Why is it players vary between hitting the ball short and deep in the court?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by 2slik, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. 2slik

    2slik Semi-Pro

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    I will use Nalbandian as an example. He played with so much purpose that I do not think he randomly hit the ball short and deep. An example is this Federer Nalbandian match in Paris:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odkPtGvB6ck
     
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  2. Fifth Set

    Fifth Set Professional

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    Trying to get the other player out of position/make him move and to open up the court to work angles.

    Even more important at the rec level, where our side to side movement is typically much better than our up and back movement. Even easier to get the opponent out of sorts by varying depth.
     
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  3. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    Do you actually play? Hitting short has a lot of advantageous. Most players move left and right better than forward and back. Borg used to hit short a lot as it was safe and was deep enough that going up to net was still his advantage. Lendl used to hit deep and break a player mentally. Agassi used short angles but it wa not effective most of his career. The aim of tennis is to show the opposition a different ball either in height, speed, width or depth, hence slice and top spin.
     
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  4. Bendex

    Bendex Professional

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    Have you actually played in the last 15 years? :) These days it doesn't matter so much where the ball lands, as long as it has enough weight to keep the opponent behind the baseline. Watch the greatest tennis player of all time trying to hit specific targets off easy fed balls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55pyNAuCKf4#t=02m51s

    On most groundstrokes they're not calculating to hit the ball shorter, they're just reflexing the ball back safely with a lot of spin, waiting for an easier ball that they can do something more proactive with.

    A well struck ATP ball is very difficult to send back within 1m of the baseline consistently; you just have to whip it back with lots of spin most of the time and hope your subconscious mind is in the groove that day.
     
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  5. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    I played tonight actually, did really well though dodged my back hand a bit more than usual.

    I don't see pro's hit deep constantly. Not since Lendl's days. I see more shorter rolled short shots in to days game and a mixture of spins, speeds and depths.

    Pre-Lendl Murray had a career out of playing short and he regularly beat all but Nadal, Federer and Djokovic with that style, in my view what Lendl did the most for Murray was make him more aggressive and play deeper for the sole point of beating those 3.

    In club tennis the short and long play works extremely well as club players don't read depth, slice followed by topspin onto their weakest wing works. Playing short slice to a full western grip also works great. Most players today, pro or club don't like to play net so short and deep works well.

    I think the Top 10 are playing with depth most the time and it's not just lucky guess work. When the top 3 play 20 somethings they don't have to hit deep all the time, Nadal v Federer is a different matter, Nadal plays much deeper when hitting to the forehand side, it's not luck. They're weighing up risk verse reward and playing accordingly.
     
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  6. Bendex

    Bendex Professional

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    You're very right about the pro (men) not getting consistent depth these days. Look at a player like Ryan Harrison. His balls rarely go much further than the service line (but he would beat everyone in your city).

    I play a similar style in local 'A' grade. I often hit with ex-tour players. This phenomenon is all about risk/reward. If you learn how to hit a heavy ball (violently spinning and fast through the air), you don't need to take risks with your depth. You can keep your opponent behind the baseline all day without risk. It's only at the very top of the game (Djokervic, Federer, etc.) where they can (some days) achieve good depth with an acceptable number of errors.

    The OP wasn't referring to slice and tactically bringing your opponent into the court. Which is a different kettle of fish.
     
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  7. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    I think the last thing even the top pro's want to do is feed the same ball back constantly, even if it landing 300mm (1') from base line it will become fodder after a time as the opposition won't have to worry about depth of movement or width of shot. They're still aiming to take the ball at about hip height in front, else they'll have to manufacture a shot. Depth is one of the hardest things to read as it dependent on pace and spin.
     
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  8. Vensai

    Vensai Professional

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    Sometimes it has to do with psychological warfare. You want to keep your opponent thinking.
     
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  9. 2slik

    2slik Semi-Pro

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    So top players randomly hit the ball short or deep in the court?
     
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  10. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Even at the top level players almost all move much better side to side then they do up the court. So, hitting a combination of deep and shorter balls is often a good way to keep players out of a metronomic hitting groove since most are also cautious about coming to the net - much moreso than historically. Keeping them big hitters out of a groove without hitting short balls so short (or too often) that they're easily pounced on is generally good variety.

    The key to it is doing it deliberately when you have a positioning and/or balance advantage and not merely in the middle of a rally by accident or for the sake of it.
     
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