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alfajeffster
Nov 15th, 2004, 01:14 PM
Not that I think I'm capable of coaching you, but here's a hint (just in case Papa Williams was busy with his camera instead of scouting the opposition), Serena- watch a few tapes of Maria Sharapova's matches from this week, and even the Wimbledon final (if you can stand it), and notice how many times she hits the ball cross-court, on both the forehand and backhand side. It's almost above 90% of the time, regardless of where she is on the court. She very rarely hits the ball down the line on either the forehand or backhand side, and on that forehand buggy-whip cross-court, if you want to slice a few low to that side and keep it deep, you'll have a sitter forehand volley every time.

Okay, now I've gotten that out of my system. Hope it's a good match tonight!:lol:

bandabou
Nov 15th, 2004, 01:30 PM
Interesting.....good analysis alfa. You pointed it out very well...Maria is a tall girl, so itīd be wise of Serena to keep the ball low and make Maria bend.....Serenaīs slice is getting better and better and in fact she even was going slice battles with Momo.

Good luck babygirl...win this YEC and I guarantee you that NOBODY would want you on their half of the draw in Melbourne.

Cam'ron Giles
Nov 15th, 2004, 01:47 PM
Not that I think I'm capable of coaching you, but here's a hint (just in case Papa Williams was busy with his camera instead of scouting the opposition), Serena- watch a few tapes of Maria Sharapova's matches from this week, and even the Wimbledon final (if you can stand it), and notice how many times she hits the ball cross-court, on both the forehand and backhand side. It's almost above 90% of the time, regardless of where she is on the court. She very rarely hits the ball down the line on either the forehand or backhand side, and on that forehand buggy-whip cross-court, if you want to slice a few low to that side and keep it deep, you'll have a sitter forehand volley every time.

Okay, now I've gotten that out of my system. Hope it's a good match tonight!:lol:
One sec, let me wake her and have her read this...We'll send you a t-shirt or something...BRB...:bolt:

pav
Nov 15th, 2004, 06:51 PM
Please love Her or not ,You can't call Someone Who looks like as, One poster said, a Football player in a Tutu (I didn't say it ,too scared!) baby Girl !

volta
Nov 15th, 2004, 06:52 PM
Interesting.....good analysis alfa. You pointed it out very well...Maria is a tall girl, so itīd be wise of Serena to keep the ball low and make Maria bend.....Serenaīs slice is getting better and better and in fact she even was going slice battles with Momo.

Good luck babygirl...win this YEC and I guarantee you that NOBODY would want you on their half of the draw in Melbourne.
once again AMEN to that :worship:

IMO if Serena wins the YEC she will have the "fear aura" back on force :bounce:

Zhao
Nov 15th, 2004, 07:08 PM
One sec, let me wake her and have her read this...We'll send you a t-shirt or something...BRB...:bolt:
:haha:

LDVTennis
Nov 16th, 2004, 12:30 AM
Not that I think I'm capable of coaching you, but here's a hint (just in case Papa Williams was busy with his camera instead of scouting the opposition), Serena- watch a few tapes of Maria Sharapova's matches from this week, and even the Wimbledon final (if you can stand it), and notice how many times she hits the ball cross-court, on both the forehand and backhand side. It's almost above 90% of the time, regardless of where she is on the court. She very rarely hits the ball down the line on either the forehand or backhand side, and on that forehand buggy-whip cross-court, if you want to slice a few low to that side and keep it deep, you'll have a sitter forehand volley every time.

Okay, now I've gotten that out of my system. Hope it's a good match tonight!:lol:

And, what is the percentage of Serena's shots that go crosscourt or land not far right or far left of the center of the court? If it is not as high as 90%, it has to be in the 70 to 80% range at least? Point being, neither lady in their current form moves the ball around with much consistency.

As to what Serena is supposed to do about it, your proposed tactical response raises more questions than it answers. For Serena to end up in the best position to hit that forehand volley off a backhand or forehand hit crosscourt, she would have to slice the ball down the line off her backhand or forehand. Good luck! She can hardly slice the ball crosscourt with any depth, sting, or consistency. And, that is just on the backhand side. Can she even hit a sliced forehand?

Or, were you thinking that she could slice the ball crosscourt off her backhand side to Maria's backhand in order to get into position? Frankly, that doesn't make things any easier for her. You see, I've also been looking out for patterns. And, here is one that I noted in Serena's match against Lindsay. Serena is having trouble closing the angle when she approaches crosscourt. She's just not that fast or agile. You are, of course, proposing that she do so anyway because Maria will just hit the ball back to her as she approaches the net diagonally. But, here is the catch as Lindsay demonstrated quite well. If you hit a shallow crosscourt shot into the open court in front of Serena as she closes diagonally, she just doesn't have the technique or agility to execute the forehand volley. Point goes to Maria.

As to the condition of Serena's backhand slice, I will acknowledge only that she doesn't look as silly as she once did attempting the shot. That may be an effect of kneeling down for the shot and of staying in that position until she's finished her follow through. But for all those minor improvements, she is still not using her shoulder to hit the shot. There is absolutely no lean to her body when hitting the shot. It is still all arm. Not surprisingly, Serena's slice floats across the net. And, when it bounces, it hardly bites. Less clownish, yes. Better overall, hardly.

DeDe4925
Nov 16th, 2004, 02:19 AM
And, what is the percentage of Serena's shots that go crosscourt or land not far right or far left of the center of the court? If it is not as high as 90%, it has to be in the 70 to 80% range at least? Point being, neither lady in their current form moves the ball around with much consistency.

As to what Serena is supposed to do about it, your proposed tactical response raises more questions than it answers. For Serena to end up in the best position to hit that forehand volley off a backhand or forehand hit crosscourt, she would have to slice the ball down the line off her backhand or forehand. Good luck! She can hardly slice the ball crosscourt with any depth, sting, or consistency. And, that is just on the backhand side. Can she even hit a sliced forehand?

Or, were you thinking that she could slice the ball crosscourt off her backhand side to Maria's backhand in order to get into position? Frankly, that doesn't make things any easier for her. You see, I've also been looking out for patterns. And, here is one that I noted in Serena's match against Lindsay. Serena is having trouble closing the angle when she approaches crosscourt. She's just not that fast or agile. You are, of course, proposing that she do so anyway because Maria will just hit the ball back to her as she approaches the net diagonally. But, here is the catch as Lindsay demonstrated quite well. If you hit a shallow crosscourt shot into the open court in front of Serena as she closes diagonally, she just doesn't have the technique or agility to execute the forehand volley. Point goes to Maria.

As to the condition of Serena's backhand slice, I will acknowledge only that she doesn't look as silly as she once did attempting the shot. That may be an effect of kneeling down for the shot and of staying in that position until she's finished her follow through. But for all those minor improvements, she is still not using her shoulder to hit the shot. There is absolutely no lean to her body when hitting the shot. It is still all arm. Not surprisingly, Serena's slice floats across the net. And, when it bounces, it hardly bites. Less clownish, yes. Better overall, hardly.
Why don't you just watch old tapes of Steffi, you'd be a much happier person and more pleasant to be around. :p

bandabou
Nov 16th, 2004, 02:24 AM
Is there ANY aspect of Serenaīs game that you think is good, ldv?

tennischick
Nov 16th, 2004, 02:32 AM
And, what is the percentage of Serena's shots that go crosscourt or land not far right or far left of the center of the court? If it is not as high as 90%, it has to be in the 70 to 80% range at least? Point being, neither lady in their current form moves the ball around with much consistency.

As to what Serena is supposed to do about it, your proposed tactical response raises more questions than it answers. For Serena to end up in the best position to hit that forehand volley off a backhand or forehand hit crosscourt, she would have to slice the ball down the line off her backhand or forehand. Good luck! She can hardly slice the ball crosscourt with any depth, sting, or consistency. And, that is just on the backhand side. Can she even hit a sliced forehand?

Or, were you thinking that she could slice the ball crosscourt off her backhand side to Maria's backhand in order to get into position? Frankly, that doesn't make things any easier for her. You see, I've also been looking out for patterns. And, here is one that I noted in Serena's match against Lindsay. Serena is having trouble closing the angle when she approaches crosscourt. She's just not that fast or agile. You are, of course, proposing that she do so anyway because Maria will just hit the ball back to her as she approaches the net diagonally. But, here is the catch as Lindsay demonstrated quite well. If you hit a shallow crosscourt shot into the open court in front of Serena as she closes diagonally, she just doesn't have the technique or agility to execute the forehand volley. Point goes to Maria.

As to the condition of Serena's backhand slice, I will acknowledge only that she doesn't look as silly as she once did attempting the shot. That may be an effect of kneeling down for the shot and of staying in that position until she's finished her follow through. But for all those minor improvements, she is still not using her shoulder to hit the shot. There is absolutely no lean to her body when hitting the shot. It is still all arm. Not surprisingly, Serena's slice floats across the net. And, when it bounces, it hardly bites. Less clownish, yes. Better overall, hardly.the problem for me is that both Maria and Serena seem bizarrely to have the same strengths as well as weaknesses. i dunno when this cloning happened but a lot of the recommendations for Serena can be just as effective for Maria and vice versa.

DeDe4925
Nov 16th, 2004, 02:33 AM
Is there ANY aspect of Serenaīs game that you think is good, ldv?
The answer is obvious bandabou, no. Her name is not Steffi Graf.

bandabou
Nov 16th, 2004, 02:56 AM
The answer is obvious bandabou, no. Her name is not Steffi Graf.

;) Hey....worth a try.

alfajeffster
Nov 16th, 2004, 12:41 PM
the problem for me is that both Maria and Serena seem bizarrely to have the same strengths as well as weaknesses. i dunno when this cloning happened but a lot of the recommendations for Serena can be just as effective for Maria and vice versa.
I'll tell you when and where this cloning happened- in their formative years in the State of Florida, under the tutilage of any number of coaches who have brought the game to where it is today. Did you watch that final last night- BORING TENNIS- no creativity save for two or three spectacular (and all cross-court, I might add) points. It was nice to see Serena gamely fighting until the end without the benefit of her serve, and actually getting pretty deep into the third set until Sharapova stopped pouting and started realizing that she actually had to WIN the match. GOD- I WISH I WOULD HAVE BEEN OUT THERE IN A MINI-SKIRT WITH SOMEONE TELEGRAPHING TO ME THAT ALL I HAVE TO DO IS BE CONSISTENT WITH MY RETURN OF SERVICE AND THERE ARE 5 STRAIGHT GAMES AND A CHAMPIONSHIP FOR THE TAKING!!!! ARGH!!!!:mad:

LDVTennis
Nov 16th, 2004, 04:57 PM
I'll tell you when and where this cloning happened- in their formative years in the State of Florida, under the tutilage of any number of coaches who have brought the game to where it is today. Did you watch that final last night- BORING TENNIS- no creativity save for two or three spectacular (and all cross-court, I might add) points. It was nice to see Serena gamely fighting until the end without the benefit of her serve, and actually getting pretty deep into the third set until Sharapova stopped pouting and started realizing that she actually had to WIN the match. GOD- I WISH I WOULD HAVE BEEN OUT THERE IN A MINI-SKIRT WITH SOMEONE TELEGRAPHING TO ME THAT ALL I HAVE TO DO IS BE CONSISTENT WITH MY RETURN OF SERVICE AND THERE ARE 5 STRAIGHT GAMES AND A CHAMPIONSHIP FOR THE TAKING!!!! ARGH!!!!:mad:

Last night, Serena's best play against Maria was to hit the ball crosscourt out wide. If Maria got the ball back, the play was to hit the ball into the open court for a winner.

Maria's best play was to hit the ball down the line with her forehand or backhand. If Serena got the ball back, I don't really think Maria had a consisistent response. Sometimes, she found a way to put the short ball away. Sometimes she just hit it back to Serena to restart the point.

One shot neither player attempted last night, a drop shot. It could have worked for either player after a deep shot to their opponent's backhand side. Ahh, but here is the catch. It needed to be a dropshot down the line. I don't think either of them has the technique or control to hit that shot.

Serena gets honorable mention for hitting what turned out in effect to be a dropshot somewhere during the first set. But, from the motion of her stroke, I think it was supposed to be a sliced backhand. She simply couldn't control the ball at point of contact and it popped up.

Most annoying shot to see both of them hit - the forehand. Some premliminary impressions. When Serena tries to hit a topspin forehand, Serena brushes up the back of the ball too much and her swing loses all of its forward momentum. Effect, the ball goes into the net. She's better off just going for broke and hitting it as flat and as hard as she can, preferably crosscourt. As to Maria, she also has no feel on the shot. Like Serena, she loses the ball on the face of her racquet from time to time. Whereas Serena ends up muscling it into the net when that happens, Maria ends up letting the ball spin off her racquet face. When Maria does manage to connect with the ball, her forearm takes quite a shock, really painful to watch.

bandabou
Nov 16th, 2004, 05:12 PM
Agreed on that forehand part....I think Serena should just revert to hit it like she did in ī99: flat and hard....

LDVTennis
Nov 16th, 2004, 05:16 PM
Why don't you just watch old tapes of Steffi, you'd be a much happier person and more pleasant to be around. :p

I didn't mention Steffi once in my original post.

But, you may be right about one thing. Serena and Maria could sure learn a lot from watching tapes of Steffi. Now, Steffi could hit all the shots these two can't seem to master, forehand and backhand dropshots, the backhand slice (crosscourt, down the line, short angled), and the forehand (topspin, inside out, from all positions on the court).

While we are at it, we might also send them some tapes of Martina N. While Steffi had the speed and agility to hit a crosscourt slice and close the angle at the net, she did not have the tactical awareness to make it happen. A real shame because Steffi had perfect technique on her forehand volley. The player, however, with the superior tactical awareness on the court was Martina. She had closing speed, awareness of her opponent's options and llimitations on the passing shot, and the technique to seal the deal.

Yup, these two could learn much from Steffi and Martina N. Neither Sharapova or Williams are anywhere near being as complete a tennis player or athlete as Steffi or Martina N. were at their respective ages.

bandabou
Nov 16th, 2004, 05:29 PM
And they might never become either......I give you that, ldv.

At least youīre honest about it that Martina had a better tactical sense than Steffi.

About the cross-court aproach of Serena..I saw that too, but to me it isnīt a matter of not closing out the angle, but more that she hits the approach shot too short or too near her opponent.

alfajeffster
Nov 16th, 2004, 05:42 PM
...these two could learn much from Steffi and Martina N. Neither Sharapova or Williams are anywhere near being as complete a tennis player or athlete as Steffi or Martina N. were at their respective ages.I'd have to respectfully disagree with you on this one, LDVTennis, especially with respect to comparisons to Sharapova. Neither Steffi Graf nor Martina Navratilova had complete games at the age of 17. Graf had that huge forehand, and a slice backhand, but didn't have the defensive repertoire that she eventually developed by the time she was 23 (Serena's age). Prior to 1988, Graf basically bludgeoned the ball with as much pace as possible on every shot except the slice backhand, much the way Sharapova does. Graf's backhand back then was not nearly as good, and sat up and was much more attackable by the likes of Evert and a few others (circa 84-early 87, when she started growing into her body and maturing). Similarly, Navratilova at 17 had an attacking game, with the benefit of having grown up on red clay to give her some modicum of patience at the baseline, but very little variety, and in fact, she had a pretty awful backhand back then, and very attackable backcourt game when she was properly pinned to the baseline (Evert) or forced to hit passing shots (King, Goolagong and a few others). It took Graf and Navratilova a few years to develop many of the more subtle all-court tactics that made them more complete players.

Serena Williams, in comparison, learned her game and came up playing outside the system, with little or no junior tennis competition or the opportunity to develop anything but power. She is learning, but you can see a major difference in her court knowledge (and it's a glaring weakness with Venus) as to where and what her options are in any given point. She is still relying entirely too much on her athleticism and power, and not enough on strategy.

That's what I missed more than anything in watching that match last night- there was almost no strategy involved. It was all knee-jerk execution and it really bothered me a great deal. If it weren't so late, I would have liked to have stayed up to watch Roger Federer just to see a little cognitive thought behind the tennis instead of falling asleep with that bad taste in my mouth!

LDVTennis
Nov 16th, 2004, 06:14 PM
Is there ANY aspect of Serenaīs game that you think is good, ldv?

I'll make no bones about it. I don't like Serena's game. I don't even like her athletic style.

Her game is to overpower her opponents with her groundstrokes and her serve. On her groundstrokes, that power oftentimes lacks precision. She's not going for the lines, for sheer depth, or for daring angles. Most of the times, she's trying to hit the ball into a relatively safe spot on the court with brutish power. Admittedly, from time to time, she does go for the lines and for depth, but that play is really not part of her overall strategy. What is, is power with some measure of consistency. And that translates often in Serena's more pedestrian moments into hitting the ball crosscourt or down the middle of the court. Boring!!

Her game is not completely without variety, I will concede. But, that variety is all contained in her serve. Problem is that unless she's hitting an ace or a service winner on every point the rest of her game simply doesn't match up to the variety she has on her serve.

As for her athletic style, this is obviously just a matter of personal taste. And, I expect most of you to disagree with me because taste is just that personal. Serena is a big girl. She's not fat, just big and muscular. She moves like that too. In short, there is nothing light or graceful about her movements. To be sure, she is fast, but not in a way that distinguishes itself for the efficiency or effortlessness of her movement. She also hits the ball like one would expect a very big and muscular person to hit the ball, mostly with her arms. In short, her muscularity substitutes for what others can do with pure racquet speed, timing and balance. To be sure, she may end up hitting the ball as hard as those with more racquet speed, better timing, and balance, but not in a way that distinguishes itself for its flair, its dynamism, its effortlessness.

Now, before anyone attacks me for singling out Serena, let me say that I a well aware of how boring and inartistic Sharapova's game is as well. The only thing going for Sharapova is her oncourt attitude, part Kournikova poutyness, part Steffi haughtiness, and part Seles intensity and giggle. But, really how much of that can one take throughout a whole match, and especially during the postmatch interviews.

So, please forgive me, if I am secretly hoping that somewhere in Germany, perhaps in the vincinity of the Porche Motorcars Factory, they are engineering the new Steffi Graf. Because frankly I'm fed up with all the vogueing and pouting/gamesmanship that passes for artistic tennis and championship demeanor on the courts today. Yes, it is time for a new Steffi Graf, same old forehand, serve, slice backhand, speed, elegant posture, stoic demenor, just a more consistent topspin backhand and tactical awareness of what to do at the net. If there are Tennis Gods, I pray, "Haven't we suffered enough!"

bandabou
Nov 16th, 2004, 06:43 PM
I'll make no bones about it. I don't like Serena's game. I don't even like her athletic style.

Her game is to overpower her opponents with her groundstrokes and her serve. On her groundstrokes, that power oftentimes lacks precision. She's not going for the lines, for sheer depth, or for daring angles. Most of the times, she's trying to hit the ball into a relatively safe spot on the court with brutish power. Admittedly, from time to time, she does go for the lines and for depth, but that play is really not part of her overall strategy. What is, is power with some measure of consistency. And that translates often in Serena's more pedestrian moments into hitting the ball crosscourt or down the middle of the court. Boring!!

Her game is not completely without variety, I will concede. But, that variety is all contained in her serve. Problem is that unless she's hitting an ace or a service winner on every point the rest of her game simply doesn't match up to the variety she has on her serve.

As for her athletic style, this is obviously just a matter of personal taste. And, I expect most of you to disagree with me because taste is just that personal. Serena is a big girl. She's not fat, just big and muscular. She moves like that too. In short, there is nothing light or graceful about her movements. To be sure, she is fast, but not in a way that distinguishes itself for the efficiency or effortlessness of her movement. She also hits the ball like one would expect a very big and muscular person to hit the ball, mostly with her arms. In short, her muscularity substitutes for what others can do with pure racquet speed, timing and balance. To be sure, she may end up hitting the ball as hard as those with more racquet speed, better timing, and balance, but not in a way that distinguishes itself for its flair, its dynamism, its effortlessness.

Now, before anyone attacks me for singling out Serena, let me say that I a well aware of how boring and inartistic Sharapova's game is as well. The only thing going for Sharapova is her oncourt attitude, part Kournikova poutyness, part Steffi haughtiness, and part Seles intensity and giggle. But, really how much of that can one take throughout a whole match, and especially during the postmatch interviews.

So, please forgive me, if I am secretly hoping that somewhere in Germany, perhaps in the vincinity of the Porche Motorcars Factory, they are engineering the new Steffi Graf. Because frankly I'm fed up with all the vogueing and pouting/gamesmanship that passes for artistic tennis and championship demeanor on the courts today. Yes, it is time for a new Steffi Graf, same old forehand, serve, slice backhand, speed, elegant posture, stoic demenor, just a more consistent topspin backhand and tactical awareness of what to do at the net. If there are Tennis Gods, I pray, "Haven't we suffered enough!"


Ooops...I almost read Parche motorcars......

O.k., a honest opinion. So the only thing you remotely like or think is passable in Serenaīs game is her serve....at least you had a good eye, because that obviously is her best shot.

alfajeffster
Nov 16th, 2004, 06:51 PM
Ooops...I almost read Parche motorcars......
:haha: Sorry, LDVTennis, that was pretty funny!:lol:

bandabou
Nov 16th, 2004, 06:52 PM
I'd have to respectfully disagree with you on this one, LDVTennis, especially with respect to comparisons to Sharapova. Neither Steffi Graf nor Martina Navratilova had complete games at the age of 17. Graf had that huge forehand, and a slice backhand, but didn't have the defensive repertoire that she eventually developed by the time she was 23 (Serena's age). Prior to 1988, Graf basically bludgeoned the ball with as much pace as possible on every shot except the slice backhand, much the way Sharapova does. Graf's backhand back then was not nearly as good, and sat up and was much more attackable by the likes of Evert and a few others (circa 84-early 87, when she started growing into her body and maturing). Similarly, Navratilova at 17 had an attacking game, with the benefit of having grown up on red clay to give her some modicum of patience at the baseline, but very little variety, and in fact, she had a pretty awful backhand back then, and very attackable backcourt game when she was properly pinned to the baseline (Evert) or forced to hit passing shots (King, Goolagong and a few others). It took Graf and Navratilova a few years to develop many of the more subtle all-court tactics that made them more complete players.

Serena Williams, in comparison, learned her game and came up playing outside the system, with little or no junior tennis competition or the opportunity to develop anything but power. She is learning, but you can see a major difference in her court knowledge (and it's a glaring weakness with Venus) as to where and what her options are in any given point. She is still relying entirely too much on her athleticism and power, and not enough on strategy.

That's what I missed more than anything in watching that match last night- there was almost no strategy involved. It was all knee-jerk execution and it really bothered me a great deal. If it weren't so late, I would have liked to have stayed up to watch Roger Federer just to see a little cognitive thought behind the tennis instead of falling asleep with that bad taste in my mouth!


True about Serena....I think seeing now, maybe it would have been better for her and Venus if they had come up via the system..to develop their smarts.

Thatīs even more remarkable....imagine how good Serena could be if she had come up via the system.

Lizzie Bradbury
Nov 16th, 2004, 07:47 PM
Not that I think I'm capable of coaching you, but here's a hint (just in case Papa Williams was busy with his camera instead of scouting the opposition), Serena- watch a few tapes of Maria Sharapova's matches from this week, and even the Wimbledon final (if you can stand it), and notice how many times she hits the ball cross-court, on both the forehand and backhand side. It's almost above 90% of the time, regardless of where she is on the court. She very rarely hits the ball down the line on either the forehand or backhand side, and on that forehand buggy-whip cross-court, if you want to slice a few low to that side and keep it deep, you'll have a sitter forehand volley every time.

Okay, now I've gotten that out of my system. Hope it's a good match tonight!:lol:

Thanks for the tip hon :kiss: :)

I played that lady in practice...had her running around the court like a rottweiler with a wasp up it's butt

Im presently without a coach, so if you are interested.......?!?!? :tape:

alfajeffster
Nov 16th, 2004, 08:02 PM
Thanks for the tip hon :kiss: :)

I played that lady in practice...had her running around the court like a rottweiler with a wasp up it's butt

Im presently without a coach, so if you are interested.......?!?!? :tape:
PM me, and we'll talk.

LDVTennis
Nov 16th, 2004, 08:19 PM
I'd have to respectfully disagree with you on this one, LDVTennis, especially with respect to comparisons to Sharapova. Neither Steffi Graf nor Martina Navratilova had complete games at the age of 17. Graf had that huge forehand, and a slice backhand, but didn't have the defensive repertoire that she eventually developed by the time she was 23 (Serena's age). Prior to 1988, Graf basically bludgeoned the ball with as much pace as possible on every shot except the slice backhand, much the way Sharapova does. Graf's backhand back then was not nearly as good, and sat up and was much more attackable by the likes of Evert and a few others (circa 84-early 87, when she started growing into her body and maturing). Similarly, Navratilova at 17 had an attacking game, with the benefit of having grown up on red clay to give her some modicum of patience at the baseline, but very little variety, and in fact, she had a pretty awful backhand back then, and very attackable backcourt game when she was properly pinned to the baseline (Evert) or forced to hit passing shots (King, Goolagong and a few others). It took Graf and Navratilova a few years to develop many of the more subtle all-court tactics that made them more complete players.

You're right. Steffi and Martina were not complete players in an absolute sense at the age of 17. But, in a relative sense, they were more complete players than either Serena or Sharapova at their respective ages.

When I think, for example, of the shots Steffi could already hit by 1986 (her breakout year at age 17-18), there is really no comparison. Here is just a short list:

(1) Dropshot off backhand side (forehand drop shot would come into play by the grand slam year of 1988)
(2) Slice backhand, even forehand slice (didn't hit it much after those early years)
(3) Almost all variety of passing shot. Groundstrokes and passing shots are fundamentally the same shots, but passing shots require a higher degree of precision and tactical variety. Today's players have no idea that there is a difference. Graf did. In particular, (a) the backhand slice drive dtl or crosscourt; (b) the backhand slice short angle dtl or crosscourt (the purpose of which was to get the netrusher to pop the ball up); (c) the topspin or flat backhand, crosscourt, dtl or at the netrusher; (d) the forehand drive dtl, crosscourt, or dipping in front of the netrusher; and (e), almost all variety of lob from topspin to chip.

When you add to this variety of shot the positions from which Steffi could hit these shots, one honestly begins to wonder whether or not Serena and Sharapova are even playing the same sport as Steffi was. Indeed, one of the reasons why I think Calimero and I have so much fun watching the '99 Wimbledon QF against Venus is that it is just vintage Graf, circa 1988, when Graf hits the running chip lob off a Venus' drop volley in the third set. It takes us back, that is, to 1988 when Graf ran down a Martina N. drop volley (almost from the same place on Center Court) and hit an angled backhand slice past Martina for a winner.

I think you diagnosed the origins of the problem correctly. One more bad thing to say about the state of Florida. All the coaches down there thought they were onto something when they changed everyone's grips around. All they were doing, in effect, was compensating for poor timing and an inability to control the racquet face on the part of their young charges. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any going back. How do you teach Sharapova to hit a forehand drop shot when it means changing her grip back to a semi-Western or Continental grip on the forehand?

Which brings me to the real basis of my claim that Martina N. and Steffi were already complete players by the age of 17. Already by that age, they had what Serena and Sharapova will never have, an ability to control the face of the racquet. What a lost art! If anyone really wants to know, that is why it is not easy for either of these two to hit some of the shots Steffi could hit. At 17, Steffi may still have been floating her slice backhand, but her ability to hit the slice off almost any kind of ball (i.e., sliced, topspin, low, high, slow, hard) was all the proof one neeeded that she had the ability to control the face of her racquet to such a degree that one day this shot was really going to be something.

Abandon
Nov 16th, 2004, 08:25 PM
Not that I think I'm capable of coaching you, but here's a hint (just in case Papa Williams was busy with his camera instead of scouting the opposition), Serena- watch a few tapes of Maria Sharapova's matches from this week, and even the Wimbledon final (if you can stand it), and notice how many times she hits the ball cross-court, on both the forehand and backhand side. It's almost above 90% of the time, regardless of where she is on the court. She very rarely hits the ball down the line on either the forehand or backhand side, and on that forehand buggy-whip cross-court, if you want to slice a few low to that side and keep it deep, you'll have a sitter forehand volley every time.

Okay, now I've gotten that out of my system. Hope it's a good match tonight!:lol:



Such in-depth analysis there.

When Monica ultimately retires, you now have a new favourite to fixate over.

Martian Jeza
Nov 16th, 2004, 08:31 PM
Don't know why you keep calling her " Babygirl " ... She hasn't a baby face... http://www.rsca.be/chat/emoticons/dunno.gif

LDVTennis
Nov 16th, 2004, 08:40 PM
Ooops...I almost read Parche motorcars......

O.k., a honest opinion. So the only thing you remotely like or think is passable in Serenaīs game is her serve....at least you had a good eye, because that obviously is her best shot.

That was funny.

But, as you probably know already, I'm well aware of the nuances of language and use its poetic effects from time to time to make subtle points.

Which is why it was Porche and not BMW? If Steffi is ultimately the best representative of everything German, it is not because a German madman made her so, but because she embodies the German's cultural obsession with speed, supernatural engineering, and classical aesthetics.

bandabou
Nov 16th, 2004, 08:53 PM
You're right. Steffi and Martina were not complete players in an absolute sense at the age of 17. But, in a relative sense, they were more complete players than either Serena or Sharapova at their respective ages.

When I think, for example, of the shots Steffi could already hit by 1986 (her breakout year at age 17-18), there is really no comparison. Here is just a short list:

(1) Dropshot off backhand side (forehand drop shot would come into play by the grand slam year of 1988)
(2) Slice backhand, even forehand slice (didn't hit it much after those early years)
(3) Almost all variety of passing shot. Groundstrokes and passing shots are fundamentally the same shots, but passing shots require a higher degree of precision and tactical variety. Today's players have no idea that there is a difference. Graf did. In particular, (a) the backhand slice drive dtl or crosscourt; (b) the backhand slice short angle dtl or crosscourt (the purpose of which was to get the netrusher to pop the ball up); (c) the topspin or flat backhand, crosscourt, dtl or at the netrusher; (d) the forehand drive dtl, crosscourt, or dipping in front of the netrusher; and (e), almost all variety of lob from topspin to chip.

When you add to this variety of shot the positions from which Steffi could hit these shots, one honestly begins to wonder whether or not Serena and Sharapova are even playing the same sport as Steffi was. Indeed, one of the reasons why I think Calimero and I have so much fun watching the '99 Wimbledon QF against Venus is that it is just vintage Graf, circa 1988, when Graf hits the running chip lob off a Venus' drop volley in the third set. It takes us back, that is, to 1988 when Graf ran down a Martina N. drop volley (almost from the same place on Center Court) and hit an angled backhand slice past Martina for a winner.

I think you diagnosed the origins of the problem correctly. One more bad thing to say about the state of Florida. All the coaches down there thought they were onto something when they changed everyone's grips around. All they were doing, in effect, was compensating for poor timing and an inability to control the racquet face on the part of their young charges. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any going back. How do you teach Sharapova to hit a forehand drop shot when it means changing her grip back to a semi-Western or Continental grip on the forehand?

Which brings me to the real basis of my claim that Martina N. and Steffi were already complete players by the age of 17. Already by that age, they had what Serena and Sharapova will never have, an ability to control the face of the racquet. What a lost art! If anyone really wants to know, that is why it is not easy for either of these two to hit some of the shots Steffi could hit. At 17, Steffi may still have been floating her slice backhand, but her ability to hit the slice off almost any kind of ball (i.e., sliced, topspin, low, high, slow, hard) was all the proof one neeeded that she had the ability to control the face of her racquet to such a degree that one day this shot was really going to be something.


Again ldv...I donīt think itīs a matter of talent, it is a matter of what they taught you when you were little.....because Steffi wasnīt BORN hitting a slice...she was TAUGHT to play a certain style....just the same as Serena and Maria were taught to play a different one...I think if they were both had been coached different, they both would probably to hit all those shots you rave that Graf can hit....it isnīt about talent, itīs about coaching.

DeDe4925
Nov 16th, 2004, 09:01 PM
Last night, Serena's best play against Maria was to hit the ball crosscourt out wide. If Maria got the ball back, the play was to hit the ball into the open court for a winner.

Maria's best play was to hit the ball down the line with her forehand or backhand. If Serena got the ball back, I don't really think Maria had a consisistent response. Sometimes, she found a way to put the short ball away. Sometimes she just hit it back to Serena to restart the point.

One shot neither player attempted last night, a drop shot. It could have worked for either player after a deep shot to their opponent's backhand side. Ahh, but here is the catch. It needed to be a dropshot down the line. I don't think either of them has the technique or control to hit that shot.

Serena gets honorable mention for hitting what turned out in effect to be a dropshot somewhere during the first set. But, from the motion of her stroke, I think it was supposed to be a sliced backhand. She simply couldn't control the ball at point of contact and it popped up.

Most annoying shot to see both of them hit - the forehand. Some premliminary impressions. When Serena tries to hit a topspin forehand, Serena brushes up the back of the ball too much and her swing loses all of its forward momentum. Effect, the ball goes into the net. She's better off just going for broke and hitting it as flat and as hard as she can, preferably crosscourt. As to Maria, she also has no feel on the shot. Like Serena, she loses the ball on the face of her racquet from time to time. Whereas Serena ends up muscling it into the net when that happens, Maria ends up letting the ball spin off her racquet face. When Maria does manage to connect with the ball, her forearm takes quite a shock, really painful to watch.
I too agree with that topspin forehand. Which is one reason I don't use it in my game. I can't seem to get the technique of it. Therefore I always hit it flat and hard. But, that shot works in my league. :p

bandabou
Nov 16th, 2004, 09:02 PM
That was funny.

But, as you probably know already, I'm well aware of the nuances of language and use its poetic effects from time to time to make subtle points.

Which is why it was Porche and not BMW? If Steffi is ultimately the best representative of everything German, it is not because a German madman made her so, but because she embodies the German's cultural obsession with speed, supernatural engineering, and classical aesthetics.

I see....

Thatīs why I like Serena and Venus....finally after almost 40/50 years since Althea was the first one to really make noise in the tennis world, two african-american girls making a dent in the tennis world. their games might not look pretty to the eyes of some, but when you are african-american and people of your race have a history of not being allowed to compete in most sports....it is still nice to have witnessed what these two have achieved.

DeDe4925
Nov 16th, 2004, 09:14 PM
I'll make no bones about it. I don't like Serena's game. I don't even like her athletic style.

Her game is to overpower her opponents with her groundstrokes and her serve. On her groundstrokes, that power oftentimes lacks precision. She's not going for the lines, for sheer depth, or for daring angles. Most of the times, she's trying to hit the ball into a relatively safe spot on the court with brutish power. Admittedly, from time to time, she does go for the lines and for depth, but that play is really not part of her overall strategy. What is, is power with some measure of consistency. And that translates often in Serena's more pedestrian moments into hitting the ball crosscourt or down the middle of the court. Boring!!

Her game is not completely without variety, I will concede. But, that variety is all contained in her serve. Problem is that unless she's hitting an ace or a service winner on every point the rest of her game simply doesn't match up to the variety she has on her serve.

As for her athletic style, this is obviously just a matter of personal taste. And, I expect most of you to disagree with me because taste is just that personal. Serena is a big girl. She's not fat, just big and muscular. She moves like that too. In short, there is nothing light or graceful about her movements. To be sure, she is fast, but not in a way that distinguishes itself for the efficiency or effortlessness of her movement. She also hits the ball like one would expect a very big and muscular person to hit the ball, mostly with her arms. In short, her muscularity substitutes for what others can do with pure racquet speed, timing and balance. To be sure, she may end up hitting the ball as hard as those with more racquet speed, better timing, and balance, but not in a way that distinguishes itself for its flair, its dynamism, its effortlessness.

Now, before anyone attacks me for singling out Serena, let me say that I a well aware of how boring and inartistic Sharapova's game is as well. The only thing going for Sharapova is her oncourt attitude, part Kournikova poutyness, part Steffi haughtiness, and part Seles intensity and giggle. But, really how much of that can one take throughout a whole match, and especially during the postmatch interviews.

So, please forgive me, if I am secretly hoping that somewhere in Germany, perhaps in the vincinity of the Porche Motorcars Factory, they are engineering the new Steffi Graf. Because frankly I'm fed up with all the vogueing and pouting/gamesmanship that passes for artistic tennis and championship demeanor on the courts today. Yes, it is time for a new Steffi Graf, same old forehand, serve, slice backhand, speed, elegant posture, stoic demenor, just a more consistent topspin backhand and tactical awareness of what to do at the net. If there are Tennis Gods, I pray, "Haven't we suffered enough!"
I really appreciate your comments. I thought you just hated Serena because she is Serena, but you really have taken a look at her game and analyzed it. I can understand with a knowledge that I didn't have before when she was winning because back then I didn't play. Now, I can see her technical errors. None of the women in the WTA have much variety to their game. However, I believe since the womens game has become a more powerful game, the one who starts to combine consistent power ball striking with drop shots, volleys and overhead lobs will come out the better player. Can you predict who that will be based on the talent there now? I say that Lindsay is the closest to that, but she doesn't come to net much.

DeDe4925
Nov 16th, 2004, 09:24 PM
Which is why it was Porche and not BMW? If Steffi is ultimately the best representative of everything German, it is not because a German madman made her so, but because she embodies the German's cultural obsession with speed, supernatural engineering, and classical aesthetics.
That sounds a little too Hitleresque for me. :eek:

darrinbaker00
Nov 16th, 2004, 09:33 PM
I really appreciate your comments. I thought you just hated Serena because she is Serena, but you really have taken a look at her game and analyzed it. I can understand with a knowledge that I didn't have before when she was winning because back then I didn't play. Now, I can see her technical errors. None of the women in the WTA have much variety to their game. However, I believe since the womens game has become a more powerful game, the one who starts to combine consistent power ball striking with drop shots, volleys and overhead lobs will come out the better player. Can you predict who that will be based on the talent there now? I say that Lindsay is the closest to that, but she doesn't come to net much.
With the exception of last night, Serena showed both the willingness and the ability to close points out at the net. Sharapova is young enough to learn that style of play, and once puberty finally has its way with her, she'll get better at it (how scary is THAT?). You would think that Kuznetsova would be a good volleyer because of all the doubles she plays, but she leaves a lot to be desired at the net. One thing's for sure, though--the Big Babe Era is about to give way to the All-Court Era.

mboyle
Nov 16th, 2004, 10:15 PM
a Football player in a Tutu (I !
:lol: :lol: I just need to say that this officially makes my day!:p

LDVTennis
Nov 16th, 2004, 10:39 PM
I see....

Thatīs why I like Serena and Venus....finally after almost 40/50 years since Althea was the first one to really make noise in the tennis world, two african-american girls making a dent in the tennis world. their games might not look pretty to the eyes of some, but when you are african-american and people of your race have a history of not being allowed to compete in most sports....it is still nice to have witnessed what these two have achieved.

Very well said. And, I hope this won't come as a shock. But, I also appreciate both of them for very similar reasons.

As you said, they may not have pretty games, but they do have pretty lives. Here is what I mean? Most African-American athletes become metaphorical "slaves" to their sports. That is, from the time that they recognize they have any talent or from the time that they are recognized for that talent, they forget and are in fact encouraged by those who should be more mindful of their complete well being (e.g., coaches, teachers, college administrators, even parents) to neglect the other aspects of their lives. Consequently, sport and the money they make from it never becomes a means for them to become fully-fledged individuals. It is just a means to a tautological end. Hence, for most of them, their individuality (their egos) begins and ends with their days of glory on the field of play.

For Venus and Serena, tennis has always been a means to an end. And, the end is not tennis itself. The end has been a beautiful life. Can anyone name a more worthwhile goal?

That is why there is no point in criticizing them for not being as committed to the sport as they should be, or for using the tennis court as some kind platform for launching their careers in fashion, interior design, or movies, or for criticizing Serena's wild fashion sense. Criticizing them for any of these things just seems to be missing the point. They are not playing tennis for us, but for the sake of their own personal growth. And, it may just be the case that in the last two years, these two stunning women have come very close to outgrowing the sport.

It was bound to happen. From the first time, they stepped into the interview room they just seemed smarter than the average tennis player. Not only did they revel in using new words in the rhetorically banal space of the interview room, but they also demonstrated they had quite an imagination. Even though I was mildly annoyed by Serena's claim this week that she "wasn't at Wimbledon this year," I still consider it quite an imaginative stroke of self-fashioning. Why should Serena "be" anywhere where others want her to be, particularly if that state of being involves being on the losing end? So, what does Serena do? She elevates herself above the factual existence in which others would imprison her. She claims she wasn't there. It is playful. It is flirtatious. It is a stroke of imaginative genius. And, it leaves one wondering why one can't approach life with as much imagination as Serena.

bandabou
Nov 16th, 2004, 10:55 PM
Very well said. And, I hope this won't come as a shock. But, I also appreciate both of them for very similar reasons.

As you said, they may not have pretty games, but they do have pretty lives. Here is what I mean? Most African-American athletes become metaphorical "slaves" to their sports. That is, from the time that they recognize they have any talent or from the time that they are recognized for that talent, they forget and are in fact encouraged by those who should be more mindful of their complete well being (e.g., coaches, teachers, college administrators, even parents) to neglect the other aspects of their lives. Consequently, sport and the money they make from it never becomes a means for them to become fully-fledged individuals. It is just a means to a tautological end. Hence, for most of them, their individuality (their egos) begins and ends with their days of glory on the field of play.

For Venus and Serena, tennis has always been a means to an end. And, the end is not tennis itself. The end has been a beautiful life. Can anyone name a more worthwhile goal?

That is why there is no point in criticizing them for not being as committed to the sport as they should be, or for using the tennis court as some kind platform for launching their careers in fashion, interior design, or movies, or for criticizing Serena's wild fashion sense. Criticizing them for any of these things just seems to be missing the point. They are not playing tennis for us, but for the sake of their own personal growth. And, it may just be the case that in the last two years, these two stunning women have come very close to outgrowing the sport.

It was bound to happen. From the first time, they stepped into the interview room they just seemed smarter than the average tennis player. Not only did they revel in using new words in the rhetorically banal space of the interview room, but they also demonstrated they had quite an imagination. Even though I was mildly annoyed by Serena's claim this week that she "wasn't at Wimbledon this year," I still consider it quite an imaginative stroke of self-fashioning. Why should Serena "be" anywhere where others want her to be, particularly if that state of being involves being on the losing end? So, what does Serena do? She elevates herself above the factual existence in which others would imprison her. She claims she wasn't there. It is playful. It is flirtatious. It is a stroke of imaginative genius. And, it leaves one wondering why one can't approach life with as much imagination as Serena.


Nice, nice.....:worship: As with Dede at first I found you a very annoying poster, just because you always brought down Serenaīs game.....I know, I know....it was myself who brought that upon me. Should have never commented about Graf retiring at the right time..:o, but still.....

But after reading more and more of your posts, specially about the Graf vs Seles-debate, where you, along with calimero, always came with facts....even convincing and proving to me that Seles never dominated Graf, that initial opinion has changed.

LDVTennis
Nov 16th, 2004, 10:57 PM
That sounds a little too Hitleresque for me. :eek:

You have great insight.

That is why I didn't name "the German madman." Most of you probably assumed it was Parche. It could have been Hitler. Hard not to look at Steffi and think she was the result of some genetic engineering experiment.

As to the qualities and concepts I used to define the German character, let's not make the mistake of thinking of them in a purely negative light because of how Hitler and his henchman turned them into tools of propaganda.

In one form or another, these qualities and concepts have been central to German thought (e.g., Hegel, Kant, ...) for centuries before there was a Hitler. Among Hitler's crimes, one has to count his act of perveting the transcendent possibilities of speed, supernatural engineering, and classical aesthetics.

DeDe4925
Nov 17th, 2004, 01:58 AM
Very well said. And, I hope this won't come as a shock. But, I also appreciate both of them for very similar reasons.

As you said, they may not have pretty games, but they do have pretty lives. Here is what I mean? Most African-American athletes become metaphorical "slaves" to their sports. That is, from the time that they recognize they have any talent or from the time that they are recognized for that talent, they forget and are in fact encouraged by those who should be more mindful of their complete well being (e.g., coaches, teachers, college administrators, even parents) to neglect the other aspects of their lives. Consequently, sport and the money they make from it never becomes a means for them to become fully-fledged individuals. It is just a means to a tautological end. Hence, for most of them, their individuality (their egos) begins and ends with their days of glory on the field of play.

For Venus and Serena, tennis has always been a means to an end. And, the end is not tennis itself. The end has been a beautiful life. Can anyone name a more worthwhile goal?

That is why there is no point in criticizing them for not being as committed to the sport as they should be, or for using the tennis court as some kind platform for launching their careers in fashion, interior design, or movies, or for criticizing Serena's wild fashion sense. Criticizing them for any of these things just seems to be missing the point. They are not playing tennis for us, but for the sake of their own personal growth. And, it may just be the case that in the last two years, these two stunning women have come very close to outgrowing the sport.

It was bound to happen. From the first time, they stepped into the interview room they just seemed smarter than the average tennis player. Not only did they revel in using new words in the rhetorically banal space of the interview room, but they also demonstrated they had quite an imagination. Even though I was mildly annoyed by Serena's claim this week that she "wasn't at Wimbledon this year," I still consider it quite an imaginative stroke of self-fashioning. Why should Serena "be" anywhere where others want her to be, particularly if that state of being involves being on the losing end? So, what does Serena do? She elevates herself above the factual existence in which others would imprison her. She claims she wasn't there. It is playful. It is flirtatious. It is a stroke of imaginative genius. And, it leaves one wondering why one can't approach life with as much imagination as Serena.
:worship::worship::worship:

alfajeffster
Nov 17th, 2004, 12:56 PM
That sounds a little too Hitleresque for me. :eek:Adolf Hitler did not invent the great pride that the German people have in their culture, nor did he improve upon it. If you take the time to become familiar at all with teutonic peoples and the tapestry that makes up their history, you will realize that making this kind of shallow assumption is not only a great disservice to the humanities, but historically inaccurate. Ferdinand Porsche (the original designer of the Volkswagen Beetle- the people's car that Hitler appropriated for his own political aggrandizement) was one of the few Germans who was allowed to get away with never saluting Adolf Hitler even when the Nazi party ruled Europe, and in fact, he was always allowed to refer to him and address him as Mr. Hitler, never Der Feuhrer.