Thoughts on the Dustin Brown-Rafael Nadal Match

desmo

Rookie
Firstly if you haven't watched it, please do. The commentary is in Italian but is pretty generic and uninsightful so you aren't missing much if you don't understand Italian--

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDeZJGGTUXc

His serve isn't really that great. It's very fast because he hits it flat, but that also means there is little margin for error. The best thing about his serve is his second serve that he can get in pretty reliably at about 20 km/h shy of his first serve and more so that he isn't particularly concerned about double faulting which to me is something a good server should hardly worry about at all when even great servers struggle to win half the second serve points they hit in the box. And he attacks relentlessly--he ain't getting into baseline rallies that favor the conventional players and let them find a rhythm, that's what they want and that's what he refuses to give them. I'd actually say he is not only not reckless or thoughtless player, he is potentially the smartest tactician on a grass court today, which is not to say his execution couldn't improve (that goes for anyone of course). In fact I'd say he's the only player who has a grasp of grass court tennis on the men's tour. Statisticians have more or less proven that a good server should essentially go for it on their second serve and not worry about the inevitable double faults and this guy is the only guy on the tour smart enough and courageous enough to do exactly that. He also returns serve like a guy who either wants to take over the point or lose it on his first touch, which against Nadal (and I'd argue most other players too, at least on grass) is absolutely the smart play if you have the talent to make it work--which he obviously does. Federer or any of the other men could learn a lot about winning tactics watching this guy, he's miles ahead of them in the tactical department.

No one has won with that sort of attacking style I'd reckon not because it's "too risky"--and against Nadal on grass, I'd venture it's likely to actually be the least risky approach, in fact Brown could never have won that match-up playing any other way-- but because that attacking style simply isn't practiced. If you have a highly heterodox style of play that only a few people have ever tried, of course it won't have a good track record--it cannot. We're getting into chicken and egg now, a tactical style that's really never been tried at the top level has had no record of success because A- it's a bad plan or B- because it's never been tried or the person or few people who tried simply lacked the talent or determination to make it work. There's no actual dataset to make an informed call, it's simply weak anecdotal guessing.

Juniors cannot be schooled in a hyperagressive style because their pre-adolescent and adolescent bodies simply cannot carry out that plan. Only a grown man (and possibly a grown woman) can play in this manner. In fact, the stylistic and tactical possibilities of tennis play are in my opinion hugely and artificially constrained by the fact that all players are taught as children and largely operate the rest of their lives within the psychological constraints of the game they were taught as children. If you want to see an entire system fallen victim to the "start 'em young" junior tennis trap look at the players the USTA development program turns out and the subsequent disastrous results obtained. All the American men play as if they are oversized (too oversized frequently) juniors, they start them so young they have to use a two handed backhand because they aren't strong enough to swing one handed, they all play baseline because their junior bodies aren't explosive enough to execute an all court attacking game or to end points with winners off the ground and they are as adults trapped within these limitations because that is how they learned to play. All the American men basically look the same--are the same--because they basically play the game as the USTA teaches it to 10-11 year olds, and I see the same thing from players from Australia and the UK and all over the world.

As for Browns unorthodox volleying/half volleying, yes I cringed at his technique a few times but he was in fact getting consistently good results from it, which is really all that matters and I didn't see an inordinate number of errors resulting from either that or his flamboyant net play. And as for the hair, pffffft doesn't mean sweet f all one way or the other, look at all the different hair you see in other top level men's sports.
 

Mr.Lob

Legend
Firstly if you haven't watched it, please do. The commentary is in Italian but is pretty generic and uninsightful so you aren't missing much if you don't understand Italian--

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDeZJGGTUXc

His serve isn't really that great. It's very fast because he hits it flat, but that also means there is little margin for error. The best thing about his serve is his second serve that he can get in pretty reliably at about 20 km/h shy of his first serve and more so that he isn't particularly concerned about double faulting which to me is something a good server should hardly worry about at all when even great servers struggle to win half the second serve points they hit in the box. And he attacks relentlessly--he ain't getting into baseline rallies that favor the conventional players and let them find a rhythm, that's what they want and that's what he refuses to give them. I'd actually say he is not only not reckless or thoughtless player, he is potentially the smartest tactician on a grass court today, which is not to say his execution couldn't improve (that goes for anyone of course). In fact I'd say he's the only player who has a grasp of grass court tennis on the men's tour. Statisticians have more or less proven that a good server should essentially go for it on their second serve and not worry about the inevitable double faults and this guy is the only guy on the tour smart enough and courageous enough to do exactly that. He also returns serve like a guy who either wants to take over the point or lose it on his first touch, which against Nadal (and I'd argue most other players too, at least on grass) is absolutely the smart play if you have the talent to make it work--which he obviously does. Federer or any of the other men could learn a lot about winning tactics watching this guy, he's miles ahead of them in the tactical department.

No one has won with that sort of attacking style I'd reckon not because it's "too risky"--and against Nadal on grass, I'd venture it's likely to actually be the least risky approach, in fact Brown could never have won that match-up playing any other way-- but because that attacking style simply isn't practiced. If you have a highly heterodox style of play that only a few people have ever tried, of course it won't have a good track record--it cannot. We're getting into chicken and egg now, a tactical style that's really never been tried at the top level has had no record of success because A- it's a bad plan or B- because it's never been tried or the person or few people who tried simply lacked the talent or determination to make it work. There's no actual dataset to make an informed call, it's simply weak anecdotal guessing.

Juniors cannot be schooled in a hyperagressive style because their pre-adolescent and adolescent bodies simply cannot carry out that plan. Only a grown man (and possibly a grown woman) can play in this manner. In fact, the stylistic and tactical possibilities of tennis play are in my opinion hugely and artificially constrained by the fact that all players are taught as children and largely operate the rest of their lives within the psychological constraints of the game they were taught as children. If you want to see an entire system fallen victim to the "start 'em young" junior tennis trap look at the players the USTA development program turns out and the subsequent disastrous results obtained. All the American men play as if they are oversized (too oversized frequently) juniors, they start them so young they have to use a two handed backhand because they aren't strong enough to swing one handed, they all play baseline because their junior bodies aren't explosive enough to execute an all court attacking game or to end points with winners off the ground and they are as adults trapped within these limitations because that is how they learned to play. All the American men basically look the same--are the same--because they basically play the game as the USTA teaches it to 10-11 year olds, and I see the same thing from players from Australia and the UK and all over the world.

As for Browns unorthodox volleying/half volleying, yes I cringed at his technique a few times but he was in fact getting consistently good results from it, which is really all that matters and I didn't see an inordinate number of errors resulting from either that or his flamboyant net play. And as for the hair, pffffft doesn't mean sweet f all one way or the other, look
at all the different hair you see in other top level men's sports.
Thought a lot of Brown's volleys looked a bit like Johnny Mac... more upright.
Nice touch on the drop volleys.
 

desmo

Rookie
Well spotted on the Macenroesque volleys. I was thinking the same watching the match. Not what is taught, very army, but whatever works.
 

Mr.Lob

Legend
Well spotted on the Macenroesque volleys. I was thinking the same watching the match. Not what is taught, very army, but whatever works.
True. Seemed like a lot of those drop volleys were shots Nadal didn't even have a chance to make a play on. Hard deep ground strokes followed up with a nice drop, or short angle... very tough.
 

crash1929

Hall of Fame
"In fact, the stylistic and tactical possibilities of tennis play are in my opinion hugely and artificially constrained by the fact that all players are taught as children and largely operate the rest of their lives within the psychological constraints of the game they were taught as children."

Interesting concept.
 

stringertom

Bionic Poster
Haven't seen any infrequent visitors to the zone redline like that since 2R, fifth set Rosol! He was totally in control from 4-4 first set!
 

byealmeens

Semi-Pro
I'd actually say he is not only not reckless or thoughtless player, he is potentially the smartest tactician on a grass court today, which is not to say his execution couldn't improve (that goes for anyone of course). In fact I'd say he's the only player who has a grasp of grass court tennis on the men's tour.
Are you serious? Playing with reckless abandon is smart tactically? Dustin Brown is the only person who grasps the "concept" of grass-court tennis? Come on. I'm not a Nadal fan, but he is 1000 times the player Dustin is on grass, both technically and tactically. And honestly, have you seen Dustin play before? He has no tactics ... makes more errors than anyone I have ever seen, and is more erratic than most players I've seen on the tour. He had a good day against a Nadal that was not 100% and not in form.

That's all.
 

desmo

Rookie
Are you serious? Playing with reckless abandon is smart tactically? Dustin Brown is the only person who grasps the "concept" of grass-court tennis? Come on. I'm not a Nadal fan, but he is 1000 times the player Dustin is on grass, both technically and tactically. And honestly, have you seen Dustin play before? He has no tactics ... makes more errors than anyone I have ever seen, and is more erratic than most players I've seen on the tour. He had a good day against a Nadal that was not 100% and not in form.

That's all.
Yes I am serious. His reckless abandon maximized his chances of winning the match and he could in fact not have won the match any other way. Maximum aggression isn't "no tactics", it *is* a tactic, and one that against a historic groundstroker like Nadal is in some real set of circumstances the correct one. Is an error on a return, second service or quick approach better or worse than a point lost after a potentially unnecessary 10 hit rally? I'd say it depends and nothing more. It may well be preferable in foreseeable circumstances, like you are playing Nadal and you want to have any chance at all of winning.

Dustin Brown isn't a serious, committed pro judging from his ranking and record but that is a trivial observation. Most players don't have the mental resolve to be top 10 or better, even if their talent and/or tactical plan permits, so not taking one's sport with the kind of almost maniacal focus the top few do is actually perfectly normal, even for pros. It's only a scant few outliers who can devote themselves to a sport with the commitment of a champion. What might these tactics accomplish executed by a potential champion? Unknown. Just because the tactic isn't amenable to chalkboarding or junior tennis in no way makes it less serious or potentially effective.

Brown's ranking says essentially as much about his tactical approach as a 85th ranked baseline player's does about baselining. It's an anecdote, a single datapoint. It would be naive to assume that orthodox tactics are necessarily optimal ones. In twenty years the men's pro game will likely have moved on and what today looks like an unassailable orthodoxy will, like most conventional thinking eventually does, appear quaint and dated.
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
Any consensus among the tennis analysts on why Nadal dragged out the first set for nearly half an hour?
 

Aurellian

Semi-Pro
Yes I am serious. His reckless abandon maximized his chances of winning the match and he could in fact not have won the match any other way. Maximum aggression isn't "no tactics", it *is* a tactic, and one that against a historic groundstroker like Nadal is in some real set of circumstances the correct one. Is an error on a return, second service or quick approach better or worse than a point lost after a potentially unnecessary 10 hit rally? I'd say it depends and nothing more. It may well be preferable in foreseeable circumstances, like you are playing Nadal and you want to have any chance at all of winning.

Dustin Brown isn't a serious, committed pro judging from his ranking and record but that is a trivial observation. Most players don't have the mental resolve to be top 10 or better, even if their talent and/or tactical plan permits, so not taking one's sport with the kind of almost maniacal focus the top few do is actually perfectly normal, even for pros. It's only a scant few outliers who can devote themselves to a sport with the commitment of a champion. What might these tactics accomplish executed by a potential champion? Unknown. Just because the tactic isn't amenable to chalkboarding or junior tennis in no way makes it less serious or potentially effective.

Brown's ranking says essentially as much about his tactical approach as a 85th ranked baseline player's does about baselining. It's an anecdote, a single datapoint. It would be naive to assume that orthodox tactics are necessarily optimal ones. In twenty years the men's pro game will likely have moved on and what today looks like an unassailable orthodoxy will, like most conventional thinking eventually does, appear quaint and dated.
This is brilliant. Simply a brilliant analysis. I stirred up a hornet's nest in another post because I was advocating quick strike aggressive tennis...all the naysayers were like" You cant do this, you must hit 6 shot rallies to win."

Brown has mad skills: did you seem him jump for that Kolshrober lob today? You can't teach that and no coach will instruct you to do so. if you have talents and attributes which defy the norm traditional strategy does not apply to you...but good luck finding anyone who will embrace the genius.

I was at QBar in Bangkok three or four years ago and I see this tall Black dude talking to my girl. I roll up and he apologizes, polite fellow, and we get to talking....We rapped a bit about BKK and had he had a glass of my JW Gold. The shot girl came around and he bought some. I asked him what he was doing in town and he said playing tennis and that he had a match tomorrow. Cool, brothas from France play tennis, ok.

To make a long story short: I later surmised--about two years later--that it was Monfils playing in the Bangkok Open. The dude had a match the next day and he was out carousing at 0200 1/2 drunk. I never found out if he won or not but I would not be surprised if he did ok.

For some people making millions of bucks, living the high life, and playing a game is worth more than being a one dimensional psychologically odd champion.

Monfills plays tennis to live while Federer lives to play tennis.

Dustin Brown has a weird disposition. ..very very cavalier and laid back..even disinterested at times..the German and Jamaican in him..although it times he is showy.

whats up with his volleys, he seems to swing at them rather aggressively...does he even have a coach?
 

THE FIGHTER

Hall of Fame
Are you serious? Playing with reckless abandon is smart tactically? Dustin Brown is the only person who grasps the "concept" of grass-court tennis? Come on. I'm not a Nadal fan, but he is 1000 times the player Dustin is on grass, both technically and tactically. And honestly, have you seen Dustin play before? He has no tactics ... makes more errors than anyone I have ever seen, and is more erratic than most players I've seen on the tour. He had a good day against a Nadal that was not 100% and not in form.

That's all.
Nadal needs rhythm, regardless of what form he's in. OP is indicating the tactics that Dustin Brown utilized has proven itself again as the most effective strategy against Nadal, granted it's the hardest to execute. It says a lot about Nadal actually.

Dustin's performance, to his credit was not as technically and tactically abysmal as you think. Why would a guy with less than stellar stamina want to impress forum scrollers with his ability to build a point from the baseline? to show high tennis IQ? the smart thing for Brown to do was to go for it from the baseline to hit winners, or set up his net game, which is both technically and tactically great on grass.
 

SoBad

G.O.A.T.
Thanks for the story, Aurellian -- many a player like to kick back and have a drink out the night before a match. Maria Sharapova has been sighted many times at questionable venues around Jomtien Beach drinking with much younger men at late night hours before her Pattaya Open matches.
 

byealmeens

Semi-Pro
Yes I am serious. His reckless abandon maximized his chances of winning the match and he could in fact not have won the match any other way. Maximum aggression isn't "no tactics", it *is* a tactic, and one that against a historic groundstroker like Nadal is in some real set of circumstances the correct one. Is an error on a return, second service or quick approach better or worse than a point lost after a potentially unnecessary 10 hit rally? I'd say it depends and nothing more. It may well be preferable in foreseeable circumstances, like you are playing Nadal and you want to have any chance at all of winning.

Dustin Brown isn't a serious, committed pro judging from his ranking and record but that is a trivial observation. Most players don't have the mental resolve to be top 10 or better, even if their talent and/or tactical plan permits, so not taking one's sport with the kind of almost maniacal focus the top few do is actually perfectly normal, even for pros. It's only a scant few outliers who can devote themselves to a sport with the commitment of a champion. What might these tactics accomplish executed by a potential champion? Unknown. Just because the tactic isn't amenable to chalkboarding or junior tennis in no way makes it less serious or potentially effective.

Brown's ranking says essentially as much about his tactical approach as a 85th ranked baseline player's does about baselining. It's an anecdote, a single datapoint. It would be naive to assume that orthodox tactics are necessarily optimal ones. In twenty years the men's pro game will likely have moved on and what today looks like an unassailable orthodoxy will, like most conventional thinking eventually does, appear quaint and dated.
So lack of tactics is also a tactic? This doesn't seem silly to you? No one mentioned "orthodox" approaches or his ranking. There are many players ranked significantly lower than him that are tactically and technically superior. Furthermore, I'm not disputing the fact that this is his style and go to play ... that he his giving himself the best chance to win ... or rather the only chance to win. But that only confirms his lack of talent, it does not prove his tactical superiority. In fact, this is the only style he has ... so even the decision to play this way was not tactically impressive because he plays that way against everyone, and on any surface.

But most importantly, my post was commenting on your claim that he is "the smartest tactician on a grass court today". It's one thing to claim his reckless style is a tactic worth pursuing, it's another to say no one else on the men's tour understands grass court tennis as well as he does.
 

byealmeens

Semi-Pro
Nadal needs rhythm, regardless of what form he's in. OP is indicating the tactics that Dustin Brown utilized has proven itself again as the most effective strategy against Nadal, granted it's the hardest to execute. It says a lot about Nadal actually.

Dustin's performance, to his credit was not as technically and tactically abysmal as you think. Why would a guy with less than stellar stamina want to impress forum scrollers with his ability to build a point from the baseline? to show high tennis IQ? the smart thing for Brown to do was to go for it from the baseline to hit winners, or set up his net game, which is both technically and tactically great on grass.
I do not dispute his "tactic" as it applies to him ... he has no other way to play so certainly playing his style is the only way to go. But the OP is claiming he is the smartest grass court player on the tour, and that is a bit much.

As for others on tour ... do you honestly believe they should play this way against Nadal? You think a tactic that is "the hardest to execute" is also the "most effective strategy against Nadal"? How does that make sense?
 

comeback

Hall of Fame
His serve isn't really that great. It's very fast because he hits it flat, but that also means there is little margin for error.

Nice description of Brown's tactics but i disagree with the above..Brown has a great serve.
 

Aurellian

Semi-Pro
So lack of tactics is also a tactic? This doesn't seem silly to you? No one mentioned "orthodox" approaches or his ranking. There are many players ranked significantly lower than him that are tactically and technically superior. Furthermore, I'm not disputing the fact that this is his style and go to play ... that he his giving himself the best chance to win ... or rather the only chance to win. But that only confirms his lack of talent, it does not prove his tactical superiority. In fact, this is the only style he has ... so even the decision to play this way was not tactically impressive because he plays that way against everyone, and on any surface.

But most importantly, my post was commenting on your claim that he is "the smartest tactician on a grass court today". It's one thing to claim his reckless style is a tactic worth pursuing, it's another to say no one else on the men's tour understands grass court tennis as well as he does.
You make a solid point about DB not necessarily being a strategic mastermind for using his style of play against Nadal because he apparently plays like this all of the time.

To call him not talented smacks of you imbibing with large quantities of hatorade. DB's talents, or physic prowess, are undeniable. Very few people on tour have the ability to play like he plays. While quite a few can bang two first serves, very few have the reflexes, hands, and hops, and coordination that DB has.

DB could easily play traditional tennis but very few can play DB style tennis.

Does he have the dedication, mental fortitude, or even desire to raise his game? Who knows? I think not. He travels around the world, makes a pretty darn good living, and beds hot Euro women...not a bad life my friend.
 

SublimeTennis

Professional
Firstly if you haven't watched it, please do. The commentary is in Italian but is pretty generic and uninsightful so you aren't missing much if you don't understand Italian--

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDeZJGGTUXc

His serve isn't really that great. It's very fast because he hits it flat, but that also means there is little margin for error. The best thing about his serve is his second serve that he can get in pretty reliably at about 20 km/h shy of his first serve and more so that he isn't particularly concerned about double faulting which to me is something a good server should hardly worry about at all when even great servers struggle to win half the second serve points they hit in the box. And he attacks relentlessly--he ain't getting into baseline rallies that favor the conventional players and let them find a rhythm, that's what they want and that's what he refuses to give them. I'd actually say he is not only not reckless or thoughtless player, he is potentially the smartest tactician on a grass court today, which is not to say his execution couldn't improve (that goes for anyone of course). In fact I'd say he's the only player who has a grasp of grass court tennis on the men's tour. Statisticians have more or less proven that a good server should essentially go for it on their second serve and not worry about the inevitable double faults and this guy is the only guy on the tour smart enough and courageous enough to do exactly that. He also returns serve like a guy who either wants to take over the point or lose it on his first touch, which against Nadal (and I'd argue most other players too, at least on grass) is absolutely the smart play if you have the talent to make it work--which he obviously does. Federer or any of the other men could learn a lot about winning tactics watching this guy, he's miles ahead of them in the tactical department.

No one has won with that sort of attacking style I'd reckon not because it's "too risky"--and against Nadal on grass, I'd venture it's likely to actually be the least risky approach, in fact Brown could never have won that match-up playing any other way-- but because that attacking style simply isn't practiced. If you have a highly heterodox style of play that only a few people have ever tried, of course it won't have a good track record--it cannot. We're getting into chicken and egg now, a tactical style that's really never been tried at the top level has had no record of success because A- it's a bad plan or B- because it's never been tried or the person or few people who tried simply lacked the talent or determination to make it work. There's no actual dataset to make an informed call, it's simply weak anecdotal guessing.

Juniors cannot be schooled in a hyperagressive style because their pre-adolescent and adolescent bodies simply cannot carry out that plan. Only a grown man (and possibly a grown woman) can play in this manner. In fact, the stylistic and tactical possibilities of tennis play are in my opinion hugely and artificially constrained by the fact that all players are taught as children and largely operate the rest of their lives within the psychological constraints of the game they were taught as children. If you want to see an entire system fallen victim to the "start 'em young" junior tennis trap look at the players the USTA development program turns out and the subsequent disastrous results obtained. All the American men play as if they are oversized (too oversized frequently) juniors, they start them so young they have to use a two handed backhand because they aren't strong enough to swing one handed, they all play baseline because their junior bodies aren't explosive enough to execute an all court attacking game or to end points with winners off the ground and they are as adults trapped within these limitations because that is how they learned to play. All the American men basically look the same--are the same--because they basically play the game as the USTA teaches it to 10-11 year olds, and I see the same thing from players from Australia and the UK and all over the world.

As for Browns unorthodox volleying/half volleying, yes I cringed at his technique a few times but he was in fact getting consistently good results from it, which is really all that matters and I didn't see an inordinate number of errors resulting from either that or his flamboyant net play. And as for the hair, pffffft doesn't mean sweet f all one way or the other, look at all the different hair you see in other top level men's sports.
Nadal threw it, come on you serious about this question? Watch the match. Yea Nadal gets through monumental FO, parties, then a couple days later another tourney? He is practicing on grass right now prepping for Wimbledon.

Yea I like Nadal's press conference, "Oh yea I tried, tried very hard, honest I tried".
 

desmo

Rookie
Yeah Nadal wasn't operating at 100% as is pretty normal for a pro, the surface conspires against his kick serve to backhand and his velocity was off as well. He was reluctant to move forward as well, a couple of Brown's drop shots looked reachable, if just, and he didn't make the effort. And when he did make the effort it usually ended poorly for him anyway.

I'll bet Nadal came into that match fully expecting to win, probably easily, and was unhappily surprised by what he found himself up against.

"Does he have the dedication, mental fortitude, or even desire to raise his game? Who knows? I think not. He travels around the world, makes a pretty darn good living, and beds hot Euro women...not a bad life my friend."

This probably describes a substantial part of the say 50-100 ranked pro men, some of whom could probably become top 10 or better if they were way serious.
 

crash1929

Hall of Fame
The most explosive match I have ever seen. Loved loved loved the drop shots, lobs, drop volleys, chip and charge returns. I've never seen him play before but he def did everything right this match. Would seem impossible to play at this speed successfully all the time..
 

Raphael

Semi-Pro
"In fact, the stylistic and tactical possibilities of tennis play are in my opinion hugely and artificially constrained by the fact that all players are taught as children and largely operate the rest of their lives within the psychological constraints of the game they were taught as children."

Interesting concept.
I agree completely. Its really difficult to go back and learn a completely different way to play.
 

byealmeens

Semi-Pro
You make a solid point about DB not necessarily being a strategic mastermind for using his style of play against Nadal because he apparently plays like this all of the time.

To call him not talented smacks of you imbibing with large quantities of hatorade. DB's talents, or physic prowess, are undeniable. Very few people on tour have the ability to play like he plays. While quite a few can bang two first serves, very few have the reflexes, hands, and hops, and coordination that DB has.

DB could easily play traditional tennis but very few can play DB style tennis.

Does he have the dedication, mental fortitude, or even desire to raise his game? Who knows? I think not. He travels around the world, makes a pretty darn good living, and beds hot Euro women...not a bad life my friend.
Thank you for your post. However, I have to disagree that no one else can play DB style tennis or that DB can realistically play any other style. Many players could play as aggressive as DB, but the reality is that this brand of all or nothing tennis is too low percentage and not worth pursuing. You do see glimpses of it … guys running around a serve to crush a forehand … hitting a drop shot off of a serve and coming to net … chipping and charging kamikaze style off the first serve. You do see these plays, used sparingly, but other players have better (higher percentage) options. A baseliner like Djokovic can win points from the back of the court against Nadal … Dustin Brown cannot. Andy Murray can play a grinding style of play and outlast his opponent … DB cannot. Both of these players can also step up and crush forehands and backhands and shorten points. They choose not to … and not simply to play “traditional tennis”, but to play winning tennis. To imply that they do not have the “reflexes” that DB does, or the athletic ability, is truly underestimating the best players in the world. As for Dustin Brown’s ability to play “traditional tennis”, he could certainly attempt to play this style, but let’s be honest … he would not be effective at all. He plays the brand of tennis he does not by choice as you seem to imply, but due to a lack of other options. So, IMO it’s the other way around … DB can’t play a traditional style, while others can play both.

And honestly, I have no issue with Dustin Brown. I have no reason to hate him … I know very little about him other than what I have seen in a handful of matches. My comment regarding his lack of talent was a reference to his lack of options. His brand of tennis I refer to has “bail – out” tennis. There’s little thought in it … like throwing a Hail Mary pass every down, or going all-in every hand in poker. Sure, both can work … and there’s often little you can do about it if it somehow does. However, tactically this is not wise over the long run, and it’s certainly not “brilliant” per se. You’re not going to win tournaments or majors playing this style, otherwise others would play this way as well (despite what the OP says). And the idea that this style, and DBs grass-court skills, are the best on tour is even more ridiculous. Regardless of any opinion, yours or mine, success … whether it is tactically or technically … is determined by results. Nadal has won big titles on grass, and will most likely continue to have success in the future. DB won one match against Nadal, but I don’t think there is any question Nadal is a better grass-court player overall. Just my two cents.
 
I liked your post OP but I have two questions/comments:

1: re American tennis, aren't players in other countries taught very young too? I don't think age is unique to American tennis. I don't know why we are all taught 2hbh and to fear the net, but I doubt if it is age related.

2: Brown lost in the next round and federer ultimately won Halle, so you can't say he is "way ahead of everyone else on grass tactically" or whatever it was. He played a great match against nadal hitting the fuzz off the ball but that's it. That seems to be the formula for beating nadal on any surface, but it doesn't win you tournaments. See: soderling, tsonga, Rosol, Darcis, brown.
 

syc23

Professional
Watched the match. Brown lucked in big time and it'll never happen again. If his style of high risk play worked consistently, he would be the owner of 18 slams already.
 

Aurellian

Semi-Pro
Thank you for your post. However, I have to disagree that no one else can play DB style tennis or that DB can realistically play any other style. Many players could play as aggressive as DB, but the reality is that this brand of all or nothing tennis is too low percentage and not worth pursuing. You do see glimpses of it … guys running around a serve to crush a forehand … hitting a drop shot off of a serve and coming to net … chipping and charging kamikaze style off the first serve. You do see these plays, used sparingly, but other players have better (higher percentage) options. A baseliner like Djokovic can win points from the back of the court against Nadal … Dustin Brown cannot. Andy Murray can play a grinding style of play and outlast his opponent … DB cannot. Both of these players can also step up and crush forehands and backhands and shorten points. They choose not to … and not simply to play “traditional tennis”, but to play winning tennis. To imply that they do not have the “reflexes” that DB does, or the athletic ability, is truly underestimating the best players in the world. As for Dustin Brown’s ability to play “traditional tennis”, he could certainly attempt to play this style, but let’s be honest … he would not be effective at all. He plays the brand of tennis he does not by choice as you seem to imply, but due to a lack of other options. So, IMO it’s the other way around … DB can’t play a traditional style, while others can play both.

And honestly, I have no issue with Dustin Brown. I have no reason to hate him … I know very little about him other than what I have seen in a handful of matches. My comment regarding his lack of talent was a reference to his lack of options. His brand of tennis I refer to has “bail – out” tennis. There’s little thought in it … like throwing a Hail Mary pass every down, or going all-in every hand in poker. Sure, both can work … and there’s often little you can do about it if it somehow does. However, tactically this is not wise over the long run, and it’s certainly not “brilliant” per se. You’re not going to win tournaments or majors playing this style, otherwise others would play this way as well (despite what the OP says). And the idea that this style, and DBs grass-court skills, are the best on tour is even more ridiculous. Regardless of any opinion, yours or mine, success … whether it is tactically or technically … is determined by results. Nadal has won big titles on grass, and will most likely continue to have success in the future. DB won one match against Nadal, but I don’t think there is any question Nadal is a better grass-court player overall. Just my two cents.
Your post is devoid of veritable facts. You are conflating tennis strategy with tennis skills. I am not speaking of results. Monfils has the best tennis tool box on tour by far; he just is a basket case which may be attributed to fortitude, effort, and tennis IQ. Note that sports IQ functional IQ are very different. Dan Marino, Terry Bradshaw, and Dennis Rodman all have amazing sports IQ but are rather dimwitted in real life.

Monfils can grind if he wants, smack 112 mph forehands if he desires, and put a first serve into play over 130mph. Not everyone can do this. Does this matter? Not really.

That's all I am saying.
 

Top Jimmy

Semi-Pro
Attacking tennis is an art and no one wants to commit to it because it's difficult, at any level. Easier to learn to grind and not risk anything.

Look at Sampras. Chang, Courier, Agassi were seeing much earlier returns from their games than Pete's attacking style.

Was nice to see a guy attack and just shrug off the occasional passing shot...it's gonna happen.
 

pjonesy

Professional
Attacking tennis is an art and no one wants to commit to it because it's difficult, at any level. Easier to learn to grind and not risk anything.

Look at Sampras. Chang, Courier, Agassi were seeing much earlier returns from their games than Pete's attacking style.

Was nice to see a guy attack and just shrug off the occasional passing shot...it's gonna happen.
Thank you. You beat me to the punch. This is correct.
 

Aurellian

Semi-Pro
Attacking tennis is an art and no one wants to commit to it because it's difficult, at any level. Easier to learn to grind and not risk anything.

Look at Sampras. Chang, Courier, Agassi were seeing much earlier returns from their games than Pete's attacking style.

Was nice to see a guy attack and just shrug off the occasional passing shot...it's gonna happen.
I think it MAY also require skills that may not often be found in tennis players..especially 13 year old kids in Lake Forrest.

Who is the greatest attacker on tour now?
 

SLD76

G.O.A.T.
I think it MAY also require skills that may not often be found in tennis players..especially 13 year old kids in Lake Forrest.

Who is the greatest attacker on tour now?

Damn good question.

I still say Fed on a good day. But as of now...hmmm...

Gulbis?
 
D

Deleted member 307496

Guest
What I took from it is that Nadal simply isn't as good on grass anymore.
 

pjonesy

Professional
The problem is the parents of young juniors. They want their kid to win NOW! Not get passed at the net 3 out of 4 points on serve, as a young junior player. It takes years to develop the skill for a classic s&v attacking game. Committing to it early on would translate into taking many losses to baseliners while developing that style of play. But even with a high skill level, it's an entirely different situation when you are playing live matches in an era reserved for power baseliners.

The other side of the coin tells us that groundstrokes, returns and passing shots are so powerful and precise in the modern game, that it is virtually impossible to win as a pure S&V player. The game simply won't allow it. That might be true. But until we see a top player that is devoted to playing a classic style of attacking tennis, we can only speculate on how effective it would be against the current players.
 

THE FIGHTER

Hall of Fame
I do not dispute his "tactic" as it applies to him ... he has no other way to play so certainly playing his style is the only way to go. But the OP is claiming he is the smartest grass court player on the tour, and that is a bit much.

As for others on tour ... do you honestly believe they should play this way against Nadal? You think a tactic that is "the hardest to execute" is also the "most effective strategy against Nadal"? How does that make sense?
Do you not understand that playing aggressively, hugely aggressive, is the best way to beat Nadal? you can try out grind him from the baseline, but unless one is named Novak djokovic in the year 2011, out grinding nadal doesnt work. Grinding from the baseline in a slow era is not hard to execute, but fairs badly against nadal. Playing as aggressively as del Potro, soderling, rosol, or darcis bodes great results against nadal, but is the hardest type of play to execute. Understand?

Look at ferrer, he is a world class defensive player, but he only has good results against nadal when he plays aggressively. Players, even defensive ones, need to play aggressively to beat nadal.
 
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coloskier

Legend
This is brilliant. Simply a brilliant analysis. I stirred up a hornet's nest in another post because I was advocating quick strike aggressive tennis...all the naysayers were like" You cant do this, you must hit 6 shot rallies to win."

Brown has mad skills: did you seem him jump for that Kolshrober lob today? You can't teach that and no coach will instruct you to do so. if you have talents and attributes which defy the norm traditional strategy does not apply to you...but good luck finding anyone who will embrace the genius.

I was at QBar in Bangkok three or four years ago and I see this tall Black dude talking to my girl. I roll up and he apologizes, polite fellow, and we get to talking....We rapped a bit about BKK and had he had a glass of my JW Gold. The shot girl came around and he bought some. I asked him what he was doing in town and he said playing tennis and that he had a match tomorrow. Cool, brothas from France play tennis, ok.

To make a long story short: I later surmised--about two years later--that it was Monfils playing in the Bangkok Open. The dude had a match the next day and he was out carousing at 0200 1/2 drunk. I never found out if he won or not but I would not be surprised if he did ok.

For some people making millions of bucks, living the high life, and playing a game is worth more than being a one dimensional psychologically odd champion.

Monfills plays tennis to live while Federer lives to play tennis.

Dustin Brown has a weird disposition. ..very very cavalier and laid back..even disinterested at times..the German and Jamaican in him..although it times he is showy.

whats up with his volleys, he seems to swing at them rather aggressively...does he even have a coach?
If you look at Nadal's record, almost all of his losses in the past few years have been against players who were playing quick strike tennis, except for the losses to Djoker, Ferrer and Wawrinka. So, it is reasonable to suggest that you have to play quick strike tennis to beat Nadal unless you have the booming BH down the line that kills Nadal (Djoker, Wawrinka).
 
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