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Big talk episode 1: Do power players like slow or fast surfaces?

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Big talk episode 1: Do power players like slow or fast surfaces? Empty Big talk episode 1: Do power players like slow or fast surfaces?

Post by temporary21 Thu 05 Nov 2015, 3:43 pm

My first in a series of topical articles by me, which will be updated... erm

if/whenever a topic comes up I guess...

Paris is here, and it looks slow... Tsonga looks good on it, Anderson too, but arent these guys power players?

Got me wondering, Soderling seemed at his best on slow surfaces too, Isner beat Roger on mud... hence is it actually a bit of a myth that power players arent good on slow surfaces?

On the one hand they dont get as much penetration, on the other hand, power guys usually have big swings that need winding up, and have poorer defence. Slower surfaces make the ball sit up, easier to defend, and gives them the time and bounce to set the big shot.

Ive always felt that theres a critical mass... once a guy has so much power, the loss of speed just doesnt matter, and in fact a slower surface benefits...

Or am I talking s*** as usual? DEBATE

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Post by Guest82 Thu 05 Nov 2015, 4:05 pm

Slower surfaces I think.

There is a point where a power player can hit through anyone on even the slowest surface. A slower surface gives them more time to get to the ball and wind up their shots. I am thinking of Stan v Djokovic and RG here.

Fast courts are I think prefered by more agressive players. I.e Federer. But not always power players.

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Post by HM Murdock Thu 05 Nov 2015, 4:34 pm

Depends how the power is generated.

If it's with a big swing (i.e. Wawrinka, Gonzalez) then it stands to reason that a slower surface helps them.

But if the power comes more from physique (i.e. Tsonga) or big wingspan (i.e. Del Potro), I don't think its as important.

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Post by LuvSports! Thu 05 Nov 2015, 5:07 pm

I wouldn't put Gonzo as a slow court player 2bh.
He made the 07 aus final which was rebound ace back then.

I'd say whether you are a big hitter compared to a big server may be different too - the latter benefiting from faster surfaces perhaps.

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Post by CAS Thu 05 Nov 2015, 8:37 pm

I think in years gone by the bigger players preferred faster courts as they wouldn't need to run as much, these days the bigger players are much more accomplished at the baseline and like to rally themselves. The biggest difference is movement nowadays

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Post by HM Murdock Fri 06 Nov 2015, 8:38 am

LuvSports! wrote:I wouldn't put Gonzo as a slow court player 2bh.
He made the 07 aus final which was rebound ace back then.
He also won Basel when it was still on carpet.

But I think he was better on slower surfaces. Of his 11 career titles, 8 were on clay.

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Post by Born Slippy Fri 06 Nov 2015, 10:05 am

Without meaning to sit on the fence, doesn't it really depend on the player? Traditionally, the big servers would have limited baseline games and look to get to the net. Obviously then you want faster surfaces to reduce the time for returns and passing shots. Dr Ivo, for example, would much prefer fast surfaces.

Now, most big hitters have poor net games. Fast surfaces benefit them as their serves are less likely to come back and they get max benefit from their own shots. However, their own poor return games are exposed as is their lack of movement.

In short, I don't think it matters nowadays so much for the real big guys. The type of player who really benefits from a quick court is a player like Llodra or Henman with a "so-so" serve, good movement and great net game.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Fri 06 Nov 2015, 11:19 am

First off, I think we have to make a distinction between a "power player" and a "big server". Karlovic is a big server, not a power player. Yes, he can lamp his FH, but it's not a dominant shot, he serves and volleys all the time, and his driven BH is non existent. He'll prefer fast courts.

Isner is closer to being a power player, though still a big server,, obviously. He uses his FH to dominate from the baseline. Wawrinka, Del Potro, Gonzalez, Tsonga, Berdych, I would all class as power players, maybe even Federer until a couple of years ago and his change of style.

It's an interesting discussion. In theory slower surfaces allow power players more time to get set for their big shots, or in the case of players with very dominant forehands more time to run around the BH to bring their dominant shot into play. Given they have the power to hit through the slower courts, this should offer them an advantage, except perhaps against the "defensive masters" who will bring everything back.

Conversely, a fast court will also help them hit through the court easier, which is their primary tactic, and perhaps means they have to take fewer risks in going for the lines.

With this in mind, I've actually come to the conclusion that power players like both slow - except against the great defenders - and fast courts, but perhaps struggle more on the medium courts, where they don't have the extra time to bring their power into play, but equally have to take risks to hit through the court.

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Post by Henman Bill Fri 06 Nov 2015, 12:44 pm

It's an interesting discussion.
Del Potro best results was at the US Open, didn't do as well at the French as some thought.
Gonazales reached the AO final, but not the US Open final which was much faster at the time.
Soderling 2 FO finals and less on faster surfaces, and yet did well on indoor.

Overall thought, I think such players do slightly better on faster surfaces.

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Post by paulcz Sat 07 Nov 2015, 7:10 pm

Seemingly easy question, but there is a bunch of possibilities as it  always depends on movement quality of both oponents and their game style, the serve quality and net game in particular.

Fed as a great mover and classic volleyer surely enjoys the fastest conditions, slower Berdych and Stan rather  prefer medium fast surfaces as their move and net game are not so good.

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Post by Aut0Gr4ph Sun 08 Nov 2015, 1:21 am

paulcz wrote:Seemingly easy question, but there is a bunch of possibilities as it  always depends on movement quality of both oponents and their game style, the serve quality and net game in particular.

Fed as a great mover and classic volleyer surely enjoys the fastest conditions, slower Berdych and Stan rather  prefer medium fast surfaces as their move and net game are not so good.
Stan's two grand slams came up at the French and Australian. His only masters level win was on clay. I think we can take from that he prefers slower conditions than medium fast.

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Post by Aut0Gr4ph Sun 08 Nov 2015, 1:47 am

I think power and aggression often get confused. While there's clearly potential for overlap, I personally think they're very different things.

Archetypal power players often prefer slower conditions because:
a. they have more time to get into position and take a massive cut at the ball.
b. their power can really set them apart, as less powerful players struggle to hit through the court.

I see aggressive players as those that are always looking to be on the front foot, with the main aim of getting in the first strike. To fit this mould, you absolutely don't have to be super powerful (exquisite timing and the ability to step in and take the ball on the rise are often far more important), although a bit of pop in your shots never hurts. This type of player almost always prefers fast courts, as they are likely to get a better return for their adventurous shots, which pushes the risk/reward calculation much more in their favour. They will also enjoy a natural advantage over those players who prefer to bide their time and wait for an opening, as getting in the first strike is critical on faster surfaces.

As others have pointed out though, there are so many factors at play here and the reality is a lot more complicated than the rather simplistic analysis above.

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Post by paulcz Sun 08 Nov 2015, 9:24 am

Aut0Gr4ph wrote:
paulcz wrote:Seemingly easy question, but there is a bunch of possibilities as it  always depends on movement quality of both oponents and their game style, the serve quality and net game in particular.

Fed as a great mover and classic volleyer surely enjoys the fastest conditions, slower Berdych and Stan rather  prefer medium fast surfaces as their move and net game are not so good.
u
Stan's two grand slams came up at the French and Australian. His only masters level win was on clay. I think we can take from that he prefers slower conditions than medium fast.


Good point about Stan's biggest success on slow surfaces needs to give more analysis about his abilities. Here I need to point out, Stan is better than his body looks. I actually think that he is the biggest chameleon between players as he confuses us by his stocky seemingly not athletic body. But Stan is really one of the best all rounders at the tour and his move and stamina is just a notch behind the top players like Novak, Fed, Nadal, Murray. On the top his power can offset the gap between him and these top 4 in this aspect, which gives him a decent chance to succeed even on slow surfaces against top stamina players. Due to his super power he can save a lot of energy and can speed up game when his body is start to boil. His game is as if generating in batches. He is mentally strong and knows where his stamina limits are. IMO he plays one ot the most intelligent game on the circuit.
You pointed out right that Stan must prefer slower surfaces as he has achieved his biggest success on that. It supports the fact, that he is not such a great returner, which is a hitch on the fastest (medium) surfaces and he also does not get so many opportunities to speed up the game by his powerful projectiles as he needs a bit more time for taking his body into hitting positions. He just needs a bit of extra time, which clay allows him well. He is quite surprising man, just a great man, just Stan the Man.
He is a player I really like to watch. I think that they are good friends with Novak as they play some doubles together. Their after match gesture yesterday says a lot about them.

I gave a simple example as a comparison between Fed and Stan/Berdych, but there is a lot of points which needs to be taken in consideration. We need to speak about specific players and conditions, which amounts to hundred things so that a generalization is not possible here.

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