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post #2206 of (permalink) Old Mar 13th, 2013, 04:08 PM
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Re: Petra Kvitova News and Articles

Originally Posted by Petronius View Post
There would be no benefits for Tomas. Why wasting his time?
Hmmm . . that seems logical but . . . I don't know. I think Kvitova's ground-strokes are in the same league of pace as some ATP players. Here's something I found from a bygone era:

Originally Posted by Brian Stewart View Post
CBS had the entire court wired with a sort of radar device during a "Super Saturday" at the US Open, in either '95 or '96. The purpose was to get readings of the groundstroke speeds. Graf and Seles were in the women's final, and the men's semis included Agassi and Sampras (not in the same match) and I forget who else. They announced the readings at one point. Agassi was hitting at 70 MPH, Graf and Seles each at 68, and the other men were less.

If those numbers sound a bit low, keep in mind that groundstrokes are measured different from serves. Service speeds take the initial thrust. A 140 MPH serve is only traveling 70 MPH when it reaches the opposing baseline. That's why I always got a chuckle when some nimrod announcer would say "X served the ball at 125, and Agassi ripped the return back at 130!". Or when the USTA did those commercials (inaccurately) comparing a tennis serve with a baseball pitch a few years back.

As far as spins go, that's not all cut-and-dried either. Someone had a link to a tennis study done years ago at the US Open. It focused mostly on the men players, with a few shots from the women thrown in. And while the average spin was higher for the men, the fastest spin (RPMs) was registered by Jana Novotna's backhand slice. On a hard court, the friction of the surface is such that it reverses the spin of a sliceshot upon the bounce. Yet Novotna's shot was so heavily spun, it still had backspin on it after the bounce. No other player in the group examined did that. (Note: sample did not include Steffi Graf, whose backhand slice had more "bite" than Jana's.)

We've seen a few of these combined events where they had that all-court gizmo for the men's matches, which could tell you the speed of the various shots. They didn't use it for the women's matches. I would be curious to see a more thorough use of these technologies, and how the readings compare to what the tennis insiders "know".

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