Classic All Court vs. Ball bashing baseliners

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by marosmith, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

    Feb 25, 2009
    Lafayette, Or
    In my own development I find that the type of tennis I enjoy watching to some extent I have tried to model my game after. I enjoy classic tennis, Sampras, to a lesser degree Federer, Hass, 1 HBH players.

    I have always wondered, this baseline, extreme grip, retriever, ball bashing topspin 2 HBH game has dominated for about 10 years in pro tennis, and in academies juniors etc...

    While this is but a mere blip in tennis history, when do you think the all court game, focusing on hitting through the court, conservative grips, 1 HBH, emphasis on covering the court and volleying- will become the standard again?

    The best player at this currently is Federer and it has brought him success against many others in his era, but do we see this changing soon? Or is instruction so biased to the basline topspin game that it may be a generation, like 15-20 years until the styles progress again?

    Just something I think about since it really comes down to instruction and coaching in the Junior ranks.
  2. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

    Apr 4, 2008
    i think the classic days of old of serve and volley etc are probably done. the all court player of today is an opportunistic approach/volley player with an occasional serve and volley but also has the baseline game to stand toe to toe when its called for. even nadal you see coming to net more often. even davidenko rarely. i think the modern coaches realize you have to have some ability to play in the front court. as for the 1hbh thats another story.
  3. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

    Sep 28, 2009
    All court tennis will never become the standard. Why? Because it's difficult to develop. You need talent as well as a lot of hard work to get it to work.

    However, will those who have an all court game be rewarded with success? In general, yes. More often than not we'll have an all court player at #1 instead of a baseliner.

    And baseline bashing IS focusing on hitting through the court, but consistently and doing nothing else. All court tennis is opening up the angles as well as covering them, taking as much time away from your opponents as you comfortably can and playing the universally correct shot which baseliners can't always do simply because they don't own that shot or the skills to follow it up.

    It doesn't just come down to instruction and coaching at the junior level, it comes down to winning. At the junior level, how many successful one handers do you see? Very few. At the pro level that percentage jumps dramatically. Donald Young was an incredibly successful and talented junior player with a one handed backhand and a baseline bashing style. In pro tennis, that hasn't done squat for him. All he knew how to do was pound the ball. I'm guessing he never learned to think his way through matches, just consistently outhit the opponent, which is usually all that's needed on the junior level.

    On the pro level, they run those down and probably hit just as hard, if not harder than you!

    On the junior level, if you want to be great, you have to lose a lot early (unless you're Federer, Becker, or Edberg; who all did amazingly well at the junior level, though the latter two didn't deal with big baseline tennis).

    It's not the coaching that's favored baseline tennis, it's the equipment.

    Balls are slower, courts are slower, people are faster, strings generate more spin, rackets are more spin friendly and generate more pace, and simply the ability to hit through the court can only really be done with a massive swing. Volleys are now unsuitable on their own to put an opponent out of position and on defense. They have to start out well on defense for a volley to be any good, otherwise the opponent will rip an angled dipper with pace or send a flat screamer down the line for a winner. The baseline game is the easiest to learn, the easiest to be consistent with (#1 goal in tennis), and simply the courts and equipment favor the baseliner. If a server can consistently get a player out wide and on defense with his serve in addition to drawing a reasonably weak return, he can serve and volley all day long. But how many people have that ability aside from Sampras? And even then, people have occasionally blocked his serves back for return winners. Aggressive tennis is risky tennis. And playing at the net is as technically aggressive as you can get. For baseline tennis, you can play safe all day long until you get an easy shot at a winner. From the net, that's not really possible.

    You consider this a blip, but that is your own misguidedness hoping for the return of the classical game. It's not a blip. Connors and Lendl dominating could be considered a blip, though they are VERY LONG blips. Now, it's a flat out trend. The game is changing! Deal with it! Conservative grips aren't coming back except with the most talented of players. Expect semiwestern to stay and to be widely considered the best forehand grip in tennis, as if it wasn't already. Two handed backhands are easier to learn and are quicker to fully develop. They are the fast track to winning, which is what parents and junior players want.
  4. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

    Feb 25, 2009
    Lafayette, Or
    It is a blip, for now, but may continue forever and may not be a blip.

    When I say all court I mean many things, slicing, chip and charge, serve and volley, taking the ball early, finishing inside the baseline, shot variety (not just top spin drive on both sides), volleying, eastern grips hitting with spin, and flat, to some extent 1HBH (not necessary though) etc...

    In other words, I am not referring just to serve and volley. To me it means alot of things. I would say Connors would fit this to a large degree- although for his era when S&V was standard of course he seemed like quite the baseliner, but in todays standard would be considered an all courterusing spins, moving up the court, alot of chip and charge etc...

    I just see a little bit of the worst of the WTZ creeping into the ATP game and it scares me because its boring and nauseating. Ha ha, but that's just my opinion. I am fully aware that this board is full of a certain bias, but heck I thought it would be good to see what some of the experts have to say, like will, and god forbid, even the jovial BB!
  5. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

    Jul 28, 2009
    Reasons are very simple;

    Junior academies/coaches seek results immediately. (time is money)
    Slower courts and balls. (biggest reason)
    All court game takes longer to develop. (time is money)

    Actually, everything comes down to money.
  6. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

    Feb 24, 2004
    Any tactic is boring if that's all that anyone ever does. What's more disturbing is that the pros are using incorrect grips, stances and swings. It's like being a squash player and fan and then having the rules change so that everyone play badminton instead and calls it squash.
  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Here in SanFrancisco area, it's all concrete hard courts.
    So we play money tourneys on carpet or HarTru, our normal shots don't work. Our shots sit up, don't penetrate, don't skid, and we get passed. Same problem in '77 is still the same problem now.
    Maybe if we can bring back some grass tourneys, slice and chip might come back some.
    As is, slow, high bouncing cushy courts is almost like clay, but with foot traction instead of skidding.
  8. texasdoc

    texasdoc Rookie

    Sep 15, 2009
    baseline bashing is pretty boring to watch. the classic game is beautiful.

    but, baseline bashing does pay the bills.

    i play a classic type of game because i do other things to make money and play tennis for fun.
  9. Netspirit

    Netspirit Hall of Fame

    Jul 12, 2009
    Snoqualmie, WA
    The natural development of tennis equipment and technique is gradually transforming tennis into ping-pong, raising the speed and spins, moving the players farther back.

    If you want to know what tennis may look like in 20-30 years, watch today's ping-pong:
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  10. mental midget

    mental midget Hall of Fame

    Oct 7, 2008
    'baseline bashing' is simply a higher-percentage approach to the game, given the current technology. however, along with increased spin, power, and overall tempo of play, it's brought along something else as well--lots and lots of injuries.

    my guess is the trend towards a slightly more 'complete' approach to the game will continue as players attempt to extend the life of their competitive careers. 'attacking tennis' will remain a risky proposition, but it seems more players are weighing their options, if only to avoid physical breakdown.
  11. lancernrg

    lancernrg Banned

    Oct 3, 2006

    All court game is boring, it's all about brainless baseline bashing now. :oops:
  12. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

    Feb 25, 2009
    Lafayette, Or
    Reading some of your posts I realized that you are stupid and just post stupid things for the fun of it, sort of like fedace?
  13. split-step

    split-step Professional

    Dec 6, 2007
    I consider Federer more of an aggressive baseliner than a classic all court player.
    I consider Haas more of a baseliner than Federer even.
  14. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Legend

    Aug 12, 2004
    When your playing for money - you play a style that works. Even Federer really goes in from the baseline nowadays. It just too risky against today's pros.
  15. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation G.O.A.T.

    Oct 20, 2006
    Some former pros and higher level coaches have pointed some accusing fingers in recent years at the teachers/coaches around the game who have taken the short cut to success with the young sluggers they develop. Many will focus on not much more than teaching a big serve and big strokes - maybe only the forehand - instead of also spending time on all court skills. This can earn some trophies in the short term, but once the baseliners lock horns with competent all court players that are also solid from the backcourt, the multi-dimensional players usually have a distinct advantage.

    As far as the pros are concerned, I think that the men have revived the all court game to a significant degree. Andy Roddick had to put some time in to learn a net rushing game that he never put together in his younger years and he's finally able to play toe to toe with everyone including Fed. I'm a fan of the all court game, especially in contrast with pure baseline play, so it's encouraging to see some players using it more often.

    The WTA is stuck in the power baselining mode and I'm wondering if a new generation will come along with games built on a formula that's not so narrow. Martina Hingis and Justine Henin are two examples of ladies of no more than average size, but their all court skills have made them more capable than bigger, stronger baselining opponents. In any case, I suppose it takes a certain long term approach to the game to learn all court skills early on, but I think that the success that some pros have with it will put a little more light back on this style of play.

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