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RVD
Feb 11th, 2010, 09:14 PM
I have to ask because I constantly read posts here, and Blogs around the net claiming that Serena has "bad" footwork.

Sorry folks, but this fan just doesn't buy into the negative hype. :shrug:

Now, I will admit that there are times when Serena's demonstrated 'sluggishness' during the onset of her matches; and then moving like the wind during the latter stages of a match. So maybe that's what people are mis-identifying.
Is this the bad footwork people speak of?

It should be noted that Serena's is usually wrapped when people make these statements, so maybe folks forget that legs injuries require more effort on the part of the athlete to get one's body positioned.

Let me put it another way...
In ANY sport, to excel at their craft, as Serena has done in tennis, an elite athlete must be able to move efficiently enough to place oneself in a position to adequately respond to an opponents [serve, return, volley, etc...). In fact, a champion MUST be able to move better than his/her opponent.
It's not as if Serena stumbles into a return and ...oops...it went over the net.

If Serena were suffering from "bad footwork" as is so often suggested, then how is she able to win so convincingly, and sometime, incredibly (as in being down several match points) to defeat her opponents?

Sorry, but this idea of bad footwork ranks up there with the many other fallacies incorrectly attached to Serena over a couple of decades.

So let's be honest here folks...
What about Serena's footwork makes it "bad"?

I need to understand the pure unadulterated technique and analysis involved here so that I can identify "good" footwork, as opposed to "bad" footwork.


Oh, and one other thing...
Serena clearly isn't as quick as she once was pre-knee surgery, but she still gets to the ball mighty fast and positions herself for the return nowadays. So what gives?
She's a half-step to a full-step slower than she demonstarted during her domination years, yet she plays better than she used to and has a higher winning percentage????

Sorry, but something is very wrong with this equation.
And some honesty, preferably from a tennis coach, would be greatly appreciated.

Dunlop1
Feb 11th, 2010, 09:18 PM
It's not so much that Serena has outright bad footwork.
It's that for a player of her calibre her footwork is left wanting.
Watch this space for examples...

RVD
Feb 11th, 2010, 09:25 PM
It's not so much that Serena has outright bad footwork.
It's that for a player of her calibre her footwork is left wanting.
Watch this space for examples...Okay, this is partly what I'm looking for. Both a specific explanation and hopefully a full-blown example of "why" she has "bad" footwork.

However, you've already helped me understand one thing. Which is that Serena's footwork isn't "bad", but rather "could be better".

I will return often to check for examples and information on footwork technique.
Thanks.

moby
Feb 11th, 2010, 09:45 PM
It's not about the speed. Venus is very fast, but her footwork is left wanting. She takes huge steps to get to the ball, but not the little mincing ones to make sure she's in precise balance and position to hit the ball perfectly. And this is often the cause of unforced errors, because you've to compensate by altering your swing slightly. On the other hand, Davenport is slow as molasses, but has very good footwork around the ball.

I think when people talk about poor footwork from Serena, they're comparing her to the likes of Henin (just like when people say Henin's serve is a weakness, they're comparing her to the likes of Serena).

Between Venus and Serena, I'm not sure whose footwork is "worse", but the difference between them is that Serena is much better at improvising and has better racket head control, so she can compensate better if she's not in perfect position. Serena also has very strong legs and upper body, which helps when she's forced to hit a shot off balance.

Dunlop1
Feb 11th, 2010, 09:48 PM
I need to understand the pure unadulterated technique and analysis involved here so that I can identify "good" footwork, as opposed to "bad" footwork.


If you don't play tennis competitively or aren't a student of the game you may have trouble understanding the finer aspects of footwork that Serena lacks.

Best thing to do is to watch a match she plays against Henin or Clijsters esp on clay and see the difference in their footwork.

dsanders06
Feb 11th, 2010, 09:49 PM
Her footwork is poor for a top player, but her raw footspeed is usually enough to compensate for it. But with that said, due to her poor footwork, she often botches routine shots, or has to contort her body weirdly to make it - due to the fact the little steps have been so inadequate that she's been unable to get in the exactly right position.

Her footwork is particularly bad on clay. Honestly, in her R1 match at the FO last year, it was atrocious. I'd never seen anything like it from a top player.

miffedmax
Feb 11th, 2010, 09:54 PM
I'd also say that when Serena's about to go off, her footwork is the thing that goes first. Like Lena's backhand. (Her serve isn't always an accurate indicator, because it's been so bad for so long she can still pull matches out even with double-digit double faults. But when she starts dumping backhands into the net, it's time to turn of the TV and :sobbing:).

Vee's forehand or TOB's or Dinara's serve are also things that a dead giveaways things are heading south.

Dunlop1
Feb 11th, 2010, 09:55 PM
I'd also say that when Serena's about to go off, her footwork is the thing that goes first. Like Lena's backhand. (Her serve isn't always an accurate indicator, because it's been so bad for so long she can still pull matches out even with double-digit double faults. But when she starts dumping backhands into the net, it's time to turn of the TV and :sobbing:).

Vee's forehand or TOB's or Dinara's serve are also things that a dead giveaways things are heading south.

I love how you make every post about Elena :lol:

Golovinjured.
Feb 11th, 2010, 09:58 PM
It's not so much that Serena has outright bad footwork.
It's that for a player of her calibre her footwork is left wanting.
Watch this space for examples...

It's not about the speed. Venus is very fast, but her footwork is left wanting. She takes huge steps to get to the ball, but not the little mincing ones to make sure she's in precise position to hit the ball perfectly. And this is often the cause of unforced errors, because you've to compensate by altering your swing slightly. On the other hand, Davenport is slow as molasses, but has very good footwork around the ball.

I think when people talk about poor footwork from Serena, they're comparing her to the likes of Henin (just like when people say Henin's serve is a weakness, they're comparing her to the likes of Serena).

Between Venus and Serena, I'm not sure whose footwork is "worse", but the difference between them is that Serena is much better at improvising and has better racket head control, so she can compensate better for not being in perfect position.

Both of these, especially the bold part in moby's post.

Serena is very fast. It's her footwork AROUND the ball that isn't spectacular, pretty much the only facet of her game that isn't.

OsloErik
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:00 PM
I don't think anyone would seriously say that Serena has outright 'bad' footwork. If they do, they are misguided. She has inconsistent footwork, but that's not the same as bad footwork. It's particularly inconsistent on clay, which goes with the territory, but it has good moments as well.

Serena can go from point to point, game to game, with completely different footwork. She frequently doesn't NEED to take the little tiny steps as much as others do, largely because she can hit the ball pretty well from a lot of similar positions and locations, and her timing and hand-eye coordination are so good that she maintains a fairly consistent contact point without always needing the little steps. She can hit off-balance shots better than just about anyone I've ever seen. The trade off is, she can get a little lazy and not want to take the tiny steps in matches when she really, REALLY needs to (vs. Azarenka for a set and a half comes to mind).

But look at Serena at her most devastating, it's all about the little steps. Part of what made her able to devour the tour in 2002 was the fact that she took those tiny steps in every single match. When someone describes Serena as sluggish, it's not that she's slow; it's that she's not quick off the mark, and that's a function of being in stride-it-out mode rather than baby-steps mode.

Some players (Henin comes to mind) have virtually perfect footwork. I've almost never seen Henin off-balance, and it's because she takes those little steps all the time. Serena can get off balance and compensate for it against lesser players. Against her fellow top 10ers, it's a little more complicated.

tonybotz
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:01 PM
actually Serena has the best footwork in the game. she always takes the necessary "little steps" before hitting a shot, which is why she's able to hit such amazing winners. Her footwork is reminiscent of Monica Seles, who anticipated the ball well and also always set up by taking little steps to get into the perfect position before hitting the groundstroke.

Also, like Seles,Serena is not the best mover. She tends to lunge for the ball now instead of leaping toward the shot like she used to. frankly, at her age and with her physique, i don't blame her. she is limited now in those areas. however, in terms of pure footwork, setting up for the shot, and positioning, she's the best in my book.

AkademiQ
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:02 PM
If Serena's were suffering from "bad footwork" as is so often suggested, then how is she able to win so convincingly, and sometime, incredibly (as in being down several match points) to defeat her opponents?


Serena's a superior player/athlete than the others with immeccable footwork. It's another credit to Serena that she can overcome this slight hinderance. At the end of the day when you're as good as Serena, you need something bad to harp on.

hdfb
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:06 PM
Haters gotta realise Serena does not have any big glaring weaknesses nor are any departments of her game should be described as simply "bad".

Dunlop1
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:11 PM
actually Serena has the best footwork in the game.

lol.

No.

Nicolás89
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:11 PM
You can see that when she is on the run and hits the forehand she is most of the time off balance, that's the only significant footwork problem I've seen from her.

RVD
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:12 PM
Thanks guys. I understand far better now.
This is what I gather so far...

1) Serena doesn't have "bad" footwork per say. However, comparatively, and for an elite player, her footwork is poor.
2) Minute foot positioning / placement isn't exact, so she mis-hits and generates high UE counts. (though I haven’t found this to always be the case) :scratch:
3) Her ability to compensate (through sheer athleticism---contorting her body) saves her.
4) Poor footwork isn't a constant with her. Though IF something were to "go off", it would be her footwork.
5) Lena's backhand sometimes makes miffedmax :sobbing:

Hmm...?
I have to go back and look at her past matches because something still seems amiss.
It’s odd because foot work is such an essential part of any player’s game that everything else would have to be far far superior for Serena to overcome such a basic technical deficit.

DOUBLEFIST
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:14 PM
If you don't play tennis competitively or aren't a student of the game you may have trouble understanding the finer aspects of footwork that Serena lacks.

Best thing to do is to watch a match she plays against Henin or Clijsters esp on clay and see the difference in their footwork.
Wow. Talk about presumptuous.

Look the fact is Serena's footwork is not anywhere NEAR as bad as people like to make it - not anywhere near. It's one of those misnomers that are on par with "Serena's Poor Fitness..., blah, blah" :rolleyes:

The fact is Serena's foot work is great sometimes and not so great others. Her foot work is not horrible, but it's not on the same caliber as Juju's nor is it as good as Oudin's (who's footwork is arguably her greatest weapon), but it exceeds many of the other top girls - Safina, Maria, Venus, Sharapova. It's on par with Kuznetsova's and Dementieva's (usually).

That being said, it is the WEAKEST aspect of her game and therefore the most attackable and the most criticized by her detractors. This is what gave rise to the "hit down the middle" strategy. The thought being that neither Serena or Venus have good enough footwork to get out of their own way.

But you're essentially right, RVD. You don't have the level of success that Serena has AND have BAD/POOR/LACKING/WANTING footwork.

There is another dynamic to this criticism that must be understood here (and I know you do understand, because we've talked about it before during the venusserenafan days) and why it's risen to "mythological" levels.

The Williams have always had people who, when the first arrived on the scene and before any Gslam success, blasted the family for not hiring "real" coaches. To underscore their points, the would eviscerate the Venus and Serena's forehand, level crit after crit at Venus' serve. Speak of the evils of the open-stance backhand and forehand, rail about the foolishness of the swinging volley and claim it was because they couldn't hit the traditional volley and, finally, rip their "footwork" a new one.

All this was done in effort to berate (or "jone" for those who know ;) ) the girls into getting a traditional "coach," work WITHIN the TRADITIONAL system and follow the CONVENTIONAL wisdom that the Williams had all along flatly rejected and the tennis intelligentsia had resented them for doing so. For many, not all, the "footwork" criticism is the LAST holdout of that resentment. It is the "homebase" that these detractors, 12 slams later, run to in effort to claim some sort of "rightness" in their initial criticism. And, truth be told, it is the weakest area of her game, though it's no worse than many other top girls.

EDIT:

Also, Serena's (and for that matter Venus') usually superb racket prep mitigates some of the "damage" of infrequent, poor footwork.

AcesHigh
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:14 PM
I don't think anyone would seriously say that Serena has outright 'bad' footwork. If they do, they are misguided. She has inconsistent footwork, but that's not the same as bad footwork. It's particularly inconsistent on clay, which goes with the territory, but it has good moments as well.

Serena can go from point to point, game to game, with completely different footwork. She frequently doesn't NEED to take the little tiny steps as much as others do, largely because she can hit the ball pretty well from a lot of similar positions and locations, and her timing and hand-eye coordination are so good that she maintains a fairly consistent contact point without always needing the little steps. She can hit off-balance shots better than just about anyone I've ever seen. The trade off is, she can get a little lazy and not want to take the tiny steps in matches when she really, REALLY needs to (vs. Azarenka for a set and a half comes to mind).

But look at Serena at her most devastating, it's all about the little steps. Part of what made her able to devour the tour in 2002 was the fact that she took those tiny steps in every single match. When someone describes Serena as sluggish, it's not that she's slow; it's that she's not quick off the mark, and that's a function of being in stride-it-out mode rather than baby-steps mode.

Some players (Henin comes to mind) have virtually perfect footwork. I've almost never seen Henin off-balance, and it's because she takes those little steps all the time. Serena can get off balance and compensate for it against lesser players. Against her fellow top 10ers, it's a little more complicated.

THIS THIS THIS THIS :worship:

If only i could learn the ways of Oslo

Nicolás89
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:15 PM
Hmm...?
I have to go back and look at her past matches because something still seems amiss.
It’s odd because foot work is such an essential part of any player’s game that everything else would have to be far far superior for Serena to overcome such a basic technical deficit.

Safina's footwork is abysmal. :shrug:

RVD
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:22 PM
I don't think anyone would seriously say that Serena has outright 'bad' footwork. If they do, they are misguided. She has inconsistent footwork, but that's not the same as bad footwork. It's particularly inconsistent on clay, which goes with the territory, but it has good moments as well.

Serena can go from point to point, game to game, with completely different footwork. She frequently doesn't NEED to take the little tiny steps as much as others do, largely because she can hit the ball pretty well from a lot of similar positions and locations, and her timing and hand-eye coordination are so good that she maintains a fairly consistent contact point without always needing the little steps. She can hit off-balance shots better than just about anyone I've ever seen. The trade off is, she can get a little lazy and not want to take the tiny steps in matches when she really, REALLY needs to (vs. Azarenka for a set and a half comes to mind).

But look at Serena at her most devastating, it's all about the little steps. Part of what made her able to devour the tour in 2002 was the fact that she took those tiny steps in every single match. When someone describes Serena as sluggish, it's not that she's slow; it's that she's not quick off the mark, and that's a function of being in stride-it-out mode rather than baby-steps mode.

Some players (Henin comes to mind) have virtually perfect footwork. I've almost never seen Henin off-balance, and it's because she takes those little steps all the time. Serena can get off balance and compensate for it against lesser players. Against her fellow top 10ers, it's a little more complicated.This is what I was looking for.

This helps me to understand, from a coach's perspective, when to use smaller steps, and when they aren't necessary. It also helps explain why Serena can suddenly go on a winning tear when playing some, and seem like a near-beginner when playing others.

Thanks to everyone else also. This has been very informative. :cool:

RVD
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:45 PM
Wow. Talk about presumptuous.

Look the fact is Serena's footwork is not anywhere NEAR as bad as people like to make it - not anywhere near. It's one of those misnomers that are on par with "Serena's Poor Fitness..., blah, blah" :rolleyes:

The fact is Serena's foot work is great sometimes and not so great others. Her foot work is not horrible, but it's not on the same caliber as Juju's nor is it as good as Oudin's (who's footwork is arguably her greatest weapon), but it exceeds many of the other top girls - Safina, Maria, Venus, Sharapova. It's on par with Kuznetsova's and Dementieva's (usually).

That being said, it is the WEAKEST aspect of her game and therefore the most attackable and the most criticized by her detractors. This is what gave rise to the "hit down the middle" strategy. The thought being that neither Serena or Venus have good enough footwork to get out of their own way.

But you're essentially right, RVD. You don't have the level of success that Serena has AND have BAD/POOR/LACKING/WANTING footwork.

There is another dynamic to this criticism that must be understood here (and I know you do understand, because we've talked about it before during the venusserenafan days) and why it's risen to "mythological" levels.

The Williams have always had people who, when the first arrived on the scene and before any Gslam success, blasted the family for not hiring "real" coaches. To underscore their points, the would eviscerate the Venus and Serena's forehand, level crit after crit at Venus' serve. Speak of the evils of the open-stance backhand and forehand, rail about the foolishness of the swinging volley and claim it was because they couldn't hit the traditional volley and, finally, rip their "footwork" a new one.

All this was done in effort to berate (or "jone" for those who know ;) ) the girls into getting a traditional "coach," work WITHIN the TRADITIONAL system and follow the CONVENTIONAL wisdom that the Williams had all along flatly rejected and the tennis intelligentsia had resented them for doing so. For many, not all, the "footwork" criticism is the LAST holdout of that resentment. It is the "homebase" that these detractors, 12 slams later, run to in effort to claim some sort of "rightness" in their initial criticism. And, truth be told, it is the weakest area of her game, though it's no worse than many other top girls.

EDIT:

Also, Serena's (and for that matter Venus') usually superb racket prep mitigates some of the "damage" of infrequent, poor footwork.I've been trying to forget those days. :lol:
The good news is that every single myth has been dully eviscerated the successes of both sisters.
I definitely recall the “expects” criticizing the swinging volley. Now more girls are at least attempting it. The open stance nearly drove some coaches insane, but now there is more appreciation out there. I also recall how some were saying that she never be as good as so-in-so, unless she included a slice in her arsenal. Serena just won her 12th title while employing the slice backhand “effectively. However, she won 11 previous ones without one.

After reading OsloErik post, I was stroke with a suddenly revelation (or maybe just a thought). Even the most accomplished athlete doesn't employ every aspect of every technique perfectly. And some of the best players only perform certain techniques very well.
So I'm hoping that there will someday be an overall appreciation for how Serena did it her way, and less general nit-picking when analyzing her game. I don't mind reading intelligent analysis and critiques. I would just like to read honest analysis and critiques.

DOUBLEFIST
Feb 11th, 2010, 10:57 PM
I've been trying to forget those days. :lol:
The good news is that every single myth has been dully eviscerated the successes of both sisters.
I definitely recall the “expects” criticizing the swinging volley. Now more girls are at least attempting it. The open stance nearly drove some coaches insane, but now there is more appreciation out there. I also recall how some were saying that she never be as good as so-in-so, unless she included a slice in her arsenal. Serena just won her 12th title while employing the slice backhand “effectively. However, she won 11 previous ones without one.

After reading OsloErik post, I was stroke with a suddenly revelation (or maybe just a thought). Even the most accomplished athlete doesn't employ every aspect of every technique perfectly. And some of the best players only perform certain techniques very well.
So I'm hoping that there will someday be an overall appreciation for how Serena did it her way, and less general nit-picking when analyzing her game. I don't mind reading intelligent analysis and critiques. I would just like to read honest analysis and critiques.
Agreed on both counts.

:lol: Getting Steffi to come over the top of a back hand was like pulling teeth. :haha: When she did, sometimes it was great, other times... not so much, but yet she's still the Queen bee!

Arnian
Feb 11th, 2010, 11:00 PM
RVD I gotta be honest with you on this one, Serena's footwork is not very good.

She has great movement out-wide and can cover the court well, but her footwork in the center of the court is often times mediocre for a player of her caliber. I think this is one reason why she looks so awkward on clay half the time, because her footwork is really exposed on clay.

miffedmax
Feb 11th, 2010, 11:39 PM
I've been trying to forget those days. :lol:
The good news is that every single myth has been dully eviscerated the successes of both sisters.
I definitely recall the “expects” criticizing the swinging volley. Now more girls are at least attempting it. The open stance nearly drove some coaches insane, but now there is more appreciation out there. I also recall how some were saying that she never be as good as so-in-so, unless she included a slice in her arsenal. Serena just won her 12th title while employing the slice backhand “effectively. However, she won 11 previous ones without one.

After reading OsloErik post, I was stroke with a suddenly revelation (or maybe just a thought). Even the most accomplished athlete doesn't employ every aspect of every technique perfectly. And some of the best players only perform certain techniques very well.
So I'm hoping that there will someday be an overall appreciation for how Serena did it her way, and less general nit-picking when analyzing her game. I don't mind reading intelligent analysis and critiques. I would just like to read honest analysis and critiques.

The swinging volley, like acting and modeling outside of tennis, was of course truly pioneered by the great Carling Bassett=Seguso. :bowdown:

(I don't know why I'm on a Darling Carling nostolgia kick. But she really did hit swinging volleys way back in the '80s).

silverwhite
Feb 11th, 2010, 11:43 PM
It's weird because her footwork in 2002 used to be so much better, even on clay. Maybe it has to do with the extra weight she's carrying (no, she's not fat but she definitely used to be leaner) or her body aging. I really don't know. :shrug:

Olórin
Feb 11th, 2010, 11:45 PM
I don't think anyone would seriously say that Serena has outright 'bad' footwork. If they do, they are misguided. She has inconsistent footwork, but that's not the same as bad footwork. It's particularly inconsistent on clay, which goes with the territory, but it has good moments as well.

Serena can go from point to point, game to game, with completely different footwork. She frequently doesn't NEED to take the little tiny steps as much as others do, largely because she can hit the ball pretty well from a lot of similar positions and locations, and her timing and hand-eye coordination are so good that she maintains a fairly consistent contact point without always needing the little steps. She can hit off-balance shots better than just about anyone I've ever seen. The trade off is, she can get a little lazy and not want to take the tiny steps in matches when she really, REALLY needs to (vs. Azarenka for a set and a half comes to mind).

But look at Serena at her most devastating, it's all about the little steps. Part of what made her able to devour the tour in 2002 was the fact that she took those tiny steps in every single match. When someone describes Serena as sluggish, it's not that she's slow; it's that she's not quick off the mark, and that's a function of being in stride-it-out mode rather than baby-steps mode.

Some players (Henin comes to mind) have virtually perfect footwork. I've almost never seen Henin off-balance, and it's because she takes those little steps all the time. Serena can get off balance and compensate for it against lesser players. Against her fellow top 10ers, it's a little more complicated.

You summarise such nebulous and technically-bitty topics so well. Bravo again :yeah:

Haters gotta realise Serena does not have any big glaring weaknesses nor are any departments of her game should be described as simply "bad".

I think this is a good point. As Oslo said her footwork is inconsistent, but I don't think you can wholesale label it a weakness as such.

supergrunt
Feb 12th, 2010, 12:05 AM
i agree with rvp and does anyone remeber wheb carillo was like justine has far superior grounstroke technique? i bet if someone asked her to explain how she couldn't do it! just another silly myth

tennisbear7
Feb 12th, 2010, 12:12 AM
Serena's footwork is not "bad", but it's the first part to go when you know that she might be having an off day. Usually, she is so dominant on serve that getting into perfect position is not usually a prerequisite to hitting a winner off a weak reply. If you take Clijsters or Henin for example, both have better footwork (on the whole) than Serena but because they don't have the brute force of serve of Serena, they need to get into better position to rally. However, when things aren't going Serena's way and when she's spraying errors, she looks visibly sluggish and can be pushed around more than she'd like.

On the whole though, I think footwork is closely tied to her frame of mind. She looks sluggish in the beginning rounds of slams, but when she needs to step it up, she steps it up, whether this is at a certain stage of a tournament or a match where she's in trouble. Serena at her best is all about smothering you :lol:

serenafann
Feb 12th, 2010, 12:32 AM
Serena's footwork issues often are about her nerves or laziness,but when committed and calm her footwork is usually spot on.

Tennisstar86
Feb 12th, 2010, 12:39 AM
Have you WATCHED her play? Starting a thread like this.....clearly shows you know nothing about tennis.....From watching you can clearly tell she has lazy horrible footwork...

dsanders06
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:03 AM
i agree with rvp and does anyone remeber wheb carillo was like justine has far superior grounstroke technique? i bet if someone asked her to explain how she couldn't do it! just another silly myth

There's no denying that Henin's technique is superior to both Williams sisters. Of course, whether or not Henin's groundstrokes are better is debateable, but even the bigggest WS fans would admit they don't have a classic technique. Not that "technique" is actually here or there.

Tennisstar86
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:15 AM
There's no denying that Henin's technique is superior to both Williams sisters. Of course, whether or not Henin's groundstrokes are better is debateable, but even the bigggest WS fans would admit they don't have a classic technique. Not that "technique" is actually here or there.

yeah... technique is basically B.S..... Essentially technique is what the "expects" believe to be best.... but whatever works for you works for you...

The footwork issue has to do with getting yourself in posistion for the shot...... and if you watch Serena play her horrible footwork gets her in trouble at lot of times. luckily for her shes so quick she can make up for it..... and because of that you could argue that luckily for the rest of the tour her footwork is horrible otherwise shed be even harder to beat..... Watch Justine play and you can tell how poor Serena's footwork is...

LightWarrior
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:15 AM
There's no denying that Henin's technique is superior to both Williams sisters. Of course, whether or not Henin's groundstrokes are better is debateable, but even the bigggest WS fans would admit they don't have a classic technique. Not that "technique" is actually here or there.

Did Seles have a classic "technique" ? No.
Was Graf's technique better than Seles ? Probably yes.
Was Graf better than Seles at their peaks ? No.

Same applies for Serena vs Henin. (Except that Serena's serve is technically the best ever).

dsanders06
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:23 AM
Did Seles have a classic "technique" ? No.
Was Graf's technique better than Seles ? Probably yes.
Was Graf better than Seles at their peaks ? No.

Same applies for Serena vs Henin. (Except that Serena's serve is technically the best ever).

I said in that post that Henin's superior technique doesn't actually MATTER. I'm certainly not one who gives a crap about technique or how "unorthodox" someone's game is... if it's getting the results then that's all that matters (which is why I'm seemingly one of Wozniacki's only defenders on here). I was merely calling Supergrunt on his attack on Mary Carillo (seriously, why are some Serena fans SO obsessed with her?), when what she said is indisputably correct - Henin DOES have superior technique. Off the ground, that is; I agree Serena's serve is probably the most fluid and technically-sound ever.

(Although, as an aside, it's very debateable whether Graf and Seles were ever at their peaks simultaneously... I guess that's a debate for another day though.)

LightWarrior
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:31 AM
(Although, as an aside, it's very debateable whether Graf and Seles were ever at their peaks simultaneously... I guess that's a debate for another day though.)

Well they were from 1992 until the stabbing...

Matt01
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:31 AM
Serena's footwork is atrocious...

...at times. That often may have to do with injuries, though.

Often her footwork is quite good, though.
Best footwork of anyone on the tour? Definately not :lol:

Matt01
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:32 AM
Well they were from 1992 until the stabbing...


Graf was not at her peak in 1992.

G1Player2
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:38 AM
Graf was not at her peak in 1992.


Graf was in her peak in 95 and 96.

dsanders06
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:40 AM
Graf was in her peak in 95 and 96.

When Seles was back on the tour and Graf was beating her.

Matt01
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:44 AM
When Seles was back on the tour and Graf was beating her.


Not sure about that. Seles was not as good mentally as before.
Graf may have been rather at her peak in 1988/89 when she rarely lost a match to anyone and beat Navratilova in the Wimbledon finals while giving out beadsticks to her.

G1Player2
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:46 AM
Not sure about that. Seles was not as good mentally as before.
Graf may have been rather at her peak in 1988/89 when she rarely lost a match to anyone and beat Navratilova in the Wimbledon finals while giving out beadsticks to her.


Navratilova was WAY past her peak and well into her 30ies. Graf had more competition in 95 and 96 than 88/89.

Matt01
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:49 AM
Navratilova was WAY past her peak and well into her 30ies. Graf had more competition in 95 and 96 than 88/89.


Past her peak yes, but in 1987 Navratilova was still winning two Slams. Then one year later she was still winning lots of tournaments but losing at her home Slam to Graf.

SerenaSlam
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:56 AM
i think what people see and say about her foot work is like this. Serena plays tennis like she is running on a track. she is powerful. hence why she can run into shots use her body to force a lot of her power. i don't think her footwork is horrible. its just not the footwork you see from these "smaller" players. its the same footwork she had when she first came on the tour and dominated in 2002-03. To be honest i would rather have her footwork power and balance than the soft light feet of say a henin or clijsters were we see many of times get knocked back on their back feet. serena's footwork allows her to stand her grown. its powerful forceful and stern. and it has won her 12 majors...my pick :)

LightWarrior
Feb 12th, 2010, 02:12 AM
Graf was not at her peak in 1992.

Graf sure was at her peak when Seles was out of her way. :tape:

BuTtErFrEnA
Feb 12th, 2010, 02:32 AM
Thanks guys. I understand far better now.
This is what I gather so far...

1) Serena doesn't have "bad" footwork per say. However, comparatively, and for an elite player, her footwork is poor.
2) Minute foot positioning / placement isn't exact, so she mis-hits and generates high UE counts. (though I haven’t found this to always be the case) :scratch:
3) Her ability to compensate (through sheer athleticism---contorting her body) saves her.
4) Poor footwork isn't a constant with her. Though IF something were to "go off", it would be her footwork.
5) Lena's backhand sometimes makes miffedmax :sobbing:

Hmm...?
I have to go back and look at her past matches because something still seems amiss.
It’s odd because foot work is such an essential part of any player’s game that everything else would have to be far far superior for Serena to overcome such a basic technical deficit.

most important point here

serena's footwork, like almost all of her game, revolves around her mentality with an in each individual match: you watch ao 07 or 09 final and compare it to almost any of her non slam matches (or even early rds of slams) as well as the vika qf and see what i mean....

ao finals - great footwork
non slam/early rds of slam = average to poor footwork
vika qf = average to poor footwork until she flicked the mental switch, took it to another gear, footwork came easily

dsanders06
Feb 12th, 2010, 02:34 AM
most important point here

serena's footwork, like almost all of her game, revolves around her mentality with an in each individual match: you watch ao 07 or 09 final and compare it to almost any of her non slam matches (or even early rds of slams) as well as the vika qf and see what i mean....

ao finals - great footwork
non slam/early rds of slam = average to poor footwork
vika qf = average to poor footwork until she flicked the mental switch, took it to another gear, footwork came easily

Actually, even in the AO07 final, commentators remarked on how sloppy her footwork was. She was regularly caught off-balance when shots came right at her. But she was so on fire generally that day that she was able to blast the ball even when she was out of position.

Midnight_Robber
Feb 12th, 2010, 02:49 AM
I don't think it is as dire as some people think (or would like to think) but it isn't wonderful either and is notably weaker when compared to other parts of her game. However, she has so many other attributes that it hasn't prevented her from winning slams. (When I watched her win her first slam while I was impressed with her shotmaking and her serving, Hingis clearly had the better footwork of the two. But who won the match anyway?) When she was at her peak however, her footwork was on-point and text-book. (Little preparatory steps on her toes, the split step etc.) She had clearly worked that aspect of her game out and was utterly disciplined. Since then, the quality of her footwork varies and I agree that when she gets tight, it's the first thing to go; but she tends to pull it together on the big points or dictate those points in such a way that it's her opponent who is doing all the running most of the time.

When Venus was dominant I thought that she fleet as hell, light-footed and balanced, but even then her footwork was never technically conventional. But her game is much more dependent on her movement (and her footwork), than Serena's is. Serena is compact, and with her core body strength she can hit powerful winners even when she's off balance or standing still. I prefer both WS but to me, there's no question that Henin's footwork is consistently good as is Kim. Lena and JJ.

LightWarrior
Feb 12th, 2010, 02:57 AM
As she gets older she reminds me more and more of Monica Seles. She's able to retrieve balls in the worst positions, and then get back into play. Except that Serena has THAT serve.

cehowardrx7
Feb 12th, 2010, 04:24 AM
IMO, I wouldn't say it was "bad" footwork, because the RESULTS is the scale on which something is judged. Her winnings don't dictate that she has something bad. If she did have something bad, then other players with much less wins/titles, are much, much worse.

In all sports you have orthodox forms that go against the grain. The text book is not always right. I use bad form on the racetrack, and beat my buddy out who has text book form. At the pistol range, I use some in correct forms, but I still score in the 10 ring. I said all that to say "Bad Footwork" is subjective and not written in stone.

Sheesh, I am old enough to recall that they said "what goes up must come down", now ya all know dat ain't true nowadays!! :lol:

Not only that, Serena has to have something bad in her style or she would never lose a game, set or match.. And then the Haters wouldn't have a life!!!http://www.cehoward.net/badteeth%5b1%5d.gif

PlayByPlay
Feb 12th, 2010, 05:10 AM
Serena has bad foot work. I wouldn't say that either I mean every player may have a little fault. Its not stopping her from winning either.

spencercarlos
Feb 12th, 2010, 05:22 AM
Its not a myth, she actually moves awkward at times, and she seems very lazy when she is stretched out, like not being commited to running IMO. This is from that could be seen from Serena, definetly pretty different to her 1998-2003 fitness form, which it was very very difficult to get to double digit winners (10) against her.

That being said, nowadays Serena compensates so much with her strokes, she gets to the shots and hits it very hard and close to the lines, quickly overcoming a defensive position and turning it into an offensive possition.

spencercarlos
Feb 12th, 2010, 05:33 AM
Did Seles have a classic "technique" ? No.
Was Graf's technique better than Seles ? Probably yes.
Was Graf better than Seles at their peaks ? No.

Same applies for Serena vs Henin. (Except that Serena's serve is technically the best ever).
When reading you asking this question yourself and then answering with the word "Probably", pretty much can ignore the rest of your posts on the matter.

As much as i love both players its pretty obvious that Graf had way better tecnique than Seles, i can actually name 4 or 5 strokes that Graf had on her repertory that Seles looked pretty average or never even dare to hit sucessfully on a consistent basis on her carreer. What Seles had was an amazing mental fortitude, probably the best ever before the stabbing.

spencercarlos
Feb 12th, 2010, 05:35 AM
Not sure about that. Seles was not as good mentally as before.
Graf may have been rather at her peak in 1988/89 when she rarely lost a match to anyone EXCEPT DEAR GABRIELA SABATINI (3 times) and beat Navratilova in the Wimbledon finals while giving out beadsticks to her.
Corrected it for you. :devil:

LoveFifteen
Feb 12th, 2010, 05:37 AM
actually Serena has the best footwork in the game. however, in terms of pure footwork, setting up for the shot, and positioning, she's the best in my book.

I must respectfully disagree. There are several women on tour with superior footwork. Alternatively, there is no one on tour with a superior serve.

Thanks guys. I understand far better now.
This is what I gather so far...

1) Serena doesn't have "bad" footwork per say. However, comparatively, and for an elite player, her footwork is poor.
2) Minute foot positioning / placement isn't exact, so she mis-hits and generates high UE counts. (though I haven’t found this to always be the case) :scratch:
3) Her ability to compensate (through sheer athleticism---contorting her body) saves her.
4) Poor footwork isn't a constant with her. Though IF something were to "go off", it would be her footwork.
5) Lena's backhand sometimes makes miffedmax :sobbing:

Hmm...?
I have to go back and look at her past matches because something still seems amiss.
It’s odd because foot work is such an essential part of any player’s game that everything else would have to be far far superior for Serena to overcome such a basic technical deficit.

Serena is a phenomenal player who has already achieved an astoundingly successful tennis career. Her game is stellar. That being said, her footwork is probably the "least glittering" part of her brilliant game. It doesn't mean that her footwork is atrocious. It's just not outstanding, like her GOAT serve and her powerful ground game. Not only does Serena's strength help her to hit great shots when her footwork is less-than-perfect, but Serena actually also has incredibly elite improvisational shot-making ability. I think this skill is even more important than her strength in countering her lapses in footwork.

It would be completely unfair to say that Serena has atrocious footwork, but makes up for it with her strength and GOAT serve. She has perfectly adequate footwork for an elite tennis player. It's not among the most dazzling on tour, but it's often perfectly adequate because Serena has very good improvisational shot-making ability.

The Witch-king
Feb 12th, 2010, 06:34 AM
I have to ask because I constantly read posts here, and Blogs around the net claiming that Serena has "bad" footwork.

Sorry folks, but this fan just doesn't buy into the negative hype. :shrug:

Now, I will admit that there are times when Serena's demonstrated 'sluggishness' during the onset of her matches; and then moving like the wind during the latter stages of a match. So maybe that's what people are mis-identifying.
Is this the bad footwork people speak of?

It should be noted that Serena's is usually wrapped when people make these statements, so maybe folks forget that legs injuries require more effort on the part of the athlete to get one's body positioned.

Let me put it another way...
In ANY sport, to excel at their craft, as Serena has done in tennis, an elite athlete must be able to move efficiently enough to place oneself in a position to adequately respond to an opponents [serve, return, volley, etc...). In fact, a champion MUST be able to move better than his/her opponent.
It's not as if Serena stumbles into a return and ...oops...it went over the net.

If Serena were suffering from "bad footwork" as is so often suggested, then how is she able to win so convincingly, and sometime, incredibly (as in being down several match points) to defeat her opponents?

Sorry, but this idea of bad footwork ranks up there with the many other fallacies incorrectly attached to Serena over a couple of decades.

So let's be honest here folks...
What about Serena's footwork makes it "bad"?

I need to understand the pure unadulterated technique and analysis involved here so that I can identify "good" footwork, as opposed to "bad" footwork.


Oh, and one other thing...
Serena clearly isn't as quick as she once was pre-knee surgery, but she still gets to the ball mighty fast and positions herself for the return nowadays. So what gives?
She's a half-step to a full-step slower than she demonstarted during her domination years, yet she plays better than she used to and has a higher winning percentage????

Sorry, but something is very wrong with this equation.
And some honesty, preferably from a tennis coach, would be greatly appreciated.

it's not a myth. Sometimes Serena literally just stands there facing the net to hit a backhand. She doesn't make any adjustments or try to get in a good position to hit the ball. She just stands there and swings. Often times the ball is short or an error and depending on the quality of opponent they will take advantage. She seems to have gotten it under control now but if u want to see horrible footwork go watch Sydney 09 and early stages of AO 09

supergrunt
Feb 12th, 2010, 06:37 AM
i think a lot of u don't know what you're talking about :rolleyes:

The Witch-king
Feb 12th, 2010, 06:47 AM
IMO, I wouldn't say it was "bad" footwork, because the RESULTS is the scale on which something is judged. Her winnings don't dictate that she has something bad. If she did have something bad, then other players with much less wins/titles, are much, much worse.

In all sports you have orthodox forms that go against the grain. The text book is not always right. I use bad form on the racetrack, and beat my buddy out who has text book form. At the pistol range, I use some in correct forms, but I still score in the 10 ring. I said all that to say "Bad Footwork" is subjective and not written in stone.

Sheesh, I am old enough to recall that they said "what goes up must come down", now ya all know dat ain't true nowadays!! :lol:

Not only that, Serena has to have something bad in her style or she would never lose a game, set or match.. And then the Haters wouldn't have a life!!!http://www.cehoward.net/badteeth%5b1%5d.gif

serena has bad footwork at non slams and she doesn't win those :)

supergrunt
Feb 12th, 2010, 06:47 AM
There's no denying that Henin's technique is superior to both Williams sisters. Of course, whether or not Henin's groundstrokes are better is debateable, but even the bigggest WS fans would admit they don't have a classic technique. Not that "technique" is actually here or there.

how?

The Witch-king
Feb 12th, 2010, 06:50 AM
i think a lot of u don't know what you're talking about :rolleyes:

i think you've watched a lot of slamrena recently. If she is still in her 09 mentality regarding non slams then it will be like seeing a totally different player when we next see her on court

Tennisstar86
Feb 12th, 2010, 09:05 AM
it's not a myth. Sometimes Serena literally just stands there facing the net to hit a backhand. She doesn't make any adjustments or try to get in a good position to hit the ball. She just stands there and swings. Often times the ball is short or an error and depending on the quality of opponent they will take advantage. She seems to have gotten it under control now but if u want to see horrible footwork go watch Sydney 09 and early stages of AO 09

This. lol at the people saying Serena has the best footwork in the game.... Sure She knows how to move, but the majority of the time shes content to stand flat foot and swing.... When Justine rallied off all those games in the final it was because she stopped hitting the ball at Serena and actually made her move.....

Anyone can sit there and swing at the ball.... When Justine plays (and i hate justine....its no secret) notice when she hits the ball shes already back in the center of the court before it crosses the net. Serena when on the run is still trying to correct herself... This isnt good footwork....Serena & Venus are fast, but they do Not have good footwork... Serena is worse because she gets lazy out there...

bandabou
Feb 12th, 2010, 09:26 AM
I said in that post that Henin's superior technique doesn't actually MATTER. I'm certainly not one who gives a crap about technique or how "unorthodox" someone's game is... if it's getting the results then that's all that matters (which is why I'm seemingly one of Wozniacki's only defenders on here). I was merely calling Supergrunt on his attack on Mary Carillo (seriously, why are some Serena fans SO obsessed with her?), when what she said is indisputably correct - Henin DOES have superior technique. Off the ground, that is; I agree Serena's serve is probably the most fluid and technically-sound ever.

(Although, as an aside, it's very debateable whether Graf and Seles were ever at their peaks simultaneously... I guess that's a debate for another day though.)


No problemos..as long as you don't go around talking about Juju being greater than Serena.

bandabou
Feb 12th, 2010, 09:29 AM
The weakest part of her game..she CAN be lazy. No denying that..but the other aspects of her game are so strong, that her footwork really only gets tested on clay.

BuTtErFrEnA
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:43 AM
This. lol at the people saying Serena has the best footwork in the game.... Sure She knows how to move, but the majority of the time shes content to stand flat foot and swing.... When Justine rallied off all those games in the final it was because she stopped hitting the ball at Serena and actually made her move.....

Anyone can sit there and swing at the ball.... When Justine plays (and i hate justine....its no secret) notice when she hits the ball shes already back in the center of the court before it crosses the net. Serena when on the run is still trying to correct herself... This isnt good footwork....Serena & Venus are fast, but they do Not have good footwork... Serena is worse because she gets lazy out there...

and when she's not being lazy she has some of the best :shrug: if it was so bad she wouldn't be winning against those that have that superior footwork...serena may have average footwork, but as i stated, once serena is in the right frame of mind she gets back into the centre of the court same way jh does...there's no real secret here...much like all of serena's game, footwork depends on her mentality: the same player who dfs on mp to stosur rips her to shreds serving up a storm...once people accept that about her then there wouldn't really be any "myth" to dispel

Midnight_Robber
Feb 12th, 2010, 12:03 PM
Thing is that no-one (thus far) has been able to consistently move Serena around or push her back in a match from beginning to end and make her pay for her lack of footwork. I've watched Serena and she is very conservative with her movement (especially on slow hard-courts) and sometimes she is dead stationary unless someone forces the issue.

When it happens, she can look awkward. Elena at Wimbledon last year had her on the run and kept pushing her back by hitting deep - but Serena served her way out of trouble and always had her ace in the hole - her mental fortitude and her ability to raise her game and drill her groundstrokes when she needs to. On the big stage, I will always go with Serena over Elena but when I watch them play, even if Elena loses it's obvious to me that she has a style of game that asks questions of Serena's footwork. We see flashes of it against Venus in almost all of their matches - particularly on those points that turn into running contests. And it was even more visible against Azarenka at the AO who kept hitting it at her feet and forcing Serena to get out of her own way. But she could only manage it for a set and a bit and had no answers once Serena went into warrior mode.

But it seems to me that anybody who is serious about having a shot at beating her will need to hone their return game (in order to hang with her serve), ensure that their own serve is as good as it can be, and would need to consistently target the footwork and force her to move and keep exponentially piling on the pressure in this resepct. And on top of that they'd need to absolutely gun for break points instead of getting tight on those points. And clearly it's all easier said than done.

bandabou
Feb 12th, 2010, 12:24 PM
Thing is that no-one (thus far) has been able to consistently move Serena around or push her back in a match from beginning to end and make her pay for her lack of footwork. I've watched Serena and she is very conservative with her movement (especially on slow hard-courts) and sometimes she is dead stationary unless someone forces the issue.

When it happens, she can look awkward. Elena at Wimbledon last year had her on the run and kept pushing her back by hitting deep - but Serena served her way out of trouble and always had her ace in the hole - her mental fortitude and her ability to raise her game and drill her groundstrokes when she needs to. On the big stage, I will always go with Serena over Elena but when I watch them play, even if Elena loses it's obvious to me that she has a style of game that asks questions of Serena's footwork. We see flashes of it against Venus in almost all of their matches - particularly on those points that turn into running contests. And it was even more visible against Azarenka at the AO who kept hitting it at her feet and forcing Serena to get out of her own way. But she could only manage it for a set and a bit and had no answers once Serena went into warrior mode.

But it seems to me that anybody who is serious about having a shot at beating her will need to hone their return game (in order to hang with her serve), ensure that their own serve is as good as it can be, and would need to consistently target the footwork and force her to move and keep exponentially piling on the pressure in this resepct. And on top of that they'd need to absolutely gun for break points instead of getting tight on those points. And clearly it's all easier said than done.


Intersting..and I guess that's why Serena's the greatest of the past decade. She just puts her opponents against such a challenge, specially ib BIG matches.

miffedmax
Feb 12th, 2010, 01:59 PM
Well, I would also add this...I think that Serena's footwork is not horrible, but it's not the best and she just compensate for it. The downside to that has been the injuries. Good footwork and positioning can reduce the amount of strain on your body when you hit shots.

It's a not a 100% guarantee (or Henin would have never been hurt a day in her life) but it does make a difference. I know she was from a different era, but for example no one had better foot work than Evert, and Evert's whole game was about 20+ stroke rallies.

IMHO, the one thing that MAY (and it's obviously too soon to say as Serena isn't done yet) hold her back when being compared to some of the other greats is Serena's inability to dominate on a week-to-week basis, which could be an indirect result of her footwork. Of course, it may also be that's impossible to do in the modern game, as it seems that women who play with consistency (Lena, JJ, Caro jump to my mind) seem to run out of gas at slams and the women who win slams (Ree, Venus, TOB, Justine) all seem to end up with either voluntary or forced time off. (Mauresmo and Davenport were the exceptions, but they were really holdovers from the '90s in a lot of ways).

It will be interesting to see how it plays out over the next generation or two.

Sam L
Feb 12th, 2010, 02:16 PM
I don't think anyone would seriously say that Serena has outright 'bad' footwork. If they do, they are misguided. She has inconsistent footwork, but that's not the same as bad footwork. It's particularly inconsistent on clay, which goes with the territory, but it has good moments as well.

Serena can go from point to point, game to game, with completely different footwork. She frequently doesn't NEED to take the little tiny steps as much as others do, largely because she can hit the ball pretty well from a lot of similar positions and locations, and her timing and hand-eye coordination are so good that she maintains a fairly consistent contact point without always needing the little steps. She can hit off-balance shots better than just about anyone I've ever seen. The trade off is, she can get a little lazy and not want to take the tiny steps in matches when she really, REALLY needs to (vs. Azarenka for a set and a half comes to mind).

But look at Serena at her most devastating, it's all about the little steps. Part of what made her able to devour the tour in 2002 was the fact that she took those tiny steps in every single match. When someone describes Serena as sluggish, it's not that she's slow; it's that she's not quick off the mark, and that's a function of being in stride-it-out mode rather than baby-steps mode.

Some players (Henin comes to mind) have virtually perfect footwork. I've almost never seen Henin off-balance, and it's because she takes those little steps all the time. Serena can get off balance and compensate for it against lesser players. Against her fellow top 10ers, it's a little more complicated.

I agree with this. There are times where she's been in tough matches and I'm thinking what you've said right here.

cehowardrx7
Feb 12th, 2010, 04:18 PM
serena has bad footwork at non slams and she doesn't win those :)

Pardon me, but I am old, and senility has set in. With that said, I am trying dam hard to understand your reply! Dam hard. I said, she has an otherdox style, and in reality, the results are the real gauge of what you are doing right or wrong. I said her results show that she is doing more right then wrong. You state "serena has bad footwork at non slams and she doesn't win those".. Pardon me, but that statement fell on air.

On air means, trying to say something and saying NOTHING!!

Correct me if I am wrong, because I am trying hard, very hard to see something in your reply. As of right now, all I see is NOTHING! :cool:

cehowardrx7
Feb 12th, 2010, 04:22 PM
Intersting..and I guess that's why Serena's the greatest of the past decade. She just puts her opponents against such a challenge, specially ib BIG matches.

I think when they do the counting and judging just like in Golf, they go with with the how many MAJORS, in tennis they go with how many SLAMS.

Serena is closing in on records. If she has so called bad footwork, in my humble old opinion, the rest of the field better get busy and start copying her footwork style... :lol:

pov
Feb 12th, 2010, 04:35 PM
Interesting. I've never seen or heard anyone claim Serena Williams had poor footwork - not bloggers, not media, in fact I usually read/hear just the opposite.

faboozadoo15
Feb 12th, 2010, 04:37 PM
I think when they do the counting and judging just like in Golf, they go with with the how many MAJORS, in tennis they go with how many SLAMS.

Serena is closing in on records. If she has so called bad footwork, in my humble old opinion, the rest of the field better get busy and start copying her footwork style... :lol:

You're missing the point. Many players do indeed have better footwork than Serena. But few have such devastating weapons-- the serve for example.

If players were to copy Serena, could they please start with her service motion? We can only hope.

spartanfan
Feb 12th, 2010, 05:17 PM
Serena's "bad footwork" has gotten her 12 Grand Slam titles. Look at all the players currently on tour who would love to exchange their "good" or "perfect" footwork with Serena- all of them probably. I think critics just look for small things to criticize Serena about. If her footwork was so bad or such a hindrance or "that important" to her game, she would not be the #1 player in the world holding two GS titles and have 12 GS titles overall or have won 4 GS in a row. How many players execute every part of their game 100% of the time? Absolutely no one. Let's move on. Serena may not be perfect, but she's the most complete player in the womans game.

Matt01
Feb 12th, 2010, 05:27 PM
Congrats, spartanfan, for completely missing the point of this thread :yeah:

LoveFifteen
Feb 12th, 2010, 07:54 PM
How can people have logic so poor as to state that Serena's twelve Slam titles equal outstanding footwork? :unsure:

If someone stated that Chris Evert's serve was mediocre, would we say that her 18 Slam titles beg to differ? For an elite player, Evert's serve was not outstanding. It was her consistency, her defense, her mental strength, her court craft, her touch, and her GOAT passing shots that shined! Her serve was not elite.

It's the same with Serena's footwork. Her footwork is not brilliant. It isn't dazzling like Henin's, Hingis's or Evert's. It does not cause your jaw to drop. Her serve and shot-making, on the other hand, never cease to make me say, "Daaaaamn!" She is certainly the greatest of her generation, and an all-time great, but it's not because of her footwork. In fact, you should take it as a compliment to Serena that she can hit such remarkable shots even when she is off balance. Relatively weak players like Hingis or Evert simply cannot be off balance and hope to do anything productive with the ball. :shrug:

tonybotz
Feb 12th, 2010, 08:12 PM
How can people have logic so poor as to state that Serena's twelve Slam titles equal outstanding footwork? :unsure:

If someone stated that Chris Evert's serve was mediocre, would we say that her 18 Slam titles beg to differ? For an elite player, Evert's serve was not outstanding. It was her consistency, her defense, her mental strength, her court craft, her touch, and her GOAT passing shots that shined! Her serve was not elite.

It's the same with Serena's footwork. Her footwork is not brilliant. It isn't dazzling like Henin's, Hingis's or Evert's. It does not cause your jaw to drop. Her serve and shot-making, on the other hand, never cease to make me say, "Daaaaamn!" She is certainly the greatest of her generation, and an all-time great, but it's not because of her footwork. In fact, you should take it as a compliment to Serena that she can hit such remarkable shots even when she is off balance. Relatively weak players like Hingis or Evert simply cannot be off balance and hope to do anything productive with the ball. :shrug:

actually evert's serve was NOT mediocre. you don't win 18 slams with a mediocre serve. evert never missed, and rarely ever double faulted. consistent , yes, but in an area which consistency is paramount.

LoveFifteen
Feb 12th, 2010, 08:36 PM
actually evert's serve was NOT mediocre. you don't win 18 slams with a mediocre serve. evert never missed, and rarely ever double faulted. consistent , yes, but in an area which consistency is paramount.

Okay, whatever you say, person who thinks Serena has the best footwork on tour. :tape:

cehowardrx7
Feb 12th, 2010, 08:44 PM
How can people have logic so poor as to state that Serena's twelve Slam titles equal outstanding footwork? :unsure:


The poor logic is coming from wacky opinons such as yours. In addition, I will give you proof that your opinion is wacky. First of all, nobody is perfect. Second, in all sports, you have athletes the go beyond just being great, they become legends, icon, and superstars. Such as Jack Nicalaus in golf, Babe Ruth in Baseball, etc. With all of the great legends, nothing is PERFECT.

So, to come and say that Jack Nicalaus golf swing was not perfect, and others come and say look how many majors he has won, and then you say the amount of majors don't mean he has a good golf swing, is PURE LOGIC COMING FROM HATERS!!

I can't put it any PlAINER. :cool:

cehowardrx7
Feb 12th, 2010, 08:46 PM
Okay, whatever you say, person who thinks Serena has the best footwork on tour. :tape:

Nobody said that Serena had the "best footwork on tour". That is a defense phrase that you haters come up with when confronted with TRUTH & FACTS!!:wavey:

cehowardrx7
Feb 12th, 2010, 08:51 PM
Interesting. I've never seen or heard anyone claim Serena Williams had poor footwork - not bloggers, not media, in fact I usually read/hear just the opposite.

Of course you haven't heard it, because it is pure BS. The "Serena Has Poor Footwork" is a brainchild of the HATERS on the board. :lol:

I get laughgitis from reading the threads around here...Right about now, it is a bad time for the William Sisters Haters...:lol:

My Lord, if Justine had won, they would be crowing all over the place, instead, they set around and dream up pure BULLSHIT, and then have the nerve to post that chit!!:lol:

If Serena or Venus wins another slams, there might be a few heart attacks around here...:help:

Rollo
Feb 12th, 2010, 08:52 PM
I'll go on record as saying she has "bad" footwork. Even a Serena has a weakness, and getting out of her own way at times is hard for her. Technically Serena is extremely sound off the ground, unlike a Venus or a Clijsters where forehands can fly yards long when the timing is off with the contact point. When Serena's timing of off it usually her feet.

Saying she has "bad" footwork is relative of course. It's probably better than most of the tour by far. But clearly some areas are stronger than others, and footwork wopuld not be Serena's strength.

Matt01
Feb 12th, 2010, 09:04 PM
The poor logic is coming from wacky opinons such as yours. In addition, I will give you proof that your opinion is wacky. First of all, nobody is perfect. Second, in all sports, you have athletes the go beyond just being great, they become legends, icon, and superstars. Such as Jack Nicalaus in golf, Babe Ruth in Baseball, etc. With all of the great legends, nothing is PERFECT.

So, to come and say that Jack Nicalaus golf swing was not perfect, and others come and say look how many majors he has won, and then you say the amount of majors don't mean he has a good golf swing, is PURE LOGIC COMING FROM HATERS!!

I can't put it any PlAINER. :cool:


You're wrong. I can't put it any plainer :)

OsloErik
Feb 12th, 2010, 09:28 PM
The poor logic is coming from wacky opinons such as yours. In addition, I will give you proof that your opinion is wacky. First of all, nobody is perfect. Second, in all sports, you have athletes the go beyond just being great, they become legends, icon, and superstars. Such as Jack Nicalaus in golf, Babe Ruth in Baseball, etc. With all of the great legends, nothing is PERFECT.

So, to come and say that Jack Nicalaus golf swing was not perfect, and others come and say look how many majors he has won, and then you say the amount of majors don't mean he has a good golf swing, is PURE LOGIC COMING FROM HATERS!!

I can't put it any PlAINER :cool:

You're equating two different things. I'm no golfer, but I'm pretty sure the swing is about 50% of the game. In tennis, footwork simply isn't the be-all and end-all. You can compensate in areas that you are weaker in with areas you are stronger in. Graf didn't have a great backhand but compensated with terrific footwork, a huge forehand, and a very good serve.

Serena's footwork isn't the best on tour, and it isn't the worst on tour; it falls in the middle. But because tennis is a component of more than just one or two elements, Serena can get around that slight flaw. And it's not even a true flaw; it's just an inconsistent element. Sometimes she has wonderful footwork, other times she doesn't adjust. Serena's top 5 all-time hand-eye coordination lets her compensate for being out of position, and her serve keeps her competitive until she wakes up her feet. I think Serena herself would admit that her footwork isn't her strong suit; it isn't the reason she's won 12 majors and counting. It's been a positive component, and it's almost always been on fire when she's winning, but if anything it's the one part of her game that has hampered her assault on Evert-Navratilova-Graf class numbers.

Matt01
Feb 12th, 2010, 09:35 PM
You're equating two different things. I'm no golfer, but I'm pretty sure the swing is about 50% of the game. In tennis, footwork simply isn't the be-all and end-all. You can compensate in areas that you are weaker in with areas you are stronger in. Graf didn't have a great backhand but compensated with terrific footwork, a huge forehand, and a very good serve.


Graf's backhand is not a very good example here IMO because:

1) A groundstroke is more important than footwork in tennis.
2) Graf's backhand (especially her backhand slice) was maybe not "great" but it was very good.

Midnight_Robber
Feb 12th, 2010, 09:42 PM
I think when they do the counting and judging just like in Golf, they go with with the how many MAJORS, in tennis they go with how many SLAMS.

Serena is closing in on records. If she has so called bad footwork, in my humble old opinion, the rest of the field better get busy and start copying her footwork style... :lol:

:rolleyes: The original OP asked posters to explain why there is a "myth" about Serena's footwork, and a number of posters have chimed in, have legitimately questioned what qualifies as genuinely "bad" but many have also concluded that it's not a 'myth' because the claim has some basis in reality. Serena has won slams despite it in some cases, and has flat-out dominated the tour when her footwork was disciplined and in order. (And even then it was clear that she had worked incredibly hard on it.) But her footwork has always been an issue - either something to overcome, to rigidly keep in check, or to compensate for. Once the WS came along, other players have emulated the open stance, the swing volleys, the out-and-out aggression, and the emphasis on fitness, power, serving big - but face it, nobody is going to try and deliberately emulate either sister's footwork.

I'm sure alot of players wouldn't object to being able to rack up the speed Venus can generate on her first serve, but they aint' going to want the DFs, the inconsistency or her second serve. Sure Evert's serve was consistent. So was Pete Sampras'. So was Serena's. Guess which serves I'd rather have?

People might try to learn to serve like Serena (and wouldn't that be something), or up their intensity on the big points (which would improve the women's game immensely) but they are not going to aspire to *that* footwork even if she racked up another 12 slams. Nobody is going to want the weakest aspect of another player's game even if that player is great. (Look at Graf and Seles. Which one of them has more slams? Yet, which one of them has the backhand that has influenced an entire generation of players, including the WS? It's not about Seles being better, or more successful than Graf, but about that specific aspect of her game being stronger. But while Seles' backhand has influenced subsequent players, who is consciously aiming to imitate Seles' movement or fitness? :rolleyes:) It's as if some people are struggling to accept that although Serena's got the records, she's also human so not every last aspect of her game is stellar and that some parts are better than others.

That's true of Laver, Federer Graf, and even Margaret Court.

The sense that I'm getting from her more ardent supporters is that this isn't a discussion 'worth' having because Serena is so successful, that it should just be glossed over ("Let's move on"), that it's nitpicking or anti-Serena to even notice it, and so forth. We've even had at least one assertion in this thread that despite all evidence to the contrary that she 'actually' has the best footwork in the women's game (because she's won the most slams). :shrug:

Anyway, very good post MiffedMax. I feel exactly the same way.

LoveFifteen
Feb 12th, 2010, 10:16 PM
The poor logic is coming from wacky opinons such as yours. In addition, I will give you proof that your opinion is wacky. First of all, nobody is perfect. Second, in all sports, you have athletes the go beyond just being great, they become legends, icon, and superstars. Such as Jack Nicalaus in golf, Babe Ruth in Baseball, etc. With all of the great legends, nothing is PERFECT.

So, to come and say that Jack Nicalaus golf swing was not perfect, and others come and say look how many majors he has won, and then you say the amount of majors don't mean he has a good golf swing, is PURE LOGIC COMING FROM HATERS!!

I can't put it any PlAINER. :cool:

Firstly, I am not a hater. I have already stated that Serena has many aspects of her game which are outstandingly good. I believe that she possess some tennis skills and qualities which are the Greatest of All Time. How much more complimentary do I need to be? Do I have to say that she has the best everything (volleys, dropshots, lobs, half volleys, angles, backhand slices, topspin, etc.) in order to avoid being a hater?

My opinion is not wacky, and your analogy with Jack Nicklaus is not solid. The golf swing is probably the most fundamental skill of golf. Footwork is not the most fundamental skill of tennis. It is merely one aspect of the game. Serena does not have horrible footwork. I have already stated this several times. She merely does not possess the most elite footwork compared to some other top players. Why is that opinion so controversial or hateful? :unsure:

What else explains why Serena's results on clay are not as stellar as her results on other surfaces? If it's not her footwork, then what quality in her game makes it harder for her to win on clay?

Nobody said that Serena had the "best footwork on tour". That is a defense phrase that you haters come up with when confronted with TRUTH & FACTS!!:wavey:

Actually, the poster that I replied to wrote that he thought Serena's footwork was the best on tour. You can go back and see his/her post for yourself. :shrug:

moby
Feb 12th, 2010, 10:36 PM
Guys, Serena has the greatest everything in the history of tennis. Serve, forehand, backhand, volley, dropshot, footwork, speed, mental strength movement return of serve fashion earrings smile victory speech post match conference hotel decoration etc.

She's absolutely flawless.

Occasionally she loses, but that's another sign of her greatness because she's so charitable. She likes to give other people a few shots at victory. Yeah.

Dunlop1
Feb 12th, 2010, 10:49 PM
Guys, Serena has the greatest everything in the history of tennis. Serve, forehand, backhand, volley, dropshot, footwork, speed, mental strength movement return of serve fashion earrings smile victory speech post match conference hotel decoration etc.

She's absolutely flawless.

Occasionally she loses, but that's another sign of her greatness because she's so charitable. She likes to give other people a few shots at victory. Yeah.

lol

Dave.
Feb 12th, 2010, 10:50 PM
1) A groundstroke is more important than footwork in tennis.


Well not really because the footwork that goes into a shot usually determines the quality of the groundstroke anyway. One of the reasons Graf's FH is the best shot in the history of the game IS because of her footwork. I'd say it's the most important aspect of the ground game. You can talk about a forehand, a backhand, movement, but it's footwork that puts it all together.


Regarding Serena's footwork, of course it's all relative when people call it "bad". There are times when she does only take a couple of steps to the ball instead of the 4-5 extra that might be needed. And there are times where she moves her feet slower. Again it's all relative. Serena's footwork is good when she is able to make the adjustments, it's just not among the very best unlike many other aspects of her game. It is one of the few areas that can be looked at as a "weakness" if she has one, and why some players find more success hitting to her rather than moving her around.

Matt01
Feb 12th, 2010, 10:53 PM
Graf's forehand is not the best shot in the history of the game :o

Dunlop1
Feb 12th, 2010, 10:56 PM
Graf's forehand is not the best shot in the history of the game :o

No, it's Federer's forehand.

Dave.
Feb 12th, 2010, 10:58 PM
Graf's forehand is not the best shot in the history of the game :o

Well it's a good shot. You get my point...

moby
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:03 PM
No, it's Federer's forehand.It might actually be Karlovic's serve.

He pretty much reached Top 15 in the world with a club level game and GOAT serve.

LoveFifteen
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:03 PM
No, it's Federer's forehand.

And if there were ever a person who emulated FLAWLESS footwork, it would be The Mighty Fed. :hearts:

Dunlop1
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:06 PM
And if there were ever a person who emulated FLAWLESS footwork, it would be The Mighty Fed. :hearts:

He GLIDES on the court. Truly AMAZE footwork.
Notice he rarely is injured.

latte
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:09 PM
Guys, Serena has the greatest everything in the history of tennis. Serve, forehand, backhand, volley, dropshot, footwork, speed, mental strength movement return of serve fashion earrings smile victory speech post match conference hotel decoration etc.

She's absolutely flawless.

Occasionally she loses, but that's another sign of her greatness because she's so charitable. She likes to give other people a few shots at victory. Yeah.

:rolls: I know. Her fans so want everyone to feel the same way they do - it's very sad that they want everyone's approval of her :sad: :lol:

latte
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:11 PM
Nobody said that Serena had the "best footwork on tour". That is a defense phrase that you haters come up with when confronted with TRUTH & FACTS!!:wavey:

WRONG!!! lol

READ THE WHOLE THREAD :wavey:

frenchie
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:13 PM
I'm a big fan but I have to admit she has a bad footwork

latte
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:13 PM
It might actually be Karlovic's serve.

He pretty much reached Top 15 in the world with a club level game and GOAT serve.

Haterz - Serena's serve is 5000 times better than Karlovic's :mad: :p

Dunlop1
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:25 PM
It might actually be Karlovic's serve.

He pretty much reached Top 15 in the world with a club level game and GOAT serve.

About 4/5 yrs ago I got to watch Karlovic in a private practice session. That serve is MASSIVE. It is hard but jumps SO high even on the flat delivery.

That being said, Sampras has the GOAT serve.

RVD
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:26 PM
Firstly, I appreciate the insightful explanation and analysis from everyone here.
I firs became a regular viewer of tennis during the Seles (pre-stabbing) years. After the stabbing, I discovered other interests. I'm no coach and I don't play professional. I then became a hardcore fan when Venus hit the tour.
I've only played recreationally, while my children took regular coaching lessons. I only mention this last part because one poster stated that I must know nothing about tennis if I have to ask the question.
I have to be forthcoming and let it be known that I do in fact possess some tennis knowledge, and in starting this thread, sought an honest discussion of Serena's strength and weaknesses. Which I believe we achieved, given that fact that the thread survived.
I believe that we now have also witnessed posters who are/were regularly dismissive of Serena, or downright illogical in their opinions of her, calmly discussing and posting objective and thought-provoking critiques. And for that I’m grateful.

TOPIC-WISE:
I personally believe that the footwork "myth" exists in the description itself. Serena doesn't possess "BAD" footwork, but rather "INCONSISTENT" footwork.
This becomes glaringly apparent when she loses concentration, is injured, or is particularly upset during a match. I've witnessed on past taped where a pissed off Serena can spray balls with regularity; while a calm and intense Serena can produce very good footwork results.
Though I'm a hardcore Serena fan, I would never describe her as the perfect tennis player. I will, however, defend the fact that her style works for her "body type" in a game where girls her size and stature are just not commonplace.

Anyway, thanks again for the great replies and (in some cases) even more stellar analysis folks. :wavey:

Dunlop1
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:29 PM
It might actually be Karlovic's serve.

He pretty much reached Top 15 in the world with a club level game...

:weirdo:
I know you were being hyperbolic but Karlovic game is the farthest thing from club level.

Stamp Paid
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:34 PM
Just look at how often Serena is off balance when hitting her shots :lol:
that shows you how her footwork can go awry sometimes. When you see Serena taking those huge lunges to the ball or having to improvise last minute because shes in the way of the ball, thats showing you her lack of footwork. Look at her movement to the backhand corner, this is part of what makes her movement to the backhand side so attackable. She can't get her feet into position quickly enough to come around the ball. Remember those 360 backhands Serena used to hit? :drool::sad:

Back in 2002-03 her footwork was impeccable (watch any of her clay matches from those years), and from 2004-mid 2005 her footwork was lacking, but she had enough speed to make up for it. Now, she no longer has that speed and her footwork troubles can be seen more clearly. Plus when shes tight, her feet turn into lead and her footwork becomes a glaring weakness (see the first set of Miami final 2007, The first set and a half of her 2010 QF vs Azarenka for examples). Serena even hits some shots flat footed during those tight times :lol:

So its not BAD, but its definitely her most glaring weakness.

spencercarlos
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:37 PM
Graf's backhand is not a very good example here IMO because:

1) A groundstroke is more important than footwork in tennis.
2) Graf's backhand (especially her backhand slice) was maybe not "great" but it was very good.
Are you kidding me? Graf had easily the best slice ever on the womens game.

She was able to held up some of the greatest players in the game and won 22 grand slams. Of course it was not a devastating winner machine but it was a great shot.

As for her forehand Graf´s forehand is one of the top 2 or 3 best forehands in the game, in fact i can´t think of one being better than hers IMO.

harloo
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:37 PM
I don't think anyone would seriously say that Serena has outright 'bad' footwork. If they do, they are misguided. She has inconsistent footwork, but that's not the same as bad footwork. It's particularly inconsistent on clay, which goes with the territory, but it has good moments as well.

Serena can go from point to point, game to game, with completely different footwork. She frequently doesn't NEED to take the little tiny steps as much as others do, largely because she can hit the ball pretty well from a lot of similar positions and locations, and her timing and hand-eye coordination are so good that she maintains a fairly consistent contact point without always needing the little steps. She can hit off-balance shots better than just about anyone I've ever seen. The trade off is, she can get a little lazy and not want to take the tiny steps in matches when she really, REALLY needs to (vs. Azarenka for a set and a half comes to mind).

But look at Serena at her most devastating, it's all about the little steps. Part of what made her able to devour the tour in 2002 was the fact that she took those tiny steps in every single match. When someone describes Serena as sluggish, it's not that she's slow; it's that she's not quick off the mark, and that's a function of being in stride-it-out mode rather than baby-steps mode.

Some players (Henin comes to mind) have virtually perfect footwork. I've almost never seen Henin off-balance, and it's because she takes those little steps all the time. Serena can get off balance and compensate for it against lesser players. Against her fellow top 10ers, it's a little more complicated.

Excellent Post!! This is by far the best explanation in this thread. I agree with you 100%.

harloo
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:40 PM
:rolls: I know. Her fans so want everyone to feel the same way they do - it's very sad that they want everyone's approval of her :sad: :lol:

:rolleyes: Obviously, you haven't read the entire thread. But what can we expect from a Justine troll?:o

Matt01
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:41 PM
Are you kidding me? Graf had easily the best slice ever on the womens game.

She was able to held up some of the greatest players in the game and won 22 grand slams. Of course it was not a devastating winner machine but it was a great shot.


That was my point :p
Graf's backhand slice was one of the reasons why she was so successfull. Her backhand overall was arguably not "great" because didn't hit many winners with that slice and her topspin backhand was often good but often not that great.

Sam L
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:42 PM
Firstly, I appreciate the insightful explanation and analysis from everyone here.
I firs became a regular viewer of tennis during the Seles (pre-stabbing) years. After the stabbing, I discovered other interests. I'm no coach and I don't play professional. I then became a hardcore fan when Venus hit the tour.
I've only played recreationally, while my children took regular coaching lessons. I only mention this last part because one poster stated that I must know nothing about tennis if I have to ask the question.
I have to be forthcoming and let it be known that I do in fact possess some tennis knowledge, and in starting this thread, sought an honest discussion of Serena's strength and weaknesses. Which I believe we achieved, given that fact that the thread survived.
I believe that we now have also witnessed posters who are/were regularly dismissive of Serena, or downright illogical in their opinions of her, calmly discussing and posting objective and thought-provoking critiques. And for that I’m grateful.

TOPIC-WISE:
I personally believe that the footwork "myth" exists in the description itself. Serena doesn't possess "BAD" footwork, but rather "INCONSISTENT" footwork.
This becomes glaringly apparent when she loses concentration, is injured, or is particularly upset during a match. I've witnessed on past taped where a pissed off Serena can spray balls with regularity; while a calm and intense Serena can produce very good footwork results.
Though I'm a hardcore Serena fan, I would never describe her as the perfect tennis player. I will, however, defend the fact that her style works for her "body type" in a game where girls her size and stature are just not commonplace.

Anyway, thanks again for the great replies and (in some cases) even more stellar analysis folks. :wavey:

RVD, great post! You and I are very similar except for the children part. Not yet for me. ;)

On topic, Serena is a not a textbook player. I don't like textbook players. I think it's far more interesting to have "her style" as you put it, than to have the textbook footwork, serve etc... That's why the Williams sisters, Seles, Nadal are so interesting for me.

Dunlop1
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:42 PM
Are you familiar with the serve of Bill Tilden?

I have heard of him, his infamous indiscretions and his serve, but I haven't seen any footage of him.

Matt01
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:44 PM
It was in 1988. Ask her opponents. Especially Zvereva in the French Open finals.


I was talking generally and not about one specific year :p


:rolleyes: Obviously, you haven't read the entire thread. But what can we expect from a Justine troll?:o


Those deluded Justine fans :rolleyes:

spencercarlos
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:46 PM
That was my point :p
Graf's backhand slice was one of the reasons why she was so successfull. Her backhand overall was arguably not "great" because didn't hit many winners with that slice and her topspin backhand was often good but often not that great.
Graf´s topspin was indeed bad (not her slice :p ).

The thing is that Graf or it seemed like she found a way to hit a winning shot from that side at the most difficult moments of important matches.

Ask Hingis while she served for RG 1999 or Navratilova while 6-3 4-2 at Usopen 1989, and so on...

Golovinjured.
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:50 PM
I will, however, defend the fact that her style works for her "body type" in a game where girls her size and stature are just not commonplace.

Davenport had amazing footwork around the ball, and she wasn't exactly of slight build.

matty
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:53 PM
Okay, this is partly what I'm looking for. Both a specific explanation and hopefully a full-blown example of "why" she has "bad" footwork.

However, you've already helped me understand one thing. Which is that Serena's footwork isn't "bad", but rather "could be better".

I will return often to check for examples and information on footwork technique.
Thanks.

I think her footwork is fine----at times, though, her legs are like lead weights--like when she's nervous (she said this herself).

OsloErik
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:54 PM
Graf's backhand is not a very good example here IMO because:

1) A groundstroke is more important than footwork in tennis.
2) Graf's backhand (especially her backhand slice) was maybe not "great" but it was very good.

Are you kidding me? Graf had easily the best slice ever on the womens game.

She was able to held up some of the greatest players in the game and won 22 grand slams. Of course it was not a devastating winner machine but it was a great shot.

Sorry, Spencer, he was responding to my (inarticulate) post just prior to his:

Graf didn't have a great backhand but compensated with terrific footwork, a huge forehand, and a very good serve.

I admit wholeheartedly that it was a poorly explained example, but in the context of my discussion with the poster, I meant the following: Graf's backhand was not the skill people adopted. She won points with it by staying in rallies, but it wasn't the shot that REALLY won her matches. I suppose it's not a comparable thing to Serena's footwork, though, because Graf's backhand rarely went off; the only player I can think of who regularly attacked her backhand and managed to break it down was Seles. Graf usually lost because her forehand was misfiring. Serena, on the other hand, DOES lose matches because she gets complacent (much better word than lazy, I think) in her footwork and doesn't adjust quickly. It frequently is the rate limiting factor to her success.

But as you see, in the context I was using and with the poster I was discussing with, I needed the case of "great player with an element to her game that nobody wanted to copy because they found something that worked better", as is the case with Serena's footwork, which he argued wasn't true. I'm rambling.

Well not really because the footwork that goes into a shot usually determines the quality of the groundstroke anyway. One of the reasons Graf's FH is the best shot in the history of the game IS because of her footwork. I'd say it's the most important aspect of the ground game. You can talk about a forehand, a backhand, movement, but it's footwork that puts it all together.

BUT...I suppose that's part of what we're saying about Serena. In a lot of situations against lesser players, she doesn't need to use the nimble footwork because her hand-eye coordination allows her to hit 85% quality strokes from off-balance positions. Against her peers in the power and movement categories, she needs it. I think the precedence of a groundstroke goes hand-eye coordination first, footwork second, technique third.

OsloErik
Feb 12th, 2010, 11:59 PM
Graf´s topspin was indeed bad (not her slice :p ).

The thing is that Graf or it seemed like she found a way to hit a winning shot from that side at the most difficult moments of important matches.

Ask Hingis while she served for RG 1999 or Navratilova while 6-3 4-2 at Usopen 1989, and so on...

That's one of the reasons Graf was such a tremendous champion, and one of the reasons she ranks up there with Evert and Seles 1.0 as the toughest mental competitior. She could find a way to win when her opponent was targeting her backhand SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE she wouldn't win with it.

Evert's forehand did similar things. Her last Fed Cup event (her last matches ever, actually) prominently featured forehand winners in baseline rallies when she was under pressure on that wing. The whole REASON you attack that side (or Graf's backhand side) is to prevent her from hitting a winner and getting her teeth back into the match, and then she does it. Mark of a champion.

OsloErik
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:03 AM
The swinging volley, like acting and modeling outside of tennis, was of course truly pioneered by the great Carling Bassett=Seguso. :bowdown:

(I don't know why I'm on a Darling Carling nostolgia kick. But she really did hit swinging volleys way back in the '80s).

While we're on the subject, did her film career ever pick up? I remember she did a couple little things, but I didn't know if it went anywhere.

I had the poster of her in my room back at university :lol:

Sam L
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:06 AM
I think the precedence of a groundstroke goes hand-eye coordination first, footwork second, technique third.

I've been told I have really shit footwork. But I know I have good hand-eye coordination (not just from tennis). Gives me hope. :lol:

spencercarlos
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:08 AM
Sorry, Spencer, he was responding to my (inarticulate) post just prior to his:



I admit wholeheartedly that it was a poorly explained example, but in the context of my discussion with the poster, I meant the following: Graf's backhand was not the skill people adopted. She won points with it by staying in rallies, but it wasn't the shot that REALLY won her matches. I suppose it's not a comparable thing to Serena's footwork, though, because Graf's backhand rarely went off; the only player I can think of who regularly attacked her backhand and managed to break it down was Seles. Graf usually lost because her forehand was misfiring. Serena, on the other hand, DOES lose matches because she gets complacent (much better word than lazy, I think) in her footwork and doesn't adjust quickly. It frequently is the rate limiting factor to her success.

But as you see, in the context I was using and with the poster I was discussing with, I needed the case of "great player with an element to her game that nobody wanted to copy because they found something that worked better", as is the case with Serena's footwork, which he argued wasn't true. I'm rambling.



BUT...I suppose that's part of what we're saying about Serena. In a lot of situations against lesser players, she doesn't need to use the nimble footwork because her hand-eye coordination allows her to hit 85% quality strokes from off-balance positions. Against her peers in the power and movement categories, she needs it. I think the precedence of a groundstroke goes hand-eye coordination first, footwork second, technique third.
Graf´s slice backhand does not get enough compilement that it should.

Certainly her topspin backhand was not a great shot by any means, but her slice backhand, was so low, had some pace and great dept, that she eventually forced her oponnents to hit back to her forehand or even hit it back crosscourt to her backhand but short enough so Graf eventually run around and hit her devastating inside out forehand. That slice set up more of her winning forehands than most people think.

miffedmax
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:11 AM
Hey, Erik--regarding Carling

Nope, "Spring Fever" remains her only starring role. I bet we had the same poster. She married Robert Seguso (a really great doubles player) when she was still quite young. They have like 3 kids. Their oldest, Holden, is a decent mens dubz player who competed at a couple of slams. Last I heard they're still married, so after the tragic death of her father and her own struggles with eating disorders, things worked out okay for my original blonde crush.

Dunlop1
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:13 AM
I think the precedence of a groundstroke goes hand-eye coordination first, footwork second, technique third.

I would place technique before footwork

miffedmax
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:14 AM
He GLIDES on the court. Truly AMAZE footwork.
Notice he rarely is injured.

My son and I were watching him at the FO last year. Somewhere in the second set, the kid turns to me and says "Dad, Federer's socks are still clean."

That's smooooooooooth.

mykarma
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:15 AM
I said in that post that Henin's superior technique doesn't actually MATTER. I'm certainly not one who gives a crap about technique or how "unorthodox" someone's game is... if it's getting the results then that's all that matters (which is why I'm seemingly one of Wozniacki's only defenders on here). I was merely calling Supergrunt on his attack on Mary Carillo (seriously, why are some Serena fans SO obsessed with her?), when what she said is indisputably correct - Henin DOES have superior technique. Off the ground, that is; I agree Serena's serve is probably the most fluid and technically-sound ever.

(Although, as an aside, it's very debateable whether Graf and Seles were ever at their peaks simultaneously... I guess that's a debate for another day though.)
off topic

Dunlop1
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:16 AM
That [Graf's] slice set up more of her winning forehands than most people think.

Yep. Because it isn't a hard hit shot people underestimate it.
The same thing goes for Federer's backhand slice.

They have it down to a T. Hit the short low slice cross court to pull the 2 hander forward to hit up on the ball to set up the inside-in or inside out forehand.

mykarma
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:17 AM
Serena's footwork is atrocious...

...at times. That often may have to do with injuries, though.

Often her footwork is quite good, though.
Best footwork of anyone on the tour? Definately not :lol:
Can you say scizho?

Dunlop1
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:18 AM
My son and I were watching him at the FO last year. Somewhere in the second set, the kid turns to me and says "Dad, Federer's socks are still clean."

That's smooooooooooth.

As smooth as Lena's bangs? ;)

RVD
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:19 AM
RVD, great post! You and I are very similar except for the children part. Not yet for me. ;)Probably why we get along so well. :cool: :D
On topic, Serena is a not a textbook player. I don't like textbook players. I think it's far more interesting to have "her style" as you put it, than to have the textbook footwork, serve etc... That's why the Williams sisters, Seles, Nadal are so interesting for me.Agreed!
Which is what I think gives both sisters a leg-up on their opponents.
Since they are not textbook tennis players, I think they confound coaches of other players; and confuse some of their more accomplished 'rivals' on what best tactics to use against them. More so against Serena, than Venus, at the moment.

I noticed in the AO Finals where Henin had this confused look on her face in the 3rd, and she'd look up at her coach, as if to say, "What the hell, man. She returned that?! What do I do now!!" :lol:

Serena's shot-making can be so way out there sometimes that it leaves her opponents wondering what to do next in order to produce UEs from her on a consistent basis. In other words, Serena adapts quickly to most opponents’ game. That can be seen in her winning history's H-2-H,; and against players she’d loose to on first meetings, and then defeat in subsequent meetings.

RVD
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:24 AM
Davenport had amazing footwork around the ball, and she wasn't exactly of slight build.But Serena's style of play still works for her body type.

Look, if you compare their (Lindsay and Serena's) height, weight, center of gravity, leg strength. speed, etc..., you'll quickly conclude that each possessed a style that worked...overall. But only one possessed a style that worked better for their given body type.

RVD
Feb 13th, 2010, 12:34 AM
My son and I were watching him at the FO last year. Somewhere in the second set, the kid turns to me and says "Dad, Federer's socks are still clean."

That's smooooooooooth.:haha:

OsloErik
Feb 13th, 2010, 01:15 AM
Graf´s slice backhand does not get enough compilement that it should.

Certainly her topspin backhand was not a great shot by any means, but her slice backhand, was so low, had some pace and great dept, that she eventually forced her oponnents to hit back to her forehand or even hit it back crosscourt to her backhand but short enough so Graf eventually run around and hit her devastating inside out forehand. That slice set up more of her winning forehands than most people think.

Yep. Because it isn't a hard hit shot people underestimate it.
The same thing goes for Federer's backhand slice.

They have it down to a T. Hit the short low slice cross court to pull the 2 hander forward to hit up on the ball to set up the inside-in or inside out forehand.

I'm right there with both of you. One of my favorite matches, even though I was a Seles fan, was the way Graf dismantled her at Wimbledon. Seles simply couldn't do ANYTHING when that slice bit the court so low, and the misfires that came off of it were so striking.

A big part of why that backhand worked for Graf and works for Federer relates to what it forces their opponents to do. Typically, to hit a winner in a constructed rally against either one of them, you have to open the court with an angle. It's very, very hard to do that off of a good slice, and when you try, you create angles for your opponent without giving yourself much of a chance. And when you've got two fast players with huge forehands, giving them an angle is pretty much a death sentence for the point.

It's a pity we don't see the slice backhand implemented as much as a weapon anymore, but that's part of it: it's not the easiest way to win points. It requires a few shots to get going, and that kind of construction has really gone away from most of the tour.

I would place technique before footwork

I wouldn't, partially because players with unorthodox technique (could anyone actually TEACH the way Graf hit the forehand?) have devastating strokes by setting up for them perfectly with their footwork. You can see a handful of techniques working to create a groundstroke (hell, there are at least five grips for a forehand), but footwork has a great deal less variety. It's pretty cut-and-dried about who is moving their feet well and who isn't, on a point-to-point basis that is. But I'm open to your argument, if you care to elaborate.

Midnight_Robber
Feb 13th, 2010, 01:19 AM
I admit wholeheartedly that it was a poorly explained example, but in the context of my discussion with the poster, I meant the following: Graf's backhand was not the skill people adopted.

Well, that's what I assumed you meant - that's why I said that more players today copied Seles in regard to the backhand rather than Graf - because it was such an obvious, potent first-strike weapon which is why it would inspire emulation. But that's not to say that Graf's bh was "bad" by any means, or ineffective.

Same thing with Fed - there are just other players who have a bh that players are more likely to single out/aspire to. I think even non-Fed fans like me would be hard-pressed to admit that his footwork isn't unbelievably great. I have never seen him off-balance.

DOUBLEFIST
Feb 13th, 2010, 01:32 AM
Graf´s topspin was indeed bad (not her slice :p ).

The thing is that Graf or it seemed like she found a way to hit a winning shot from that side at the most difficult moments of important matches.

Ask Hingis while she served for RG 1999 or Navratilova while 6-3 4-2 at Usopen 1989, and so on...
Steffi's slice!! :drool:

To me, it's one of the greatest shots ever. Yeah, yeah, the forehand, the forehand..., but that SLICE!!! :bounce:

mdterp01
Feb 13th, 2010, 02:19 AM
Yeah I usually hear "bad" footwork or "lazy" footwork and I kind of have to agree. A lot of times her footwork is just not in position but because she is so powerful and has lower and upper body strength, she's able to compensate for it the way that other players like Henin wouldn't be able to. Remember the 2007 Australian Open final against Sharapova. There was a point in which Serena was running to her right and Sharapova tried to hit behind Serena. Serena stopped, reached around and hit a backhand crosscourt winner. I mean she was in NO position to set up to hit that shot, but her upper body strength allowed her to do that.

But yeah...someone mentioned it earlier. When Henin is playing you constantly hear the sneakers squeaking. She is always moving her feet. The person who said it was also right about Venus...very speedy and quick and can take monster steps but lord sometimes her footwork is a HOT MESS!!! It would cut down on her erros if it was better. Some of her errors are ATROCIOUS!!!

DOUBLEFIST
Feb 13th, 2010, 02:44 AM
Yeah I usually hear "bad" footwork or "lazy" footwork and I kind of have to agree. A lot of times her footwork is just not in position but because she is so powerful and has lower and upper body strength, she's able to compensate for it the way that other players like Henin wouldn't be able to. Remember the 2007 Australian Open final against Sharapova. There was a point in which Serena was running to her right and Sharapova tried to hit behind Serena. Serena stopped, reached around and hit a backhand crosscourt winner. I mean she was in NO position to set up to hit that shot, but her upper body strength allowed her to do that.

But yeah...someone mentioned it earlier. When Henin is playing you constantly hear the sneakers squeaking. She is always moving her feet. The person who said it was also right about Venus...very speedy and quick and can take monster steps but lord sometimes her footwork is a HOT MESS!!! It would cut down on her erros if it was better. Some of her errors are ATROCIOUS!!!

Aw yeah! the ol' "Wrong-footed-stepback-stop-drop-and-pop-xcourt-pass"

Damn that was amazing stuff. No other girl on tour could have done that and no footwork prep in the world could have set up for that. That was just Serena's talent.

mykarma
Feb 13th, 2010, 02:51 AM
]Aw yeah! the ol' "Wrong-footed-stepback-stop-drop-and-pop-xcourt-pass"
[/B]
Damn that was amazing stuff. No other girl on tour could have done that and no footwork prep in the world could have set up for that. That was just Serena's talent.
:lol::lol::lol:

LoveFifteen
Feb 13th, 2010, 03:02 AM
There was a point in which Serena was running to her right and Sharapova tried to hit behind Serena. Serena stopped, reached around and hit a backhand crosscourt winner. I mean she was in NO position to set up to hit that shot, but her upper body strength allowed her to do that.

Haha! This is actually the exact shot I was thinking about during this whole thread. Only Serena could make a shot that spectacular while being totally off balance! She is amaze! :worship:

serenafan08
Feb 13th, 2010, 03:52 AM
Serena's footwook has improved over her career; you won't win 12 Grand Slams without good footwork. She can get lazy at times, and that's why it looks like her footwork is "bad." Because she's so strong and quick to the first step, she can use those attributes to compensate for not being in a good position. Venus said it when they played at Wimbledon in 2008 - Serena can hit a winner from anywhere. At the Aussie Open semis in 2009 against Dementieva, Serena was serving at 3-3, and at 30-0, Elena was trying to go behind her. Serena stopped, reached out and wacked a crosscourt forehand for a winner. And it wasn't an angled winner - it was all power. She's got the ability to just muscle almost any shot she wants, which is why her footwork comes off as "bad."

Tennisstar86
Feb 13th, 2010, 04:08 AM
Serena's footwook has improved over her career; you won't win 12 Grand Slams without good footwork. She can get lazy at times, and that's why it looks like her footwork is "bad." Because she's so strong and quick to the first step, she can use those attributes to compensate for not being in a good position. Venus said it when they played at Wimbledon in 2008 - Serena can hit a winner from anywhere. At the Aussie Open semis in 2009 against Dementieva, Serena was serving at 3-3, and at 30-0, Elena was trying to go behind her. Serena stopped, reached out and wacked a crosscourt forehand for a winner. And it wasn't an angled winner - it was all power. She's got the ability to just muscle almost any shot she wants, which is why her footwork comes off as "bad."

Thank you for showing you dont know what you're talking about.... Muscling a shot for a winner reaching out is not cause of good footwork... its cause shes got the upper body strength to DO it... As I said she and Venus are quick, but they have horrible foot work.... they dont take those little steps they just track down the ball and turn around to track down the next one... its not good footwork.... its speed..

Footwork does not equal speed... Those tiny steps you see henin take...thats footwork. you rarely see Serena do that except in Paris and thats because on the clay the speed works against her because you cant just go full speed after a shot stop and turn around for the next one cause you'll fly out of bounds....

Donny
Feb 13th, 2010, 04:14 AM
Thank you for showing you dont know what you're talking about.... Muscling a shot for a winner reaching out is not cause of good footwork... its cause shes got the upper body strength to DO it... As I said she and Venus are quick, but they have horrible foot work.... they dont take those little steps they just track down the ball and turn around to track down the next one... its not good footwork.... its speed..

Footwork does not equal speed... Those tiny steps you see henin take...thats footwork. you rarely see Serena do that except in Paris and thats because on the clay the speed works against her because you cant just go full speed after a shot stop and turn around for the next one cause you'll fly out of bounds....

Footwork does not require little steps. Sometimes, to reach a ball far away, large strides are required. Good footwork is whatever movement you need to get into good position to hit the ball well.

dsanders06
Feb 13th, 2010, 04:21 AM
Actually, even in the AO07 final, commentators remarked on how sloppy her footwork was. She was regularly caught off-balance when shots came right at her. But she was so on fire generally that day that she was able to blast the ball even when she was out of position.

Aw yeah! the ol' "Wrong-footed-stepback-stop-drop-and-pop-xcourt-pass"

Damn that was amazing stuff. No other girl on tour could have done that and no footwork prep in the world could have set up for that. That was just Serena's talent.

Yeah, that was one of the shots I had in mind when I made that post about the AO07 final. Even in that match, arguably the best of her career, you could see she was still rusty because her footwork was sloppy even there, as she found herself out of position at times when she really shouldn't've been. But she was simply so in the zone that day that she was able to play fantastic shots even in spite of her poor footwork.

Dunlop1
Feb 13th, 2010, 04:26 AM
Remember the 2007 Australian Open final against Sharapova. There was a point in which Serena was running to her right and Sharapova tried to hit behind Serena. Serena stopped, reached around and hit a backhand crosscourt winner. I mean she was in NO position to set up to hit that shot, but her upper body strength allowed her to do that.

I remember being :eek: when I saw that. I have to admit, that shot was amazing. Such strength.

Dunlop1
Feb 13th, 2010, 04:37 AM
Good footwork is whatever movement you need to get into good position to hit the ball well.

This isn't really accurate. There's a set of footwork patterns that all tennis players use to move optimally on the tennis court. You learn this as a junior. You don't just move to a ball and hit a forehand and call that goood footwork

For instance, there is the split-step, to be performed every time your opponent is about to make contact with the ball. Your landing from the split step has to be timed exactly at the point right after your opponent has made contact with the ball. When properly timed, you are able to launch from the split-step to whatever direction the ball your opponent is going. This is essential when you start playing with players who hit hard.
This is not a movement pattern one just picks up without prior knowledge.

This is just one of several movement patterns that are incorporated into junior's games through thorough footwork drills that it becomes second nature.

G1Player2
Feb 13th, 2010, 04:51 AM
Yeah, that was one of the shots I had in mind when I made that post about the AO07 final. Even in that match, arguably the best of her career, you could see she was still rusty because her footwork was sloppy even there, as she found herself out of position at times when she really shouldn't've been. But she was simply so in the zone that day that she was able to play fantastic shots even in spite of her poor footwork.

The commentators said nothing about Serena having poor footwork in that final. :rolleyes:

young_gunner913
Feb 13th, 2010, 05:00 AM
its really a toss up with serena. somedays she moves great, sometimes she moves like a slug that just had a salt shower.

serenafan08
Feb 13th, 2010, 05:15 AM
Thank you for showing you dont know what you're talking about.... Muscling a shot for a winner reaching out is not cause of good footwork... its cause shes got the upper body strength to DO it... As I said she and Venus are quick, but they have horrible foot work.... they dont take those little steps they just track down the ball and turn around to track down the next one... its not good footwork.... its speed..

Footwork does not equal speed... Those tiny steps you see henin take...thats footwork. you rarely see Serena do that except in Paris and thats because on the clay the speed works against her because you cant just go full speed after a shot stop and turn around for the next one cause you'll fly out of bounds....

And thank you for showing that you don't read what people post. :rolleyes: I said the same thing you did - she's quick and strong, that's why her footwork is LAZY. It's not bad, but lazy - well you could say that lazy is bad. She muscles all those shots because she's so strong; instead of using her speed to get behind the ball properly she muscles over everything. I thought that peak Serena (2002-2003) had lazy footwork then. She's been doing that her whole career. She shows flashes of brilliance, but isn't consistent enough.

Donny
Feb 13th, 2010, 05:15 AM
This isn't really accurate. There's a set of footwork patterns that all tennis players use to move optimally on the tennis court. You learn this as a junior. You don't just move to a ball and hit a forehand and call that goood footwork

For instance, there is the split-step, to be performed every time your opponent is about to make contact with the ball. Your landing from the split step has to be timed exactly at the point right after your opponent has made contact with the ball. When properly timed, you are able to launch from the split-step to whatever direction the ball your opponent is going. This is essential when you start playing with players who hit hard.
This is not a movement pattern one just picks up without prior knowledge.

This is just one of several movement patterns that are incorporated into junior's games through thorough footwork drills that it becomes second nature.

Split steps are probably the most intuitive move in all of sports. It's by no means unique to tennis.

Dunlop1
Feb 13th, 2010, 05:23 AM
Split steps are probably the most intuitive move in all of sports. It's by no means unique to tennis.

Of course. There are very few movement patterns that are unique to tennis.
However, the way the split-step is used/timed is unique to tennis. There are professional players with lackadaisical split-steps, mis-timed split steps etc.

It isn't intuitive to time it correctly. If you play tennis I challenge you to take a closer look at your split step. You might be surprised.

DOUBLEFIST
Feb 13th, 2010, 05:27 AM
Split steps are probably the most intuitive move in all of sports. It's by no means unique to tennis.

AGREED! Finally, someone said it.

I've always found it HILARIOUS that some act like the split step is some "skill" that one must spill blood to learn.

You'll find some variety of the split step in virtually EVERY sport. Most don't even NAME it as it's a given. This is one of the things that bothers me in Tennisdom. The idea that EVERYTHING has to be broken down into technique virtually extracting all intuitive notions out of the sport.

Tennisstar86
Feb 13th, 2010, 05:28 AM
This isn't really accurate. There's a set of footwork patterns that all tennis players use to move optimally on the tennis court. You learn this as a junior. You don't just move to a ball and hit a forehand and call that goood footwork

For instance, there is the split-step, to be performed every time your opponent is about to make contact with the ball. Your landing from the split step has to be timed exactly at the point right after your opponent has made contact with the ball. When properly timed, you are able to launch from the split-step to whatever direction the ball your opponent is going. This is essential when you start playing with players who hit hard.
This is not a movement pattern one just picks up without prior knowledge.

This is just one of several movement patterns that are incorporated into junior's games through thorough footwork drills that it becomes second nature.

Ive given up on them. No point arguing with people who dont play or know the game...

DOUBLEFIST
Feb 13th, 2010, 05:30 AM
Of course. There are very few movement patterns that are unique to tennis.
However, the way the split-step is used/timed is unique to tennis. There are professional players with lackadaisical split-steps, mis-timed split steps etc.

It isn't intuitive to time it correctly. If you play tennis I challenge you to take a closer look at your split step. You might be surprised.
I play tennis and I'm hardly surprised. Usually when someone MISTIMES a split step, the problem isn't in the split step but rather further UPSTREAM, slow off the mark, poor anticipation, indecision re approach and when to move forward.

Dunlop1
Feb 13th, 2010, 05:37 AM
This is one of the things that bothers me in Tennisdom. The idea that EVERYTHING has to be broken down into technique virtually extracting all intuitive notions out of the sport.

I understand where you are coming from.
For naturally athletic individuals, most of the footwork patterns really do not need to be taught as they assimilate these movements as they improve.
That being said, there are still patterns that the player must learn to execute shots optimally.
A great example is use of the 'carioca step' in the backhand slice approach shot or the first volley on the backhand side.

It should be noted that nobody in this thread has said that footwork is limited to tennis. That would be an uninformed thing to say.
It is the application of said footwork in tennis that is unique.

For those players who are not naturally athletic (majority of players), you have to teach these things.
Just because they are easy for you, doesn't mean it comes naturally to a lot of players.
It doesn't for most players. Everyone is concerned with hitting the ball, not what their feet are doing.

Dunlop1
Feb 13th, 2010, 05:46 AM
I play tennis and I'm hardly surprised. Usually when someone MISTIMES a split step, the problem isn't in the split step but rather further UPSTREAM, slow off the mark, poor anticipation, indecision re approach and when to move forward.

Hmm, I disagree. A mistimed split step is simply that. A mistimed split step inherently means you made the split step but at the wrong time, so obviously the problem isn't in the split-step. It would be silly to make that assertion.

Mistimed split step has absolutely nothing to do with indecision to approach or move forward.
Do you know what the split step is? :unsure:

The most common problems with the mistimed split-step :
1. The player begins the split-step when the opponent's racquet contacts the ball.
In this case, by the time the player has finished the split-step, the ball is already at the net, and the purpose of the split-step is defeated

2. The player lands from the split-step then the opponent's racquet contacts the ball.
In this case, the player has landed too early because he doesn't yet know where the ball is going. This is still preferable over the first situation because you will move to the ball earlier, but you have lost all the energy for your initial movement from the split-step and pretty much just wasted energy.

These are minute details that make a difference when you start playing high level tennis.

DOUBLEFIST
Feb 13th, 2010, 05:48 AM
I understand where you are coming from.
For naturally athletic individuals, most of the footwork patterns really do not need to be taught as they assimilate these movements as they improve.
That being said, there are still patterns that the player must learn to execute shots optimally.
A great example is use of the 'carioca step' in the backhand slice approach shot or the first volley on the backhand side.

It should be noted that nobody in this thread has said that footwork is limited to tennis. That would be an uninformed thing to say.
It is the application of said footwork in tennis that is unique.

For those players who are not naturally athletic (majority of players), you have to teach these things.
Just because they are easy for you, doesn't mean it comes naturally to a lot of players.
It doesn't for most players. Everyone is concerned with hitting the ball, not what their feet are doing.

Agreed regarding the "carioca" step. If you haven't been raised on a football (American football, that is) It's likely a trickier notion, but even that particular movement - if you've spent anytime on a basketball court - is somewhat second nature. Only the application is different.

About the rest, it just seems like contemporary tennis instruction assumes a lack of athleticism in it's approach. I think this is a mistake. And, again, don't get me wrong. The split step SHOULD be taught if it seems like someone's struggling against it, but I'm willing to bet you that if you were to leave it out in instruction, but simply teach someone how to approach and volley, you would find split steps coming naturally. Of course, I don't know if that would be the case because the split step is ALWAYS taught technique.

DOUBLEFIST
Feb 13th, 2010, 05:54 AM
Do you know what the split step is? :unsure:

Come on man. Was that even necessary. :rolleyes:

Look, what I'm saying is - and you see it all the time - if someone is indecisive about coming in and comes in too late you see them doing the first of your numeric examples.

They're so busy trying to close to get to the net, that they are late entering their split step and they're ill-prepared for their oppenents pass.

Dunlop1
Feb 13th, 2010, 06:01 AM
Look, what I'm saying is - and you see it all the time - if someone is indecisive about coming in and comes in too late you see them doing the first of your numeric examples.

They're so busy trying to close to get to the net, that they are late entering their split step and they're ill-prepared for their oppenents pass.

You can be indecisive about approaching the net and still split-step at the right time. You will just end up hitting your first volley in no man's land or the service line, that is if you don't get passed given all the court you have to cover.

But I now get what you are saying. The indecision about approaching transfers to the split-step.

I was referring to the split step as a whole. It is done everytime your opponent hits the ball, not just when you are approaching.

DOUBLEFIST
Feb 13th, 2010, 06:39 AM
You can be indecisive about approaching the net and still split-step at the right time. You will just end up hitting your first volley in no man's land or the service line, that is if you don't get passed given all the court you have to cover.

But I now get what you are saying. The indecision about approaching transfers to the split-step.

I was referring to the split step as a whole. It is done everytime your opponent hits the ball, not just when you are approaching.
Well, I guess that's what I get for being late to the party. Yes, I was talking more about the transition game.

ETA: What I was saying though, from a intruction philosophy standpoint still holds. The split step taken on every ball is, for all practical purposes, no different than the "break down" position a defensive player takes in preparing to make a tackle or a basketball player in defending one one. That action is virtually a natural reaction to that transfers across sports when facing an opponent and preparing for their next action. Do you understand what I'm saying?

darrinbaker00
Feb 13th, 2010, 07:22 AM
This is one of the things that bothers me in Tennisdom. The idea that EVERYTHING has to be broken down into technique virtually extracting all intuitive notions out of the sport.
I take it that you are not now, nor will you ever become, a PTR or USPTA-certified professional. ;)

DOUBLEFIST
Feb 13th, 2010, 07:44 AM
I take it that you are not now, nor will you ever become, a PTR or USPTA-certified professional. ;)
No. My Father inlaw, brother inlaw and sister inlaw are ALL USPTA certified pro instructors, but not me. No. ;) And yes, I have this conversation with them often.

Golovinjured.
Feb 13th, 2010, 08:39 AM
I never even realised I split-stepped and then I watched a vid of me playing and I do it. :)

The Dawntreader
Feb 13th, 2010, 03:46 PM
It's over-simplification to say Serena has 'bad' footwork. Relatively though, it's weaker than the rest of her game, but ironically it's often the element that solidifies her tennis.

Serena has compensated IMO meticulous footwork, for the ability just to improvise and get the ball back at whatever cost. You can actually probaly count on one hand since '04, where her footwork has been superlative at a sustained level. In some ways, she moves in a similar vein to how she was on tour in '98/99, but less eager and with arguably half-a step of raw speed lost. She has supreme physical strength however, and she's probably the most competent player at retreiving the ball completely off balance, while still being able to apply enough pace and length on the shot. Of course, this often compromises her court-positioning, but it's not a detrimental trait by any means.

The liability for Serena is that she doesn't take little steps to the ball, she never has really. Back in '02 she could flatter to deceive because she was so seemingly effortless on her toes. almost like some kind of springbok. What i've noticed with Serena is that she can often get in line with the ball, but her feet are often NOT moving. There's times when she approaches a standard mid-court ball, and her feet are actually stationary, insteas of looking to move around the ball and using her legs to get the optimum effect possible. She probably doesn't even realise her footwork is so cumbersome half of the time, but it's notable. Her sister Venus is obviously more static a mover on occasion, with her long limbs proving a bit of an obstacle with making quick turns and gets, but her footwork around and to the ball is often extremely good. Unlike Serena, i feel her stride pattern is often consistently balanced, wheras Serena can be jerking, slipping, grinding all over the court just to get the ball back. For all her athletic traits, her footwork is probably the least fluid or reliable.

This of course is all relative to Serena's overall strengths, which of course she has numerous factors which can compensate.

LDVTennis
Feb 13th, 2010, 04:42 PM
Thank you for showing you dont know what you're talking about.... Muscling a shot for a winner reaching out is not cause of good footwork... its cause shes got the upper body strength to DO it... As I said she and Venus are quick, but they have horrible foot work.... they dont take those little steps they just track down the ball and turn around to track down the next one... its not good footwork.... its speed..

Footwork does not equal speed... Those tiny steps you see henin take...thats footwork. you rarely see Serena do that except in Paris and thats because on the clay the speed works against her because you cant just go full speed after a shot stop and turn around for the next one cause you'll fly out of bounds....

Great answer!!!

LDVTennis
Feb 13th, 2010, 04:50 PM
Of course. There are very few movement patterns that are unique to tennis.
However, the way the split-step is used/timed is unique to tennis. There are professional players with lackadaisical split-steps, mis-timed split steps etc.

It isn't intuitive to time it correctly. If you play tennis I challenge you to take a closer look at your split step. You might be surprised.

How about the pattern of steps required to hit an inside-out forehand from the backhand corner? Unique to tennis?

I also wonder what you think about the pivot step required to hit a running forehand approach shot. At follow through, the player looks like they have taken off from the blocks in a sprint.

sweetpeas
Feb 13th, 2010, 05:05 PM
Just as long as Serena wins slams I'm alright!It's like that in every sports..If I could do all those things correctly I would play some hall of fame tennis,or at least 12 slams!:wavey::lol::kiss:

OsloErik
May 27th, 2010, 09:53 AM
Sorry for the weird bump, all, but I was thinking about this thread as I watched Serena's first match on clay and wanted to bring it back up. Hope it all stays positive.

After reading OsloErik post, I was stroke with a suddenly revelation (or maybe just a thought). Even the most accomplished athlete doesn't employ every aspect of every technique perfectly. And some of the best players only perform certain techniques very well.
So I'm hoping that there will someday be an overall appreciation for how Serena did it her way, and less general nit-picking when analyzing her game. I don't mind reading intelligent analysis and critiques. I would just like to read honest analysis and critiques.

RVD: I missed this a few months ago when the thread came out, and I think I can put some words to a lot of feeling (both my own and many professsional analysts) regarding Serena's game.

The reason there is a lot of general nit-picking (Navratilova, Carillo, Evert) about Serena is precisely because she has given us, at times, exemplary and perfect tennis. When she plays with complacent footwork, she makes her life much harder than it needs to be on court. Against Azarenka (three times now) I've seen her give up sets due to underestimating the challenge posed. I think this is the flipside of Serena's self-confidence; she has such healthy self-confidence that she can go into a match underestimating the opponent. It happened at Wimbledon in 2004, it happened against Azarenka, and it happens frequently against the mid-ranked players who have taken sets off of her (probably three dozen in the past five years).

In 2002 and 2003, she did all the work required to obliterate opponents. And when you love watching tennis in full flight, it's hard to see somebody capable of that play such loose sets because of something as mental as footwork. ESPECIALLY Serena, who is so mentally together and focused. It seems a disservice to her talent, and you can't help but think she'd be less injured if she didn't end up playing as many 3 setters.

Anyway, that's my two cents on that topic. Best of luck to all the ladies on Day 5 at RG.

ZODIAC
May 27th, 2010, 02:10 PM
before surgery she was nimble after surgery she is not as fast as she was and probably doesnt do a lot of sprints...well poor or good footwork the most important thing is that she is winning when it really counts.

Rome
May 27th, 2010, 03:07 PM
before surgery she was nimble after surgery she is not as fast as she was and probably doesnt do a lot of sprints...well poor or good footwork the most important thing is that she is winning when it really counts.

She still moved well after the Surgery it just seem to me she stop working doing foot drills and running/jogging and that could be because of the knee.

The Dawntreader
May 27th, 2010, 03:32 PM
Serena's footwork is in her hands really.

At times post '05, her footwork has looked great (AO final '07, USO '08, W final '09), where she actually looks well-balanced and alligned with the shot, using ALL of her body as leverage. The thing i've noticed with Serena is at times, she doesn't move her feet, nor use her legs to bend and transfer weight into the shot. She simply hits her grounstrokes from a standing position, and thus she's getting hardly any extra power behind her shots.

It's so obvious when you see her footwork in comparison to Venus's. Venus's limbs create an ungainly effect perhaps when moving laterally, but she takes much tighter, precise steps and looks generally much lighter on her feet.

Serena seems content now on being a 'good' mover, and making her defense secondary to her ballstriking. They both were on par in 2002-03, even in '04.

Ryan
May 27th, 2010, 04:35 PM
Just a heads up - it creates a LOT more work for Mods to clean up threads when you quote a post that you report, or see a post you know will get deleted and quote it repeatedly. As soon as a GM Mod gets a chance to clean it up, he/she will appreciate only having to delete one post instead of 15-20. ;)

AcesHigh
May 27th, 2010, 04:36 PM
Just a heads up - it creates a LOT more work for Mods to clean up threads when you quote a post that you report, or see a post you know will get deleted and quote it repeatedly. As soon as a GM Mod gets a chance to clean it up, he/she will appreciate only having to delete one post instead of 15-20. ;)

Thanks... never knew that :)

Zamboni
May 27th, 2010, 04:42 PM
Just a heads up - it creates a LOT more work for Mods to clean up threads when you quote a post that you report, or see a post you know will get deleted and quote it repeatedly. As soon as a GM Mod gets a chance to clean it up, he/she will appreciate only having to delete one post instead of 15-20. ;)
Indeed:yeah:

I understand it's tempting to answer but most of the time, people are just seeking attention and ignore is the best strategy - aside from it being a lot less work for us indeed.

Ntosake
May 27th, 2010, 04:48 PM
Thanks Mods, I never knew that either, but I got it now.:yeah:

Arnian
May 27th, 2010, 04:50 PM
No sense in responding since someone deleted the post :lol: