What's the difference? (Roddick Forehand)

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by NamRanger, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    I think we can all agree Andy Roddick used to have one of the biggest forehands on the tour. All of a sudden, it disappeared around 2005 though. Let's break down the technical differences between his forehand before 2005 and after 2005. Thought it would be a fun idea since Roddick is one of the few pros who made a huge technical change to one of his primary strokes.



    Here is a video of Roddick practicing when he was younger (I believe this was in 2002, not sure though). I couldn't find any old slow motion videos of Roddick 2004 or before, so this is the best I could do.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpZxIZx26C4&feature=related


    Here is a video of him after his change to the forehand.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-D32RwsD_w



    The first and most noticeable difference is that Roddick definitely had a much more compact take back in his earlier years. The second, is that Roddick appears to be pronating alot more in the 2nd video then he is in the 1st (although I may be wrong).


    If John or any other guys could join in the discussion, it would be greatly appreciated. My knowledge of tennis mechanics only goes so far.
     
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  2. jasoncho92

    jasoncho92 Professional

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    Hes definitely hitting flatter in the first video.
     
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  3. Charlzz

    Charlzz Rookie

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    Wow, that is a surprising change. You would have thought, with Connors, that he would have had a more compact swing. However, I think Connors mostly worked on his backhand not his forehand. Connors had such a different swing on his forehand that he probably didn't tinker with it much.

    Let's face it. Roddick is not as young as the new guys. Despite all the bad press he gets, he still qualified for the Masters. I think it's safe to say he won't ever get back to number 1 but that he's still a very solid player. I think he's a bit disgruntled about that, and how the tennis media treats him, but he's done all right. Not everyone can be number 1, and he had a short period where he was.
     
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  4. wyutani

    wyutani Hall of Fame

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    im sure hes not using a western fh. yeah. confirm.
     
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  5. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    The hand and arm rotation, I think, should be looked at more from a situational context, ie what he is trying to do with the ball. But yeah, this is surprising, as Roddick has always been known for his high hand position in the backswing.
     
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  6. EikelBeiter

    EikelBeiter Professional

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    I think these video's are very hard to compare since in the first video he's hitting some easy forehands to keep the ball in play. In the second video he attempted a winner and thus tried to hit it harder. Maybe you should try to find an old vid of roddick hitting a winner, for a better comparison
     
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  7. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    It is tough to get a true comparison. I'm also wondering if somewhere along the line, Roddick switched to Poly strings and that is why he is taking a bigger cut at the ball.
     
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  8. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry, I can't post the clips/vids that I do have (they are copyrighted). If John or Jeff would be willing to post a sample or two up here, I'd greatly appreciate it.



    Here's what I can tell from watching Roddick over the years :


    A. His court positioning his way different then before. If you remember, the guy used to stand 15 feet back and cracked winners from back there. Now he's hugging the baseline. It's ironic that his whole setup has actually become bigger and takes more time, as this causes him to be late on alot of forehands with his new court positioning.


    B. I believe his whole swing is completely different from what it used to be. It appears that he is brushing the ball alot more then he used to. This could be because he is using a more extreme wiper then he used to have. I remember before, his wiper was much more compact, and he didn't take such a huge cut at the ball.



    These are the two primary things that I see.


    Some more technical aspects from the swing part, is that Roddick generally starts much lower and underneath the ball than before. This helps create more topspin, but also takes some pace off the ball. He also finishes below his chest, generally around his hip. This type of finish creates alot of spin, but it generally creates a more floating and defensive type ball. It is as though Roddick is almost moon balling.


    Here is an example of what I am talking about :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxC4sM2PTWY&feature=related


    You can see in the video, Roddick gets well underneath the ball, and brushes up and across the ball to generate his topspin. However, you can clearly see that he is just doing that, brushing the ball. It is as though he has no weight behind the ball at all.



    Watch the difference in the type of balls Roddick hits


    Here is some of Roddick in 2004 :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad_8xy29TTc&feature=related


    And here is Roddick again in 2008 :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4O3SpKbXFU



    Just something I noticed while watching Roddick over the years.
     
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  9. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    I would if I could, but unfortunately YouTube fails me once again. I know for sure John Yandell and Jeff have some stuff on Andy Roddick pre-2005. I have some of Yandell's clips on Roddick, but I can't post them because they are copyrighted.


    I'll do some more searching tomorrow and see if I can do anything. Also, I can tell you for sure that Roddick is hitting much bigger balls in the first video. The second one, he puts a tremendous amount of topspin on the ball, which actually takes quite abit of the pace off.
     
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  10. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    Roddick's forehand used to have much bigger backswing in his early days in 2001~2 until he worked with a brad gilbert.

    He sort of shortened up his backswing when Brad Gilbert took over..

    I think he was using his forehand a lot more aggressive when he came first on the tour. His attitude kind of seemed like "I have got a big forehand, and I am going to rip it as hard as I can even from 5 feet behind the baseline".

    Recently, his attitude seems more like "I have worked hard on my fitness, and my groundies are solid enough to rally with you. So I am going to wait until you give me a reasonable short ball to attack with my forehand."

    In other words, I think he has become too much of a percentage player..
     
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  11. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    You know I haven't looked at this historically at all so I don't really have an opinion.

    BUT Ranger I hereby authorize you to post a couple of Roddick clips if you think it might lend value to the discussion.
     
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  12. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    You know what I just remember John, is that article on Roddick by Rick Macci. He said that he had worked hard on cleaning up Roddick's stroke in order to give him a better forehand overall, and the ability to drive. It seems Roddick has regressed into his younger self, getting too underneath the ball on a high ball, brushing far too much.



    I'm looking to see the best clips to compare right now, I'll show some work and analysis that I have on Roddick's forehand in a few days. Maybe we can clearly see what has happened to Roddick's forehand. After reading Rick's article, I believe that Roddick no longer gets up to the ball anymore when it is a shoulder high ball. It seems that he takes such huge loopy cuts at the ball.
     
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  13. m27

    m27 Banned

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    early roddick: huge flat forehand
    later roddick: big topspin forehand

    his opponents arent really scared of his forehand anymore; its too safe
     
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  14. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry for bringing up a dead thread, but no point in starting a new one if this exists.


    [​IMG]



    This is Andy Roddick of old, going for a ripping forehand. The differences are very clear here.


    A. Roddick's windshield wiper motion is much less extreme. Rather than brushing the ball almost immediately at contact as he does now, he extends through and powers his way through the ball.


    B. Roddick's extension (as I previously said) is much better. His arm is not so compact as it is now. At times, he even extended his arm much further, especially when going for a big forehand.


    C. Roddick's angle of approach was radically different back then. It was a much flatter approach. He would get up to the ball and get his racquet behind and up to the height of the ball, and then power through the shot with his extension.


    D. His stance was different slightly too if I'm not mistakened. Although Roddick has always primarily used an open stance FH, it seems that he is a little too open now, which robs him of some power. He doesn't have alot of weight on that right foot, which results in high loopy topspin balls, but not alot of pace behind them.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I agree his forehand, as is most of ours, is a continueing evolution.
    But any questions about it's effectiveness has to be in content with his opponent's strategy and level of play.
    Everyone expects his big forehand. Everyone is faster and fitter than the players 7 years ago.
    And everyone at his level has played often against other guys with equally big forehands, as his is not all that uncommon nowadaze.
    Either way, he thinks it's better, so who are we do decide for him?
     
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  16. babolat141

    babolat141 Rookie

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    I think i have an idea, If you look at the video roddick closed stance forehand you can see how he majorly turns the hitting face of the racket to the back wall. This means that when he hits the ball the racket face is more angled down at impact so he can still hit through the ball but not as flat and as often as before. if you watch roger federer hit a forehand on his way back the side of the racket that hits the ball doesnt turn out. Roddick probably does this to make it a safer shot. Roddick is a big guy and if he gets that forehand back he will be #5 in the world but he needs to go back to the stroke mechanics that got him the us open in the first place.
     
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  17. Jtillinghast

    Jtillinghast New User

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    looks like he has a higher starting point lol
     
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  18. tennisfreak15347

    tennisfreak15347 Banned

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    Also, if anyone has noticed, his serve is going down. I'd say that his shoulder can't take much more of his abbreviated serves, which puts high, irreversible damage to his shoulder. Maybe this has a direct link to his forehand.
     
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  19. m27

    m27 Banned

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    abbreviated serves :rolleyes:
    dont be such a clown
     
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I think "abreviated" as in Roddick's serve is such a compact, violent, quick motion compared to smoother, longer serve motions of his contemporaries.
    He doesn't mean Roddick is a pusher nowadays at all.
    Have you ever tried to copy Roddicks motion on the serve? I'm sure you have. When I tried it, it worked great for about 10 serves, then my stomach started getting tired, my quickness left me, and my thighs started to cramp.
    Then you look at "huge serve guy" 's motion. It's easily copied, it's easy on your body, and it looks simple compared to Roddicks.
    Yes, Roddick has a better serve. But maybe, just maybe, there's more to top rankings than just a better serve.
     
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  21. tennisfreak15347

    tennisfreak15347 Banned

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    I tried roddick's serve one day, injured my shoulder and had to rest for 2 weeks. Never again for me...
     
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  22. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    I think Roddick changed his strategy once he started having success. I think trying to stay at the top once he got there lead to him playing more defensive. I think he could still hit that driving forehand if he wanted to, he just doesn't.

    I remember watching him play in person for the first time. I remember thinking to myself, I sure would like to go down there and see if those shots look as tasty from down there as they do up here. I seriously think I could have blasted some serious winners just by taking a step or two inside the baseline and hitting shoulder high forehands. Of course I've seen him hit much deeper as well, and I think he probably was playing to his opponent who was not stepping in and crushing those loopers.
     
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  23. fin-tennis(h)

    fin-tennis(h) Rookie

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    Match against Murray (Doha) was pain to watch, he played Murray out of the court many times but wasn't able to hit a flat winner. His fh motion is much shorter, or a least it looks that way, and he sacrifices his power to hit more topspin. The result is slower ball into the service box. In fact, his bh seems to be his better side now, he hits deeper, flatter and still quite consistant.
     
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  24. pierretennis

    pierretennis New User

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    NameRanger,

    You are so right. Did you know that it was my fellow countryman Tarik Benhabiles that constructed that superbly powerful forehand? Vive la France!

    But perhaps the better question is who ruined it? Maybe your American coaches, yes? Maybe the gentleman's name was Goldfine?

    Pierre
     
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  25. Sublime

    Sublime Semi-Pro

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    If I'm just comparing the two clips at the top of this thread, the major difference to me is the position of the racket as it passes his hips on his swing forward.

    Young Roddick keeps the racket head just below level with his hand as the buttcap moves towards the ball. This racket position stores up momentum in the racket tip to come around flatter on the ball. So as the racket swings around to meet the ball it's momentum allows it to drive through the ball.

    Current Roddick drops the racket face well below his hand as he drives the buttcap towards the ball. This stores up momentum in the racket tip to swing up (windshield wiper fashion) and not as much forward and into the ball. So as the face comes around to meet the ball, it's also rotating up. This accounts for the WW finish, the momentum continues to carry the racket head around in that sweeping motion after contact, more than through the ball.
     
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  26. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    Rick Macci helped create Roddick's forehand. But yes, Dean Goldfine and John Roddick definitely ruined Roddick's forehand, by a tremendous amount.
     
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  27. Mike Cottrill

    Mike Cottrill Hall of Fame

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    Where is Jeff and John :(..

    Maybe he watched FYB and learned the windshield wiper :oops:

    This is interesting since all the talk was about him changing his BH.
     
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  28. JCo872

    JCo872 Professional

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    I actually like the second clip a lot more. Much fuller takeback and he still gets great extension through contact. Look how far his elbow extends towards the net after contact. It's a really great forehand, that's for sure.

    I guess we need more recent footage to see what's going because things look really good in that AO clip.
     
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  29. halalula1234

    halalula1234 Professional

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    his old fh is more compact than his new fh
     
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  30. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    True, but I'd have to say recently his extension has been not so good. Have you noticed how tight his finish is? Unlike Federer though, who uses a straight arm extension, Roddick already has a very compressed hitting structure.
     
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  31. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Heh. We just re-filmed the windshield wiper in high definition:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtuTHsFlfGg&fmt=22

    Even if Roddick's forehand has slipped, I'd still take it over the forehands of most pros on tour. I think the dominance of Fed's and Nadal's forehands, in particular, has created the perception that Roddick's forehand isn't as good as it used to be.
     
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  32. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    I don't know, there's quite a few FHs I could name that seem to do more damage than Roddick's. Roddick's FH was clearly a much bigger weapon early 2005 and before. He used to absolutely rip the ball.
     
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  33. pierretennis

    pierretennis New User

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    I actually like the second clip a lot more. Much fuller takeback and he still gets great extension through contact. Look how far his elbow extends towards the net after contact. It's a really great forehand, that's for sure.

    JCo,

    Maybe technique you like produces slower ball no? It's funny to us. Our countryman built his forehand and you Americans dismantle it.

    NamRanger is right. Maybe you need to study Mr. Federer and Mr. Nadal on your videos more?

    Pierre
     
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  34. [K]aotic

    [K]aotic Semi-Pro

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    Goodness dude. No one cares if france built it or not! Just drop it already. you're sounding like an idiot.

    On another note, i definitely think roddick doesn't go for as much risks anymore and that his forehand is way too loopy. Recently, it seems like he's giving it his all to hit with power, but its all going into producing spin. I saw a video of his forehands in 2004 and wow that definitely moved through the court way better.
     
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  35. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    Pierre,

    This is utterly ridiculous. Who are you comparing his forehand to? Gasquet, Mauresmo, Santoro? Indeed, with the likes of Sampras, Aggassi, Blake, Courier, Arias, and yes Roddick, one could argue that America has created some of the biggest forehands in the last 10-15 years.

    The only thing "French" about Roddick in recent years, is his inability to win.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2009
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  36. pierretennis

    pierretennis New User

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    Precisely my point. You are brilliant. Mr. Roddick had the most powerful forehand in tennis but now he cannot produce it anymore? More spin and a slower ball no? Maybe the problem is he can't go for it anymore because he lost so much speed? I am right no? You are right.

    Pierretennis

    Viva la France!
     
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  37. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Well I haven't looked into the changes in his forehand so I'm certainly not an expert on the subject. However, I suspect he's added more directional control and variety to the shot since 2005. At the same time, he's probably not hauling off on every forehand like he used to. Control > pace. He realized he can't beat someone like Federer by trying to hit through him.
     
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  38. m27

    m27 Banned

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    will you drop the french gimmick already? its obvious this is a prank (or you're a colossal maroon).
     
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  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    It's pretty awesome that we have the technology to critique AndyRoddick's forehand.
    OTOH, I suspect we gain little with all the vid time, as we should be working on your own forehands.
    Seems....when you start playing against better players all the time, and don't want to lose to lesser players EVER, you need more consistency always, even at the expense of some amount of pure pace. The better opponents have all faced FernandoGonzales's forehand, Nadal's, Fed's, and aren't impressed all that much with the old Roddick forehand.
    The lesser players might be impressed with Roddicks old forehand, but they are not a consideration! Roddick can, should, and always needs to beat those guys....it's the top 10 that he's working on beating.
     
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  40. pierretennis

    pierretennis New User

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    Pardon me, Mr. Roddick was #1 in the world and beating everyone. Now with modern Americanized forehand, cannot beat anyone in top 10. Is this American logic?

    Pierre
     
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  41. pierretennis

    pierretennis New User

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    m27,

    I may be a maroon, but at least I can spell MORON. What is it about you Americans that choose to hate those who disagree with you?

    Pierremaroon
     
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  42. pierretennis

    pierretennis New User

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    Chico9166,

    I do not understand your comment. NamRanger say that Andy change his forehand and he is right, do you not agree?

    Andy is American, but his game, Benhabiles build it and make Andy success in pro tennis, not American coach. Andy make #1 with big serve and forehand, then he work together with American coaches, and he change forehand to today. Maybe you do not know this, but the French people like Andy very much because he make first big success with French coach.

    I do not compare Andy to French players at all. The French players today make better backhand, not forehand. Look at Gasquet forehand… Disaster! Maybe Grosjean make his forehand better than backhand.

    Also, do you know that most players you list, they make their success with coach who learn their tennis from somewhere not America?

    By example, Sampras learn his techniques from the famous Lansdorp who learn to play tennis in Holland, but he never coach anywhere but in California.

    Courier, he make #1 and 4 Grand Slams when he work together with Higueras from Spain, and the fathers of Agassi and Arias, both guys immigrants to America, taught the forehand their sons make famous.

    Interesting, yes?

    Pierre
     
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  43. Bottle Rocket

    Bottle Rocket Hall of Fame

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    What I find most interesting about this whole discussion is that most everyone responds to this question assuming the change Andy made was a mistake. People blame his coaches, blame him, call him stupid, and claim that his forehand is crap now. His success and consistency says otherwise.

    I don't have much to say about his technique, other than that I don't think the changes are real significant and his technique changes are very hard to compare. You can look at videos of Federer hitting forehands in different situations and find some significant differences, even in a single game in one specific match. The best players can adapt their swing/technique depending on the situation and this is where I think Roddick lacks a bit. As others have mentioned, this is also what makes it so difficult to compare strokes from completely different situations.

    Anyway, I don't have a big problem with his change. All I know is that he has been ending the year in the top 10 or near the top 10 for an impressively long time. I don't know anyone else from the top 10 that has been there with him for that long, other than Federer. Interestingly, there have been significant gripes floating around this board about Federer changing his style over the years as well. At the end of the day, Roddick has been right up there with the top players for 6 or 7 years now and without the evolution of his game, it is possible he might have ended up like guys like Ferrero. This is obviously speculation, but why always assume that his change was a bad thing?

    Maybe we're simply underrestimating the intelligence of Roddick and the coaches that helped him to adapt and evolve?

    I haven't looked up the stats, but I suspect his matches are significantly cleaner now than 5 years ago. I'll bet his unforced errors have steadily decreased over the years and this seems like one of most noticable changse in the game in the last 5 years or so for all players at the top. You have to able to play at the highest levels possible and still maintain great consistency. From what I can tell, he has adapted his game better over the years than almost any other player I have seen since I started watching tennis. (One may be tempted to bring up Nadal to prove me wrong, but I don't think Nadal has adapted his game. I think Nadal has simply gotten better, significantly better. Also, I've never seen Nadal change a game plan or change tactics as clearly as I've seen Roddick do between playing different opponents.)

    Just as he puts incredible pressure on guys beacuse of his serve, which I think get's repeatedly underrated by members of this board, his incredibly consistent baseline game has clearly worked for him. It obviously hasn't worked for him well enough to get him to number 1, or to get him to the point of hitting winners past Federer in the slams, but it has worked for him. In all hnoesty, I just don't think he is good enough to do that. Not consistently enough to come out on top. He just can't do it.

    In the much the same way that James Blake understands how to play tennis to give himself the best chance of winning (at the expensive of thousands of rants on this board about him changing nothing on a "bad day"), I think Roddick understands himself, the current game of tennis, and what works even more clearly.

    I think there is a lot that one can learn from Roddick's game and his style of putting non-stop pressure on his opponents to come up with tremendous shots. I think being able to choose your moments to go for it carefully and intelligently is an underrated tennis skill that is being overshadowed by these young guys coming up that simply have more natural ability.

    Anyway, just some thoughts streaming through my mind as I read through all these HopRoddick threads... Hopefully I didn't bore anyone to death or say something that will turn everyone against me. I also apologize in advance for not going back and proofreading.
     
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  44. chico9166

    chico9166 Guest

    Hi pierre,

    Yes, I disagree that Andy's forehand is flawed technically. Trust me, Andy could hit any type of shot you asked of him. He could literally, spin a ball over your head, or sear a hole through the back fence. In other words, he understands what causes what technically speaking.

    Now, if you want to talk about how Roddick is using his forehand, than I think that is a debatable topic. My own opinion, and this is only my opinion, Roddick just doesn't have the confidence to step up in the court and try to dictate points like he use to. I also think he simply matches up poorly against Fed and Nadal. They are just too skilled defensively for Andy.

    For the record, I think Tarik did a real good job with Roddick. But he certainly didn't "build his forehand". That my friend, was done long before they ever met. I just don't think Andy believes he can play that type of pressing game any more. Which would explain why he is spinning the ball more. So much of the game at that level depends on confidence, and it trandcends technique. They all can hit the ball.

    Take care,

    chico
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2009
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  45. pierretennis

    pierretennis New User

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    Jan 12, 2009
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    Mr. Roddick's intelligence is unparalleled. Maybe it is the coaches? Maybe it is mediocre forehand technique being taught by Americans? Tarik build the forehand, now it is mediocre. How come?

    Secondly, do you forget that Andy won a Grand Slam title and was #1 in the world? You speak of him as though he's never made it to the top.

    Pierre
     
    #45
  46. pierretennis

    pierretennis New User

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    Jan 12, 2009
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    Chico,

    You seem intelligent enough to know this. But if Mr. Roddick's forehand is not as fast nor has as much spin, would you know it? I doubt it. But Tarik knows it and laughs about it in our newspaper. Is that enough of a clue?

    Pierre
     
    #46
  47. m27

    m27 Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
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    1) Maroon is the word I was intending to use. Look it up, moron.
    2) I'm not american.
     
    #47
  48. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
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    Please post that article Pierre! Or just give us the gist if what he's saying ;)
     
    #48

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