American style of tennis

It seems like almost all current american players have the same playing style.

they have a big serve and a big FH but limited movement and usually a bad BH.

sock, harrison, isner, querrey and johnston all fit into that mold.

why do you think they all play like this? are they not challenged enough in the juniors to develope a complete game?

I think that this style of play can develope if players have a too easy time in the juniors, often those are physical early bloomers who can dominate on power alone.

I think this is because if you face weak opponents you can dominate by crashing in a big serve and then run around and kill the weak return with the forehand.

but why are the european players develope a more complete game?
 

TeamOB

Professional
This is the Courier-mold of player. Many American players in this generation are effectively mini-Couriers. Big serve. Big forehand. Average or below-average everything else. It's actually very strange. Why are they taught this way? Why aren't there any guys taught in the Agassi-mold? IMO Andre has a gamestyle much more suited to the modern game then Jim.
 

newpball

Legend
It seems like almost all current american players have the same playing style.

they have a big serve and a big FH but limited movement and usually a bad BH.
sock, harrison, isner, querrey and johnston all fit into that mold.

why do you think they all play like this? are they not challenged enough in the juniors to develope a complete game?
I think because the "must do killer shots or you are a whimpy pusher" mentality is still very prevalent.

Tennis is far more than just hitting hard winners, to use a quote from the late actor Robin Williams: “Tennis is like chess at 90 mph.”

:grin:
 
Use the search function before creating a new thread because this one has been done to death.

I guess you could say Canadians have the big serve, big forehand going on too.

You didn't quote Donald Young who breaks the mold and Harrison's bh isn't that bad.
 

Bendex

Professional
I think it has a lot to do with the prevalence of fast hard courts that junior comps are played on there. All you need is a big serve and a big forehand. Coaches want results, so that's what they focus on.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
They don't have "bad" backhands LOL.

Isner and Querrey are big boys and would be stupid to play a non-aggressive game. Karlovic who is even taller, relies on his serve and coming to the net.

None of these players are going to play better if they start emulating Ferrer or Gasquet.
 
This is the Courier-mold of player. Many American players in this generation are effectively mini-Couriers. Big serve. Big forehand. Average or below-average everything else. It's actually very strange. Why are they taught this way? Why aren't there any guys taught in the Agassi-mold? IMO Andre has a gamestyle much more suited to the modern game then Jim.
Courier? Wasn't he very good in rallies? Most of current North Americans are not or better said they prefer first strike tennis.

Most of the current North Americans (might as well throw in the Australians too) have that big serve and big forehand. But if we look closer, beside the serve machines like Isner, Raonic, Querrey, quite a few of the rest have inconsistent serves. Big but inconsistent. Same about the forehand, most of them try to whip it like Nadal but don't have the movement and court coverage to back it up.

They don't have "bad" backhands LOL.

Isner and Querrey are big boys and would be stupid to play a non-aggressive game. Karlovic who is even taller, relies on his serve and coming to the net.

None of these players are going to play better if they start emulating Ferrer or Gasquet.
They kinda do have bad backhands. Bad for the pro level of course.
 

Chotobaka

Hall of Fame
I think it has a lot to do with the prevalence of fast hard courts that junior comps are played on there. All you need is a big serve and a big forehand. Coaches want results, so that's what they focus on.
I do not think it is a matter of consciously trying to "get away" with limiting their games and relying strictly on a big serve and big FH. The reality is that few players are successful without those weapons on fast hard courts. The style is a natural byproduct of the playing surface.
 

Hollywood401k

Semi-Pro
Like was mentioned growing up on hard courts definitely emphasizes big serving, big hitting tennis development. We don't do clay here, so I think it's not necessary for players to develop upper echelon footwork and movement.

Tennis doesn't really have much of a following in the States anymore either and I think that limits the appreciation for varied game styles, tactics, etc. Compared to football, baseball, hockey, yadda yadda it's also considered a sort of patsy sport. That limits the interest level among young players.
 

President

Legend
They don't have "bad" backhands LOL.

Isner and Querrey are big boys and would be stupid to play a non-aggressive game. Karlovic who is even taller, relies on his serve and coming to the net.

None of these players are going to play better if they start emulating Ferrer or Gasquet.
They do have bad backhands by top 50 standards. Do you think that being tall is an inherent disadvantage in tennis then, since you don't seem to believe they have bad backhands?
 
They do have bad backhands by top 50 standards. Do you think that being tall is an inherent disadvantage in tennis then, since you don't seem to believe they have bad backhands?
Being too tall is a disadvantage for trading groundstrokes, especially two handers because it's hard to get down to hit a lower ball.
 

taurussable

Professional
do european tennis players start specialization until a later age?

like Rofa and Roger did soccer before tennis. Maybe american kids start specializing in tennis at too young age and gets institutionalized in certain mold.
 

Bendex

Professional
I do not think it is a matter of consciously trying to "get away" with limiting their games and relying strictly on a big serve and big FH. The reality is that few players are successful without those weapons on fast hard courts. The style is a natural byproduct of the playing surface.
Trust me, coaches push the big serve, big forehand play. :) I make my kids hit extra forehands in the lesson, and work hard to fine tune their forehand technique. In almost every forehand drill they have to back up towards the backhand corner, so they learn to run around their backhand as often as possible.

"Hate the game, not the player." :)
 

Bendex

Professional
do european tennis players start specialization until a later age?

like Rofa and Roger did soccer before tennis. Maybe american kids start specializing in tennis at too young age and gets institutionalized in certain mold.
Pretty much every kid in Europe is good with a soccer ball. Whether they are in a team or not. I had some of my kids here in Australia play "soccer tennis" yesterday, and it wasn't pretty.

But the biggest factor is the more extensive use of clay courts. The difference between USA/Australian tennis and European tennis was very obvious when Kyrgios took on Murray the other day. Nick didn't know what to do when stretched wide. Then when Nick hit his big forehands, Murray just kept defending them back with amazing wrist flicks, end range slices, etc.. You don't really learn desperate defense like that doing drills in training.
 
My son was a top junior, now 26 and what I found is the American Juniors learn grea offense with bug FHs and Serves, tend to run around BHs and do not learn much defense. Additionally the kids do not learn to construct points well but rely on big stroke tennis fir winners because they play mostly on fast had courts. Last, as mentioned by a few our best athletes end up playing other sports so we get kids that start early, upper income kids that can afford court time, lessons, and travel, and then either burn out or top out based on athletic ability.
 

mightyrick

Legend
This is the Courier-mold of player. Many American players in this generation are effectively mini-Couriers. Big serve. Big forehand. Average or below-average everything else. It's actually very strange. Why are they taught this way? Why aren't there any guys taught in the Agassi-mold? IMO Andre has a gamestyle much more suited to the modern game then Jim.
I don't see any of today's American players being in the mold of Courier. Courier had incredible ball control, footwork, movement and many different ways to attack opponents. Courier excelled on slow surfaces and clay.

Jim Courier is the greatest American clay court player in the Open Era. On slow surfaces, Courier was owning guys like Stich, Edberg, Chang and Agassi.

The guy is wholly unique and no American has ever played like him.

I wish Courier would go into coaching junior American tennis stars. He is the only American who I believe could actually produce an American tennis player that is a true all-court talent.
 
courier had a weaker BH but I think he was a good mover. running around the BH is not bad (nadal and fed do it too) but they have the footwork to back it up.

I think the fast Courts might be a reason because they reward first strike Tennis and neglecting defense and footwork.

I also don't buy the "Football and Baseball takes all the Talent" Thing.

in europe the same is true for Soccer. Soccer easily takes as much Talent as Football and Baseball combined in the USA because it is so dominant.

most Tennis Players Play Tennis because their parents Play Tennis. if a talented athlete has Tennis crazy parents he will likely Play Tennis if not he will Play Football, Basketball or Soccer.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
Fed has a big serve and big forehand.. Novak has an good serve and a big forehand.

There is nothing wrong with the US blueprint. The problem is all the talented athletes are playing football, baseball, basketball and hockey..

And this is logical - because the 100th best player in one of these sports in the US can make an metric ton of money. The 100th best tennis player in the US can impress people on talk tennis.. Which would you choose?
 
Fed has a big serve and big forehand.. Novak has an good serve and a big forehand.

There is nothing wrong with the US blueprint. The problem is all the talented athletes are playing football, baseball, basketball and hockey..

And this is logical - because the 100th best player in one of these sports in the US can make an metric ton of money. The 100th best tennis player in the US can impress people on talk tennis.. Which would you choose?
they have but it is not the only thing they have. they have good footwork, good defense, good backhands and a good net game too.

also the second thing is true in europe too. the best soccer players make about as much as the best football players and most of the talent is going there.
 

moonballs

Hall of Fame
Not enough clay courts. The Spanish style also encourage running around the backhand, but for point construction instead of an outright winner.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
I don't see any of today's American players being in the mold of Courier. Courier had incredible ball control, footwork, movement and many different ways to attack opponents. Courier excelled on slow surfaces and clay.

Jim Courier is the greatest American clay court player in the Open Era. On slow surfaces, Courier was owning guys like Stich, Edberg, Chang and Agassi.

The guy is wholly unique and no American has ever played like him.

I wish Courier would go into coaching junior American tennis stars. He is the only American who I believe could actually produce an American tennis player that is a true all-court talent.
Ditto. Roddick. And hard courts and lazy, shortsighted coaches.
 
Ditto. Roddick. And hard courts and lazy, shortsighted coaches.
roddick was a serve and FH guy too when he was Young but while he was not the most natural athlete at least he did work very hard on his BH and movement over his career (unfortunately he did not go for his shots as much anymore later in his career and tried to become too much of a counterpuncher).

I think roddick really maximized his Talent other Players should use him as a role model.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
roddick was a serve and FH guy too when he was Young but while he was not the most natural athlete at least he did work very hard on his BH and movement over his career (unfortunately he did not go for his shots as much anymore later in his career and tried to become too much of a counterpuncher).

I think roddick really maximized his Talent other Players should use him as a role model.
I agree - Andy was underrated.

There was a guy on TT that did a power indexed based on majors, masters, wins over top 10 and in Andy's prime, the index had Federer and Nadal way in front of tour, then Andy, and everyone else was significantly behind Andy.

Andy would have won 4-6 majors if Federer wasn't around.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
I agree. Roddick was unfairly bashed for being the problem with American tennis. In reality guys like Blake and Roddick just weren't as talented as the competition.

It's all about money - for the talented athlete in the US tennis is not the way to go..
 
I agree. Roddick was unfairly bashed for being the problem with American tennis. In reality guys like Blake and Roddick just weren't as talented as the competition.

It's all about money - for the talented athlete in the US tennis is not the way to go..
I don't agree. regarding Money Tennis is not the way to go in europe either for talented athletes, because you have to make the top100 to make serious Money. in europe Soccer is the way to go, Tennis always was about guys who already had the Money (their parents).

american Tennis like middle european Tennis always recruited from the "rich Tennis crazy parents" pool they had never recruited that poor inner city Basketball stud.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
I don't agree. regarding Money Tennis is not the way to go in europe either for talented athletes, because you have to make the top100 to make serious Money. in europe Soccer is the way to go, Tennis always was about guys who already had the Money (their parents).
Best tennis player in the world is Serbian.. So yeah sure - France, England and Germany lose a lot of players to soccer. What's your point exactly?

US tennis has just drifted to a more natural level given the size of the US and the worldwide nature of tennis.
 
I think what american Players Need to to is improving their footwork and athleticism but still Keep their strengths. if they all become weaponless grinders they are not going to win either.
 
Best tennis player in the world is Serbian.. So yeah sure - France, England and Germany lose a lot of players to soccer. What's your point exactly?

US tennis has just drifted to a more natural level given the size of the US and the worldwide nature of tennis.
in serbia Basketball and Soccer is huge. I think Handball and Volleyball are big too. I don't think many serbian top athletes go to Tennis, it is just that Novaks parents spend all their Money on Novaks career. if the parents would not have had the Money Novak would probably Play Soccer or Handball now.
 

5point5

Professional
It's due to the prevalence of red clay courts in other countries - it's better for developing a more complete game. In the states they have nearly zero RCC.
 

Kenny022593

Professional
Use the search function before creating a new thread because this one has been done to death.

I guess you could say Canadians have the big serve, big forehand going on too.

You didn't quote Donald Young who breaks the mold and Harrison's bh isn't that bad.
Use the search function before you make a post because this one has been done to death.

I guess you could say Donald Young and Harrison are a little bit more complete players too.

You didn't quote Taylor Townsend who doesn't break the mold and Stephens backhand isn't that bad.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
...at least he did work very hard on his BH and movement over his career...
I think you meant '... too late in his career'. As Sun Tze said, the battles are won before they are fought. Once Roddick had established his junior credentials, his coaches should have started rounding out his game before he got to the tour. Sure, he had early success. But the other players eventually figured his game out.

Sorry, forget American and tennis. I can't understand how people play a sport and don't try to learn/master all aspects. Even if you're winning.

Watched Janowicz today. Is he American? (no) He has the same game non-US people are mocking in this thread. Oh, with goofy ill-advised drop shots thrown in. Generalizing is bad, ok.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
I think you meant '... too late in his career'. As Sun Tze said, the battles are won before they are fought. Once Roddick had established his junior credentials, his coaches should have started rounding out his game before he got to the tour. Sure, he had early success. But the other players eventually figured his game out.
Roddick's game wasn't figured out - he just wasn't good enough. Fed's game is built around the same strengths - serve and forehand and he dominated the world with it.

Was he better? Yes. Is he quicker around the court, does he dance instead of lumber out there, does he have uncanny balance and amazing shot making skills with his forehand. Yes.

But he was just more talented. Truth be told Fed's volley's aren't even that good. Better then Roddicks - sure but not exactly up there with Woodbridge or Edberg..

Fed was just better. Think of other sports - its not that John Stockton's game wasn't as 'diverse' as MJ's - MJ just had more talent. That can happen in tennis..
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
^^^^^ We can agree to disagree.

Roddick's game wasn't figured out
Sure it was. For one, players started getting his 1st serve back in play more often. From there, get him moving and you had a decent chance of beating him. Case in point: Roddick only made 1 more USO final (06) after winning it in 03.

Fed's game is built around the same strengths - serve and forehand and he dominated the world with it.
????? What an over-simplification that is! Fed is so much better than Roddick in so many areas. Return of serve, BH (even though Nalbandian mocked it when he first came on tour, it wasn't that bad - I remember watching a night match at UCLA between Safin and Roddick - Roddick hit 0 successful BHs - a few drunks were removed from the stadium for mocking him).

And as far as guys from the previous generation being better volleyers that's a bogus comparison - the players are bigger and with the light sticks and poly strings it's a lot tougher to volley. It's not a finesse game anymore - power rules. Edberg and Sampras blew plenty of easy volleys in their time too.
 

TimothyO

Hall of Fame
Tennis doesn't really have much of a following in the States anymore either and I think that limits the appreciation for varied game styles, tactics, etc. Compared to football, baseball, hockey, yadda yadda it's also considered a sort of patsy sport. That limits the interest level among young players.
Growing up in the 80s that's how we perceived it. Real men played football (American football...not soccer). We ridiculed those who played tennis.

It being the 80s the game was difference back then and it certainly wasn't as physical as it is now. Compare any early-mid 80s tennis video to 2014 and they're very different. Even John McEnroe as commented on how physical the game has become and the demands that it puts on the body.

Today, at least in men's tennis, you need to be fit and truly an athlete to compete. On the ladies side it appears that you can still be (literally) obese and still be competitive at the highest levels. That's changing but clearly still the case.

I wish that I had taken up tennis as a young person. But, better late than never. :)
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
It was trend but I think we may be moving away from it.

Stefan Kozlov, though born somewhere else, is American and is pretty even on both sides. In fact, his backhand is a little nicer than his forehand.

Though Mardy Fish didn't move well he had a great backhand.

Donald Young can volley and has good, dynamic movement.

I would like to see more touch in the American game or even a Tomic-like player emerge from the US.
 

Bendex

Professional
I think you meant '... too late in his career'. As Sun Tze said, the battles are won before they are fought. Once Roddick had established his junior credentials, his coaches should have started rounding out his game before he got to the tour. Sure, he had early success. But the other players eventually figured his game out.

Sorry, forget American and tennis. I can't understand how people play a sport and don't try to learn/master all aspects. Even if you're winning.

Watched Janowicz today. Is he American? (no) He has the same game non-US people are mocking in this thread. Oh, with goofy ill-advised drop shots thrown in. Generalizing is bad, ok.
Roddick was very small for his age until he was about 16. He was a very defensive player. That's according to some Jim Courier commentary I heard a while back where he was claiming that Roddick held onto some of that defensive, small player mentality.
 
It was trend but I think we may be moving away from it.

Stefan Kozlov, though born somewhere else, is American and is pretty even on both sides. In fact, his backhand is a little nicer than his forehand.

Though Mardy Fish didn't move well he had a great backhand.

Donald Young can volley and has good, dynamic movement.

I would like to see more touch in the American game or even a Tomic-like player emerge from the US.
I think the USA should not make the error trying to develope players too much into "grinders".

they should still try to develope the strong serve/FH like querrey, isner, rodddick or harrison but on top of that also develope the other skills. a too extreme paradigm shift is never good, you need to be sensible with that.
 

Rina

Professional
Building an all around game demands patience, and parents, kids and coaches don't have much of patience in US, IMO. It is a cultural thing, and that is why so many kids that were great around 14 are nowhere by 16, they were big and tall for their age and made coaches happy but then those late bloomers had to work like crazy on footwork just to get to return some of their forehands and those kids now grew and have power and footwork. Hard courts add to this mentality, on clay you are not surprised when opponent returns the ball, here you don't expect to have long rallies.
 

mightyrick

Legend
Building an all around game demands patience, and parents, kids and coaches don't have much of patience in US, IMO. It is a cultural thing, and that is why so many kids that were great around 14 are nowhere by 16, they were big and tall for their age and made coaches happy but then those late bloomers had to work like crazy on footwork just to get to return some of their forehands and those kids now grew and have power and footwork. Hard courts add to this mentality, on clay you are not surprised when opponent returns the ball, here you don't expect to have long rallies.
I think it has been said earlier in this thread, but all "they" really need to do is to build a bunch of clay courts and start training players on clay courts. If top American juniors (who already have amazing forehands and serves) are taught to play on clay... the rest will fall into place. Playing successfully on clay requires you to learn how to construct points and use footwork/movement.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
It depends on the athlete. If you have a new Jimmy Connors-type it would be a waste to teach him to play like Querrey.


I think the USA should not make the error trying to develope players too much into "grinders".

they should still try to develope the strong serve/FH like querrey, isner, rodddick or harrison but on top of that also develope the other skills. a too extreme paradigm shift is never good, you need to be sensible with that.
 
on the positive side, do you think that playing baseball contributes to the american players big serves? the serve motion is rather similar to throwing and I believe that throwing a lot builds up that arm strength and technique.

almost all current or recent american players can really crank up that serve (querrey, harrison, roddick, isner, dent, sock, even donald young can hit it pretty hard occasionally)
 

The_Racketeer

Professional
It just seems that a lot of the top players have just as much finesse as they do power. Watching Federer, Djokovic, and Murray you see not only some crushing shots, but great court coverage, excellent footwork, a variety of shots, pin-point-placement, and unbelievable conditioning.

While a monster serve and forehand are great, you need the complete package to be the best. I don't understand why American Academies feel that the serve & FH are sufficient.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
Roddick was very small for his age until he was about 16. He was a very defensive player. That's according to some Jim Courier commentary I heard a while back where he was claiming that Roddick held onto some of that defensive, small player mentality.
Not sure of the age - he and Fish played HS basketball together - pictures show them being taller than most of the other players. So once he got big he amped up his game - never saw 'defense' on tour. And how could be be 'defensive' with that non-existent BH? And the Courier quote: Roddick was super-aggressive when he first showed up - he bombed serves and if they came back he looked to run around and crush a FH.

Junior boys can win with a big serve and FH. USTA is too worried about rankings. So this is what we get. We'll have to wait until a kid who's privately brought up comes along. Could be soon; could be 20 years...
 
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