Are strategies relevant today in Modern Tennis?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by sureshs, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I believe that the importance of a strategy (and the tactics that a strategy might entail) increases as the difference in technical ability between two players decreases.

    So, it follows that strategy can be important on any level.

    Do pros employ strategies in their matches? I believe that they do (at least some of the time during some of their matches). But I think that much of the time the difference between two players boils down to technique and execution. And I think this is true on any level.

    Difficult question sureshs. :)

    I wouldn't think so.

    In general, men are bigger, stronger, quicker, faster, more powerful, more agile, etc., due, I would guess, to generally much higher testosterone levels in men as well as the physiological blueprint that results in somewhat different musculature, bone density, etc., etc.

    Working on maximizing service return technique and effectiveness would seem to be important on any level.

    Just as there are natural (and essentially unalterable) differences between men and women, there are also many variations among men and many variations among women. Some women can serve like men. Most can't. Some men have the potential to hit 120 mph serves. Most don't.
     
  2. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    agreed 100 hundred percent
    some of the posts here i can´t read without the google translator:) so many difficult words to describe the obvious.
    and then you have the same posters not recognizing simple footwork drills on video
    the best advice when i started posting was to just lighten up and not take everything too serious that happens here. sometimes i remember that advice, sometimes i sadly forget:)
     
  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is a very honest statement.

    Do you think no amount of coaching and practice can achieve that? I think so. There must be some genetic component present.
     
  4. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    sureshs,

    a couple of quick questions:

    - do you play tennis, even recreationally?
    - have you seen pros play live? male pros.

    tennis viewed form the angle that is broadcast on most TV channels is very different from being court-side. you lose a lot of perspective and basically have very little idea of what kind of shot the players are hitting from that angle and how they are moving.

    to see what i mean, check out these warm-up/practice points.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyGpK3Kd1GU

    They look far more intense, complicated and have a lot more subtleties that most matches shown on TV because the angle is more realistic.

    strategy matters, otherwise you wouldn't have 30 year olds double bageling 23 year olds at the pro level.
     
  5. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    also, where do you think "devastating winners" or "unforced errors" come from? are they random, do they result from superior (or flawed) technique or are they set-up from a sequence of preceding shots and court positioning, i.e strategy/tactics?

    At the pro level, probably even at the high-level juniors level, it's the latter.

    it may surprise you to learn that given enough practice, most pro players can get used to retuning 120+ mph (or whatever speed) serves effectively.
     
  6. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    watched an Aussie qualie last night. appeared that shot consistency was needed more than strategy...just saying. :)
     
  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I know. I am just saying strategy is overrated. Some coaches may be emphasizing it too much to enhance their earnings, and they will get upset if such things are said.

    The young ones getting trashed is often due to impatience and anger. Some might consider mental poise and delayed gratification as strategies, but I don't.

    You need to look at it the other way - how did these young ones beat out the other young ones just to be there? Would Isner be around without his serve? Yes, a strategic older player can beat him, but how did Isner get there? Would Serena be around without her serve and forehand? How does a single strategy Karlovic stilll be around? Huge serve, and volley. When it works, it works.
     
  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    No, it doesn't surprise me, as they are pro players. But a club player with "strategy" sure is not going to be able to do it.

    To your first question: both. But the strategy is often as simple as a hard serve or hitting where the other guy isn't. Einstein not needed.
     
  9. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is the truth, whether "coaches" like to hear it or not.
     
  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Spinal flexibility..
    Women have it is spades over men. Yoga is the reason.
    You don't need flexibility to serve a tennis ball.
     
  11. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    bad_call and sureshs how can you state this without knowing what went on in the match inside the players' heads?
     
  12. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    just observing a qualie match...not trying to be a "shrink" or guess if a player had eaten a bean burrito before playing (tho probably would have heard barking frogs :mrgreen: )

    (phffffffttt) ...that wasn't me...(this time). :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  13. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    shot consistency is dependent on the opponents strokes. take the losing Q player against a 5.0 player and he will make like 3 UEs in a match.
     
  14. jakeytennis

    jakeytennis Rookie

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    pros use directionals a lot. and when they have their opponent wide enough, they go down the line for a lot of winners
     
  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    D1985 nailed it.
    Any of us can look like GOD to a lower level player.
    Every single on of us struggle against our peers and better players.
    Nobody plays without a game plan.
     
  16. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    yes but the greats can go for the winner also in low percentage situations. feds inside in forehand defies any percentage tennis strategy but he can pull it off.

    that doesn't mean that simple strategies don't work. nadal made a living out of pounding millions of CC shots to feds BH.
     
  17. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    that is the simple truth. if you play competitive tennis you know that or learn it the hard way:)
     
  18. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    It's honest in the sense that it's what my limited experience leads me to believe, but I have no idea if it's actually true. :)

    I'm just spouting more or less common sense stuff. But since you asked, I believe that, except for some pretty rare cases, good coaching and lots of practice is necessary to achieve a consistent 120 mph serve (for women or men). I agree with you that no amount of coaching and practice will ever enable most women to hit 120 mph. Given more or less equally good coaching and diligent practice, then the genetic components have everything to do with it.
     
  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Coaching will always help some amount, maybe adding another 5-10 mph on your fastest serves, but mostly in consistency, which allows you to hit your hard serves.
    Genes determine the majority.
    And prior experience in throwing games.
     
  20. Michael Merriweather

    Michael Merriweather New User

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    Sureshs, if I have a big serve and forehand, is there a better strategy than hitting a big serve and putting the weak reply away with my forehand? It's a strategy and it works if you can execute it.

    You're right that it doesn't require much brain power to figure this out, but that's because tennis is a fairly simple game to think about off the court, it's the physical component, which you seem to disdain that is hard.

    While some strategic and tactical things in tennis may not be obvious or intuitive to all people, they don't require a Ph.D in the sciences to understand. Though some of us struggle.

    If there was NO strategy as you say, play would be random: players would underhand serve and volley, lob off short balls, instead of putting them away, hit drop shots from 20 feet behind the baseline, hit overheads from waist height, etc. Clearly they DON'T do that. In fact, as you say, they play within a framework, of placing the serve and opening up opportunities for their forehand. If strategy had 1% importance, that would mean that it wouldn't matter what shots a player hit, they would all work EQUALLY well and ONLY the ability to execute them would be important. This clearly isn't true.

    To me it sounds like what you're saying is that the strategy in Men's tennis is too simplistic and homogenous to enjoy. That's fine, but it has nothing to do with a lack of strategy. You're also right that tennis commentary is sometimes shallow, but so is internet commentary. What else is new?
     
  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Other way around. I believe that the physical component (athletic ability, racket skills, endurance) is the main thing. The strategies are either very simple, or don't seem to be as important as claimed.
     
  22. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Great vid(s) Relinquis. Roddick has awesome technique. Thanks.

    I would rather say it that strategies matter because good players use strategies. They use strategies as a guide to producing a competitive edge from some existing condition or situation.
     
  23. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, agree.
     
  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Geez, I guess it's a waste of time to study video of your opponent and prepare your game accordingly.
    Better to hit an all nighter and play the match of your life.
     
  25. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    ............. :)
     
  26. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Seems like a bit of a leap, from what was said. :)
     
  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    No better player than DeonSanders said preperation and film work is much much more important than any other factor. He was one of the most gifted players ever physically.
     
  28. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Who's DeonSanders?
     
  29. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I think many pro players just rely on their strengths and play a reactive game. They don't seem to be thinking at all. Commentators keep speculating on their strategies and contradicting themselves frequently as they try to find a pattern where there is none.
     
  30. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    However, RogerFederer or RafaelNadal did not say it, which is the point.
     
  31. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Regarding today's top level tennis, I basically agree. Though I think they do also employ strategies.

    Like some MMA guy said, "Everybody has a plan ... until they get hit." :)
     
  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The smartest ones employ strategies. They actually change things over a match. Fed and Nadal are good examples. I am not sure about others. Roddick seemed to be a guy who did not do much thinking.
     
  33. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Great example yesterday. Andy Roddick was tweeting to the Tennis Channel about how well Djokovic was playing. Then he adds:

    When I would be playing, experts would say he needs to go for more on his shots instead of holding back. The moment I missed one of them, they would switch to: he needs to play safe with high percentage tennis. It is a easy game on the couch.


    Shows how a lot of this strategy stuff is BS.
     
  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sorting strategy from BS, or armchair QB's from the real thing.
    One of my best tennis adversaries can return my serves with his forehand every time aggressively with great placement...low and away from me.
    My strategy. Don't hit to this guy's forehands when I need the point, but hit there occasionally to keep him honest and from camping on his backhand side....
    Strategy.
     
  35. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    TomT
    The quote about everyone having a plan is generally attributed to Mike Tyson.
     
  36. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Yep and it goes back even further in different versions like in battle, where there
    is a plan till the shooting starts.
     
  37. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    No it doesn´t. it shows how everybody has an opinion, and how important it is for a player to find his own strategy, based on his own abilities and what he feels comfortable doing.
     
  38. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    There is strategy, but not much. Mainly it's who is in better mental and physical shape, it's SO BORING, only player I can watch is Fed because he once in awhile comes forward, and does incredible shots.

    I mean who can watch this? 15 shot rallies, waiting for someone to make a mistake, what a bore!
     
  39. Wegner

    Wegner Rookie

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    This is a great thread, with some great observations as well. It is so interesting that the top four have been so dominant, and that their tactics are so different.

    In my opinion, they operate in the Zone more often than the rest of the field, seeing the ball slower and much more in present time. They are also more complete technically, have less weaknesses to exploit. They serve consistently well, both in power and accuracy.

    i like Sureshs analysis. Players are going for more winners, more forceful shots, and still, some incredible long rallies between the top players occur over and over. Such is the speed and the brilliance of the top four.
     
  40. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    watched a 1st round AO match and strategy didn't help get the win but it got a few games. :)
     
  41. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    i see a lot of strategy. i see player A trying to move his opponent around to force an error or hit a winner. this isnt football where the tactic is obvious, every shot is in its own an Independent strategy.
     
  42. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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  43. tennisfan69

    tennisfan69 New User

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    unpredictability and disguising your shots are the two major strategies the top players employ. either one of the above will draw an UE from the opponent or a weak reply which you can capitalize. Agassi used to gain control of Cross court rallies and move the opponent around (insult strategy). but that is now very predictable.
     
  44. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    or you might try this..... the strategies in badminton are easier for you to detect:)
     
  45. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    the problem is - when I sit in my magic couch and want to just relax and enjoy a good match, I don't want to detect strategy.

    I want strategy to present itself to me! Lin and Lee always do.
     
  46. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    how do you put a baby to sleep - with a monotonous repetitive motion/sound at fixed beat..... that's what tennis sounds like on TV... I fall asleep in no time.
     
  47. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    I'm re-posting this from a previous post of mine, Tennis can be like Chess:

    your skill and fitness will determine what types of shots you have in your arsenal (what chess pieces you have remaining). your movement, focus and the sequence of shots will determine where you are on the court (angles and lines of attack/defense); all adjusted for what your opponent does. it is dynamic.

    i can see all of this even at my lowly level of tennis. yeah, there is strategy in badminton too, very obvious. there is also strategy in squash even though there are even fewer winner-type shots in that sport (not just reflexes). strategy is less obvious in squash and tennis, but it is beautiful when you start to see the game at that level.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  48. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    ^ allow an iteration of arche3 post... :)

     
  49. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    idk. i see plenty of strategy when watching pro tennis. its all about perspective i guess.
     
  50. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Part of the problem is so rarely are the players an equal match about hitting.

    Fed suffers against the top 4 because he has to do so little thinking about
    strategy in the early rds. Mainly just hits them off the court to the Bh corner with
    his fh & serves. Notice Nadal, DJ, and Murray are all extremely strong from that corner
    along with excellent rtns.
    After 3-4 rds of the same basic tactic, imo Fed is often at a bit of a loss on
    what to do when the serves are coming back and the Fhs to Bh corner are getting
    punished.

    Point is the strategy is often shallow when the talent is a mis-match and the
    hitting seems more key. When the match-ups are better, the strategy gets
    more evident imo and critical to the outcome. Last nite Murray was talking
    of his strategic change in big matches after losing at Wimbledon; How he
    needed to play differently in finals. Subtle things still though.
     

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