'All Court Tennis', 'All court game' - Can we retire these terms?
"all cout tennis'. A much over-used term that most people seem to feel means, 'uses slice'. I am so f*cking sick ofhearing this term used. She got an all court game? She plays all court tennis. She leaves the frickin' baseline once a GAME! That's not all court tennis!
In the last two days I've read Pam Schiver on Amelie Maursemo's 'all court game', and countless (over-infatuated) posters (with very short memories) talking about Maria Sharapova's 'all court game'. Some poor deluded soul even described Maria Kirilenko as an 'all court player'. The posters can, I suppose, be forgiven their ignorance. But Pam Schriver played doubles of more than a decade with the greatest all court player ever!
So what the hell is meant by an 'all court game' when someone who knows what they're talking about says it? I dunno. (Where's Brian Stewart when youneed him?) But maybe we can figure out what it not.
1) It's not serve-and-volley. Well, that observation doesn't help us unless Jana Novotna comes out of retirement. Or Lisa Raymond grows a foot.
2) Certainly Kim 'I'll-just-camp-out-here-two-meters-behind-the-baseline' Clijsters is not an all court player. (I suppose she's an OFF-court player.) Still, we're narrowing it down.
An all court player WOULD have to spend significant time at the net, Let's check out a few players who are NOT described as 'all court' players. Fortunately, we have match stats from RG.
S Williams vs Talaja : 116 total points, 15 Williams net approaches
S Williams vs Kirilenko: 174 total points, 16 Williams net approaches
Kirilenko vs S Williams: 174 total points, 15 Kirilenko net approaches
Net approaches are NOT all there is to an all court game, but if you don't get there with SOME frequency, you don't have one.
Sharapova vs Schwartz: 92 total points, 10 Sharapova net approches
Henin-Hardenne vs Testud: 112 total points, 16 Henin-Hardenne net approaches
V Williams vs Kostanic: 130 points, 21 Williams net approaches
Mauresmo vs Medina Garrigues: 149 points, 26 mauresmo net approaches
Sharapova vs Grande: 77 points, 19 Sharapova net approaches
I'm seeing a theme. These are all BASELINE players!
If I was going to describe an all court player, it would be a player who goes to net REGULARLY, in the middle of points. When I learned to play tennis (pre-Chris Evert, who was the Death of All Court Tennis), baseliners were considered the WEAKEST players. The goal was to get to net. If you had a good serve, you followed it in. If you didn't, the very fisrt ball you could make a decent approach shot out of, you followed to net. it was serve-and-volley first, all court second, and baseline if you weren't good enough for the other two. Calling someone who goes to net one out of five or six points a match an 'all court' player is a joke. Has the term no meaning?
Chris Evert was truly allergic to the fabric they make tennis nets out of. If she went near one, she broke out in hives. But a generation of little grils copied her style. Of course, they had the example of Navratilova right next to her, but such is the pwoer of homophobia. Parents didn't exactly encourgae their daughters to emulate The Greatest player Ever, even when she was beating up the Ice Princess.
Tim Henman can play all court tennis, but most serve-and-volley players can. It's what they do on their second serves, if they're any kind of aggressive. Except Stefan Edberg, of whom it was once famously siad that he "...played serve-and-volley on second serves. On clay."
On the women's side, the reality is that the best players make the ball go so fast, if they follow a baseline shot in, there's a REAL good chance that, IF they get to hit the next shot, they'll have to hit it while crossing the service line. And the ball will be low. And because they AREN'T all court players, most of them can't make that shot effectively. And to be real, with the X-ray lasers the players use as rackets these days, ANYBODY can pass ANYBODY who rushing the net. (Bring back wood, hey! Bring back wood!)
Well, that's my rant. I grew up watching Billie Jean King and Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith and Eveonne Goolagoong. In other words, I'm spoiled rotten as a tennis fan. So when a player who pitches a fucking tent on the baseline decribed as an 'all court players', I can'thelp but wonder if the writer has a clue. No, Idon't wonder. I KNOW they don't have a clue.
Whew. All done. So.
What do YOU mean when you say someone's an 'all court player'?
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Not blind. Not uninformed. We are party to atrocities. But the response of the world after 9/11 is worth noting. Even our most dire enemies offered aid. We should all be so lucky.