As an old school tennis fan who loved Sampras, Becker, Edberg, Lendl, Federer etc tsitsipas is the man for me!

Bender

G.O.A.T.
So, what is/are the indication/s of "hitting early"?

:cool:
IMO it just needs to be a ball that’s hit while the ball is still on the rise. The earlier the more impressive of course.

If the incoming ball is hit short with not much spin then the contact point might be inside the baseline, but the player may have hit the ball while the ball was at the peak of its bounce or dropping. If it’s a 100 mph cannon that just catches the line the returner’s contact point may well be deep behind the baseline but contact may have been made while the ball was still rising.

The point is that you can’t just draw an arbitrary line and call it a day.

Fed and Djokovic both hit the ball super early on the regular but that doesn’t mean they’re always going to be right on the baseline. They can be deeper behind the baseline and still be taking the call early. Just depends on the opponent.
 

Tennis_Hands

Talk Tennis Guru
IMO it just needs to be a ball that’s hit while the ball is still on the rise. The earlier the more impressive of course.

If the incoming ball is hit short with not much spin then the contact point might be inside the baseline, but the player may have hit the ball while the ball was at the peak of its bounce or dropping. If it’s a 100 mph cannon that just catches the line the returner’s contact point may well be deep behind the baseline but contact may have been made while the ball was still rising.

The point is that you can’t just draw an arbitrary line and call it a day.

Fed and Djokovic both hit the ball super early on the regular but that doesn’t mean they’re always going to be right on the baseline. They can be deeper behind the baseline and still be taking the call early. Just depends on the opponent.
Yes but mostly those two things (hitting the ball on the rise and hitting it inside the court) coincide. Short balls are aimed to draw the opponent in, so he by default doesn't have the opportunity to choose whether to hit it early(ier). Also, modern baseline tennis.

:cool:
 

SamprasisGOAT

Professional
Problem with this analysis is the best matches of all time are Nadal v Djokovic. Yes they are the greatest ever so one might expect that to be the case but even against other lesser players their matches are often the most jaw dropping. They are not solely dependent on their serves like the players mentioned by the OP. In their case if the serve did not work, they tended to lose.
Okay I’ve heard it all now.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Yes but mostly those two things (hitting the ball on the rise and hitting it inside the court) coincide. Short balls are aimed to draw the opponent in, so he by default doesn't have the opportunity to choose whether to hit it early(ier). Also, modern baseline tennis.

:cool:
The point is that hitting the ball on the rise and hitting it inside the court aren't necessarily the same thing.

And I wasn't referring to the short slice or other deliberate short ball...the kind of short ball that is accidentally during a normal rally as you would expect from Murray or Nadal (or even Federer from time to time), that isn't extracted and so is somewhat unexpected. Usually their opponents wait for that ball to drop and hit it back from on top of the baseline, but that wouldn't be called hitting early.

More often than not, I get it but I'm saying that contact points depend on the opponent as well. Nadal hitting short balls left right and centre isn't the same as Delpo having a forehand day.
 

Tennis_Hands

Talk Tennis Guru
The point is that hitting the ball on the rise and hitting it inside the court aren't necessarily the same thing.

And I wasn't referring to the short slice or other deliberate short ball...the kind of short ball that is accidentally during a normal rally as you would expect from Murray or Nadal (or even Federer from time to time), that isn't extracted and so is somewhat unexpected. Usually their opponents wait for that ball to drop and hit it back from on top of the baseline, but that wouldn't be called hitting early.

More often than not, I get it but I'm saying that contact points depend on the opponent as well. Nadal hitting short balls left right and centre isn't the same as Delpo having a forehand day.
I understood all those exceptions, but the point was that the statistic reflects the general case more than anything else. Even Nadal is not an exception. Besides, if a player gets to a short ball, he will most often win, regardless of whether he took it early or not. Nadal doesn't play short balls that can get attacked, so I doubt that many of those figure in the said stats.

:cool:
 

SamprasisGOAT

Professional
Please watch Nadal v Djokovic FO SF 2013 Nadal v Djokovic W2018 and Nadal v Djokovic 2012 AO as well as a plethora of great Masters 1000 matches.
Please watch sampras Becker 1996 masters final, Sampras Agassi 2001 is open quarter, Sampras Agassi is open 1995 final, Sampras Agassi Wimbledon 1993 quarter, Sampras Agassi Australian final 1995, sampras Davis cup final 1995

That’s real tennis. Not bad line grind grind grind moonball moonball moonball

I could be here all day.
 

canta_Brian

Rookie
On a serious note. 3 of the semi finalists had single handed backhands.
Given how few kids are taught a single hander (sample size) this must suggest either:
If you are able to hit a single hander it is more versatile and effective and will get you to the top.
or:
Being able to hit a good single hander is indicative of being good at tennis all round.
 

canta_Brian

Rookie
Single handed BH is obsolete as far too unreliable in a long rally. Even wawrinka and tsitsipas and thiem, the three best single handers since edberg often have that win broken down. It might look nice but a double handed BH is far more reliable.
Hey thanks for putting me straight.

I repeat. 3 of 4 semi finalists with single. Those who can use it are likely better than those who can’t.
 

topher

Professional
Um, but Socrates was a jerk. It's why they made him drink poison. Maybe he is the second coming. ;-)

I still like his game, and he is a far cry from some others who behave badly around the tennis court.
Didn't Socrates willingly drink poison and allow himself to be executed to uphold civic law and order? Sounds like the opposite of a jerk to me. Just being pedantic :p

Plus the reasons for his execution seemed to be asking tough questions to the higher ups of Athens, not exactly the same as mistreating unpaid ballboys.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
I understood all those exceptions, but the point was that the statistic reflects the general case more than anything else. Even Nadal is not an exception. Besides, if a player gets to a short ball, he will most often win, regardless of whether he took it early or not. Nadal doesn't play short balls that can get attacked, so I doubt that many of those figure in the said stats.

:cool:
No disagreement with you there for the most part. I'm just saying you can't look at a contact point diagram for a particular match and call it a day.

The reference to Nadal is really more the young Nadal that hit heavy tospin balls from 2-3 m behind the baseline.

On a side note, it's kinda weird how he went from returning close to the baseline and then retreating to rally from way back behind the baseline to returning from the first row and then working his way into the court as much as possible.
 

Tennis_Hands

Talk Tennis Guru
No disagreement with you there for the most part. I'm just saying you can't look at a contact point diagram for a particular match and call it a day.

The reference to Nadal is really more the young Nadal that hit heavy tospin balls from 2-3 m behind the baseline.

On a side note, it's kinda weird how he went from returning close to the baseline and then retreating to rally from way back behind the baseline to returning from the first row and then working his way into the court as much as possible.
Well, we have to allow for some level of standardisation, otherwise we will be stuck forever in examining everything shot by shot, and that would be extremely laborious and boring (if possible at all). To be honest, I don't see much of a difference between young and old Nadal in the way he plays short balls to the opponent. Maybe I am not paying enough attention.

As for the rest, it does make sense. His physical abilities to react to the ball initially have diminished, so he needs to make room for the new reality by going even further back. His one advantage is that he can actually play the ball from there, which would be not the case for many (the vast majority?) of the normal players. Once the point gets going he needs to move inside the court, otherwise he would be forced to grind and he cannot do that like he used to. However, with players of his or greater ability, and especially on surfaces that are advantageous to their games, that receiving position puts him instantly in disadvantage from which he has trouble to recover during the point. That is my explanations why he has so little success against Federer and Djokovic outside of clay nowadays.

:cool:
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Well, we have to allow for some level of standardisation, otherwise we will be stuck forever in examining everything shot by shot, and that would be extremely laborious and boring (if possible at all). To be honest, I don't see much of a difference between young and old Nadal in the way he plays short balls to the opponent. Maybe I am not paying enough attention.

As for the rest, it does make sense. His physical abilities to react to the ball initially have diminished, so he needs to make room for the new reality by going even further back. His one advantage is that he can actually play the ball from there, which would be not the case for many (the vast majority?) of the normal players. Once the point gets going he needs to move inside the court, otherwise he would be forced to grind and he cannot do that like he used to. However, with players of his or greater ability, and especially on surfaces that are advantageous to their games, that receiving position puts him instantly in disadvantage from which he has trouble to recover during the point. That is my explanations why he has so little success against Federer and Djokovic outside of clay nowadays.

:cool:
Yeah, I see your point. Guess I'll have to concede to your point there.

I will add that I think Rafa's ability to place the ball deeper has to do with a change in forehand grip that no-one else seems to have noticed.

He seems to be using a conservative semiwestern to an extreme eastern grip, which may explain his ability to take the ball a lot easier. Earlier on in his career when he was using a stronger grip, unless it was to tee off a low slice he had difficulty dealing with low balls--to be precise, low, skidding balls that the Blakes of the tour would hit to his forehand. It also resulted in consistent short balls when his forehand was put under pressure, that doesn't happen nearly as often now.

His swingpath remains the same, which explains why his topspin rate hasn't dropped too much though.
 

DSH

Hall of Fame
A fan can enjoy various styles of games, much will have to see the affinity that is something subjective, that player transmits to those fans and an instant connection is created, a "crush", something magical at the end of the day.

That some mistakenly try to tell you that this is the only way to play, that the rest is not worth appreciating falls into the rampant pedagogy of these times.

That someone dares to impose on how to live, what to do, and in this case, what style of play you should follow, is unworthy of response.

It is a total loss of time.
 

Tennis_Hands

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah, I see your point. Guess I'll have to concede to your point there.

I will add that I think Rafa's ability to place the ball deeper has to do with a change in forehand grip that no-one else seems to have noticed.

He seems to be using a conservative semiwestern to an extreme eastern grip, which may explain his ability to take the ball a lot easier. Earlier on in his career when he was using a stronger grip, unless it was to tee off a low slice he had difficulty dealing with low balls--to be precise, low, skidding balls that the Blakes of the tour would hit to his forehand. It also resulted in consistent short balls when his forehand was put under pressure, that doesn't happen nearly as often now.

His swingpath remains the same, which explains why his topspin rate hasn't dropped too much though.
That is an interesting observation (about his grip), but if that is so, his margin for error would have diminished even if his swing path remained the same. I don't know if that is the case and I haven't looked into it, but it will be interesting if someone has such data. Also, that would be a bit more dangerous as far as wrist injuries are concerned, as his body has probably "molded" to his previous grip and such transition would put additional strain in that region.

:cool:
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
That is an interesting observation (about his grip), but if that is so, his margin for error would have diminished even if his swing path remained the same. I don't know if that is the case and I haven't looked into it, but it will be interesting if someone has such data. Also, that would be a bit more dangerous as far as wrist injuries are concerned, as his body has probably "molded" to his previous grip and such transition would put additional strain in that region.

:cool:
I think it has. His passing shots have all but gone in the last few years, and I don't think it's only because of his decline in movement. He also hits far more unforced errors than in the past, but that trend started in around 2013-2014 when he was clearly trying to be more overtly aggressive.
 

mika1979

Professional
Tsitsipas wawrinka and Federer are the only players keeping me involved and watching the tour on a week to week basis. I’ve been a fanatic since I was 6 years old. I’m 30 now. If you like attack based, all court tennis, single backhand and good mental strength they are the only 3 players that I know fit the bill in 2019! When I started watching tennis in 1995 there were dozens of these style players. The way the tour and tennis in general has gone in the last 20 years is sad to witness and the people in charge should be ashamed of themselves. What they have done making nearly every court in the world slow is a disgrace and it’s ruied tennis as a global power. It’s down to the terrible baseline moonballing style of play in the last 15 years that tennis is no longer Popular. Tennis has sold out. I want the people responsible for the slow balls and courts held accountable for there decisions to make tennis into some money earning machine. There was no need to ruin things.

Any body willing to name names on who coursed this to happen to tennis please spread the word.
I find their on court behaviour terrible. Their game is boring too, they just whack away like wood-choppers, when it goes in it goes in
 
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