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Lakoste
07-08-2005, 02:52 PM
10 things we learned from Wimbledon
By: Dan Weil

1. Roger Federer is unbelievable

The Swiss wunderkind was nearly flawless in his demolition of Andy Roddick in the final. That victory gave Federer three Wimbledon crowns in a row, an accomplishment matched by only three other men since 1936 Fred Perry, Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras. Federer has taken over from Sampras, his boyhood idol, as the king of Big W. And perhaps he can match Sampras' record of seven Wimbledon titles in eight years. Federer's athleticism and effortless style are reminiscent of Sampras and perfect for Wimbledon's grass. With so much game and confidence, Federer could dominate the hard courts too.

2. Venus Williams is back

She came up with a monumental effort to beat Lindsay Davenport in the final. Davenport played very well, yet Venus was able to raise her level. She turned Lindsay back once at match point and at several other occasions when the match looked lost. Venus seems more focused on tennis than her sister Serena. And perhaps the real key is that she has regained her confidence all of the sudden her forehand and serve don't look shaky anymore. Wimbledon represented Venus' first victory at a Grand Slam event since 2001, and now there's no reason why she can't win more.

3. Andy Roddick is unlucky

To have the prime of his career coincide with Federer's is a cruel fate for the 22-year-old American. But true to his fighting spirit, Roddick wouldn't have it any other way. By his own account, he played quite well in the final yet still was unable to win a set. Roddick already has made great strides in improving his net game. But unless his volley gets even better, it looks like an uphill battle to beat Federer at Wimbledon. Roddick's best chance there may be for someone else to knock off Federer. Still, reaching the final sets Roddick up for a strong summer on hard courts, his favorite surface.

4. Lindsay Davenport showed her mettle

She came through a brutal draw and was within a point of winning the tournament. Given the quality of her groundstrokes and serve, it's no wonder Davenport is ranked number one in the world. The fact remains that she hasn't won a Major tournament in five years, but she looked much better against Venus than she did in losing to Serena in the final of the Australian Open. The risk is that the near miss at Wimbledon could devastate her. But she sounded upbeat in her comments after the match and may have just launched herself to a strong hard-court season.

5. Rafael Nadal has some work to do on grass

After winning the French Open, the 19-year-old Spanish phenom went down in the second round at Big W. Nadal's loopy forehand and extreme grip changes aren't a natural for grass. And he needs to improve his serve and his volley, but he acknowledged that himself. Nadal has a great attitude and already has bettered the weak parts of his game. He wants to win Wimbledon, and there's a good chance he can do it someday. He's already proven himself on hard courts, so he can do some damage this summer.

6. Justine Henin-Hardenne doesn't like playing on grass

That's what the French Open champion said after being upset in the first round. It's actually quite surprising. The Belgian possesses great athleticism and creativity, not to mention the strongest all-around game in women's tennis. That should make her a natural on grass. But she doesn't like the surface's unpredictability balls take crazy bounces and often skid. She also had no tournament preparation on grass after her victory in Paris. But hard courts give predictable bounces, so she's set for a solid summer.

7. Marat Safin will be a threat in coming years

Last year he flamed out in the first round and briefly hinted he wouldn't be back. But the Russian returned with an improved attitude and posted two solid wins before going down to quarterfinalist Feliciano Lopez. With his powerful groundstrokes and serve, a competent volley and good movement for a big man, he should be a threat to win this tournament. And once his injured knee recovers, he should make a strong showing on the hard courts.

8. Serena Williams needs a lot of work to get back on top

She suffered from an injured ankle that hampered her performance this spring. But Serena came to London overweight and acknowledged preparing only one week for the tournament. As she said herself, that won't cut it. Pursuing her interests in acting and fashion may make her feel good, but they won't improve her tennis. Without re-dedicating herself to the game, Williams won't see results. But she loves hard courts. So if she does regain her focus, the other top women better watch out this summer.

9. Court and ball changes are a blessing and a curse

Tournament officials let the grass grow high and de-pressurized the balls to give baseliners a better chance and to lengthen rallies. Some of that may have been necessary, especially on the men's side. It is nice to see points that include more than a serve. But it is a shame to see serve-and-volleyers punished for a style that can create the most exciting points in tennis.

10. The state of American tennis is mixed

It's hard for those in the States to get too upset when three of the four finalists came from home. But the problem is that there doesn't seem to be too much brewing beneath the top. On the men's side, no other American on the tour seems capable of joining Roddick in the top 10. Perhaps 15-year-old prodigy Donald Young, currently the world's top-ranked junior, will one day make his mark. As for the women, the Williams' could be around for a while, but Lindsay Davenport, 29, won't. And Jennifer Capriati, also 29, may already be done.

As for the U.S. Open, defending champion Federer has to be the early favorite on the men's side. But don't count out Roddick, who won the event in 2003. Lleyton Hewitt, who won the Open in 2001, and reached the semifinals of Wimbledon last week, also looms as a threat. Nadal and Safin have a chance too. The Russian won the tournament in 2000 and beat Federer in the Australian Open this year. And don't count out Andre Agassi if he's healthy.

On the women's side, Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport could easily repeat their Wimbledon success. Henin-Hardenne, who won the Open in 2003, and her Belgian compatriot Kim Clijsters also have a strong shot. So does Maria Sharapova. And if Serena Williams gets her act in gear, she could take home her third title in New York.

http://msn.foxsports.com/tennis/story/3736070

A D
07-08-2005, 03:05 PM
Great effort in your post, Lakoste!

Kevin Patrick
07-08-2005, 03:11 PM
Everytime I see an article about Borg, Sampras, & Federer being the only players to win 3 in a row, I feel a little sorry for Rod Laver, the '61, '62, '68, 69 champ. He wasn't allowed to play from '63 to '67 when he turned pro.

Andy Hewitt
07-08-2005, 03:14 PM
Great effort in your post, Lakoste!
Although Nadal is not going to improve on grass ;)

NoBadMojo
07-08-2005, 03:19 PM
nice article, but i cant agree with the statement that roddick is unlucky. if he is unlucky so is hewitt and others. also i think what rodick needs to work on is his return of serve, and not waste his time being more of an all courter because that he will never be..he just doesnt have the feel for being at or around the net. his service return isnt as strong as it can be and more players have gotten onto his serve.

Tennis312
07-08-2005, 03:21 PM
Nice post. An addendum to the Roddick comment: he absolutely must continue to improve his backhand. Maybe it was just in comparison to Federer, but A-Rod's bh looked absolutely pedestrian in the final, at best a shot to keep the ball in play. Roddick is no Steffi Graf, movement-wise, so he is in no position to be able to constantly run around his bh. He needs to make his backhand a more fearful shot if he is to compete with Federer, or, for that matter, Nadal, at least on hard courts.

gugafanatic
07-08-2005, 03:32 PM
Nadal will be a threat on grass in years to come. The grass courts are slowing down and the ball is sitting up more like a hardcourt. Nadal may have underperformed this year due to his gruelling clay court schedule (winning back to back titles and playing doubles in practically every claycourt event). Furthermore Rafa recognises his weaknesses and is willing to improve all the time. Few can argue with his mental attitude and desire to maximise his potential, seriously how many claycourters would be willing to catch the next flight to germany to enter a grass court event after winning a prestigious tournament like the FO.

Nadal also believes that Wimbledon is the one trophy that he truely desires to win, he does not have the claycourt mentality that makes soo many of these players one-dimensional.

spinbalz
07-08-2005, 04:10 PM
Nadal will never be a threat on grass, even on the slightly slower grasscourts of nowadays. What makes Nadal beat his opponants is his court coverage, not his shotmaking, and even if nowadays the ball is sitting up on the grasscourt more than in the past, which can help him to hit more balls in his comfort strike zone, the grasscourts remain (and will continue to remain) too fast, and you can't win on it with only a great court coverage, the players who have great shotmakings or massive power (players like Federer, Ancic, Roddick...), and the players who can take the ball early and hit it pretty flat (players like Agassi, Hewitt...), will always outplay Nadal on grasscourts.

The tennis guy
07-08-2005, 04:40 PM
he (Nadal) does not have the claycourt mentality that makes soo many of these players one-dimensional.

Nadal doesn't have clay court mentality? Are you watching? He stays so far behind baseline which is obvious clay court mentality.

The tennis guy
07-08-2005, 04:43 PM
[B]

[U]9. Court and ball changes are a blessing and a curse

Tournament officials let the grass grow high and de-pressurized the balls to give baseliners a better chance and to lengthen rallies. Some of that may have been necessary, especially on the men's side. It is nice to see points that include more than a serve. But it is a shame to see serve-and-volleyers punished for a style that can create the most exciting points in tennis.



I have to agree. The slowness of W grass makes the demise of serve and volley more quickly.

araghava
07-08-2005, 05:37 PM
Everytime I see an article about Borg, Sampras, & Federer being the only players to win 3 in a row, I feel a little sorry for Rod Laver, the '61, '62, '68, 69 champ. He wasn't allowed to play from '63 to '67 when he turned pro.

People keep bringing up how many more slams Laver would have won if he hadn't turned pro. The flip side of this is that if the pro's had been allowed to play pre '68, Laver probably would not have won the '61 and '62 slams. In fact when Laver turned pro, he was constantly getting beaten by the top pros of the day. It took him a while to raise his level of play to that of the other pros.

Tennis_baller
07-08-2005, 05:44 PM
Everytime I see an article about Borg, Sampras, & Federer being the only players to win 3 in a row, I feel a little sorry for Rod Laver, the '61, '62, '68, 69 champ. He wasn't allowed to play from '63 to '67 when he turned pro.
I agree
People keep bringing up how many more slams Laver would have won if he hadn't turned pro. The flip side of this is that if the pro's had been allowed to play pre '68, Laver probably would not have won the '61 and '62 slams. In fact when Laver turned pro, he was constantly getting beaten by the top pros of the day. It took him a while to raise his level of play to that of the other pros.
I agree

Boy Wonder
07-08-2005, 06:41 PM
Nadal doesn't have clay court mentality? Are you watching? He stays so far behind baseline which is obvious clay court mentality.

I think gugafanatic was referring to how many of the claycourters look to avoid playing Wimbledon.

Despite what some may think, I think Rafa's extensive schedule got the best of him come grass season. Like previously stated, he recognizes his weaknesses like his serve and volley and Rafa will never be satisfied until all his seen weakness are up to par with the rest of his game. His forehand definitely consists of Rafa's signature topspin, but does that mean that it is still not a powerful shot? Some think that his forehand is "heavy", but I think that "heaviness" is coupled with some power as well. He's the fastest guy out there IMO and his attitude towards tennis is perfect; just those two aforementioned things will help a more prepared Nadal. BTW, I think he should also be considered to be a threat during the US summer hard court season for the same reasons I stated.

spinbalz
07-09-2005, 06:15 AM
The fact that Rafa or any other player identified some of his weaknesses and will work to improve them, doesn't mean at all that he will actually success to do it... You guy talk like if the players only have to work on a certain weak shot or part of the game to make it world class, but you should realize that it is not so easy, natural talent/ability is an important factor that can't be counted out, one can have a very natural talent to hit big forehands and being also a lot less talented to hit serves or volleys or backhands...

Boy Wonder
07-09-2005, 06:27 AM
The fact that Rafa or any other player identified some of his weaknesses and will work to improve them, doesn't mean at all that he will actually success to do it... You guy talk like if the players only have to work on a certain weak shot or part of the game to make world class, but you should realize that it is not so easy, natural talent/ability his an important factor that can't be counted out, one can have a very natural talent to hit big forehands and being also a lot less talented to hit serves or volleys or backhands...

I did not factor that out. The fact is that Rafa does have the talent/ability and in Rafa's case these parts of his game are good but weak compared to the rest of his game, which he needs to do better on surfaces like grass. His volleys have shown brilliance, but I think he's lacking consistency and the qualities that make someone like Henman's volley. His serve has also improved a lot by Rafa using a lower toss and more abbreviated take back, but still lacking the qualities that make someone like Roddick's serve. His backhand is actually much better than this serve and volley IMHO, but I still don't see it as up to par with his forehand, though I think it is well on its way to getting there. You are right that it is easier said than done, but this kid's got the right attitude and he knows what he has to do, and like I said well on his way.

friedalo1
07-09-2005, 08:57 AM
Federer is the king of Wimbledon right now. We have to wait for another Federer, Sampras, or Borg to come along in the next 10 years. I dont see anyone beating Federer right now at Wimbledon. He demolishes everyone at Wimbledon. The matches he play are boring. He wins every match too easy. Everyone is still waiting for someone to beat him.

spinbalz
07-09-2005, 10:06 AM
I don't doubt that Nadal will improve on grass, he will do it like lendl did it in his time, but Rafa will always find someone to outplay him on grass, just because all the improvements he will be able to bring to his game won't change the basic nature of his game that is and will stay better suited for other surfaces than grass, like it was the case with Lendl.

And thechosen, you can't say that the fact is that Nadal does have the talent /ability to make world class level his volleys, serve, or ability to take the ball earlier, you can hope it, you can think he has it, but you can't say that it is a fact, like I don't say that it is a fact that he doesn't have that talent, we simply do not know yet, he didn't show yet anything to prove us that he will become a great server or volleyer, or early ball striker, but he is still very young and still have much time to mature his game.

Players uses different parts of their brains to hit different strokes, a forehand will not need the participations of the same parts of the brain as a backhand or a service, or evey other shot, even the type of spin will impart on what areas of the brain are used, and the different parts of one's brain always vary in terms of performance. That's is why sometimes, players who look to be very gifted, will always have some troubles in certain areas of the game. The nature and performance of the a player's brain does have a big impact in the style of tennis that he will develop, this style is usually (if not always) in relation with the performance of the diffenrent parts of his game, for exemple a players who has a brain naturally oriented to hit forehands, but naturally weak to hit backhands will develop a playing style with as much as possible forehands to hit, so he will have a tendancy to have a very passive backhand, only to run around to hit a big forehand, or a player whose brain is naturally adapted to hit volleys but no so great to hit groundstrokes will surely develop a S&V, net rushing game... In Nadal's case it is obvious his game is not naturally well rounded, he can work on it, strong are the chances that he will improve it and makeit more complete, but also as strong are the chances that his game will stay less balanced than the games of pure allcourt players like Federer for exemeple. Of coures other parameters than the brain are to take in account to define one player's talent, the body type is also very important.

spinbalz
07-09-2005, 10:23 AM
in Rafa's case these parts of his game are good but weak compared to the rest of his game, which he needs to do better on surfaces like grass. His volleys have shown brilliance, but I think he's lacking consistency and the qualities that make someone like Henman's volley. His serve has also improved a lot by Rafa using a lower toss and more abbreviated take back, but still lacking the qualities that make someone like Roddick's serve. His backhand is actually much better than this serve and volley IMHO, but I still don't see it as up to par with his forehand, though I think it is well on its way to getting there.

IMHO, his serve is currently weak, but I think that he will make it better to reach the average pro serve status, his volleys never showed brilliance and will probably never but he will slightly improve it anyway, and his backhand is already pretty good, actually much better than peoples tend to realize, but what will probably always lack to him to be wimbledon winner is the will and abilty to play more inside the court, taking the ball earlier and hitting it flatter.

Like "the tennis guy" said, Nadal plays so far behind the baseline... Pure clay court player mentality. And in the interviews gaved by Nadal about his game and grasscourts, I heard him talking about his need to improve his serve, and his volley, but nothing about how too far behind the baseline he plays. So I'm not sure if he already realized that he should work on that part of his game, to become a potential Wimbledon winner...

Boy Wonder
07-09-2005, 10:29 AM
IMHO, his serve is currently weak, but I think that he will make it better to reach the average pro serve status, his volleys never showed brilliance and will probably never but he will slightly improve it anyway, and his backhand is already pretty good, actually much better than peoples tend to realize, but what will probably always lack to him to be wimbledon winner is the will and abilty to play more inside the court, taking the ball earlier and hitting it flatter.

Like "the tennis guy" said, Nadal plays so far behind the baseline... Pure clay court player mentality. And in the interviews gaved by Nadal about his game and grasscourts, I heard him talking about his need to improve his serve, and his volley, but nothing about how too far behind the baseline he plays. So I'm not sure if he already realized that he should work on that part of his game, to become a potential Wimbledon winner...

Watching him during RG, Nadal looked pretty good and successful during his net approaches, but I think his net approaches are too few and far between each other, and I think he needs to develop more consistency. I also feel that his constant play of doubles is helping the serve and volley aspects of his game.

I think clay court mentality is seen as being more about defense than offense, so I agree that Nadal has to go on more of the attack at Wimbledon.

spinbalz
07-09-2005, 10:47 AM
Clay court specialists are often (but not always) very successful when they approach the net on clay courts, because they do it on rare occasions, only when they hitted a so good attack, that they are almost sure to face a weak reply/passing shot from their opponant, it is not the same thing as putting the pressure on your opponant's shoulder by rushing the net, points after points, even with not so good approach shots, and showing some greatness at winning the point at the net even against a great defensive shot/passing shot, a la Sampras/becker/Rafter/Edberg...

Babblelot
07-09-2005, 10:52 AM
[U]10. The state of American tennis is mixed

It's hard for those in the States to get too upset when three of the four finalists came from home. But the problem is that there doesn't seem to be too much brewing beneath the top.
After declaring U.S. tennis DOA going into W., isn't it interesting that 3 of 4 of the finalists were Americans, as were and 4 of 8 boys (i.e., the future) QFists.

Having said that, I'm not going to read much into these results--Lindsay, Venus and Andy benefit tremedously from grass court tennis. I don't know much about the 4 American boys, other than the hype surrounding Young, so I won't comment.

Tennis on grass is cute...now, let's get on with the business of the U.S. Open Series.

;)

NoBadMojo
07-09-2005, 11:00 AM
good stuff spinbalz.... i also happen to think there are far fewer true athletes playing the game today than in years gone by and more trained tennis players. years ago, many of the players had the same playing style as Federer (obviously not as elevated) in that they could hit all the shots from all places in the court because they are great athletes..the reality is it is far easier to stand 15feet behind the baseline and ralley rather than be on the baseline and take the ball on the rise lke agassi..it's far easier to just have one weapon and a small selection of options, rather than having a vast array of shots. the current game reflects that. i am not slamming roddick or anything, but he just doesnt have what it takes w. instincts to ever be an all courter and play the net well <he;s been hitting tennis balls since the age of 6 and the volley is the most simple stroke mechanically there is>..he can get better sure, but i think he will forever struggle w. his net play..as i said before, his service return is something he can improve and he should really be looking for a way to still improve his weapon (the serve). my .o2

Cobrien
07-09-2005, 03:26 PM
Tennis Baller.

Should I bring a fence for you to sit on.

Another unlucky one was Hewiit, he should have been seeded 2nd in the draw and has now lost to the eventual winner in the last 6 grand slams he has played in.

Tennis_baller
07-09-2005, 04:55 PM
Tennis Baller.

Should I bring a fence for you to sit on.

Another unlucky one was Hewiit, he should have been seeded 2nd in the draw and has now lost to the eventual winner in the last 6 grand slams he has played in.
I agree.......

Max G.
07-09-2005, 08:42 PM
Nadal plays a good amount of doubles, and with decent success - him and Robredo got to the US Open semis last year, and I think they were a top 20 doubles team. That should indicate that Nadal's volleys aren't that bad.

timmyboy
07-09-2005, 09:02 PM
nadal's volleys are acceptable, unlike roddicks.