Best Pro to Emulate

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by slowfox, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Thinking about the Heather or Laura thread going on, I began wondering which pro (current or former) is best to emulate. Let's say this is for adult rec players who just want a decent game, have fun, play matches occasionally.

    It's been said that most rec players don't get beyond 3.5, but they can still aspire to more and adopt role models. Reasonable ones, and by that I mean no aspirations to hit forehands like Nadal-Fed, or serve like Sampras, or return like Agassi.

    I say Chris Evert, or perhaps Mats Wilander. Both had steady groundstrokes and high percentage serving.
     
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  2. PeterFig

    PeterFig Professional

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    I think guys like Kohlschreiber and Ferrer. Solid fundamentals , great footwork, mentally strong. No flashy shots. Just solid strokes and make the most of their size and games. Pick either depending on your backhand preference.
     
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  3. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    Fed, get you playing better than you can play. Plus he uses one handed everything, giving more freedom on backhand, more creative shots, creativity is key, not robotic moves unless you are into that.

    My son is not playing too well, but he has learned spin drop shots, and low flat shots, he's like what 2.0 or whatever, but I pulled my leg running to get his shots today.

    The thing that makes Fed so great is that he is creative, he thinks, and you can do that at any age, and it's so much more FUN.

    Mcenroe answered that question, "If you are looking for someone to emulate, emulate Federer, I would love to play like him and I have 3 Wimbledons"
     
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  4. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    Yea, it's weird, I have taught my son in reverse, good or bad I don't know.

    I played all court, heavy on Serve and Volley, so I started him with flat shots, side spin lobs, and I almost can't handle it.

    I'm trying to teach him baseline play, so I told him "Kill it as hard as you can with topspin, I don't care if you hit the net or it goes long", we are just training right? So I am 3 feet behind the baseline, killing it to him, and he just has these shots, it looks like he's killing it, then it just barely goes over the net with sidespin, or flat, to left, to right, like I said I pulled a muscle in the back of my calf getting a shot.

    He's lazy though, he has great shots but is very lazy, can't teach hussle. I beat him 6-0 easy, but he got close at least once. So yea idiots of course I'm proud of my son, can you imagine some come on here, enlist fake names to criticize me because they are personally offended that I would brag about my son.

    My son is 2.0 or whatever, he has talent, physical skills (Height, speed), but no heart. He wants to be Federer without the effort, drives me nuts, I'm a "Old man" and I move more than he does.

    Anyways, enough rant, I LOVE talking about my son because I adore him, he just needs to get heart. Here's another thing amazing, when I serve I just put it over, but when I NAIL IT, he does better, only thing I can think is that he doesn't have time to think, I mean I have a MONSTER SERVE, and it just comes cruising back barely over the net.

    Alright, enough.
     
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  5. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Djokovics strokes are very simple yet modern at least the groundstrokes.
     
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  6. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Djokovic for strokes, Kohlschreiber for movement. The latter doesn't have the talent of the top guys, but makes up for what he doesn't have in pure learned skill in his movement. Beautiful to watch. Djokovic's strokes are just simply elegant simplicity with few components which are hard to miss.
     
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  7. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Not a massive fan of having a single model to follow, but to answer the question for the OP I would suggest somebody like Simon - very solid, makes a lot of balls, good balance, good rhythm to his strokes etc. Would get 75% rating for everything, but doesn't excel in any one area.
     
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  8. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Simon sure makes a lot of balls. just had 71 shot rally in the match against monfils. and every point is around 20 shot rally. rec player emulating that would simply be called a pusher. :)

    Seriously though I don't like the emulating idea. It just doesn't work to help improve at rec level. I'd say take lessons or study more systematically on internet. and practice and play a lot. watch pros play just to enjoy and maybe set a direction but emulating some random details most of the times fails to achieve anything to help improve.
     
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  9. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    when i started playing tennis, i didn´t have the advantage of good coaches in my area.
    so i actively looked for role models, so i could copy their strokes, what they did tactically, how they moved on court,...
    the thing is, sometimes you see somebody hitting a stroke and it feels right. it feels like something you yourself would want to play. that´s the perfect one to emulate.
    to you prefer Federers serve or Nadals? Ferrers backhand or Gascquets?
    the one you prefer is usually the better one to emulate.
     
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  10. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Federer for footwork/movement. Federer & Nadal for the way they focus on the contact point and keep the head still for (nearly) all of the forward swing on groundstrokes. However, I would not try to copy the straight arm technique on Federer's and Nadal's forehands. This technique is more for advanced players than for most intermediates.

    I like Agassi as a model for a compact, classic version of the forehand. Sampras, Safin, Moya and Blake are also worthy of inspection. More modern FHs include Gonzalez, Moya and Murray (even tho' it's not as big as some of the others).

    For the 2-handed backhand, take a good look at Nalbandian, Safin, Murray and Djokovic. You might also take a gander at Davydenko and Nadal. For the 1-hander look to Justine Henin, Haas, Federer, Blake and Kuerten. While Gasquet probably has the best single-handed BH of all time, it is not one that should be emulated.

    Federer and Sampras for the serve. However, I would probably go with a simpler takeback/preparation than Sampras used on his serve. Consider an abbreviated or hybrid takeback for the serve motion.
     
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  11. isilra

    isilra Rookie

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    I think the future of the tennis is pull/atp style strokes. Federer is the one that should be watched to understand how it is done. His forehand is for sure the most complex and hardest forehand in the tour but if you are willing to improve yourself, you need to learn that pronation-supination route. It can be easily done with a semi-western grip without additional pronation and a straight arm at contact. Nalbandian also does that but he has a huge loop that might be hard to get used to.

    But if you are a club player that only plays tennis for having fun with friends, you don't need so complex techniques. You just need to watch somebody that has a total continuous loop like del potro or hewitt and improve your timing.

    For backhands, again go with nalbandian.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
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  12. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    agreed, emulating players may help if you look at the big picture of the stroke but not random details. more like imitating a players style
    if there are some technical details that you want to incorporate in your own game, chances are, these details are widespread thru the atp and not limited to certain players
     
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  13. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    there's more to tennis then just hitting!

    You can emulate strategy and tactics from lots of players:
    - The way Davydenko moves other players around like marionettes;
    - Running down every ball like nadal;
    - Court positioning like ferrer;
    - Drop shoting people who camp at the baseline the way federer does;
    - Grinding away at the baseline until your opponent gives up/makes and error like Gilles Simon;
    - Mixing it up with spins and angles from the backhand wing like Gasquet;
    - Having grit and not giving up like Roddick/Hewitt;
    - Serve out wide, approach volley, the smash like Sampras;
    - Enjoying yourself and having fun like Monfils, Tsonga, McEnroe ;) etc...

    Sure, you won't execute the same way these guys do, but your opponent's aren't hitting or moving like pros either. It will help you see a different level of tennis that's more than just "am i hitting my strokes properly".

    Also, points will seem less random!
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
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  14. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I think there are so many (slightly different) ways to hit good shots that it would be impossible to argue successfully for just one or two 'best' players to emulate.

    I think that experimenting with, and being able to utilize, several different 'styles' is fun and can be effective at the sub 4.0 level. For higher levels of competition I would guess that it's probably necessary to nail down a particular way of hitting in order to maximize accuracy and consistency.

    You mention Chris Evert. Well, she's certainly accurate and consistent, but I'm not sure that her 'U' forehand prep is the way that players are taught these days (which seems to be more in line with the 'C' prep of her opponent in the video below):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ufzAt8nfxw
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
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  15. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    I like to look at the shorter/smaller players to see how they are generating pace. I feel that as you get taller/bigger, you can get away with some odd technique. I really like watching Ferrer and Nishikori play. My former favorite player to watch was Henin (5'4" of hitting power and movement).
     
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  16. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    Nikolai Davydenko, Janko Tipsarevic, and Nicolas Almagro for groundstrokes. On the women's side Kuznetsova for groundstrokes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
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  17. Xizel

    Xizel Professional

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    Even Nishikori himself packs quite a punch for his size :p

    I agree with the Ferrer, Kohlschreiber, and Simon kind of recommendation. They lack the unique characteristics that the top boys have, so ultimately it's almost purely technical regarding their performance. Consistency wins at the lower level. Federer is amazingly strong to generate so much pace on an inside out forehand from subpar preparation and time. His use of the wrist is ridiculous dexterity.
     
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  18. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    You can do that with a bent arm too
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIaE5DzwOdQ

    (this another simple yet modern FH similar to nole which I think is worth to emulate)
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I would not emulate her use of head-heavy frame and extreme Eastern BH grip. Not good for the arm.
     
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  20. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    It looks to me like she uses something closer to a western bh grip.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdDwMj3_WMA
     
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  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yes, always a good idea to emulate Ferrer's game when you're built like Isner.
    Or maybe copy Dr.Ivo's game when you're the size of OlivierRochus.
     
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  22. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    one time, i told this guy that I had watched a Serena Williams video clip on youtube. He snapped, "forget about it, you are not built like her!" :shock: :)
     
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  23. isilra

    isilra Rookie

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    Yes you can. I forgot to say also Tsonga has a very nice and simple double bend arm pulling action that can be easily emulated by the people who used to double bend arm.
     
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  24. President

    President Legend

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    Nikolay Davydenko, Andre Agassi.
     
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  25. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    For the 1hbh, not Federer or Dimitrov.

    Wawrinka is a good beginner model because he straightens his arm early, takes a big step and weight transfer, and opens up his shoulders a bit at contact. All this will make the stroke more intuitive, as well as powerful and more effective against high balls.

    Almagro is a better textbook example than Fed/Dimitrov.


    Why is an extreme grip bad for the arm? If anything it would be better for the arm because high balls will be more comfortable and because that grip and its swing path uses a more forward contact point.

    I think a good default grip for a typical adult would be Eastern with the heel pad around the top of bevel 7, or maybe the 7/8 intersection.

    A short person should consider Extreme Eastern (index base knuckle on intersection between bevels 1 (top) and 8 ).


    No, it's Extreme Eastern as defined above. Same with Gustavo Kuerten and pretty much anyone who uses something stronger than Eastern. I'm not sure if there's a pro who moves his/her knuckle back further than EE.
     
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  26. the hack

    the hack New User

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    imo, lots of amateurs ruin their game trying to emulate pros when they (the amateurs ) don't have what it takes to play the pro game of today. Learn how to play with Eastern grips and enough spin to control your shots. if you can do this then maybe you will be able to move up to a pro style game. in the meantime most of us would win a lot more if we could play a fraction as smart as Chris Evert.
     
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  27. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    Amateurs dont have what it takes to play the pro game? Amateurs never face the type of ball a pro experiences. They can still use technique that pros use, be it at a much slower pace.. dont know why they need to use an eastern grip because they are amateurs. Having said this, i use an eastern grip myself
     
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  28. the hack

    the hack New User

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    I guess i wasn't specific enough. lots of levels for amateurs. of course a good amateur can do much better with pro technique than a beginner.
     
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  29. El Nino

    El Nino Rookie

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    Who do you thinks best to emulates in terms of playing style. I use a western grip and I need someone to emulate who also has a western grip too. (I am a 4.5 junior and I see my opponents hammering forehands like Delpo and crafty shot-placement of tomic)
     
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  30. the hack

    the hack New User

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    look at film of the top players using slow motion. they have reached the top because they have sound fundamentals. not just great strokes but great footwork, balance, conditioning,etc. For a junior player wanting to really improve I always recommend getting a GOOD coach. There are lots of coaches out there so make sure you get the best coach you can. ask the best players about their coaches.it's fun for a junior player to emulate a top pro but to be a winner you must find your own game that will work for you under the pressure of match play.A GOOD coach will help you do this. Good luck!
     
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  31. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    Depends on your age, height, body type, physical strength, athletic ability, injuries etc...

    Example: 40+ yr old with bad tendons do not need to be emulating Fed/Novak/Nadal etc.. :) . These guys need to just bunt the ball back deep like Mac & Connors did.
    50% of the guys in my age group who try to emulate Fed, Nadal etc end up with chronic wrist, elbow, and shoulder problems. The rest of the oldies who still play like they are in the 1980s are just fine.

    For juniors and other young players too, your height and body type does matter..
     
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  32. Vertiz

    Vertiz Rookie

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    Never been a coach so I can only give my 18 year old 2 cents. Personally when I was younger and tried to emulate fed/djok/gasquet, I ended up playing worse usually. Gradually as time went on I developed my own style and don't really look at other players for style or form. The only thing I look at from pros is the small things they do, like take back, footwork, contact point, degree of body rotation. Since I hit a one hander I really look at pro shoulders, elbows, and wrists (tilt, turn, angle, etc) which usually corrects any problem I may have with my stroke. I find that looking at murray's forehand works really well for maintaining my personal stroke, perhaps b/c our fundamentals are similar even though the strokes are not as much. For backhands I look at roger's takeback and swingpath. Occasionally I'll look at james blake as well because his backhand really vividly shows me what I need to concentrate on (low to high, contact in front, solid wrist). I feel that each person has a different pro/or pros that they should look at for fine tuning. No one should try to "copy" what someone else does though because that will lead to failure. I think :)
     
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  33. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    ^yes.

    one should look at big things the pros do, but take back follow through, serve motion, etc. should be what ever feels natural.
     
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  34. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    thanks for posting this. very good points. also, good to see that the single-handed backhand is still alive!
     
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  35. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Forehand: Federer
    - Prime example of the pull type ATP forehand which allows you to increase pace and spin simultaneously.

    Backhand Slice: Federer
    Backhand 1HB: Federer
    Backhand 2HB: Djoko/Nalbandian/Nadal
    Serve: Federer
    Volleys: Federer
    Movement: Federer
    Point construction/creativity: Federer
     
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  36. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    There is no best pro to emulate.
    However you can look to ones that have the same body type and stature you do and play style. Players have made the best use of the same gifts so I would nudge you toward toward one of those players.
    A lot of people say Fed but he's unique in his body type (really broad shoulders and long arms) and has extreme flexibility. Just because he's the GOAT doesn't mean he's the right model for you.
    For example, it you are like 5`8 like myself. Look toward some of the shorter players. These players might not be even house hold names but they will help you alot (i.e.Tipsy).
    I watch some people play at futures that weren't even 6 foot but wow could the cover the court and accelerate the ball.

    And I have to emphasize you have to find someone who's game relates to you. If you're a baseliner you're not going to find much help emulating Llodra. If your a finesse player watching Nadal or Tsonga isn't going to help you much. etc etc.

    I hope this helped.
     
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