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View Full Version : biggest differences between WTA and ATP game


dominikk1985
01-19-2012, 01:39 PM
What do you think? While of course men are overall stronger and more athletic of course I think the biggest differences are two things:

1) the serve


Relatively to the men women usually have harder groundstrokes compared to the serve.

Girls like sharapove can hit consistently above 80 mph from the ground. this is not that much faster than the men (although they hit more spin and can go up to 100+ if they flatten out-while most girls always flatten it out).

however on the serve very few women can hit 120 mph (there are a few of course) while a lot of men today can serve 135+.

but the biggest difference is not the first serve speed but the second serve.

even the harder serving girls who can serve 110+ usually have disasterous second serves. very few girls have a kicker.

I think this difference is because of the biomechanics of the strokes. The forehand and even moreso the 2 handed BH are mainly driven by the hip and spine rotation. the arm is mostly "along for the ride". since girls have strong legs and hips compared to the upper body they can whack the ball hard since all the WTA girls now use the modern "rotational strokes".

with the serve that is different. you also get a lot from the legs and trunk but to serve really hard you still need "an arm". serving is like overhead throwing (pitching). the legs help but you also need to be explosive in the shoulder and wrist. pitching coaches in baseball call this "a fast arm".

very few women have that thus they often cannot serve. I think this is due to their body (relatively women have weaker upperbodies and stronger legs) but also due to the lack of overheadthrowing of girls as kids compared to boys.

this of course changes the dynamic of the game. often serving becomes a disadvantage because the girls have very hard groudies but weak serves.

2) the second thing is the footwork

there are very few fast women out there. that is the reason why very few women are successfull with a defensive game (woz is an exeption but she is having trouble too if the ballbashers have a good day).

because of the weak movement the hard and flat slapping of the ball is rewarded. hitting the ball hard is the main goal of most girls. since they are not as strong as the men they need to hit with less spin or they would lose too much penetration from their shots (there are a few spinners but a lot of them are having trouble because they can't get enough on their shots and then get blown away). you basically have to bash the ball. if you are defensive your running will be too slow as a woman. and if you spin too much you lose depth and power and then you have to run again (you need a lot of RHS to hit really penetrating spin shots-weak spin shots dont do any good). so you have to slap hard.

to capitalize on the weaker footwork the best thing in womens tennis is to just outhit the opponent. that is the reason why so many top players are ballbashers (williams, kvitova, maria, ivanovic...).

with the men this is a little different. they all hit the ball hard too of course but the pure ballbashers like söderling are having trouble to succeed because the top men have so much footwork (and hit pretty hard too). just blasting one of the court like serena, kvitova or maria try to do doesn't work on todays slow courts with the men for that reason.

LeeD
01-19-2012, 01:52 PM
Testosterone level vs ......

Ico
01-19-2012, 01:59 PM
Y chromosomes.

sunof tennis
01-19-2012, 02:39 PM
What do you think? While of course men are overall stronger and more athletic of course I think the biggest differences are two things:

1) the serve


Relatively to the men women usually have harder groundstrokes compared to the serve.

Girls like sharapove can hit consistently above 80 mph from the ground. this is not that much faster than the men (although they hit more spin and can go up to 100+ if they flatten out-while most girls always flatten it out).

however on the serve very few women can hit 120 mph (there are a few of course) while a lot of men today can serve 135+.

but the biggest difference is not the first serve speed but the second serve.

even the harder serving girls who can serve 110+ usually have disasterous second serves. very few girls have a kicker.

I think this difference is because of the biomechanics of the strokes. The forehand and even moreso the 2 handed BH are mainly driven by the hip and spine rotation. the arm is mostly "along for the ride". since girls have strong legs and hips compared to the upper body they can whack the ball hard since all the WTA girls now use the modern "rotational strokes".

with the serve that is different. you also get a lot from the legs and trunk but to serve really hard you still need "an arm". serving is like overhead throwing (pitching). the legs help but you also need to be explosive in the shoulder and wrist. pitching coaches in baseball call this "a fast arm".

very few women have that thus they often cannot serve. I think this is due to their body (relatively women have weaker upperbodies and stronger legs) but also due to the lack of overheadthrowing of girls as kids compared to boys.

this of course changes the dynamic of the game. often serving becomes a disadvantage because the girls have very hard groudies but weak serves.

2) the second thing is the footwork

there are very few fast women out there. that is the reason why very few women are successfull with a defensive game (woz is an exeption but she is having trouble too if the ballbashers have a good day).

because of the weak movement the hard and flat slapping of the ball is rewarded. hitting the ball hard is the main goal of most girls. since they are not as strong as the men they need to hit with less spin or they would lose too much penetration from their shots (there are a few spinners but a lot of them are having trouble because they can't get enough on their shots and then get blown away). you basically have to bash the ball. if you are defensive your running will be too slow as a woman. and if you spin too much you lose depth and power and then you have to run again (you need a lot of RHS to hit really penetrating spin shots-weak spin shots dont do any good). so you have to slap hard.

to capitalize on the weaker footwork the best thing in womens tennis is to just outhit the opponent. that is the reason why so many top players are ballbashers (williams, kvitova, maria, ivanovic...).

with the men this is a little different. they all hit the ball hard too of course but the pure ballbashers like söderling are having trouble to succeed because the top men have so much footwork (and hit pretty hard too). just blasting one of the court like serena, kvitova or maria try to do doesn't work on todays slow courts with the men for that reason.

I agree it is often more difficult for women to serve than men because fewer of them threw balls (overhand) as a child.
A couple of weeks ago, a guy mentioned that he was having problems with his serve. First thing I asked him to do was throw a ball to me. He then proceeds to pick up the ball and throw it with his left hand although he was serving and playing with his right hand. First problem identified.
Be interesting to see, especially in US as time goes on with more and more girls actually playing baseball or softball as children whether the girls who move on to tennis will have better serves

Netzroller
01-19-2012, 02:40 PM
I agree with a lot of what you wrote, especially in part 1). As for part 2), I am just wondering why women's footwork seems to be so weak given their legs are relatively strong.

I actually made a thread about this topic a while ago: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=374806

LeeD
01-19-2012, 02:44 PM
Already some girls are into the highest 120's.
Unfortunately, they're the strongest AND the tallest.
Strong deltoids is a guy trait. Macho bashing is a guy trait.
Controlled power is something the females can embrace.
I love going to Yoga class. I'm a beginner. EVERY female is more flexible, can hold poses better, longer, and with much better form.
I challenge any of them to ride a dirt bike, windsurf, play basketball, or surf with me. NONE would come close.
And what's with this balance thing? I cannot for the life of me balance on one foot.
I was almost a pro surfer, something some people say equates to some semblance of balance.

andry16
01-19-2012, 02:55 PM
well the biggest diference is that i wouldnt want to bang a male

user92626
01-19-2012, 03:40 PM
I thought it's obvious that WTA women serve strictly with arms and some bodyweight momentum into it. They just swing their arms as hard as they could. Men snap their cores, upperbody forward hard, pounding down on the ball. That's the main difference.

Then, there's the muscle. Virtually no woman is as muscular as Stosur. At best some are just fit like Ivonavic and Na Li. The rest are big form like Kvitova, Arazeka, Wozzi, Sharapova, Sarena, etc. which negates most of the strength it gives.

Limpinhitter
01-19-2012, 04:54 PM
I would say foot speed, court coverage and athleticism.

LeeD
01-19-2012, 05:04 PM
Swingspeed? Possibly most top men have more power than control? Outlook?

rkelley
01-19-2012, 06:08 PM
Foot speed is a big difference.

Many moons ago when I was in my late teens I played one of the women on my junior college's tennis team. I was not good enough to play on the men's team, but I beat her something like 2 and 2. After we played one of the things that she said was that I was consistently getting to balls that would have been winners against other women.

My serve and the overall pace I hit with were the other big differences.

LeeD
01-19-2012, 06:13 PM
Well, the difference between track stars of men and women pretty much tell you the difference between top athletes.
However, between OUR levels, speed is a mixed entity. Most women can run much faster and change directions much quicker than I can. However, fetching and retrieving is only ONE way to win at tennis.
And I'm sure Serena at her better would crush the breath out of my game, throttling me to no end.
As for Serena vs an ATP guy, it'd favor the guy, but the exact matchup would make a huge difference on the average scores.

TheBoom
01-19-2012, 06:54 PM
ATP players tend to handle pace better (exceptions of course)

kiteboard
01-19-2012, 07:08 PM
Crappy serves. Slow feet. No volley skills. No overheads at all, they hit dull groundies off sitter lobs rather than hit an overhead.

LeeD
01-19-2012, 07:13 PM
But they're good to look at, drawing huge crowds and TV time.

kiteboard
01-19-2012, 07:35 PM
Some of them are hideous, and even Azarenka, with her cheer leader face and body, walks like an Sf lesbian.

Thud and blunder
01-20-2012, 03:42 AM
I think more important than straight footspeed is explosiveness; to attain peak footspeed, you need to drive off explosively, and this is where the men are really ahead, in the first couple of steps, say. At cruising speed, I don't think the difference is as stark.

This also affects serve potential; men are simply much more explosive, which is all-important for the serve.

5263
01-20-2012, 04:50 AM
I think more important than straight footspeed is explosiveness; to attain peak footspeed, you need to drive off explosively, and this is where the men are really ahead, in the first couple of steps, say. At cruising speed, I don't think the difference is as stark.

This also affects serve potential; men are simply much more explosive, which is all-important for the serve.

you make a bunch of good point and this is one of the best,
( I assume you mean driving off explosively to get peak footspeed in tennis due to short distance, because otherwise this would not be true).

I agree at cruise speed (never used in tennis) the speed is little diff between men and women, but look at coverage on a big serve.
A woman can be aced by a 90 mph serve to a good spot, but that would have to be more like 110mph to ace even avg speed men.
That is reaction time and first step speed, which is what is critical to tennis speed and court coverage.

TennisCJC
01-20-2012, 05:29 AM
Women play more 1 dimensional games. Justine Henin had a well rounded game but since she left, most women fall into the baseline wacker category. You see very few women who mix spins and speeds like Federer or Murray, and even less can volley. Stosur will mix it up but I get the feeling she uses the slice on the BH because she has to rather than because she wants to.

Women in general don't get anywhere near the power and spin of the men. All the guys can really bend the ball with topspin groundstrokes and kick/slice servers. Women bend it to a much lower degree in general with far more women playing a somewhat flat game.

rkelley
01-20-2012, 06:07 AM
Women play more 1 dimensional games. Justine Henin had a well rounded game but since she left, most women fall into the baseline wacker category. You see very few women who mix spins and speeds like Federer or Murray, and even less can volley. Stosur will mix it up but I get the feeling she uses the slice on the BH because she has to rather than because she wants to.

Women in general don't get anywhere near the power and spin of the men. All the guys can really bend the ball with topspin groundstrokes and kick/slice servers. Women bend it to a much lower degree in general with far more women playing a somewhat flat game.

Men are bigger and stronger than women. They can generate more racquet head speed and this gives them more options to put spin on the ball and still keep the pace up.

But the women are fantastic athletes. They hit incredibly hard with great control and angles. Last years USO semis and final were a blast to watch because high quality of play. And players like Henin and Navratilova rank at the very top of my list of humans with insane tennis talent.

Lastly, I don't want to be the posting police, but I gotta say that this whole thread is starting to feel a bit chauvinistic, maybe even a tad misogynistic. Sure, there are women pros who could use a kick in the backside to round out their game, but how many guys today are basically a serve and a forehand? Almost all the players could do well to be reminded that it's not against the rules to hit the ball before it bounces (except on the serve of course).

And teach your girls how to throw. My grown daughter would never be accused of being the best athlete in the world, but I taught her to throw a ball when she was little, showed her the proper grip to use to serve, and she had one of the best serves on her high school tennis team even though she was not one of the best players and didn't practice much. She volleyed pretty well too.

5263
01-20-2012, 06:56 AM
Men are bigger and stronger than women. They can generate more racquet head speed and this gives them more options to put spin on the ball and still keep the pace up.

But the women are fantastic athletes. They hit incredibly hard with great control and angles. Last years USO semis and final were a blast to watch because high quality of play. And players like Henin and Navratilova rank at the very top of my list of humans with insane tennis talent.

Lastly, I don't want to be the posting police, but I gotta say that this whole thread is starting to feel a bit chauvinistic, maybe even a tad misogynistic. Sure, there are women pros who could use a kick in the backside to round out their game, but how many guys today are basically a serve and a forehand? Almost all the players could do well to be reminded that it's not against the rules to hit the ball before it bounces (except on the serve of course).

You make some good points but big and strong don't really work IMO.
Henin was small and not near as strong as some of these girls, but
she played a more rounded game and worked the ball well.

I also don't agree that contrasting mens and womens tennis is chauvinistic.
I love women, but can hardly watch their matches due to the one dimensional nature of 95% of it. This also accounts to why there is no dominant woman in todays game, since it only matters who is hot and making the whack a shot today. At least they defend well enough to stop Sharapova most tourneys, as she is the worst of this, even though she is big and strong. Watching Stosur win her slam was so much fun and I would love to see more women work the ball and court more!

rkelley
01-20-2012, 07:43 AM
You make some good points but big and strong don't really work IMO. Henin was small and not near as strong as some of these girls, but she played a more rounded game and worked the ball well.

Good point, but I think the differences in physical strength between men and women does make a difference IMO. We can agree to disagree on this point.

I also don't agree that contrasting mens and womens tennis is chauvinistic.

Well, I never said it was. I specifically said, " . . . this whole thread is starting to feel a bit chauvinistic, maybe even a tad misogynistic." That sentiment was based on statements like:

Some of them are hideous, and even Azarenka, with her cheer leader face and body, walks like an Sf lesbian.

That doesn't seem like a thoughtful analysis of the differences between men's and women's tennis.

I do think there are interesting contrasts between the men's and women's game. The role of the serve and the generally flatter ground strokes employed by the women for instance.

I love women, but can hardly watch their matches due to the one dimensional nature of 95% of it. This also accounts to why there is no dominant woman in todays game, since it only matters who is hot and making the whack a shot today. At least they defend well enough to stop Sharapova most tourneys, as she is the worst of this, even though she is big and strong. Watching Stosur win her slam was so much fun and I would love to see more women work the ball and court more!

I do understand what you're saying about Sharapova and some of the other pure bashers. I loved watch Stosur and Williams (please Serena, don't talk, just hit the ball) at the USO final. There were two top athletes on that court. It was great stuff.

sureshs
01-20-2012, 08:06 AM
Second serve TS/kick. Very few WTA players can pull it off (Serena, Stosur).

There is extensive analysis of this topic by David Taylor, a famous women's coach, which is being discussed here right now:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=407614

hawk eye
01-20-2012, 08:36 AM
In the women's game today, for pure technique and footwork only li Na (or Na Li) stands out. Too bad she's such a head case.

TennisCJC
01-20-2012, 09:22 AM
In the women's game today, for pure technique and footwork only li Na (or Na Li) stands out. Too bad she's such a head case.

Too me Li Na is a great athlete but basically a basher - hit big and run. She is a great mover and has incredible pace off the ground but I don't think she has much variety at all and her technigue is limited to great groundstrokes.

Stosur has a bit of variety - kick serve, solid volleys, and will slice the backhand. Probably one of the more complete players on WTA.

I am not a Serena fan but she is competent at net and has a great first and 2nd serve.

The Spanish player who has about 10 names maria anna bell .... or something like that is fun to watch because she uses a lot of spin, attacks, and volleys well too. Sorry, I can not remember her name. I think she is a lefty.

hawk eye
01-20-2012, 09:54 AM
Too me Li Na is a great athlete but basically a basher - hit big and run. She is a great mover and has incredible pace off the ground but I don't think she has much variety at all and her technigue is limited to great groundstrokes.

Stosur has a bit of variety - kick serve, solid volleys, and will slice the backhand. Probably one of the more complete players on WTA.

I am not a Serena fan but she is competent at net and has a great first and 2nd serve.

The Spanish player who has about 10 names maria anna bell .... or something like that is fun to watch because she uses a lot of spin, attacks, and volleys well too. Sorry, I can not remember her name. I think she is a lefty.

Yes i know who you mean, Maria Jose Gonzalez ... Martinez Sanchez or something (all the spanish names combined), i only saw her play a few times and she's an old fashionded clay player with who uses all the spins and angles. She has to because lacks the power, but it's good to see for a change.

Stosur's got power, a great kick serve and she uses the bh slice a lot, but i still think her game is rather predictable, always trying to set up the big topspin FH. Though she's an accomplished doubles players i find her volleys in singles still shaky al lot of the times.

5263
01-20-2012, 10:35 AM
Stosur...Though she's an accomplished doubles players i find her volleys in singles still shaky al lot of the times.

Isn't that strange above?


rkelly, you make a good point about some of those comments. I guess I just blow right by and dismiss that kind of crap.

hawk eye
01-20-2012, 11:23 AM
Isn't that strange above?


rkelly, you make a good point about some of those comments. I guess I just blow right by and dismiss that kind of crap.

Often, even at the US open which she won I saw Stosur miss volleys which, being an accomplished doubles player, she was expected to make.
Which surpised me, but then again volleying in singles is still a little different from volleying in doubles.

LeeD
01-20-2012, 11:51 AM
Distance to be covered, countered with exact nature of the target of the volley in doubles or singles, makes many great doubles volleyers into average singles volleyers, and vice versa.