Did Agassi make his forehand takeback more compact as years went on?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by J011yroger, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Title says all.

    J
     
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  2. Dream_On

    Dream_On Rookie

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    I think so, in that video with nick b. he had a really big loop but if you watch video's from the 00's he doesn't do it as much if at all.
     
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  3. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    That is what made me question it, I wonder when the switch was, because in his book, he talked about being a little kid and his dad screaming at him with the compact backswing.

    J
     
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  4. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    No. He hasn't. Although, he may laid his wrist back a few degrees more in the 80's than later on, which would make the head at the top of the loop a bit higher.

    But other than that, no, he always had a very compact swing, which varied from the full loop, to a quick direct take-back. The loop while fairly high, was never very far "back".
     
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  5. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    I think this is largely in your imagination. His loop is largely the same.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwhBJ4B84yo&feature=related

    Maybe you are thinking about some of the shorter ones he has to take in a real match, as opposed to a video with very slow, fed, balls.
     
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  6. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    I think DataCipher is right. The loop in the Nick B video is pretty much the same. But, the wrist may not have been in a relaxed position as much, which leads to the racquet head being pointed higher than was typical of Agassi. Also, you'll notice that there's almost no "wristiness" or WW action going on with his early, early stroke, as opposed to his 90s form. That also suggests his wrist was more laid back then during the takeback then.
     
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  7. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Not sure about Agassi, but Nadal and Fed both seem to have made their forehands more compact over the years.

    Watch this video of a very young Nadal playing in Hamburg back in 2003. Beginning around 1:25 you see he has a big loopy more or less continuous swing. This video as well. In the second one you see around 0:08 that he doesn't pause with a closed racket face to viciously pronate through the ball the way he does today. Also, these days, it's not as much of a real loop on the backswing, more like the hand goes straight back with the racket head pointed upwards, than he drops the racket head, but the hand stays at the same level. Two videos of more recent Nadal forehands:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inQvbT8uEGk&feature=channel

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soADAL_uGs8&feature=channel
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
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  8. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yes. It's a bit hard to say, with the wrist position I mentioned...he seemed to vary it quite a bit, at all times...so not sure if we can say there was a definite trend at any given time...but it did seem like he flirted with more early lay-back at times.

    And of course, it depended on the ball he was receiving, so thus the opponent and the surface, all would contribute, as well as his own strategy/positioning. But anyways, his loop always seemed at it's biggest, quite high, and moderately compact down to almost nothing at it's shortest.
     
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  9. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Interesting, thanks for the opinions. I was a bit young to be noticing things like that around 1990, and in the later 90's and early 00's his stroke seemed more compact than the video, which is what lead me to ask if I was just making something out of nothing, or if there was a change.

    J
     
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  10. madhavan

    madhavan New User

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    In an article I recall reading in the early 90s, Agassi said that McEnroe had helped him out by advising him to shorten the backswing on his forehand and this had really helped him adjust to playing on grass and winning Wim92 (where in the process he thanked Mac by thrashing him in the semis!). I recall Andre in that article saying that he was using the abbreviated forehand backswing more on other surfaces besides grass also.
     
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  11. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Doesn't hurt to ask! Again, I think that video is a bit misleading partly because it's all easy, fed, balls. The backswing Agassi uses there is about as big as his swing ever gets, because he has all the time in the world, and he has to generate all the pace. As you probably know, being a player, players often hit a bit differently off fed balls. Usually, they tend to hit flatter, and with a bigger backswing.

    Madhaven, yes, Mcenroe did tell him to shorten the swing, actually another coach told me that Mcenroe actually told him "NO backswing", to help Agassi keep it even shorter. But, I didn't know he said he was using it on other surfaces....in fact....Agassi swing was only slightly more compact on grass on his normal swing (and well in line with what he MIGHT do on a hardcourt depending on the ball received), it was on the return, where he seemed to be keeping it extraordinarly short...of course, Agassi always had that ability, and I think Mcenroe was just giving him a reminder...a reinforcer. In any case, I never noticed Agassi taking noticably shorter swings with any consistency. Depending of surface and opponent, he always seemed to vary in the range he always had...even in that choppy video link I posted, you see the first forehand is VERY compact, then he uses a pretty full swing for him on the next 2....
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Well, we think Roddick shortenned his forehand the last 3 years, why not?
    If you tend to stand in close to the baseline, a shorter backswing gives all the power with early prep.
    If you stand 9' behind the baseline, you need the longer stroke and you have the time to employ the full prep long stroke.
    Which will work for YOU?
     
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  13. adista4

    adista4 Semi-Pro

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    I dunno about that...but we can all see that andre flattened out all his shots. In his youth years he hit with a fair amount of topspin...by the end of his career he hit the ball very very flat on both wings.
     
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  14. adista4

    adista4 Semi-Pro

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    so my point is...you may think he made his backswing more compact throughout the years, but mostly he adjusted his shot mechanics to what suited him best..(topspin=big loop, flat=smaller loop)
     
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  15. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    From what I understood, Agassi took some of the MPH's off his forehand. In the early years, he would use it to nuke his opponent. And, naturally, one of two things would happen; he'd win the point or hit the fence. When Brad Gilbert came on board, Gilbert sold him on two things: 1) get into shape so he could outlast anyone and 2) his ideal point would be 8 - 10 ball rallies. Gilbert's line of thought was that Agassi's groundies were better than anyone else's and through side to side movement and controlling the center of the court, no player could hang over the long haul. He was proved largely right except for players like Sampras who could bring it to Agassi, or players like Rios who could, in Agassi's own words, Dr. Feelgood his power.

    When Agassi left Gilbert and went to Darren Cahill, it looked like Cahill endorsed bringing some of the offense back to Agassi's forehand. Agassi appeared, at least to me, to be more offensive espeically on his service return game.

    The ability to hit unbelievably hard forehands never left Agassi, however. I have posted this before, but in the Masters one year against Ferrero, he hit such a forehand. Both players were on their respective baselines. Agassi apparently got a good look at one particular forehand and hit it directly at Ferrero on the other baseline. The ball was so hard that the only option Ferrero had was to try to play it between his legs. I've not seen anyone anywhere hit a ball harder than that.

    With regard to his stroke, I don't believe anything changed fundamentally in his mechanics on the forehand side. I think his compact stroke and relatively level swing through the ball were consistent over the years. I think Agassi simply learned that percentage shots would win matches where before he enjoyed hitting flashly shots that won points.
     
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  16. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    I don't notice much change in the swing in the arms, but I do see a lot less jumping into the ball from the weight lifting.
     
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  17. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Aha! That makes perfect sense that he was just using the long stroke in the video because the incoming balls were meatballs.

    I didn't even think of that.

    J
     
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