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View Full Version : 'All Court Tennis', 'All court game' - Can we retire these terms?


Volcana
May 30th, 2004, 02:05 AM
"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'?

Maggie&MomoFan
May 30th, 2004, 02:13 AM
i dont think its fair of you to accuse playuers like Mauresmo of not bieng all court players when shedoesnt go to the net on CLAY!! Dont you know that rusdhing the net on clay isnt smart, thats why Martina only won 2 French opens and Chrissy won like 10. This topic would be more fiar at Wimbledon or any other tournament but a clay court one. Amelie is at the net like crazy anywhere but on clay. Look at her stats from last years YEC vs Justine, both girls were at the net constantly. Or Chanda at the net at last year YEC vs kim she was there like it was her job and then kim took the net from Chanda. So i think to make this type of assesment of all court players on a surface when all court tennis might not be the best strategy is wrong.

Berlin_Calling
May 30th, 2004, 02:20 AM
You are right in saying that Amelie has an all-court game when it comes to coming to net. If an all-courter is someone who comes to net more than 1 point out of every five or six, no top player would currently be called an all-courter. If this was the definition of all-court play, we could say that Elena Bovina is more of an all-courter than Amelie Mauresmo, which to most people would sound absurd. I guess when people say that someone has got an all-court game, it means that the player can change the pace, use different spins, plus be a good volleyer. People would call Amelie, Justine, Conchita, Patty Schnyder, and even Emilie Loit more of an all courter than Capriati or Venus because they slice and dice, use a lot topspin, play many dropshots, plus come to net more than the average baseliner. Capriati and Venus are to most, baseliners, but this truely isnt the case because both of these players, Venus moreso, come to net as often if not more than Amelie, Patty, Justine, etc. It is not possible to compare the all-court game of Goolagong, Smith, and King to players today because players today do not need to come to net to win a point, baseline bashing works and it is enough to win matches.

Volcana
May 30th, 2004, 02:33 AM
i dont think its fair of you to accuse playuers like Mauresmo of not bieng all court players when shedoesnt go to the net on CLAY!! Dont you know that rusdhing the net on clay isnt smart, thats why Martina only won 2 French opens and Chrissy won like 10. This topic would be more fiar at Wimbledon or any other tournament but a clay court one. Amelie is at the net like crazy anywhere but on clay. Look at her stats from last years YEC vs Justine, both girls were at the net constantly. Or Chanda at the net at last year YEC vs kim she was there like it was her job and then kim took the net from Chanda. So i think to make this type of assesment of all court players on a surface when all court tennis might not be the best strategy is wrong.Actually, that's a fair point. But players are being described as using 'all court games' HERE. But let's check out other surfaces.

Last year's US Open

Mauresmo vs Tanasugarn: 115 total points, 14 Mauresmo net approaches
Mauresmo vs Kirilenko: 125 total points, 23 Mauresmo net approaches

Henin-Hardenne vs Myskina: 112 total points, 19 henin-Hardenne net approahces

Last year's year end champs

Mauresmo vs Henin-Hardenne: 207 total points
30 Henin-Hardenne net approaches
44 Mauresmo net approaches

Looks like a lot. But it's in 207 points! Amelie is STILL even in that extreme case, not even getting to net one point out of four! (1 out of 4.5, if you care.) Justine's going to net one out of every SEVEN points. 'Like crazy'. Not hardly. I concede, in absolute numbers, it's a lot, relative to todays players. But compared to how I was coached, and what I saw in the 1970's, it's basically baseline tennis.

Volcana
May 30th, 2004, 02:45 AM
I guess when people say that someone has got an all-court game, it means that the player can change the pace, use different spins, plus be a good volleyer. People would call Amelie, Justine, Conchita, Patty Schnyder, and even Emilie Loit more of an all courter than Capriati or Venus because they slice and dice, use a lot topspin, play many dropshots, plus come to net more than the average baseliner. Capriati and Venus are to most, baseliners, but this truely isnt the case because both of these players, Venus moreso, come to net as often if not more than Amelie, Patty, Justine, etc.
I think you've done a good job of describing what most people MEAN, but these players aren't, as a rule, actually playing on most of the court! They sit on the baseline and do a bunch of different stuff.

You might call them 'creative baseliners' to distinguish them from baseliners who hit every ball flat, but 'all court'? Exactly how descriptive is a term that gets used to describe Patty Schnyder AND Maria Sharapova?

It is not possible to compare the all-court game of Goolagong, Smith, and King to players today because players today do not need to come to net to win a point, baseline bashing works and it is enough to win matches.
You're right. But the best thing about that Serena-Kirilenko match was watching Serena hit drop shots and change heights and use slice and different topspins. To me, drop shots, changing heights, using slice and different topspins IS baseline tennis.

volley1
May 30th, 2004, 03:07 AM
I think that the only true all court player at the moment is Roger Federer. He serves and volleys on occasions at least 40% of the time.

Volcana
May 30th, 2004, 03:42 AM
I think that the only true all court player at the moment is Roger Federer. He serves and volleys on occasions at least 40% of the time.
WHat makes Federer is he can half-volley. (And being an extraordinary physical specimen and shotmaker.) He can get a bal at his feet running forwar and pick it right off the ground and turn it into a winner.

esquímaux
May 30th, 2004, 03:44 AM
:yawn:

Martian Willow
May 30th, 2004, 04:07 AM
Actually, that's a fair point. But players are being described as using 'all court games' HERE. But let's check out other surfaces.

Last year's US Open

Mauresmo vs Tanasugarn: 115 total points, 14 Mauresmo net approaches
Mauresmo vs Kirilenko: 125 total points, 23 Mauresmo net approaches

Henin-Hardenne vs Myskina: 112 total points, 19 henin-Hardenne net approahces

Last year's year end champs

Mauresmo vs Henin-Hardenne: 207 total points
30 Henin-Hardenne net approaches
44 Mauresmo net approaches

Looks like a lot. But it's in 207 points! Amelie is STILL even in that extreme case, not even getting to net one point out of four! (1 out of 4.5, if you care.) Justine's going to net one out of every SEVEN points. 'Like crazy'. Not hardly. I concede, in absolute numbers, it's a lot, relative to todays players. But compared to how I was coached, and what I saw in the 1970's, it's basically baseline tennis.

...actually 30 + 44 is more than 1 in 3 of 207... :)