point construction

Aeropro joe

who do you think constructs points the best on:

the ATP tour?,

the WTA tour?........

I think that federer is pretty good at his game plan and being able to recognize a player's weakness and go after them like in this years Australian Open semis against Agassi, federer relized that Andre was not moving all that well to his forehand side so Roger kept firing winners past Agassi's forehand.


Chris Evert was a master at this, as was Connors. Hingis takes the prize though; she was undersized, underpowered, yet watching her dissect one opponent after another through sheer tactics was thoroughly impressive.


Hall of Fame
Men: Federer now, McEnroe then and even now especially on slower surfaces.

Women: at the top of her game JHH and less recently Hingis, who I found very "McEnroe-like" in her point construction.


I'm missing something. How's a serve and volley point construction (JMac).
I guess you could say a service winner is the degenerate case of point construction and say Pete was the best at constructing points. But the usual c connotation is something that takes a few shots to set up (construct). Not serve, volley, done.
Maybe youre referring to Mac's less appreciated ground game?


Hall of Fame

Actually, JMc needed to be one of the best at constucting points because of his two biggest (self-confessed) liabilities: lack of footspeed and lack of power and pace. Mc could neither out-hit, out-steady nor out-grind the opposition. His game was more about out-maneuvering his opponents than anything else. The individual athletic and technical elements of his game added up to a sum greater than its parts, the difference was in his point construction.

1) Fisrt, the belief that point construction is reserved for other game styles than serve and volley is misguided. Failure to remain aware of tendencies, both your own and the returner's would result in miscalculation and loss of the point because there is no time to scramble or recover. This was especially so in the case of McEnroe's style of s & v. Mc's serve while a weapon was never, aside from his "can-opener slice" in the ad court, an overwhelming, outright point ender. His serve was made a weapon through placement, spin and guile. He was always a pitcher as opposed to a Sampras-like thrower. It was based in keeping the returner off balance. In/out. Middle/body/wide. Up/down. Add a little pace/take a little off. Especially in Mc’s case serving was a game within the game. Every adjustment in serve choice by Mc required an equal adjustment in the follow-up volley. A mis-step in volley choice and/or execution against his main rivals, and the point was gone. And Mc played 2 or more vollies more so than the other great volleyers of his and other eras. He didn't crush vollies. On offense constructed points were short but they are precise and perceptible.

2) To miss his return games is to miss half of each JMc match. In his heydey, his chief rivals, Borg, Connors and Lendl, all possessed more powerful, more consistent ground games. Mc could not hang with any one of them off the ground in metronomic baseline exchanges. He would be blown away if he tried. He couldn't run with them. He couldn't afford to play very much defense against them. Mc would gain the advantage, by out-maneuvering these guys, varying direction, spin, trajectory, pace and placement to gain the offensive, then approach the net and end the point from there. He did not possess mid-court putaway power so he had to construct the point in order to ellicit that approachable ball to be used as a vehicle to take him to net. He did employ chip and charge, but not nearly exclusively, like a less talented Taylor Dent does today. Mc used C&C as a tactic within his overall approach of keeping the ball out of these superior groundstrokers’ wheelhouses and off-balance, out-maneuvering them.

3) McEnroe also "built" passes. Again by out-maneuvering the net player. He constructed passes by keeping the ball low and gaining a clearer opening to pass through, using his less than most powerful groundies on tour. That's if the low ball did not draw an error. While his groundies were not considered some of the best in the game during his prime, his passes were. Again he did not pass with power/pace he constructed his passes.

Forget that one can see Mc doing this today in the Seniors, on and off again tour, especially when the event is on har-tru. And forget his success on grass. Mc did this in his prime against the best groundstrokers of his day who happen to have some of the best ground games in the history of the sport. And he did it on hard courts.

Federer constructs offensive points almost exclusively off the ground better of anyone I've seen. But Fed has power off the ground and moves better than Mc could have ever wished for and appears to salivate over now. Mc never possessed those attributes.

In fact, the way Mc played his return games (in particular): getting into the point with the return, gaining the advantage in the rally without having the power groundies of his opponents but by out-maneuvering them, preventing them from exploiting his less than stellar footspeed, then approaching against some of the best passers in history and ending the point at the net with a volley or overhead, may be the single best example of point construction there is.


I agree with the Hingis comment -- she was a chess master playing girl who barely mastered checkers. Yes, she had incredible hands/talent, but her strategy is what really impressed me. Especially how she knew when to come in to the net. She didn't just run in behind powerful shots the way most other people do, her opponents would EXPECT that. She would come in at the strangest times, totally catching her opponents off guard. Of course, it didn't hurt that she probably had some of the best volleys in the game, man or woman.

I keep hearing Nalbandian is great at playing smart tennis but I haven't seen enough of him to know. McEnroe even said that, that David is one of the few guys that really understands how to play tennis.


When he is playing good and being patient, Andre knows how to construct a point better than anyone. At this point in his career he knows so much about the game and what it takes to beat a number of opponents. He is aware of his own strengths aswell as his opponents weaknesses and he uses that knowledge to get the W's.


Thanks for the explanation Five-0. I knew from your previous posts your opinion would be well informed. I didnt follow tennis nearly as closely in the days when Mac was in his prime. Well said.