Novak just showed us how to be the best tennis player: do 3 things only

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
But do those 3 things amazingly well

1. Serve well (technique, placement)
2. Return serve well (abbreviated on the rise, placement)
3. Be consistent while hugging the baseline (be able to hit on the rise consistently and be fit enough to hit / chase 4 rally shots corner to corner per point.. explosive interval fitness)


Your opponent will have too much pressure on to make you have to volley or do much of anything else. Novak was a real purist when he brutalized the bull yesterday
 
But do those 3 things amazingly well

1. Serve well (technique, placement)
2. Return serve well (abbreviated on the rise, placement)
3. Be consistent while hugging the baseline (be able to hit on the rise consistently and be fit enough to hit / chase 4 rally shots corner to corner per point.. explosive interval fitness)


Your opponent will have too much pressure on to make you have to volley or do much of anything else. Novak was a real purist when he brutalized the bull yesterday
It's hard to argue with #1: not very many serve poorly and still win.

However, when El Toro takes center stage at Roland Garros, he returns 2nd serves from so far back you can't even see him anymore in the near court because he's practically underneath the stands. His swing is the antithesis of abbreviated and on-the-rise.

Also, are you applying these only to pros or to all levels? Because not everyone is comfortable taking the ball on-the-rise and hugging the BL like Nole [or Agassi, etc]. For rec players, there may be other skill areas that have higher payoff.
 

Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
Novak hit the one one overhead well he needed to also.
Rafa was not getting depth again not sure why. When this happens he should use it to open court.
Djokovic incredibly professional, congrats
 

NuBas

Legend
But do those 3 things amazingly well

1. Serve well (technique, placement)
2. Return serve well (abbreviated on the rise, placement)
3. Be consistent while hugging the baseline (be able to hit on the rise consistently and be fit enough to hit / chase 4 rally shots corner to corner per point.. explosive interval fitness)


Your opponent will have too much pressure on to make you have to volley or do much of anything else. Novak was a real purist when he brutalized the bull yesterday
Basically. That's how the game goes, one break of serve could mean a set.
 

zaph

Semi-Pro
I'm sorry but the reality is no-one on this forum could copy what Djokovic did. Most ATP pros would finding hit that hard, that close to the lines, with so few errors impossible. Pointless thread.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
I'm sorry but the reality is no-one on this forum could copy what Djokovic did. Most ATP pros would finding hit that hard, that close to the lines, with so few errors impossible. Pointless thread.
Its replicable in the sense that if you only have so many hours to practice, you should dedicate most of your time to serving, returning and hitting on the rise shots. at least thats what i try to focus on now.

and no, i'm not as good as djokovic... but perhaps i am better than the me who practices differently, and doesnt focus primarily on these 3 things
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
It's hard to argue with #1: not very many serve poorly and still win.

However, when El Toro takes center stage at Roland Garros, he returns 2nd serves from so far back you can't even see him anymore in the near court because he's practically underneath the stands. His swing is the antithesis of abbreviated and on-the-rise.

Also, are you applying these only to pros or to all levels? Because not everyone is comfortable taking the ball on-the-rise and hugging the BL like Nole [or Agassi, etc]. For rec players, there may be other skill areas that have higher payoff.
Agreed, but the only other tactics are volleying (and this is very valid) or grinding (valid for young players / on slow surfaces)

SInce we're all getting older, if we want to win more i think we need to practice on the rise, or volleying.

Aside from that, we need a massive serve that gets a lot of short balls and an absolute thumper +1.... but then we will only be good at holding serve, not breaking. IMO thats not enough. I think thats similar for the volley, being a really good volleyer might make it easy to hold serve, but what about return? But yes, you gotta cut the running down as you age so it might be the only way past a certain point. But if you're under 50, IMO the best tactic is to focus on the 3 i've listed
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
But do those 3 things amazingly well

1. Serve well (technique, placement)
2. Return serve well (abbreviated on the rise, placement)
3. Be consistent while hugging the baseline (be able to hit on the rise consistently and be fit enough to hit / chase 4 rally shots corner to corner per point.. explosive interval fitness)


Your opponent will have too much pressure on to make you have to volley or do much of anything else. Novak was a real purist when he brutalized the bull yesterday
Teach Sureshs to do this and I will believe
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
But do those 3 things amazingly well

1. Serve well (technique, placement)
2. Return serve well (abbreviated on the rise, placement)
3. Be consistent while hugging the baseline (be able to hit on the rise consistently and be fit enough to hit / chase 4 rally shots corner to corner per point.. explosive interval fitness)


Your opponent will have too much pressure on to make you have to volley or do much of anything else. Novak was a real purist when he brutalized the bull yesterday
Thanks, Boss.
 
Its replicable in the sense that if you only have so many hours to practice, you should dedicate most of your time to serving, returning and hitting on the rise shots. at least thats what i try to focus on now.

and no, i'm not as good as djokovic... but perhaps i am better than the me who practices differently, and doesnt focus primarily on these 3 things
Yes to return and serve, no to hitting on the rise. Hitting on the rise consistently requires incredible conditioning, footwork, timing and speed and only a few guys in history could pull it off.

I'm not suggesting standing 10 feet behind the baseline but most good amateur players are better off using a conservative positioning and then step into the court on selected shots when the opponents drops one short.

Agassi-ing everything and playing half volleys on the baseline is a losing play for almost all 4.5 to 6.0 players. Go to a local challenger tournament or d1 tournament and nobody plays like this, their neutral rally ball positioning is like 4-5 feet behind the baseline and when the opponents hits one short they will step into the court and take it a little earlier but if the opponent hits one deep they will take 2 steps back and not half volley it.

Ferrer was good on this. Neutral rally he stands 3 feet behind the baseline, if he is in control he stands on the baseline and if the opponent is in control he is 7-8 feet behind the baseline.

Learning to hit on the rise isn't bad but only do it in an offensive situation if you are not Agassi or Novak.

It is good if you can occasionally take a ball on the rise but holding position no matter how hard the opponent hits might work for Agassi but for the average good amateur this won't lead to any thing by errors and weak replies.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Rec singles:

- hit it to their bh
- don't miss
- if their bh doesn't suck, play military tennis ... hit left right, left right, left right
- don't get tired

The tighter your "don't miss" targets are while you are moving will determine your rec level ... buy some cones and run and hit at cones.

This game is so simple. 8-B
 

comeback

Hall of Fame
But do those 3 things amazingly well

1. Serve well (technique, placement)
2. Return serve well (abbreviated on the rise, placement)
3. Be consistent while hugging the baseline (be able to hit on the rise consistently and be fit enough to hit / chase 4 rally shots corner to corner per point.. explosive interval fitness)


Your opponent will have too much pressure on to make you have to volley or do much of anything else. Novak was a real purist when he brutalized the bull yesterday
Yes he is a great player and has mastered a way to play that wins..However I'm old school and love when Federer or an all around player ie: Sampras, McEnroe, Rafter, Becker, Edberg etc beat these baseline huggers...Also i feel like this DJoko's style of play is not interesting or attractive to watch..You might as well fast forward to the end of every set and watch...It's like when Wladimir Klitschko took over the Heavyweight Boxing for over 10 years...He figured out a way to win but nobody cared..
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Yes he is a great player and has mastered a way to play that wins..However I'm old school and love when Federer or an all around player ie: Sampras, McEnroe, Rafter, Becker, Edberg etc beat these baseline huggers...Also i feel like this DJoko's style of play is not interesting or attractive to watch..You might as well fast forward to the end of every set and watch...It's like when Wladimir Klitschko took over the Heavyweight Boxing for over 10 years...He figured out a way to win but nobody cared..
Any combination of Djokovic, Nadal and Murray (Djokovic vs Murray the worse) tend to be pretty boring to me. Throw Fed in there as an opponent to all three, and more interesting. For me, part of it for baseliners is how often they are willing to hit offensive shots near lines. For example, I found the baseline games of Tsitsipas and Agut more entertaining because they hit near lines a lot. Their match against each other was good. There is some match video of Agassi vs Rios, and that baseline contest was interesting. But you are right, give me an Edberg vs Agassi over today's baseline games.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
But do those 3 things amazingly well

1. Serve well (technique, placement)
2. Return serve well (abbreviated on the rise, placement)
3. Be consistent while hugging the baseline (be able to hit on the rise consistently and be fit enough to hit / chase 4 rally shots corner to corner per point.. explosive interval fitness)


Your opponent will have too much pressure on to make you have to volley or do much of anything else. Novak was a real purist when he brutalized the bull yesterday
1. Serve well (no double faults; understand what serve(s) your opponent has trouble with and hit that serve every time, until he proves he can handle it; understand the type of serve that will get you into a favored pattern with this particular opponent; power, spin, etc are only valuable if they trouble your opponent)

2. Return serve well (put a very high percentage of serves in play; understand the relative risk / reward of more aggressive returning against this particular opponent; understand your highest percentage return placement / spin / speed based on your opponent today and what patterns you'd like to get into)

3. Be consistent (play high percentage tennis for each "zone" of play (behind baseline; on baseline; inside baseline; approach; at net); don't take risk that won't give you a reward; know what you want to do with different types of "opportunity" balls that will give you the best chance of executing as opposed to making an error or getting out of position and creating an "opportunity" ball for your opponent).

If you are smart, you can beat opponents with "better games" than you have. Consistency (properly understood) is the best weapon and will put the most pressure on your opponent at all relevant levels of tennis any of us will ever play. Whatever it is that Djokovic is doing is so far out of our reality, it's not even worth thinking about. It's not a game we will ever come close to playing.
 
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Agassi-ing everything and playing half volleys on the baseline is a losing play for almost all 4.5 to 6.0 players. Go to a local challenger tournament or d1 tournament and nobody plays like this, their neutral rally ball positioning is like 4-5 feet behind the baseline and when the opponents hits one short they will step into the court and take it a little earlier but if the opponent hits one deep they will take 2 steps back and not half volley it.
.
Bonus point for the most creative use of "Agassi" in verb form.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
Any combination of Djokovic, Nadal and Murray (Djokovic vs Murray the worse) tend to be pretty boring to me. Throw Fed in there as an opponent to all three, and more interesting. For me, part of it for baseliners is how often they are willing to hit offensive shots near lines. For example, I found the baseline games of Tsitsipas and Agut more entertaining because they hit near lines a lot. Their match against each other was good. There is some match video of Agassi vs Rios, and that baseline contest was interesting. But you are right, give me an Edberg vs Agassi over today's baseline games.
Guga, Courier, and Muster were other aggressive baseliners who were very fun to watch, IMO... As opposed to grinder types such as Coria, Bruguera, etc...
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
1. Serve well (no double faults; understand what serve(s) your opponent has trouble with and hit that serve every time, until he proves he can handle it; understand the type of serve that will get you into a favored pattern with this particular opponent; power, spin, etc are only valuable if they trouble your opponent)

2. Return serve well (put a very high percentage of serves in play; understand the relative risk / reward of more aggressive returning against this particular opponent; understand your highest percentage return placement / spin / speed based on your opponent today and what patterns you'd like to get into)

3. Be consistent (play high percentage tennis for each "zone" of play (behind baseline; on baseline; inside baseline; approach; at net); don't take risk that won't give you a reward; know what you want to do with different types of "opportunity" balls that will give you the best chance of executing as opposed to making an error or getting out of position and creating an "opportunity" ball for your opponent).

If you are smart, you can beat opponents with "better games" than you have. Consistency (properly understood) is the best weapon and will put the most pressure on your opponent at all relevant levels of tennis any of us will ever play. Whatever it is that Djokovic is doing is so far out of our reality, it's not even worth thinking about. It's not a game we will ever come close to playing.
It seems like the majority of players I play with can't even do #3. Forget #1. Nobody has a lethal serve. Everyone seems to open up the racket face and tap the ball over, including me.

#2 is almost automatic if you can do #3. But people even struggle with this. *Sigh* my group level is so dismal. Alot of them can't hold a 3 shot rally. One stupid lady is so arrogant she won't listen to even one basic tip. She thinks she needs to work on her serve but she can't even make two shots, despite being out there for 5+ years!

We were up 5-1. Then my partner broke down. He's got only one job to do. Camp at his corner and hit only ground strokes. He can't do anything else. We were up 5-1 because somehow my partner could hit so well in the beginning but then he broke down! Opponents rolled the next 6 games and laughed at us.

One guy claims he's a coach but he serves all his games with the same pattern -- first fault, second serve in and easy. Opponents got the pattern and return nearly 100%, my poaching success went to near 0. Did I establish that no one could serve to save their life? I told him to vary his serve. Randomly get the first serve in like his second, make them guess so I can poach a little. Nope! Won't hear it.

OK done griping. :)
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
It seems like the majority of players I play with can't even do #3. Forget #1. Nobody has a lethal serve. Everyone seems to open up the racket face and tap the ball over, including me.

#2 is almost automatic if you can do #3. But people even struggle with this. *Sigh* my group level is so dismal. Alot of them can't hold a 3 shot rally. One stupid lady is so arrogant she won't listen to even one basic tip. She thinks she needs to work on her serve but she can't even make two shots, despite being out there for 5+ years!

We were up 5-1. Then my partner broke down. He's got only one job to do. Camp at his corner and hit only ground strokes. He can't do anything else. We were up 5-1 because somehow my partner could hit so well in the beginning but then he broke down! Opponents rolled the next 6 games and laughed at us.

One guy claims he's a coach but he serves all his games with the same pattern -- first fault, second serve in and easy. Opponents got the pattern and return nearly 100%, my poaching success went to near 0. Did I establish that no one could serve to save their life? I told him to vary his serve. Randomly get the first serve in like his second, make them guess so I can poach a little. Nope! Won't hear it.

OK done griping. :)
you should just play singles and tear them up
 
It seems like the majority of players I play with can't even do #3. Forget #1. Nobody has a lethal serve. Everyone seems to open up the racket face and tap the ball over, including me.

#2 is almost automatic if you can do #3. But people even struggle with this. *Sigh* my group level is so dismal. Alot of them can't hold a 3 shot rally. One stupid lady is so arrogant she won't listen to even one basic tip. She thinks she needs to work on her serve but she can't even make two shots, despite being out there for 5+ years!

We were up 5-1. Then my partner broke down. He's got only one job to do. Camp at his corner and hit only ground strokes. He can't do anything else. We were up 5-1 because somehow my partner could hit so well in the beginning but then he broke down! Opponents rolled the next 6 games and laughed at us.

One guy claims he's a coach but he serves all his games with the same pattern -- first fault, second serve in and easy. Opponents got the pattern and return nearly 100%, my poaching success went to near 0. Did I establish that no one could serve to save their life? I told him to vary his serve. Randomly get the first serve in like his second, make them guess so I can poach a little. Nope! Won't hear it.

OK done griping. :)
Is it just my perception or is the majority of your angst caused by bad doubles partners?
 

NLBwell

Legend
OP forgot #4, which is to be extremely fast and extremely flexible and have great anticipation so that any ball an opponent might hit can be returned to a place in the court that displeases the opponent.
 
Djokovic is my model for the forehand. When posters post forehand videos and ask for tips I always mention Djokovic's separation - his shoulders rotate back farther than his hips and also there's some timing of the hips leading in the forward rotation. Someone posted a very clear video of his hip and shoulder motions. I also watched his separation motions in the Australian Open. [Older model Motorola DVR controls allow stop action single frame - stop video and then press the same button to advance one frame.]

Separation biomechanics brings the trunk muscles into the forehand, probably particularly the obliques. I'm not young but can do some separation to my ability. But this does involve trunk & spine twisting and many players should stay away from motions that twist the trunk and spine, especially if there has been any history of back issues. All those extra trunk muscles can contribute to racket head speed and maybe control(?) also.

"Separation" was discussed and explained frequently in some ITF biomechanics publications after around 2000. So separation is not the new invention of forum posters but a biomechanicts fundamental, a specific of the stretch shorten cycle.

Comparing rec players to pros on separation is eye opening.
 
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user92626

G.O.A.T.
Is it just my perception or is the majority of your angst caused by bad doubles partners?
It's not you.

It's my reality. I think that's like my biggest tennis problem right now! :)


you should just play singles and tear them up
Of course I want to. Guess what? These guys are avoiding singles with me like they do the plague.

Last week there were only 3 of us at the court. They actually called me over for a game while I was practicing serving several courts away. So, I suggested that we play me vs them two. I made sure that I came across super friendly, non egoistic or anything. I said I love running. They know I could play singles.

The overweight guy instantly agreed since it'd be like a dubs for him and these guys play dubs all the time. But the other guy, a much more competitive guy (in dubs) who's sometimes full of $%SF, adamantly refused. He wanted only rotating Australian but weird thing is he never wants to play singles before. It was so bad that after one round that guy just dropped the scores. The session became even worse from that point on. In the end we didn't get much of anything!

question: do you guys pick and choose your dubs games? Do you simply play with any levels and with any partners, especially much lower players? I think my issue is I don't pick and choose but contradictingly I take some of these games more seriously than necessary. Hence, the frustration.
 
my 3 things are:
-stay loose, relax as much as possible
-hit in front of the body
-mistakes are common, stay calm

I think the 3 things you said aint gonna be of help for recreational players.
 
Djokovic is my model for the forehand. When posters post forehand videos and ask for tips I always mention Djokovic's separation - his shoulders rotate back farther than his hips and also there's some timing of the hips leading in the forward rotation. Someone posted a very clear video of his hip and shoulder motions. I also watched his separation motions in the Australian Open. [Older model Motorola DVR controls allow stop action single frame - stop video and then press the same button to advance one frame.]

Separation biomechanics brings the trunk muscles into the forehand, probably particularly the obliques. I'm not young but can do some separation to my ability. But this does involve trunk & spine twisting and many players should stay away from motions that twist the trunk and spine, especially if there has been any history of back issues. All those extra trunk muscles can contribute to racket head speed and maybe control(?) also.

"Separation" was discussed and explained frequently in some ITF biomechanics publications after around 2000. So separation is not the new invention of forum posters but a biomechanicts fundamental, a specific of the stretch shorten cycle.

Comparing rec players to pros on separation is eye opening.
Separation is important when it comes to generate max rotational force like in discus throw and it would be ideal in tennis but if you watch federer he doesn't have a lot of separation and still generates great RHS.

Maybe he could generate a few mph more with better separation because it adds the shoulder speed on top of the hip speed vs both rotating at the same speed in a "unit turn" but I think for rec players generating separation is not a priority, it is more like the leg drive in the serve adding the final stretch and racket head speed for reaching world class.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
#5 Be Djokovic
got to be Novak Đoković though.

Born a different Đoković and you'd be just as crappy in tennis.







Novak Đoković (born 1987), Serbian tennis player
Aleksandar Đoković (born 1991), Serbian footballer
Damjan Đoković (born 1990), Dutch footballer
Ilija Đoković (born 1996), Serbian basketball player
Ivan Đoković (born 1982), Serbian footballer
Hasim Đoković (born 1974), Montenegrin footballer
Marko Đoković (born 1991), Serbian tennis player, brother of Novak
Olga Đoković (born 1945), Yugoslavian basketball player
Đorđe Đoković (born 1995), Serbian tennis player, brother of Novak
Radovan Đoković (born 1996), Serbian basketball player
Veselin Đoković (born 1976), Serbian footballer
 
question: do you guys pick and choose your dubs games? Do you simply play with any levels and with any partners, especially much lower players?
I pick and choose the groups I play doubles with which usually means competitive sets. I do not go looking for players who are way below or above me although I do sometimes play one or two levels down with friends and occasionally get asked to play one level up.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
I
question: do you guys pick and choose your dubs games? Do you simply play with any levels and with any partners, especially much lower players? I think my issue is I don't pick and choose but contradictingly I take some of these games more seriously than necessary. Hence, the frustration.
I play in a league, so players are all ranked similar to me. My club members are too, so i train with them. We do a combination of singles and doubles, our actual league matches are like that too (1 singles match, 1 doubles match directly after)
 

SDCHRIS

New User
For most rec players it actually more simple that the original 3 things. It really comes down to 1 thing. With each point just get one more shot in than your opponent.
 

Rosstour

Hall of Fame
I'm sorry but the reality is no-one on this forum could copy what Djokovic did. Most ATP pros would finding hit that hard, that close to the lines, with so few errors impossible. Pointless thread.
He didn't paint the lines much though, he killed Rafa by going up the middle and grinding him down. Yes he would hit winners at the end of the point but he resisted the temptation to try to hit winners on Rafa right away.
 

coupergear

Professional
Its replicable in the sense that if you only have so many hours to practice, you should dedicate most of your time to serving, returning and hitting on the rise shots. at least thats what i try to focus on now.

and no, i'm not as good as djokovic... but perhaps i am better than the me who practices differently, and doesnt focus primarily on these 3 things
At 4.0 you can win SnV. So you would want to practice that if you didn't have reliable groundies.
 

coupergear

Professional
Yes he is a great player and has mastered a way to play that wins..However I'm old school and love when Federer or an all around player ie: Sampras, McEnroe, Rafter, Becker, Edberg etc beat these baseline huggers...Also i feel like this DJoko's style of play is not interesting or attractive to watch..You might as well fast forward to the end of every set and watch...It's like when Wladimir Klitschko took over the Heavyweight Boxing for over 10 years...He figured out a way to win but nobody cared..
I used to think that...but when I see the balls that Djokovic gets back...both Ros and on the defensive stretch in a rally, while not pretty, it's almost like a magic trick... equally compelling imo.
 

ubercat

Semi-Pro
What I don't get here as everybody says that there are many big serves. Ever since YouTube in my rec league just about everybody has a big serve. I have to be really careful about using fast flat serves I play a lot of guys who can just block it back and hit clean winners. Slice serve seems to be the safest if I can get them up high how is reasonably fast they never seem to get smashed. Kick serve is a mixed bag. A mediocre one can get thrashed but the good ones often don't come back
 
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