Andy Roddick's forehand

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by SStrikerR, May 30, 2012.

  1. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    It used to be a weapon, something to be feared. Now, it's a puffball. I know that when he got a new coach he started to play the percentages a little more, and took some power off his serve and forehand but...has anything changed? Does he still hit the same way, but just doesn't go for as much power as he could?
     
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  2. 10is

    10is Professional

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    It's kind of confounding really... I would love to know why he changed his style of play... it doesn't make sense even if he did so to be more effective against Federer -- counterintuitive because they used to have really close matches earlier in their career when Roddick possessed firepower and a walloping forehand that was only second in potency to Federer's. I feel really sorry for Roddick sometimes... I really wish he can get another slam before he retires even if it comes at the expense of a Federer loss.

    Looking at this vid it just boggles me why he retooled his game to that of a grinder and inhibited his natural offensive striker tendencies:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2b8mXXvwQs

    :headdesk:
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
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  3. jwjh

    jwjh Hall of Fame

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    Maybe it is the same case with Ferrero's FH. Back in his heyday, used to be called the biggest FH around. Until bigger FHs came along and now it is just average.
     
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  4. DolgoSantoro

    DolgoSantoro Professional

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  5. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Ferrero never came back from illness the same. Sure, other players emerged, but Ferrero never reached the level he had in 02-03. It wasn't simply a case of other players with bigger FHs showing up.
     
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  6. 10is

    10is Professional

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    Ferrero's case I can somewhat agree with but I would still contend that its no where near what it used to be in his prime -- his forehand appeared to degenerate due to the combination of an injury/illness afflicted career and age .

    Roddick's case appears to be different though -- he (deliberately) started hitting the ball with more topspin instead hitting it flatter like he used to starting around 2006-->2007 or so. The difference was readily apparent in his blowout semi-final confrontation against Federer at the 07 Aussie Open.
     
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  7. jwjh

    jwjh Hall of Fame

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    I see. Looking at his wiki page, he does seem to have been plagued by multiple injuries throughout his career.
     
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  8. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    Clearly what happened was this:

    Roddick switched to Lacoste and his whole game went down the toilet. All the videos you people posted he was wearing Reebok.
     
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  9. 10is

    10is Professional

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    I can't help thinking that it was Connor's influence. Actually, I'm pretty sure it was he who forced Roddick to change his game.
     
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  10. FD3S

    FD3S Professional

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    In all fairness, I'd blame that match more on Roddick's response to Federer's insane level of play being repeated suicidal net approaches :shock:
     
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  11. above bored

    above bored Semi-Pro

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    The evolution of Roddick’s game has never surprised me because I never thought it was his natural game to hit particularly penetrating shots from the baseline à la Berdych. I always saw him as a big serving counter-puncher who had to go outside of his comfort zone to be aggressive from the baseline. The key factor is in Roddick’s forehand grip. Like Djokovic and Nadal, he uses a variation of the western grip and subsequently has more difficulty hitting through the court than those with milder grips. That’s not to say he cannot hit through the court, just that it’s less natural, requires more contortion in the wrist and effort in the wrist, arm and upper body than players with milder grips such as Federer, Del Potro and Berdych. It’s just not very efficient in relation to pace generation.

    Out of Djokovic, Nadal and Roddick, Djokovic is the player who is able to flatten the ball best, but even his predominant tendency is still that of a counter-puncher and he is not able to cut through the court as comfortably as a Federer, Del-potro or Berdych, despite his obvious strength, same applies to Nadal and Roddick even more. The idea behind grip = destiny is pertinent here. The fact is that it’s more difficult to be aggressive on the forehand side with a western grip than it is with a semi-western or eastern. The benefit of the western grip is that it can help you impart more topspin and control because it takes the edge of the pace you generate due to the fact that it naturally facilitates a more vertical swing path for the racket head, which imparts more topspin, but also prevents the racket from going through the ball as much. You gain consistency, but lose pace.

    That’s what is going on here. Roddick is reverting to what is comfortable, which is hard not to do. Whenever he plays a Federer, Djokovic or Nadal, he does try to be more aggressive, because he has to in order to stand a chance at all, but this is not his natural game and requires more energy than is ideal; note after beating Federer in Miami this year he said he was too tired to be competitive against Juan Monaco in the next round. Admittedly he said he was not fit, but I also think the energy he has to put into being aggressive was also a factor. For the other players he plays his natural game because it is usually enough and it is prudent to do so for the aforementioned reasons. Djokovic and Nadal are similar in this regard, but with more success.
     
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  12. egn

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    :( it's so sad to see such an amazing forehand gone to waste nowadays.
     
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  13. 10is

    10is Professional

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    Thanks for a comprehensive reply! I did think that his grip might have had an impact, but I assumed he had altered his grip from a Semi-Western which would have still allowed him to flatten his strokes despite the topspin heavy ball (ala Safin) to an Extreme-Western which would inhibit flatter shots but would generate more topspin albeit less pace thus resulting in the loopy "more fully vertical" follow through that you alluded to. I think comparing the stroke of his 2003 forehand relative to its 2011 counterpart gives this argument (at least) some degree of credibility. Perhaps the reason why he is still occassionally able to pull off a ferocious looking shot despite this remodeling could be due to the increased racquet head speed on account of the more extreme curvature of the follow through with an EW grip, which would certainly tax ones stamina if employed frequently.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
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  14. Li Ching Yuen

    Li Ching Yuen Legend

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    His forehand back in 2003-04 wasn't that great to begin with, that's what most people fail to remember. It was always more or less about the serve.

    Either versions of this player have overachieved in the game of tennis, so there's not much lost with him. There are far more skilled players out there that haven't had near the success that their skill would've implied for in tennis.
     
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  15. brettsticker86

    brettsticker86 Rookie

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    wasn't that great? it was only one of the biggest around. he had an incredible forehand. what happened is he got lulled into this idea that he had to play counter puncher tennis.
     
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  16. analysis_king

    analysis_king Rookie

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    you make good points, although i don't think the "grip" explains everything. for example the height of del potro and berdych probably explains a lot more than their grip, why they are able to play flatter shots. i.e. they can press down hard on their shot.

    the gist of the original post though, is that roddick changed his approach towards the game. i think that is undeniable. he started playing with a lot more topspin. whether that is his "natural shot" or not isn't the issue. he chose to play with more top spin. i think the reason is that he was so frustrated losing against federer, that he sought to find a way -- ANY way -- to stem the loss streak. and he saw that federer had problems against nadal. and this is my theory -- he actually tried to fashion his game to resemble nadal's, believing this is the way to beat federer.

    that is probably his biggest mistake. while he became more "consistent", he simply does not have the kind of footwork that nadal's game demands. and that started that long decline of roddick.
     
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  17. Clay lover

    Clay lover Hall of Fame

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    The key to unleashing his big forehand is having time. During normal rallies his forehand has always been a spinny shot. In the past, he has that big serve of his to set up his forehands but now that serve has declined. Also, he has lost a step or two.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
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  18. Bender

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    I'm inclined to agree with this pretty much in its entirety.

    I'd also add however, that unlike Roddick, Rafa does fire cannonballs where the situation calls for it, like passing shots and winners from defensive situations where he would appear to have no business hitting winners from. Roddick also lacks the pace and placement that Rafa's FH possesses, and it doesn't look like it is particularly heavy either.
     
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  19. keithfival

    keithfival Professional

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    There are more forehand winners in that 5 minute vid than I've seen him hit in the past 3 years! It is really one of the great mysteries of tennis why a chunky serve and forehand guy would stop going for winners and try to become a grinder in the age of superhuman grinders. Isner might as well come out and serve on his knees and Djok should definitely switch to a one handed backhand.
     
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  20. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    Roddick's forehand is one of the spinniest out there. I can't speak on the heaviness obviously, but I imagine that mid 2009 it was probably pretty lousy to have to deal with.

    Now, it just seems to me like Roddick's shoulder in general is an issue. He doesn't serve nearly as big or as effectively as before and.. well yeah, the forehand.

    Sad to see, I liked his big power game.
     
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  21. above bored

    above bored Semi-Pro

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    I don't think he remodeled his forehand grip. As far as I can see he's always used the same one, he just had more energy when he was younger.

    Look at how energetic Boris Becker was when he first won Wimbledon diving all over the place and fist pumping. He didn't play like that a few more years into his career, he conserved his energy. Same with Nadal.
     
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  22. above bored

    above bored Semi-Pro

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    I think his grip is a large part of it. His grip chooses to play with more topspin, not so much himself. To go against this he has to make a concerted effort to do so.

    Also, on that first occasion Roddick beat Federer, in Montreal, he barely did it. It was close, it wasn't an emphatic performance. That's a myth, thank YouTube clips for that. I think Federer may even have been a break up in the last set, which went to a tie-break in the end. In any case, in most of his other matches he never played like this. He always tries to be aggressive against Federer, because he has to.

    I think Roddick played just as aggressively against Federer in later encounters which he lost, such as at Wimbledon in 2004, at the World Tour Final (Masters Cup), where he had match points, in 2006, at the US Open in 2006 and 2007, at Wimbledon 2009. Even this year he tried to take it to Federer in Miami and succeeded. Greater aggression is not always the solution.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
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  23. tata

    tata Professional

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    Yeah well i think nowadays roddick just hits like he's playing against a wall when playing federer. Just pound it since any other option is likely to result in a loss.
     
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