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Mortifier
04-06-2010, 11:31 AM
This is not a thread to bash on womens tennis, although it may look like it. I'm just curious about the phenomenon of "moonballing", and why it isn't as common in the ATP as in the WTA.

I've been watching almost as much womens tennis as mens tennis the last month, and I've been pretty blown away that women can moonball eachother for like five strokes each, which NEVER happen in mens tennis. Then the question is - why is that? My answer would be that they would be punished by an overhead from the baseline, regularly resulting in a winner or a advantage in the rally, but that would go for women aswell, wouldn't it?

Are women just that uncomfortable with executing an overhead from the baseline? They do it all the time, it's called a serve. Many women just charge into the net, and rarely do they get the payout as men do from an offensive attack from the baseline. I'm not a good tennis player myself, but I would not hesitate going for the overhead instead of trying "the charge" or just keep on moonballing and waiting for something to happen (this may also have something to do with the fact that I never play matches that matter as much as the professionals).

Please someone with better tennis-IQ/knowing, explain this to me because it is f-cking boring to watch! ;)

ronalditop
04-06-2010, 11:41 AM
Currently Pushniaki is the queen of moonballing.

Annika
04-06-2010, 11:42 AM
The moonball is a difficult shot to attack because it's deep and it kicks above the height at which most players can hit hard. It's also highly reliable, so you can keep hitting it until your opponent loses patience and risks a low-percentage shot.

But if it's used when you're off the court and need to get back into position, it's a perfect shot to use.

ttbrowne
04-06-2010, 11:48 AM
ATP pros are quicker to react. They can see moonballs coming and most have a strong overhead. Any moonball would be killed!

soyizgood
04-06-2010, 11:49 AM
Currently Pushniaki is the queen of moonballing.

Kirilenko isn't far behind. Radwanska does it quite well along with Zheng on occasion.

Mortifier
04-06-2010, 12:17 PM
Well its a good shot if you're behind in a rally and so on, but the likes of Kirilenko and Radwanska are using it on a regular basis, mixing it up with slices and topspins. It may be the most annoying thing in the whole WTA, seeing to pro athletes just putting the ball in play with no intention of making an overhead on a ball that is begging to be pounced.

Also, when moving in on the net on a sitting volley or an overhead, they tend to go for the drive-volley instead of the smash. Does women lack some hand-eye coordination that men has, or is it just physical attributes?

ttbrowne: Reaction, good one, didn't think of that, not a physical attribute one might say. :)

LeeD
04-06-2010, 12:30 PM
I think most men's pros find it easier to just forehand a putaway or forcing shot off the rising high bouncer, electing to take it inside the baseline with impunity.
Overheads? Nope, those moonballs bounce 2' over head, not high enough for a real overhead.

JimF
04-06-2010, 12:37 PM
Depends on whether the player has the skill set to attack the moonball.

I was at BNP Indian Wells a few weeks back. In the semi's Radwanska tried to break Wojinacki's momentum by turning several rallies into semi-moonball exchanges and got nowhere, but no one attacked.

In the final, Wojniacki was being pushed back so she tried a couple of semi-moonball exchanges with Jankovic, but Jelena came in and took them off the bounce. End of that idea.

As for the posters that said to hit overheads from the baseline, that would play into the moonballers' hands by taking a risk on a shot few in the WTA could put away. Better idea would be to wait for a short one and take it out of the air around the service line. Navratilova would have done that, but few of the women today want to go to the net. Maybe Henin.

A tangential example: At the year-end Masters Championship Davydenko was actually doing that to Nadal's regular forehand. Nadal would hit short super-heavy-topspin, the kind of shot he uses to drive people back and res-start points, but Davydenko simply sprinted in and hit a swinging forehand volley winner. Repeatedly. Looked like a simple answer, except hardly anyone can do that. The Russian's game is under appreciated.

Joe Pike
04-06-2010, 12:44 PM
This is not a thread to bash on womens tennis, although it may look like it. I'm just curious about the phenomenon of "moonballing", and why it isn't as common in the ATP as in the WTA.

I've been watching almost as much womens tennis as mens tennis the last month, and I've been pretty blown away that women can moonball eachother for like five strokes each, which NEVER happen in mens tennis. Then the question is - why is that? My answer would be that they would be punished by an overhead from the baseline, regularly resulting in a winner or a advantage in the rally, but that would go for women aswell, wouldn't it?
...

Men are taller and stronger.
With a height of 1.75 m and a weight of 65 kg it is far more difficult to go for a winner with an overhead from the baseline than with 1.90 m and 80 kg respectively.

Racer41c
04-06-2010, 12:50 PM
This is not a thread to bash on womens tennis, although it may look like it. I'm just curious about the phenomenon of "moonballing", and why it isn't as common in the ATP as in the WTA.

I've been watching almost as much womens tennis as mens tennis the last month, and I've been pretty blown away that women can moonball eachother for like five strokes each, which NEVER happen in mens tennis. Then the question is - why is that? My answer would be that they would be punished by an overhead from the baseline, regularly resulting in a winner or a advantage in the rally, but that would go for women aswell, wouldn't it?

Are women just that uncomfortable with executing an overhead from the baseline? They do it all the time, it's called a serve. Many women just charge into the net, and rarely do they get the payout as men do from an offensive attack from the baseline. I'm not a good tennis player myself, but I would not hesitate going for the overhead instead of trying "the charge" or just keep on moonballing and waiting for something to happen (this may also have something to do with the fact that I never play matches that matter as much as the professionals).

Please someone with better tennis-IQ/knowing, explain this to me because it is f-cking boring to watch! ;)


Your right, if there's no penalty to pay then why not do it? There are a few women who will punish a floater; the Williams, Sharapova and Henin come to mind.

bjorn23
04-06-2010, 01:05 PM
The pros are very talented, but to be able to hit a winner off of one isn't easy. If used properly it forces the opponent to take it on the rise, you can't overhead a good moonball, because it'll bounce over the back fence.

Moonball should be used a bit more at the mens game. it tests a players patience, and skill level at a shot they don't practice. If you reply with a short shot to a moonball point over.

Mortifier
04-06-2010, 01:25 PM
LeeD: A stroke that bounces 2 inches (or is it feet, can't tell) is almost a normal stroke in WTA, I'm talking about the Wozniacki/Radwanska that at some point during its trajectory bounces up at an overhead height.

JimF: Great post, put a lot of clarity to the matter right there. The example of Davydenko and Nadal is starting to show, with more players coming in on Nadal's weaker defensive shots.

Joe-Pike: The winner isn't of course everything, with an overhead you basically have the opponent on the backfoot and the opportunity to come in on the net.

Surely, there are obvious reasons to keep on moonballing with noone actually punishing the play on the other side of the net. I think it is going to show even more now on clay where the bounce is going to give even more effect.

rk_sports
04-06-2010, 01:27 PM
Oh yes, I was thinking the same thing.. I thought the current WTA players don't moonball anymore.. until I saw that Wozni and Kirlo match and was shocked.. I remember the old boring pushers like Sanchez Vic and few others used to use it ..
100% with you on this as it is least entertaining to see top pros do it.
Maybe they do it only to certain players -- I doubt they will think of trying it to the Williams's or Kim or Hen

Cindysphinx
04-06-2010, 01:49 PM
There are some players who are the recipients of a lot of moonballs, and some who are too dangerous to moonball. You don't see folks trying to moonball Serena, for instance.

The powerful ones and the ones who don't mind being at net are the ones who don't get moonballed.

Me, I love to throw up a moonball. Drives opponents absolutely nuts, and some come completely unhinged. Then I met a 4.0 lady who stepped in and hit a swinging volley right at my feet as I was attempting to sneak in. Ooof! I did not send her another moonball for the remainder of that match.

xukuru
04-06-2010, 01:49 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfrUVH6MBwk

Monica Seles moonballs over Chris Everts head at US Open 1989.

Mortifier
04-06-2010, 01:59 PM
Come to think of it, the thing that actually amazes me is that most of these girls can pound on the ball pretty hard in relation to me, but they seem to have problems with moonballs/being aggressive on moonballs. Many of the WTA players, when seeing them in real life, will hit the ball with amazing strength, not something I do on a regular basis, however, when there comes a loopy moonball they don't step up and get aggressive. That's what amazes/confuses me - maybe I am the problem in this equation, not cranking groundies at a 100 mph. ;)

xukuru: That's almost disgusting. :D

soyizgood
04-06-2010, 02:24 PM
Conchita Martinez moonballed a lot and had years of finishing in the top 5. So it can help out some of the smaller sized girls like Zheng, Cibulkova, Kirilenko, and Radwanska as an extra tool to go with their normal ground strokes.

I think at some point this "big babe" style is going to give way to a mixture of styles. Styles that have not been used much since Seles/Serena/Venus/Davenport created the ball-bashing era. Having girls with styles similar to Evert, Hingis, Sanchez-Vicario, Graf would be a good start. Actually, I think a moonballer could do well on the WTA now given all the mindless, mentally fragile headcases at the top currently.

Racer41c
04-06-2010, 02:51 PM
A tangential example: At the year-end Masters Championship Davydenko was actually doing that to Nadal's regular forehand. Nadal would hit short super-heavy-topspin, the kind of shot he uses to drive people back and res-start points, but Davydenko simply sprinted in and hit a swinging forehand volley winner. Repeatedly. Looked like a simple answer, except hardly anyone can do that. The Russian's game is under appreciated.

The only reason Davy can do that is because he's playing on the base line taking the ball early. Baseline bashers standing 6' behind the line couldn't possibly take the ball in the air. It's a full commitment and when it works, it really works.

I agree, the Russian's game is definitely under appreicated. Davy hits more balls on the rise with more angle than any other pro. The funny thing is, most people would benefit from adapting more angle in their games but few do.

North
04-06-2010, 03:08 PM
There are some players who are the recipients of a lot of moonballs, and some who are too dangerous to moonball. You don't see folks trying to moonball Serena, for instance.

The powerful ones and the ones who don't mind being at net are the ones who don't get moonballed.

Me, I love to throw up a moonball. Drives opponents absolutely nuts, and some come completely unhinged. Then I met a 4.0 lady who stepped in and hit a swinging volley right at my feet as I was attempting to sneak in. Ooof! I did not send her another moonball for the remainder of that match.

Was this recently? I did that to a new opponent a couple of weeks ago (Baltimore area) and it stopped the moonballs.

Jimmyk459
04-06-2010, 04:48 PM
Ha...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69PEx-huQZ4&feature=related

go to 1:02 <--- reason why women can moonball

IvanAndreevich
04-06-2010, 05:05 PM
Ha...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69PEx-huQZ4&feature=related

go to 1:02 <--- reason why women can moonball

She attempted a very difficult shot. Massive slice on it, didn't bounce too high. I think Henin misjudged the height it was going to bounce to.

bjorn23
04-06-2010, 05:51 PM
when i think of moonball, i think of an aggressive top spin shot. I've used it and hit my shots over the fence on one bounce, and in.

Mister Goulash
04-06-2010, 06:09 PM
Women's tennis = junior under 14 tennis just at a higher level of power and consistency. They have never had the need to develop (such as variety which includes touch/feel, volleys etc) their games like men need to. Why do you think their games are so one dimensional? The only time the come to net is to shake hands. They can only move side to side (laterally) because women don't have touch to bring opponents to net or hit short angles.

Back on topic though, all you have to do is watch a U 12 or U 14 match and you will see the reason why women professionals resort to moonballing

soyizgood
04-06-2010, 09:49 PM
Women's tennis = junior under 14 tennis just at a higher level of power and consistency. They have never had the need to develop (such as variety which includes touch/feel, volleys etc) their games like men need to. Why do you think their games are so one dimensional? The only time the come to net is to shake hands. They can only move side to side (laterally) because women don't have touch to bring opponents to net or hit short angles.

Back on topic though, all you have to do is watch a U 12 or U 14 match and you will see the reason why women professionals resort to moonballing

Tell that to Radwanska who can do this when not in pusher-mode:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQaDEvaNJVg

Mortifier
04-07-2010, 08:28 AM
soizgood: The thing that really stands out in that video is not only the dropshots, but how Radwanska kan land 50 mph forehands inside the servicebox without getting punished.

Come to think of it, I remember it as Ljubicic employing the moonballing tactic against Gilles Simon last year on clay, in Rome I think it was. Gilles was actually winning the match, but the smart Croat noticed a flaw in Simon's gameplan and just started moonballing him with regularity. Ljubo went on to win the match and it was probably one of the most painful experiences of my life.

I'm not saying that Simon has the strength of a woman, but he is kind of small, and he has been known to having rather "weak physique".

christos_liaskos
04-07-2010, 08:55 AM
If you're not feeling confident, timing the ball well and in the right frame of mind then taking a moonball on the rise is very difficult, especially when it has spin and kicks up with some speed.

Another match I remember in the not too distant past was Murray v Rafa in the Monte Carlo semis last year. In the second set Murray used a few moonballs which Rafa didnt take on with the right frame of mind, he didnt take them on and he let himself get pushed back, subsequently dropping his own shots short and allowing Murray to step in and take advantage of more of the court to hit into.

I think used at the right time in a match it can be useful tactic against pretty much anyone. If they dont react to it by stepping in and taking it early, which is a mental error on their part, then you can really upset someones rhythm and push them back in the court, in the hope of moving up the court yourself.

The next stage when you are caught in this type of battle is being alert enough to recognise when there is a short enough ball, or a slower ball with less spin maybe that you can step into and then be aggressive in the rally. If you are using the moonball as a really defensive tactic then you may struggle to change your mind into an aggressive mentallity in one shots time. Being alert and ready and making sure you recognise the easy ball and then executing on your attack then you can use all types of shots and tactics to win. The players who are just hitting the ball without thinking will get stuck at the back of the court and wont attack when the opportunity occurs and that could result in watching some really boring matches. Again going back to that Murray v Rafa match, that was good to watch because there was lots of variety from Murray, he used the moonball to stop Rafa hurting him and then he was alert enough to move in and attack when he had the opportunity.

I should also add that hitting an overhead smash just isnt an option. A moonball isnt like a defensive lob where your opponent just whacks the ball high into the air with no spin and it just lands and bounces straight up. A moonball, if bouncing that high above your head, will have lots of spin and pace on the ball. With a defensive lob you can almost position yourself next to the point where the ball bounces (because the ball will just bounce straight up) so it's easy to get in position. But with a moonball that is bouncing up and towards you fast, what position do you get in to make sure it's at the right height to smash once it gets to you? It just isn't a shot that is practiced. It's almost like suggesting you should get on your knees for a the slightly lower balls and hit smahes of those too. A moonball isn't that far from a rallying shot and you just dont have time to get in position, prepare and time the ball to hit a smash mid rally (unless you have neglected the rest of your tennis shots for the first 10-15 years of your life just so you can perfect this one shot, in which case you wouldnt have the game anyway to get to the top)

soyizgood
04-07-2010, 10:32 AM
when i think of moonball, i think of an aggressive top spin shot. I've used it and hit my shots over the fence on one bounce, and in.

Moonballers get frowned on, but if you look at what top spin freaks are doing these days, they're basically just topspin moonballing. Moonballing can be just as effective as slicing as it forces opponents to hit out of their strike zone. It can be nauseating, but so can 30 stroke rallies on clay where the players are 10-15 feet behind the baseline all match.