Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by crumples, Dec 9, 2006.
he's described as a monkey holding racket in his book, just how ugly are his strokes?
yea, i want to see this master pusher at work
I never thought of him as having ugly strokes. The ugly in Winning Ugly, I don't think ever referred to his strokes. It referred to using tactics that weren't always spectacular "smacking winners" style tennis. Also, he wasn't a pusher either. He went with whatever tactic worked best whether it was "pushing" or serve-and-volley. He was probably perceived as having less talent in the tennis department, but just made up for it in the strategy department.
I think when he says things like that he is trying to make a point that you don't have to have pretty stokres to be an extremely successful tennis player.
I think his book is extremely useful, a worthwhile read for anyone interested in playing tennis... well.
I go back to it all the time and read certain chapters. Things slowly set in and become part of my game.
After reading his book, I got real interested in seeing some videos of him playing, but haven't found anything other than him practicing with Roddick and Murray.
I agree with this. If you watched his strokes they were definitely not pushing or weak. There was nothing spectacular about his game for a top 10 player. No big FH, BH or serve. He played high percentage tennis and was a master at adjusting his tactics to win.
he gets labeled as a pusher because he didnt have a power game, so his options were limited. so when he changed tactics, he could never choose the option to try and overpower someone. he would , in fact, choose to 'massage the ball' and frustrate opponents and use lots of annoying things to irritate his opponent. his forehand was funkylooking. his gripsize was goofy large when many of the pros use very small grips. his backhand was better. his serve was nothing. saw him play live a few times..his matches were sometimes pretty painful to watch. he would lull someone into total boredom, but would occassionally be able to hit a forehand pretty hard (or hard relaTIVE TO WHAT HIS NORMAL FOREHAND WAS, AND THAT SEEMED TO REALLY ANNOY OPPONENTS..sorry for the caps ;O
I remember he used Fox rackets and had that fuzzy towel looking overgrip that looked like a cut-up washcloth.
His forehand looked funky because he had an almost continental/eastern grip and a stiff looking wrist.
I agree with the boredom part. He had the ability to drag his opponent down to a lower level. He would also talk to himself a lot. If they miced the guy, you'd probably get more colorful commentary than what was coming out of the booth.
Back when I was playing college tennis in Northern California (1990, I think), he and Jim Grabb came to my college to play an exhibition match to raise funds for our tennis program. We built a makeshift court in the main indoor basketball court, and those two guys went at it. We were amazed, as at the time, Gilbert was at or near the top of his game and rankings (top 10 in the world, as I recall), yet he made time to come by to play a match for our benefit.
The match itself was fun to watch. Grabb was attacking hard, showing his form which would later take him far in the world of doubles. Gilbert was sort of in his own world, muttering, cracking wise, and such, and the score and play were close. Gilbert did not have what you'd call an "elegant" game, but it was well-rounded and fairly effective. It was probably his lack of any large weapon or gift (apart from sheer determination) that kept him from greater note in the record books.
A couple funny memories out of the fog from that match:
A young kid, sitting just in front of me, who came with his older brother to watch the pros play, kept calling the match. When it looked like Grabb would move ahead on the scoreboard, this 10-year-old (or so) kid stated, in his best Howard Cosell imitation: "The victory was grabbed... by Jim Grabb!" My younger sister, who came along to watch the match, and I nearly fell off the stands after that one!
At some point in the match, Grabb sent Gilbert out wide on our narrow makeshift court--very wide--and Gilbert couldn't put the brakes on, and ran up the aisle in the basketball bleachers, and sat, sweaty and all, right in the lap of my 5'-2" tall high-school aged sister! He didn't smell too good.
I was impressed by those two pros, though. Gilbert was sort of a cocky guy, you could tell, with a scrappy attitude on the court (and maybe off the court, too), but you could tell beneath that veneer was a spirit of "giving back to the sport" which impressed me greatly then and still is worth emulating today.
a great athlete
Don't let the "Winning Ugly" and the "pusher" label deceive you, he was a phenomenal athlete and a "beyond belief" tactician. Saw him many times - great speed and fantastic passing shots. His ranking consistency speaks for itself. IMO, his style fit perfectly within that era. Tough to pull off today, perhaps. Saw him take Boris off of his pedestal ... Boris would just shake his head. Got a tape of Gilbert and Muster at the US Open, both at top notch speed - real brutal confrontation. Once sat near him during a pretty interesting qualie match- listening to his tactical ideas was worth gold - amazing detail and tactical edges.
did he have a one handed backhand?
Yup. He was fast and was a smart player. What I had touble with was his on-court demeanour. Too negative? Talk talk talk?...he used to become a bad guy himself. Otherwise, I didn't have any problem with his tennis itself (he was not a hardhitter, that's true).
I saw him practicing with murray at the us open, his strokes looked normal to me, but his serve was weak, that's the only flaw with his game I could notice.
There are plenty of videos of Brad Gilbert. And contrary to popular belief, none of them are in slow motion.
could you link us up? I would be really interested to see these videos too
Let's focus back on tennis and keep this pg-13 at least. I'm more interested in seeing some of his matches but no luck w/ google. Anyone have any links?
Knock your self out
If that title didn't say Sampras vs Gilbert, and didn't have commentary, and you asked what NTRP those players were, I guarantee people would say 3.5-4.5
Nah, I would have rated Sampras a strong 5.0 and Gilbert a weak 3.0.
yeah.ok..whatever...3.5 5.0 yeah..and Im 7.0....bullcrap...great players there..like you can tell with the qualitly of that video anyways..they are pros,they play everyday or almost,at a high level and are always pushing to get better....pros= way better than you think
Compared to a regular player, like guys 5.5 and below, Gilbert hits with plenty of pace. Saw him warming up Agassi one year and he puts plenty of pace on the ball, just not compared to big hitting ATP pros.
Well I hope you do know that people were making a joke. They don't actually think Gilbert of Sampras were 5.0's.
Gilbert aways cracked me up striding around with his rather stiff gait, but his playing really wasn't ugly to my eye, as much as Edberg, Becker, and others at the time were just more stylish.
Seeking McEnroe-Gilbert 1986 match at Masters
anyone has the gilbert-mcenroe 1986 masters match ? I can pay back with other videos like glibert-connors 87, gilbert-edberg 89 or so.... email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brad Gilbert was anything but a 'pusher' - anyone who told you he was knows nothing about the game.
Gilbert was the master of ball control and 'pace control' but he also had a killing shot in his forehand, could volley and he was quick. Not many guys had so much going for them. What stopped him from being a genuine threat was an incredibly weak second serve (same thing that held back Vitas G).
Everyone should read Gilbert's book and then look at his rankings history on the ATP tour. IF Gilbert had been as bad as he claims and it had only been when he developed his style of play that he started to win matches there's no way in the world he would have broken into the top 50 one year after hitting the tour. Between 84 and 93 he was never out of the top 30 - and that isn't something any pusher can accomplish.
Gilbert was a fantastic player without being a truly great one. Rank him with guys like Anders Jarryd, Mark Woodforde, etc who knew how to beat the best and play multi-dimensional tennis without being able to rely on huge power.
^ Well put.
To me, Gilbert's game was always ugly.
Effective, but downright ugly.
Not ugly in the same way as Roddick's game is ugly... but downright ugly in its own sense.
Gilbert and Pam Shriver would have made a hell of a mixed doubles team - two of the ugliest pro games ever.
But - hey - give them both credit - they took their ugly games further than many have taken their much 'prettier' games.
Agreed. Gilbert could put some pace on his groundies when he wanted, but I think he found he could do more by taking pace off the ball. When Agassi was first married to Steffi Graf, he was asked who hit the ball harder, Graf or Gilbert. Agassi smiled and said Graf. I personally think Gilbert played on this a little too much. He's not quite the mastermind he thinks he is. He pulled the old Bear Bryant routine of saying he wasn't very good, couldn't hit that, couldn't hit this...and next thing you know, he's winning. Gilbert would have us think that he "out thunk" his opponents. Really isn't true to the degree Gilbert would have us believe.
God, I used to wince whenever I saw Shriver hit a forehand. That had to be the single ugliest shot EVER.
i don't have the mac-gilbert match, but have 3 other gilbert matches if you'd like to trade.
1985 stuttgart final v lendl
1987 masters semifinal v lendl
1989 cincinnati semifinal v becker
Yo, I use to ballboy for him,Bad temper but all in all decent ground game.
Yes, Gilbert hit a one handed backhand and yes, his strokes were "ugly". As in very bland and plain. Very little racquet head speed. What I would say as I think about it, and what they remind you of is a club player, NOT IN LEVEL or effectiveness but in the sense that they were very measured, very controlled, push or shovelled like. As if he was concentrating very hard just to hit the ball on the racquet and just wanted to get it in, using mostly a careful arm swing, not much body....
Of course, if he wanted to, he could come down to any tennis club and hammer amateurs off the court but he was one of the closest things to a hacker/pusher in appearance you could find at the pro level.
I have lots of video but no way to convert my old tapes to video, after my old desktop crashed. One day I'll do it.
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