I beat the guy 60 60 and he called me "a pusher!"

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Gonzalito17, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    I see so many players who have nice strokes and hit the ball nice and hard - but they have zero creativity, they hit the same shots the same speed, the same height over the net, EVERY SINGLE TIME. They keep trying to hit the ball the same way every time thinking hoping that one day all their shots will eventually fall in. But it never happens. These are all smart people too, but they play stupid tennis. You have to have variety and trickery to win. You have to mix it up, hit slow balls, high balls, deep balls, short balls, diff spins, you have to push, give no pace, put the opponent in places on the court he doesn't like to be, make him generate pace if he doesn't like to on his own. It's confounding how many intelligent people out there play such dumb tennis. Adding pushing to their reportoire would make them more complete players with extra dimensions to their games. The more weapons in your arsenal, the more methods you have to win points, the better player you will be.
     
  2. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    :confused:

    I don't get it, why won't the balls ever go in? Why do you have to "mix it up" for your shots to go in, for your strokes to improve?

    I'm an uncreative aggresive player and what I do with my time on the court is not think about my opponent but rather correct my own technical errors. I have no interest in mind games or winning ugly, my interest is hitting the ball beautifully and let the chips fall where they may.

    If I can technically execute my game, I win. I loose, when I make mistakes. It is about me, not the other guy and I like to keep it that way.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  3. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    NO, you do not have to play this way. I agree it is easier to have success using unusual strategies that confound your opponent. Aditionally having variety can only help your game.

    However, striving for an elegant game that looks and feels like Federer is not stupid. Perhaps it is not realistic, but I am perfectly fine with striving to be more Sampras-like in my game rather than just winning.

    And I truly belive that when I was a 3.5 I could have more quickly become a 4.0 by resorting to skulldugery, but by refining my game I improved slowly at first and more rapidly of late. The result is that I moved past 4.0 and I dont think that would have happened if I spent all of my time learning how to trick my opponent rather than working on my backhand.
     
  4. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    Gonzalito17,

    I think you were unkind to him, perhaps unintentionally, with your post match comments. I can understand you getting competitive during a friendly match and playing to win, but it is quite another thing to kick the guy down while he's trying to understand why he lost. Especially as you don't seem to be friends or colleagues.

    A related story. I remember playing a friend of mine on clay courts who would always hit high/deep topspin balls to my backhand, which i found difficult to return properly. He would do it all the time. I know what he was doing, but it still worked. It was frustrating. It was not fun to play him, but he never gave me a lecture about how important it is to play to win. However, I could take the odd joke about his strategy because we were friends.

    Eventually i developed a strong backhand slice and am working on taking the ball early with a topspin backhand. Now, I can handle his high/deep topspin shot to my backhand. He still beats me easily, he's a much better player, but now he has to do more than just hit the same shot over and over again. It is fun to play him now.

    The guy you played knows what you did to beat him, but he doesn't have the strokes or strategy to counter your pushing style. It is frustrating to him. Telling him he should play to win is just rubbing salt in his wounds and not good form. I think you should have more empathy for opponents who are less able than you if you are just playing a friendly match.
     
  5. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    there are two guys I know who play like this. My hitting partner refuses to play with them. He says it's better to practice against the wall than to play with them because their rally would last at most 3 hits. Either the ball lands in and is un-returnable or it would hit the fence. I play with them anyway and usually i would spend more time retrieving the balls than hitting the balls.
    funny thing was, one day these two guys played each other and they were pissed with how the other person was playing (going for broke on the first shot). They no longer talk and simply ignore each other whenever they run into each other at the tennis courts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  6. dyldore

    dyldore Rookie

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    If you are playing in practice with a 3.0 level topspin fh/bh and then when you play matches you hit like a 1.5, underhanded and just trying to get the ball in, you are a pusher.

    No one outside of fledglings push in practice, because there is nothing to lose by going for a real shot. Pushers can only be found in matches.

    Luckily, pushers don't exist in matches past a certain skill level because pushing is not viable once your opponent has any sort of consistency. That is my real beef with pushing, it lets them win for a couple of months while everyone is learning, but after those wins, they will never win again.
     
  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Play your normal game.
    You gain nothing by pushing to win.
    You gain nothing by crushing the ball out mostly and win...or likely lose.
     
  8. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    Well, some of those pushers that forum members have met aren't really pushers. They are high level players who decide to toy with them.
    Some years ago, I met this guy at a table tennis club. He would always beat me by 3 or 4 points. Later on we became friends and I found out how good he was. He played like a machine among table tennis players at his level.

    High level tennis players are like that too. They don't play their best shots when playing lower level players.
    Let's say you are a 4.5 player and you agree to hit with a 2.0 player. Would you hit 4.5 level strokes at the 2.0 player at every opportunity to prove your superiority? I don't think so.

    Skip to 3:11 to see how a WTA pro would play two 2.0 players.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIa_h9pQoMI
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  9. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    You have to develop your hands, so they can handle and hit any kind of ball, instead of being limited to just hitting nice fancy flat shots. You develop your hands by hitting all kinds of different shots, even push shots well located. "Hitting the ball beautifully" is one dimensional tennis and it's easy for a multi-dimensional player to handle.
     
  10. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    Relinquis, the guy challenged me. The gulf between my game and his is about the same gulf between my game and Djokovic. If I had the nerve to challenge Djokovic and lost 0-6 0-6, I would pay him big respect and thank him profusely for the time and free lesson and special experience.
     
  11. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    Well said Mick. Hey Mick do you happen to play in Payne Park Sarasota?
     
  12. dyldore

    dyldore Rookie

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    I agree. I'm not suggesting that anyone who sometimes pushes the ball back is a pusher. Especially if they're just doing it so they can rally with a 2.0 or whatever.

    It would be pushing if it's an inconsistent 3.0 using pushing against a 2.0 because they want to win more than they want to practice their real strokes.
     
  13. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    nope. I play at West Valley College in Northern California :)
     
  14. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    talking about pushing, one night some years ago, two old guys asked my hitting partner and I to play doubles. We agreed and my hitting partner decided to push. I would rate him at 4.5 because he had beaten 4.5 players. The old guys were probably 3.5+

    Well, the old guys thought my hitting partner was the weaker link because of his pushing strokes with no follow through. (he just blocked the ball, 1.5 stroke like you described). That night, the old guys pretty much lost all of the rally exchanges with him and then the sets and match and left without shaking hands. I am pretty sure they were more upset with my hitting partner than me because they hit most of the balls to him :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  15. Mick

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    Gonzalito, i am confident if you got to hit with Djokovic you could keep the rally going for a long time (since Djokovic would feed nice balls for you to hit) and he would be quite impressed. that's cool thing about having consistency.

    Whereas, if Djokovic rallied with a player who had no consistency and always tried to go for winner, he probably would cut the session short :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  16. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    that kind of illustrates my point. you can't understand his feelings and why he is upset with you.

    i can only speculate as i wasn't there. maybe it just wasn't a fun experience for him to play you. in his mind, he didn't get anything out of it.
     
  17. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    Exactly Mick. I actually did get to hit with a guy this year ranked around 1400 in the ATP and I was able to handle his ball and be consistent and give him a decent hit. But it was definitely a lot of work to keep up with the quicker pace, felt so rushed and awkward compared to hitting with 4.5 5.0 players.
     
  18. Gonzalito17

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    He clearly expected to be able to beat me or play it close, he did not fathom a double bagel. It was excruciating for him. He overestimated his game and underestimated my game. There are a lot of delusional players out there. lol
     
  19. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    No I don't have to.

    "Multi-dimentional" players that have been playing as long as I usually can't impose their game in the match. I serve somewhere between 90-100mph on my first and 80+ on my second and I'm usually on the attack for the rest of the point. On the return of serve I'm also very aggressive, unless they can serve 80+, that puts me into offensive position in a point opening as well.

    Does versatility matter when you are mostly just defending and trying to hang on?

    There is TONS to learn here, Aside from driving "flat-shots", there is a range of different forehand and backhand techniques to aggressively place the ball where you want it. From meeting the ball flat on-the-rise to heavy top-spin cross court shots.

    Given that I don't train full time and have started playing only about 5 years ago I feel my time is best spent refining these aggressive skills.

    There is really only one exception that I felt I needed to add - the occasional drop-shot fake on a put away shot by the net, just because the defender is expecting a deep blast and can sometimes guess the correct side to cover.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  20. Gonzalito17

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    Anton, I've seen many players like you. You come out on the weekend and expect winners to fall in over the place, like you expect to look like Berdych or Gulbis. It takes a lifetime of sacrifice to be able to play like that. As a part timer like you say, only at it for five years, I think you'd be better off playing smarter, working on consistency, varying your attacks and tactics, work on fitness and movement. Part timers who try to be ball bashers like Del Potro, Berdych and Gulbis are going to experience immense frustrations.

    There used to be a guy ten years ago in our 3.5 4.0 league like you. he was an excellent athlete, in good shape, he'd come out in his sharp Nike outfit and look just great in the warmup. But once the match started, he played mindless tennis, just trying to crack his big shots and end the point afap. He'd play about four or five nice points a set with clean winners. But the rest, ahem...he lost every match by either 60 60 or 61 62, all in that ballpark. Every week the same story for two years he kept trying and trying the same just go for it approach - and get the same results. No adjustments, no change of tactics, just hitting out on every ball. Oh he looked like a fine player but his winless record spoke for itself. You sound like the same exact type of player. Wish you the best
     
  21. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    You knew some guy with aggressive game that never improved, so you know me and other players that like to be on the offensive?

    I don't know what your league is like but there are no true 4.0s that I'd be uncompetetive with, let alone lose a bagel to.

    There are REASONS why he only played 5 nice points. I constantly work on finding reasons and I do constantly make adjustments to my technique to address them. This guy that you knew did not need to throw out everything that was good about his game and start picking up ugly tennis habbits to get better. Staying relaxed, hitting 8/10 vs 10/10, recognizing opportunities, smoothenning out the form, getting set better and earlier etc. there many many ways to get better without giving up the strengths of what you do.

    Yours is not the only way to play.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  22. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    I forget what year it was but Rod Laver gave commentary on the first round match between James Blake and Donald Young at the US Open. Laver said in his opinion Blake could become a better player if he didn't hit hard all the time. He believed it was better to go for the hardest shot at the best times, not all the time.
     
  23. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    What Lever didn't say was that Blake should stop being aggressive player and start grinding matches and get better at pushing the ball. :lol:
     
  24. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    In today's game at the Pro-level, if you could win matches through pushing, you have got to be some sort of a genius. Even the amateur ranks, you throw in a nothing ball, and the other guy is gonna put that ball away. Not easy to win matches without a weapon and by definition, pushers don't have a weapon except for their consistency.
     
  25. Gonzalito17

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    Every point he played was a nice point -- if you didn't pay attention to where most all his shots landed (well out or in the net). I'm sure his game is like your's just get the ball back and wait for the inevitable errors. Patience and consistency are very important to playing successful tennis. PS, it is not an 'ugly tennis habit' if you win points with the shot and if you put the ball in a part of the court the opponent is uncomfortable with. That's smart tennis. It's all about winning the point, not who hits the nicer shots with the nicer form for the gallery. Sounds like you are a player that would rather lose pretty than win ugly Anton. And that's fine, diffrent strokes for different folks.
     
  26. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    I remember that Mick. Fred Stolle said the same thing in different words. Blake was a great player when he was on but too one dimensional. You just always knew what was coming. But boy when he was on he played some flashy exciting tennis.

    Blake defended his tactics by saying he just could not try to play finesse tennis, he had to go for broke, it was just his nature and the most comfortable way for him to play. Hard to question Blake as he got to #4 in the world and had a very successful long career with many superb wins over the likes of Nadal, Fed, Agassi, Hewitt, Roddick, and the Davis Cup final vs. Russia. He won ten titles too I think.
     
  27. Gonzalito17

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    Every ATP player, any player with an ATP point has some kind of weapon, at least one, and they are all light years beyond being called "a pusher" by uneducated tennis fans.
     
  28. Gonzalito17

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    I think Laver meant Blake would be better off by developing his defensive and neutral games. Going all out on offense is a very very difficult way to succeed in tennis on any level. Most who try, end up amassing huge unforced error totals and consequently, dismal losing records.
     
  29. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    If it was all "nice point" he would win.

    For me winning a match is not a goal, my goal is to refine my game long term. This belief in itself, the view beyond the match, allows me to relax and execute as I can during practice. Nothing good has ever come out of abandoning my strengths in the middle of a match.


    Gonza, I'm curious, about what is your NTPR level?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  30. Gonzalito17

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    4.5 -- maybe we should settle this debate on the court )
     
  31. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    Which way is more fun for a player seeking to improve, Gonzalito17's or Anton's?

    To generalise the two approaches:

    - Consistency focus (advanced pushing): Focusing on consistency and not approaching one's limits gives us the joy of winning more matches, but not as much fun on the court.

    - Playing at the limit (with adjustments due to failures): One would probably have more fun on the court, with a few memorable shots per set, but the defeats will be soul crushing against opponents who focuse on one's current weaknesses.


    tl;dr ... What's more important: the joy of winning, or excitement of playing a good point?
     
  32. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    I may be coming to Fort Myers around Miami Open time. ;)
     
  33. Mick

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    the answer is it depends on the individual :)

    my hitting partners all like to team up with consistent players when playing doubles. Generally, these guys would set up the points for their partners to score. Whereas, players who play at the limit usually would attempt to make the difficult shots on their own. It is fun for them but not for their doubles partners.
     
  34. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    The fun of tennis is winning points. The more points you win, what every way you do it, the funner it is, because you know you are outplaying and outsmarting your opponent. Tennis is about figuring out how to beat your opponent with your arsenal of shots and tactics. Too many players think it's about form and walloping the ball and hoping it goes in for a winner like they see on TV. No. Tennis is more like a chess match than a target shooting competition.
     
  35. Gonzalito17

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    Im in NYC right now for the next week )
     
  36. Gonzalito17

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    Exactly, players like it appears Anton is, in doubles make a horrific amount of errors and wreck the match. They try to hit too many great shots and fail. Singles and doubles is about not making errors, being consistent and setting up your partner and or opening up the court. Too many players, like Anton appears to be, just try to go for broke and end the point on a flashy winner which most likely ends up in the net or three feet long. They try to create the winner when it's just not there with high risk low percentage tennis. I play with a guy who doesn't look good at all, weird strokes but he has an unusual ability to just get the ball back against much more taleted players, and also to make amazing volleys. We won every doubles match we played all year, about 150 sets. A few close calls from 2-5 down but we won every match, only dropping two sets all year. Again, he doesn't hit the ball well or with any spins but he understands the key to tennis is just get the ball over the net and apply pressure at certain times. He is a decent singles player but much more effective at doubles.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  37. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    Great - where do you want to play?

    I work full time but can do evenings or the weekend
     
  38. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    Correction - the fun of tennis FOR YOU is winning points.


    This is what I was talking about from your very first post - you are in it to win points, so it is no wonder why you get all huffy and puffy when god forbid a lower player asked you to play. Winning points against him wasn't fun for you because to you, tennis is all about competition.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  39. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    Or they do not.

    I think you are being a little hard headed about this.

    There are offensive players and there are defensive players - AT ALL LEVELS. To say that playing defensively is the only way to play tennis is ridiculous.
     
  40. Gonzalito17

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    We can play at midtown or vanderbilt at grand central, or outdoors if it's not too cold. nights are best this week or next weekend.

    it's all in good fun Anton, no? Defense is an integral part of tennis, if you can't unleash winners like Rosol or Soderling, you have to be able to play strong defense and counterpunch. Errors kill.
     
  41. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    Did you, self described 4.5, play these doubles in a 3.5/4.0 league?
     
  42. Gonzalito17

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    no, he challenged me to a match. When you play a match, yes it's all about competing and trying to win. That's why you keep score, no?
     
  43. Gonzalito17

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    not a league, just a group of players all around 4.o and 4.5 level.
     
  44. dizzlmcwizzl

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    NO .... if all you want to do is win points then play against 3.0 men and push the ball until they miss.

    There must be some element of how you earned the point in order for it to mean something. I will agree that if you were playing a 5.5 former division I player and just kept running everything down until they errored then you would have something to be proud of. But I suspect that you would be even happier you could control the points and run that same 5.5 all over the court.
     
  45. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    No, I play matches, for the same reason I practice - to play tennis.
     
  46. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    LOL. I am following this thread with great enjoyment, mainly because I have heard this same debate rage on for years. Apparently a lot of players seem to believe it has to be all one way or the other---it doesn't. Most of us on here aren't suggesting that "pushing" is the best or most desired style of play. Geez, if I had a 5.0-6.0 arsenal of skills, I would attempt much bigger shots and play more aggressively as well. But that's because I would have the ability to make that style work and win with it. It is ludicrous to expect players at the 3.0-3.5 level to use the same style of play as 5.0-6.0 players. Yes, those lower-rated players need to be willing to improve and add to their arsenal of shots, develop bigger and better shots and a larger variety of them if they want to become better players. But guys, the thing is that if those players try to play that bigger game all the time where they are, they will make a huge number of errors and lose a lot of matches 6-0, 6-0. I have seen it too many times. Then most of them grow disenchanted and sour on the game, frequently giving it up entirely because they believe they will never be able to get better or be competitive at any higher level of play. Instead of telling them not to push, or telling them to go for big shots to better their skills, they should be encouraged to do what works best for them, while here and there, as the occasion and opportunity presents itself, try some bigger and more challenging shots. In a tournament or league match, use what works best for you, whatever it takes to get your best possible result. But in practice matches work on your game, attempting shots that are at the top of or just beyond your skill level. In that situation you are not necessarily trying to win but are working on improving your skill set for the matches when winning IS the goal. In practice matches, go for a bit more on your first serve than you normally would. Hit out a bit more on groundstrokes. Try some shots you wouldn't normally feel really comfortable trying. As you get better and your skills improve, you will find those shots less challenging and more a routine part of your repertoire. I will say this---all other shot-making skills being equal, the player with the greatest consistency will win the match 9 times out of 10. Yes, occasionally a player will have an afternoon when he plays out of his head and nothing you do makes any difference against him, but that is by far the exception. If a player has solid big strokes, by all means use them. But if not, he is better hitting good shots that go in 95% of the time than he is attempting great shots that go in 20% of the time. If it is only about hitting hard and loving that, then play however you want. But if it is about maximizing your ability and your chances of beating your opponent, and about developing your overall game, your head is as least as important as your arm on the court. Develop your game all you want in practice matches---try any shot you wish and play balls-to-the-wall if you like. But in matches that matter, hit the very best shots you can consistently repeat. It is the best formula for winning regardless of your level. Fed, Rafa, Nole, Serena, Vica---they all play to their strengths. The smart club players do the same.
     
  47. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    I don't know Anton. Winning the points when playing against players at your level is fun. I see players from Professionals to Amateurs cheer after they have won a hard fought point. I have never seen a player scream "YES" after he lost a hard fought point :)
     
  48. Anton

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    My eyes hurt to read this :)

    Got paragraphs?
     
  49. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    3,125
    Location:
    Staten Island
    I like working on my technique and getting better. So I personally prefer to rally, rather then compete.
     
  50. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2011
    Messages:
    2,312
    Location:
    Bradenton, FL
    The best joy in tennis is playing a superior player and finding a way to win. This week I played a former college player and we played five 21 games over two days. He hits better than me, the observers all thought he was winning, but I have more variety and mix it up more I won four out of five games, all the scores were close 22-20, 21-18, 21-19. So you can imagine how hard fought and evenly matched we were. Incredible tennis, every ball was a fight, no free points from either side. It felt so incredible to win these games which all came down to one or two shots and many amazing shots. This is the only way to get better I feel, to play better players and find and figure out a way to win. You don't get better beating overmatched partners though that does maintain your game and confidence. But the only way to improve is to overcome a superior player by surprising yourself and raising your game, which is hard to do. And you learn as much from winning as you do losing IMO.
     

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