Pros with Pusher Tendencies

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by soyizgood, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,323
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    First off, I'm not calling any of these guys pushers. Fan boys can relax.... one would hope.

    Here's my list so far:

    Nadal (just hit hordes of topspin at the opponent's backhand, probably gets most of his winners coming off a defensive reaction)
    Federer (those frequent slice backhand returns of serve border on pusher-like behavior)
    Simon (another grinder, likes to hit paceless balls at aggressive baseliners)
    Murray (chases everything down, mixes in slices and various pace shots, only goes for it when the odds are absolutely in his favor)
    Roddick (even his new coach has criticized him for just being content to keep his groundies in play)
    Santoro (do I really need to explain?)
    Stepanek (yes he has an all-around game, but he enjoys hitting paceless balls off the forehand)
    Monfils (built like a beast, but is at home being 15 feet behind the baseline, hits slow-medium pace on many of his groundies)
    Gonzalez (slicing like Benihana off the backhand)

    EDIT:
    Due to counter-arguments from posters, Davydenko and Djokovic are off the list.
    Robredo and Lopez were mentioned. If someone can make an argument for or against, feel free to chime.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2009
    #1
  2. allcourter2008

    allcourter2008 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    493
    Davydenko is an agressive baseliner (taking the ball early doesn't make sense for a pusher), even Djokovic does more grinding than him.
    Federer and Stepanek are about as far from a pusher as possible...
     
    #2
  3. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Messages:
    4,892
    Location:
    Northern MO
    As to Davydenko, he's the closest thing that we have to Agassi today, and unless Agassi was a pusher, Davydenko is not.

    My definition of a pusher is one who bunts the ball back into play, not one who mixes up every single ball like Santoro.

    Stepanek is a pusher only in the aspect of his ugly-Kafelnikovesque forehand.

    I agree with all the others though. :)
     
    #3
  4. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,323
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I agree Davydenko hits early. Still, in matches I've seen from him he really takes his time before taking the role of aggressor. Often the points end before he resorts to taking the initiative. Maybe I'm too hard on the guy as he has all the skills to win a major, yet ALWAYS shrivels up when facing Federer.

    I'm not calling any pro a pusher here. There's certain elements of their games that can be pusher-like at times.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009
    #4
  5. Max G.

    Max G. Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    4,357
    Every pro who knows how to play patient tennis has "pusher tendencies."
     
    #5
  6. oranges

    oranges Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,848
    Davydenko - NO. One of the cleanest hitters on tour, loves changing direction of the ball and plays aggressive baseline tennis. He's as much a pusher as Nalbandian.
    Federer - NO. Slice is not pushing, it's strategy. No one slices to eternity. FH winners are his trademark.
    Stepanek - NO. Mixes up his game a lot, both from the baseline and by rushing the net, simply too much variety for any such category.

    The rest can be debatable, some more so than the others and some like Santoro basically defy any categorization whatsoever, LOL. Robredo comes to mind as an epitome to me, Bennetau, Ferrer is not too far off either. Schuettler loves playing like thta. Someone would need to pay me serious money to watch him play Simon for instance. How Monfils will play is anyone's guess, he'll play passive a lot of the matches and then throw in a very agressive one like that win over Nadal.
     
    #6
  7. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Messages:
    4,892
    Location:
    Northern MO
    Santoro anyone? :twisted:

    The OP is talking about tendencies, and when he slices/bunts back second serves that he could easily swing at, you have to wonder...
     
    #7
  8. oranges

    oranges Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,848
    Yeah, but tendencies overall in the game, not in an occasional shot you or I think he should have played differently.
     
    #8
  9. federerdomination

    federerdomination Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    705
    Wait. Federer a pusher???

    Stepanek is def not a pusher either.
     
    #9
  10. Staiger

    Staiger Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Messages:
    481

    what a Joke , do you even watch tennis , it is completely trash !
     
    #10
  11. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,323
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Do you even know how to read? For the 3rd time already, I'm NOT referring to these pros as pushers. Just mentioning aspects of their game that could be interpreted as a pusher-like tendency.
     
    #11
  12. Staiger

    Staiger Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Messages:
    481
    Mate , I would just ignore the person who wrote this article. Bascially he is saying that the world top 5 players are all pusher.
     
    #12
  13. rubberduckies

    rubberduckies Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,254
    10 characters.
     
    #13
  14. tahiti

    tahiti Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Messages:
    840
    Nice analysis, bit I would doubt Davydencko. He really moves the ball around, low, flat and with his quick feet week he seems to generate winners quite quickly.... I don't see the push there
     
    #14
  15. rubberduckies

    rubberduckies Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,254
    Exactly. Generating errors is a bigger part of tennis than hitting winners. Nobody is saying the pros are pushers. I supposed we're really just looking at the least aggressive aspects of their games and calling those 'pusher tendencies'.
     
    #15
  16. SaunderS

    SaunderS Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,439
    Location:
    Wigan, England
    How is hitting with topspin to the backhand pushing?
     
    #16
  17. dupont

    dupont New User

    Joined:
    May 25, 2005
    Messages:
    20
    I think your definition of "pusher tendencies" is the same as most people call it: "defense".
     
    #17
  18. NickC

    NickC Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,436
    Location:
    East Coast, USA. Formally Tucson, AZ
    Monfils, a pusher? Please. Anyone who can hit a 120 mph forehand on the run is anything but a pusher.
     
    #18
  19. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,323
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Davydenko is debatable and I'm beginning to agree with other posters. I could argue that he seems content to wear out and/or outlast an opponent most of the time. For someone with such precision strokes you would think he'd assert himself more.

    Likely I'll take him off the list later today. Nice to know Davydenko has folks that keep up with him here. :)
     
    #19
  20. P_Agony

    P_Agony Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    Messages:
    13,186
    Federer is a pusher? Stepanek? yeah, right, sure, whatever.
     
    #20
  21. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Messages:
    13,916
    #21
  22. Nadal_Freak

    Nadal_Freak Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Messages:
    10,625
    Location:
    Harker Heights, Texas
    What a joke of a list. You sound like a typical baseline basher fanatic. That stuff is boring to watch and ralleys are what make tennis exciting.
     
    #22
  23. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    8,318
    What a great match that was it was great to see Roddick crack his FH and BH and he looks good at the net as well. Is it just me or his Hewitt net game very good and underrated?
     
    #23
  24. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    8,318
    Agree bit of a joke to have Federer and Djokovic on there they are very agressive players.
     
    #24
  25. Serve_Ace

    Serve_Ace Professional

    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    Messages:
    992
    Location:
    State College
    It's def underrated, I remember reading somewhere on the forum where they were discussing net games and Hewitt has really good technique at net.
     
    #25
  26. coloskier

    coloskier Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    5,541
    Anybody who wins on other players errors vs winning by hitting winners is a pusher in my book. Steady tennis, BAH HUMBUG!!!!!
     
    #26
  27. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    4,111
    Location:
    Kansas

    Someone should post this in the Epic Fail thread.
     
    #27
  28. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Messages:
    13,916

    He's not far behind Federer in the netgame department to be honest. He actually does a few things better than Federer.
     
    #28
  29. Gugafan

    Gugafan Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Messages:
    3,954
    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    The OP needs to study true tennis pros playing like pushers.

    Check out videos of David Sanguinetti.
     
    #29
  30. kittogi

    kittogi Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    Manila, Philippines
    It's interesting to see these players in the list. I bet, this guy would change his mind when he see these player's actually play in front of him. Oh by the way, there's nothing wrong about being a pusher (if there's such thing in the pro level). I believe, tennis is a game of consistency. The more consistent you are, the better your chances or winning. :)


     
    #30
  31. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,323
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    For the 3 BILLIONTH time, I'm not calling any of these guys pushers. Get a few fan boys feathers ruffled and you'd think you were fighting World War 3 already.... If you want to agree or disagree that's fine, but I have no time for folks acting like a bunch of bed wetters (you know who your are).

    Off topic:
    Speaking of pushers, ask 10 people what a pusher is and you'll get 10 different answers. Pushing per se is not a sin, though it's not looked upon so favorably. One could argue pushing is defensive, high percentage, or even smart playing.
     
    #31
  32. Pushmaster

    Pushmaster Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Messages:
    1,768
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Why not add Gulbis and Gonzalez to your list while your at it? :roll:
     
    #32
  33. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    4,111
    Location:
    Kansas

    Well, Gulbis DID hit a slice backhand one time in a match held about 3 years ago. So I guess technically he is a pusher according to the OP :)
     
    #33
  34. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,323
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Gulbis needs to work on keeping the ball in (maybe take some lessons on accuracy from Murray?). All this hype is getting to him. Only knows how to hit hard and harder as it stands.

    As for Gonzo, well his backhand does leave much to be desired.
     
    #34
  35. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    30,970
    Location:
    New York
    By the op's standards pretty much every player has pusher's tendencies. I wonder if he's not confusing pushing with playing tennis percentage. You're not gonna win many matches if you go for a winner on every single shot, too high risk to be efficient so I guess all the "non pusher" type of players would be the very low ranked ones!
     
    #35
  36. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,323
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Finally a rational poster here. :)

    The reality is you have to play smart and within your means in order to win. For the pros it's no different. Each pro uses his/her skills which consists of weapons and techniques to optimal use. At times, that may include the use of defensive techniques, including some of those we associate with pushing in some form.

    Many folks here label Simon, Santoro, Murray and some notable pros as pushers, but in reality they are just utilizing their skills and tactics to achieve the goal of winning. And they do a pretty good job of winning.

    As I said before, there is no uniform definition of pushing. Heck, unless you're a brainless ball basher we all deploy some sort of defensive tactic that can arguably be linked to some aspect of pushing/safe percentage playing.
     
    #36
  37. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    4,111
    Location:
    Kansas


    I agree witgh you about Gonzo's backhand but not Gulbis. Gulbis is probably overall the hardest hitter on tour (factoring in serve/fh/bh) but he isnt just a basher. He has insane touch and uses drop shots very effectively, plus has extremely good volleys. Gulbis has to be the most misunderstood player on these boards.
     
    #37
  38. Beasty54

    Beasty54 Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Messages:
    266
    I understand what your saying, but he obviously cant put all these things together, which is why he isnt ranked higher.
     
    #38
  39. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    There's only a superficial difference here. The only reason you've created this distinction between pusher and pusher-like is because you see any kind of nuance as representative of lack.

    This isn't a simple duality between 'hitting big' and 'not hitting big'. There are guys who play with variety and change pace. They're not pushers nor pusher-like.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
    #39
  40. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    4,111
    Location:
    Kansas
    Well the guy is 20 years old. Same was true for Fed at that age. Im sure at some point he will get sick of losing 2nd round to top seeds, usually in tough, split-set matches and make a few adjustments.
     
    #40
  41. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    11,323
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Added Gonzo and his backhand. Since I did that, doesn't that leave it open Feliciano Lopez's backhand as well?
     
    #41
  42. SaintClaires

    SaintClaires Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    Messages:
    631
    Location:
    New York
    I saw Tsonga once hit a shot that wasn't a winner.

    That means he must be a pusher, right?
     
    #42
  43. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    4,040
    I think the list is vastly exaggerated.

    For me a pusher is someone who plays balls without any offensive intention, just hoping that the opponent will make an error.

    Nadal may play with a lot of spin and throw in a lot of loopy balls, I surely would not label him a pusher, as his balls many times have an offensive intention.

    Federer is not at all a pusher. The use of that slice backhand is a cornerstone in his game, it always makes the opponent feel not at ease.

    Real pushers for me are:

    Gilles Simon: THE PUSHER on the ATP tour. You actually have to admire him for what he is able to do with such a limited talent. This guy isn't any better than anyone in the top 300 as it comes to weapons, but he is top 10 because his tactics are so solid. He does not try what he does not know how to do. His game can be extremely boring. His attempt is to make others fail.

    Gaƫl Monfils. Apart from a very good serve and an occasional impressive forehand or backhand, he has incredible pusher tendencies. I think he could do a lot better with another type of game. He is not someone of limited talent like Simon, but of limited tactical ability. He often is far too passive, allowing opponents to punish him.

    Santoro. Not really a pusher in the orthodox meaning of the term. He does everything in such a strange way that I would rather call him a junkballer.

    Murray. He can be prone to become a pusher at times. But an intelligent one, playing into the weaknesses of his opponent, varying spins and angles, in that perspective he does more than Simon for instance, who hits half hard, half flat balls to the middle of the court, often bouncing on the service line. Not so Murray. When he is in pusher mode, he plays deeper, with more angle.

    Roddick. Sometimes a pusher whenever he is not serving. Has been struggling a lot to find his old form especially on the forehand. His game does seems to be efficient in 90% of the matches against lower ranked players. But in the 10% matches he plays against better ranked players he comes short because he has forgotten how to use his weapons.
     
    #43

Share This Page