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View Full Version : Who adapts their game most for different opponents?


orangettecoleman
05-23-2010, 08:58 PM
The thread about "Who are today's Brad Gilberts" got me thinking. Setting aside the strength of someone's strokes (or lack thereof), which players adapt their game most from opponent to opponent? Wilander did this to an extent, Hingis as well, and the classic example is Arthur Ashe beating Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon by completely changing his game plan to give Connors nothing but no-pace balls and drop shots. Roddick does show some adaptability, as does Murray (although he ranges from counterpuncher to slightly-more-aggressive counterpuncher). Fed and Nadal adapt their games to the surface more than the opponent. Who else shows this kind of versatility and strategic thinking from match to match? Who makes the other player "hit the ball they hate"? THOUGHTS?

OKUSA
05-23-2010, 09:01 PM
Stepanek? I don't know that guy is crazy, but he could be onto something

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 09:16 PM
What I don't get is how people don't employ Nadal's strategy against Federer. Every player who plays him should try whipping the ball with extreme spin and height to Federer's backhand (and forehand) and see how it works. Just lasso it to him all day long. Why does no one try this??!!

Clay lover
05-23-2010, 09:19 PM
What I don't get is how people don't employ Nadal's strategy against Federer. Every player who plays him should try whipping the ball with extreme spin and height to Federer's backhand (and forehand) and see how it works. Just lasso it to him all day long. Why does no one try this??!!

Few of them are left handed. Harder to do it DTL imo.

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 09:21 PM
Few of them are left handed. Harder to do it DTL imo.

Sure, left handed would be ideal, but you can undoubtedly try it right handed too. Why doesn't anyone? Even to his backhand and forehand. It's a strategy worth trying.

OddJack
05-23-2010, 09:25 PM
Sure, left handed would be ideal, but you can undoubtedly try it right handed too. Why doesn't anyone? Even to his backhand and forehand. It's a strategy worth trying.

They all try, Murray even said it himself.

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 09:27 PM
They all try, Murray even said it himself.

I can't recall anyone except Andreev at the Aus Open this year spinning the ball up to Federer at least as much as Nadal does (and surprise surprise, he was successful!). Show me a video of Murray doing it and I'll believe you.

OddJack
05-23-2010, 09:31 PM
watch this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBQRJdXnXNY

dmt
05-23-2010, 09:32 PM
I can't recall anyone except Andreev at the Aus Open this year spinning the ball up to Federer at least as much as Nadal does (and surprise surprise, he was successful!). Show me a video of Murray doing it and I'll believe you.

Murray tried to attack Federer's backhand but was completely unsuccesfull. Unless you are a leftie, its very diffucilt to do

Plus Nadals forehand swing motion is based on topspin. Other players cannot suddenly decide to chance their entire swing to hit with extreme topspin like Nadal does.

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 09:35 PM
watch this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBQRJdXnXNY

To me it just looks like regular spin, not Nadal's kicking high spin. How come no one moon balls it to his backhand? Like ridiculously high and deep, yet with extreme amounts of pace and spin also. To achieve that you'd have to use the lasso technique, but how come it hasn't been tried? I can't even recall Nadal going that far...

OddJack
05-23-2010, 09:40 PM
To me it just looks like regular spin, not Nadal's kicking high spin. How come no one moon balls it to his backhand? Like ridiculously high and deep, yet with extreme amounts of pace and spin also. To achieve that you'd have to use the lasso technique, but how come it hasn't been tried? I can't even recall Nadal going that far...

You need to realize that it's a lot more difficult to create that much spin with a BH, eg Murray. Nadal has the advantage of doint it with FH. And also it's the clay that helps the ball bounce high. And we know outside clay their H2H is quite something different.

World Beater
05-23-2010, 09:42 PM
not everyone can rip the ball with nadal's racquet head speed.

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 09:43 PM
You need to realize that it's a lot more difficult to create that much spin with a BH, eg Murray. Nadal has the advantage of doint it with FH. And also it's the clay that helps the ball bounce high. And we know outside clay their H2H is quite something different.

Any player should try though, to hit with their forehand, lasso shots extremely high, extremely spun, and deep preferably to Federer's backhand. Even more high and spinny than Nadal's shots. It's worth a try.

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 09:44 PM
Why not do this to Federer's backhand? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6q_o6L6N48

Just apply a bit more depth maybe...

OddJack
05-23-2010, 09:50 PM
Any player should try though, to hit with their forehand, lasso shots extremely high, extremely spun, and deep preferably to Federer's backhand. Even more high and spinny than Nadal's shots. It's worth a try.

You seem to think Federer just stands there and watch guys do it. It's easy for you to say what they should do.
Murray has a minivan of coaches traveling around with him and you think you figured it out and they didnt. Nadal is capable of running each and every ball down and get it back to play, he keeps the UEs low with high margin shots, not everyone can do this if they tried. They dont have the grinding abilities of Nadal either.

jaskasm
05-23-2010, 09:50 PM
Why not do this to Federer's backhand? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6q_o6L6N48

Just apply a bit more depth maybe...

I LOL'd, but I think you'd be hard pressed to put Fed in a situation like that. He'd probably attack it early like he likes to do.

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 09:52 PM
I LOL'd, but I think you'd be hard pressed to put Fed in a situation like that. He'd probably attack it early like he likes to do.

Yeah he'd probably attack it early if it were a short ball like that one, but if people just tried doing what she did except deeper and more spin, I think they could really exploit his backhand.

TheTruth
05-23-2010, 09:52 PM
I think Fed does. If a person doesn't move well he'll make them run all day. If they're susceptible to drop shots, he'll drop shot them. He's probably the only one who does this. I'm sure he studies tapes and makes notes of people's weaknesses. I also think that's why he'll have some uncharacteristic losses. He may not put a lot of effort into like a journeyman.

Andy plays two different ways, but I think he plays them in the reverse.

Rafa plays two different ways too, but he does it so infrequently I kind of forget.
,

OddJack
05-23-2010, 09:53 PM
Are you serious or are you joking...

I thought you were serious gold

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 09:53 PM
Are you serious or are you joking...

I thought you were serious gold
lol I'm dead serious... people should just try it

OddJack
05-23-2010, 09:56 PM
lol I'm dead serious... people should just try it

First you said people dont try to go to his BH,

then when I showed you they try you said they have to spin in more

When you saw they cant spin it with BH now you say they have to moonball it.

What's next? How about reflecting sun into his eyes so he gets blind?

Worth a try, huh?

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 09:59 PM
First you said people dont try to go to his BH,

then when I showed you they try you said they have to spin in more

When you saw they cant spin it with BH now you say they have to moonball it.

What's next? How about reflecting sun into his eyes so he gets blind?

Worth a try, huh?

LOL hahahahaha. I had the same thing in mind the whole time. I'll restate it one more time as plainly as I can:

Calling all players who ever verse the Federer, try this:
Lasso your forehand deep and high and spinny, the more extreme the better. And preferably to his backhand. If it doesn't work, at least you tried something differen't instead of getting schooled rally after rally.

OddJack
05-23-2010, 10:01 PM
LOL hahahahaha. I had the same thing in mind the whole time. I'll restate it one more time as plainly as I can:

Calling all players who ever verse the Federer, try this:
Lasso your forehand deep and high and spinny, the more extreme the better. And preferably to his backhand. If it doesn't work, at least you tried something differen't instead of getting schooled rally after rally.

Do you have a business card goldie?

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 10:03 PM
Do you have a business card goldie?

lol This is an awesome thread. Seriously though, they should try it...

OddJack
05-23-2010, 10:04 PM
No I mean why give your ideas for free? You could be a victim of stolen intellectual property.

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 10:06 PM
No I mean why give your ideas for free? You could be a victim of stolen intellectual property.

hahahaha. Why do you think my idea is far fetched though? Isn't it worth a try?

nereis
05-23-2010, 10:06 PM
Personally I think Federer doesn't change his game one bit. He will still look to dictate with his forehand and rifle winners given the chance. Nadal too still sticks to the framework of hitting heavy topspin to the weaker wing to break down his opponent. Their A games are too strong for most of the field for them to play any other way. I have yet to see Federer switch to serving and volleying for the whole match.

OddJack
05-23-2010, 10:07 PM
I would patent them goldie. before anyone else tries them. You could become rich and we wont see you on these boards, hopefully.

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 10:11 PM
I would patent them goldie. before anyone else tries them. You could become rich and we wont see you on these boards, hopefully.

lol I've got nothing more to say

OddJack
05-23-2010, 10:12 PM
lol I've got nothing more to say

thank God for that.

Now that's Win Win situation.

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 10:16 PM
thank God for that.

Now that's Win Win situation.

I still haven't got any answer though for why no one tries that strategy against Federer.

orangettecoleman
05-23-2010, 10:18 PM
All that said... :) ... Federer is kind of curious because he can be incredibly adaptable, but also can be incredibly stubborn in his unwillingness to change a losing strategy, on the rare occasion when he finds himself on the losing side of a match.

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 10:20 PM
All that said... :) ... Federer is kind of curious because he can be incredibly adaptable, but also can be incredibly stubborn in his unwillingness to change a losing strategy, on the rare occasion when he finds himself on the losing side of a match.

Yeah, I agree. But Federer's game is so complete that he doesn't really need to change it generally.

orangettecoleman
05-23-2010, 10:20 PM
I still haven't got any answer though for why no one tries that strategy against Federer.

Because the only person who can consistently hit with that kind of spin and pace crosscourt to Fed's backhand is named Rafa Nadal. Anybody else hits shorter, weaker balls that Fed will take early. Anything less than Rafa's forehand will get crushed early. No player on the tour has a backhand that is as good as Rafa's forehand except Nalby and he's a chubby headcase. End of story.

OddJack
05-23-2010, 10:22 PM
Yeah, I agree. But Federer's game is so complete that he doesn't really need to change it generally.

Gotcha goldie...actually it's someone with a complete game that can change things.

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 10:23 PM
Because the only person who can consistently hit with that kind of spin and pace crosscourt to Fed's backhand is named Rafa Nadal. Anybody else hits shorter, weaker balls that Fed will take early. Anything less than Rafa's forehand will get crushed early. No player on the tour has a backhand that is as good as Rafa's forehand except Nalby and he's a chubby headcase. End of story.

Haha. I still think someone like Murray could spin it up very high and deep to Fed's backhand. He's capable of doing that IMO.

salsainglesa
05-23-2010, 10:24 PM
I think the best adapting his gameto the rival is federer. Its subtle but he does... specially on return of serve.
Its only that he doesnt neutralize the opponent, but redirects the energy and the tactics.
Except the very known and discussed expection wich I dare not to mention.

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 10:25 PM
Gotcha goldie...actually it's someone with a complete game that can change things.

If that's what you perceive 'complete' to be. For me, in tennis I think complete would refer to a game which is solid and finished and therefore doesn't need to adapt; it's a complete game.

orangettecoleman
05-23-2010, 10:30 PM
Maybe that's why we don't see as much adaptation - because the top pros have a more complete all around game than in past eras. They all have top-level groundstrokes and to a lesser extent serves and movement. Everyone has perfected their strokes to the extent where it's largely a contest of strength and athleticism now.

OddJack
05-23-2010, 10:30 PM
I think the best adapting his gameto the rival is federer. Its subtle but he does... specially on return of serve.
Its only that he doesnt neutralize the opponent, but redirects the energy and the tactics.
Except the very known and discussed expection wich I dare not to mention.

That exception Nadal will go down in ranking sooner than his 5 year senior Federer. Mark my words, his next injury will not be in his knees, but in upper body, shoulder, wrist...He may even get to number one but his next vacation will be so long he dives in rankings like a dead quail.

OddJack
05-23-2010, 10:31 PM
If that's what you perceive 'complete' to be. For me, in tennis I think complete would refer to a game which is solid and finished and therefore doesn't need to adapt; it's a complete game.

Ahaa, I see, ok.

gold soundz
05-23-2010, 10:33 PM
I think Rafa should adapt his games at times though. He can't get away with hitting his regular forehands to Del Potro for instance; they're right in his wheel house to swat for cold hard flat winners.

sh@de
05-23-2010, 11:04 PM
thank God for that.

Now that's Win Win situation.

LOL.

10 chars

salsainglesa
05-23-2010, 11:13 PM
In my opinion, today's game is based on how proeficient you are at your specialty, its the paradigm of today in the mind of trainers and players alike. So there are only a few that are capable of changing the way they play on the fly.
Sure they can adapt certain tactical changes, but their technique and specialty really restricts their options. It's the reason we dont see much serve and volleying, and no Gilbertson the tour.
Ittakes another kind of talent... not only hittingtalent or moving talent, it is the adaptation skill wich today is not taught, and in some cases not even taken into account.

TheTruth
05-23-2010, 11:14 PM
Personally I think Federer doesn't change his game one bit. He will still look to dictate with his forehand and rifle winners given the chance. Nadal too still sticks to the framework of hitting heavy topspin to the weaker wing to break down his opponent. Their A games are too strong for most of the field for them to play any other way. I have yet to see Federer switch to serving and volleying for the whole match.

You're right. I meant to say plays to his opponent's weaknesses better, but yeah, I'll go with that. The game doesn't change much. Guess there aren't any players who do that.

P_Agony
05-23-2010, 11:22 PM
Sure, left handed would be ideal, but you can undoubtedly try it right handed too. Why doesn't anyone? Even to his backhand and forehand. It's a strategy worth trying.

Murray tried it at the AO final and got destroyed.

gold soundz
05-24-2010, 01:06 AM
Murray tried it at the AO final and got destroyed.

No way, I watched that match. His rally shots were weak/non-penetrating most of the time, including his supposedly great backhand. And he didn't try anything near what I was suggesting which is to loop it extremely high, deep and spinny to Fed, preferably his backhand.

jigar
05-26-2010, 06:50 PM
Why not do this to Federer's backhand? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6q_o6L6N48

Just apply a bit more depth maybe...

I am going to try it out tomorrow on the court.

salsainglesa
05-26-2010, 07:47 PM
you haveto adapt with the opponent service games... but in your service games you must dominate with your strenghts.

Serendipitous
05-26-2010, 07:48 PM
Karlovic......:mad::mad::mad:

OddJack
05-26-2010, 08:21 PM
To be able to change things you have to have "things" first. Who is the most complete player on tour?

joeri888
05-26-2010, 10:27 PM
Why not do this to Federer's backhand? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6q_o6L6N48

Just apply a bit more depth maybe...

Because Federer'd do what Kuznetsova tried. Run around it, take it on the rise and spank you with his forehand. Maybe males would even come in in time to hit a smash.

joeri888
05-26-2010, 10:28 PM
No way, I watched that match. His rally shots were weak/non-penetrating most of the time, including his supposedly great backhand. And he didn't try anything near what I was suggesting which is to loop it extremely high, deep and spinny to Fed, preferably his backhand.

No, Federer just had an awesome backhand that day.

tudwell
05-27-2010, 07:13 AM
No way, I watched that match. His rally shots were weak/non-penetrating most of the time, including his supposedly great backhand. And he didn't try anything near what I was suggesting which is to loop it extremely high, deep and spinny to Fed, preferably his backhand.

gold soundz, I think there are a few reasons why no one does what Nadal does to Federer.

First, as others have point out, no one else is Nadal. No one else really can get the mix of pace and speed that Nadal does, especially with a two-handed backhand. I mean, look at Nadal's racquet head speed on his forehand. It's insane! It's as fast as or faster than Federer's racquet head speed, only he puts a little more of that energy into spin than Federer does. It's just not possible to get that kind of whip on a two-handed (or even a one-handed) backhand.

Secondly, Federer has kind of a mental block against Nadal. He's just not confident going for his shots. He knows he's got to cook up something spectacular because otherwise Nadal will track it down and probably send it back with interest. Federer has supreme confidence against almost any other player, so he won't be so passive and let himself be dictated the way he often does against Nadal. He would be more aggressive and make it harder for an opponent to hit that kind of heavy ball.

Also, it's not just the spin that bothers Federer. It's the angle and depth that Nadal gets. Federer's often in the doubles alley (or past it!) when he's returning Nadal's forehand, and he knows Nadal always has the option of going down the line if he's pushed Federer far enough into his backhand corner. No other player pins Federer to his backhand side the way Nadal does. If people could do it against Federer, they would. They simply can't, because Nadal's just that much better (especially at that particular shot) and Federer is too. Moonballing it to Federer would be suicide. He'd just step in and rip right back at you at 100 mph.

OddJack
05-27-2010, 07:27 AM
gold soundz, I think there are a few reasons why no one does what Nadal does to Federer.

First, as others have point out, no one else is Nadal. No one else really can get the mix of pace and speed that Nadal does, especially with a two-handed backhand. I mean, look at Nadal's racquet head speed on his forehand. It's insane! It's as fast as or faster than Federer's racquet head speed, only he puts a little more of that energy into spin than Federer does. It's just not possible to get that kind of whip on a two-handed (or even a one-handed) backhand.

Secondly, Federer has kind of a mental block against Nadal. He's just not confident going for his shots. He knows he's got to cook up something spectacular because otherwise Nadal will track it down and probably send it back with interest. Federer has supreme confidence against almost any other player, so he won't be so passive and let himself be dictated the way he often does against Nadal. He would be more aggressive and make it harder for an opponent to hit that kind of heavy ball.

Also, it's not just the spin that bothers Federer. It's the angle and depth that Nadal gets. Federer's often in the doubles alley (or past it!) when he's returning Nadal's forehand, and he knows Nadal always has the option of going down the line if he's pushed Federer far enough into his backhand corner. No other player pins Federer to his backhand side the way Nadal does. If people could do it against Federer, they would. They simply can't, because Nadal's just that much better (especially at that particular shot) and Federer is too. Moonballing it to Federer would be suicide. He'd just step in and rip right back at you at 100 mph.

I disagree with the bold part. Maybe it was true for some time but it all changed after AO09 and after Nadal's exit at FO. It was like breaking the taboo that was built over 4-5 years. Now players go against Nadal and give their best and have been successful.
This has been said numerous times, when you look at H2H you need to look at clay matches too. Take that out and it is nothing special. Not only against Rodge but also against all other ATP players.