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View Full Version : Power vs. Finesse: Which is superior?


AcesHigh
Nov 20th, 2007, 09:25 PM
So, it's the offseason and Justine vs. WS threads get old after the 50th one or so. Anyway, this question came to me a few weeks ago and I'd like to see everyone's opinion on it.

Which is better(in terms of category of playing style), power or finesse? There are a vast range of playing styles and a lot of grey area so I'll try to split it down the middle somewhat and attempt to define these vague terms.

By a power style of play I mean...
..someone who is aggressive, uses powerful shots to go on the offensive early, usually has a big serve or big groundstrokes from at least one side. May be able to play defensive tennis but does not prefer it, especially against counterpunchers or players with dependable, steady strokes. Usually has high # of winners and often high # of UE's.

By finesse I'm referring to...
..counterpunchers, grinders, players who may have offensive weapons but would rather wait for openings, move their opponent around or force errors. Usually does not have a big serve or the biggest groundstrokes, although may have powerful ones in his/her repetoire. Usually has a low number of UE's.

Power players:
Serena
Venus
Sharapova
Davenport
Ivanovic

Federer
Roddick
Sampras
Djokovic

Finesse players:
Henin
Jankovic
Chakvetadze
Schnyder

Nadal
Ferrer
Nalbandian
Hewitt

So, which style do you think is superior? Also, if you disagree or think my categories are stupid, let me know :wavey: Also, it would be interesting to find out what style you consider yourself to be.

cypher_88
Nov 20th, 2007, 09:27 PM
Federer = power player??? :lol: :lol:

AcesHigh
Nov 20th, 2007, 09:30 PM
Federer = power player??? :lol: :lol:

:rolleyes: yes? I'm a huge Fed fan and he's an aggressive player by nature and he fits everything I said.

The difference is Fed has almost every weapon a tennis player could have. He's somewhat of a combination of the two, but still.. based the categories I made..he fits in "power player"

Donny
Nov 20th, 2007, 09:33 PM
Nadal, Ferrer, and Hewit are "finesse" players now?

I think you're classifying players wrong.

But to answer you're question, power is best.

Donny
Nov 20th, 2007, 09:35 PM
:rolleyes: yes? I'm a huge Fed fan and he's an aggressive player by nature and he fits everything I said.

The difference is Fed has almost every weapon a tennis player could have. He's somewhat of a combination of the two, but still.. based the categories I made..he fits in "power player"

Fed doesn't very often make very many errors. He also doesn't have trouble with counterpunchers. Unless you count Nadal as a counterpuncher... which I don't.

LudwigDvorak
Nov 20th, 2007, 09:36 PM
Well. Let's look at my favorite players.

WTA: Dementieva, V. Williams, Davenport, Petrova, Mauresmo, Hantuchova (honorable mention to Navratilova :worship: ).
ATP: Sampras, Agassi, Nalbandian, Gasquet, Santoro, Murray (honorable mentions to Rafter and Chang :worship: ).

By your definitions, I have a Power:Finesse ratio of 6:6 without the honorable mentions. Even enough if you ask me.

I prefer watching finesse overall though. I like net rushing, slices, serving and volleying, and stratgetic positioning and maneuvering. Although my favorite favorite players are all big hitters, and I don't like Henin or Federer. :scratch:

Anyway, finesse is superior to me, but not by a whole lot, although I wish more of tennis was more about court positioning and waiting for the right moment to attack than "just" hitting the ball.

AcesHigh
Nov 20th, 2007, 09:36 PM
Power/Finesse possibly the wrong words but if anyone else can think of anything better, I'd be glad to change it.

Dave.
Nov 20th, 2007, 09:39 PM
I think it's very difficult to categorise players into power and finesse, and I do think there is a whole seperate category for grinders. Most players have a bit of either categories. Take Lindsay, she is a hard hitter but she has great hands aswell and is patient enough to construct points well. Federer is a power player, but we all know of his great skills with the ball. I think in today's game, you need to be a power player on some sort of level to survive at the top. Nevertheless, it is still clear which players have the finesse element to their game.

AcesHigh
Nov 20th, 2007, 09:39 PM
Fed doesn't very often make very many errors. He also doesn't have trouble with counterpunchers. Unless you count Nadal as a counterpuncher... which I don't.

Federer usually makes a bunch of errors unless he is in God mode. He goes for a lot which is why i put him as power/aggressive.


And I would consider Nadal an aggressive counterpuncher of sorts. You won't see him put up 40 winners and 20+ errors. He plays a safer game. Same with Ferrer.

shap_half
Nov 20th, 2007, 09:52 PM
I think Justine is a hybrid of the two, because I can see her fitting both categories. She likes to take the offensive (though it's not in her nature).

IceHock
Nov 20th, 2007, 10:00 PM
Nalbandian is finesse?? Alls he does is hit from the baseline, he's a power player, his groundstrokes are phenomonal.

hingisGOAT
Nov 20th, 2007, 10:05 PM
Often, a counterpuncher has no finesse whatsoever. Look at Chakvetadze.

Overall, however, a finesse game is more varied and skillful than a power game, so how anyone could prefer a power game is beyond me. Maybe it's the ADD-age

AcesHigh
Nov 20th, 2007, 10:06 PM
Nalbandian is finesse?? Alls he does is hit from the baseline, he's a power player, his groundstrokes are phenomonal.

yea, I wasn't sure about him. However, if I had to put everyone in one category or the other, Nalbandian isn't always the amazing player that showed up the last month..and when he isn't, he seems more of a grinder to me although he can be very aggressive. I just dont see him fitting in the same category as Fed, Roddick and others.

Henpova
Nov 20th, 2007, 10:07 PM
Nalbandian is finesse?? Alls he does is hit from the baseline, he's a power player, his groundstrokes are phenomonal.

That dose not make him a power player. He dose not hit the ball harder and harder to over power the other player. He hits it back and forth till he has an opening and takes it.

Also people, Base liner dose not = power player and all around game dose not = fitness player.

AcesHigh
Nov 20th, 2007, 10:10 PM
Some more players...

Power/Aggressive/Offensive:
Elena Dementieva
Kim Clijsters
Monica Seles
Steffi Graf
Jennifer Capriati


Finesse/Defensive/Counterpuncher/Grinder:
Martina Hingis
Sanchez-Vicario
Anastacia Myskina
Amelie Mauresmo

IceHock
Nov 20th, 2007, 10:10 PM
That dose not make him a power player. He dose not hit the ball harder and harder to over power the other player. He hits it back and forth till he has an opening and takes it.

Also people, Base liner dose not = power player and all around game dose not = fitness player.



He's pretty close to a power player then, he absolutely overpowered Nadal in the Paris final, his game is suit to hit hard and deep, and hitting hard = power.

AcesHigh
Nov 20th, 2007, 10:12 PM
He's pretty close to a power player then, he absolutely overpowered Nadal in the Paris final, his game is suit to hit hard and deep, and hitting hard = power.

Nadal hits very hard and isn't a power player IMO. Also, that Nalbandian is an anomaly..he usually doesn't play that effectively.

IceHock
Nov 20th, 2007, 10:14 PM
Nadal hits very hard and isn't a power player IMO. Also, that Nalbandian is an anomaly..he usually doesn't play that effectively.


Yeah I know, I didn't see Nalbandian play in his bad moments mostly because he was losing too early to be televised but I think when his game is on, he's considered a power player because he goes for his shots alot more, takes the ball early, idk maybe he's a tweener.

No Name Face
Nov 20th, 2007, 10:14 PM
you must be smoking the crack rock if you think kim clijsters is aggressive.

nalbo, fed, and henin are hybrid players. it depends on the match.

Shvedbarilescu
Nov 20th, 2007, 10:15 PM
I tend to be more attached to players who try to outguile their opponent rather than simply blodgeon them with power. I suppose this is reflected more by my heroes in the men's game Fabrice Santoro and Miloslav Mecir.

In the woman's game there haven't really been a lot of players who fit this mold although Nastya Myskina at her best was quite a crafty player as was Natasha Zvereva. In today's game I'm excited by Aga Radwanska, and when I saw her do that drop shot, lob, drop shot, lob combination against Tanasugarn at Wimbledon last year I was completely won over. Shenay Perry is another girl who when healthy has a nice off pace game which prominently features a lot sliced shots. And when I first saw Monica Niculescu play at Roehampton this year I knew within a few minutes this was a girl I would be supporting for her entire career.

I really can't say this type of game is necessarily more effective than a big power game but I sure as hell know I get more pleasure watching a player win with touch and creativity like a Santoro or a Radwanska rather than a MBB like Tomas Berdych or Nicole Vaidisova.

cypher_88
Nov 20th, 2007, 11:26 PM
you must be smoking the crack rock if you think kim clijsters is aggressive.

nalbo, fed, and henin are hybrid players. it depends on the match.

:yeah:

Meghanns Journey
Nov 20th, 2007, 11:41 PM
I'm tired of the Justine vs. the WS too, so thanks. :)

Power is superior it gives you the best chance of winning. Finesse is good to fall back on and it's great to have it in your shot selection but it isn't necessary to have finesse to be a top player.

I don't consider Justine a finesse player at all. She has some finesse in her game but finesse is NOT how she wins. She's smacking the crap out of the ball just like everybody else. LOL

LUXXXAS
Nov 20th, 2007, 11:55 PM
Nadal and finesse :help: :haha: :lol:
Santoro is a finesse player :D

Brian Stewart
Nov 21st, 2007, 08:34 AM
It's tough to just make a black and white distinction at the professional level. Hard hitters that succeed also tend to be quite accurate. Control/placement players who succeed have enough stick to keep them from being driven back. There are players that rely more on one than the other, but every successful player needs both. Sometimes it doesn't show as much for some big bombers because s/he faces someone who can match power and is a bit more accurate, and can hang in rallies long enough for them to miss. But put that same player, who looked so sloppy, in against a club player, and they would be very accurate with their shots.

In the debate of which is more important, power or accuracy, between observing the pros and playing myself, I have to say accuracy, hands down. The ability to put the ball where you want it, or very close, will trump raw power every time. However, at the pro level, you won't see this distinction, as nearly everyone is a hybrid of both. But check out the public courts, with bashers and dinkers, and you'll see dinkers winning.

Chris Evert is a perfect person to illustrate the point. Her game was predicated on accuracy. She had a bit of pop for her era too, but it was her pinpoint control that filled her trophy case. If memory serves, in her Grand Slam careeer, Chris lost 1 time berfore the quarters (and only a couple of times there). Why? Because the early rounds brought unseeded opponents. These players came in two varieties: players whose games were built on accuracy, like Chris, and those whose game were built on power. With rare exceptions, such as veterans recovering from injury or young players developing top-level games, these players were ranked where they were for a reason. The accuracy players had games very similar to Chris, but not as good, so Chris would naturally beat a B-level version of herself. The lower-ranked power players hit harder than Chris, but nowhere near as accurately. She was able to maintain rallies until they missed.

In the slams, it usually took a high-ranked power player who was playing well (and hence, hitting with accuracy at least close to Chris's) to beat her. Martina playing well, hitting her shots where she wanted, beat Chris. Martina playing not as well, and missing shots or leaving them short and providing openings, lost. And look at the record between Chris and Steffi. Chris won the first 6, Steffi the last 8. Steffi always hit hard. But early on, she lacked the accuracy. Once Steffi developed the accuracy and consistency needed to be a top player, and got that accuracy to Chris's level, her superior power was the difference.

But accuracy alone will only get you so far. If you want to just hang in the top 10, and consistently reach slam quarters, fine. If you want to win, you need to be able to force the action. Again, Chris can be an illustration. When Martina got in top shape, and brought her accuracy near Chris's level, her power advantage had her beating Chris consistently. Chris knew that, since Martina had taken steps to narrow the gap where she had the advantage, she would in turn have to take steps to narrow the gap where Martina had the advantage. So Chris got in better shape, and added more power. And she started coming forward more. That's when she got back into contention for slams. She was able to reduce the impact of her opponents' power, and allow her accuracy to become more of a deciding factor.

So, in summation, accuracy is the most important aspect of tennis, whether serve or groundstroke. Accuracy alone will get you much further than power alone. However, to be a top-flight pro, you need both in some degree. You have to have some method of taking control of points, and use your consistency to keep you in control.

QUEENLINDSAY
Nov 21st, 2007, 08:38 AM
I'll put it this way.

Power Game -Consistent hard shots, big serves, heavy groundstrokes defines a top player now a days. If you dont posses any power shots on your game, then you wont be able to win any big titles and shall i say, top 10 is too far and hard to achieve.

Finesse- Slices, topspins, ball placements, drop shot, lob shot, etc... these are the elements to add into your power game to win Grand Slams.

Take note, power game is your first ticket to be a top player and add in finesse will make you number one and a champion.

venus_rulez
Nov 21st, 2007, 09:30 AM
I think an offensive game is better than a defensive game 9.9 times out of ten. Especially when we're talking about peaks. I think if you have an offensive player playing at 100% of their abilities vs a defensive player playing at 100% of their abilities, the offensive player will almost always win. It's the ability of the offensive player to completely take the defensive player almost entirely out of the match that makes it so. It's why, even early on in the rivalry of Venus and Hingis, many people felt the match was always in Venus' hands. If she could make the shots, she'd win, if she couldn't, Hingis would likely make her life hell.

And a nod to the poster who mentioned accuracy being the difference.

Mightymirza
Nov 21st, 2007, 09:38 AM
federer is not power player..Beautiful mixture of power and finesse..Same with justine :shrug:

Boreas
Nov 21st, 2007, 09:40 AM
Nadal and finesse :help: :haha: :lol:
Santoro is a finesse player :D

;) totally agree
Nadal`s game is based on power.

Andy.
Nov 21st, 2007, 10:09 AM
I much prefer watching power players. I really dont like watching players like Mauresmo that mix it up with slice and moon balls slowing down the points.

Juju4ever
Nov 21st, 2007, 10:21 AM
You can't really put Federer in the "power" category, he's a complete player who's mixing up his game all the time. Justine is kind of the same, they're complete players, who don't belong to one of the groups.

I prefer the "finesse" players, as you can see in my sig, Jankovic and Patty are two of my faves. :)

CORIA01
Nov 21st, 2007, 10:28 AM
I Prefer Finesse By Far
Like Guillermo Coria In Atp And Martina In Wtaž

Dan23
Nov 21st, 2007, 11:00 AM
I wouldnt think theres a definitive answer to this question...but clearly its a good one to debate :cool:

Someone labelled Hantuchova a finesse player? How so?

Xander
Nov 21st, 2007, 11:36 AM
I would respond but I don't follow the ATP so I have nothing to contribute.

:p

supergrunt
Nov 21st, 2007, 11:39 AM
Justine is a power player.