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I've been on this board for over 16 years, and it wasn't until the last six or seven years that I feel like TF has really leaned on this concept of a pusher. What brought this on? Who was the first pusher that you guys rallied against? And historically, who is the first top-flight pusher of women's tennis?

I'm really quite keen about getting a conversation going about how this came to be, and what the big deal is: Why are you some of you so angry at players who adopt a more defensive-minded approach to tennis. Not everyone can hit blistering groundstrokes, you know? Where do you draw the line when calling someone a pusher? Was Martina H a pusher? Was Kim? Can Serena, who is one of the sport's fastest players, be at times a pusher?
 

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A lot of people like the ball bashers. I dont know why there has to be these 2 groupings
What is Djokovic? He is a great mover who plays great defense
 

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Pushers are no better than brainless ball bashers, their only goal is to keep the ball in play with no plan B.
 

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I think, from what I've seen, that many TF posters regard players who don't hit the ball "hard" as pushers. There are already some problems with this definition, IMO - how do you tell if a ball is hit "hard" or not? What are the standards or determinants behind this?

I generally don't believe in this concept of pushers - I think that most players tend to try to do things with the ball - for instance, many regard Wozniacki, Kerber and Radwanska as pushers on the board. I do think that their general instinct is to be defensive because of their confidence in their ability to chase down the balls, but I actually don't think they are pushers as much as they are made out to be. Kerber certainly isn't one; her FHDTL is as offensive a weapon as any other player's, IMO. Radwanska doesn't hit with power, but she plays with more variety and shot placement to extract errors, or to put her opponents out of position to hit winners. Wozniacki - sometimes plays like a pusher - especially when she plays against a ballbasher (like Madison Keys), but I do think if she can attack she would, too - and I have seen her do so, especially with her BH.

One more thing is that these players who tend to lack power (in the conventional TF sense) like Kerber or Radwanska are very dependent on match-ups. Sometimes, when they play people like Sharapova or Serena, they are made to look like "pushers" because they can't implement their game styles effectively - since IMO, they tend to revert back to their defensive instincts rather than play aggressively in these matches.

I do think that there are some players on tour that are true pushers (ie. no weapons and wait for opponents' errors), but I don't think anyone in the top 100 can be classified as one because certainly, they must possess at least a decent enough finishing shot (Woz's BH, Kerber's FHDTL, Aga's volleys/dropshots) to make it that high in the rankings.

One example of this type of "clear pushing" would be what Polona Hercog did against Coco Gauff. Now, THAT is real pushing - clearly waiting for errors and not doing anything to the ball except getting it back in play - but I don't think anyone employs such a boring slice-and-dice game as their main gamestyle on tour.

But honestly I don't see anything wrong with playing like a pusher IMO, running down balls is also a skill and is a testament to their physical fitness and work done off the court. Of course this means that their tennis isn't the most aesthetically pleasing, but that's why tennis (and sport in general) is so entertaining - watching different styles succeed in different ways. After all, it's all about winning matches on tour, and if pushing helps a player win a majority of their matches (ie. more than .500), then I don't see a problem with it.
 

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From what I understand, pusher doesnt mean Stephens or Halep or Brengle, just Wozniacki, who did okay with it, 30 titles including a major and YEC and over $33M in prizemoney
 
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I remember Andy Murray's beginings when he defeated Federer in one tournament in US, i think, i can't remember which one. After the match, mister Perfect, the most elegant, gracious, mannered etc, player in history said that his opponent did literally nothing but put the ball back in play. In the women's game, at the top of it anyway, the real, original, The Pusher, is Wozniacki, although she did win Singapore with a totally different approach, like it was a totally different player (i blame Bajin for that), and sometimes (ok, not sometimes, quite often) Kerber, she's an ace of pushing too, but she can attack as well, more often than Wozniacki. I've got nothing against pushing, although it can be very annoying if they play against your fave and they act like a freaking wall, my only problem is with Wozniaki's character and, when i see her disgusting antics, her playing style makes me nauseous as well. Hingis was no pusher by any means, she was one of the most technically gifted players ever, alongside Aga, although i liked Hingis, but not Aga. Hingis had more power also, she was a joy to watch. Bashing, instead, i hate with all my guts. That's not tennis, they should make a separate sport for the bashers, as well as for the men's servebots.
 

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I think, from what I've seen, that many TF posters regard players who don't hit the ball "hard" as pushers. There are already some problems with this definition, IMO - how do you tell if a ball is hit "hard" or not? What are the standards or determinants behind this?
It used to be that, now it's just a player you don't like is automatically tagged as either a pusher or a brainless ball basher. Expecting consistency here is ridiculous, because you're not going to get any of that. Halep hits harder than most of the presumed ball bashers and she's still called a pusher.

The key to a modern tennis player is to first of all have a great defense that you can then turn into offense to break your opponent's serve. And yes of course you need a good serve so you can hold on to that break. And when you are faced with an equally good defender you need to be able to rally and know when to attack at the right ball and not before that. It's very simple on paper but extremely hard to master. If you look back at the history of tennis these are the best of the best, you can't just bash the ball or push it past the net.

But again it's never about that with people here, it's just I don't like X player and she's more defensive so I'll call her a pusher, and same thing with BBB (Brainless-Ball-Basher) if we're talking about a more offensive player. It really is as simple as simple as that.
 

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From what I understand, pusher doesnt mean Stephens or Halep or Brengle, just Wozniacki, who did okay with it, 30 titles including a major and YEC and over $33M in prizemoney
Brengle is junkballer, Stephens is too lazy to be a pusher and Halep is good in pushing but it seems it's rather her main strategy than type of game.

In the same time we have a Push Queen Caroline The Danish Wall.
 
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From what i've seen, a "pusher" represents a player which is greatly disliked by some members of this forum (some of them being trolls :) ) and that has a playing style which doesn't involve 30 winners and 30 errors per match (something around that)
Here, nothing between "pusher" and " ball-basher" exists in tennis! It's all about these 2 "styles"!

My opinion, is that in top 100, we don't have any player that just pushes the ball over the net, just players that are attacking less or more :)
 

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I guess that when "power tennis" reached a new bar with the Williams sisters and the likes, some tennis fans thought womens tennis would look that way from now on. But a few players like Wozniacki could work their way through the field and, ô blasphemy, even managed to be number one for goldenlox weeks. :lol:

Outside of TF, there is no such pejorative vocabulary as "pusher" in commentary or if so (rarely), not used in a derogatory sense. For instance, the 2018 AO final is often mentionned as a classic.
 

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Hingis was an all court player. Dementieva too. Serena is All Court but usually plays against bashers so her game adapts to that. Clijsters is classic basher. Sharapova is a basher. Woz, Radwanska, Kerber and Halep are all counterpuncher/pusher.

I think the pusher game evolved to deal with the ball basher game hence the rise in the last 16 years as you say and then kind of became it's own style, which is the Defensive Baseliner.

Radwanska said that she had no choice but to push the ball back because players like Serena and Sharapova are extremely aggressive and that's the only way to deal with them. Running, retrieving, junkballing, returning serves with depth. Where an offensive baseliner (aka bashers) likes to dictate, the defensive baseliner (aka pusher), must respond to that.

It's like a predator vs prey co-evolution.
 
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