Going deep vs Going wide

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by luishcorreia, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    #1
  2. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Depth is a tricky issue.

    I was listening as Killer Cahill stated Nole was getting good depth on his returns. Only one of the 14 returns depicted by hawkeye was closer to the BL. 5 of the returns were on or inside the Svc line. The remainder were closer to svc line but beyond it. Considering depth alone, these were almost all short by most standards I've read in most books.

    I think the returns were of good quality due to pace, spin and circumstance, meaning he made good pace returns off of good serves.
    Also he kept his risk of missing near the lines at a min!
    From a pure depth standpoint though, they tended to be short.
    Supports my view that current attitudes on depth need adjustment to build better players.
     
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  3. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    both is good. you need to hit close to a line. either sideline or baseline.

    I think that more balls should be deep though. the angle shot should be a variation but don't use it all the time. if you use angles you also give the opponent to hit a counter angleshot.

    so wait for the right opportunities for the shortangle.
     
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  4. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    So here you have it.

    You have my post above suggesting a new view on depth and dominikk here giving you the traditional view, which most believe in, to hit deep and close to the lines.

    I contend that hitting deep and close to the line will hold back your progress substantially due to the constant misses you will get for both of these targeting aspects.
    I've also charted the pros quite a bit on this, and find they don't hit so deep by a good percentage and don't hit close to the lines by a even a greater percentage.

    So if your message is depth, join the masses, as that is the common take on it, but take a look at depth if you really care and you will see how players like DJ don't hit near a deep or near the lines as you may expect on avg.
     
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  5. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    yeah. players like federer and nadal really hit a majority of their ball just a couple of feet behind the service line. even on DTL shots they rarely go really deep so it's not only shortangles that are not deep with them.

    don't know why though, maybe because of their heavy spin. more flat hitting guys like bird oder delpo tend to hit deeper.
     
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  6. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    They take less risk till they set the table. Much like a batter in baseball working the count. THis is why they cruise thru so many early rounds and get such consistent results.

    Notice that most clean winners are due to shot line and pace and are winners regardless of what depth is involved; so why risk closer to lines by hitting deeper.
     
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  7. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    5263, would you say that when pros hit balls very close to or on the lines, it is more by chance than intention? That is, they are really aiming to put it in with a reasonable margin, but there are enough variables involved to make things a bit unpredictable even for pros?
     
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  8. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    On what I think is called "kid's day" at the US open, some top pro players are invited to compete fro prizes to go to charity. Someone tosses then about 20 (or so) balls and they try to hit fairly big targets on the other side of the net. It is interesting that they miss more often than they hit (on average). I don't think the "aim" for the lines.

    In general, I believe, hitting deep does several things. It keeps the opponent back where he/she can do less damage, it gives you more time to recover/set up, and it tends to "steal" time from the opponent.

    Generally, a player will start out hitting deep, moving the opponent around, keeping the pressure on, until he/she gets a weaker return and an opportunity to move in and "open up" the court by driving the opponent wide.

    I don't know if that is what you were saying, but it is what usually happens.
     
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  9. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Your Djokovic example is a good one and thats very true. I also like Ash_Smith's take on this when he stated that the ball should be rising when it crosses the baseline.
     
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  10. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I'll give my 2 cents before I even read your link. It's not a matter of deep vs. angles. IMO, hitting deep is a primary shot and hitting a sharp angle, like going DTL, is a secondary shot. You have to wait for the right opportunity for either to be a high percentage play. You hit deep in order to draw a weaker shot that you can hit at an angle or DTL.

    As for hitting a sharp angle, you have to wait for a shorter shot that you can take in front of the baseline that sits up. That's what opens up the angle that pulls your opponent off of the court, or may even be a winner if you nail your spot. Even if your opponent gets the ball back, he's usually so far out of position you can hit the next ball down the middle for a winner.

    PS: I read your link and I think the writer is saying the same thing I'm saying. This, in particular: "On one hand you need depth to keep your opponent from going wide against you, and you also need to force him to hit a slightly shorter ball to allow you to hit those so important angles." The short ball, that sits up above the net, is what opens up the angle for you. Of course modern stroke production with its heavy topspin is what makes it possible.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
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  11. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    That was exactly my point in the article.
     
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  12. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    I agree with you, and I also believe the shorter, heavily topspun ball is effective in keeping people pinned behind the baseline, if one has the skill to hit such a ball. I have heard tennis commentators speak as if pros were literally aiming for the lines... and I was curious as to whether this was true, that they were intentionally doing so, which is what prompted my question.
     
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  13. BU-Tennis

    BU-Tennis Semi-Pro

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    When commentators say aiming for the lines, they are usually referring to low ranked players playing top players, i.e. they have to go for tough shots constantly to win because their normal shots are too weak and would be crushed by bigger hitting players.

    We used to see a lot less angles in the game, because topspin was not nearly as prevalent, or even possible due to racket and string technology. Depth used to be key. Now with all the topspin, someone like Nadal can hit a ball bouncing even before the service line, but still keep an opponent pinned back (of course, this was on courts like clay which really accepted the spin, and he had to flatten our his strokes to win Wimbledon and the US Open). And of course, this greater topspin allows you to hit sharper angles because of the safety and the ball dropping down so fast.

    But I think for the person reading these forums, depth would be more important. I have won countless matches by simply keeping balls deep and down the middle and waiting for a short ball to hit even deeper down the middle, with more pace, and just overpowering my opponent.
     
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  14. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I don't think it is a simple situation how they get to what they are doing,
    so I mostly comment on the result they end up with.

    Honestly I think the pros do want to hit pretty deep and close to the lines, as in general,
    their coaching is much the same as what we get.
    It would clearly be an awesome force if they could actually do this and make enough shots. We often see players do just that when they over-match their much weaker opponents and DJ often it did during his rise to the top 5.

    IMO the difference is that most often players that have risen thru the ranks have quite a few qualities, such as hitting a great ball, moving well, and being very competitive;
    But,
    one of the often unmentioned qualities is that the top players are the ones who use the court and adapt their targets the best for their style of hitting. The single most important quality a player can have is to consistently make shots that do not leave them at great risks. As they play, IMO they drift and adjust their intent for shots they know they can make. THis often leads to more margin on the majority of shots, especially as they work and set up the point. Over time thru many matches they learn intuitively where they can, and where they cannot put the ball at certain speeds and spin, based on the 2 important factors. The first factor is what they can consistently make and the second is the amount of risk/reward the target engenders. It becomes somewhat automatic for them over time.

    IMO, above is probably how they generally get to how the top players operate, but my attempt is to help make that process much more efficient by charting and showing the result of all their years of intuitive progress. IMO it is even helpful for them to know this info consciously, as sometimes they they unconsciously drift away from these learned best practices. The grand idea of hitting very deep and close to the lines is probably still embedded in the conscious mind, which could account for one of the reasons that thinking too much can adversely effect play.
     
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  15. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    A good player thinks, "these are my shots and I have made them often, so I can make them today";
    then is very disappointed when he can't do it against another strong player, wondering what happened.

    A superior player realizes that a tougher opponent makes a bigger margin necessary due to the quality of the balls he will face, and
    is ready and prepared to make this adjustment.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Of course, you need both.
    Stress for years has been solely on depth.
    With more topspin, more angles, but you gotta hit it SHORT, to create more angles.
    So you need both.
    Rabbits tend to cover depth quite well, and need to stretch for angles.
    Slowfooted can be beat by either.
    Don't forget the defensive jam at the opponent baseliner, to take away HIS angles and depth.
     
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  17. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Great discussion. I am practicing/formulating a low risk strategy for myself to be more effective against seasoned players (junk doesn't work!), and this helps greatly - thanks.
     
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  18. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Maybe take a look at what I call my "Smart Targets".
    Think of a long oval that extends from about 1 ft inside the svc line to about 7 ft past the svc line and set about a foot from the sideline with a width of about4-5 feet.
    For singles I use one of these near both side T's.

    For dubs these 2 slide over and cover the side T's and a third is added for the center T. I also teach to avoid this 3rd area at the center T for singles, as sort of an anti-target.

    If you use solid pace and/or spin, these targets will work for 80%+ of your shots. In the rally or on deeper mid ct ball attacks, we use the deeper aspect of the ovals, and for short ball attacks and volleys we will often use the part just short and at the svc line for bigger angles.
    Exceptions to the these targets are taught for lobs, dropshots, etc...
    But it is amazing how much of targeting these "smart targets" will provide.
     
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  19. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    ^^^ That sounds like a great idea, 5263. I will rent a ball machine and give this a workout.
     
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  20. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    a ball machine is a good way, cause most hitting partner practice players won't enjoy the challenge you will present when hitting with this approach, lol.
    It offers a pretty good margin for error while putting tough challenges on the opp, especially the cleaner you hit the ball.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
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  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Smart targets work well, unless the opponent knows them and camps out behind your target. Also, sometimes the opponent can affect you shots by hitting HIS shots.
     
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  22. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    He can only camp out behind one of them lee, so for that you just hit to the other one of the two.
    He would be really helping you out to camp on one of them, which would really open the court to the other one.

    As to your other comment, that is the whole point of smart targets that have lots of margin for error. When his shots affect yours, it takes way more of that effect to make you miss. Even you would have to admit that you are more likely to miss due to his shots if YOUR shots are aimed for extreme depth or very close to the lines than you would be with these targets with good margin.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
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  23. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I hope you got a chance to watch Ferrer today. I watched a few games before bed and he was like a clinic on the "Smart Targets" I described.
    It was neat to watch a guy who really gets the most out of his game.
     
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  24. 10sLifer

    10sLifer New User

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  25. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I think it also depends on the type of opponent you play. against slower footed players you should play wide a lot.

    but against an angle specialist often hard and deep through the middle might be a good strategy because if you angle him he will use that to counter angle you even more which is exactly his game.
     
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  26. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    A factor yes, but an even more important one is an individual's skill set. And the development of it. All of this theory is somewhat moot, if you can't work the ball in different ways. We are not playing wii tennis, with access to all the shots. Creating reasonable depth and directional control (without it coming at the expense of consistency) takes mucho practice, and creating angles is based on the ownership of higher spin rates. Point is, many would benefit more from developing a working knowledge of how to work the ball. This is the tough part.
     
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  27. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    We have a really interesting talk going on here :)

    Yesterday I saw Nadal playing Lopez at the Aus Open. If we watch carefully we can see that 80% (or more) of the times Nadal's ball is hit just beyond the service line and even sometimes before.

    Its amazing the small number of times that they go for the lines.

    So...why should we??? :)
     
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  28. thug the bunny

    thug the bunny Professional

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    Good topic. I spent a lot of time up until recently trying to get more depth on my rally shots. Then I started watching and tracking the depth on shots from pro matches. I was surprised to observe as 5263 and others have said here, that a great majority of pro rally balls land around the service line, just like mine! And all this time I thought this was inadequate. So now as long as I put good pace and spin on my shots I don't care if they land short, they will still keep my opp behind the BL. For variety though I will still hoist some up higher with spin and try to make it land deep, but it's a more tricky shot for me.
     
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  29. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    It has more to do with the point of contact of the opponent with the ball. You can hit the service line and be a short ball or you can hit the baseline, but because the ball has more speed and spin it has the same effect as a longer ball because the opponent will make contact with the ball far behind.... unless they can consistently hit the ball on the rise...
     
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  30. thug the bunny

    thug the bunny Professional

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    Yes! Well stated..although the more loopy deep TS ball will kick higher.
     
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  31. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, interesting talk here.
    Thug, glad you are seeing how it can work for you!

    So Luish, great point you recognize. If the pros that make it into the second week don't have to hit that close to the lines, why should we?
    And as Bhupaes mentions, when they do hit one near the lines, often that could be using of that margin of error and not their intent, so probably even small number where they really target near a line.

    Of course my point is to stay aggressive, but to choose other ways such as pace, spin, and hitting away from them to put them on the move.
    If we become that angles specialist, then we have much less to fear from them! Not saying the angles must be that severe, but a specialist in knowing which angle when, and how.
     
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  32. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    So I counted djokos shots during a few games with Hewit. Djoko does in fact hit id say 75% of his shots near the service line. that is how he is working the point. with angles. Very interesting as I have thought about this exact same thing before. Why hit deep all the time? More chance for errors. Just hit hard with spin and shorter. I would imagine my UE rate would go way down and I would win more matches against tougher players. I will make a point of trying this. NOT going deep and substituting more short angle more often.
     
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  33. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Your UE rate will only go down if you hit angles in high percentage situations. First, hitting wide is just as much of an UE as hitting long. Second, you can't hit much of an angle from the middle of the court, or from deep behind the baseline. If you go for short angles from those positions, you increase your risk of UE, and of giving your opponent a short shot to attack.
     
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  34. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry, but the above just doesn't show experience of working with this. No Way is hitting wider going to give you the same chance of UE as trying to hit very deep unless your topspin is pretty weak. With practice at working wider, you can keep a 3-5' margin for error, which is way easier to manage than depth for that same margin due to how strokes work. That's why most of the best Pros most often do it this way despite the conventional wisdom. It's what Dj changed to hit that next level.

    Saying your angles are limited from way deep behind your BL is just filler that is not part of this convo, as of course any 3.0 knows that, but
    from the middle of the court even near the BL, your angles will be effective as good or better due to certain advantages there. One of these advantages is having the choice to go with your better wing for the shot you pick. Another advantage you can stack on top of the last one, is that on a middle ball, you get to target your opponents weaker side (or avoid his stronger side). You can't say enough about how important stacking those 2 factors can be! Both "smart targets" discussed are still fully available from the middle of the court and the opponent can't know which one you will go with as well as there is some angle to both sides. Big advantage! When you hit an angle from one side or the other (not the middle) there is one big angle, but on the other side it's more a dtl with little to no angle. In this case you may not get to choose your better wing either.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
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  35. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Great to see people charting and noticing what the best Pros are doing!

    You have the key, hit good pace and spin, and your UE's will plummet. The biting TS will allow you to clear the net easy, get the ball back down quicker and make it kick on the bounce. If they try to attack these balls the will rack up the UEs big time or they are just way out of your league anyway, so nothing was going to help. Another cool thing about this is when you start cracking it hard at these safer targets, many of your shots will tend carry a bit, giving you a mix of depth at times without missing long. All THis will help you play tougher against players that may be too good for you as well and this is a type of win in my book.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
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  36. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Why indeed?
    Nadal is playing a baseliner DETERMINED to stay back. We might not be.
    If Nadal does it, should we? Only if you want to win by outrunning your opponent. What if you can't?
    Do we have Nadal's mental outlook? Some of us does, lots don't.
    Short loopy high net clearance is the safest shot. If it's not attacked with a great approach shot, the pros can produce the dipping pass. THE PROS.
    We are not pros.
     
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  37. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    No body is advocating loopy Topspin! If that is your version of TS, you are right, don't do this.
    Also don't do it if you don't have the vision to see these lines. If you can't see them in your mind, it's likely your UEs will not improve. Some players really have a sense of "line of shot" paths and can use them. Some are blind to them.

    But if you can crank up some pace with a biting topspin, then this will work well for BL or getting to net. These same "smart targets" work great for low skidding slices as well for approaching net this way, but if your slices are loopy sitters, of course they won't be effective either! See how that works?
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The modern topspin forehand is hit with extreme rackethead speed, very closed racketface, short in distance, looped well higher than the netcord, and depth is not a criteria, placement is. That is your "loopy" topspin forehand.
     
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  39. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    it is an interesting idea that I have at times thought about. Never hurts to try. Can't argue with results. If I win more then it works for me. Time will tell.

    Also I can't deny what I am seeing how the pros are hitting. shorter with more angle. I am not a pro obviously but I am also far from a hack so I can actually try the same tactics because I can actually hit the shots if I choose.
     
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  40. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Your comments would tend to indicate that you don't actually play tennis. If you try to hit an angle and you hit it 5 feet from the sideline, you are likely giving your opponent a short attackable ball. Further, the OP's link spoke specifically about your opponent hitting deep to prevent you from hitting angles. Either you didn't read the OP's link, or you didn't understand it. Perhaps you also missed the OP's post in which he agreed that he agreed with my premises. Clearly, his article is saying the same thing I'm saying, all of which seems to be beyond your comprehension.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
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  41. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Yeah, I saw it. Great match, and very instructive too. This AO is shaping up to be a really good one, although I had hoped to see Roddick or Fish get to at least the QFs. Ah well...
     
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  42. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    When approaching down the line, hit a little deeper. Takes time away from
    your opponent. Of course hitting more towards the service box on crosscourt
    will give more angle.
     
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  43. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Once again, that can depend on the position of your opponent and his physical skills.
    Some guys HATE to approach the service line. You can approach short DTL against them.
    Some guys eat up short approaches, because they can position themselves into proper hitting position while moving forwards. Don't hit short approaches to them.
     
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  44. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Right answer...

    ...and it sort of points out that the best are all court players. Djoko, Federer, Murray, and, to an extent, Nadal, can hit through the court, hit angles, whatever. If you have variety in your game, then you've got a better chance, IMHO, in coming up with a winning strategy against a variety of opponents...
     
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  45. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I dont know limp. Even at 5 ft from the sideline. If the ball lands at the service line it will bounce away off the court if you originally hit the ball 2 feet from the center hash going cross court. Assuming of course you are hitting with a nice amount of pace and using spin to drop the ball there. The ball lands and kicks up and away. I counted numerous times where djoko did exactly that in the Hewitt match. He would then take a step for an inside out fh and go to hewits bh side. Ran the poor guy like a yoyo.
    I think the key is pace and spin. So that it is not an attack able ball. Even then djoko was not nailing these shots. Mid paced with a lot of top. I think its a lot like ping pong actually how the ball arcs in these rallys. Nadal does this too. But I only really started paying attention to djoko since he happened to be on the TV.
    Fed does not seem to do this as often as djoko.
     
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  46. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Ahh! My mistake! I was talking about mere mortals, like you and me, not Djoko and Fed. I take it all back!
     
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  47. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Lmao.... you can't even hit a short cross court ball? Lol.
    Its probably easier than your deep cross court ball you keep going on about. Remember the guys you play are probably close to retirement anyways so the few more steps you make them run actually might let you win a match or two.
    Your more of a hack than I thought. Your too much limp. Remember you are not playing a pro. So its all relative to our own competition. If its not why do you keep going on about high percentage play and such if you are not a pro? After all. Its the way the pro player play. Maybe you should stay with bunting the ball down the middle with a pan cake grip like I imagine as your preferred style. Hey its high percentage!
     
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  48. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Remember in an earlier posts I mentioned some can't see or envision these shot lines. It takes vision to use the court well and some just don't have it; so it's a waste to try to show them. I've got 13 yr olds hitting these shots that will be glad to know they are immortal, as I must as well. lol
    Funny how people who can't do certain things will try to tell others how it can't be done; even if the others are already doing it. ; )
    As you say, the challenge of these targets is far and away less than hitting for super depth.
    And excellent point above in bold, as this idea seems beyond many in these discussions. They don't realize that at the lower levels you can get away with far more, not less.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
    #48
  49. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    Arche, Don't you think you should put down the crack pipe and sober up before your next hitting session with Djoko and Ralph. Hahaha!
     
    #49
  50. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,404
    limp,
    on a more upbeat note. Looks like Fed got wind of your post on his TS Bh, as on every slo-mo they show of it, he appears to be getting that arm straight early in the stroke and is hitting it quite nice so far. Maybe due to Del Potro's flatter shots, but I think Fed's Bh has been said to be sharp thru the event so far.
     
    #50

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