Modern Tennis Tips by Oscar Wegner

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Wegner, Dec 24, 2012.

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  1. Wegner

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    The Frame

    In older times the ball was adressed squarely with the strings.

    In modern tennis you approach the ball with the racquet’s frame, the upper edge, starting from below the ball for topspin, the lower edge, starting from above for slice.

    Tennis today is more of brushing, massaging, deflecting the ball.

    Not only is contact longer in this fashion, it also elicits spins and more control.

    Power is no longer the main consideration. Modern racquets and strings have great response and generate ball speed with a lesser effort that racquets of old.

    Even further, when you are looking at the ball you are about to strike, having the edges in mind increases your awareness of the racquet angle, especially of the vertical angle that determines the height of your shot.

    It is almost as if playing tennis with the hand. The fingers have feel, have awareness. The racquet has not.
     
  2. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    i actually like the fact, that you post the same things more than once. much like a teacher would expect to make certain points over and over, till the student can relate to it:)

    i am interested in something different. i was a very big fan of Bjorn Borg in my youth, and would lik to know, what your focus was in coaching him and getting his game back in shape. i assume you weren´t there for his match against Arrese in Monte Carlo but for the later comeback that he did.
     
  3. Wegner

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    Treblings, I reposted this article as an interesting viewpoint on racquet angle at impact, which was the latest point of discussion at the time. Thinking of the edges of the racquet makes you much more aware of the angle than if your focus on the angle of the center of the strings.

    The Arrese-Borg match was in 1991, and definitely a disaster. That is why I was asked by Bud Collins and the owner of the Colony in Longboat Key (Sarasota) in January 1992 if I would work with Bjorn, which I very willingly did for close to a month.

    The main focus was regaining his strokes, which he had lost (woud you believe he had changed to a forehand Eastern grip?), and his timing. It wasn't difficult once I reminded details of what he did at his prime. The famous match in the Wimbledon final with John McEnroe and how Borg (per his own recollection) saw the ball very slow (the Zone) was a good clue to regain his game. So was his topspin and height over the net and the fact that in that fashion he rarely missed.

    Bjorn was so tuned-in by February 20th, 1992, that in a practice with Pete Sampras indoors on hard courts he lost 7/5 7/6 with two set points in the second set. He told me at the finish: "Oscar, I have so much time now". That was the time he gave me a quote and permission to publish it, which is in the cover of my 2005 McGraw-Hill book.
     
  4. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    thanks for sharing, fascinating detail about the forehand grip:)
    so you basically guided Borg back to his roots and his old game? did you make adjustments to the fact, that the game of tennis and the racquet material had progressed within these ten years? if i remember correctly he used a modern graphite frame for his second comeback
     
  5. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Serve NOT scalable

    Greetings,
    I believe Bruce Elliot has a recent paper on the subject why serve is NOT scalable.
    I did NOT see the full paper,I believe I saw an abstract
    Regards,
    Julian
    The Effect of Age on Discrete Kinematics of the Elite Female Tennis Serve.
    David Whiteside, Bruce Elliott, Brendan Lay, Machar Reid
    School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, and also the Sport Science and Medicine Unit, Tennis Australia, Victoria, Australia.
    Journal of applied biomechanics (impact factor: 0.76). 12/2012;
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    Abstract
    The importance of the flat serve in tennis is well documented, with an abundance of research evaluating the service technique of adult male players. Comparatively, the female and junior serves have received far less attention. Therefore, the aims of this study were to quantify the flat serve kinematics in elite pre-pubescent, pubescent and post-pubescent female tennis players. Full body, racket and ball kinematics were derived using a 22-camera VICON motion capture system. Racket velocity was significantly lower in the pre-pubescent group than the two older groups. In generating racket velocity, the role of the serving arm appears to become more pronounced after the onset of puberty, while leg drive and 'shoulder-over-shoulder' rotation mature even later in development. These factors are proposed to relate to strength deficits and junior players' intentions to reduce the complexity of the skill. Temporally, coupling perception (cues from the ball) and action (body movements) is less refined in the pre-pubescent serve, presumably reducing the 'rhythm' (and dynamism) of the service action. Practically, there appears scope for equipment scaling to preserve kinematic relevance between the junior and senior serve and promote skill acquisition.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  6. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I could see how the serve might not be scale-able if as Dave Smith says,
    the wrong grips...etc...
    were used at the start, but seems all technique is scale-able from the right
    basics.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Not scalable under what conditions?
     
  8. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    I am away

    If you need it promptly please google for an abstract
    I do NOT have a laptop with me-very difficult to post using a Blackberry
    and being on a tennis court at the same time.
    Try to understand.

    Julian W.Mielniczuk
    Medfield High School Head Tennis Coach (Boys)
    Medfield,MA,USA
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  9. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Maybe I don't understand how scalable is meant, but this would seem to be
    him talking of ways the serve is-

    • Purposeful practise of internal rotation at the shoulder joint - this may be commenced at an early age, if an appropriate racket and ball are being used.
    When shoulder internal rotation should be introduced into the teaching sequence is a question with no real answer. It can be taught relatively early in the learning process, however, it certainly will not achieve its ultimate goal of dramatically increasing racket speed until the factors discussed in point 7, as well as muscle strength have been appropriately developed.

    probably not the correct link or correct paper to see the proper ref to the topic though
     
  10. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Ha ha. You know your a ttw junkie if your posting between first and second serves. :D
     
  11. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Scalable

    The word scalable is defined/used by Ash in post #90
    I am out of this pickle.
    I do NOT have a bone here,NOT even talking about a meat
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  12. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    No one is even arguing here. Just looking at the info.
     
  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That paper seems to suggest changing racket dimensions for younger ages
     
  14. tennisfan69

    tennisfan69 New User

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    Julian, in your coaching experience, do you think racquet size needs to be scaled in as the kid grows will help in mastering the technique. i have a 6 year old who is learning. if i give him a 25'' stick his serve is weak but may be gets more serves in across the net. but if give him a 23'' stick his technique is good and he is able to manage/manipulate the stick better.

    what is your thinking based on experience? other coaches can also explain please..thnx for the time
     
  15. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^Tennisfan - that's a whole other debate right there! Tennis pro's all over are fighting over the merits of ROG!

    Not speaking for Julian, but the simple answer (from my experience) is that yes, graduated racquets and balls do improve the speed at which the players can acquire skills, but they must be tied to an appropriate court size to be effective (hence the ROG systems). Whether you believe that is the best way to develop a player or not is another debate for another thread!

    Cheers
     
  16. tennisfan69

    tennisfan69 New User

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    i got a chance this past summer to meet Robert landsdorp (sampras coach) and Peter lundgren ( federers coach) and asked this question. they both dont seem to see any merit in ROG and 10 and under formats. they mentioned there is no statistical data to prove the ROG and 10U really helped any top pros in the past to be of any statistical importance. Rick Macci also believes in introducing full size recquets as early as possible.

    so from your experience have you seen the benefits of scaled equipments at later stages agewise
     
  17. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^I see the benefits in respect of kids from an early age being able to develop technically sound strokes more quickly and having more fun being able to actually play the game on an appropriate court, although I disagree with the mandatory age groups that we have had here for about 5 or so years and the ITF are pushing worldwide.

    Robert is Robert - he has his system, which has been successful in the past and could well be successful again - but maybe if he adapted to using graduated equipment he could be even more successful. Peter likely hasn't coached any under 10 tennis since ROG became more widespread.

    Whether ROG systems have long terms benefits is a bit of a moot point - as everybody has to do it now (if they want their u10's to compete anyway)!

    Not really empirical evidence, but here we have the strongest crop of juniors we have ever had at one time (most of whom grew up using graduated equipment).

    Cheers
     
  18. tennisfan69

    tennisfan69 New User

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    Thanks Ash, good point.
     
  19. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Try to get in touch with TCF

    Try to get in touch with TCF
     
  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It also depends on the frame's balance point. I have seen some kids play with frames where the head definitely seems to be too heavy for them, the way the racket moves during play. It is as if they are unable to control the lop-sided weight.
     
  21. tennisfan69

    tennisfan69 New User

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    Yes, definetly.. The smaller racquet means he is able to hold on the trophy position. If the racquet is big then less control there..
     
  22. Wegner

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    Correct, treblings. It was a modern racquet, and it was unbelievable how tight he strung it. He went back to his original grip towards a Western and hit the ball below the center, which helped him put more topspin and also keep the ball in. Amazing athlete, about 45 to 47 heartbeats per minute at rest.
     
  23. Wegner

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    Tennisfan, I would have the kid test both and listen as to his preference. Racquet preference can be different from person to person, including kids, and also dependent on amount of training ande experience. I would not put a hard rule on that based on age.
     
  24. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    That's the way I see it as well. It should be treated as a guide but not as a system where everyone gets put into the same mold. That's the big thing I do not like about all of this. Some juniors will develop faster, and will be more talented. I believe that the sooner you get them playing with full sized rackets the better however it needs to be taken on a case by case basis. The new system I think will delay the development of the top players, however I do see the benefit for the others. Thevproblem is not having regular full court, regular ball tournaments for U10.

    On a different topic, this forum is getting dull. We need to attract more posters to participate in meaningful discussions. The problem is its always the same handful of people discussing the same stuff over and over again. Beating a dead horse that died over 2 years ago. Then we get a thread that's since been deleted about how all these discussions are meaningless from a poster who's been most involved. Funny stuff.
    Anyways, this forum needs to attract more coaches and players to get better and different discussions going and not have them be interfered with certain people's agendas. Sadly, doubt that'll happen anytime soon and we'll be treated to more mindless and boring discussions that were covered back in 2009. No wondering this place is going downhill.
     
  25. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    we have the problem here in Austria, that if a kid is under 10 he/she´s not allowed to play tournaments with fullsize racquets on fullsize courts.
    i know at least one case personally where that is really hindering the development of a young boy.
    if you use this system intelligently, it´s a great learning tool though

    yes, i often wonder why not more high-profile coaches aren´t posting in this forum, when it is such a warm and welcoming place
     
  26. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    ....and they say Germans/Austrians don't have a sense of humour. :)
     
  27. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    we here in Austria say that about the Germans. and we know what we are talking about:)
     
  28. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Did you have to tell borg to hit below center or was it just a good consequence of switching back to western?
     
  29. tennisfan69

    tennisfan69 New User

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    thanks Oscar, the issue is also impatient parent like me. when he competes in a tournament we want his serve to get in as much as possible and win at an early stage itself. very impatient. :evil: sometimes short term success overrides long term benefits. but i will say this he feels much better when using smaller racquet.
     
  30. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    that´s what´s important:)
     
  31. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Is this a universal truth?
     
  32. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    more like his truth
     
  33. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    If you pull the racket in, and it in turn is in physical contact with the ball at impact, do you think it will pull the ball further in towards you or send it out at 80 mph? You can try it by leaving a ball on the court, touching it anyway you want with the racket at any angle you like, and pulling the racket. See if the ball comes in towards you or goes out speeding in the other direction.

    The Federer forehand consists of a tucking in of the arm (inwards pull) as part of the rotation before contact, followed by an extension towards the target at contact, eventually coming inwards again across the body after contact, the last phase being mostly due to the accumulated inertia and not a conscious action.
     
  34. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Fed hits a mostly straight arm Fh, so the pull to contact is a bit different.
    Of course there are many variations.
     
  35. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    I think what some folks are finding difficult to grasp is that the pulling in, which happens close to contact, is a composite action that incorporates up, across, and forward movement. It is simply a result of the human anatomy being what it is...
     
  36. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    good points, but I don't think it is a problem for those sincerely interested.
     
  37. Wegner

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    Arche, he hit naturally below the center as soon as he got back to his original grip. Correct. He did it whether he was aware of it or not. I didn't even have to mention it. I coach very delicately, sparsely, especially someone operating at such high level.
     
  38. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Thank you for the example, which I think shows that you are talking about backwards, which I think no one else here is implying when they use the word in. Perhaps we are better of with the term across.
     
  39. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yes, across is much better than yank or pull in as it is more accurate.
     
  40. FrisbeeFool

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    Serious question about addressing the ball with frame rather than the strings.

    I know I was as culpable as anyone for all the stupid modern vs traditional arguments. I apologize, and I'm trying to not act like a crazy person and let the anonymity of the net get the best of me.

    Back on topic though, serious question about addressing the ball with the frame rather than strings. When Federer and some of the other current players first came on the scene, to my naked eye, I thought it looked like they were doing something like this, although I would never word it that way, I did notice the more closed racket faces.

    I tried to copy this and do it in my own game. Never could. I just framed a lot of of balls and hit slow spinny balls that sat up. Oscar could you explain a little more how you coach players to address the ball with the frame. Would I have to change my grip to a more extreme variety, or can I keep my current grip and still accomplish this?

    Oscar could you also explain more the hitting the ball at the bottom of the strings near the frame? I am still very confused by this. I just always assumed on topspin shots the ball contacted the strings near the center of the strings or slightly above center, and as you hit low to high, the strings appear to be above the ball by the time it's left the racket and is going back towards your opponent?

    Oscar is this a visualization technique you use to help players start out with a closed racket face and then meet the ball out in front, or do you actually believe they're making contact near the bottom edge of the frame on groundstrokes?

    Oscar, after taking lessons for awhile from a coach, who offered me advice one might call "traditional" I've developed pretty decent groundstrokes. I don't really even think about the angle of the racket face on my groundstrokes. I think more about things like getting coiled early and following through fully.

    Do you think everybody should be thinking about addressing the ball with the frame, or only certain people with certain issues?

    Oscar, my racket face is closed somewhat in my backswing. But I accomplish this by thinking about turning my shoulders and coiling. I don't really manipulate my hand or change my grip at all in order to close the racket face. I feel like it happens on it's own if I coil my shoulders and get a good unit turn.

    Do you think my approach can work for me, or in order to see more improvement, would you recommend I focus more on my racket face angle. I just always assumed as players progressed and developed solid fundamentals, it was something they stopped worrying about...

    With your work with Borg, it sounds like he had tinkered with his grip over the years, and you helped him change his grip back to one he was more comfortable with. As you said, after the grip change, he addressed the ball with the frame on his own without thinking about it. If someone is comfortable with their current grip and is not having grip issues, should they worry about any of this? Is it more of a concern for certain people in certain situations?
     
  41. FrisbeeFool

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    Another question for Oscar: I heard people say that Jimmy Arias tinkered with his grip when he made the transition from higher bouncing courts to lower bouncing courts or vice versa one season, and after he tried to change back to his original grip he could no longer hit his forehand as well. I've also heard people blame the transition from wood to graphite for the demise of his forehand.

    Oscar, what would you say Arias's forehand issues were, if any. Do you think your methodology could have helped him fix his issues.

    As far as the development of the modern forehand, I've heard people say, Arias played a big role in it. I believe Arias was coached by his dad and trained at Bolletieri's. I read an interview with Jim courier, where he talked about trying to copy Arias's forehand and how Aria influenced other young players like Courier.

    Oscar I know you've said many times that the American coaching establishment is holding people back with it's emphasis on traditional techniques. Many of the American coaches I've seen seem to teach the modern game, just in a different way than you. What are your thoughts on Arias, Boletieri's or img or whatever it's called now and the development of the American forehand. Is your Issue with the American coaching establishment, that they're not coaching "the modern forehand" or that they're not teaching your version of the modern forehand.

    Are you issues with the American coaching establishment purely related to technique? Is ego involved as well? Part of your issue seems to be that you believe you should have more personal credit for the development of the modern game. We've all seen your segments of ESPN and clearly they influenced people and played a role. But a lot of other hard working coaches and players also played a role in changing the game and the way it is taught.

    If the key figures in the American coaching establishment have it all wrong, why do so many accomplished foreign players come to train in Florida, and southern California?

    How are American coaches on the wrong track if they're developing modern players like Sam Querrey and Jack Sock and Christina Mchale?
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  42. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    addressing the ball with the leading edge and making contact below the center appear to be oxymoron.... but it's a picture to help player visualize swinging across (or in Oscar's word, messaging) the ball instead of hitting thru it.
     
  43. FrisbeeFool

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    Another question about modern tennis:

    A lot of the key changes and trends seem like they came out of Spain and South America. I'm sure a lot of great coaches and players played a role in this. Most of these people are not true believers in MTM and were not directly influenced by the MTM methodology.

    Other coaches on the boards know key figures in Spanish and South American tennis and have learned from them. Oscar do you think more people would be sympathetic to your approach, if you didn't present your self as the patron saint of modern tennis?
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  44. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Is messaging a typo above?
     
  45. FrisbeeFool

    FrisbeeFool Rookie

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    I think he meant massaging. It sounds vaguely mystical, and that's why I believe mtm isn't the right approach for everyone. Although that kind of language might help some people, others need a more straight forward breakdown of what is going on in the stroke.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  46. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Are you using messaging = communication with the student through visualization, or are you talking about something the player does to the ball? Your sentence could parse either way.

    I first thought you meant massaging the ball, then I thought you meant messaging as in communicating with the student. (It is a popular corporate term these days in management.)

    I have never come across Oscar using this term.

    Edit: See your edit now. Yes I have heard this massaging thing before.
     
  47. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I think massaging is supposed to be emphasizing feeling the ball and not slapping or swatting at it.

    I agree with your comments though.
     
  48. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Well, guess that above didn't last long :)
    Quickly degenerated into a bunch of loaded questions and opinions with a very
    clear agenda; and Oscar hasn't even had a chance to answer.
    I guess you did make an effort though?
     
  49. FrisbeeFool

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    LOL, maybe you can answer them for me then? I was politely asking him to elaborate, and explain these issues.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  50. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    And Ryan Harrison and Madison Keys and Taylor Townsend. And Coco Vanderweghe and Donald Young.

    Are they Henins and Federers? No. But what must be remembered is that there are proven coaches out there delivering real world results, and in a transparent way which we can see, and criticize if we wish. But we must always ask ourselves: what have we achieved that they have not? Have we done better than them?

    There are many factors about why US tennis may not be at its peak now, and I have listed them before.
     
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