Diary of a Racketaholic

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Ross K, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. lightflow

    lightflow Rookie

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    I've noticed there's a fair few Babolat APD users in here, been having a few tennis lessons lately and working on short angles, drop volleys in doubles. What I'd like to know is does anyone else struggle with touch shots with the APD.

    Cheers
     
  2. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thanks Klem..kirilenko looks so hot in person..total stunner.

    Light, what's your string setup on th APd?
     
  3. lightflow

    lightflow Rookie

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    Hybrid of Pro Supex Spiral Flex 57lbs and Signum Tornado 54lbs, mains & crosses respectively, recently restrung. Found a full poly job just a bit harsh on the arm!
     
  4. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    I've always struggled a bit with touch stuff when using the APD.
     
  5. lightflow

    lightflow Rookie

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    Cheers Ross!

    APD's are great for singles but I struggle to take the power off on volleys and when trying to play short angles in doubles. Everything seems to ping of the racket. As I'm learning the correct technique I don't seem to be able to feel the ball on the strings. If only they made an APD with feel. I know it's mostly down to technique but the racket isn't helping me in this area.

    I'm using APD originals as well which are reputed to give the most feedback.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  6. all_backhand

    all_backhand New User

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    I'm in the same boat with Ross. I've had my fair share of struggles hitting touch shots with both the APD and the PDR. It's not that it can't be done, it's just that you don't get much help from the racquet. It is your effort and your technique that will produce the desired results. Where volleys are concerned, that means hitting with a greater amount of slice to compensate for the increased power output of these racquets.
     
  7. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    lightflow and all-bh,

    Yes, the touch stuff, for me anyway, is a challenge with the APD.

    It's taken me a while to figure out though, but despite sometimes lamenting my lack of touch here (as well as a few other things), that isn't actually essential for my requirements.

    What is essential for me is easy-swinging backcourt put away oomph and spin. I mean, in the last year or so, a number of rackets such as the Exo 100 and the Prestige Pro and the BLX 95 have really impressed me in their slightly different ways, but with these and many others, ultimately none suits me better than the Bab. Results have clearly shown this.

    Can't deny I haven't always quite 'accepted' this (as a racketaholic etc I've struggled with this in truth)... it's undeniable however that I fare best with that big beamed Bab stick going off like a cannon and helping me lace on the topspin.

    I have reconciled myself with my fate.:)
     
  8. gatorbait01

    gatorbait01 Rookie

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    That's awesome you got to see Nadal play doubles, I assume on one of the outer courts. I would take an extra day of of work just to see that.

    I sat at the baseline for Tomic vs Ferrer followed by Monfils vs someone. Tomic hits so soft it's unbelievable. He literarly just bunts the ball back flat on his forehand and lots of times on his 2 handed backhand. He slices his backhand at least half the time. You can't appreciate how soft he hits compared to other pros on tv. More that once even on his 2 handed backhand the ball would come back with no spin. Flat as a pancake and no pace. I have no idea how he wins at this level. He of course is capable of hitting hard and did plenty of times, but still, his rally ball has no pace.

    In contrast Monfils has a freaking mean forehand. His was the meanist I've seen yet as far as pace and spin. You could actually hear is hissing through the air. He's a big dude as well. These guys look like little marathon runners on tv, but in person they're pretty big. I watched Berdych practice for a while and he is huge as well.
     
  9. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    ^^^

    Yeah, totally agree about Tomic. I will put it like this, I saw him and didn't go .."wow, I need to try a yonex"..lol. My favorite yonex hitter was Kirilenko.

    Such a great tournament..set on fantasy island..i mean all they have there is super expensive houses and a giant tennis center. The view of the Miami skyline is incredible. The coolest part is that the park is available for public use..I seriously can not imagine how sweet it would be to be a member there. They have euro clay and grass courts too, which would be so nice to hit on. You could go hit balls and then lounge on the beach..and ride your bike everywhere..pretty incredible.

    As for me, still working this offhand stuff in..there is no doubt it has changed my game. I used to think my footwork was making me off balance and leaning backwards, but it was actually that I was not using the left hand right. I was not starting my swing properly. My feet are almost always setup right now and I don't even think about it.

    The main thing now is to have my right arm loose and closer to my body. My other issue is that it can tend to fly on me, which is where that advice Ross posted comes in. What I notice is that if I just warm up and focus on pointing the buttcap at the ball, after a few minutes it just falls into place and I am hitting super clean and consistent.

    Have to say my backhand is getting so much better just from the chin to shoulder swingthought. I am now able to toy with it more and work on generating power from the racquet drop. Before I was just happy hitting the ball where I needed it to go, but now when I get in a groove I can crush a lot harder from that side. So to anyone having 2hbh issues, start with making sure your footwork is proper, and your chin is on your shoulder EVERY single time for weeks until it becomes a habit..(usually takes 21 days to make something a habit..thats the old rule at least).

    I was amazed at how at the SEO,when I was doing the ball machine I was so confident from my backhand side, where that was breaking down on me just weeks ago.

    so my tips remain as this:

    Get your footwork properly fixed.

    Chin to shoulder, eye on ball as swingthought

    Swing with your offhand..start it liteally reaching across your body and pull across to get everything moving

    Butt end needs to be pointing at ball..focus on it in warmups and get the timing right.

    Doing these things has me hitting the sweetspot so much, my pure drive feels like the softest racquet ever now just because I mishit so less often.
     
  10. PED

    PED Legend

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    I agree with both these. I watched Monfils beat Isner last year in DC; he'll lull you to sleep with push after push on both wings and then BAM!, he just unloads.

    I stood right behind the fence and watched Berd man: dude is massive! Those thighs are like tree trunks-just effortless power on serve and groundies.

    Thanks for the comments on just how soft Tomic is hitting it. I couldn't tell from tv if how hard he was hitting. I would think at some point, he's going to have to start hitting like a 6'5" guy and use his power as well. He seemed to catch out Ferrer several times with his BH up the line but there was no power on it and Ferrer could retrieve it.

    Nice commentary overall PP, saved me the airfare to Miami :)
     
  11. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    lol..Ped go check out the vid I posted of Tomic..you can get a pretty good idea of the pace he is hitting at.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  12. all_backhand

    all_backhand New User

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    Speaking of pros who need to step it up, Verdasco is playing like crap right now. Almagro is just letting him self-destruct.
     
  13. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Did you see Nalbandian practice or play?
     
  14. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    And Federer, did you see him play?
     
  15. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    No to both.
     
  16. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Nice to see you're making progress technique-wise, PP. That's what I aim to do too. Right now I just have to select and focus on a bare minimum from some of the number of tips I've picked up on in the last few weeks. Don't want to weigh myself down with this stuff. Actually I fear I'm becoming a technique tip-aholic. :shock: :)
     
  17. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes Ross I hear you. That is why im just posting the stuff that is really easy to remember and do. The fine tuning is where you get bogged down and start to overthink.

    Try chin to shoulder on both sides..make yourself do it everytime. I guarantee your backhand will be better.
     
  18. PED

    PED Legend

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    Nalbandian is impressive in person-his technique is very smooth and belies just how hard he's smacking the ball. He's thinner looking in person then you might think and is quick, these guys are all actually really quick.

    His 2hbh is thing of beauty and almost never breaks down. In the flesh, he's not a human highlight reel type of player like a Verdasco or Monfils but still very impressive to watch.
     
  19. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Nalby has always impressed the hell out of me - if there's been a more masterful 2hbh, I haven't seen it.:cool:

    Monfils just frustrates the hell out of me - if there's been a more maddening player, I haven't seen him. :evil: Initially, and having only seen him in brief, I thought he was an incredible talent who would go on to to achieve greatness. But after one Wimbledon a few years back when I watched in dismay at horror at his stupefyingly brainless and spiritless display, I've steered well clear of him and far prefer a number of his compatriots, Tsonga uppermost among them.
     
  20. PED

    PED Legend

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    The explanation is simple: like another one of your favs, Arsene Wenger, Monfils is just so french....lol
     
  21. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    :).........
     
  22. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    Great description of Tomic. Same thing I saw, and same thing that you clearly see from PP's vid: right now, there's no getting around it, Tomic is a pusher. Possibly the world's No. 1 ranked pusher, but a pusher. I couldn't believe how soft he hit and how he just bunts so many balls. But... it works for him, at least up to a certain point. At IW, sitting front row baseline, I could see the frustration in Mueller's eyes as he lost the first set and struggled to gain an edge in the second. Then he started predicting Tomic's spots and shots a lot better, adjusted, and started pounding. Contrast to the first and second sets (when he won in a TB, I think), I saw the contained joy in Mueller's face in the third set as he went on to bagel the kid to take the match.

    Sorry for my ****iness, boys, but I still need to pop up video from IW, including some shots of Fed on the practice court. (I've never posted a video onto YouTube, either, so it might be a learning process for me). Fed's forehand, by contrast, is unfreakingbelievable. Just drives through the court splendidly but what blew me away about Fed was just how sick his forehand is in person when he dials up from 'rally ball' to 'kill shot.' I mean, in the pressure of a match maybe he just isn't as comfy (understandable), but in the relaxed setting of an IW practice court, whether it was his hitting partner or Gasquet on the other side, guy was just incredible out there, ripping the ball without such ease and effortlessness. .... unfortunately when I do get the vids up, I'm not sure how much will be fantastic footage in that I was behind a screen on the backfence and only able to hold up my camera above the fence and hope I was getting the shot. So, it's a bit shaky some of it, but still, there's some great stuff.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  23. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    The new square bab dampeners are so goat. Finally something has knocked down the mighty samp damp. They have these soft rubber clips that lock to the cross string so the dampener is not falling out. Also the rubber insert thing is really not needed...when you take it out, the feel is insane. You get all of the racquet feel without the ping sound. The sampras dampener, and the rubber band are more muted. Its gummy soft too, which is a nice change from the crappy hard sampras defects that have been making people's sticks vibrate even worse.

    Just one of those little things, but I highly recommend.
     
  24. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    What's up with the almighty, trusty Sampras damps suddenly coming out rock hard lately? Ive had to throw so many of them out because they don't do their jobs when they're not soft. Been going with the very good Yonex damp here lately but I'll try the bab damp next time I need another.

    Been a week now since my last hit. Shoulder discomfort that I felt last week was really bothersome, and I'm praying it isn't too serious. But the time off is killing me. Want to get out there so badly, especially now that the shoulder isn't sore anymore, but I'm afraid of reaggravating the shoulder if I come back too soon. Ugh. Now I REALLY feel Klem's pain.
     
  25. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    ^ Ohhhh.... Klamentine79...... Hope it gets better soon. Stretch bands and some gym should help when it's ready.

    You shouldn't have thrown those samp-damps away Gads. Someone was sending them back to Unique and getting softies back.
     
  26. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Oh man that is not good..make sure to avoid poly for a while, that could be the cause (hopefully).
     
  27. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    Been watching tennis like a champ the past two weeks, currently watching the Iva/Wil match and that abbreviated back swing has been scorched into my cerebellum. Amazing how many pros do it and how I had not for so, so long.

    Thank you for that Gads.
     
  28. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yeah I have been working on that too...I find the best and cleanest contact is when my elbow is at my side in the double bend on contact.

    Also realizing that you can't hit that compact on every ball, but my god do I want to. I still arm the ball sometimes, but it's going away with heavy practice. Hitting strokes under pressure is a lot easier when you are just thinking about the setup..keeps you from rushing it.

    Gads, any other tips on the takeback you were taught? Iam curious if there is any way to consistently get into the slot that keeps that stroke compact as much as possible. The offhand thing is a massive help, but if I arm the all even once out of ten times I can lose the feel still.

    Lost the feel on my serve tonight and had to go flat..my god the pure drive hits cannon serves. I rarely unload on serve but I did tonight for a few that were real big..when my serve is going in, I get a lot of free points off of bad returns, but I need to tweak it with a few lessons.its still to shakes and I lose it sometimes.

    I am driving the ball so much more now..my inside out forehands are crushing lately..all because I spent a lot of time on my rotation and uncoiling...it completely fixed my weight transfer issue. The black drive feels fantastic..just a wonderful feel to it when you are hitting clean.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  29. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    ^ Is there really that big a difference between the ProOpen and the PD? I swear when I play tested them that if they were blacked out, I'd have a hard time telling the difference. Although, the PD is more open a string-pattern. Maybe not that similar?



    Good call. Gads?, Bab gut/syn hybrid ASAP.
     
  30. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I still have 2 pro opens just in case, but the pure drive is a plus length and the new 2012 version has got to be the best new stick released.

    I'm all in on the plus length..it's the way to go for a stronger serve and backhand.

    Standard length, it would be a tough call..Wilson really made a nice racquet in the pro open. I can play well with it.

    A lot of this new success is sticking to my setup even when I was sucking, fixing it, and a lot of practice. I believe in my gear, strings, tension..I know its on me now. Really helps you focus on the strokes when your strings are all the same and there are no variables.
     
  31. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    I'm not so sure the poly is the culprit. I actually felt the pain worst of all when I was swinging a demo V95 with full multi in it, and when I switched to either my Prestige with full poly (TB/Iontec Black) and especially my BC20 with TB/NVy, the pain wasn't nearly as bad. To be honest, I'm a little afraid that the problem may have come from actually overemphasizing the new stroke, as to beat it into my brain I was overemphasizing a higher arm slot and coming down through the ball, and doing this repeatedly both in play and on the ball machine may have just been too much of a repetitive motion that my shoulder wasn't used to just yet. I became obsessed by it, especially after I got some crazy good results with it initially, and probably just overdid the motion and the new stroke was putting some added stress to my shoulder. ... Or, it could be plain coincidence; I'd been playing frequently and it may have just been overdoing everything...

    Thing is, I can probably rally, as it wasn't bothering me too much when I got into the swing of things, except my serve lately is where the pain especially came on. So, I withdrew from league play, which had just begun, to not push myself too have to serve too much.

    I'm so glad the shorter swing is working for you, PP. It sounds like you've taken everything and really run with it. Not too much more I can think of to offer at the moment, just continue to watch vids of those you like and see how they do it. To me, the Agassi swing is still exactly the forehand I'm shooting for. You see in his swing that you really can extend the arms way out to the side like he does and the racquet will still come into the body and do what it needs to do -- buttcap and everything -- if you just get the timing down and let it all happen naturally. ... Hopefully it'll just get better and better the more you play. MadDog sent me an email last night saying he was ripping the ball so much better with an abbreviated swing as well.

    If you really want to keep that elbow in close to the body (which really does allow you to make last-second adjustments on the ball very easily, as opposed to when your arms are further out and you have less room to 'wiggle'), you could work on playing short-ball tennis inside the service box with someone and just FORCING yourself to keep that elbow in close - overemphasizing it - and not reach for anything.. and then just slowly move further back to the baseline. That's about all I can think of at the moment in terms of another tip, and again, sounds like you're well on your way. My own progression has just been hampered by this darn shoulder thing, which sucks because I really felt like I was turning a corner with the new technique.

    Hopefully I'll be back at it soon enough to rejoin the shorter-stroke renaissance.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  32. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    Yeah I agree, I think the majority of ppl making lame comments about pro players (esp the top 15) either have never seen them in person or are crap players themselves and have no idea what they are talking about. I saw Nadal play doubles as well here on the west and he was hitting the crap out the ball and harder than anyone I saw that day. Really impressive.

    Saw Kirilenko play as well. The other girls I saw made weird faces during serve, well Kirilenko too but only when she swings, during the toss - just beautiful. I was there when she got that point ruled against her during her Sharapova match that you mentioned in your vid clip, it was pretty loud.

    I just watched a Tomic match on youtube yesterday. Looked like he was hitting the ball really soft with really slow swings and was wondering if it was just because of the usual misleading tennis match angle on TV - guess not.
     
  33. all_backhand

    all_backhand New User

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    Damn. I hope that shoulder feels better soon Gads. I'm lucky to have never had a shoulder injury, but I know plenty who have, and it's never described as anything but a nightmare. It's probably a smart move to give it some rest.

    The rain dried up in the afternoon out here so I was able to have a hit with the BLX today. I have to say, that racquet feels so comfortable to me. I've hit with several iterations of it, and it's just a really solid frame. I just don't do anything badly with that frame. It doesn't have a bunch of stand out characteristics, in my opinion, but it does everything well for me. I really do appreciate the added length of the black drives and the extra power on serves is super addicting, but the BLX holds its own. I'm pretty torn between the two. I'll head out tomorrow and see if I can't lock down a decision.

    In other news, tell me you guys saw that Federer/Roddick match. That final set was just amazing to watch.
     
  34. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    PP,

    Which dampeners exactly do you mean? Have these just been introduced?


    JG,

    I'd stay out as long as you can stand it. With my one and only real bout with shoulder/arm issues three or four years back, I kept dabbling, as it were, for a while. It was only when I had a complete 4 weeks off that it went. Just recalling those ghastly, nerve-tingling pains makes me shudder.


    All,

    Q. What's your serve motion?...

    I've just about always been abbreviated or semi-abbreviated. I've strived for an ARod, Rafa, Gasquet, Monfils-kind of motion (I know they are all a bit different) - all of whom I've studied. Were you a classic Sampras serve type then? Something else? Just curious RHs... I mean, are there any players who your serve has slightly been modelled on? Is is alike some pros? Etc...
     
  35. all_backhand

    all_backhand New User

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    Mine kinda looks like Berdych's. My front toe goes up on the rock back, I drop the racquet head, bring it around to the trophy pose, and slide my back foot forward. Kinda like Sampras's except I slide my back foot forward as opposed to leaving it back.
     
  36. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, AB.

    And yeah, that match tonight. Still in a bit of shock, actually, but that one sequence where AR just blasted those four forehand winners early in the third... wow. That's exactly what you have to do sometimes, just let go, rip, hope for the best. Was such an interesting match that I thought was over after that second set. Props to AR for playing so well.

    Yeah, the time off is killing me, and I'm only at one puny week! No matter the time off, if the pain returns when I do get back, then I'll head in to the doc's to get to the bottom of it. Just hoping the rest will be enough for now. Watching a big tourney like SE just makes the itch that much worse.

    Re: serve, I've always tried to emulate the Sampras motion as much as I can, but obviously, it probably looks nothing like that. Weirdest thing lately is that when I switch up to a more abbreviated Roddick-like motion (straight up instead of a longer wind-up), my BC20 rockets the ball while it feels more dead with the longer wind-up, but this result only happens for me with the BC20 and with none of my other sticks, where I stay with the longer wind-up. So, with BC20 in hand, I shorten it up because the frame's little 'recoil' effect totally responds to that.
     
  37. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

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    I serve like the dog. (dolgopolov)
     
  38. Meaghan

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    its good to see Simon back from injury and playing well again. Typically un-french, really solid player all round. For some reason I can't watch tsonga, monfils, like ross said is frustrating and I can't watch his pushy game. Llodra I like cos its a change up, and proved recently he's a match for anyone on fast courts.

    The brits are way behind, one very good player, the rest are all lacking in one department or another. Dan evans recently beat lucas lacko in straights, he has a great game but lacks height to make things easy for him. A lot of good youngsters coming thro lets hope some make it.
     
  39. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    I wonder what's been happening with Laura Robson? I haven't been following her progress lately but she looked a fantastic prospect 2 years ago.
     
  40. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Ross these are new square dampeners from babolat. They have them on the site.

    My serve motion is abbreviated, but I am still tweaking it.

    Yea gads the renaissance really kicked in for me after getting the left hand timing right. That is the game changer and is giving me a lot more free power and consistency. Im also not overusing my wrist anymore, which is nice.

    Im focusing on serve and returns more and more. Returns are tricky..you want a compact stroke but if you just block it back it really does not pressure the opponent. On the backhand side I have to make myself stick with the 2hander return more..sometimes I go for the slice and I think thats a bad idea.
     
  41. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    is it fair to say that Monfils is the equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters in tennis? Well, not exactly but he has great talent, sometimes used too much for show. Also, his physique looks more like a boxer or a small forward and not a tennis player.
     
  42. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    I had a hitting session with my Aeroprodrive Gt while the new VCore 98 "sat and watched". As I always say, the Yonex has better feel and better sweetspot but the way the APD moves through the air is great for heavy topspin hitters. I used the LTEC 5s in the mains (sterling) and the 4S (black) in the crosses at 46 and 44. Great pocketing, reminded me a bit of Polyfibre TCS, but less powerful, more control oriented. I hope the tension maintenance is great in these LTEC strings, as the manufacturer says.
     
  43. PED

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    You are spot on :) Just think what he could do if he had Fed's attacking mindset.(and his work ethic)
     
  44. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Thats what makes Federer unique. Talent plus consistency plus mental fortitude and so on.

    Hope Monfils realizes soon that his talent can take him to another level. If I were him, I would do what Murray did, hire a guy like Lendl, to fill the gaps and make him better. A guy like Agassi would blend well as a coach with Monfils. But, I dont know if Agassi would accept at this point of his life.
     
  45. PED

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    ^^Good point, maybe it comes too easy for Le Monf. He's so gifted and probably not had to work like others have had too. I think Murray is not as naturally gifted but he has a burning desire to succeed. At some level, even the most talented have to put in the work. I hope Monfils doesn't discover this too late :)
     
  46. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    Monfils is, at his core I think, an entertainer first and a tennis player second. Doesn't bother me like it does most. I know he's got a world of potential and it's vexing to see him make stupid moves, but I also have to say that I'm never bored watching a Monfils match like I often am with some other guys, like, say, Isner when it's just ace, service winner, ace, ace, and pretty much no real rallies. With Monfils I know I'll always catch a stupendous shot or two along with his ridiculous athleticism. If you tried to tame Gael with a more strict coach or style, he might not even be as good. Seems like a guy who just needs to have a flair, an edge, a bit of fun out there.

    Couple years ago at the USO I was walking the practice courts and came across Gael practicing ... tweeners. Just said, 'Yep, that's Gael.'
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  47. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    I wouldn't disagree.

    [​IMG]

    :)
     
  48. PED

    PED Legend

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    I agree, for me to either pay to attend a match or watch one on TV, I want to be entertained and he foots the bill.

    Some guys are technically brilliant but just boring as hell to watch. "Lube check" was like that for me (sorry Fed). Ferrer is another guy that totally puts me to sleep. I admire what he can do but I would just rather not watch it :) Rafa with his time wasting is rapidly going down that route for me as well and I never thought I'd say that. He just takes too much time between points, even when he aces someone.
     
  49. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

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  50. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I actually enjoyed watching lube..he was one of the cleanest hitters ever.
     

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