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View Full Version : Playing against a top junior soon, should be interesting hehehe


tennisguy2009
11-13-2009, 07:50 AM
So, I am going to play against a top junior sometime soon (junior at the national level). Kid has won some pretty decent tournaments in last 6 months.

Kid is 14 years old, 5ft 11 and kind of skinny and not very strong, but can sure whip that racket-head and time the ball well to generate power.

Me, I am 35, 6 ft 3, 190 lbs, and in very good shape (imo).

Always wondered what the top juniors would rank as when they are young, the way I see this upcoming game, it should be very competitive, or perhaps I am at a disadvantage?

Thinking about how to play against the kid, thinking about my strengths and his weaknesses.

I think I am faster on the court, I definitely have way more power and more spin on forehand, and I have more power on serve as well.

Kid has a much better backhand than me (he has awesome 2hb, his best shot), faster reflexes and also has faster shot preparation, and kid also has much better "touch" shots than I do, and I would say better serve placement.

I am thinking of playing deep and heavy spin to forehand side of kid, not with too much pace though, trying to loop it out of his strike zone, with goal of getting to net, or forcing him to hit a short ball so I can play a winner. Not sure how often net is played at junior level, but I am hoping its not a lot, so I can take him out of his comfort zone? or maybe they play net all the time? I dunno hehe..... funny stuff.

BTW when I play USTA rated players (not self rated) I beat approx 80% of 5.0 rated players

Power Player
11-13-2009, 08:57 AM
I played the #4 junior in Florida when I was barely ranked. What got me was his topspin serve mixed with his flat serve. I simply was not coached well enough on how to handle those serves yet. Since you are more experienced, I think you should just feel him out and see what happens. I never go into a match except with my basic plan that I always use. I adjust once I see what his game is like.

5263
11-13-2009, 09:06 AM
Go in ready to make him earn it. He will make you feel you have to DO MORE to win points, even if it is not the case. Good players have a way of making you think that you are going to have to step it up to beat them, and getting you to play above your level.
Maybe because you already want to play up a notch anyway? (don't we all?)
Of course this leads to more errors from you.
Be ready for that.
See if you can make HIM feel that way.

mikeler
11-13-2009, 09:09 AM
A lot of juniors are so used to hitting against the same heavy topspin off both wings they can sometimes get thrown by junk. Loop some balls and float some slices to his forehand. See if you can hit some short slices to bring him to net to test that part of his game.

neverstopplaying
11-13-2009, 09:21 AM
Expect everything to come back. Youth = speed. Good luck.

goran_ace
11-13-2009, 09:30 AM
Shouldn't be a problem. Sounds like you know what you're going to do. As good as he is for a 14 year old, you should still be able to physcially dominate him and outthink him. He will be able to run all day and he'll have to in order to stay in points. I expect him to have less patience than you and he will start to go for big shots once he's down a break and hold.

Ripper014
11-13-2009, 09:41 AM
I agree... at that age I would expect good stroke production but I would not think he has had enough match experience. Don't over think the match and I would expect you would win walking away.

aphex
11-13-2009, 10:10 AM
So, I am going to play against a top junior sometime soon (junior at the national level). Kid has won some pretty decent tournaments in last 6 months.

Kid is 14 years old, 5ft 11 and kind of skinny and not very strong, but can sure whip that racket-head and time the ball well to generate power.

Me, I am 35, 6 ft 3, 190 lbs, and in very good shape (imo).

Always wondered what the top juniors would rank as when they are young, the way I see this upcoming game, it should be very competitive, or perhaps I am at a disadvantage?

Thinking about how to play against the kid, thinking about my strengths and his weaknesses.

I think I am faster on the court, I definitely have way more power and more spin on forehand, and I have more power on serve as well.

Kid has a much better backhand than me (he has awesome 2hb, his best shot), faster reflexes and also has faster shot preparation, and kid also has much better "touch" shots than I do, and I would say better serve placement.

I am thinking of playing deep and heavy spin to forehand side of kid, not with too much pace though, trying to loop it out of his strike zone, with goal of getting to net, or forcing him to hit a short ball so I can play a winner. Not sure how often net is played at junior level, but I am hoping its not a lot, so I can take him out of his comfort zone? or maybe they play net all the time? I dunno hehe..... funny stuff.

BTW when I play USTA rated players (not self rated) I beat approx 80% of 5.0 rated players



it'd be funny if he's a poster here and you just gave him your strategy...

goran_ace
11-13-2009, 10:20 AM
That would be funny, although I don't think it would make much of a difference in the end result.

LuckyR
11-13-2009, 10:36 AM
So, I am going to play against a top junior sometime soon (junior at the national level). Kid has won some pretty decent tournaments in last 6 months.

Kid is 14 years old, 5ft 11 and kind of skinny and not very strong, but can sure whip that racket-head and time the ball well to generate power.

Me, I am 35, 6 ft 3, 190 lbs, and in very good shape (imo).

Always wondered what the top juniors would rank as when they are young, the way I see this upcoming game, it should be very competitive, or perhaps I am at a disadvantage?

Thinking about how to play against the kid, thinking about my strengths and his weaknesses.

I think I am faster on the court, I definitely have way more power and more spin on forehand, and I have more power on serve as well.

Kid has a much better backhand than me (he has awesome 2hb, his best shot), faster reflexes and also has faster shot preparation, and kid also has much better "touch" shots than I do, and I would say better serve placement.

I am thinking of playing deep and heavy spin to forehand side of kid, not with too much pace though, trying to loop it out of his strike zone, with goal of getting to net, or forcing him to hit a short ball so I can play a winner. Not sure how often net is played at junior level, but I am hoping its not a lot, so I can take him out of his comfort zone? or maybe they play net all the time? I dunno hehe..... funny stuff.

BTW when I play USTA rated players (not self rated) I beat approx 80% of 5.0 rated players

Post back after the match with an analysis.

5263
11-13-2009, 10:44 AM
I agree... at that age I would expect good stroke production but I would not think he has had enough match experience. Don't over think the match and I would expect you would win walking away.

Interesting you would say the kid is low on match experience. If this kid is actually National caliber, my opinion is that match experience is solidly in the kids corner, especially if the 35 yr old is an avg 5.0.

I do want to pick the OP, but just don't have enough feel for how steady he is. I get the feeling this Jr. is going to be very solid, and given what the OP states he doesn't know about Jrs, makes me feel the kid has the edge. The Jr. will probably call the lines real tight (meaning don't expect to get the call if you just catch the back edge) unless he is being quite neighborly.

VaBeachTennis
11-13-2009, 11:04 AM
A lot of juniors are so used to hitting against the same heavy topspin off both wings they can sometimes get thrown by junk. Loop some balls and float some slices to his forehand. See if you can hit some short slices to bring him to net to test that part of his game.

Yeah that will play head games with some juniors and possibly break them down. It's also effective against some adults who like the topspin game as well. Just don't "got to the well" too often because better players will adjust like the guy I played last weekend. ;)

Ripper014
11-13-2009, 11:40 AM
Interesting you would say the kid is low on match experience. If this kid is actually National caliber, my opinion is that match experience is solidly in the kids corner, especially if the 35 yr old is an avg 5.0.

I do want to pick the OP, but just don't have enough feel for how steady he is. I get the feeling this Jr. is going to be very solid, and given what the OP states he doesn't know about Jrs, makes me feel the kid has the edge. The Jr. will probably call the lines real tight (meaning don't expect to get the call if you just catch the back edge) unless he is being quite neighborly.

At 14 I am sure he has played a lot of matches... but learning to play matches is something different and only comes from experience and maturity. At 14 I am sure he is still into developing his strokes with some basic strategy. He is probably winning most of his matches because no one can beat him playing his game. Being 35 years old tennisguy2009 is already proving to us he is a thoughtful player who will probe and test to see what works against his opponent.

I may be wrong... I have been known to be... but I have played a lot of juniors in the past and I find them one dimensional, until they have matured. Actually I guess we could say that about any of us, when starting I am sure a many of us were just trying to get the ball over the net.

Ya I concur about the line calls... and there might be some gamesmanship as well.

LuckyR
11-18-2009, 12:59 PM
Post back after the match with an analysis.

... any news?...

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-18-2009, 01:09 PM
Expect to hit a few extra shots, and his consistency might surpass yours (maybe by a lot as well) which will be the biggest problem since he might have a shot tolerance that includes the level of pace and spin you generate. Basically, if you can't get him on the run consistently, then you're in trouble because you'll miss before he does.

35ft6
11-18-2009, 07:11 PM
What's his ranking?

nfor304
11-18-2009, 07:20 PM
A lot of juniors are so used to hitting against the same heavy topspin off both wings they can sometimes get thrown by junk. Loop some balls and float some slices to his forehand. See if you can hit some short slices to bring him to net to test that part of his game.

This is very effective against typical baselining juniors in my experience. At this age they feed off your pace and can rally and chase balls down all day long. Give them looks at many different kinds of balls and dont be afraid to come in or to crush that forehand when you get the chance.

Fedace
11-18-2009, 07:22 PM
Yea, just make sure you expect him to return your serve better. I played against a 13 year old and he surprised the heck out of me with his great returns. His range wasn't that great but when he got his racket on the return,,,,,heww,,watch out. I also figured giving this short kid lots of high heavy topspins shots but to my surprise, he was taking it on the rise and ripping it back with topspin and very nice pace on it.......much better pace than i expected...

tennisguy2009
11-18-2009, 10:59 PM
well folks, I got killed.

Lol, to those of you who posted here I would had a chance, or the upper hand, keep dreaming. This also answers the question some people have posted here like "what NTRP rating was federer playing at when he was 14/15 - the answer very very high"

The kid is one of the top 10 juniors in his age group in the entire country I have been informed, and is actively being coached by very experienced competition coaches, and actively plays/practices against male players currently on the ATP tour out here in Southern California.

The kid was *significantly* better than the 5.0s and occasional 5.5s that I get to play.

Here is what surprised me (and killed me).

1) I have a very large serve (115+ mph) - did not bother the kid even a little bit unless he could not physically get to the ball. If he could get there which he could on almost all serves, it came back hard.
2) every single rally shot he hit was very deep and very hard, I did not get one single weak or short ball in 2 sets, nada, nothing. He would rather hit a ball out than try give me any type of setup, his style of game is like ultra aggressive take no prisoners.
3) backhand crosscourt was just deadly, I tried to hit nothing to his backhand eventually, if my ball didn't hit the court well beyond the service line with a ton of topspin to drive him back, his backhand replies were just deadly, 80% chance of winner.
4) my hardest shots did not phase him, he hit everything back early and on the rise, he refused to back up from the baseline even on my hardest shots, not a chance I could play like that. That also cut down my reaction time on everything so badly, I couldn't get in the points, I was just getting my *** chewed immediately.
5) aggressive net play with unbelievable reactions and touch volleys, the kid was all over the net. Very good aim on serve, lots of spin on serve, everything down the T or wide as hell, followed up by volley most of the time. The net play was really the nail in the coffin for me, I could not slice or junk ball the kid at all. Slices would invariably let him get to net, and junkballs hah! anything that was even moderately paced /floaty he would just forehand pound out of the air at the service line (Without letting the ball bounce) for a winner, or put me in a bad place and then play a winner from net.
6) even hitting as hard as the kid did (and I mean hard) he made very very few unforced errors.


In retrospect I used the wrong tactics, but it would not really matter, I might lose less badly, but a loss is assured in the end.

Ripper014
11-18-2009, 11:06 PM
Well what can I say I was wrong... it does happen.

But you didn't say...
The kid is one of the top 10 juniors in his age group in the entire country I have been informed, and is actively being coached by very experienced competition coaches, and actively plays/practices against male players currently on the ATP tour out here in Southern California.

If he is playing against ATP Tour players how did you get a match with him?

tennisguy2009
11-18-2009, 11:18 PM
Take tennis lessons from the kids "mentors" or whatever you want to call them.

Anyways the one coach thought it would be good to see me get my *** kicked so he knows what to try fix in my game, since the last few people he watched me play I beat easily.


So I said no problem, bring the kid on, but "I am not going to lose to a 14 or 15 year old or whatever he is"..... haha, famous last words.

Not that I care really, I will play anyone tennis, I just like being out there.

.

aphex
11-18-2009, 11:59 PM
makes sense...top 10 US junior should be 6.0++ level...

great experience though...that's what's great about tennis...there's always one level higher, there's always room for improvement (unless, of course, you're federer:))

what was the score?

Ripper014
11-19-2009, 12:02 AM
The game he played did not surprise me... and I expected his stroke production to be very good. My surprise I guess is that you had nothing that posed as much a threat to him. And also that he was as consistant as you say he is, and that he never missed. You don't even see that in the pro game.

Well I guess there is always the next time.

35ft6
11-19-2009, 12:38 AM
well folks, I got killed.

Lol, to those of you who posted here I would had a chance, or the upper hand, keep dreaming. This also answers the question some people have posted here like "what NTRP rating was federer playing at when he was 14/15 - the answer very very high"

In retrospect I used the wrong tactics, but it would not really matter, I might lose less badly, but a loss is assured in the end.Yeah, it cracks me up when guys on here talk about how they would serve and volley and hit off speed shots to beat hard hitting youngsters.

If he's top 10 in the country, he's a real player. But you would have problems, most likely, against a kid top 10 in So Cal, or 100th in the country. Those kids can hit the ball.The game he played did not surprise me... and I expected his stroke production to be very good. My surprise I guess is that you had nothing that posed as much a threat to him. And also that he was as consistant as you say he is, and that he never missed. You don't even see that in the pro game.In the pro game, if a player misses it's because another top pro is pressuring him. For example, Fed's backhand against Nadal's forehand. Or because of how overwhelming the moment is. Against even 5.5 or 6.0 players, they would never miss.

35ft6
11-19-2009, 12:45 AM
I think I am faster on the court, I definitely have way more power and more spin on forehand, and I have more power on serve as well.Do you still feel the same way about the forehand, serve, and court coverage?

(even if you could beat him in a sprint, a player of that caliber is going to cover a lot more court with less effort because of superior anticipation and understanding of court geometry...)

I was playing with a guy the other day, was talking about the local junior who recently made it to the semis of the Zoo in both singles and doubles. He asked me how I'd do against him. I laughed and said "terrible." That dude would destroy me. I wouldn't stand a chance. I realize this but you have to be good at tennis to realize how much you suck at it.

Hey, you should come hit with us sometime, Tennisguy.

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-19-2009, 02:14 AM
well folks, I got killed.

Lol, to those of you who posted here I would had a chance, or the upper hand, keep dreaming. This also answers the question some people have posted here like "what NTRP rating was federer playing at when he was 14/15 - the answer very very high"

The kid is one of the top 10 juniors in his age group in the entire country I have been informed, and is actively being coached by very experienced competition coaches, and actively plays/practices against male players currently on the ATP tour out here in Southern California.

The kid was *significantly* better than the 5.0s and occasional 5.5s that I get to play.

Here is what surprised me (and killed me).

1) I have a very large serve (115+ mph) - did not bother the kid even a little bit unless he could not physically get to the ball. If he could get there which he could on almost all serves, it came back hard.
2) every single rally shot he hit was very deep and very hard, I did not get one single weak or short ball in 2 sets, nada, nothing. He would rather hit a ball out than try give me any type of setup, his style of game is like ultra aggressive take no prisoners.
3) backhand crosscourt was just deadly, I tried to hit nothing to his backhand eventually, if my ball didn't hit the court well beyond the service line with a ton of topspin to drive him back, his backhand replies were just deadly, 80% chance of winner.
4) my hardest shots did not phase him, he hit everything back early and on the rise, he refused to back up from the baseline even on my hardest shots, not a chance I could play like that. That also cut down my reaction time on everything so badly, I couldn't get in the points, I was just getting my *** chewed immediately.
5) aggressive net play with unbelievable reactions and touch volleys, the kid was all over the net. Very good aim on serve, lots of spin on serve, everything down the T or wide as hell, followed up by volley most of the time. The net play was really the nail in the coffin for me, I could not slice or junk ball the kid at all. Slices would invariably let him get to net, and junkballs hah! anything that was even moderately paced /floaty he would just forehand pound out of the air at the service line (Without letting the ball bounce) for a winner, or put me in a bad place and then play a winner from net.
6) even hitting as hard as the kid did (and I mean hard) he made very very few unforced errors.


In retrospect I used the wrong tactics, but it would not really matter, I might lose less badly, but a loss is assured in the end.

Federer was at the top of the country (not just his age group) at 12 years old! Of course his NTRP is insanely high if he's beating the top 18 year old kids NATIONALLY. :shock:

And top 10 nationally in his age group would've been much better information than nationally ranked. Nationally ranked 14 year old is around a strong 5.5, top 10 nationally ranked must be around 6.0-6.5! (even if it is only in his age division) This kid's going pro. Whether he'll be successful or not, I'm not sure. But if he makes a big splash in the 16s and 18s division, he's probably going pro.

He's probably playing ITF juniors as we speak! :shock:

mawashi
11-19-2009, 03:02 AM
well folks, I got killed.

Lol, to those of you who posted here I would had a chance, or the upper hand, keep dreaming. This also answers the question some people have posted here like "what NTRP rating was federer playing at when he was 14/15 - the answer very very high"

The kid is one of the top 10 juniors in his age group in the entire country I have been informed, and is actively being coached by very experienced competition coaches, and actively plays/practices against male players currently on the ATP tour out here in Southern California.

The kid was *significantly* better than the 5.0s and occasional 5.5s that I get to play.

Here is what surprised me (and killed me).

1) I have a very large serve (115+ mph) - did not bother the kid even a little bit unless he could not physically get to the ball. If he could get there which he could on almost all serves, it came back hard.
2) every single rally shot he hit was very deep and very hard, I did not get one single weak or short ball in 2 sets, nada, nothing. He would rather hit a ball out than try give me any type of setup, his style of game is like ultra aggressive take no prisoners.
3) backhand crosscourt was just deadly, I tried to hit nothing to his backhand eventually, if my ball didn't hit the court well beyond the service line with a ton of topspin to drive him back, his backhand replies were just deadly, 80% chance of winner.
4) my hardest shots did not phase him, he hit everything back early and on the rise, he refused to back up from the baseline even on my hardest shots, not a chance I could play like that. That also cut down my reaction time on everything so badly, I couldn't get in the points, I was just getting my *** chewed immediately.
5) aggressive net play with unbelievable reactions and touch volleys, the kid was all over the net. Very good aim on serve, lots of spin on serve, everything down the T or wide as hell, followed up by volley most of the time. The net play was really the nail in the coffin for me, I could not slice or junk ball the kid at all. Slices would invariably let him get to net, and junkballs hah! anything that was even moderately paced /floaty he would just forehand pound out of the air at the service line (Without letting the ball bounce) for a winner, or put me in a bad place and then play a winner from net.
6) even hitting as hard as the kid did (and I mean hard) he made very very few unforced errors.


In retrospect I used the wrong tactics, but it would not really matter, I might lose less badly, but a loss is assured in the end.

If it makes you feel better I got my ***** handed to me by a 12 yr old top junior a long time ago :(. She hit very flat n very hard. Even if I get a decent serve in she'll be taking full swings at it. Zero ball were short n the moment I let up for an instant I would be like a puppet on a string.

Nice to know that someone else had a similar experience... waaah I got beat by girl :(

mawashi

LuckyR
11-19-2009, 07:16 AM
Well, a locally ranked junior and a top 10 in the nation are two very different juniors. This guy is a Pro in the making. No shame in losing to him. We have all see players like this, just usually not at the age of 14.

goran_ace
11-19-2009, 07:23 AM
The kid is one of the top 10 juniors in his age group in the entire country

Ahhh, I see. Top 10 in the country is a different story. I was thinking it was just a kid who played a few national events and had a ranking of 100+.

I used to be a hitting partner for a lot of juniors when I was teaching years ago. Some were highly ranked in the section and played national events, but they were nowhere near top 10 in the nation. They could make a match interesting against a 5.0/5.5 adult, but they weren't winning those matches.

tennisguy2009
11-19-2009, 07:28 AM
Do you still feel the same way about the forehand, serve, and court coverage?

.

The funny thing is yes, I can still hit a forehand harder than the kid and with more spin - but only off certain balls.

And the kid can move on the court, but I am fast on a court, make no mistake, I do still think I am faster. It is definitely not a fitness/speed issue. After I played the kid 2 sets I played another 2 hrs tennis against other people, no problem.

But it didn't make any difference because

A) even though I feel I was faster, his anticipation of shots and understanding of where to be on the court was much more valuable than me running fast. And his reflexes were way superior.
B) he really didn't have to be that fast anyway because he cut everything off, he refused to back up from the baseline, he hit everything super early and on the rise,
C) I can only really hurt people with my forehand if I am given either a short ball to play off, or a moderate paced shot. I cannot play full power forehands when someone is pressuring me to death or blasting deep forehands at me, and I am constantly on the run, if I play full power then I would made an ungodly amount of unforced errors. Anyways kid is no fool, after getting a few forehands blasted at him, he decided my backhand was a much juicier target.

Thats also what really sucked. Normally when I play someone if they hit me a backhand, I will crosscourt backhand it to them, and thats ok because most peoples backhands at the 5.0 level are good but not like a super weapon, so you get in a backhand exchange which is OK.

but Nah the kid just crushed things from his backhand side. So that left me in the horrible position of playing my backhand against his forehand (ouch) or playing my backhand against his backhand (super ouch). I was forced to try run around my backhand on so many shots I would not even dream of normally to try stay in game.


And the kid served well, he served at about 100 mph, but his placement of serve was very good, serves down the T sucked for me, he was serving *right* down the T whenever he wanted, and probably serving 80%+ first serves in.

LeeD
11-19-2009, 07:29 AM
Just because they're young, don't mean they haven't seen some tennis.
I lost to then #2 Junior from Peru. He was here practicing with the varsity UCBerkeley team. And he was 6' tall and quick.
I lost to then #7 junior from France. At 15, he was 6'3" lefty, and pretty fast and strong. Following year, I think he made Wimbleton junior finals, and lost. He was visiting DominicanCollege in SanRafael on scholarship hunt.
I lost to HerrmanBauer, then 15 and top 5 junior in 16's. He was OK too..:)
All this during my years when I could win multiple Q rounds for Pro touraments.

Matt H.
11-19-2009, 08:06 AM
The funny thing is yes, I can still hit a forehand harder than the kid and with more spin - but only off certain balls.

And the kid can move on the court, but I am fast on a court, make no mistake, I do still think I am faster. It is definitely not a fitness/speed issue. After I played the kid 2 sets I played another 2 hrs tennis against other people, no problem.


And the kid served well, he served at about 100 mph, but his placement of serve was very good, serves down the T sucked for me, he was serving *right* down the T whenever he wanted, and probably serving 80%+ first serves in.


Our dreams get inflated from time to time and that's why we have reality checks.

A lot of people think they can play up there because they have a weapon with a fairly big forehand and serve (on the club/men's league level) but what we fail to realize is that there is a difference in being able to do it at times vs. doing it consistantly and without regard to conditions. What good is a big forehand if you're not even able to get a chance to use it? Or the shock when it comes back and you're required to hit 2 or 3 big forehands to get the point?

At the 4.0-5.0 level, when we hit a 115mph serve we get so accustomed to it being a service winner or the return being bad and having an easy shot. Another problem is that for most the serve only goes in 20% of the time. It's also a 6" to a 1' in from the service line. For every inch that kid hits his serve closer to line, it gets that much better.



I have similar situations to you, as the coach i hit with from time to time gets some of his academy players to hit with me. I played with an 18 year old who just turned pro on the ATP Futures circuit. We played out about 10 games, and I actually won one. I have no clue if he played all out or not on the returns, but I did manage to hold serve once. The quality and placement of the shots required to win that game were astonishing in retrospect. For me, simply above my level and no way could I reproduce them. One point (i'm lefty) I served short, hard, and out wide on the ad side. My approach shot was hard, flat, and about 3 balls length inside the baseline at the other end of the court, and then my volley was deflecting his rocket shot and having it land within a foot of the sideline.

tennisguy2009
11-19-2009, 08:11 AM
lol LeeD

I certainly cannot win any pro qualifying rounds anywhere.

My style of tennis is very poorly suited to playing these juniors, I only started realizing it and the end, I used the wrong tactics. I basically play a worse version of their game.

I started winning a lot more points near the end when instead of serving hard, I switched to serving heavy slice, that start causing forced errors, the power serves were a waste of time. Also started winning points when I got to net.

And i bet players on here who have a deep penetrating low skid slice would also give a lot of these juniors a very hard time (but I do not have that shot). that would keep the ball out of their strike zone and also be extremely difficult to time without backing up from that baseline, would just be too low.

Kick_It
11-19-2009, 09:56 AM
Interesting stuff. How old are you?

Last year I played a guy who was ~top 50 in USA in 16s. It wasn't pretty either. I had multiple game points across about 5 different games but couldn't convert one (I am 2.5x his age). Coverage wise I got schooled - even where I made him diagonally cover the court from near the net on bh side to baseline corner on fh side. Sounds like you wised up though - playing on their terms/style isn't the way to go ;-)

NTRP really doesn't matter to such players - it's almost if you have to ask, the answer is 99% chance they'll eat you to shreds if you played them.

5263
11-19-2009, 10:12 AM
If this kid is actually National caliber, my opinion is that match experience is solidly in the kids corner, especially if the 35 yr old is an avg 5.0.

I do want to pick the OP, but just don't have enough feel for how steady he is. I get the feeling this Jr. is going to be very solid, and given what the OP states he doesn't know about Jrs, makes me feel the kid has the edge.

I had a sneaky suspicion this might be the case (even if the kid was only top 100 or so) given some of the comments about national level players. Thinking about when I hit with Vahaley (at age 16) and a couple other 10 national players, it seemed like you might not have a feel for what you were getting into. These guys are so grooved with their shots and really own them to a great degree. Genepri was the one who really impressed me at 16, as he could just take whatever thrown at him, then return it back to a good part of the court. Then after 6-7 shots(if you lasted that long), he would get one he liked, and just angle it off in a decisive manner. That's what he did at Hilton Head in his first big international Jr. final, beating a top seed. Did you get a couple of games? I didn't catch the score if you listed it.

Good job with making a go of it though. You will always remember matches and hits like these.

Dino Lagaffe
11-19-2009, 11:06 AM
My style of tennis is very poorly suited to playing these juniors, I only started realizing it and the end, I used the wrong tactics. I basically play a worse version of their game.

That's a good observation, and one of the most important aspects of the game. Obviously one should work on the strengths, but it's important to be well-rounded enough to have a feasible plan B. In your case, as you said, a different tactic would maybe only have gotten you a few more games, but that's not too shabby, is it?

What surprises me though is how one-dimensional many supposedly good juniors are. Not comparing them to me, as I'd get my behind easily whopped, but in regards to each other. "Mindless baseline bashing" is a term that has been used sometimes, and I often notice that if player A had had a decent slice and dropshot it could have made a pretty big difference in the match against player B (of equal baseline standard). Obviously I'm generalizing, and maybe it's a sign of me getting older, but my perception is that players used to have more skills in their bag in the past. Is it the quest for topspin rpms and extreme grips that are to blame?

LeeD
11-19-2009, 11:30 AM
Mindless baseline bashing is for those who don't want to think about anything except hitting form and technique.
As your body declines, you mind tries to compensate, so more options and added techniques.
As you body declines even more, the mind takes over with imagination as the body just can't get to the ball anymores.

Ultra2HolyGrail
11-19-2009, 11:45 AM
I don't know what i would do if i lost to a 14yo.

Ultra2HolyGrail
11-19-2009, 12:02 PM
well folks, I got killed.

Lol, to those of you who posted here I would had a chance, or the upper hand, keep dreaming. This also answers the question some people have posted here like "what NTRP rating was federer playing at when he was 14/15 - the answer very very high"

The kid is one of the top 10 juniors in his age group in the entire country I have been informed, and is actively being coached by very experienced competition coaches, and actively plays/practices against male players currently on the ATP tour out here in Southern California.

The kid was *significantly* better than the 5.0s and occasional 5.5s that I get to play.


Nadal beat pat cash when he was 14. Top 10 14yo in nation is pretty tough. Probably not as good as nadal was but strong 5.5 i would say. 6.0 i would say unlikely since most top d1 players are usually at that level. No shame in losing to a player this good. He will be top d1 for sure if not a pro.

LeeD
11-19-2009, 12:23 PM
Good you finally can accept theoritically losing to a 14 year old.
For me, I was double the age, so not graceful loser there.
Didn't know then that SOME 14 year old could actually BE A or 5.5 players.
Especially when they later beat guys you thought we good.

35ft6
11-19-2009, 01:04 PM
That's a good observation, and one of the most important aspects of the game. Obviously one should work on the strengths, but it's important to be well-rounded enough to have a feasible plan B. In your case, as you said, a different tactic would maybe only have gotten you a few more games, but that's not too shabby, is it?

What surprises me though is how one-dimensional many supposedly good juniors are. Not comparing them to me, as I'd get my behind easily whopped, but in regards to each other. "Mindless baseline bashing" is a term that has been used sometimes, and I often notice that if player A had had a decent slice and dropshot it could have made a pretty big difference in the match against player B (of equal baseline standard). Obviously I'm generalizing, and maybe it's a sign of me getting older, but my perception is that players used to have more skills in their bag in the past. Is it the quest for topspin rpms and extreme grips that are to blame?Point construction was definitely more sophisticated with wooden rackets (not really sure about this now that I think about it...), and even the pro players who grew up playing with wood but switched to modern rackets, you could see they took a different approach to winning points than guys who never played with wood at all. You couldn't just rip winners with wooden rackets, you more or less had to hit 3 or 4 balls to set up a clean winner. Now, the big hitters can sometimes just rip a winner out of nowhere.

Basically, I don't think all the top tennis coaches had a secret meeting back in 1985 and decided they would all stop teaching serve and volley to their kids. I think in general, the pro tour rankings is a reflection of what styles of tennis works. The guys who never played with wood, their stroke production is just so different. If point construction was greater with wood, stroke production is greater with modern rackets. These guys really use their entire bodies and the racket travels 360 degrees around the body on many shots. With so much power, coming to the net becomes a much risker proposition, whereas with wood, being at the net was arguably the most advantageous place to be.

What I'm saying is that we're seeing more spin and power because that's what works now. It might not be the style you like or the most aesthetically pleasing, but it's the most effective. Fed said he used to serve and volley more on grass, but now it's too risky. And being one-dimensional isn't necessarily a bad thing if you do it extremely well. You see this a lot in combat sports as well, somebody will have one move that is unstoppable. Whatever works, man.

W Cats
11-19-2009, 01:34 PM
Isn't the current baseline game taking the high percentage game and supercharging it with stroke production so that fewer errors are made with an increasing compentency of powerful highly spun shots. It seems to me if we really believe that more points are won on errors instead of winners then this is the natural evolution of the game that we are prescribing to.

That is until some one like DelPo comes along and because of his athletic ability and height allow him to somewhat change to 3 demensional aspects of the court.

Dino Lagaffe
11-19-2009, 02:01 PM
35ft6, I see your point and basically agree with your assessment. My point is that it wouldn't take away from the stroke production to add some point construction.

VaBeachTennis
11-19-2009, 02:21 PM
35ft6, I see your point and basically agree with your assessment. My point is that it wouldn't take away from the stroke production to add some point construction.

That's why I like Fed's game. He's "all court", thinks and constructs points, and knocks the crap out of the ball when necessary. There's a highlight video somewhere on youtube of him spanking Soderling, very impressive.

5263
11-19-2009, 04:24 PM
My point is that it wouldn't take away from the stroke production to add some point construction.

Right, and point construction doesn't mean you must come to net. There are many ways to construct a point like Agassi, that works around setting things up, then hurting them with the mid court ball.

35ft6
11-19-2009, 05:18 PM
35ft6, I see your point and basically agree with your assessment. My point is that it wouldn't take away from the stroke production to add some point construction. Fair enough. But what I was suggesting is that the new stroke production is what makes certain tactics ill advised, whereas in the past, they would be your best bet. Yes, learning some new shot patterns, adding variety is never a bad idea, but IMO more in terms of being able to seize certain opportunities, but not so much as being plan A.

In some ways, I think point construction today is as impressive, or even more so, than it's ever been. For example, Nadal on clay. The way he intentionally hits his forehand short so his opponent can't hit on the rise and must retreat from the baseline is sick. Today's rackets/strings and technique allow for new ways of constructing points that weren't possible in the 70's and earlier. You can hit more spots with pace and accuracy and consistency. I watch old matches on clay and it was more of a war of attrition. In my opinion, clay court tennis is MORE sophisticated now. On grass, maybe the opposite. Back when it was fast, it was about serving, returns, and having clever hands at the net. Now it is more like hard court tennis. But with courts slowing down, one can argue that net play aside, point construction is at a higher level now. The way guys today use different spins, height, angles, and speed is the new variety.

35ft6
11-19-2009, 05:27 PM
This isn't necessarily in response to anything I remember in particular, but on these boards, people often suggest stuff like "serve and volley" and come to the net more. And they rarely ask in conjunction "how's your serve?" Or "can you volley well?" If your A game is good enough to get you double bageled, what makes you think your C game is going to get it done? Or even make it closer? I can't think of one person I play with who would suddenly become a tougher opponent for me by doing something they're not good at. In some cases, smarter shot selection might help, but I'm beginning to think even that is something people ultimately have very little control over. Their brains simply might not be hardwired that way. Sometimes a person is just better than you. Sure, try different things, but they're still going to smoke you. End of rant.

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-19-2009, 09:56 PM
Fed said he used to serve and volley more on grass, but now it's too risky.

I believe he said that he didn't have to, because nobody challenged him enough to. He was winning points easily from the baseline, so why bother doing anything else if what he's doing is comfortable as it is?

There's a highlight video somewhere on youtube of him spanking Soderling, very impressive.

Replace Soderling's name with anyone's but Nadal's, and you've pretty much just described every video on YouTube. :) The ones on him ripping on Roddick are especially abundant.

In some ways, I think point construction today is as impressive, or even more so, than it's ever been.

Perhaps on clay between 2 Spaniards, but I still feel it's more like "ready, set, winner!" :shock:

35ft6
11-19-2009, 10:14 PM
I believe he said that he didn't have to, because nobody challenged him enough to.Maybe you're thinking of a different quote, but the one I'm citing was of him saying attacking the net isn't as viable as it used to be.Perhaps on clay between 2 Spaniards, but I still feel it's more like "ready, set, winner!" :shock:When grass was fast, people were complaining about tennis becoming a serving contest. Some people are never happy. :)

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-19-2009, 10:37 PM
Maybe you're thinking of a different quote, but the one I'm citing was of him saying attacking the net isn't as viable as it used to be.When grass was fast, people were complaining about tennis becoming a serving contest. Some people are never happy. :)

I like variation. I kind of wish the courts would go back to being polar extremes. Some place where power tennis is unstoppable, but also somewhere where you have to think and be consistent, while also keeping the medium as the general dominating portion of the tour's point collection.

GuyClinch
11-19-2009, 11:22 PM
Personally I think some of the "good old days" stuff is misplaced. You can see that kind of game watching some women play (like that woman who beat Melanie at the US open). She had no power at all.

I think 9 out of 10 tennis fans would rather watch a power player like Del Potro live. Power tennis is plenty exciting - short fun points - big aces. I think people like that. Long old style clay court rallies can actually bore fans.

Federer is more fun to watch live then anyone I have ever seen. And I have seen both Johnny Mac and Andre live.. The state of pro tennis is fine, IMHO. I think they play too much internationally and wear guys out too much. But the game is good to watch.

Pete

35ft6
11-19-2009, 11:40 PM
I like variation. I kind of wish the courts would go back to being polar extremes. Some place where power tennis is unstoppable, but also somewhere where you have to think and be consistent, while also keeping the medium as the general dominating portion of the tour's point collection.I agree. There should be a proper grass season and the grass should be made faster again. It would be nice if the hard courts were sped up but man the way guys run these days, sliding all over the place, stopping into a split, I wonder how many more spills/injuries we would see if they did that. As for clay court tennis, just watch some of the old French Open matches. Boring. I think it's never been better.Personally I think some of the "good old days" stuff is misplaced.Totally. What they're comparing modern tennis to is a "best of compilation" in their brain consisting of the best moments they saw when they were younger. And if you link a youtube video, they'll insist the video is misleading, that you actually had to be alive back then. What's more objective than video footage of a match? I'm not really sure, but I suspect many people most respect the players they watched between the ages of 10 and 18, maybe 20, or so. When they were younger, the players were men they looked up to. Now that they're older than some of the players, the pros are kids that can never be as good as the men they knew growing up.I think 9 out of 10 tennis fans would rather watch a power player like Del Potro live.I also like watching the scrappy small guys. Bjorn Phau was always fun to watch. More recently, at a challenger, Cecil Mammit was the most entertaining player by far.Power tennis is plenty exciting - short fun points - big aces. I think people like that. Long old style clay court rallies can actually bore fans.These guys today, they're so good, that even while hitting all out, they have some great rallies. Davydenko's semifinal and final matches at Shanghai come to mind. Power tennis doesn't have to mean short points.

And tennis channel recently showed a match between Borg and Roscoe Tanner. It was on clay and their points were shorter than those you would see between two top clay courters today. They were hitting softer but missing more.Federer is more fun to watch live then anyone I have ever seen. And I have seen both Johnny Mac and Andre live.. The state of pro tennis is fine, IMHO. I think they play too much internationally and wear guys out too much. But the game is good to watch.

PeteI agree, it's never been better technically. What I miss are characters. The matches would be even better if there were some personalities in the game.

Sorry for helping derail this thread. Would really like to hear more horror stories of men getting beat by top juniors.

tennisguy2009
02-17-2010, 07:14 PM
update to this thread, I am playing tennis significantly better a few months later now.

Can routinely beat 5.5+ players who I had never beaten before, and can get many games off the top junior kids, sometimes even a set.

What I learned in the last few months of playing really good tennis players

1) tee off on your opponents serve, just getting it back is a waste of time. Go big on returning opponents serve. Yeah sometimes you will just mess up all the returns, but often you will break them with a string of good returns. Also puts them under pressure to try serve above their level.

2) dont back up off that baseline unless you are forced to, always be pushing forward, trying to get to net, controlling the court from as forward as you can get, not the back. Hit the ball on the rise without backing up, took me weeks of mishits to get used to that.

3) hitting with extremely heavy topspin is a really good thing, better than hitting hard IMO, keeps the ball out of your opponents strike zone, I switched from going for power to a mix of some power with very heavy spin off both sides.

4) any ball that is weak or short, dont even let it bounce, push forward and take it out of the air. move forward again, at all times. Take away your opponents time.

5) go for big'ish shots all the time on rally balls, do not ever "push" or play safe. Your opponent at these levels will punish you immediately. anyways you cannot get better unless you keep trying shots you are not comfortable with, so you can learn them.

bhupaes
02-18-2010, 11:44 AM
^^^ Truer words have not been spoken! I am most successful against players better than me when I use similar tactics, and go all out. Although I must admit I am not yet where you are... I have my rear end handed to me regularly by a couple of ex-university players who are playing at a slightly lower level now. One weak shot is usually all it takes to swing the point in their favor.

No worries though, I have something to work towards - fitness in particular. I love having a goal like that... :) so much more interesting than my work!

HunterST
02-18-2010, 03:32 PM
update to this thread, I am playing tennis significantly better a few months later now.

Can routinely beat 5.5+ players who I had never beaten before, and can get many games off the top junior kids, sometimes even a set.

What I learned in the last few months of playing really good tennis players

1) tee off on your opponents serve, just getting it back is a waste of time. Go big on returning opponents serve. Yeah sometimes you will just mess up all the returns, but often you will break them with a string of good returns. Also puts them under pressure to try serve above their level.

2) dont back up off that baseline unless you are forced to, always be pushing forward, trying to get to net, controlling the court from as forward as you can get, not the back. Hit the ball on the rise without backing up, took me weeks of mishits to get used to that.

3) hitting with extremely heavy topspin is a really good thing, better than hitting hard IMO, keeps the ball out of your opponents strike zone, I switched from going for power to a mix of some power with very heavy spin off both sides.

4) any ball that is weak or short, dont even let it bounce, push forward and take it out of the air. move forward again, at all times. Take away your opponents time.

5) go for big'ish shots all the time on rally balls, do not ever "push" or play safe. Your opponent at these levels will punish you immediately. anyways you cannot get better unless you keep trying shots you are not comfortable with, so you can learn them.

If you can't beat the top juniors, I don't think you are routinely beating "5.5+" level players. Tonlars, who is a 5.5, has beaten blue chips and would guess they were about 5.5s. Also, those were high school blue chips, not 14 year olds.

onehandbh
02-18-2010, 03:57 PM
update to this thread, I am playing tennis significantly better a few months later now.

Can routinely beat 5.5+ players who I had never beaten before,

At your current rate of improvement, I predict you will be
beating Fed in a year.