"Death by dropshot" strategy: bad, idea? unsportsmanlike? Good idea?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by time_fly, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. time_fly

    time_fly Professional

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    Here is the "death by dropshot" strategy for adult rec. league tennis: for the first 3 to 5 games, every shot you hit when your opponent is at the baseline is a drop shot. Every time. If they get it, you try to lob and send them back. The goal isn't necessarily to win the point. If they are fresh and fairly fast, they may even win a substantial number of those games. But if they are of "average fitness" and you make them sprint to the net and back to the baseline 30 to 40 times in a row, you can demolish more easily by switching to a more conventional grinder game after that.

    What do you think - good strategy? bad sportsmanship? bad idea?
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
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  2. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Not unsportsmanlike but if they have any sense they'll hit a drop shot off your drop shot and put you in the same boat.
     
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  3. Wise one

    Wise one Semi-Pro

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    Of course it's good strategy. I do it myself all the time. Lose the battle, win the war!
     
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  4. ptuanminh

    ptuanminh Professional

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    If its a drill idea, its great, but nothing new. If its a match tactic, its sh*T
     
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  5. Wise one

    Wise one Semi-Pro

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    You make the opponent expend more energy than the point is worth. Later on, he'll not have enough to keep up.
     
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  6. ubercat

    ubercat Rookie

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    Problem is they are most likely to reply with a low slice which isn't going to be easy to lob off
     
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  7. gvsbdisco

    gvsbdisco Rookie

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    Definitely not bad sportsmanship. Probably a bad idea though; a well executed drop shot from the back of the court is difficult to execute and a low percentage play. Poorly executed it gets rammed down your throat. But hey, if you are good enough to execute consistently go for it although I would think your opponent will quickly adjust.
     
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  8. Booger

    Booger Hall of Fame

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    1. I assume you are a 3.5 because this sounds like a 3.5 strategy. I doubt your drop shot game is anywhere near good enough to pull this off without dumping a bunch of balls into the net or leaving easily gettable meatballs around the service line.

    2. Even if you could do this consistently, I'm going to start standing multiple feet inside the baseline, hitting deep topspin balls, serve and volley, and doing whatever else to keep you on the defensive.

    3. Is this where you want to be when Jesus comes back? Trying to angle some other rec leaguer out of a good match so you can (maybe) get a cheap win?
     
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  9. ChaelAZ

    ChaelAZ Hall of Fame

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    This.

    And the predictability becomes...predictable and give an opponent more options. Now, if you mix it in often it *MIGHT* work, but all most rec players do is setup a put-away or get drop shot'd back.
     
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  10. zaph

    zaph Semi-Pro

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    I agree with point 1, most players at that level are hitting short slices, I doubt they have a reliable enough dropshot to pull it off.

    Point 2, wouldn't work, anyone decent would hit deeper to take advantage of you standing in no-man's land

    As for point 3, there is no legit way to win a tennis match, if it is in the rules it is fine.
     
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  11. zaph

    zaph Semi-Pro

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    The problem with your plan is if you meet someone who has played allot of dropshoters.

    I have, I am not a particularly good player, 3.5 level at best, but your strategy wouldn't work against me. I will simply deny you the lob. If your drop shot is hard to reach, I will prod it short and get ready to volley the next ball. You're welcome to try and lob me from ontop of the net, good luck with that.

    If I can reach it, it will be angled shot straight to you backhand. I am betting your backhand topspin lob on the run is not one of your strongest shots.

    I mean after all, I want to be at the net, it makes winning the point easier. So why would it bother me if you constantly bring me there?
     
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  12. r2473

    r2473 G.O.A.T.

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    I agreed to play a match with a guy at the park while I was waiting for my partner to show up (partner texted he had something come up and would be an hour late). The guy started doing this to me almost from the first point. I just watched them bounce and he kept doing it. But it was a nice way for me to warm up my serve and hit a few groundstrokes and returns. I didn't mind and he seemed happy he won.
     
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  13. Wise one

    Wise one Semi-Pro

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    Again, the point isn't to win that point so much as it is to tire your opponent out. Many players aren't as fit as they think they are. About 20 years ago (at age 46) I played a younger, fitter player with better groundstrokes. He was perhaps in his early 30s or late 20s. He affected the style of Michael Chang, and had the Prince Graphite racquet and Chang clothes and headband. I played serve-and-volley and hit a lot of short volleys and drop shots, moving him side to side and back and forth. For every step I took, he had to take many more. He won the first set 6-4, but I was gaining on him. I won the second set 6-2 or so. We decided to play a tie-breaker, which he tanked. He was spent.

    Shots that he reached in the first set he simply could not reach later, or gave up on. He had no net game to speak of.
     
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  14. MisterP

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    If you can’t hit a proper dropshot you are going to watch them take three steps into the court and stick the ball in the corner. A lot.
     
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  15. time_fly

    time_fly Professional

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    I don't play like this at all. But I have it done to me on occasion. I'm 46 and in pretty good shape, but I still get tired of running up to the next after several games in a row of almost all drop-shots / short, low slices. Keep in mind, the point isn't to play and win the whole match like this. It's to keep it up for as many points as necessary until your opponent starts looking burnt. Then you can switch to a more conventional grinder game. If your opponent looks like a marathon runner it's probably not wise. If he looks like the average 35+ year old rec player on the other hand ...
     
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  16. travlerajm

    travlerajm Legend

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    I know a 4.5 guy that does this as his regular go-to match strategy. His home club is on clay in a hot and humid climate. He has a one-handed backhanded that he can only slice. But he feels more comfortable using the slice bh to hit touch drop shots than he does hitting driving slices. He drop shots on 70% of his backhands, with the other 30% deep slices to keep his opponent honest. His forehand is pretty solid, so to beat him the best bet is to play his bh. Im a little stronger than him because I’m younger and faster, but he has beaten me once, when I was out of shape for the challenge. Even when I beat him, I’m getting quite a cardio workout.
     
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  17. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Awesome!

    At the level of 3.5 or lower, the ball that gives players the MOST trouble is the short ball. It needn't be a very good dropshot to win the point outright. I often win points by unintentionally missing the sweet spot, and the ball goes short, my opponent doesn't reach it before two bounces.

    I know we're told, "Keep your shots deep." But that's makes it easier on the opponent at the baseline, and Tilden said "Never give your opponent a shot he likes."

    This short ball brings him to the net. Again, we're told "You don't want to let your opponent get to the net." But in 3.5 or lower, usually, that IS where you want him. Then lob him, because again, at lower levels smashes are unreliable.

    So your weapons are drop shots and lobs, touch shots, not power. Power isn't really an asset until someone becomes a seriously accomplished player. Until that time comes, if ever, it just deludes recreational players into thinking they are way more advanced than they really are.
     
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  18. Wise one

    Wise one Semi-Pro

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    Drop-shot/lob is the oldest ploy in the book.
     
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  19. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Legend

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    Saw a 20 something kid drop shoting a 50 something guy with bad ankles... horrible movement. Made LeeD look like Carl Lewis. In cases like this, would have been an easy win...most unsporting.
     
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  20. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    He should have moved up then. At 50 he should have learned to half volley, right?

    Be imaginative, there's always something you can try.
     
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  21. ubercat

    ubercat Rookie

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    I'd think practicing combinations like backhand Cross Court backhand Cross Court, big windup and then a short slice would be a better way to go.

    And I think the main thing is to drop shot cross Court. Short angled slices are great shots.
     
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  22. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    santoro made of career of this.
     
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  23. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    see post #2
     
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  24. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    santoro!
     
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  25. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    i've done this to an immobile guy... he hit decently , when the ball is hit hard, near him...
    kinda a short stroke deep moonball.
    the right play was to hit short, so he couldn't hit his favorite shot (moonball from the baseline).
    nothing unsporting about it.

    if you want to play a set, play by the rules.. and rules don't say you have to play a certain style.
    if you want to drill, and hit nice 50 ball rallies from the baseline, then do that... just don't try to keep score.
     
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  26. ptuanminh

    ptuanminh Professional

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    You also forget to mention loads of rec players that try to imitate pro players for years and get nowhere with their tennis games.
     
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  27. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    A dropshot at 3.5 tennis usually doesn't have to be very good to be effective. 3.5s mostly stand at the baseline and only move to their right or left. They resist moving back for deep shots or forward for short ones. They also don't play the net well, especially overheads. The best way to exploit these weaknesses is to bring them to the net, and then lob or pass them.
     
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  28. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Legend

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    Maybe "unsporting" is the wrong choice of words. Maybe, "being a d**k" would be more appropriate. If it's an easy win, against a highly immobile opponent, I really don't see the need to exploit someone's disability. Now if the outcome of match in question, different story.
     
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  29. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    the right word is "genius"
    if it's ladder or league match, i'm gonna win the easiest way i can... so if dinking is more effectiving than "hitting out", then i'm dinking every shot.
    if the guy is immobile, what the heck is he doing competing (playing a set, with points)... did he bring a disabled card, that he can redeem for 1 "no dinking" pass for the duration of the match?
    i'm happy to dink the guy 0,0... and i'll hit groundies to him all day afterwards, for practice, if he wants?

    ok, if this is not the first time i've dinked him 0,0, i might change things up, maybe hit to him, so i can get some practice, and longer rallies.
     
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  30. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    Sounds good but if you are losing all those points, the match may be over before your opponent gets tired. As noted above, you have to have a very good dropshot to try this. Even if you do, after about the third one, I am looking for it and cheating in on you. Sure, you can try to push me back with deep shots but there goes your dropshot marathon.
     
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  31. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    le't's presume i'm the opponent... and OP has identified me as not nearly as fit as him.
    my guess is the OP was thinking he could tire me out with dinks/lobs, even if he loses the first set (hopefully close, with alot of points)... make it a real grind
    by the second set, i'd just roll over and give up...

    sound strat if oP has good touch, and can execute... but also presumes i'm not countering. easiest way to counter, is just lob everything myself... hard to hit droppers off a lob.
    but if i'm giving you low, no pace, slice shots - perfect for drop shots, yeah, dink and lob is a great strat
     
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  32. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Talk Tennis Guru

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    Tennis becomes badminton, drop, lob, smash!
     
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  33. tlm

    tlm G.O.A.T.

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    I use the drop shot often if I have my opponent pushed back, not trying to tire them out though. If it’s there I use it, a lot of guys I face can’t play high deep topspin shots off the rise well so they end up way behind the baseline and I will then hit the dropper.

    But it’s a chancy shot that you have to get pretty good at to be effective. If you hit it a little to deep and high you will usually lose the point and if you try making it to perfect it’s easy to hit the net.

    I’ve had some opponents whine about it and I get some dirty looks but I could care less if they can’t cover it I will drop them relentlessly. Only in tennis do I hear so much crying about using different tactics. To me it’s like when I played baseball you hit it where they ain’t. If the outfielders are playing by the warning track you don’t try to hit it over them unless your sure you can hit a home run you drop it in front of them.
     
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  34. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Yes, a chop stroke artist wouldn't get far on the ATP. They can read the spin and their footwork is good enough to get into position.
    Same for a drop shot artist, they can read what's coming and move quickly.

    So...if these tactics give you a lot of trouble, this is telling you what you've got to work on. If you can't deal with this, not only are you not ready for the ATP, even guys on the Parks Tennis Ladder will beat you if you have holes in your game. Don't practice only groundies. Be sure to practice OH, half-volleys, and anything else you have trouble with. It's fun to be able to play against lots of different types of styles.
     
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  35. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    I did it in a clay court tournament. 40+ league.
    It was about 89 degrees out and my opponents were not happy!
    I didn't do it on every shot but about I would try it about 2-3 times per game just to get them moving and keep them guessing. They weren't awesome drops and they did win a few points but by the 2nd set they were toast.
     
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  36. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Legend

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    It's hard to drop shot from the baseline when you are getting balls with pace.
    This might work at 3.0 level.
     
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  37. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    You have to be patient. At 3.0 level, not all that patient, to get a paceless you're hitting from inside the baseline.
     
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  38. sredna42

    sredna42 Semi-Pro

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    It's a good idea, even if you lose it will help you develop a greater awareness of court geometry in relation to your opponent's positioning/movement, which you don't get just bashing and waiting for the UE.

    I watch Marc Polmans cut Purcell to pieces with endless dropshots in an ITF futures final, and it was really instructive to watch, how he'd push his opponent wide, or wait until their momentum was commited, before putting the drop shot into the void that they could not cover, he would construct the opportunity brilliantly.
     
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  39. onehandbh

    onehandbh Legend

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    Last year someone did this to me and it worked. I has very tired from
    averaging 2-4 hrs of sleep for 5 months in a row, though.
     
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  40. tlm

    tlm G.O.A.T.

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    You must have missed the Rafa -Delpo semifinals, Rafa used the drop shot a lot on Delpo and had success with it.
     
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  41. tlm

    tlm G.O.A.T.

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    Even at 4.0-4.5 not every shot has big pace, there are still plenty of opportunities to hit droppers.
     
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  42. GN-001

    GN-001 Rookie

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    This is exactly how I die in badminton
     
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  43. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    I've incorporated this into my game when I get pulled wide in a CC rally. It's not a high % shot but it ranks high in the surprise department if I can pull it off. I'll only do it off an incoming TS shot, though; too difficult, IMO, to do it off of a slice.
     
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  44. bitcoinoperated

    bitcoinoperated Professional

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    It's almost like tennis isn't a competitive sport or something
     
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  45. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Legend

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    Remember Fed playing a point against a 12 year old ballkid? When the kid came to the net, Fed should have drilled the kid in the nads... or ripped a 100mph passing shot?
     
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  46. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Talk Tennis Guru

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    Fed shoulda gone Sr on the kid, lob.
     
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  47. Searah

    Searah Rookie

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    i'll dropshot a lot in doubles if my opponent is clearly overweight.

    even in say singles or doubles.. dropshot enough so they expect it.. then change your grip early so they're expecting a dropshot again and instead do a deep slice so they run into it.

    but by the title i thought it was gonna be like "losing the last point of the game by doing a dropshot. sometimes for me it's like "if i am gonna lose.. then it'll be by my own hand". so i'll try a risky dropshot.
     
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  48. bitcoinoperated

    bitcoinoperated Professional

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    Pretty sure that was a feel good bit of fun thing and not a competitive match between adults ie. wholly different.
     
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  49. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Talk Tennis Guru

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    Had a teammate, who practiced groundies at least an hour each day, play an overweight dropper. Never got a chance to hit those sweet groundies. NXT year another teammate was tied to the tree of woe, death by a thousand cuts or droppers by the same guy.
     
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  50. Steady Eddy

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    I'd like to see that. Rafa has excellent touch. Actually, he does everything well.
     
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