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  Topic Review (Newest First)
Feb 22nd, 2017 11:39 AM
Wintermute
Re: Nicole Gibbs

Sounds like Tennis Channel will be following Nicole for the entire season with a video blog each week.
Jan 28th, 2017 05:37 PM
Chilenaitor
Re: Nicole Gibbs

She should win R1 and then a good clash against Shelby
Jan 28th, 2017 03:46 PM
Wintermute
Re: Nicole Gibbs

Taiwan Open, Taipei City (WTA International) hard, outdoor

[1] E. Svitolina v E. Rodina
K. Kozlova v Qual.
N. Gibbs v Qual.
(wc) Y-H. Lee v [7] S. Rogers
Jan 23rd, 2017 02:16 AM
DcsabaS
Re: Nicole Gibbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by DcsabaS View Post
Well, I think Nicole has everything needed for a nice and respectful development, and I hope she's serious enough to do the work. If I was in her place, when I dropped out of a tournament (like this), I would go to look after and analyze the matches of the concurrency ..., and see my matches on video, what and how could have been done better. This would be the best way to re-program my brain .
To follow my previous thoughts, I just can hope that Nicole saw the Serena-Strycova match, because it was really very entertaining (crazy/amazing points from both sides!) , a very technical and tactical driven play (Strycova has similar skills as Nicole.). It was on that higher level that can be attained by Nicole in 1-2 years if she plays with determined aggression. Strycova was not only playing very well (highly appreciated by the people on the standings too), but she had rather good chance even for the victory!
Jan 22nd, 2017 05:58 PM
DcsabaS
Re: Nicole Gibbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by tie_breaker View Post
I totally agree that strategy based on foot speed can be counterproductive in controlling the point.
When I look back at the slo-mo, I did notice on several occasions that Nicole had ample time to get to the ball, so it wasn't her foot speed that she lacks. I noticed that she deliberately paces herself according to the shot she is going to make, so it might appear that she is slow getting to the ball, when in fact, she could have gotten to the ball sooner and taken a more aggressive shot.
Especially with her backhand, running to her left, she has a tendency to take these premeasured steps to the ball, then slap it back to the middle of the court instead of ripping it down the line.

As far as mixing up her shots and placements, yes she can be masterful at this, even against Serena but if Nicole is not making a continuous effort to make Serena run, then all of that skill goes to waste, as hitting a short ball to the middle of the court is a recipe for disaster. Why is it complicated to not do this...if she can executed complicated strategies?

I think the reason is a brain fart. Tennis is a thinking sport, but like in the Samurai movie, "too much mind". Definitely a former Stanford student has the brain, but can it be working non-stop as she is running back and forth, grasping for oxygen? It's easier for the coach sitting calmly on the bench to executing in his mind what shots Nicole should be hitting. Nicole can agree, but only as an afterthought, which is after she took a memorized or default shot into the net.

Tennis is also a game of percentages. Nicole sets up nicely then when going for the kill, a little more spin to ensure that the ball is going in is all it takes. After setting up the point nicely, she doesn't need to go for too much, but then she does, and without the necessary spin. Especially when she is moving forward, she can't maintain the same spin, when she was a few steps back; otherwise, the ball will go long, which we see her do time and time again.

If Nicole can get it together, program it in her brain, what she needs to do in certain situations against certain players, perhaps it's possible for her to climb higher, but to play that level of tennis, requiring that level of complexity doesn't follow the KISS principle. Can she get there in another 3 years? I guess we'll wait and see, because she doesn't plan to go back to Stanford to get her degree, anytime soon...
Well, I think Nicole has everything needed for a nice and respectful development, and I hope she's serious enough to do the work. If I was in her place, when I dropped out of a tournament (like this), I would go to look after and analyze the matches of the concurrency ..., and see my matches on video, what and how could have been done better. This would be the best way to re-program my brain .
Jan 22nd, 2017 04:27 PM
tie_breaker
Re: Nicole Gibbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by DcsabaS View Post
There are 2 relations here:

- If you're running ==> it becomes problematic to attack.
- If you're attacking ==> the running becomes less important, and you must run less.

Simona Halep's latest problems come from this misunderstanding: "If I'm the best at running, my best tennis strategy is running after the balls."

If you ask me, Nicole DOES NOT need any faster foot speed. That would be "good" only for making THE SAME MISTAKE as Simona did. (Building a faulty strategy around it.)
Also, she doesn't necessarily need stronger shots (at least until she becomes Top 30). Also, being stronger can also mislead you: look at Camila Giorgi (my 2nd favorite WTA girl, by the way). She's very-very strong compared to her frame size, she can beat down girls having 10 kg more muscles... But she's not using her powers wisely. She tries to hit strong EVERYTHING. This is wrong. You have to hit strong ONLY IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS. And Nicole can do this! A saw it!

So, what to do?
Nicole has to use HER OWN EXISTING ARSENAL wisely. My top three favorite girls (Simona Halep, Camila Giorgi and Nicole Gibbs) are all technically excellent, and have roughly the same frame size. Their problems are somewhat different, but existing in the mental/tactical dimension. Their progress depends mainly on their mental maturing. Nicole has the best variety from the the 3 girls (technically she is one of the bests from the entire WTA field!), and she surely has a BRAIN to understand and execute complicated strategies! She would have WINNER STRATEGY against most Top 100 girls, PROVIDED she's ready to FIGURE OUT and REMEMBER what kind of handling is needed for her given opponent. (For this she must play with them, and that's why even the lost Serena match is so important.)

Nicole should ATTACK with what she has: using SMART PLACEMENTS, ANGLES, ALWAYS CHANGING SHOT TYPES: SPINS/SLICES, VOLLEYS, OVERHEAD SMASHES, DROP-SHOTS and LOBS, etc. all in a unforeseeable mixture.

A side note on the "MORE SPIN" technique:
In 2013, during her rocket rising Simona Halep DID NOT USE it at all! It was funny/strange, because it was obvious, that a girl with such a good technical talents can easily learn it and use it. In 2014 she really learned it and started to use it.
But I must say, this new skill BACKFIRED in 2015 and 2016, because now she is WAITING TOO LONG before she hits the ball: she doesn't hit the balls on the top position (where optimal), or on the rise (very aggressive, ala Camila Giorgi), but when the ball is already coming down, giving TOO LONG TIME FOR HER OPPONENTS to prepare. This is WRONG! High spin balls should be applied when they are necessary, but when the ball is coming up high enough, the SMASHING is always PREFERABLE! (By the way, this is the "secret weapon" of Dominika Cibulkova: even though she's one of the smallest girls on the WTA tour (1.61m), she almost always tries to SMASH the ball (especially with her FH), instead of waiting more and giving back a top spin ball.)
In short: if the ball is coming up high enough, and you reached it in time: SMASH it NOT SPIN IT!
I totally agree that strategy based on foot speed can be counterproductive in controlling the point.
When I look back at the slo-mo, I did notice on several occasions that Nicole had ample time to get to the ball, so it wasn't her foot speed that she lacks. I noticed that she deliberately paces herself according to the shot she is going to make, so it might appear that she is slow getting to the ball, when in fact, she could have gotten to the ball sooner and taken a more aggressive shot.
Especially with her backhand, running to her left, she has a tendency to take these premeasured steps to the ball, then slap it back to the middle of the court instead of ripping it down the line.

As far as mixing up her shots and placements, yes she can be masterful at this, even against Serena but if Nicole is not making a continuous effort to make Serena run, then all of that skill goes to waste, as hitting a short ball to the middle of the court is a recipe for disaster. Why is it complicated to not do this...if she can executed complicated strategies?

I think the reason is a brain fart. Tennis is a thinking sport, but like in the Samurai movie, "too much mind". Definitely a former Stanford student has the brain, but can it be working non-stop as she is running back and forth, grasping for oxygen? It's easier for the coach sitting calmly on the bench to executing in his mind what shots Nicole should be hitting. Nicole can agree, but only as an afterthought, which is after she took a memorized or default shot into the net.

Tennis is also a game of percentages. Nicole sets up nicely then when going for the kill, a little more spin to ensure that the ball is going in is all it takes. After setting up the point nicely, she doesn't need to go for too much, but then she does, and without the necessary spin. Especially when she is moving forward, she can't maintain the same spin, when she was a few steps back; otherwise, the ball will go long, which we see her do time and time again.

If Nicole can get it together, program it in her brain, what she needs to do in certain situations against certain players, perhaps it's possible for her to climb higher, but to play that level of tennis, requiring that level of complexity doesn't follow the KISS principle. Can she get there in another 3 years? I guess we'll wait and see, because she doesn't plan to go back to Stanford to get her degree, anytime soon...
Jan 22nd, 2017 10:41 AM
DcsabaS
Re: Nicole Gibbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by tie_breaker View Post
For a slender 5'6" player, Nicole doesn't have the foot speed of Simona Halep or Justine Henin.
When she's on the run, which is most of the time, she's going to hit a defensive shot, which may work for in 50k tournaments but in the WTA it puts her at a disability.

Her lack of aggression is because she is always on the run, and when she is at the baseline, hitting without power, her opponent will dictate how much court Nicole has to cover. Perhaps 1 out of 5 attempts, she'll get a good angle in for a winner, but her lack of speed, makes that less likely to happen.

I thought by now she would be able to absorb power better, but her progress has been slow in this area. Because she isn't hitting with power, she relies on a flatter ball to take time away, which is a lower % shot. Without a higher arc and more spin, Nicole hits to many balls to the net or they fly over the baseline.

Sure she might be able to counter the power by changing speeds, but that isn't a likely strategy for each swing. Yes, it might work once in awhile, but it can also backfire, when her opponent changes speed on her or most likely it gives her opponent a shorter ball to bash back at her.

Bottom line: She needs more power, more spin, heavier ball or something because that lame flat forehand isn't going to get her higher than Top 70...
There are 2 relations here:

- If you're running ==> it becomes problematic to attack.
- If you're attacking ==> the running becomes less important, and you must run less.

Simona Halep's latest problems come from this misunderstanding: "If I'm the best at running, my best tennis strategy is running after the balls."

If you ask me, Nicole DOES NOT need any faster foot speed. That would be "good" only for making THE SAME MISTAKE as Simona did. (Building a faulty strategy around it.)
Also, she doesn't necessarily need stronger shots (at least until she becomes Top 30). Also, being stronger can also mislead you: look at Camila Giorgi (my 2nd favorite WTA girl, by the way). She's very-very strong compared to her frame size, she can beat down girls having 10 kg more muscles... But she's not using her powers wisely. She tries to hit strong EVERYTHING. This is wrong. You have to hit strong ONLY IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS. And Nicole can do this! A saw it!

So, what to do?
Nicole has to use HER OWN EXISTING ARSENAL wisely. My top three favorite girls (Simona Halep, Camila Giorgi and Nicole Gibbs) are all technically excellent, and have roughly the same frame size. Their problems are somewhat different, but existing in the mental/tactical dimension. Their progress depends mainly on their mental maturing. Nicole has the best variety from the the 3 girls (technically she is one of the bests from the entire WTA field!), and she surely has a BRAIN to understand and execute complicated strategies! She would have WINNER STRATEGY against most Top 100 girls, PROVIDED she's ready to FIGURE OUT and REMEMBER what kind of handling is needed for her given opponent. (For this she must play with them, and that's why even the lost Serena match is so important.)

Nicole should ATTACK with what she has: using SMART PLACEMENTS, ANGLES, ALWAYS CHANGING SHOT TYPES: SPINS/SLICES, VOLLEYS, OVERHEAD SMASHES, DROP-SHOTS and LOBS, etc. all in a unforeseeable mixture.

A side note on the "MORE SPIN" technique:
In 2013, during her rocket rising Simona Halep DID NOT USE it at all! It was funny/strange, because it was obvious, that a girl with such a good technical talents can easily learn it and use it. In 2014 she really learned it and started to use it.
But I must say, this new skill BACKFIRED in 2015 and 2016, because now she is WAITING TOO LONG before she hits the ball: she doesn't hit the balls on the top position (where optimal), or on the rise (very aggressive, ala Camila Giorgi), but when the ball is already coming down, giving TOO LONG TIME FOR HER OPPONENTS to prepare. This is WRONG! High spin balls should be applied when they are necessary, but when the ball is coming up high enough, the SMASHING is always PREFERABLE! (By the way, this is the "secret weapon" of Dominika Cibulkova: even though she's one of the smallest girls on the WTA tour (1.61m), she almost always tries to SMASH the ball (especially with her FH), instead of waiting more and giving back a top spin ball.)
In short: if the ball is coming up high enough, and you reached it in time: SMASH it NOT SPIN IT!
Jan 22nd, 2017 06:10 AM
tie_breaker
Re: Nicole Gibbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by DcsabaS View Post
- If she finds her aggression, she can easily beat big hitters (like Keys, Babos, etc.) thanks to her supreme technical skills and instincts.
For a slender 5'6" player, Nicole doesn't have the foot speed of Simona Halep or Justine Henin.
When she's on the run, which is most of the time, she's going to hit a defensive shot, which may work for in 50k tournaments but in the WTA it puts her at a disability.

Her lack of aggression is because she is always on the run, and when she is at the baseline, hitting without power, her opponent will dictate how much court Nicole has to cover. Perhaps 1 out of 5 attempts, she'll get a good angle in for a winner, but her lack of speed, makes that less likely to happen.

I thought by now she would be able to absorb power better, but her progress has been slow in this area. Because she isn't hitting with power, she relies on a flatter ball to take time away, which is a lower % shot. Without a higher arc and more spin, Nicole hits to many balls to the net or they fly over the baseline.

Sure she might be able to counter the power by changing speeds, but that isn't a likely strategy for each swing. Yes, it might work once in awhile, but it can also backfire, when her opponent changes speed on her or most likely it gives her opponent a shorter ball to bash back at her.

Bottom line: She needs more power, more spin, heavier ball or something because that lame flat forehand isn't going to get her higher than Top 70...
Jan 22nd, 2017 04:25 AM
TERRASTAR18
Re: Nicole Gibbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by DcsabaS View Post
- She doesn't need more power to be a Top 30 player. More power is very good, of course, and around the Top 10 becomes really important.
- The previous 3 years went without a major breakthrough, yes, but the development is not a clear straightforward thing. She was set back because of injuries, and because she lost her already improved aggression. Now it seems she's on the right track again. (Might be related to her new coach as well.)
- If she finds her aggression, she can easily beat big hitters (like Keys, Babos, etc.) thanks to her supreme technical skills and instincts.
- Her unforced errors come from her sometimes impatient nature. This is NOT a big surprise, MANY players are struggling with this. But there's a very positive thing in this(!): if you're impatient, than there must exist the needed aggression deep inside your soul(!) - it only has to be used! ==> Nicole has big potentials, and I'm waiting for the time it comes to reality!
i agree with all of this....and i would add sometimes it takes time. nicole is only 23. it took kerber till 26 to make a real breakthrough.
Jan 21st, 2017 11:27 PM
DcsabaS
Re: Nicole Gibbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by tie_breaker View Post
I bet she never reaches Top 50...

It's been 3 years now and she hasn't developed the power to hold her ground on the court.
Until she does, her best matches will be at the ITF level.
Every once in awhile she may get a lucky draw or an opponent on a down swing.
Nicole is her worst enemy as she is only playing at her best 3 months out of the year.
I thought by know she could counter punch better, but it seems her timing is a bit off against bigger shot players, and her errors go up exponentially.

But who knows, with her endorsements, off court popularity, she may continue being Top 15 American player, but that won't mean Top 50. Her blogs may make her Top 50 in popularity and she has a G-unit to root for her. So it isn't bad as it looks, just a limited upside.
- She doesn't need more power to be a Top 30 player. More power is very good, of course, and around the Top 10 becomes really important.
- The previous 3 years went without a major breakthrough, yes, but the development is not a clear straightforward thing. She was set back because of injuries, and because she lost her already improved aggression. Now it seems she's on the right track again. (Might be related to her new coach as well.)
- If she finds her aggression, she can easily beat big hitters (like Keys, Babos, etc.) thanks to her supreme technical skills and instincts.
- Her unforced errors come from her sometimes impatient nature. This is NOT a big surprise, MANY players are struggling with this. But there's a very positive thing in this(!): if you're impatient, than there must exist the needed aggression deep inside your soul(!) - it only has to be used! ==> Nicole has big potentials, and I'm waiting for the time it comes to reality!
Jan 21st, 2017 09:48 PM
tie_breaker
Re: Nicole Gibbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by DcsabaS View Post
Her realistic target for 2017 is to become a Top 30 player. And if she can continue the season better than in 2016 (after that excellent start!), she'll have a chance to the Top 10 in roughly 2-3 years. With her physique and skills I can see her even in the Top 5, but this is not a given thing, depends on many factors, and a huge amount of work.
First things first, now she has to work on her aggression. I know she's a nice girl, therefore to become consistently aggressive is one of her hardest job ever...
I bet she never reaches Top 50...

It's been 3 years now and she hasn't developed the power to hold her ground on the court.
Until she does, her best matches will be at the ITF level.
Every once in awhile she may get a lucky draw or an opponent on a down swing.
Nicole is her worst enemy as she is only playing at her best 3 months out of the year.
I thought by know she could counter punch better, but it seems her timing is a bit off against bigger shot players, and her errors go up exponentially.

But who knows, with her endorsements, off court popularity, she may continue being Top 15 American player, but that won't mean Top 50. Her blogs may make her Top 50 in popularity and she has a G-unit to root for her. So it isn't bad as it looks, just a limited upside.
Jan 21st, 2017 08:19 PM
DcsabaS
Re: Nicole Gibbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by TERRASTAR18 View Post
and if she plays at 75% of the level she started that 1st game with, she beats everyone else......but at least she is healthy.
Her realistic target for 2017 is to become a Top 30 player. And if she can continue the season better than in 2016 (after that excellent start!), she'll have a chance to the Top 10 in roughly 2-3 years. With her physique and skills I can see her even in the Top 5, but this is not a given thing, depends on many factors, and a huge amount of work.
First things first, now she has to work on her aggression. I know she's a nice girl, therefore to become consistently aggressive is one of her hardest job ever...
Jan 21st, 2017 07:22 PM
TERRASTAR18
Re: Nicole Gibbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by DcsabaS View Post
- She could remain in some long rallies and even she could win some of them.
- She could win some tricky points.
- She could win some constructed points.
- She could break Serena, and she had more occasions for that. (This was my secret hope! ) (Of course, Serena's errors were also needed for that.)
- If she made less unforced errors (<== resulted from her nerves), she could have done it a little even better.
- Tactically, she should have played a more aggressive tennis - but compared to her standards, Nicole was brave and aggressive, she was fighting, and she was beautiful on the court! Well done!
and if she plays at 75% of the level she started that 1st game with, she beats everyone else......but at least she is healthy.
Jan 21st, 2017 01:06 PM
Wintermute
Re: Nicole Gibbs

A respectable score. Good tournament for Nicole!

Jan 21st, 2017 09:04 AM
DcsabaS
Re: Nicole Gibbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by TERRASTAR18 View Post
it's a learning experience.....she now knows the level it takes to be great.....i liked her being aggressive early.
- She could remain in some long rallies and even she could win some of them.
- She could win some tricky points.
- She could win some constructed points.
- She could break Serena, and she had more occasions for that. (This was my secret hope! ) (Of course, Serena's errors were also needed for that.)
- If she made less unforced errors (<== resulted from her nerves), she could have done it a little even better.
- Tactically, she should have played a more aggressive tennis - but compared to her standards, Nicole was brave and aggressive, she was fighting, and she was beautiful on the court! Well done!
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