty of overstating matters and linking A+B+C+D+E to equal K, perhaps not F...although I genuinely will state K if I believe there is a reason for it. There is also the aspect of Ockham's Razor in these things ;-)

Thanks for your thoughts back. I think we all definitely agree that Lendl's objective was to make Murray more aggressive. And Danny's post on the other thread is interesting too re: what Lendl sought to do. I'll repeat that here as its pertinent to this thread:

1 - stopped Murray training with his rivals. No more practice sets v Novak, as he wanted Andy to treat Novak like an enemy, not a friend.

2 - ordered him to stay on the baseline and always play aggressive shots in practice. I guess he was trying to make this Andy's default. "You're losing because your backside is against the back fence of the court" is one Lendl quote I remember Andy admitting to early in their partnership.

3 - Particular focus on improving the depth of Murray's forehand.

4 - got Andy playing tie-breaks over and over in training, to try and get him into 'big point' mentality more often.

5 - cut down hugely on the amount of serves he hit in practice. He thought Andy was so damaging his serve percentages because he practiced too often.

So, we can see he wanted Murray to step forward more and be the aggressor. Generally, in tennis you use the FH to be the aggressor so that's the shot Lendl will have focused on. Besides there is nothing wrong with Murray's BH, as we all know its world class. To improve the depth of the forehand would require hitting through the ball more, which correlates with the on-the-back-foot issue and not extending through.

I definitely hear what you're saying in the mental department but the problem is when you look at Murray's record pre-Lendl vs. big 4.

vs. Federer: 8-6 up
vs. Djoko: 4-6 down
vs. Stan: 6-4 up
vs. Nadal: 5-11 down (Nadal has always been tough for Murray from Day 1)
TOTAL: 23-27...which is still roughly 50/50

i.e. Murray didn't seem to get that distracted before Lendl against these guys vs. how he is now?
Maybe he has lost confidence since the surgery and Lendl going or maybe the other guys have got better quicker (despite Nadal's doldrums he has been working on his game)? It seems he's doing worse now than even pre-Lendl (if we assume the Lendl period was the peak). It seems he's lost the aggression, court positioning and maybe belief in the big points. But is that because he's slipped into old FH habits when the rest of the guys have moved their aggression on? Or is it a lack of great coaching in his corner? I don't really know but something seems amiss.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 1:36 pm

It must be remembered that he has undergone back surgery and 2015 was pretty much a write-off and it so that would impact the stats massively. I would feel his game a coach of the ilk of Lendl would help but as to stats pre-Lendl it is fair to say Djokovic has gone to another level so Murray's dip V him is universal to all players. Federer's record hasn't altered massively and it would be fair to say Roger has had a Indian summer since end of 2014. As you say Nadal for him has always been a poor match-up so little has changed there either. The stats inevitably have dipped as has his slam results as in 2012/2013 he maybe had the best few slam results of all players but since then things have tailed off - not helped off-course by back troubles in 2014.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Born Slippy on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 2:09 pm

Andy's 4 wins over Novak in that list were at Miami, Canada and Cincy (x2). Under Lendl he added wins at Wimbledon x2, Dubai and the US Open.

Last year, he played Novak on two of those courts. In Miami he lost to him in three sets (and appeared to totally run out of steam after being the better player in the first two sets - winning the second). In Canada, he beat him. His record against Novak tends to be better on the quicker courts on tour.

Conversely (and unfortunately for Andy) his record against Fed tends to be better on medium/slower courts. His two losses to Fed last year came on grass and at Cincy - hardly courts he has ever had a consistent advantage over Fed. Fed served phenomenally well in both matches. On slower courts I think the results would have been different.

As for Rafa, he is 1-2 against him since start of 2015. The losses were at WTF and MC - he's never beaten Rafa on either of those courts (and for some reason he is consistently poor at the WTF - not helped this year by the DC). The win was again in the slightly quicker conditions in Madrid.

All in all, I'm unconvinced there is really any demonstrable change. Let's see how matters go if Andy gets to play Novak/Rafa on quicker courts or Fed on slower ones.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Guest on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 4:24 pm

The issue of Murray having back problems before Lendl is consistent with the theory of a basic relative deficiency in Murray's FH technique.  As far as I understand the matter Lendl didn't change his basic FH technique he just ramped it up getting Murray to produce more power from it and that was the final straw that broke Andy Murrays back resulting in surgery and a lengthy recuperation period.  If Murray was a camel then this would be clearer to see.

Theories of mindset and mental focus is an example of putting the cart before the horse.  Imagine the horse has a basic weakness in his foreleg technique.  When the going gets tough the horses forelegs will be stretched to breaking point and the the cart carrying Murray's Psyche is going to be pulled this way and that way resulting in the cart overbalancing and Murray going absolutely bananas.

There is plenty of demonstrable evidence to be found in Murrays grand slam tennis record plus hospital record.  This theory has high explanative power.

On a separate note Andy Murray said the LTA ruined his brother Jamie Murray.  This demonstrates Murray's understanding that basic technique drilled into one at a given sensitive formative stage of the embryonic tennis player remains when that tennis player reaches the adult / mature stage of its life cycle.

Finally it is not a question of convincing individuals who may have certain emotional investments in the player.  It is a question of developing theories that have the highest explanative power: that are most consistent with the cold hard facts of the tennis record, the medical record, plus observations by trained experts able to break down what is seen on the court into its component techniques and application of those techniques under varying circumstances.

A college professor was once heard saying to his student: "I am not interested in your opinion. I am only interested in the facts and theories that can be used to explain those facts".


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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Calder106 on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 4:59 pm

Got to disagree with some of that. The mental side was the main reason that Murray employed Lendl. I think his 2011 semi loss to Nadal was the final straw for him. A set up and still in the driving seat in the second set he over hits an easy put away. From that point on he completely folded. After that match I seriously doubted for the first time that Murray would ever win a slam. Lendl comes on board (after Andy has suffered a couple of injuries at the end of 2011) and gets him to play more aggressively,and closer to the baseline. It's what most people on the forum were saying Murray should be doing at the time as they felt he was too passive. So he does that, wins some big events, has a back issue that could be related to this extra aggression. Now people say he shouldn't have gone down that route.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Guest on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 5:10 pm

My view is that Murray is probably getting the best out of himself given the material he has to work with.  The mental side is more a consequence of how he deals with the material at his disposal.  Lacks confidence in his ability, lacks confidence in his technique, he thinks he should be doing better than what his body actually produces.  He prefers to project his disappointment onto others hence the raving towards his coaching team on court.  This occurs at the unconscious level as per usual psychological models.  As always this is relative to the all time greats of the sport that are currently gracing the courts.  My view is that those that say it is all in Murray's head are doing Murray a great disservice and disrespect and although they may feel themselves to be Murray supporters are in fact Murray's biggest critic (as in: "sort your head out Murray you should be beating Djokovic, Federer, Nadal more often").

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 5:29 pm

I actually think Nore's point (which is derived from my point..) has some merit.

Firstly, any great tennis player is built on the foundation of one key attribute. Athleticism. Its what tennis ID programmes the world over look for in young budding juniors. And make no mistake, Andy was (is) an exceptional athlete. Its like having a thoroughbred horse that is simply faster than all the others...and in horses you look for good conformation, then build from there. Similarly, Andy had the right basis...he could move like the clappers. Without that you are wasting your time trying to build a pro player these days unless they have a ridiculously powerful weapon, e.g. Karlovic's serve. I have been alongside a world leading fitness tennis trainer who still works with many of the top 20 players. His motto? "Build the athlete first, then the player second".

So, you take that athlete (or you find it...) and then you build technique on top. Finally, you layer on tactical nous, competition experience, on court mindset, fitness regimes, etc etc etc.

Murray had the athlete box ticked all over. However, his technique has always been non-standard. He never trained in a standardised LTA programme, and as a result we know he played DH both sides until 12-13. This is highly unusual in the late 90s to be playing with technique like that. Any normal tennis centre would have drilled that out of him at 7-8. We also know he would play against older boys and try to beat them with "junk ball" tennis. That would be tennis derived from non-standard rallying means and non-standard patterns of play. This is the basis of why Murray had such good variety and could live in the point. Its also what defined him as a counterpuncher and defensive type player. So in moving from a DHFH to a SHFH he would likely have used an Eastern grip to play the shot being coached on fast surfaces from that background. This will have been changed radically to a Western grip when he went to Barcelona academy to develop his game further. Then we know he reverted back to the semi-Western grip he has now. That is a lot of forehand changes from 12 to 18. It also means he probably has underlying gremlins in the shot under pressure...the grip will slip, or the preparation will change, or the footwork...or all of it. This also places different strains on the body. I'm sure there will be other variations in Murray aside from the FH too. These variations will actually create a little bit of doubt under the severest of pressure...e.g. he'll miss an easy shot like the one Calder describes above.

We'll have all seen club players who get injured playing tennis...bad elbows, arms, knees, backs. I would wager >90% of those injuries are down to bad technique. They have learnt to play with gremlins in their game, they get better, overplay the technique issue and a conformational issue results from the stroke or movement not being smooth or consistent. I am convinced this is the case with Murray in a number of ways because of his background and the way he has learnt to play the game. His strengths (quirkiness, variety, speed, hanging in there) can become his undoing and critically undermine his confidence. Sure, he has learnt to smooth out a lot of his game...that's a talent in doing that...but those gremlins will always be lurking underneath and come out against the very best. I'll also wager guys like Gilbert saw this and tried to change his technique to avoid further (wrist / back) injury but Murray being stubborn probably refused.

So, then comes Lendl. What Lendl did was redline Murray's game. Not tinker with the basics...but use what skills Murray had to amp up the power, instil a mental strength and self belief in his game. And it worked wonderfully. But those gremlins in foundations technique, always being there, would test Murray's conformation...straining early injuries picked up and making them worse. Yes he won 2 slams and a OG so he can retire happy...but its a level I don't think he can return to unless he's prepare to redline his game again and risk injury...is Murray willing to do that? I guess we'll see...


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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 5:33 pm

Nore Staat wrote:My view is that Murray is probably getting the best out of himself given the material he has to work with.  The mental side is more a consequence of how he deals with the material at his disposal.  Lacks confidence in his ability, lacks confidence in his technique, he thinks he should be doing better than what his body actually produces.  He prefers to project his disappointment onto others hence the raving towards his coaching team on court.  This occurs at the unconscious level as per usual psychological models.  As always this is relative to the all time greats of the sport that are currently gracing the courts.  My view is that those that say it is all in Murray's head are doing Murray a great disservice and disrespect and although they may feel themselves to be Murray supporters are in fact Murray's biggest critic (as in: "sort your head out Murray you should be beating Djokovic, Federer, Nadal more often").

Belief is key. Now we know Murray more often than not gets to the last eight, often the last four and nine times slam finals so that says he is strong enough mentally to beat mere mortals (ie Berdych, Tsonga, Gasquet et al) more often than not as he has confidence in belief that he can and will win those matches. However, Djokovic, Federer and Nadal it is a different matter. If it were merely down to lack of talent then he'd not even have won one slam or managed half the wins he has had against the big three. The fact he has registered more wins against them than other players can boast says the talent is there but the consistency and rock-solid belief is not. Obviously, it is not solely down to belief - like I have said before, Murray is temperamental for want of a better word. If his first serve fires it enables him to be more aggressive which in turn helps his belief which in turn elevates his all-round level. Once the serve stats fall and relies on second serve then everything else falls apart. Whereas your top three (if not at their best) can work through their problems much better and still remain competitive that is not the case for Murray - basically the wheels fall off.

Sorry if you feel that, in some way, doesn't do justice to the other three, but have conceded countless times that he isn't on the same level as them so what else can I say?
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 5:42 pm

CC, belief comes out of many things. Knowing you're fitter than the rest, knowing you can hang in a point longer, or knowing your technique will not break down under pressure. Against all but the very best Murray can hang in the point, outlast them and pick off the winners (or ralley until they self implode). But against Federer, Nadal, etc, he doesnt have an edge on fitness or hanging in a point. Once upon a time he used to outwit them by using variety but he changed that approach in favour of the physical route (he wanted to emulate Nadal's physicality). So now he's neutral on fitness and hanging in a point...but what lets him down against them is technique. That's his main achilles heel. He knows their technique is more solid than his and I'm sure this undermines him during key points against them. At key passages in matches his mind will wander, he starts berating himself and he starts blaming everyone else...even his box ("you're not giving me anything"!)...which suggests a mental unhappiness with something in his game fundamentally. For me, the source of his mental weakness comes out of his own concern at issues in his game vs. the very best. I don't believe he's mentally weak per se...simply that its derived from physical weakness(es)/issues.


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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 5:44 pm

As Calder says Lendl was primarily taken on to help Murray mentally. Andy in his pressers often said (on the appointment) that he wanted someone who had been through the same experiences as him and Lendl fitted the bill as he had also lost his first four slam finals and was a fountain of knowledge on how to turn those losses into slam wins. It is fair to say it worked but those days are gone now.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 5:47 pm

lydian wrote:CC, belief comes out of many things. Knowing you're fitter than the rest, knowing you can hang in a point longer, or knowing your technique will not break down under pressure. Again all but the very best Murray can hang in the point, outlast them and pick off the winners (or ralley until they self implode). Against Federer, Nadal, etc, he cant rely on either the fitness or hanging in a point. He could used to outwit them by using variety but he changed that approach. But what he cant rely on at all against those guys is technique. He knows theirs is more solid than his...and I'm sure this eats away at him under the key points against them. His mind wanders, he starts berating himself and he starts blaming everyone else...even his box ("you're not giving me anything"!)...which suggests he's not happy with something in his game fundamentally. For me, his fundamental mental weakness comes from his own perceived weaknesses in the fundamentals of his game vs. the very best. I don't believe he's mentally weak per se...its derived from physical weakness(es)/issues.

I'd disagree with you in that variety was not the reason he beat the big three. In his early years he had more variety but it saw him lose four slams. Lendl came in and many feel knocked the variety out of him and slam wins were the result. Yes I'd like to see him re-employ more variety but I wouldn't say that was a reason for beating the big three as he never did beat them when it mattered most - in slam finals.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 5:50 pm

But can you paper over the mental side for long if the gremlins in the base game are always there...? Murray kind of redlined his game over the cracks and that covered them up for a time but maybe like an iceberg, those cracks under the surface undermined his physical ability to compete? We know his use of variety used to beat these guys...my thrust forever with Murray is why did he need to change that approach...sure he could make himself stronger but why did he move away from those very things that made him rapidly successful and aspects that he was comfortable playing with. In changing style he moved to a type of game that arguably wasn't him...and maybe hurt him physically due to the artificial redlining going on via Lendl, etc....?
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 5:52 pm

Four slam final defeats are what instigated change lydian.


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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 5:52 pm

Well he beat Nadal in the 2008 semis but then mainly due to tiredness he underperformed vs Federer. Remember how mis-timed those 2 semis were...Murray lost a day vs. Federer. His only issue back then was really his fitness but he was still very young and needed extra conditioning.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by lydian on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 5:54 pm

Sure but those losses are arguably after he'd already moved from variety to power game. Lendl just built on that, he's not the one who moved Murray fundamentally away from variety...although he did exacerbate it for sure.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 5:59 pm

lydian wrote:Well he beat Nadal in the 2008 semis but then mainly due to tiredness he underperformed vs Federer. Remember how mis-timed those 2 semis were...Murray lost a day vs. Federer. His only issue back then was really his fitness but he was still very young and needed extra conditioning.

That was more the exception than the rule though. He lost four slams without winning a set as well. Something had to change (or be changed) and Lendl proved to be probably the best appointment Murray will ever make in his career. Okay so Lendl eroded the variety from Andy's game but he instilled an unseen steeliness in crunch matches that won him two slams and an Olympic Gold. Would that have happened if Murray had carried on in the same manner and not appointed Lendl I am not sure at all.
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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Guest on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 6:14 pm

I am happy with the theory that Murray has a technical issue with his FH and this is the main reason why he is where he is.  It has high explanative power.  It has been something raised by many people including "renegade" commentators such as hawkeye and Socal.  So for me until someone comes up with another theory that has equal or greater explanative power that is it.  For me of course I still need to develop my understanding of the technical aspects of tennis.

Another technical issue I have long wondered about was why Federer was never able to counter Nadal's tactic of high bouncing balls to his backhand.  I was amazed and enthralled by Nadal's rise and eventually dethroning of Federer at Australia 2009, when he had successfully translated his clay court game onto the grass and then hard courts.  Hence Federer's tears (like a baby - sorry).  But it seemed to me always the same kryptonite tactic that was killing Federer  - high bouncing balls to Federer's backhand.  I was convinced that Federer being a tennis genius would develop a tactic to counter this - but he never did.  It turned out anyway that Nadal had seriously damaged his body in getting to this position, although he did "bounce" back strongly in 2010 ... but then we had the rise of the Djokovic in 2011 (Djokovic MkII).

Anyway the issue of why Federer was unable to develop a counter to Nadal's high bouncing ball to the backhand remained a mystery to me.  I think Bogbush came up with the best explanation saying it was to do with geometry, Federer's height, and the fact that Federer used a SHBH that prevented Federer from developing an adequate response to it.  Djokovic was able to handle it and this allowed Djokovic to eventually beat Nadal repeatedly (except on the clay).

Now the reason why I now raise this "technical deficiency" of Federer in responding to Nadal's high bouncing balls to Federer's background - is that I see a parallel with Murray's "technical deficiency" in developing a power FH.  Both were unable to overcome their "technical deficiencies" even though it seemed evident where the problem lay.  Hence I am thinking that there are certain basic techniques that are "learnt" during the developmental stages of them becoming full adult tennis players that cannot be "unlearnt" - they just have to be "worked with".  In psychology / sports science this I believe is called "muscle memory" which are learnt physical behaviours that are passed into the cerebellum (hind brain) which then become available as motor codes for unconscious (hence fast) motor skills and coordination.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

Post by Born Slippy on Mon 25 Apr 2016, 7:55 pm

lydian wrote:I actually think Nore's point (which is derived from my point..) has some merit.

Firstly, any great tennis player is built on the foundation of one key attribute. Athleticism. Its what tennis ID programmes the world over look for in young budding juniors. And make no mistake, Andy was (is) an exceptional athlete. Its like having a thoroughbred horse that is simply faster than all the others...and in horses you look for good conformation, then build from there. Similarly, Andy had the right basis...he could move like the clappers. Without that you are wasting your time trying to build a pro player these days unless they have a ridiculously powerful weapon, e.g. Karlovic's serve. I have been alongside a world leading fitness tennis trainer who still works with many of the top 20 players. His motto? "Build the athlete first, then the player second".

So, you take that athlete (or you find it...) and then you build technique on top. Finally, you layer on tactical nous, competition experience, on court mindset, fitness regimes, etc etc etc.

Murray had the athlete box ticked all over. However, his technique has always been non-standard. He never trained in a standardised LTA programme, and as a result we know he played DH both sides until 12-13. This is highly unusual in the late 90s to be playing with technique like that. Any normal tennis centre would have drilled that out of him at 7-8. We also know he would play against older boys and try to beat them with "junk ball" tennis. That would be tennis derived from non-standard rallying means and non-standard patterns of play. This is the basis of why Murray had such good variety and could live in the point. Its also what defined him as a counterpuncher and defensive type player. So in moving from a DHFH to a SHFH he would likely have used an Eastern grip to play the shot being coached on fast surfaces from that background. This will have been changed radically to a Western grip when he went to Barcelona academy to develop his game further. Then we know he reverted back to the semi-Western grip he has now. That is a lot of forehand changes from 12 to 18. It also means he probably has underlying gremlins in the shot under pressure...the grip will slip, or the preparation will change, or the footwork...or all of it. This also places different strains on the body. I'm sure there will be other variations in Murray aside from the FH too. These variations will actually create a little bit of doubt under the severest of pressure...e.g. he'll miss an easy shot like the one Calder describes above.

We'll have all seen club players who get injured playing tennis...bad elbows, arms, knees, backs. I would wager >90% of those injuries are down to bad technique. They have learnt to play with gremlins in their game, they get better, overplay the technique issue and a conformational issue results from the stroke or movement not being smooth or consistent. I am convinced this is the case with Murray in a number of ways because of his background and the way he has learnt to play the game. His strengths (quirkiness, variety, speed, hanging in there) can become his undoing and critically undermine his confidence. Sure, he has learnt to smooth out a lot of his game...that's a talent in doing that...but those gremlins will always be lurking underneath and come out against the very best. I'll also wager guys like Gilbert saw this and tried to change his technique to avoid further (wrist / back) injury but Murray being stubborn probably refused.

So, then comes Lendl. What Lendl did was redline Murray's game. Not tinker with the basics...but use what skills Murray had to amp up the power, instil a mental strength and self belief in his game. And it worked wonderfully. But those gremlins in foundations technique, always being there, would test Murray's conformation...straining early injuries picked up and making them worse. Yes he won 2 slams and a OG so he can retire happy...but its a level I don't think he can return to unless he's prepare to redline his game again and risk injury...is Murray willing to do that? I guess we'll see...

I've already said that Murray was using a single handed forehand when he won the U12 Orange Bowl in 1999. I highly doubt he had just changed either - to be good enough to win the Orange Bowl you would need exceptional strokes and a complete change in forehand shortly before just wouldn't work. I suspect, at absolute latest, he must have changed by his 11th birthday and probably a bit earlier. It was not uncommon for kids at that time to use 2 handed forehands up to that sort of age. I believe Rafa did likewise. Just because he didn't work with the LTA doesn't mean he wasn't coached properly - is there any actual evidence that his mother and Leon Smith don't understand the mechanics of tennis?

I would be very surprised if he used an eastern grip at that time. The standard at that time was semi western (and that looks to me from the pictures at the time to be what he used). I doubt he has ever changed away from that grip so all the changing grip stuff looks like pure conjecture. He has very likely been using a similar forehand since the age of 10-11.

As you have rightly previously identified, there is nothing actually wrong with Andy's technique. It's just a classical style. There is literally zero suggestion that it led to wrist or back problems.

As I've said above, Murray's level of play last year was definitely higher than the Lendl years. The stars just haven't quite alighted for him as they did then.

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Re: Amazing stat I read...

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