I'm adopting MEP style

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Always a surprise to see players like McEnroe and Connors with their olde 1960s/70s style strokes. Surprised that their strokes never evolved from that era. I am a few months older than JC but did not develop my strokes until the early 1970s. While my game never reached their level of play, my strokes have evolved over the years. My mechanics in the 1990s was different than the style I was using back in the 1970s. And, my strokes in 2010 had evolved further from what they had been in the 90s.

Have noticed some evolution of strokes for players like Sampras and Agassi during their playing years. Have seen some significant changes for the strokes of Federer, Nadal & Djoko during their careers.
 

Curious

Legend
Best I have seen you play . But it is nowhere near GSG level.
Of course but give me some time, he’s been playing that style of tennis for years, this was my first attempt. He’s the master of his weird technique, he can do anything, place the ball anywhere he likes, hence has much more variety than me. He’s still a 4.5 and I’m a 3.5 but I don’t see myself too far from 4.0 if I persist with this style.
 

socallefty

Legend
It was a response to this.
Connors might hit with half the topspin of today‘s ATP pros, but he hits with way more topspin than any 3.5 rec player and most 4.0 players. I wouldn’t put your topspin strokes in the same category as Connors for generating spin - if you did, you would be a lot more consistent than you are. In any case, there are about 5-10% of 4.5+ players who don’t depend on topspin to be consistent with their shots and those are usually the older players who used to be 5.0+ in their youth - like Connors. GSG is unique because he is a young guy under 40 who is a 4.5 with very little topspin - but he does generate a lot of underspin to gain control of the ball.

Whether it is topspin of underspin, you need spin to control the ball effectively especially if you want to hit hard. My coach is a former ATP pro and he can probably beat me hitting only slice on both wings but it is not a slow slice shot - it is a driving slice that is hit hard with a lot of pace and it skids low.
 
What a feeling! Thanks @GSG for inspiring me.
Why would I need topspin groundstrokes? Just volley everything even from the baseline! That's a winning style, that's fun to hit, that's less stressful. Played the first set as usual with hundreds of errors, mental tension, frustration. Lost 6-2. Second set, started getting rid of topspin, won 6-4. The third set, went full continental, from the first point to the last and won 6-1. My mental tension immediately disappeared in the third set, because I wasn't doubting my shots anymore. I knew I was going to make most of them.
Anyway, slicing on both sides is much easier, with more margin for error, gives you more time for recovery, better for your mental health :D. By the way, who doesn't enjoy hitting slices??


Here's the third set. Imagine how much better I would be playing if I continued practicing this style.

If you say "why would I need topspin groundstrokes?" you're not adopting Ben T.'s style. He hit quite a few topspin forehands during his Essential Tennis matches so far, especially on passing shots.
 

Curious

Legend
If you say "why would I need topspin groundstrokes?" you're not adopting Ben T.'s style. He hit quite a few topspin forehands during his Essential Tennis matches so far, especially on passing shots.
It’s not his usual rally groundstroke though. Actually a friend of mine pointed out that he doesn’t even really slice those forehands, he just taps them with a semi westernish type grip. Everything he does is unorthodox!:D
 
The percentage is increasing more and more, especially as people volley more and more against him. But yeah, he punches his shots, rather than a conventional slice. If you keep slicing with your elaborate and long strokes, I wouldn't expect you to get Ben's consistency. One of Ben's major advantages is that his technique is so simple that it's hard for his strokes to break down or fall out of form during the course of a match, and on a dead run, because there are so few moving parts, he can hit his shots at close to ideal form because it's that simple.
 

Curious

Legend
The percentage is increasing more and more, especially as people volley more and more against him. But yeah, he punches his shots, rather than a conventional slice. If you keep slicing with your elaborate and long strokes, I wouldn't expect you to get Ben's consistency. One of Ben's major advantages is that his technique is so simple that it's hard for his strokes to break down or fall out of form during the course of a match, and on a dead run, because there are so few moving parts, he can hit his shots at close to ideal form because it's that simple.
Totally agree. He’s so smart to have figured out the most simple form that works for every shot including his serve.
And yes, I want to develop a more compact, punching type slice as well.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Of course but give me some time, he’s been playing that style of tennis for years, this was my first attempt. He’s the master of his weird technique, he can do anything, place the ball anywhere he likes, hence has much more variety than me. He’s still a 4.5 and I’m a 3.5 but I don’t see myself too far from 4.0 if I persist with this style.
I was just kidding my friend. Play your usual style.
 

Curious

Legend
I’ve actually hit with Tracy Austin and her “flat” groundstrokes have way more topspin than any 3.5 or 4.0 I’ve hit against. There’s simply no comparison.
No one can convince me that Connors forehand in this video has a lot of topspin or more than a 3.5, 4.0 player’s sw grip forehand today.


 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
No one can convince me that Connors forehand in this video has a lot of topspin or more than a 3.5, 4.0 player’s sw grip forehand today.


We don't care that he was #1.That is one ugly looking forehand.

Not quite a pendulum backswing like Mac but close. The green Connors doing a Sureshs impression looks like he has a completely linear backswing. Absolutely no gravity assist from a loop drop... Don't know how he is consistent with that. Net clearance is not too bad all things considered. :unsure: Two to three feet net clearance ? Rec players using that style would be skimming the net by inches. High risk. Do not employ.
 
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socallefty

Legend
I don’t think his topspin in that video is more than mine here for example.


While it is tough to tell from just watching videos, I would beg to differ. Connors is hitting consistently while many of your balls are doing deep due to lack of spin even though your shot speed is very low. Flat-hitting advanced players including juniors in my opinion still have way more topspin than almost every 3.5/4.0 I have played - that’s one of the main reasons the lower level players cannot hit hard and be consistent. Why do you think you complain all the time about your inconsistent topspin drives - it’s because you don’t have enough topspin to be consistent. Lower level players over-estimate their spin RPM even more than they do their shot speed - many of them might not crack 500 rpm on their BH and 800-1000 rpm on their FH.

I told my wife that one of my 4.5 friends is a flat hitter/server as he is relative to everyone else I play with. I set up mixed doubles against him and my 3.5 wife was shocked by how much topspin his shots/serves have - it all depends on what you are used to and what you are comparing it with. We all say that WTA players don’t hit with much spin when we compare them with ATP players, but when you watch them practicing in person against 5.0/5.5 male players, the spin level is comparable.
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
It’s not his usual rally groundstroke though. Actually a friend of mine pointed out that he doesn’t even really slice those forehands, he just taps them with a semi westernish type grip. Everything he does is unorthodox!:D
Never heard of this. Assumed MEP was using a Conti grip for forehand slices. That is the conventional instruction... And then he changes to Conti grip for backhand?
 

Curious

Legend
Never heard of this. Assumed MEP was using a Conti grip for forehand slices. That is the conventional instruction... And then he changes to Conti grip for backhand?
Well, I’ve checked his forehand grip on slices frame by frame and it’s indeed close to Sw grip!
 

Morch Us

Professional
Does it really have to be ALL or Nothing ? You can always find a good mix.

Do you always play in courts like this? This court seems like low bouncing and sliding, which means low slice does have its advantage, plus it may not be easy to get under the ball to have a good contact for topspin, when the incoming ball is sliding low. Of course there is no harm in adjusting the shots to the conditions and opponent. I would also suggest, just moving in more often, when you are able to get a good slice in that court and opponent. You ended up leaning into a lot of short balls.

When you play in another court/opponent and does not get the full benefit of low sliding slices (vs sitting up slices) you may have to mix up your shots in a different proportion. But I agree that in general just by reducing your errors, will improve your results, even if you don't do anything to hurt your opponent.

Here's the third set. Imagine how much better I would be playing if I continued practicing this style.
 

Curious

Legend
This is the set I lost 6-2 before I switched to slicing every ball. See how the frustration builds up with inconsistent topspin groundstrokes.

 

slipgrip93

Semi-Pro
ahaha, the "MEP" green shirt guy mentioned again. I'd always thought he was an experienced right handed player trolling everyone pretending to be a lefty. And then maybe someday he comes clean and fesses up , but maybe he's having fun pulling this for so long. But I guess even if true, he does a great wearing "pusher" game lefthanded with mostly those open faced racquet swings.

I still love attempting to do 1hbh topsin and flatter down the line on practice. But I'd been experimenting for months recently on half-volley "play" from the mid court and swing volleys all using continental, then switching back to the regular grips for more baseline forehand and 1hbh, or for experimenting, just staying with slice or half-volley fh and bh "what-ifs", dreaming to be more like Edberg, or Graf or Becker's more paced "german" slices, but maybe realistically more like MEP again.
 
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D

Deleted member 780836

Guest
This is the set I lost 6-2 before I switched to slicing every ball. See how the frustration builds up with inconsistent topspin groundstrokes.

You have an amazing topspin forehand as it is. The common issue I see is one of spacing, you hit too close to the body in both horizontal planes. Try to hit more in front of the body with enough space that you are not jammed up. Another common issue I noticed is: to generate topspin you start the swing too late and hit under the ball too much causing it to go high and long. You should start the swing earlier and contact the ball on the upward swing path. Make these 2 changes and you should see a dramatic increase in consistency. Also don't tense your arm if you're trying to swing hard, keep it relaxed at all times.
It's a head scratcher that you are giving up this amazing forehand for the MEP forehand, but do whatever works for you.
 

Curious

Legend
You have an amazing topspin forehand as it is. The common issue I see is one of spacing, you hit too close to the body in both horizontal planes. Try to hit more in front of the body with enough space that you are not jammed up. Another common issue I noticed is: to generate topspin you start the swing too late and hit under the ball too much causing it to go high and long. You should start the swing earlier and contact the ball on the upward swing path. Make these 2 changes and you should see a dramatic increase in consistency. Also don't tense your arm if you're trying to swing hard, keep it relaxed at all times.
It's a head scratcher that you are giving up this amazing forehand for the MEP forehand, but do whatever works for you.
Thanks but I want a stroke that I can trust will work 90% of the time. I haven't felt that confidence despite trying to get it for years. Hitting a good shot at times is not good enough in this game.
 

socallefty

Legend
Thanks but I want a stroke that I can trust will work 90% of the time. I haven't felt that confidence despite trying to get it for years. Hitting a good shot at times is not good enough in this game.
What was your strategy in the set you lost to beat your opponent? It seems like he is a junk ball pusher and you were content to be a pusher yourself while he moves better than you (his only advantage) and you make errors when you are made to move. He also seems very comfortable hitting back your low topspin, low speed shots back consistently with awkward-looking underspin.

To beat a pusher, you have to bring them to net and pass/lob, go to net yourself and finish points with volleys or be more aggressive to force the issue on baseline points. You don’t seem comfortable at the net, you don’t hit short angles or drop shots to bring him in and you don’t hit hard enough or with enough spin to hurt him in any way during baseline rallies. Just wondering how you thought you could end enough points in your favor to win the set as you also hit a easy spin 1st serve that doesn’t force too many missed returns. Unless you find a way to move better and be consistent on the move, you have to keep points shorter and have more points decided at the net (either him or you at the net).

When you started slicing, he actually doesn’t not like a lower contact point as much and so, he started making errors earlier. Also, your slice made you vary depth more (maybe unintentionally) and he is not comfortable moving up/down and this also forced more errors. So, you actually found a way to force errors preying upon his weaknesses (doesn’t like low contact point, doesn’t move well up/down) by hitting slice and that‘s why you won. If you hit topspin, you have to hit hard enough deep and into the corners to get short balls back and then you have to know how to finish the point by hitting winners or approaching the net off the short balls. Otherwise, a topspin strategy is not going to work as hitting at a comfortable pace/depth while not having shot consistency on the move including off short balls is not a winning strategy.

So, it is not a question of just hitting topspin or slice groundstrokes - you also have to analyze your opponent and figure out what works or doesn’t work against them from a tactical standpoint. If you don‘t hit your topspin shots with enough pace to hurt your usual opponents and force short balls, if you don’t know how to take advantage of those short balls and if your shot tolerance is low when made to move by an opponent hitting slow balls, I would agree that you should abandon your topspin strategy in matches until you fix those weaknesses. The good thing about slice shots is that it allows players to vary the depth and speed of their shots more easily even when hitting slowly and makes their opponents move up/down which causes many errors from lower level opponents - especially from those who don’t like a low contact point due to their own unorthodox swings. Many lower level pushers hit only junk and slices as a result as it is highly effective especially if they play on low-bouncing grass courts or with low-bouncing old balls.

The other thing is that you need to have more difference between your 1st and 2nd serves as you are not hurting even your unskilled opponent with your 1st serve and the point is always starting on neutral after his returns. Almost a year ago, you started a thread about improving your serve and I recall telling you to toss further forward and try hitting your 1st serve harder. Again if you don’t swing harder in practice and develop a harder first serve, you are not going to finish enough points with serve plus 1 shots. You’ll probably fix a lot of your inconsistency issues on groundstrokes also if you work on footwork drills with your coach as you have very lazy/slow movement and late anticipation for a player who doesn’t seem out of shape physically.

You are drawing the wrong lessons from your matches and probably confusing other lower level players on this forum when you start threads with topics such as ‘topspin is ineffective’ or ‘you shouldn’t swing hard’ as it is the antithesis of how an advanced tennis game is developed - you feel that way because of your own weaknesses and not because these are innate tennis truths.
 
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Clay lover

Hall of Fame
Well, that suggests that playing with topspin strokes is playing "pretty" and we know that that by itself isn't the case.

As for losing ugly, I find that it is ugly what many people produce while trying to emulate the pros, regardless of whether they are winning or losing. I also think that a lot of people can benefit from filming themselves to see that problem: they just don't do what they think they do.

In any event, I think that your comment is rather interesting in the sense that apparently people quite quickly forget why they have taken up the sport: it wasn't because they thought that they will win a lot, but because they thought that they might enjoy playing it properly (meaning not a particular stroke choice, but rather to better themselves in the many facets required to be a decent player).

Anyway, glad that you are enjoying yourself with your newfound style.

:cool:
Couldn't have put it any better. I believe 90% of recreational players are out there looking to work on different elements of the game using technique that biomechanically maximises the effectiveness of the shot and execute them, and for most little pleasure is derived from playing just not to miss or executing a bunt slice over and over again. This doesn't automatically make them pompous a-holes - they were just seeking a different experience to begin with.

I also think MEP's success is hardly a revelation to the tennis community as a whole -- a lot of people know the effectiveness of this type of game up to a certain level and that they can play his way but have just chosen not to - again, this doesn't make them snobs in any way - it all depends on what they want to get out of the game.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
No one said the strategy will allow him to beat all opponents [except maybe the Big 3].

It will cut way down on his UEs which is the source for most points lost. This will likely have a big, positive impact on his results.
This is the most important part of moving from 4.0 to 4.5. Better decisions, higher margin targets, decision making is what separates the two levels. That has been my experience. That's also why I am still at 4.0. I am too stubborn to play smarter tennis :)
 

AnyPUG

Professional
This is the most important part of moving from 4.0 to 4.5. Better decisions, higher margin targets, decision making is what separates the two levels. That has been my experience. That's also why I am still at 4.0. I am too stubborn to play smarter tennis :)
I can tell my experience, your FH is top notch!
 

curly_2350

New User
Duno about being extremely athletic. He seems a fair bit slower in and out of position than Scott. No question Topher/Ian/Mark are way faster around the court. He's not fat and can go all day, but that's a pretty low bar for tennis athleticism.
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
I don’t think it has to be totally a slice game or a total top spin game. If you can hit both slice or topspin well you have a lot of variety in your game. Depending on the situation you may want to drive it deep with topspin or hit a short angle. If you can maintain a good rally with slice and not be easily attacked that is also great. If you have that variety it’s great. You don’t have to totally change to one type of game especially if you have slice or topspin in your game.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
This is great news. I think you already have the technique down for MEP style. Maybe reduce your shoulder turn and take more punchy strokes. Hit safer more sidearmy serves.

Either way now you don't have to stress about how WTA pros are doing it wrong and such.. Or complain that players are "stuck" at 3.5 because they don't get lessons with coaches and practice for 20 hours a week etc.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
@Curious I think if you follow this route, you will become Most Exhausted Player :X3:
The problem that keeps most rec players at 3.5-4.0 instead of advancing to 4.5-5.0 is that they forget to do the math.

Everyone obsesses with topspin forehand technique, but very few achieve a reliability of greater than 80% on a topspin drive.

The problem with 80% reliability is that it means you have only about 30% probability to survive a 5-shot rally without missing. Not good.

But you still need topspin, because you need to have it in your toolkit for passing shots when your opponent comes to the net. An 80% success rate probability on a passing shot will win you the point... 80% of the time!

In other words... practicing topspin drives is not a fruitless endeavor. But most rec players are playing dumb strategy by using topspin drives on neutral rally balls, instead of waiting until the percentages make sense.
 
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AnyPUG

Professional
The problem that keeps most rec players people at 25-30 BMI instead of advancing to 20-25 is that they forget to do the math healthy lifestyle.

Everyone obsesses with topspin forehand technique fatty food habits, but very few achieve a reliability regularity of greater than 80% on a topspin drive exercise routine.

The problem with 80% reliability regularity is that it means you have only about 30% probability to survive a 5-shot rally 7-day week without missing gaining BMI. Not good.

But you still need topspin fatty food, because you need to have it in your toolkit kitchen for passing shots fighting hunger when opponent craving comes to the net belly. An 80% success rate probability on passing shot working out will win you the point keep you healthy 80% of the time!

In other words... practicing topspin drives eating fatty food is not a fruitless endeavor. But most rec players folks are playing dumb strategy by using topspin drives eating fatty food on neutral rally balls days that they don't exercise.
 
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travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
The problem that keeps most rec players people at 25-30 BMI instead of advancing to 20-25 is that they forget to do the math healthy lifestyle.

Everyone obsesses with topspin forehand technique fatty food habits, but very few achieve a reliability of greater than 80% on a topspin drive regular exercise.

The problem with 80% reliability regularity is that it means you have only about 30% probability to survive a 5-shot rally 7-day week without missing gaining BMI. Not good.

But you still need topspin fatty food, because you need to have it in your toolkit for passing shots feeling great when your opponent hunger comes to the net head. An 80% success rate probability on passing shot working out will win you the point keep you healthy 80% of the time!

In other words... practicing topspin drives eating fatty food is not a fruitless endeavor. But most rec players folks are playing dumb strategy by using topspin drives eating fatty food on neutral rally balls days that they don't exercise.
Nicely executed mad lib.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
But most rec players are playing dumb strategy by using topspin drives on neutral rally balls, instead of waiting until the percentages make sense.
On the forehand side (which is much more biomechanically sensitive), what other option do you have for a rally ball other than slice? A "flat" drive usually still needs a little top or slice to stabilize it. Isn't using topspin and sidespin, but a lesser amount, the only real alternative to a forehand slice?
 

AnyPUG

Professional
On the forehand side (which is much more biomechanically sensitive), what other option do you have for a rally ball other than slice? A "flat" drive usually still needs a little top or slice to stabilize it. Isn't using topspin and sidespin, but a lesser amount, the only real alternative to a forehand slice?
It's based on the assumption that most rec players struggle with forehand drives and they surrender the advantage by using it in neutral situation. Instead, use a shot that keeps the rally neutral or sways the advantage in your favor.
(that shot could be an improved fh drve or whatever you can reliably execute more than 80% of the time - but know your strength/weakness, and don't use it without being aware of the 80% rule is what I understand from Trav's post)
 

Vanhalen

Professional
I have recently adopted the Connors/McEnroe forehand with great success. In playing stronger opponents I found with my ATP forehand I was hitting late. Not enough time to do the high take back, loop, pat the dog, meet out front, windshield wiper follow through.

So, in the middle of a frustrating match, I weakened my western grip to eastern, and a shorter straight back straight through stroke although slightly low to high. Amazingly, it takes much less energy and effort! I was also surprised that it just takes an easier slower swing to generate power and depth. No more swinging hard. My energy requirement was definitely so much less. Shockingly, it only took about 15 minutes to tweak my stroke and I now have so much confidence. Who knew..
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
It's based on the assumption that most rec players struggle with forehand drives and they surrender the advantage by using it in neutral situation. Instead, use a shot that keeps the rally neutral or sways the advantage in your favor.
(that shot could be an improved fh drve or whatever you can reliably execute more than 80% of the time - but know your strength/weakness, and don't use it without being aware of the 80% rule is what I understand from Trav's post)
What is the difference between a FH drive and FH topspin except for less top and slice? Very few players are left today who can drive absolutely flat and still keep it low but over the net. That skill started declining after the woodie days. Moreover, it doesn't work if the incoming ball has even a little topspin (talking about players at the same level, not JMac hitting a flat one against a 3.5 topspin).
 
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