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View Full Version : Is 5ft 9 tall enough for tennis?


Wolfdale
12-01-2012, 08:35 PM
I know that height shouldn't be a limiting factor for a amateur player like me, but I'd like to know how much height affects tennis playing after all. Would I have a huge increase in performance if I were 6 ft 2, for instance?

I'm a 3.0~3.5 player, still developing much of the game aspects. I also know that it's hard to answer that, but in case of a 5.0 player who is 5ft 9, is he able to serve well despite his height?

How does Ferrer, for instance, being on the short side, compare to taller players close to his ranking?

Thank you very much for the answers!

Headshotterer
12-01-2012, 08:38 PM
Ferrer is top ranked because he works very hard and competes his best. In lower levels, this is not as common so any physical advantage is big.

t135
12-01-2012, 08:40 PM
Comparing pros to 3.5 rec players isn't going to give you any real answers. It's apples and oranges.

Wolfdale
12-01-2012, 08:45 PM
I'm very sorry, I posted it on the wrong area, could it be moved to Tennis Tips/Instructions? I meant to post there!

db10s
12-01-2012, 08:50 PM
My coach is 5ft 10, he won in futures... As a big server..... He just has REALLY good technique, his forehand and serve were ATP good, but his backhand held him back.

TheCheese
12-01-2012, 09:17 PM
Until you get to a pretty high level I don't think height is really going to limit you that much.

goran_ace
12-01-2012, 09:31 PM
Heeght/reach irrelevant. Coverage is determined by quickness and footwork.

NLBwell
12-01-2012, 09:35 PM
Olivier Rochus at 5' 5" got to #24 in the world.
Don't worry about it.


Benjamin Becker is 5' 10" and was one of the hardest servers in the world.
If you are 5' 9", maybe you might top out at 134 mph first serve speed (if your form is good enough).

Lots of advantages to being shorter and quicker in tennis offsetting advantages that taller players have in certain areas.

boramiNYC
12-01-2012, 09:40 PM
Heeght/reach irrelevant. Coverage is determined by quickness and footwork.

agreed. advantages and disadvantages for both short and tall. maximize your advantage and attack opponents disadvantage. winner is the one who does this better.

SystemicAnomaly
12-01-2012, 09:53 PM
Marcelo Rios (former ATP #1) and Michael Chang (former ATP #2) were both 5'9".

.

Sumo
12-01-2012, 10:08 PM
At the rec level, height is the last thing anyone needs to worry about.

Kenzik
12-01-2012, 10:31 PM
Yea don't even worry about it.

OHBH
12-01-2012, 10:43 PM
At the amateur level height is very helpful for taking care of moonballs and moonballers, but that is about it.

y11971alex
12-01-2012, 11:48 PM
K. R. Rosewall, at the very top '50s to '70s, was 5' 7"

R. Laver, 2 calendar year slams, was 5' 9"

corbind
12-02-2012, 12:10 AM
Reality is it is something you're born with and cannot change. So if you are 5', 5'9", or whatever -- embrace it. I feel height has an impact on serve. As a general rule, the taller the player, the harder it is to return his serve.

I greatly dislike returning serve from a guy around my height (6'2") or taller. The angle of the served ball coming down from the sky is greater and often with pace. Against average-height servers returning is easier.

Still, a short guy with a good kick serve will damage me more than a tall dude hitting flat as Incan just block those back. Kick serve gives you great clearance over the net no matter your height.

Half the guys on our college team were at least six foot and the most successful ones (except one) were in that group.

Finally, being tall has advantages everywhere on the court. But the MAIN thing is talent and application. Tall guy who is lazy versus short guy who works hard -- who wins? Guy who is naturally talented but lazy versus guy who practices his tail off -- who wins?

dominikk1985
12-02-2012, 12:32 AM
Ferrer is top ranked because he works very hard and competes his best. In lower levels, this is not as common so any physical advantage is big.

yes. It is hard to get in the top10 at this height but even the top100 are very possible if you have good technique, talent and fitness.

at 3.5-5.5 it really shouldn't make a big difference. also don't limit yourself to pushing. footwork is even more important at your height but guys like rochus are offensive players albeit no real power hitter. even ferrer got a lot more offensive in the last years (taking the ball early and make the opponent run) and grosjean had a hge FH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qejr9i0oKd8

tennis_balla
12-02-2012, 10:48 AM
No, 5ft. 9 is too short for tennis. Your opponent will have trouble seeing you on the other side of the court. You should not play tennis at all, so sell your rackets.

SStrikerR
12-02-2012, 01:05 PM
Yes, if you get taller your technique will improve and you will automatically serve 30mph harder. You can't play tennis.

Coach Chad
12-02-2012, 02:03 PM
Height is something that you cannot do anything about...down through the years, tennis champions have come both tall and short...do not concern yourself with it.

dominikk1985
12-02-2012, 02:10 PM
K. R. Rosewall, at the very top '50s to '70s, was 5' 7"

R. Laver, 2 calendar year slams, was 5' 9"

Yes but you forgot to mention that a modern 3.5 is too much for those old guys:D. that was stone age:)

LeeD
12-02-2012, 02:10 PM
You're too short for modern tennis.
Connors was 5'10", Agassi another inch, McEnroe another still.
Look thru the top 40 ATP pros. Only 15 or so are shorter than 6'. You have no chance whatsoever.

Timbo's hopeless slice
12-02-2012, 02:34 PM
lol, only 15 or so, indeed.

but yeh, I always forget Rios, he was only 5' 9", wasn't he? ATP number 1..

as for Ferrer, I've met him a couple of times (lovely guy) and there is no way he's 5'9". I'm 5'9" (barely!), and I'm definitely taller than Daveeed!

so, OP, bit of a silly question, ye?

LeeD
12-02-2012, 02:50 PM
Yeah, Chang was never any good, neither were EddyDibbs or HaroldSolomon, OlivierRochus or AlbertoBarrasetchi. They just goofed around on the courts, cannon fodder for the other players.
It's 6'5" or doomed to 3.5 level tennis.

y11971alex
12-02-2012, 05:20 PM
Yes but you forgot to mention that a modern 3.5 is too much for those old guys:D. that was stone age:)

so, according to your purport, a modern 3.5 should win 2 calendar year slams?:)

LeeD
12-02-2012, 05:24 PM
It sure wouldn't hurt to be 6' to 6'3" to start with.
Some eyesight, some quickness, some determination, and a whole lotta physical skills too....

Wolfdale
12-02-2012, 05:27 PM
Just out of curiosity, how tall are you guys? I wrote this topic because I thought 5ft9 was a below average height for a sport like tennis, but I don't think it's below average in all other regards!

LeeD
12-02-2012, 05:41 PM
5'9" is too short for any position on the pro football field..except for field goal kicker.... CB's that height can't cover 6'4" wideouts...
5'9" is too short for current thought in basketball, because even though you can score 25 points a game, you defense cannot cover to that extent.
I got u by 2".

VeeSe
12-02-2012, 06:10 PM
I'm 5'7 or 5'8. No problems on the court here.

SystemicAnomaly
12-02-2012, 09:50 PM
Just out of curiosity, how tall are you guys? I wrote this topic because I thought 5ft9 was a below average height for a sport like tennis, but I don't think it's below average in all other regards!

Just a scosh over 5'10". Even at 60 years of age, my serve is still a weapon against 20-somethings.

TheCheese
12-02-2012, 09:52 PM
Just out of curiosity, how tall are you guys? I wrote this topic because I thought 5ft9 was a below average height for a sport like tennis, but I don't think it's below average in all other regards!

Yes, but you're not trying to become a professional. And even then, it's probably one of the better sports to have a height disadvantage because so much of it is technical skill rather than innate physical qualities.

Mick
12-02-2012, 10:02 PM
I saw Cibulkova (5 feet 3") playing at Stanford last year. She was awesome.

http://i47.tinypic.com/1hwas8.jpg

Sumo
12-02-2012, 10:58 PM
5'9" is too short for any position on the pro football field..except for field goal kicker.... CB's that height can't cover 6'4" wideouts...
5'9" is too short for current thought in basketball, because even though you can score 25 points a game, you defense cannot cover to that extent.
I got u by 2".

Tell that to the Patriots.

6'2". I'm usually taller than most in rec tennis.

junbumkim
12-03-2012, 02:26 AM
In short, no 5ft 9in is not tall enough to use your physicality to your advantage. But, you are not short for tennis, either.

In professional level, physicality becomes more important, and it can put you at disadvantage. In amateur or recreational level, not so much. Bottomline - it shouldn't deter you from playing and enjoying tennis game.

Think about this, would you stop playing basketball just because you are 5ft 9in? You probably won't play center, but you can still enjoy the game.

LeeD
12-03-2012, 03:52 PM
Sumo, I don't understand your post.
I'm just north of BerkeleyCa. mainly watch the 49'ers.
What exactly are you saying in regards to Brady's team, whom we play in a couple of weeks.? Isn't Gronk like 6'8"? Our best reciever might be DelanieWalker, about 6'3", but easy 265 lbs. He actually makes an effort to catch the ball, unlike Davis or Moss who barely bother to raise one arm, unless the ball hits their numbers with a thump.
9'ers have'nt played their two top draft picks this year, AJJenkins and that standout OregonU runner, LaMichaelJames. We're weak in running backs, as Gore is injured, Hunter is out for the year, and Jacobs doesn't like to mix it up with the big boyz.

goran_ace
12-03-2012, 04:38 PM
Think he's referring to Patriots guys like Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead

Sumo
12-03-2012, 04:52 PM
Sumo, I don't understand your post.
I'm just north of BerkeleyCa. mainly watch the 49'ers.
What exactly are you saying in regards to Brady's team, whom we play in a couple of weeks.? Isn't Gronk like 6'8"? Our best reciever might be DelanieWalker, about 6'3", but easy 265 lbs. He actually makes an effort to catch the ball, unlike Davis or Moss who barely bother to raise one arm, unless the ball hits their numbers with a thump.
9'ers have'nt played their two top draft picks this year, AJJenkins and that standout OregonU runner, LaMichaelJames. We're weak in running backs, as Gore is injured, Hunter is out for the year, and Jacobs doesn't like to mix it up with the big boyz.

How did you get from my reference to the Pats to talking about the 49rs draft picks? What goes on in that head of yours?

What I'm saying is that some of the best players in the league are short and was using the Pats as an example because they have a number of high profile guys that size. It should also be pointed out that a couple of guys you mentioned are also 5'9".

Timbo's hopeless slice
12-03-2012, 04:59 PM
I thought it was an oblique reference to the fact that it's just as well the Pats have such a great offence 'cos they can't defend anything under 25!

Sumo
12-03-2012, 05:02 PM
I thought it was an oblique reference to the fact that it's just as well the Pats have such a great offence 'cos they can't defend anything under 25!

Well played.

LeeD
12-03-2012, 05:10 PM
Always thought of Welker as a possession reciever with some speed. His hands are what the Patriots are paying for. Not his height.
Gronk has the height, and is a favorite in the red zone, not Welker.
Big target, tiny defender's, makes a good matchup.
You a Pats fan? Don't want to know any insider secrets? OK. And yes, both AJ and LaMichael are 5'9" tall, but neither are CB's.
Runners, BarrySander's was 5'8". He did OK. LaDainianT also.

Sumo
12-03-2012, 05:16 PM
What are you talking about?

You said 5'9" is too short. It's not.
Who cares about Gronk's matchup advantages.

Timbo's hopeless slice
12-03-2012, 05:27 PM
thank you sir..

(I'm a Pats fan, btw, but sheesh, sometimes..)

Larrysümmers
12-03-2012, 07:27 PM
nah, too short. take up rose gardening

Hi I'm Ray
12-03-2012, 08:19 PM
I know that height shouldn't be a limiting factor for a amateur player like me, but I'd like to know how much height affects tennis playing after all. Would I have a huge increase in performance if I were 6 ft 2, for instance?

I'm a 3.0~3.5 player, still developing much of the game aspects. I also know that it's hard to answer that, but in case of a 5.0 player who is 5ft 9, is he able to serve well despite his height?

How does Ferrer, for instance, being on the short side, compare to taller players close to his ranking?

Thank you very much for the answers!

As others have already pointed out, there are top pros and other very good tennis players that are around that height. Taller players may have an easier time generating power but generally seem to be less coordinated, Shorter players seem to be faster and more coordinated but have to work more at generating power - just different advantages/disadvantage and things for each to work on. I played college with an "official" height of 5'11 but actually I'm not sure why that happens to me so often because I'm really 5'9. I've met good players of all different heights. The number 1 player at one school looked to be around 5'6 and there was one impossibly fast player that was around 5'4. A friend who is around 5'9-5'10 made it onto a college team with his major advantage being that he hits very powerful and super low trajectory forhands that gave the taller players a lot of trouble, and I usually had the advantage against him so height isn't everything. Don't worry about it, just get lots of practice and enjoy the game.

Fuji
12-04-2012, 05:05 PM
I'm slightly above national average at 6'0 tall. I'm shorter most of the guys I end up playing. Guys at my club are tall!

That being said, my coach is 6'2 and he did quite well at the futures/challengers level. He's also the most gifted player I've ever watched play. :P

Height really doesn't matter though. I prefer playing against tree tall guys though, it's much easier to slice and keep them low.

-Fuji

bhupaes
12-04-2012, 08:27 PM
I'm relatively short - 5'10", 155 lbs - and I sometimes play against a 6'6" guy, who's a lefty. His serve is a monstrous, high speed lefty slice that I sometimes can't even reach on my backhand, but I get him on the ground game most of the time. Our matches are pretty even, despite the height difference. Just be prepared to hold your serve, anticipate and run, and good things will happen! This is at USTA 4.5, but IMO, 5'9" is fine for high level tennis too, going by the achievements of a certain David Ferrer!

LeeD
12-05-2012, 11:00 AM
We know the strengths and weaknesses of being tall or short. Can we exploit it to our advantage?
OlivierRochus was 5'5", and played in the solid 7.0 levels, as did several other guys height challenged.
Lots of players taller than 6'6" never made it to the top 50 in the pros, and had the training and opportunity.

3fees
12-05-2012, 01:41 PM
Is 5' 9" tall enough for tennis, Yes.

Speaking of pro's -you missed it,,Rod Laver is 5' 8" tall

:mrgreen:

LeeD
12-05-2012, 01:51 PM
I didn't miss it. Rosewall was shorter. Chang was 5'7". Connors a true 5'10". JohanKriek was only 5'8.5". HaroldSolomon was 5'7.

JRstriker12
12-05-2012, 01:58 PM
I know that height shouldn't be a limiting factor for a amateur player like me, but I'd like to know how much height affects tennis playing after all. Would I have a huge increase in performance if I were 6 ft 2, for instance?

I'm a 3.0~3.5 player, still developing much of the game aspects. I also know that it's hard to answer that, but in case of a 5.0 player who is 5ft 9, is he able to serve well despite his height?

How does Ferrer, for instance, being on the short side, compare to taller players close to his ranking?

Thank you very much for the answers!

At the recreational/USTA level, I'd say it's more about your ability to play than height.

Sure, you man not be an ace machine, but if you move well, are consistent and play to your strengths, then height won't be much of a factor.

One of the toughest guys I've played over the years is much shorter than I am (I'm 5'11" - not exactly tall myself), but he's tough to beat. Gets to everything and hits well from both sides. Extremely quick and doesn't miss.

On the flip side, I played one guy who was 6'7" - he hit a lot of aces, but I usually beat him in singles because once I manged to get the ball in play I had the advantage in movement.