Smart beautiful tennis instead of...

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Curious, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. Dark_Angel85

    Dark_Angel85 Rookie

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    Power/Pace is relative to the level of game you are in.

    When I see Jack Sock rallying, I would be like WOWZERS... but to another pro, it's just regular.

    I agree with you a lot when you say hitting a 'beautiful stroke' is better cause I think getting a 'beautiful' stroke is important because the mechanics of good strokes will lead you to better things like less muscle stress, more injection of power from the legs, etc.... which when perfected, really does look good.

    Many pros hit beautifully. Of course, TMF is like one of the best but I've seen some pros at lower levels hitting such clean and fluid strokes and golly they are beautiful too.

    But in a match where there are stakes involved, I guess anything goes. ANYTHINGGG.

    Winning Ugly - Brad Gilbert
     
    #51
  2. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Professional

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    Not really, more like 70-80% on most shots.
    Sometimes it can go down to 50% or up to like 90%.
    But its usualy around 70-80%.
    If you compare it to the shots that they clearly go all out, or close to it... so 95% but sometimes maybe all out, its clear that usual rally strokes are around the 70-80% pace of their fastest shot.
    But good players dont slow the stroke that much, but add more spin to control it, they control it with adding spin which takes away some pace but adds more safety, the swing speed itself is probably arund 80-90% so around what you said, at least based on how explosive their uncoil is when they go for a winner vs rally ball.
     
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  3. toby55555

    toby55555 Semi-Pro

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    You need to be able to take the ball on the rise to outmanoeuvre opponents with artistry.
     
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  4. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    I think that would be a nice variation besides the others.
     
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  5. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    I like the advice Brad Gilbert gives in this video but what I really love is how he hits the balls. That's the way I want to hit as well. There is nothing forced in his movements or swings. He seems to spend barely any energy. No flip, lag, nothing. Pure and simple strokes. I doubt he has ever suffered from elbow pain.

     
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  6. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Hall of Fame

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    Your OP is about using "smart beautiful" tennis instead of outcome oriented power tennis. Power tennis can only be outcome oriented if it's actually effective, ie you're good enough to execute it.
    You very rarely hear power tennis being referred to as outcome oriented. Instead, slow dinky pushing is often referred to as purely results oriented, with little development potential and enjoyment factor.
     
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    #56
  7. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    I have no problem with power tennis if you are really good at it. But the problem is in rec tennis people are trying too hard and mostly because they think they can win that way or they just play that way because of being tense from win/lose focus. I don't think that helps either outcome or improvement.
     
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    #57
  8. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Hall of Fame

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    The problem I notice is when relatively good players who know they have good access to power, fall into the trap of trying to use it as their ONLY weapon. And they try to hit through the opponent without variety and placement. That, I agree is a real issue with some players. Power is important to succeed, but only as part of a smart shot selection process. Nobody should just go on court and try to belt every ball without thinking.
    It's just important to realize that "smart beautiful tennis" and power hitting are by no means mutually exclusive.
     
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    #58
  9. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Professional

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    The problem is, most of the people don't understand basic principles of tactics and understand whats going on when they watch a tennis match.
    They see Federer or Zverev or whoever play, so watch an ATP match, and they see a ton of fast shots and winners, so in their mind they think wow the pros are hitting so much winners, fast paced winners and its so awesome, i want to do that too.
    Then they go to the court and start crushing most shots going for winners.

    The problem with that is, pro players don't do that, and also thats a dumb strategy and ur seriously giving yourself a very hard time by hitting 60 unforced errors in 75 shots.

    What these people need to understand is, that pro players play a strategic and tactical game, not just crush the ball like a madman.

    Pro players don't play like:
    My opponent hit the ball to me, im gonna CRUSH IT AND GO FOR A WINNER ALL OUT. (even tho alot of rec players seem to think this and also try to play like this)

    Pro players play like:
    Im going to serve out wide and make him stretch for the ball, giving me probably an easy short ball *hits wide serve* starts slowly moving forward, gets short ball *finishes the point to the open court*
    or
    Im going to try to move him really wide off the court *hits 2-3 CC shots* *hits quite an angled CC shot pushing him quite wide* gets weak ball back *runaround ball and hit an inside out forehand to the open court to finish the point*

    So basically pro players think about outplaying the opponent, but lot of rec players think pros are hitting winners left and right just out of nothing.

    And another common missconception is that pro players hit with 100% force on all their winners, which is also false. How fast can Federer hit the ball? His max forehand and backhand shot? How often does he come close to that? Even when he hits winners?
    You can even clearly see it, if u watch him play, when he hits winners yes he hits a pretty pacey ball, enough to hit a winner, but he does not hit near his max speed shot, he hits enough to hit a winner but also enough to be able to control the shot very well and place it perfectly more often than not.
    You can clearly see it because from time to time when he does hit with close to max effort (sometimes on like 40:0 points or something he might rly go for it, or some other scenarios) he hits much more explosively and gets much higher air time from the ground and often you can also hear a loud grunt (even from a quiet guy like Federer) and other players that usually grunt, you hear grunt even louder like really loud, you really know they hit a really close to max effort shot then, but that does not happen so often on the ATP tour, specially from most players, tho they are a few that do this more often, for example Jelena Ostapenko is a type of player that hits quite alot of shots close to or a bit above her redline.

    So moral of the story, even most ATP players very selectively hit really FULL EFFORT ALL OUT shots, most of the times they outplay opponent and YES hit winners to the open court, but hit them with enough control, not just all out ball bashing shots, AND YET alot of rec players who are not even close to the skilllevel of pro players falsely think that and go for 100% full effort crushing the ball, trying to hit winners, how crazy is that?
     
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  10. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    Very good points and explanation. Yes, absolutely crazy. I feel more and more stupid the more I think and read about it, I mean the way I have been playing. Well, at least I'm well aware of it now and will 100% focus on solving this major problem.
     
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    #60
  11. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Professional

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    Check this video, its a video all about winners, yet look how different most are, some are just hit pretty effortless, while some you can really see he goes really hard for.
    1:28+ against del potro (also switches to another match between and then back to this match again) you can see a ton of winners that are hit like maybe 60-70%? He basically just hits a lower arc more pacey ball but just places it in the corner because del potro is so much out of position that he cant possible reach it.
    after 2:24+ against Nadal for example at wimbledon you can see a few where he really hits it hard (not full effort 100% hard, he hits it harder sometimes, but close to redline already).

    But most of all, what this video shows, is how he doesn't really go for winners out of nothing (most of the time), but he thinks more of hitting shots that will put the opponent in a defensive position so he can THEN hit a winner to the open court by placing it nicely, or if not stretch him even more to hit a winner on the next shot (but again, winner as in placing the shot not CRUSHING IT like a madman), tho sometimes some of these shots that were designed to put his opponents in a defensive position will be struck so well that they will be UE's or even outright winners themselves.
     
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  12. weelie

    weelie Rookie

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    I never really bought into the directionals, percentage tennis folklore. I just don't see it. The worst part of my game are my quads, they wear out. I have a decent 2nd serve and good ground strokes, passable volleys. So, I could play only 2nd serves and keep the ball in for 10+ shots, but by that time I've probably lost the point, if I would not go for the lines and try to make something happen, using variety and try to make the opponent move around. I play almost weekly against friend who is worst in about every part of the game and is not fitter than me, so I regularly win like 6-1, but if I play conservative, he might edge 6-4. If I hammer my returns, serve and volley a bit and make him move, I edge out, if I don't, it easily quite even. Then I also play weekly against guys 10 years my junior who hit harder than me, and again, I realize, they are in better condition and if I want to survive I really need to take it to them... so I take risks all the time and use every single trick I have. I feel every +5 shot rally, I lose. If I take the ball from the rise, stand on the baseline, serve and volley, hit as hard as I can to lines, etc, I have a 40-60 chance.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
    #62
  13. Dartagnan64

    Dartagnan64 Hall of Fame

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    Or rather it confirms we have different definitions. Not sure I've seen yours in this post. I've given you mine. High percetage shots are those you can execute almost all the time and rarely lead to UE's (but also rarely lead to forcing an error). Low percentage shots are those that you rarely execute well but almost always win the point when successful.

    I prefer to play in a world between the two extremes. Little bit less high percentage and a bit more forcing shots in order to not extend rallies beyond my fitness level.

    Plus the only way to get better at the tougher shots is to use them. Then they go from being low percentage to high percentage.
     
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  14. navigator

    navigator Hall of Fame

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    I'm a bit surprised by this comment. Weren't you focused on modern ATP-style strokes just a few months back? Personally, I love Brad Gilbert's technique and game but... he plays a traditional/classic style of tennis. I thought this was diametrically opposed to your prior goals with respect to technique. But perhaps you're moving in a different direction now.
     
    #64
  15. Dragy

    Dragy Semi-Pro

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    High percentage shots are those which provide best odds for you to get closer to winning a point. Weak high shot to the middle of the opponent's court is what you can do without error most of the time, but there’re dominant odds against you winning the point after such a shot, which makes it low percentage decision. Sharply angled 2nd serve which you land in 70% of the time would be high % shots if you win 72 and over % of points after making it (by ace, unreturnable or solid advantage to finish the point). Well, 90% 2nd serve to the middle of the box may be even higher percentage, if your opponent cannot repeatedly take advantage of those.

    Therefore, a high % rally ball is not the one you land in 99%, but the one that balances manageable UE rate with keeping your opponent neutral (not giving a high % attack opportunity) and some chance of hurting him forcing an error or weak response. High % play against a short lob is an OH putaway.
     
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  16. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    High percentage tennis is based on shot selection that gives you the best chance of winning the point based on several factors:

    it gives you the best chance of keeping the ball in play, it makes it more difficult for your opponent to attack, it gives you the best chance of drawing an attackable ball from your opponent, it puts pressure in your opponent to go for a low percentage shots, it keeps you from being caught out of position.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
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  17. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    It's not quite the technique but the smoothness, minimum effort he seems to put into the stroke. Regarding which technique is best, I am uncertain yet.
     
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  18. Attila_the_gorilla

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    A pusher plays high percentage tennis but has a very low percentage chance of beating a decent attacking player. That's why the higher level you go, you see fewer and fewer pushers, and exactly zero at pro level.

    The higher the level, the smaller the margins players need to employ in order to win. Some may call that low percentage tennis, but only because they themselves don't have the skills to play that way with any consistency.
     
    #68
  19. Dartagnan64

    Dartagnan64 Hall of Fame

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    So something a bit like this:

    I think we are arguing about terminology and saying the same thing. A shot that is a high percentage to win a point is not the highest percentage shot you can execute. It must be balanced with its ability to force the opponent to either set you up for a winner or produce an error from him.

    And it will depend on skill level. I know plenty of players that the OH smash on a short lob is actually their lowest percentage play. They'll net or airmail 60% of them or more.
     
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  20. Dartagnan64

    Dartagnan64 Hall of Fame

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    Again I wasn't saying really anything different. If your high percentage shot doesn't force anything its rarely a high percentage play. You give 3 criteria I agree with:
    1) Best chance keeping ball in play
    2) Best chance of drawing attackable ball or error from opponent
    3) Difficult for opponent to attack

    With most players it is virtually impossible to do all 3 at once and some compromises must be made. I will generally favor a shot that doesn't have the best chance to stay in play (deeper into the corners) if it has a higher chance to produce a weak reply or an error. I will strongly avoid giving up an attackable ball to any opponent with a weapon. So I'd rank 3>2>1 in my tennis. Some others might find their high percentage tennis favors 1>3>2. Those are usually the pushers/defenders that can run all day until you make an error. For me that would be just low percentage tennis.
     
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  21. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Not exactly. The high percentage shot selection will accomplish all of the factors I listed above in most situations. Deviating from the high percentage shot lowers your chance of winning the point.
     
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  22. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Hall of Fame

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    For good players, everything they do is relatively high percentage. The difference in success rate between a high clearance floating junkball and a net skimming down the line bullet is too small to worry about. It makes sense to take those risks.
    A poor player may make 15% of his down the line attempts. So it makes sense for him to push instead. But a good attacking player may make the same shot at 80% success rate. Those odds give you a better chance to win matches than sticking with 95% success rate moonballs.
    Same with big first serves. If you make your big first serves 60% of the time, and 80% of them are unreturnable or set up an easy winner, then this is a much more winning strategy than having a 90% first serve percentage with hardly any cheap points.
     
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  23. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    At rec level tennis the high percentage player or as you call pusher will win most of the time against the attacking player if both are real close to the same level. Once you get above 4.5 level then the more offensive player will win more.

    Above 4.5 level is a really small % of the tennis world, so for the majority of tennis players consistent tennis with controlled attacking is the way to go.
     
    #73
  24. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Hall of Fame

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    No idea about levels and ratings, I don't see any pushers winning around my neck of the woods.
     
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  25. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Don't you play doubles 99% of the time? Doubles is more aggressive style of play than singles.

    Take my word for it you are not 4.5 or 5.0 level.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
    #75
  26. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Hall of Fame

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    I play plenty of singles but also watch a lot of local club tennis singles.

    The point I'm trying to make that good players can play aggressive tennis without making many errors. There are lots of such players at decent rec levels.

    Bad players can't play attacking tennis without making errors, and that's why they play with slow pace and big margins. And that's why they get stuck in their development.
     
    #76
  27. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    That's the trick is playing somewhat aggressive tennis but keeping the errors low.
     
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  28. mcs1970

    mcs1970 Semi-Pro

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    His game was smooth too. He's a marketing genius for portraying himself as a grunt with little talent. He had smooth consistent strokes...nothing flashy but really effortless, as opposed to a typical grunt type player with ugly strokes. I hope no one feels that this is a pusher style of Tennis. This is beautiful tennis as far as I'm concerned:

     
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  29. Steve Williams

    Steve Williams Rookie

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    When I was a young kid, I used to play a game when I needed a break from doing homework. I would place a vase across the other side of the room and try to throw a ping pong ball into it. I experimented with different ways of putting topspin onto the ball so it would make a nice arc before dipping neatly into the vase. I would give myself an extra credit if it didn't bounce out again.

    On the occasions I managed to achieve success, I would feel a rush of satisfaction, not least due to the aesthetic pleasure of watching the arc of that ball coupled with the sense of mastery at being able to make it happen.

    I find playing tennis is like this only more so. It's a great feeling to be out in the open, occasionally making the ball do what you want, and working over time to make those occasions more frequent. I also have an opponent to provide companionship and competition. What a great way to pass the time!

    Last week I was playing doubles and sprinted for a slice hit wide to my backhand. On the stretch, I sliced it back down the line and ***k me, it went in. I watched it as if in slow motion and it was a beautiful experience.

    It made losing the match more bearable.

    I try to win matches but its not what keeps me playing.
     
    #79
  30. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    Beautiful post. Thank you.
     
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  31. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    No. You have the same misconception of percentage tennis that Dartagnan does. You can make high percentage shot selections no matter how good or poor a player you are. The better player will be able to execute high percentage shots more consistently and effectively. But, all levels of players will give themselves the best chance to win if they consistently make high percentage choices.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
    #81
  32. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    High percentage tennis has nothing to do with pushing or what your NTRP level is. It's about shot selection, knowing what the high percentage targets are and knowing when to attack and when not to.
     
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  33. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Hall of Fame

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    Don't project your own lack of skill and resulting negative game style on the entire tennis playing population.

    Like I said, shot selections that are low percentage for you, are high enough percentage for a good player to be worth the risk. That is the definition of more advanced level tennis. Playing with smaller margins, seemingly taking more risk, but still executing at a high percentage, thanks to a superior skill level.
     
    #83
  34. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    I've been playing this game for almost 50 years. I'm just trying to help you better understand the game and how to give yourself the best chance to win matches. You can accept it or reject it. But, your comments demonstrate that you don't yet understand percentage tennis.



    .
     
    #84
  35. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Hall of Fame

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    Neither does any decent player in the world, evidently. If they followed your universal definition of percentage tennis, they'd all be aiming for the middle of the court with gentle pace and 5 foot net clearance on every single shot, and wait for the opponent to miss. If it works for talentless losers, it must work in a grand slam final too, right?
     
    #85
  36. SinjinCooper

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    The number of slam singles titles that have been won using primarily Paul Wardlaw's basic concepts of high percentage tennis (often before he catalogued them, but still the same stuff), deviating only when situations demanded drastic, high-risk action, is in the hundreds by now.

    The one major difference between the classic interpretation and the modern one -- in a game rife with extreme grips and poly strings that let you take superhuman rips at the ball with far less risk than before -- is that, "90 degree change of angle on a short ball," has become, "that, OR crank it to the open court."
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
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  37. Attila_the_gorilla

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    Deviating from Wardlaw is not necessarily drastic and high-risk. Again, depends on skill level. A slightly lower percentage shot selection may give you a very high chance of winning the point. Those odds are in your favour.
    Wardlaw must be frowning every time Wawrinka or Djokovic hits a down the line backhand winner.
     
    #87
  38. mcs1970

    mcs1970 Semi-Pro

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    Did you watch the Brad Gilbert vs Becker video that was posted on this thread? How would you categorize Gilbert's play?
     
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  39. Attila_the_gorilla

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    Watched a bit of it, didn't find it very interesting tennis. Haven't seen much of Gilbert at all, know he's been called a pusher etc but I say it's impossible for any pusher to reach those high rankings. Although it was probably easier back in those days before smooth strings and the power game became a necessity. Why, what do you think about his game style?
     
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  40. Attila_the_gorilla

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    I have always felt like that whole Winning Ugly thing was purely a marketing ploy rather than a true reflection of how Gilbert may have played. Again, I haven't seen much of him but I doubt that anyone can get to high levels without being able and willing to use low margins.
    Found these two posts in an old thread.
     
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  41. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Once again, you have the same misconception of percentage tennis that Dartagnian has.
     
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  42. Attila_the_gorilla

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    He certainly does make a lot of sense.
     
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  43. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    I agree it's Attila that thinks playing consistently is being a pusher.
     
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  44. Attila_the_gorilla

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    Nah. Good players take risks but still don't miss much. They can be consistent even when they hit relatively difficult (lower percentage) shots.

    Pushers are players that cannot play with low margins. They have no choice but to push in order to be consistent. Those players only exist at the lowest levels.
     
    #94
  45. iChen

    iChen Semi-Pro

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    That’s not a pusher. That’s just a beginner.
     
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  46. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Not regarding percentage tennis. Hitting softballs down the middle is not a high percentage play and not what percentage tennis is about.
     
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  47. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    You say good players can be consistent even when they hit low % shots? Sorry but that makes no sense. Why do you think those shots are called low % ?
     
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  48. mcs1970

    mcs1970 Semi-Pro

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    He was top 5 in the world at one point. It's never easy to get to that level regardless of the era you played in.

    I can see many calling him a pusher but tags don't matter. His style is one of taking very few chances, moving the opponent around, hitting the ball softly, many a times with high clearance unless he needs to hit a passing shot. Plus he did that in an age where there were a lot of S&V players around.

    If that style worked at the highest pro levels it can still absolutely work at the highest rec levels and is probably a much better style for most rec players to emulate.
     
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  49. mcs1970

    mcs1970 Semi-Pro

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    Yes. If they are consistent with difficult low % shots they are not just 'good players'. They will not only be pros but very highly ranked pros.
     
    #99
  50. tlm

    tlm Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Messages:
    9,543
    Exactly only the best can perform what Attila thinks. He doesn't get it he has been playing for 5 years and thinks he knows everything.

    He shows a video of him playing a 2.5 level player that can't move and most of his opponents shots are high bouncing sitters around the serve line that he can put away easily and now he thinks that it's easy to play aggressively.lol
     

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