Originally Posted by KenC
Did you happen to notice the middle paragraph? Here it is again:
"I've been noticing a lot of these matchups lately. It seems those who hit with more pace and just enough topspin to keep the ball in are doing more damage than those who try to hit massive topspin. Apparently, all the effort going into hitting massive topspin is robbing them of needed pace."
Now, the match I highlighted is just illustrative of a trend I am starting to see as I play and follow more 5.0+ equivalent tournaments. When I played and followed the 4.0+ equivalent tournaments I didn't notice this trend.
Why would I use that particular match to illustrate a point? Well, at least for those with good reading comprehension, on paper an 18yo 5.5 should beat a 14yo 5.0 right? Understanding that one is a 5.5 means he is a damn good tennis player. So, why did a 5.5 18yo lose to a 5.0 14yo? Well, to make an Internet topic and not a Doctoral Thesis, I had to narrow down to the obvious differences between the two. The BIG difference is that one seemed to be a Nadal clone and the other seemed to be a Del Potro clone. One had an overall game strategy to disrupt the opponent with massive topspin and the other had a game strategy of hit the ball really hard. In this particular match the hit the ball really hard strategy prevailed, and I see this happening a lot against the 'hit with massive topspin type' Nadal clones.
Now the central theme is not topspin vs flat, it is about where we decide to dedicate our effort and strategy. Trust me, there are a lot of Nadal clones out there trying to implement his strategy and failing. They seem to be able to generate a whole lot of impressive spin with their western FHs, but they are not achieving the pace that Nadal gets. And their spin seems to be easily handled by decent players. OTOH there are a lot of Djokovic clones out there that are starting to generate a lot of impressive pace with just the necessary amount of spin. At the 5.0+ level the typical Djokovic clone is prevailing over the typical Nadal clone. And this is here in Italy where almost all tournaments are played on clay.
And just to be perfectly clear, yes Djokovic clones sometimes use a lot of topspin, even heavy topspin when necessary. It still isn't the same as the insane topspin that the Nadal clones are trying to use on every shot.
What is the purpose of this thread? There are a lot of people out there that are way too enamored with topspin and, because of the success of Nadal with his really heavy/insane topspin, have decided to use topspin as a weapon and base their entire strategies around topspin. I mean come on, every other day someone asks what the spinniest racquet is on the racquets subforum, and when he goes out and gets his spin monster racquet he then goes to the string subforum and asks whats the spinniest string. This is taking topspin way too seriously. My point is to put topspin in proper perspective and see it as just a necessary ingredient to help accomplish better strategies. Topspin by itself doesn't win matches. Kill them with insane topspin only seems to work for Nadal on clay.
I agreee that you should not sacrifice all penetration for spin. even nadal can hit the ball extremely hard. no pro just hits soft all spin floaters.
but on the other side the flat and hard slapper is really rare in the pros. DP and berdych are a little bit like this but most other guys hit with extreme spin AND pace. federer uses extreme topspin only second to nadal but that doesn't mean he has no penetration.