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View Full Version : Are Flat Hitters Doomed?


nikdom
04-02-2009, 02:07 PM
As I watched the Roddick vs Federer match yesterday and even as I'm watching JMDP vs Nadal right now, one thing out of many that occured to me is how infrequently the truly flat-hitters of the game win big matches.

Add Berdych and Blake to that equation as well. They can hit hard and flat, but by the very nature of flat strokes there is very little margin for error - not taken at the right height and without proper length, its either long or going into the net.

So the question is, why don't some of these pros add some topspin to their strokes and gain consistency on their ground game. Then as they settle into their match and loosen up, they can unleash some flat, hard-hit balls to make aggressive plays. Seems like there is no in-between for flat hitters.

An example of this was Roddick from yesterday. Among other things that he cannot do well, he simply cannot create the angles Roger and Rafa create because he doesn't know how to vary his topspin - like adding more topspin when trying an acute cross-court angle. I see the same thing today with JMDP. He's trying to out hit Nadal from the baseline, but way too many balls netted or long because maintaining depth without adequate top spin is so hard.

Do you agree with my assessment?

EtePras
04-02-2009, 02:10 PM
Big flat hitters have never been good at tennis. You never see someone dominate by hitting a bunch of powerful winners past anyone, and that is why true talent is defending like Nadal.

nikdom
04-02-2009, 02:12 PM
It seems to work with the lower ranked players. So players like Berdych can make it to the 3rd or 4th round, but their game fails against the very top players who have more variety.

Mansewerz
04-02-2009, 02:15 PM
Big flat hitters have never been good at tennis. You never see someone dominate by hitting a bunch of powerful winners past anyone, and that is why true talent is defending like Nadal.

Please, go shoot yourself.


Andre Agassi did it. Unfortunately, today's game requires topspin, topspin, and more topspin. The fast, low bouncing surfaces where flat hitters thrive are being destroyed.

theagassiman
04-02-2009, 02:19 PM
Big flat hitters have never been good at tennis. You never see someone dominate by hitting a bunch of powerful winners past anyone, and that is why true talent is defending like Nadal.

What about Connors?
He was no good?

OJ ROD
04-02-2009, 02:35 PM
Marcos Baghdatis. He's still around.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnCE9clhJTM&feature=related

S H O W S T O P P E R !
04-02-2009, 03:16 PM
The problem with Blake and Berdych is that they don't try to set up points. They try to go for a winner anytime they can instead of utilizing slice on the backhand and they come up with unforced errors. I'm a flat hitter myself but I use slice and sidespin to move my opponents around the court.

deltox
04-02-2009, 03:17 PM
flat = more errors and todays game is more about being consistent than hitting hard power flat forehands.

if you play this game you know how much margin for error top spin gives you on any shot

oneguy21
04-02-2009, 03:18 PM
Doomed...my *****. Look at what just happened in Miami.

deltox
04-02-2009, 03:23 PM
Big flat hitters have never been good at tennis. You never see someone dominate by hitting a bunch of powerful winners past anyone, and that is why true talent is defending like Nadal.

playing defense is the best offense?

oneguy21
04-02-2009, 03:25 PM
Big flat hitters have never been good at tennis. You never see someone dominate by hitting a bunch of powerful winners past anyone, and that is why true talent is defending like Nadal.

How do you explain Agassi's success?

kungfusmkim
04-02-2009, 03:34 PM
Big flat hitters have never been good at tennis. You never see someone dominate by hitting a bunch of powerful winners past anyone, and that is why true talent is defending like Nadal.

I agree, please go hang your self. Connors domintated with no spin. William sisters dominated tennis with out spin in 2002-2003. Seles Dominated tennis with no spin. Agassi dominated tennis with no spin. Its just a era right now. We just haven't seen any one good enough that can take down nadal and federer by hitting flat.

*edit:
Also, Defense can go so far. If offense doesn't make the errors defense loses. ALWAYS. Need an example? Watch Serena Williams vs Martina Hingis 2001 US open semis. Need a better example? Watch Hewitt vs Calleri US open 2007. Then tell me that defense is true talent. Its easy to just push the ball back because you swing alot slower to get the accuracy. The harder task is to hit hard and hit an accurate winner.

Staiger
04-02-2009, 03:45 PM
Even The Flat Hitters Can Hit With Plenty Of Topspin In Some Of The Rally......

Staiger
04-02-2009, 03:47 PM
Big flat hitters have never been good at tennis. You never see someone dominate by hitting a bunch of powerful winners past anyone, and that is why true talent is defending like Nadal.

:shock::shock: What have you been drinking ?

T1000
04-02-2009, 03:48 PM
Big flat hitters have never been good at tennis. You never see someone dominate by hitting a bunch of powerful winners past anyone, and that is why true talent is defending like Nadal.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha:)
have you ever watched tennis before?

Serpententacle
04-02-2009, 03:50 PM
Big flat hitters have never been good at tennis. You never see someone dominate by hitting a bunch of powerful winners past anyone, and that is why true talent is defending like Nadal.

Go study up on Connors, man... The flat hitters will come back around in the cycle. You'll see.

canuckfan
04-02-2009, 04:01 PM
Go study up on Connors, man... The flat hitters will come back around in the cycle. You'll see.

Yes. YES. Nadal has brought more spin (along with some other great characteristics), but as juniors everywhere imitate him they will get used to it and slowly the rest of the field will adapt and learn to hit through it. Serpententacle, you're a genius! And naturally, by extension, so am I...

roddickrulz
04-03-2009, 03:35 AM
actually - roddick was a really good flat hitter back in 2003/04 - but the problem is that returning,fitness levels have increased and surfaces have slowed down - therefore flat hitters are pretty non-existent now

leonidas1982
04-03-2009, 03:44 AM
Big flat hitters have never been good at tennis. You never see someone dominate by hitting a bunch of powerful winners past anyone, and that is why true talent is defending like Nadal.

Should there be an entry exam before one joins TW? Each passing month, with most new members, the knowledge displayed about tennis is shocking.

bluegrasser
04-03-2009, 04:47 AM
If you saw the Del Potro/Nadal match, it was Juan flattening out his groundies that won many of the baseline exchanges, also look at Murray & how hitting flat has benefited his game. I think on clay..is where topspin is more of an advantage + I think we're starting to see the flat groundstroke making a comeback.

TnTBigman
04-03-2009, 05:32 AM
You know whats interesting about the current flat hitters examples being used to bash the technique? They suffer from mental lapses during MOST their matches. Blake! Nice guy, but is streeky and inconsistant. Berdych! just not concentrating on the court. Technique is one thing. Mental toughtness is another.

nikdom
04-03-2009, 05:43 AM
If you saw the Del Potro/Nadal match, it was Juan flattening out his groundies that won many of the baseline exchanges

Did you watch the match? the UE count from Juan was horrendous. For every spectacular flattened shot JMDP made, there were 2 he sent into the net or long. If it wasn't for Nadal obliging with a bad day at the office, there was no way JMDP was winning with that kind of winners to UE percentage.

nikdom
04-03-2009, 05:48 AM
Technique is one thing. Mental toughtness is another.

Do you agree that hitting flat shots over the high part of the net is not high percentage tennis? If so, it follows that when a player can make those shots he gains in confidence and when he misses a few in a row, his confidence drops - hence the streakiness.

Mental toughness is inextricably tied to one's confidence in one's strokes and being able to play defensively and hang in there when the going gets tough. With flat hitters, defense usually is more risky offense, leading to complete collapse.

nikdom
04-03-2009, 05:51 AM
What about Connors?
He was no good?

Don't even compare two different eras. The strings, the kind of racquets everyone was using did not allow for the kind of monstrous spin today's players can put on a ball. Just take the volley as an example. I would argue that it is at least 50% harder to make volleys today compared to Connors' era because the way players can make the ball dip or how heavy they can make the shot.

It worked in his era because the spin other players put on the ball was not as hard as today.

deltox
04-03-2009, 05:56 AM
Should there be an entry exam before one joins TW? Each passing month, with most new members, the knowledge displayed about tennis is shocking.

qualifications should include Either:

2+ years of actually playing the sport


or

3+ years of actually watching it with some passion.

deltox
04-03-2009, 05:58 AM
Don't even compare two different eras. The strings, the kind of racquets everyone was using did not allow for the kind of monstrous spin today's players can put on a ball. Just take the volley as an example. I would argue that it is at least 50% harder to make volleys today compared to Connors' era because the way players can make the ball dip or how heavy they can make the shot.

It worked in his era because the spin other players put on the ball was not as hard as today.

your reading to much into this. its not been many years at all that flat hitters ruled tennis, and the trend will come back around again

Nadal_Freak
04-03-2009, 06:05 AM
Defense wins championships as they say. A flat ball hitter that can play great defense has a chance.

thejoe
04-03-2009, 06:17 AM
Defense wins championships as they say. A flat ball hitter that can play great defense has a chance.

I'm totally in agreement here. It doesn't matter if someone hits flat or with loads of spin. If they are terrible, neither will win. If you are good enough, you can hit however the hell you want. It might put you at a disadvantage, but you still can win.

cknobman
04-03-2009, 06:29 AM
Defense wins championships as they say. A flat ball hitter that can play great defense has a chance.

Hard to disagree with good solid arguments like this.

fantom
04-03-2009, 06:37 AM
I don't know what a lot of you guys are watching. WTA perhaps???

First of all, Roddick is not a flat hitter. He has loads of topspin on his FH. One of his problems the past few years is that he hits it too spinny and too short in the court.

Flat hitting is becoming more in-vogue all the time. Look at Tsonga, Del Potro, and I believe Gulbis. They all hit the ball pretty flat. On hard courts it's one of the most effective ways to beat a guy who relies on his defensive skills. The key, though, is using the flat ball smartly (think Agassi). He would hit with plenty of topspin until he saw a perfect chance to unload on the flat ball. Just think how good Tsonga would be if he wasn't completely void of any strategy. His FH is devastating, but you can't just be consistent on the tour if you go for it all the time. He unloads on that thing from terrible positions on the court. Sure, it's lethal when he's on fire, but he can't keep it up. Same thing with Gulbis. Del Potro is really figuring out the right mix.

blue12
04-03-2009, 09:56 AM
This thread is ridiculous. Blake's never won a big match give me a break.
I still don't understand why people criticise top players.
If all Roddick had to do to beat Nadal was hit more top, don't you think he would do it. Frrrrrrrrrrrrrtttttttt!

blue12
04-03-2009, 09:57 AM
I'm totally in agreement here. It doesn't matter if someone hits flat or with loads of spin. If they are terrible, neither will win. If you are good enough, you can hit however the hell you want. It might put you at a disadvantage, but you still can win.

I agree 100%

S H O W S T O P P E R !
04-03-2009, 06:41 PM
Defense wins championships as they say. A flat ball hitter that can play great defense has a chance.

Somewhere, Hewitt is reading this while polishing his Slam trophies and nodding.

SaintClaires
04-03-2009, 07:20 PM
How "flat" are we talking about?


No one hits the ball completely flat.

nikdom
04-03-2009, 07:29 PM
How "flat" are we talking about?


No one hits the ball completely flat.

When a player tries to clear the net (especially the high part) within a few inches on every shot, I would call them flat hitters. Another tendency with flat hitters is they try to paint the lines - that's because if you're going to hit flat and through the court, it doesn't give you enough margin on the lines.

ClarkC
04-03-2009, 07:35 PM
Lendl had flat strokes most of the time but could hit topspin and slice to mix it up. Announcers often commented that he did not have much margin for error and could struggle if he was off that day. Yet, he had a fairly consistent career, I would say. :)

Had something to do with working his tail off and doing a million repetitions of his strokes until they were grooved.

SaintClaires
04-03-2009, 07:42 PM
Would you consider Tsonga a flat hitter?

nikdom
04-03-2009, 07:53 PM
Would you consider Tsonga a flat hitter?

I think Tsonga mixes it up well. He can hit through a ball, throw in a few loopy ones, add margin to his shots. He does tend to hit a very flat BH cross court.

Tipsarevic hits pretty flat too I think. There's another example of a very streaky game.

nikdom
04-03-2009, 08:00 PM
Lendl had flat strokes most of the time but could hit topspin and slice to mix it up. Announcers often commented that he did not have much margin for error and could struggle if he was off that day. Yet, he had a fairly consistent career, I would say. :)

Had something to do with working his tail off and doing a million repetitions of his strokes until they were grooved.

I reckon there are exceptions. I haven't watched too many matches from that era to make a judgment. I think in today's game, if you cannot hit both flat and with quite some topspin, then you're doomed. Look at Rafa and the changes he made to his game for grass and hardcourts! He can flatten strokes on both wings.

droliver
04-04-2009, 05:24 AM
Jiri Novak was the flattest hitter I ever saw. It was wierd watching him on the practice courts at Cinncinnatti the year I went in 1999. Surrounded by all the other tour player's stroke styles, he really stood out.

For what it's worth Pete Sampras and Andrew Illie were the hardest hitters when I was watching. WOW! Sampras really hit the ball much harded then it looks off the forehand. Ilie just liked to show off for other players I think.

coloskier
04-04-2009, 06:51 AM
Big flat hitters have never been good at tennis. You never see someone dominate by hitting a bunch of powerful winners past anyone, and that is why true talent is defending like Nadal.

WRONG, that is why Nadal got beat by DP. He got blasted by flat winners.

phoenicks
04-04-2009, 07:36 AM
no, not at all, but flat hitter will have to work harder than any1 in the past to maintain their firing form. Here's why,

With today slower surface, and the exceptional footwork and condition of today, flat hitter not only have to keep up with the best, but also surpass the best in order to get into their position quicker to take the ball at the right contact point, because flat hitter's game is just too sensitive. If a great flat hitter also happen to have exceptional athleticism like Nadal or Federer, than he'll be unstoppable. But if he don't, he will have to put in insanely amount of effort in conditioning.

another requirement is great mental toughness, again because of the slower surface and great condition in pro tournament, you must expect your winner shot to come back at you more often, you must be patient enough to hit a few more balls to win the point. Furthermore,when you hit net chord or sail long on your shot, you must not come down hard on yourself and lose calm, otherwise, you will choke even further when you allow doubt to creep into your mind.

Still another requirements are great volleying skill. flat ball hitter, no matter how hard they try, they will still come up short against more topspin oriented opponent in terms of consistency department, therefore, they really need to come to the net earlier to end the point to eliminate risk hitting net chord or sail long from baseline.

Just my 0.02

stormholloway
04-04-2009, 07:41 AM
Did you watch the match? the UE count from Juan was horrendous. For every spectacular flattened shot JMDP made, there were 2 he sent into the net or long. If it wasn't for Nadal obliging with a bad day at the office, there was no way JMDP was winning with that kind of winners to UE percentage.

Bottom line: Del Potro won. Del Potro is one of the best players on tour and he hits quite flat. What's your point exactly?

sheets
04-04-2009, 07:43 AM
Has everyone forgot Davydenko? Guy makes his living by hitting hard flat and close to the lines. Almost like an Agassi, takes the ball early, hits through it, etc. He's proof a flat hitter can still perform in this day and age.