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Has Stan shown a glimpse of what's coming?

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Post by bogbrush Tue 9 Jun - 6:36

It was a smart tactic that Magnus Nornan developed; knowing it was impossible for Stan to outlast the wall that is Djokovic they decided to use every ounce of Wawrinkas power to push through, in particular, he hardly ever passed by an opportunity to take a dead ball on, crunching it into corners so not even the incredible elastic man could get there.

Earlier in the week Jack Sock had applied the same tactic against Rafa. He overlooked the bit about putting it regularly into the court, but still took a set and essentially put the match onto his racquet.

Kyrgios had, for a while, looked similarly strong against Murray, though injury cut short the question of whether it would have brought a win.

We've been into an era of long baseline rallies for so long now that it seems like that's how tennis always is, but I'm hoping that the formula to beating this game is in front of us; not because I want to watch people hit the cover off the ball from the back - fun as that is for a while - but because the way to then beat that game is to go to the net, a lot. Against someone like Wawrinka, a skilful net game can be very effective, taking away the time and putting pressure on returns. Tactics such as mid-paced, angled serves to bring a defensive return which a guy at the net can put away neutralise power as well as being fairly easy on the stamina, so if it goes longer the net player can survive.

For the net game to return, first the walls have to be pushed over. Hopefully the young big lads will find inspiration in what Stans done and roll the game forward.
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Post by HM Murdock Tue 9 Jun - 9:04

I don't think you are going to get the fulfillment of your wish.

The first stage of what you suggest is very likely to happen. There is a group of young(ish) rising players - Kyrgios, Kokkinakis, maybe Sock - for whom power is the defining characteristic.

Even if their game doesn't render the defensive skills of Djokovic and Murray redundant (I suspect they won't), the passing of time will.

Within a couple of years, Novak and Andy will be into their decline and the power players should be approaching their physical peak. The power approach will begin to win more titles.

What I don't see though, is any sign of a future generation coming into the net. It may happen but I don't see it on the horizon.

Tennis is a game of tactical strike and counter strike but I have my doubts that this happens on a generational level.

I don't believe, for example, that Rafa, Novak and Andy developed their style to counter Federer. It's more that the game they had from their youth is what proved most effective in doing so.

Likewise, I don't believe that Kyrgios and Kokkinakis were taught to play how they do because their coaches had a plan to counter baseliners.

By extension, I don't predict that a period of power of at the top of the game will neccessarily see a generation of net players emerge.

What will probably happen is, in the event of a period of dominance from power players, it will be players with skills at the net who become the most effective rivals.

But the presence of players with net skills is not a certainty. Are these skills still being taught to young players? I don't know but the fact we are now on a third generation (1. Nadal/Djoko/Murray, 2. Nishi/Raonic/Dimi 3. Kyrgios/Kokkinakis) for whom this is not a strong feature makes me think it's not.

One final point about Stan. He showed that raw power can beat  athletic, mobile defence. JMDP has arguably already shown this.

But Stan had to redline to pull it off. It was the performance of a lifetime. There's no way that he uses that much power that accurately most weeks of the year.

Granted, this is an infinitely superior challenge to the likes of Ferrer and Berdych playing the same old way and getting beaten the same old way.

But it hasn't killed the game of Novak and Andy.

We may, in fact, be in for period of interesting competition between two different styles where the winner is who can execute best on the day.

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Post by banbrotam Tue 9 Jun - 9:05

I'm not that convinced. Novak failed to grab the few early opportunities he had to take the match by the scruff of the neck and allowed Stan to take over

The conditions helped Stan, just like they hindered Novak who isn't as good in any heat (slam level against other slam winners I mean)

We'll see, if Stan keeps this up - as if he does he'll be No.1 by the end of the year

But I think that type of tennis had a very low margin for error and needs certain conditions to come off, when playing the very best

I'm also not convinced that Kygios would have done any better than take a couple more games against Murray. The Scot (when fit) doesn't have much history at losing against such players after taking the first. He does have a lot of good history against hard hitters, he's the best at getting such players moving into areas of the court that are their weakness

In addition, I feel that such players have far more tendency to injures, niggles etc. No surprise really. There's an awful lot of strain put on the joints when you're hitting with such power all the time

Stan though is a one off, because of that backhand - maybe others can replicate, but they all need all court movement to consistently beat the best. Stan looks leaden footed for at least half of his matches - which is why he doesn't win more

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Post by Josiah Maiestas Tue 9 Jun - 9:39

I like the way Jack Sock attacks the ball at any opportunity and think he will be a main stay in the top 10 in the coming years, if he gets the right blend on both wings. Can you imagine if Stan took his game plans from someone like Rasheed rather than Magnus? picard

Stan coupld lose in the 1st round again next year knowing how unpredictable he can be mad
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Post by Matchpoint Tue 9 Jun - 9:52

Perhaps, only time will tell. But good OP, about time we pay tribute to the success of Warwrinka's swift and gutsy net approach in overpowering and overturning the monotony of baseline rallies. 

Much like their Spanish peers, both the Swiss #1 and #2 trained on clay as youngsters. I mentioned in another thread Stan was the 2003 RG Junior Champ. But my question is, how come the Spaniards typically continue to play the classic/traditional clay court tennis focused on slow and eternal baseline rallies, while both Federer and Stan ended up playing a much more time-efficient short version based on hitting risky winners the first chance they get. Stan had 60 of these biggies winning his first RG. Youngsters must know that when they're on the wrong side of 30, they wouldn't have the required physical energy or mental focus to rally all long day at the baseline to win the tougher match. Those 60 winners were critical to the success of our brand-new RG champion, prepared and willing to rush the net.

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Post by sportslover Tue 9 Jun - 10:23

"We'll see, if Stan keeps this up - as if he does he'll be No.1 by the end of the year"


There is no danger of him getting this!

Stan had a great result against Novak on Sunday but prior to this his fortunes are very much mixed,he is an up and down player as the titles he has won in his career shows, and remember he is now 30yrs old and in his twilight years!


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Post by Josiah Maiestas Tue 9 Jun - 10:33

Stan won't reach his twilight years for a while he plays like he's within himself and lots of reserves in the tank..
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Post by Guest82 Tue 9 Jun - 10:38

Maybe not just Stan, but Cilic too.

Two of the last three Grand Slams have been won by unexpected players hitting big shots. It probably shows up the amazing consistency of the "big four" over the last decade.

I suspect every now and then a player will hit form at the right time. I still think Djokovic and Murray will win more than they will lose over the next two years.

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Post by HM Murdock Tue 9 Jun - 11:00

Guest82 wrote:Maybe not just Stan, but Cilic too.  

Two of the last three Grand Slams have been won by unexpected players hitting big shots.  It probably shows up the amazing consistency of the "big four" over the last decade.  
Del Potro did it too.

Soderling took Rafa out at RG the same way.

Big hitters have always had a chance. It's been unfortunate though that Soderling and Del Potro have been absent with illness and injury for so long. Cilic also has had injury problems and Stan appears to be an unusually late bloomer.

There's been a shortage of power players in recent years.

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Post by dummy_half Tue 9 Jun - 11:11

HM

I'm not convinced there has been a shortage of power players - how would you describe the likes of Berdych or Tsonga?

The issue is more that the power players have not been good enough to beat the Big 4 on a regular basis - maybe Del Potro would have done so (certainly did on occasion and had close defeats as well- think Olympic SF v Federer), but it turns out his wrists were made of overcooked spaghetti. The others have fallen short simply by not being good and consistent enough.

For as long as I've watched tennis (and probably further back) there has been the thought that the next generation would see bigger and more powerful players come to the fore, yet we are still in an era where slightly smaller guys with better footwork and technique win more than the outright power guys - if I wanted to build the next all time great, I would want them to be 6' 1" (Sampras, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic) rather than 6' 11" (Isner, Dr Ivo).

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 9 Jun - 11:17

I thought I was watching the future when I sat, open-mouthed, watching JWT demolish Rafa at the AO semi in 08. Alas, JWT has not been able to produce that sort of sheer-power performance often enough and the defensive and fitness skills of the top four have got even better.
  Just watched extended highlights of the French final. Djoko was trying a few volleys - probably not enough - but he was outpowered and could not crunch the ball away in the way that Stan was doing.
  OK, it's gonna be difficult for anyone to play like, and as well as that, often, or even for a full match. BUT IT HAS TO BE THE WAY FORWARD.


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Post by kingraf Tue 9 Jun - 11:45

IT was the year 2000, when Marat Safin basically blew Pete Sampras away with a display of power tennis which had Pete Sampras calling Safin the future of tennis.

He was not the future.

percentage tennis always wins in the end. The definition of percentage tennis changes, in line with conditions, but the idea remains.
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Post by sirfredperry Tue 9 Jun - 12:07

Kingraf. It's still fun to watch a one-off, crunching performance winning a title, rather than trophies being awarded after near six-hour marathons.
Now, if someone could marry the power game to the percentage game.....

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Post by banbrotam Tue 9 Jun - 12:08

HM Murdoch wrote:
Guest82 wrote:Maybe not just Stan, but Cilic too.  

Two of the last three Grand Slams have been won by unexpected players hitting big shots.  It probably shows up the amazing consistency of the "big four" over the last decade.  
Del Potro did it too.

Soderling took Rafa out at RG the same way.

Big hitters have always had a chance. It's been unfortunate though that Soderling and Del Potro have been absent with illness and injury for so long. Cilic also has had injury problems and Stan appears to be an unusually late bloomer.

There's been a shortage of power players in recent years.


And they've all had career derailing injuries of some kind. My earlier point was that whilst Fedal and Murray can also have serious injuries, they recover to be their previous selves (perhaps not for Nadal now) because they never relied on absolute power in the first place

The pure power hitters are (for me) boringly predictable in what they're going to do - it's just a question of how long they can keep it up and how accurate they are, that dictates how long they're in the match for. Because, when they play Novak and Andy, when these two are 'on it' they rarely win

I actually think linking Stan with the power merchants is a bit of an insult. He has such varied play, that when he's on form you've know idea where he's going to put the ball, which is why Murray's suffered twice at a slam to him. But Stan still lacks the movement that the serial winners have

Now if Kyrgios can get the movement right, then he could be the sensation that BB thinks he can. But already we've got arm injuries - worrying at such a young age

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Post by banbrotam Tue 9 Jun - 12:11

I've never seen Tsonga as a power player. I've not seen him blast any of the usual suspects off the court. At his best he's a graceful imitation of Federer without the SBH

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Post by banbrotam Tue 9 Jun - 12:16

kingraf wrote:percentage tennis always wins in the end. The definition of percentage tennis changes, in line with conditions, but the idea remains.  


Agree. And there's nothing wrong with that. Yes, it was great to see Chardy be as good as Murray's best for 30 minutes, but the body is not going to sustain that for 3hrs - there'd be something wrong if it could

For me Tennis at it's best is a varied game, with mixtures of subtley and the use of power when the opportunity arises. But then again my all-time faves are the likes of Connors, Mac, Leconte, Mecir and Agassi. Fed, Murray and yes Wawrinka will threaten some of them, once their careers end!!

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Post by HM Murdock Tue 9 Jun - 12:57

kingraf wrote:percentage tennis always wins in the end. The definition of percentage tennis changes, in line with conditions, but the idea remains.  
Very good comment.

It's a constant balancing of risk vs reward.

That's the problem with buccaneering players like Stan. On a given day, they are unplayable. Over the course of season though, their reward for each "unit" of risk is lower than players like Djokovic and Murray.

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Post by Guest Tue 9 Jun - 13:51

There is nothing quite refreshing at the moment than Stan's refined power game. The pop he get's off the racquet is a joy. The others you mention, Kyrgios and Sock. Sadly they just seem to want to muller the ball to the moon or something! They need some internal discipline not to try and hit the fluff of the ball. Play each ball on it's merit. It works for Stan. Can only hope others that are up and coming can do the same.

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Post by temporary21 Tue 9 Jun - 13:54

The performance Stan put in on Sunday was the exception to the rule. It was exhilarating but in practice it's very hard to keep doing. Being consistent is a criminally underrated trait, but in the long run is more successful.  A great effort but don't expect people to be able to roll the dice and it work that much.  If Novak had broken in the fourth at 0-40 stan would have likely lost.

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Post by MMT1 Tue 9 Jun - 15:39

With his victory at Roland Garros, Stan delivered us all from three myths about tennis that I find very irritating and limiting:

1. the insurmountable head to head record
2. the one-handed backhand handicap
3. the older players can't win multiple majors

We should all thank him for that.
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Post by Guest82 Tue 9 Jun - 16:02

MMT1 wrote:With his victory at Roland Garros, Stan delivered us all from three myths about tennis that I find very irritating and limiting:

1. the insurmountable head to head record
2. the one-handed backhand handicap
3. the older players can't win multiple majors

We should all thank him for that.

The head-to-head argument never convices me really. Players get better/worse and play better/worse at different times.

Generally the better player will win more matches too. Djokovic is a better player than Stan, but Stan played better on Sunday.

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Post by kingraf Tue 9 Jun - 16:17

Wawrinka was incredibly hot, though. I wouldn't be surprised if he snatched one or two more slams. To win AO, he had to beat world #1 and 2, more importantly, he had to do so with a match in between. This is important because so many players who beat the big guys lose the next one because they fall flat facing lesser guys. In this one he faced the #2 & 3 clay courters of his generation, and lost exactly one set to them. Again he had a match in between which he handled relatively well.
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Post by Haddie-nuff Tue 9 Jun - 16:30

However well Stan played (and by God didn't he) Rafa, Novak, and Murray have shown there is a great deal of success to be had by their style of play, and have made a career of it.Enough to influence younger players I think.
Is the success that Stan had on Sunday sustainable .if so where has he been hiding it??

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Post by kingraf Tue 9 Jun - 16:49

It's hardly been a case of Stan either winning majors or bombing out after round one. He holds two of the last five majors. He's made semi finals in five of the last eight.
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Post by Haddie-nuff Tue 9 Jun - 16:53

Actually the point Im trying to make, unsuccessfully it seems, is not to undermine Stans achievements, purely to ask whether what he achieved on Sunday, or indeed his style, is enough for young guns to want to emulate him, rather than the Novak/Rafa/Murray, given the greater successes they have had... that's all Rolling Eyes

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Post by sportslover Tue 9 Jun - 17:07

Haddie-nuff wrote:However well Stan played (and by God didn't he) Rafa, Novak, and Murray have shown there is a great deal of success to be had by their style of play, and have made a career of it.Enough to influence younger players I think.
Is the success that Stan had on Sunday sustainable .if so where has he been hiding it??

Stans victory on Sunday against Novak was excellent, much more deserved than his AO Slam victory against a well below par Rafa last year.

However he runs very much hot & cold and his trophy cabinet must confirm this.

As for further slams who knows, but if the other top players are fit and well I wouldn't put money on it.

Could be wrong of course Whistle

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Post by CaledonianCraig Tue 9 Jun - 18:00

There is a more simple reason why Stan won than his playing style. For me he played at a consistently higher level for longer than Novak who had a few patches where he had a dip. Stan's consistency with him in that dream-like zone where everything he hit was painting the lines was a level (on this occasion) Novak couldn't live with.
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Post by socal1976 Tue 9 Jun - 18:44

Well I think it will be hard for someone to be that aggressive in a match and do it over 5 sets and repeat the feat over and over again. This is why we have seen Stan have so many up and down days. I mean the match being on your racquet is really a misnomer. Simply because you have the power to out hit your opponent doesn't mean that you will. And Stan still has only recreated this kind of power display successfully against Djokovic 3 or 4 times out of 20 matches. It is a high risk strategy and you aren't always going to be able to paint the corners and lines like that especially considering the current conditions and athletes on tour.

In actuality you got to be both good at defense and attack. And I think players like Kyrgios, Sock, the next generation guys are balanced enough to pull it off. At the end of the day the game is always in my mind going to evolve towards players who have a balanced game that lacks weaknesses. A play who yes can hit big shots but has more in his bag then that. To me it is an ever increasing trend towards versatility and consistency as opposed to power that dictates today's game.

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Post by socal1976 Tue 9 Jun - 18:50

sportslover wrote:
Haddie-nuff wrote:However well Stan played (and by God didn't he) Rafa, Novak, and Murray have shown there is a great deal of success to be had by their style of play, and have made a career of it.Enough to influence younger players I think.
Is the success that Stan had on Sunday sustainable .if so where has he been hiding it??

Stans victory on Sunday against Novak was excellent, much more deserved than his AO Slam victory against a well below par Rafa last year.

However he runs very much hot & cold and his trophy cabinet must confirm this.

As for further slams who knows, but if the other top players are fit and well I wouldn't put money on it.

Could be wrong of course Whistle

Exactly, I think this only Stan's 10th tournament win. His serve is huge, has the most explosive backhand on tour and one of the biggest FHs. One would think that Stan would consistently challenge for the number 1 or 2 ranking and be in the semis and finals. But he isn't, and that is because he plays high risk tennis. It is like when you play poker, if you play a lot of drawing hands you will have big days of both winning and losing at the tables. Because you are risking more on low percentage plays and catching your opponents by surprise. But then you will have a lot of days when your long shots consistently don't hit and you get busted out in hour or two. The same thing goes for Wawrinka last year he lost first round, this year he won the whole thing. When he is on he can beat anyone, when he is off he can lose to anyone. It is like what Mac said about Henri leconte, Leconte the stylish Frenchmen in his words could hit any shot you can imagine and he could miss any shot. To me it is always about controlled aggression on a tennis court. Attacking players can win but in some ways they still have to do it in a consistently repeatable way.

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Post by Haddie-nuff Tue 9 Jun - 19:02

That's absolutely true about Leconte.. on form he was a magician, that backhand, his grace and agility around the court was incredible.. oh but on a bad day.!!!!
Again I draw the parallel with Montfils .. though Leconte was not a showboater he was very good humoured.

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Post by bogbrush Tue 9 Jun - 19:18

Just to be clear, I do not mean that Stan is the answer. He's not good enough; not powerful enough (!) nor reliable enough. Others might be, especially as they see it start to work.

There is also the possibility of technical advance. Just as the main thrust of technology has been to allow guys to hit from any angle, or to impart insane spin, so it may be that we will see more powerful technology allowing the ball to be hit beyond the reach of the retrievers.

In such a game the only answer is to take away time and defeat power with skill. It's the rock / paper /scissors process all over again.
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Post by socal1976 Tue 9 Jun - 19:40

bogbrush wrote:Just to be clear, I do not mean that Stan is the answer. He's not good enough; not powerful enough (!) nor reliable enough. Others might be, especially as they see it start to work.

There is also the possibility of technical advance. Just as the main thrust of technology has been to allow guys to hit from any angle, or to impart insane spin, so it may be that we will see more powerful technology allowing the ball to be hit beyond the reach of the retrievers.

In such a game the only answer is to take away time and defeat power with skill. It's the rock / paper /scissors process all over again.

Not powerful enough I mean how much more power do you want than a guy who hits a one handed backhand nearly 100 miles an hour. I personally think that a more attacking approach is the future of tennis. The game generally favors aggression and attack players it has been a bit of a rarity that the last few years the best players have been such great retrievers. But I think what will be required in the future is a player who is a generalist and has a high baseline of being able to do it all on a tennis court, while at the same time he has a couple of stand out weapons as well. Coming to the net I think will be a part of the equation but a relatively smaller part of it. As the power increases the reaction times and the ability to control volleys also decreases. Also if you can hit through people from the back of the court it becomes much less needed to take the risk of getting passed or lobbed by moving into the court. Serve and volley tennis works the best when it is hard to hit through opponents from the back of the court and ground strokes aren't zipping at incredible pace. With wood racquets you had to approach so that you could finish a point. In the last twenty years it has just been easier to hit a mid court forehand for a winner so why take on the added risk of getting in tight to the net.

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Post by bogbrush Tue 9 Jun - 20:56

I admit I dream of a player whose game is based on insane angles; hitting baseline shots halfway up the service box onto the sidelines, with slice. Then coming in to pick off the pieces.

Kind of like McEnroes serve to the ad court, but throughout rallies. It would be mental to watch.
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Post by Haddie-nuff Tue 9 Jun - 21:06

You have to ask if he exist and he is out there somewhere..who is his coach ? Wink

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Post by kingraf Tue 9 Jun - 23:22

socal1976 wrote:
bogbrush wrote:Just to be clear, I do not mean that Stan is the answer. He's not good enough; not powerful enough (!) nor reliable enough. Others might be, especially as they see it start to work.

There is also the possibility of technical advance. Just as the main thrust of technology has been to allow guys to hit from any angle, or to impart insane spin, so it may be that we will see more powerful technology allowing the ball to be hit beyond the reach of the retrievers.

In such a game the only answer is to take away time and defeat power with skill. It's the rock / paper /scissors process all over again.

Not powerful enough I mean how much more power do you want than a guy who hits a one handed backhand nearly 100 miles an hour. I personally think that a more attacking approach is the future of tennis. The game generally favors aggression and attack players it has been a bit of a rarity that the last few years the best players have been such great retrievers. But I think what will be required in the future is a player who is a generalist and has a high baseline of being able to do it all on a tennis court, while at the same time he has a couple of stand out weapons as well. Coming to the net I think will be a part of the equation but a relatively smaller part of it. As the power increases the reaction times and the ability to control volleys also decreases. Also if you can hit through people from the back of the court it becomes much less needed to take the risk of getting passed or lobbed by moving into the court. Serve and volley tennis works the best when it is hard to hit through opponents from the back of the court and ground strokes aren't zipping at incredible pace. With wood racquets you had to approach so that you could finish a point. In the last twenty years it has just been easier to hit a mid court forehand for a winner so why take on the added risk of getting in tight to the net.

That's it. Basically expanded on my earlier post. Every single dominating pattern of play in the history of the game has been the percentage play, subject to conditions. As brave as consistently serving and volleying looks now, at the time, there was hardly a more efficient way to win a point. Serve 120+, put away the return, or at least have an easy second shot. Funny enough, power baseline tennis has never really been the dominant pattern of victory. Probably because it carries with it the greatest risk of defeat when all is not synced properly
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Post by socal1976 Tue 9 Jun - 23:44

Matchpoint wrote:Perhaps, only time will tell. But good OP, about time we pay tribute to the success of Warwrinka's swift and gutsy net approach in overpowering and overturning the monotony of baseline rallies. 

Much like their Spanish peers, both the Swiss #1 and #2 trained on clay as youngsters. I mentioned in another thread Stan was the 2003 RG Junior Champ. But my question is, how come the Spaniards typically continue to play the classic/traditional clay court tennis focused on slow and eternal baseline rallies, while both Federer and Stan ended up playing a much more time-efficient short version based on hitting risky winners the first chance they get. Stan had 60 of these biggies winning his first RG. Youngsters must know that when they're on the wrong side of 30, they wouldn't have the required physical energy or mental focus to rally all long day at the baseline to win the tougher match. Those 60 winners were critical to the success of our brand-new RG champion, prepared and willing to rush the net.

What net approaches Stan won the game from the baseline he didn't venture to the net very much if at all. He hit winners from the back. He probably volleys less than Djokovic does in matches.

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Post by Haddie-nuff Wed 10 Jun - 0:03

Spaniards typically continue to play the classic/traditional clay court tennis focused on slow and eternal baseline rallies,

Two exception to your generalisation re the Spaniards, is that both Verdasco and Lopez trained on the hard courts of Madrid.. where Murray trained for two years in Spain Headscratch

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Post by socal1976 Wed 10 Jun - 0:06

kingraf wrote:
socal1976 wrote:
bogbrush wrote:Just to be clear, I do not mean that Stan is the answer. He's not good enough; not powerful enough (!) nor reliable enough. Others might be, especially as they see it start to work.

There is also the possibility of technical advance. Just as the main thrust of technology has been to allow guys to hit from any angle, or to impart insane spin, so it may be that we will see more powerful technology allowing the ball to be hit beyond the reach of the retrievers.

In such a game the only answer is to take away time and defeat power with skill. It's the rock / paper /scissors process all over again.

Not powerful enough I mean how much more power do you want than a guy who hits a one handed backhand nearly 100 miles an hour. I personally think that a more attacking approach is the future of tennis. The game generally favors aggression and attack players it has been a bit of a rarity that the last few years the best players have been such great retrievers. But I think what will be required in the future is a player who is a generalist and has a high baseline of being able to do it all on a tennis court, while at the same time he has a couple of stand out weapons as well. Coming to the net I think will be a part of the equation but a relatively smaller part of it. As the power increases the reaction times and the ability to control volleys also decreases. Also if you can hit through people from the back of the court it becomes much less needed to take the risk of getting passed or lobbed by moving into the court. Serve and volley tennis works the best when it is hard to hit through opponents from the back of the court and ground strokes aren't zipping at incredible pace. With wood racquets you had to approach so that you could finish a point. In the last twenty years it has just been easier to hit a mid court forehand for a winner so why take on the added risk of getting in tight to the net.  

That's it. Basically expanded on my earlier post. Every single dominating pattern of play in the history of the game has been the percentage play, subject to conditions. As brave as consistently serving and volleying looks now, at the time, there was hardly a more efficient way to win a point. Serve 120+, put away the return, or at least have an easy second shot. Funny enough, power baseline tennis has never really been the dominant pattern of victory. Probably because it carries with it the greatest risk of defeat when all is not synced properly

Exactly, KR. In the past S and V was the high percentage play. If anything staying back and relying on your ability to pass and retrieve better than your opponent with a heavy 65 sq inch racquet was low percentage. S and V when groundstrokes are zipping by at 100 mile an hour with 2500 plus RPM. People think the pros today can't volley I seriously doubt that is the problem. The problem is that the benefit of serve and volleying doesn't match the risk. If it did they would all volley and if they didn't know how would learn with how professional and competitive it is at the top. The risk of getting passed or the risk of not being able to control a huge groundstroke has increased while at the same time the alternative of just hitting midcourt forehands for winners to end the point has become much easier.


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Post by bogbrush Wed 10 Jun - 6:55

I think much harder hitting than now can still be percentage. It's wasn't as if Stan was being all that risky, he generally played well inside the lines, he just hit very hard and had good down the line shots. His winners well outweighed his errors and you don't get lucky over four sets.

All you need is bigger or stronger guys, then retrieving becomes impossible and players would have to attack.

And the best way to beat a massive power guy is through subtlety and taking time away.
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Post by Matchpoint Wed 10 Jun - 10:40

socal1976 wrote:What net approaches Stan won the game from the baseline he didn't venture to the net very much if at all. He hit winners from the back.

Where's "the back"? Sure, they started out from the base line but Stan did not finish his winning points standing where he started out far behind the baseline. While the parameters of Djokovic's hitting field outside the court during the rallies didn't change appreciably, you could see Stan always aiming to go forward, gradually, closer and close towards the net, not necessarily to hit volleys, but to outmanoeuvre Djokovic, thereby increasingly gaining control of his own shots and ultimately dictating their rallies from inside the court. 


Ok, to clarify, his winners may not have been concentrated on volleys hit close to the net but a significant number were launched, on the run AWAY from the back, from somewhere well inside the court between the net and the baseline. Of course, Stan is not beyond hitting a relatively few winners "from the back." 


Interestingly, [url=x-apple-data-detectors://0]at 3-1[/url], 4th set, Djokovic's serve, Stan reverted to playing rather conservatively.  He only once moved forward beyond the baseline to grab the first point. After that he stayed back and managed to break back not because he did anything special towards the net, but Djokovic on his part made a couple of uncharacteristic errors and gifted the break back.

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Post by LuvSports! Wed 10 Jun - 11:39

socal1976 wrote:
Matchpoint wrote:Perhaps, only time will tell. But good OP, about time we pay tribute to the success of Warwrinka's swift and gutsy net approach in overpowering and overturning the monotony of baseline rallies. 

Much like their Spanish peers, both the Swiss #1 and #2 trained on clay as youngsters. I mentioned in another thread Stan was the 2003 RG Junior Champ. But my question is, how come the Spaniards typically continue to play the classic/traditional clay court tennis focused on slow and eternal baseline rallies, while both Federer and Stan ended up playing a much more time-efficient short version based on hitting risky winners the first chance they get. Stan had 60 of these biggies winning his first RG. Youngsters must know that when they're on the wrong side of 30, they wouldn't have the required physical energy or mental focus to rally all long day at the baseline to win the tougher match. Those 60 winners were critical to the success of our brand-new RG champion, prepared and willing to rush the net.

What net approaches Stan won the game from the baseline he didn't venture to the net very much if at all. He hit winners from the back. He probably volleys less than Djokovic does in matches.

Djoko was 14/24 on net points, Stan was 23/33. So a better % at 70% compared to 58% and he came in more.

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Post by Matchpoint Wed 10 Jun - 12:17

Thanks for the stats. OK Do you know if 58% is more or less than Djokovic's net points average? 

Further, just saw this from Warwrinka: “I was trying to have longer rally, trying to play more deep, trying to play more aggressive from baseline, and little by little, I started to be the player inside the court.

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Post by bogbrush Wed 10 Jun - 12:44

Yes, because he beat him backwards.

Bigger, stronger, better guys would just do the same thing more emphatically.
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Post by sirfredperry Wed 10 Jun - 15:40

On the S and V subject, Pat Cash said that the courts at Wimbledon were so ropey when he won there in 1987 that you just had to come in to the net, as staying back was a big risk.
In the bits I saw of the RG final, Djoko played some nice volleys. Rafa, when he decides to come in, is a very good volleyer. He should do it more often.

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Post by socal1976 Wed 10 Jun - 16:20

MMT1 wrote:With his victory at Roland Garros, Stan delivered us all from three myths about tennis that I find very irritating and limiting:

1. the insurmountable head to head record
2. the one-handed backhand handicap
3. the older players can't win multiple majors

We should all thank him for that.

I disagree the one handed backhand being a big disability on tour is not a myth it is true. As great as Stan's backhand is and it is I wouldn't trade Djoko, Murray, or Nishikori's backhand for his. And that principally is a result of the weakness of the one hand backhand in the return. Djokovic lost his form in the second set of that final on his serve and Stan's return was flattered quite a bit. I think if you take a good two handed backhand and put it on Federer that Fed probably wins another 3-4 majors. It is the principal reason that outside of wimbeldon and maybe the US I don't favor Dimitrov's chances and I don't think Thiem will be anything more than a good pro. You very rarely see a great returner with a one handed backhand even in the days of the wooden racquet the best returners had two hands on the racquet. It is just a huge part of the game and maybe even more important now than it has ever been.

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Post by socal1976 Wed 10 Jun - 16:28

Matchpoint wrote:
socal1976 wrote:What net approaches Stan won the game from the baseline he didn't venture to the net very much if at all. He hit winners from the back.

Where's "the back"? Sure, they started out from the base line but Stan did not finish his winning points standing where he started out far behind the baseline. While the parameters of Djokovic's hitting field outside the court during the rallies didn't change appreciably, you could see Stan always aiming to go forward, gradually, closer and close towards the net, not necessarily to hit volleys, but to outmanoeuvre Djokovic, thereby increasingly gaining control of his own shots and ultimately dictating their rallies from inside the court. 


Ok, to clarify, his winners may not have been concentrated on volleys hit close to the net but a significant number were launched, on the run AWAY from the back, from somewhere well inside the court between the net and the baseline. Of course, Stan is not beyond hitting a relatively few winners "from the back." 


Interestingly, [url=x-apple-data-detectors://0]at 3-1[/url], 4th set, Djokovic's serve, Stan reverted to playing rather conservatively.  He only once moved forward beyond the baseline to grab the first point. After that he stayed back and managed to break back not because he did anything special towards the net, but Djokovic on his part made a couple of uncharacteristic errors and gifted the break back.

I didn't say Novak volleyed more than Stan in the final, I said that he in general probably gets to the net as much or more than Stan. I don't have an issue with the point that Stan overpowered Novak just with idea that he won the match with his net approach. When you are murdering the ball like he was doing you are going to get more chances to move in and finish short balls in the air. The volleying was more a function to putting Novak on the defensive with his groundies, which is fine that is what you have to do. I mean 33 trips to the net in a long 4 set match isn't something that is out of the norm for most guys on tour to begin with.

I think a big issue for Novak not being able to impose himself more in that match was that he wasn't hitting his forehand well. When it is on it makes his serve easier and helps him get into net more it just lacked any penetration and he made some really bad errors and or didn't do much with the short balls that he received off that side.

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Post by socal1976 Wed 10 Jun - 16:32

bogbrush wrote:Yes, because he beat him backwards.

Bigger, stronger, better guys would just do the same thing more emphatically.

Yes an the bigger stronger players also have a problem with movement generally and fitness, not to mention that there bodies typically break down more as there is more pressure on their joints in a lengthy grind of a season. As I said I think the key is balance, the players who can do a bit of everything are going to be more successful week in and week out. The power guys have always been there and have always done well, in recent years I think as Murdoch has alluded to you had many power players who just weren't quite good enough as Murray, Nadal, and Novak. I still don't see it being a huge change that will bring back S and V, maybe I hope so I am not opposed to variety in styles. But S and V losing its significance slowly on tour has been going on really since the advent of the graphite and composite racquet.

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Post by bogbrush Wed 10 Jun - 16:48

Sportsmen are moving on, the game will change. Weren't you the guy who talked about people getting massive and powerful?
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Post by MMT1 Wed 10 Jun - 17:08

socal1976 wrote:
MMT1 wrote:With his victory at Roland Garros, Stan delivered us all from three myths about tennis that I find very irritating and limiting:

1. the insurmountable head to head record
2. the one-handed backhand handicap
3. the older players can't win multiple majors

We should all thank him for that.

I disagree the one handed backhand being a big disability on tour is not a myth it is true. As great as Stan's backhand is and it is I wouldn't trade Djoko, Murray, or Nishikori's backhand for his. And that principally is a result of the weakness of the one hand backhand in the return. Djokovic lost his form in the second set of that final on his serve and Stan's return was flattered quite a bit. I think if you take a good two handed backhand and put it on Federer that Fed probably wins another 3-4 majors. It is the principal reason that outside of wimbeldon and maybe the US I don't favor Dimitrov's chances and I don't think Thiem will be anything more than a good pro. You very rarely see a great returner with a one handed backhand even in the days of the wooden racquet the best returners had two hands on the racquet. It is just a huge part of the game and maybe even more important now than it has ever been.

The one-handed backhand has diminished in tennis, not because it is technically problematic, but because it requires better technique to execute when young and still developing physically.  Because of the money in the game, young players want to do better sooner, and unless they are exceptionally talented AND have the patience to develop the necessary technique, most will take the easy way out and keep the second hand on the backhand.  But by your logic, the natural evolution would before both forehands and backhands to be two-handed, which you don't see, and that is because very few players are incapable of hitting an effective forehand at a young age to the extent that their best option for being competitive is to put a second hand on the stroke.  Physically it's easier to use the torque of your core on a forehand than a backhand, which requires a better sequencing in the transfer of power from the feet to the hips to the core and then to the arm.  Without this, a kid hitting a one-handed backhand cannot maintain racquet head stability which is required to play at high levels.

But there is nothing deblitating about one-handed backhands anywhere.  You just have to have better technique, which most players will not committ to at a young age, and as adults they stick with what they know.  You know how many French Open champions have had 2-handed backhands in the last 20 years? Four of them (Kafelnikov, Agassi, Ferrero and Nadal), and if you eliminate Nadal the number of titles is 3.  But there have been 6 French open champions in the last 20 years with a one-handed backhand (Muster, Kuerten, Costa, Gaudio, Federer, Wawrinka), and if you eliminate Kuerten, the number of titles is 5.

That's 6 to 4 and 5 to 3. The titles have less to do with the two-handed backhand than the guy hitting it - Stan's win should be ample evidence of that.
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Post by socal1976 Wed 10 Jun - 18:35

bogbrush wrote:Sportsmen are moving on, the game will change. Weren't you the guy who talked about people getting massive and powerful?

Oh I think we will see tall, athletes with big power that can move. But I don't think that will result in the return of S and V. The points I was making is simply to say it is a trade off between size and power and mobility and durability.

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