PDA

View Full Version : what does it mean to have talent?


highsierra
07-03-2006, 08:28 AM
Everyone seems to agree that Murray is the young player with lots of talent. What exactly does it mean? I watched the Andy-Andy match and am watching the Baghditis match right now. All I see is a skinny baseline grinder without doing anything particularly well, and he doesn't have good stamina either. So what does talent mean to you guys?

BaseLineBash
07-03-2006, 08:37 AM
Murray is definately talented, and when I say talent I mean he does everything well despite of his poor conditioning. That my friend is talent, natural ability.

Rhino
07-03-2006, 08:38 AM
what does it mean to have talent?
watch the next match on Centre: Federer vs. Berdych
The guy with the headband, that's talent.

Wondertoy
07-03-2006, 08:53 AM
Murray is an all around good all court player. He does eberything well and wins alot despite having no weapons. He more of a grinder/counter puncher. But talented? I also think that Agassi is not all that talented athletic wise but has extraordinary eyes/sight. He is a hard worker. When he comes forward, he looks so awkward and not talented. However when you see Federer, there's no mistake the enormous talent that he exhibits.,

Grimjack
07-03-2006, 09:11 AM
It means simply that, all other factors equal, the more talented player will prevail.

Assuming that two competitors have trained their bodies equally well, that neither has any major strategic flaws for the other to exploit, that neither has any psychologic detriments that will allow the other to capitalize, etc., then the more naturally talented will inevitably prevail. In such a case, "talent" will usually amount to the ability to bring more on-court weapons into use, since that will be the only way to exploit an otherwise even matchup.

This is, of course, all largely in the realm of theory, because all other factors are never exactly equal. So "talent" is a judgement call. But the intelligent viewer can make that judgement pretty accurately every time out.

When watching Federer, for example, it's clear he's not winning through conditioning. His condition is fine, as he never seems to just "wear out," but he doesn't grind down his opponents with it. He is able to win virtually every match he plays because he is able to bring more weapons to bare than his opponent, virtually every time out, and has no strategic weaknesses in implementing them. This is talent.

For a fashionable counter-example, take Nadal. He has developed a very limited arsenal into a dominant force. He hits unerring, consistent topspin groundies, and runs down every reply. His "strategy" consists entirely of outlasting his opponent -- of presenting an impenetrable defense, and of allowing his opponents to bash themselves to death against it. When it works, as it invariably does on any slow court, he is practically invincible. When that strategy breaks down, as has been illustrated in every non-French-Open slam of Nadal's career, he has no talent to fall back on, and so he inevitably loses.

Talent is what carries you to greatness when Plan A lets you down. It's why guys like Fed and McEnroe, even though their games weren't ideally suited to all surfaces, were always threats to be there at the end of every tournament. It's why guys like Nadal and Kuerten will retire without ever reaching the finals of any slam but one.

TXKiteboarder
07-03-2006, 11:36 AM
i was reading some UK papers from last year about Federer.

They were saying how naturally gifted he was at sports as a child. They mentioned that he would have easily became a great footballer but his skills on courts were even better so he chose tennis.

i guess unless you know these kids when they are very young and compared them to how they play against other kids, it would be hard to know.

But seriously: the top guys in almost any proffesional league not only work hard but have that "extra spice" that makes them special. Look at how aowsome M. Schumy is on F1 circuit.

Hardwork might make you a top 50 ATP ranking but definately in top 10 players have that natural ability at sports.

ATXtennisaddict
07-03-2006, 11:39 AM
Imagine if Federer were the next Zidane!

TXKiteboarder
07-03-2006, 11:42 AM
another interesting thing i found reading the article was:

federer explaining his early years as a tennis pro. He was talking about how frustrating it was because he had a great shot selection and couldnt decide which of them to strategically use them to finish opponents. He thanked his australian coach for showing calm and stratigizing on the court. He said that other players has one shot for each situation but he has too many to pick from. I will link the article as a separate post.


Tragically his coach passed away in an accident in africa. Federer blammed himself because he is the one who convinced his coach to take the vacation on a safari trip. He stated that he thinks about him everyday and dedicated his wimby wins to him.

TXKiteboarder
07-03-2006, 11:45 AM
Imagine if Federer were the next Zidane!


can you imagine swiss winning a World Cup? LOL!!

malakas
07-03-2006, 11:45 AM
another interesting thing i found reading the article was:

federer explaining his early years as a tennis pro. He was talking about how frustrating it was because he had a great shot selection and couldnt decide which of them to strategically use them to finish opponents. He thanked his australian coach for showing calm and stratigizing on the court. He said that other players has one shot for each situation but he has too many to pick from. I will link the article as a separate post.


Tragically his coach passed away in an accident in africa. Federer blammed himself because he is the one who convinced his coach to take the vacation on a safari trip. He stated that he thinks about him everyday and dedicated his wimby wins to him.

Ah..:(
Please do provide a link.I really would like to read this article.
Roger is such a good person.:)

Shaolin
07-03-2006, 11:50 AM
This reminds me of a quote by Satchmo

"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know."

BTW Murray has loads of talent. Hes not one of my favorite players but Ive seen lots of variety in his game. Lots of drop shots, ability to s&v, ability to hit lines even when down break points, nice backhand winners etc. If you cant see this stuff I dont know what to tell you.

!Tym
07-03-2006, 11:51 AM
It's way too simplistic in my opinion to just say Nadal's only real talent is that he can play impenetrable defense when it's simply not true. Nadal has shown very decent hands at net, great touch on the drop shot, and incredible precision PLUS power. The guy does not just push the ball. Yes, he can play defense better than anyone right now, but he also can smack the ball too. It's the biggest myth in tennis, whenever there's a dominant clay courter, people just stereotype them as being counterpunchers when it's simply not true. Much of what separates the elite clay courter from the so-so like Alberto Martin/Francisco Clavet types, even the Corretja/Costa/Mantilla types, is that the top dog on clay ALSO has almost always had big power on reserve when needed. The only exception since the era of Courier has been Coria. You simply cannot dominate on clay with just defense alone. You also need to be able to put the ball away to keep your opponent honest. It's the combination of having both the power when called for and the defense that makes you unbeatable on clay. If all Nadal could do was get the ball back, then Agassi, even an old and clearly not in peak shape or form Agassi, would have had his way with him; but that wasn't the case. You also have to have power of your own when needed to keep an opponent honest.

!Tym
07-03-2006, 11:57 AM
Also, Murray does have talent, but in a different way. He's like a Hingis type where you look at his "soft" physique and underwhelming sense of "jockness" and you think how does he do it? Yet, these kind of players do, they always do. They don't look fearsome, don't hit anything huge, and yet what makes them so befuddling to other players at their best, is that they just seem to be one step ahead of you. They're like chess players, they've got the savy, the soft hands, the measuredness of approach that can take the macho "jock" out of commision if they're "firing" on all cylinders. When Roddick's at his best, he's rocket fuel on fire, a bat out of hell, but he goes straight. He's going to mow you over. Murray/Hingis/Rios types at their best dissect you and leave you scratching your head not knowing exactly what or from where they hit you. Murrary claws at you here, scratches you there, spits in your eye there, stomps on your foot here, takes a low blow there, slaps you silly next to finish off the job, knuck-knuck, three stooges style...btw, he rather resembles Curly to me.

Another way to look at it is that Murray is like a Royce Gracie mentality and Roddick is like a roid rage, Ken Shamrock, brawler type mentality.

Polaris
07-03-2006, 05:40 PM
It means simply that, all other factors equal, the more talented player will prevail.

Assuming that two competitors have trained their bodies equally well, that neither has any major strategic flaws for the other to exploit, that neither has any psychologic detriments that will allow the other to capitalize, etc., then the more naturally talented will inevitably prevail. In such a case, "talent" will usually amount to the ability to bring more on-court weapons into use, since that will be the only way to exploit an otherwise even matchup.

This is, of course, all largely in the realm of theory, because all other factors are never exactly equal. So "talent" is a judgement call. But the intelligent viewer can make that judgement pretty accurately every time out.

When watching Federer, for example, it's clear he's not winning through conditioning. His condition is fine, as he never seems to just "wear out," but he doesn't grind down his opponents with it. He is able to win virtually every match he plays because he is able to bring more weapons to bare than his opponent, virtually every time out, and has no strategic weaknesses in implementing them. This is talent.

For a fashionable counter-example, take Nadal. He has developed a very limited arsenal into a dominant force. He hits unerring, consistent topspin groundies, and runs down every reply. His "strategy" consists entirely of outlasting his opponent -- of presenting an impenetrable defense, and of allowing his opponents to bash themselves to death against it. When it works, as it invariably does on any slow court, he is practically invincible. When that strategy breaks down, as has been illustrated in every non-French-Open slam of Nadal's career, he has no talent to fall back on, and so he inevitably loses.

Talent is what carries you to greatness when Plan A lets you down. It's why guys like Fed and McEnroe, even though their games weren't ideally suited to all surfaces, were always threats to be there at the end of every tournament. It's why guys like Nadal and Kuerten will retire without ever reaching the finals of any slam but one.

Agree with the general sentiment, but not with the last line. I think Nadal has a decent shot at the Australian Open.

dmastous
07-03-2006, 05:45 PM
Talent is athletic talent. This means they have good natural balance, and good hand-eye coordination. Federer makes everything look easy because of his balance. He seems to float to the ball.
The more hand-eye coordination a player has the more they can do with the ball, such as hit with different spins and control.

VamosRafa
07-03-2006, 07:17 PM
Talent means nothing unless you back it up.

Matthew
07-03-2006, 07:39 PM
Lets get this straight - EVERY player on the ATP circuit has talent. They wouldn't be playing professionally if they didn't.

Moose Malloy
07-07-2006, 01:21 PM
For a fashionable counter-example, take Nadal. He has developed a very limited arsenal into a dominant force. He hits unerring, consistent topspin groundies, and runs down every reply. His "strategy" consists entirely of outlasting his opponent -- of presenting an impenetrable defense, and of allowing his opponents to bash themselves to death against it. When it works, as it invariably does on any slow court, he is practically invincible. When that strategy breaks down, as has been illustrated in every non-French-Open slam of Nadal's career, he has no talent to fall back on, and so he inevitably loses.

Talent is what carries you to greatness when Plan A lets you down. It's why guys like Fed and McEnroe, even though their games weren't ideally suited to all surfaces, were always threats to be there at the end of every tournament. It's why guys like Nadal and Kuerten will retire without ever reaching the finals of any slam but one.

ATXtennisaddict
07-07-2006, 01:51 PM
During wimbledon, one player has stood out in the talent field in my eyes. Nadal.

He surprised me by doing this well on grass. It takes talent to change your game that quickly and to adapt so I have to give him kudos.

Of course, he has other qualities that help him but talent's part of it.

guernica1
07-07-2006, 02:14 PM
Talent means nothing unless you back it up.

Just like they say in the NFL: the worst word you can give to a player is potential.

Look at the different careers of Fernando Verdasco and Nadal so far. I remember Spanish tennis folks mentioning he was another potential top 5 guy.
Similar game styles; i'd even venture to say Verdasco has more weapons, except two: brains and heart.

Unfortunately, talent too often is measured by how pretty a player's strokes are, or how smooth they like.

If this was so, Nicolas Escude, Hicham Arazi and Marcelo Rios would each have 7-8 slams each.

ATXtennisaddict
07-07-2006, 02:24 PM
Just like they say in the NFL: the worst word you can give to a player is potential.

Look at the different careers of Fernando Verdasco and Nadal so far. I remember Spanish tennis folks mentioning he was another potential top 5 guy.
Similar game styles; i'd even venture to say Verdasco has more weapons, except two: brains and heart.

Unfortunately, talent too often is measured by how pretty a player's strokes are, or how smooth they like.

If this was so, Nicolas Escude, Hicham Arazi and Marcelo Rios would each have 7-8 slams each.

imo, talent IS measured by "how pretty your strokes are". But talent without work ethic and desire is just talent, not slams.

dmastous
07-07-2006, 02:32 PM
Just like they say in the NFL: the worst word you can give to a player is potential.

Look at the different careers of Fernando Verdasco and Nadal so far. I remember Spanish tennis folks mentioning he was another potential top 5 guy.
Similar game styles; i'd even venture to say Verdasco has more weapons, except two: brains and heart.

Unfortunately, talent too often is measured by how pretty a player's strokes are, or how smooth they like.
I think you are confusing talent with potential. There are lots of players in all the various sports who have potential. I think talent is potential realized. It's not Jordan or Tiger or Federer, but it represents a solid player.

guernica1
07-07-2006, 02:33 PM
imo, talent IS measured by "how pretty your strokes are". But talent without work ethic and desire is just talent, not slams.

To me, top shelf physical talent in tennis is a combination of style, timing, ability to create shots in negative or awkward positions, and ability to use the whole court in a creative way.

But without heart and mental fortitude all that means nothing like you said.

I'm always a sucker for these types of players... love watching Rios, Escude, Arazi, Verdasco, Grosjean, etc. I guess its just a way of wishing you were able to create the kinds of shots that these magicians do.

Even though they cause more aggravation cause they lose so much or at the worst times, they're the best players for entertainment and that's what watching sports is about in large part for me at least.

Brad Smith
07-07-2006, 02:40 PM
Talent is what carries you to greatness when Plan A lets you down. It's why guys like Fed and McEnroe, even though their games weren't ideally suited to all surfaces, were always threats to be there at the end of every tournament. It's why guys like Nadal and Kuerten will retire without ever reaching the finals of any slam but one.

If Nadal wins on Sunday would you say he has talent?

dmastous
07-07-2006, 02:42 PM
If Nadal wins on Sunday would you say he has talent?
Absolutely. Why wouldn't you?
I would say any player in the top 100 has loads of talent.

Brad Smith
07-07-2006, 04:25 PM
Absolutely. Why wouldn't you?
I would say any player in the top 100 has loads of talent.

I was being sarcastic.

The poster implied that Nadal and Kuerten don't have talent while Federer and McEnroe do, and he offers as proof his assertion that Nadal will never reach the Final of any slam other than the French.

Dilettante
07-07-2006, 04:38 PM
For me, "talent" imenas that you are capable to do something in a better way than most people around you.

In tennis, it's usual to link talent and beautiful or attacking game, but I don't necessarialy agree with that. There are many kinds of talent: strokes, movement, tactics, strategies, sense of positioning, concentration, speed of thoughts and reactions...

It's like music: some musicians are not "technically" good but they're able to improvise. Some musicians can't improvise well, but they have the technical talent to perform without errors. Some other may have some errors, but can perform certain passages with great sensibility and they are able to touch the audience. Some other are entertaining because their "gimmicks".

So, what's talent? Talent is what makes you stand out from the rest.

I would say any player in the top 100 has loads of talent.

Agreed.

fastdunn
07-07-2006, 04:47 PM
If Nadal wins Wimbledon, it is said that "he achieved".

"Being Talented" sometimes has negative attachments of "under achived".

You say "talented" to guys like Laver or Sampras LESS OFTEN partly because they
have "achived" so much and kinda presumed they have the requied "talent"
(without saying "talented")

McEnroe is often dubbed "talented" since people think he probably
could have achieved more with his "talent". Same goes with Rios
and Arazi. So many people, experts and casula viewers alike, are inspired
so much by Federer. Pretty much everyone believes he will achieve
at least 2 times of what he has achieved so far.

Then again it's an eye of beholder thing. Some people just inclined
to like certain styles and some don't. Sometimes, it is very inaccurate
and baseless.

Then there is un-mistakably special and unique quality that most people
agree upon when they watch the strange way McEnroe disect geomerty
of tennis courts, something in the way Rios hit groundies.
Or if you watched Arazi played Rafter in a 5 set match of US Open years back.

Then some people definitley have eye for a talent. They have ability
to spot great talents. Some people just don't have the ability period.
They just don't get it. Very much like art world....

dmastous
07-07-2006, 04:58 PM
I was being sarcastic.
The poster implied that Nadal and Kuerten don't have talent while Federer and McEnroe do, and he offers as proof his assertion that Nadal will never reach the Final of any slam other than the French.
I would actually agree with Nadal not being as talented as, say a Federer or Agassi. But that doesn't mean he's not the equal of them. He plays a much more physical game. He muscles the ball a lot more than others. He doesn't have the hand-eye coordination that others may have. But he has things they don't have. .
Kuerten on the other hand was perhaps more gifted than any player of his day, other than Agassi or maybe Rios. His backhand was a thing of beauty. His career, if it is ended, was much too short.
Agassi was a load of potential, and talent in the late 80's-early 90's. In the late 90's he stopped relying on his talent and started working as hard as Nadal probably does. He was a combination of enormous talent and work ethic. That's how legends are born, but he got there a bit too late to really be what he could have been.

quest01
07-07-2006, 05:02 PM
tal·ent ( P ) Pronunciation Key (tlnt)
n.
A marked innate ability, as for artistic accomplishment. See Synonyms at ability.

Natural endowment or ability of a superior quality.
A person or group of people having such ability: The company makes good use of its talent.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/talent

Some people just have talent when it comes to playing tennis. Like myself, when i first picked up a racquet i was talented in tennis. I have always been good with my hands. On the other hand you will see people that absolutely stink in tennis even if they hit everyday. Its just the way it is. Talent can be learned but it is also an innate ability. By the way Murray is one goofy looking tennis player. He is Napolean 2.

dmastous
07-07-2006, 05:12 PM
tal·ent ( P ) Pronunciation Key (tlnt)
n.
A marked innate ability, as for artistic accomplishment. See Synonyms at ability.

Natural endowment or ability of a superior quality.
A person or group of people having such ability: The company makes good use of its talent.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/talent

Some people just have talent when it comes to playing tennis. Like myself, when i first picked up a racquet i was talented in tennis. I have always been good with my hands. On the other hand you will see people that absolutely stink in tennis even if they hit everyday. Its just the way it is. Talent can be learned but it is also an innate ability. By the way Murray is one goofy looking tennis player. He is Napolean 2.
Very good post.
Compare the careers of Lendl & McEnroe;
McEnroe's idea of practice was his doubles match. His meal was a Snicker's bar. He was brash and confident and ultratalented.
Lendl was a workhorse. I don't think he even liked tennis, but he saw it as a way out of his (then) communist country and work his butt off every day. He got up early, ran, practiced, then rode his bike, then practiced some more. He had zero percent body fat in a day when tennis wasn't as athletic as it is now. He worked at every aspect of his game, even learning serve/volley to win on grass when he felt it was needed.
I'm not saying Lendl's career was better than McEnroe's or vice versa. But Mac's talent let him get away with less effort and achieve the same level of success. Both were successful, but for different reasons.

pound cat
07-07-2006, 05:16 PM
Talent..something for which you have a pre-dispositon...likely genetically based. Competency can be developed.

Brad Smith
07-07-2006, 05:57 PM
I agree with this comparison of Lendl and McEnroe, but I don't agree if you're suggesting that Nadal is to Lendl as Federer is to McEnroe. It takes incredible hand-eye coordinaton to play the way Nadal does, and he has plenty of touch and feel as evidenced by his drop shots and net play. Nadal uses his talent to play high percentage tennis rather than the flashy tennis performed by a whole host of "talented" players (Rios, Arazi, Leconte, Pioline, Agassi before BG) with inconsistent results.

Wilander is another player whose talent was underrated because of his style of play. He won the Australian Open on grass including a win over McEnroe in the semis. He later won the AO on hardcourts, won the French plenty of times, and won the US Open as well. But because he played high-percentage tennis he is often overlooked when people talk about "talent" and top players of the modern era.

typingchamp
07-07-2006, 06:36 PM
Nadal is really talented. Stop pigeonholding him as grinder blah blah blah.

Talent is partly the ability to adapt and get better. Nadal being able to change his game to adapt to grass in weeks when people thought it would take years . . . now that's talent.

Non-talent is Roddick . . . who has tried for years to learn to play at net and still can't volley. Nadal learned all-court game in weeks. That's talent!

NADAL HAS TALENT! VAMOS!

dmastous
07-08-2006, 02:46 AM
I agree with this comparison of Lendl and McEnroe, but I don't agree if you're suggesting that Nadal is to Lendl as Federer is to McEnroe. It takes incredible hand-eye coordinaton to play the way Nadal does, and he has plenty of touch and feel as evidenced by his drop shots and net play. Nadal uses his talent to play high percentage tennis rather than the flashy tennis performed by a whole host of "talented" players (Rios, Arazi, Leconte, Pioline, Agassi before BG) with inconsistent results.

Wilander is another player whose talent was underrated because of his style of play. He won the Australian Open on grass including a win over McEnroe in the semis. He later won the AO on hardcourts, won the French plenty of times, and won the US Open as well. But because he played high-percentage tennis he is often overlooked when people talk about "talent" and top players of the modern era.
No, I never meant to suggest than Nadal is Lendl to Federer's Mac. There is a slight (extremely slight) justification for that kind of comparison. But it doesn't hold. Not only is Nadal more "talented" than Lendl was, but Federer is no where near as cavalier with his talent like Mac was. Federer has realised his "potential" Mac achieved a lot with his talent, but his potential was even greater and he never realized it IMO.
I actually think Wilander is a good comparison to Nadal. Considerable talent, but a thinking player. There is constant complaints about Nadal's taking extra time between every point (me included), but that's his way of composing himself and getting ready mentally for the point ahead. Nadal is somewhere between a Wilander and a Lendl because he is a thinking player like Wilander, but uses more brute force like Lendl did.

slack hack
07-08-2006, 04:47 AM
It's why guys like Nadal and Kuerten will retire without ever reaching the finals of any slam but one.
Doh!!!!!

David L
07-08-2006, 05:18 AM
Everyone seems to agree that Murray is the young player with lots of talent. What exactly does it mean? I watched the Andy-Andy match and am watching the Baghditis match right now. All I see is a skinny baseline grinder without doing anything particularly well, and he doesn't have good stamina either. So what does talent mean to you guys?

Talent is simply the natural inclination one has for acquiring a skill or, put another way, the ease with which someone acquires a skill. The easier it is for someone to learn something, the more talented they are. The talented person picks up things quickly or has to labour at it less than the less talented person at the same level. Having said this, talent on it's own is not of much use. It should be combined with hard work if one wants to make the most of it.

Slice Approach
07-08-2006, 07:18 AM
I could not have stated it better than David L. Talent can be equated with an innate ability to understand something without much effort. What is intelligence? There are always some students in school who can pick up on concepts immediately, memorize them, and make good grades without having to spend much time studying. It is innate intelligence which is a talent. Others can study twice as hard and make good grades but will never be as talented as the former student if he/she applies himself.
The same goes with tennis. Some players have natural coordination, visualization, and feel for the ball without much instruction. Other less talented players can practice twice as hard and become better, but they will eventually hit a brick wall to improvement based on their innate talent level.

!Tym
07-08-2006, 11:08 AM
It takes incredible hand-eye coordinaton to play the way Nadal does, and he has plenty of touch and feel as evidenced by his drop shots and net play. Nadal uses his talent to play high percentage tennis rather than the flashy tennis performed by a whole host of "talented" players.


EXACTLY in my opinion. People think it's so easy to hit like Nadal, or for that matter any so-called clay courter. It is NOT easy to generate that kind of racket head speed period, especially not without shanking the ball repeatedly--ESPECIALLY against pro level placement, foot speed/fitness faced, and power. Note, that of all the so-called "talented" players pretty much *every* single one uses a less extreme technique. It is NOT a mere coincidence.

The extreme western grip enables you to generate incredible angles, spin, and power BUT (and this is a very big but anywhere but on clay) also robs you of a great deal of time and adds a complicated set of body mechanics and coordination/contoritionism to the shot; whereas more traditional techniques give you the "ability" to hit on the rise and return and direct the ball "flat" better, which everyone seems to think means you have talent. In other words, teach a mediocre kid an eastern grip and tell him to hit flat and "through the court" and people will automatically say he's more talented than they would if they saw the same mediocre kid taught with an extreme western technique, then they'd say he's not only a mediocre talent he's also "ugly," "lacks grace and fluidity," "can't take the ball on the rise or return thus he has no hand-eye coordination," "has a less than fluid transition game to the net thus no volleying ability whatsovever, an uncouthe sort, a cave men in trousers...hands of stone at net." Thing is, BOTH technique variants require talent, but the extreme western technique takes more out of you in terms of physicality required to sustain it. Just remember, Robert Landsdorp's logic regarding this issue. He says that the elite clay courters are every bit as talented as Sampras/Agassi, but the typical tennis fan will NEVER know it because they're grip prevents them from winning slams outside the French. Tennis "purist" fans complain that clay courters can only play on clay and that they unfairly can get all their points on clay without ever venturing out and get a good ranking. Fine, but still doesn't change the fact that when all is said and done, they really only get one shot at tennis glory, the French, whereas three of the four other slams (really the only things tennis historians, pundits, and purists remember in the end) favor those with more traditional techniques namely because of the advantages presented on the return of serve and the so-called "ability" to take the ball on the rise. Is that an "ability?" Sure it is, but it's also an ability directly tied to technique as well. They go hand in hand, and you can't have one without the other without *directly* compromising the other and inherently imposing caps on "what you can do" and demonstrate. In effect, the technique puts a cap on you.

Also, remember as Landsdorp said, and this coming from the biggest purist of them all. He said that the average tennis fan never takes into account when evaluating so-called innate talent a different kind of perspective. Landsdorp says that you actually have to be MORE talented to rise into the tennis elite with the extreme western technique than you do with more traditional grips, which are not only more sustainable (see Sanguinetti, Todd Martin, and Tim Henman who all were able to retain a level closer to their prime to the end) over the long haul since they don't require the same degree of energy expenditure to "get off" each and every time, but also that there are FAR less players growing up who are taught with the more conservative techniques than there are the extreme grips. The extreme grips are brought on by MOST of the world being reared on clay with high bounces, and simultaneously also most good players starting from a very young age when the grip acts as a crutch against balls getting to high up on them. Because of this he says there are far, far, FAR more "prospects" brought up who are taught to play this way and thus become set in their ways...which means what? It means more competition overall for those practioning this "style" to separate/distinguish themselves from the pack with this style. I mean why did Royce Gracie "revolutinize" MMA when he first came up? Because, back then you had a bunch of strikers, martial artists, brute specimens, and brawlers from different disciplines thinking that was how you won, even the movies said so. And yet, here comes this very unfreakoid like creature and athlete, and he's beating guys left and right who are phsyically more imposing than him. How? Because back then, he BLINDSIDED them. Say you were a striker, fine, get in line. A lot more of you than there were of him then. Now, what happened? You have a superior athlete in Matt Hughes take him down easily and in essence Royce Gracie game him the OPEN mind and tools needed to beat him. It's no longer a "secret." With just about everyone in MMA these days realizing the importance, bare necessity, and effectiveness of submissions and defending submissions, ask yourself this. If Royce Gracie came up today for the first time, do you think he'd reach the status of hallowed legend like has now? I don't think so. Good fighter? Sure. But, he would not be this revered mythical character either. Why? Because now there are ten times the practioners of his "style" than there back in his day. Now he has a lot more competition for him to "stand out" as he once did.

That is in essence the Robert Landsdorp logic. It's why he says, it's NOT just talent that makes champions, it's also very much his METHODOLOGY.

Todd Martin may be talented, same with Tim Henman, same with Mirnyi...but NONE of them were truly considered elite prospects either coming up. Landsdorp's reasoning is that once you reach the pro level, if you last that long with the more traditional techniques, now that same technique begins to work for you as it facilitates the handling of pace and extra placement that forces you out of position once you reach the highest levels of the game, the pro ranks. Max Mirnyi for example, this coming from someone who was a direct handler of him in his development years, was to paraphrase if you saw him then, you would NEVER think he would make it, he was by far NOT considered a superior talent back then.

What he had was work ethic and size...PLUS more conservative technique. Given his RAW "talent" level as evaluated back then, do you honestly think he would have done as well as he has for himself if he were taught with the extreme grips? Do you honestly think he'd be able to take Guga off the ground? I mean get real, in my opinion. There's just no way.

Even a guy like Davide Sanguinetti. Why is he still around, and more or less the same "level" of threat he always was for a guy with absolutely no racket head speed or explosiveness about him...plus, the dude's old? Why because his conservative technique, even for a mediocre level talent, does two things for him. 1) It makes him "unique" on tour since very few else play this way or are even taught to play this way. He has basically "no competition" in his ball massaging style. In other words, he's a SPECIALIST WITHOUT PEER. 2) Executing his basic groundstrokes takes FAR less out of him than say the incredible contortionism and racket head speed the typical western gripper has to go through on each and every stroke. 3) He's able to handle pro level pace well, by EFFICIENTLY "massaging" it, redirecting it, placing it, guiding it, and effectively using it against you at his best by taking it on the rise with minimal "complications" in his swing. It's a lot easier to teach a beginner his form than it is for example say Nadal's forehand form and motion. To tell a beginner to immitate Nadal's forehand motion is like telling a beach bum to watch Tony Hawk for three seconds, take a skate board, and go "flip around" in the air some...um, yeah.

Also, as the final bottom-line, as to why basically every so-called player ever deemed talented used less extreme technique is that quite simply, AESTHETICS. Simply put, more people find extreme technique "ugly" looking, and more classical technique like the tennis "ballet." Beauty *innately* suggests "talent." It's a natural human reaction, but it does not necessarily mean it's perfectly true. Beauty IS deceptive, much like with a "beautiful woman," it often times prevents one from digging deeper and looking under the surface for alternative reasonings and "logic" that aren't so readily, pantingly, and easily perceived.

Virtually ALL of my favorite players of all time are more "classical" technique players. Yet, this still does not blind me from realizing that even though I find Nadal's strokes "ugly;" I can't recognize or at least dig deeper to recognize and pay due to his talent as well. There's always that snide insiduation implied and it bugs me, because to me it's simply not fair. I'm misunderstood in that way, that I don't appreciate the traditional game, when far from it, I love it. It's more or less a case of feeling burdened to defend the LEGIONS of so-called untalents throughout the years that have populated the game, the clay courter. I believe they're world class talents too, and work just as hard, and so it bothers me that they're given the shaft and all their hard work and talent goes left unrecognized. I'm a champion of their "cause," but yet NOT because I like watching them so much per say.

127mph
07-08-2006, 11:49 AM
talent = federer, safin, gasquet, rios, agassi, sampras, nastase.