By Kim Shanley
The TennisOne Community
The defining moment in every sports debate comes when someone
says, "Wanna bet?" (Or, if you hang out with the snobby
set, "Care to place a wager?") That's when you have
to pony up or slink away, muttering something like, "No,
but I think it's possible" to cover your ignominious retreat.
If TennisOne were a gaming site, I would be willing to stake
real money on my "good bets" predictions below. And
if you gave me some odds, I would wager a few dollars/euros on
my "medium-bets" predictions. On the long-shot,
I would have to say, "I think it's possible."
- Roddick #1 Again in 2004. While I think Roger Federer
is the most talented player on the men's tour, and may eventually
be considered among the game's greatest players, I predict Andy
Roddick will end up the number one player in the world again
this year. Day in, day out, Roddick's indomitable service game
(unseeable speed on the first serve and with his freakish spin,
an unattackable second serve) can win him most matches, even
if he isn't playing great or isn't highly motivated. This is
a huge advantage over the enormously long tennis year. Pete Sampras
(with a similar service game) perfected this sometimes lackadaisical
style, which sustained his number one ranking for six straight
years. Roddick, Federer, Ferrero, all could be number one this
year, but the glory and pressure seem to rest easier on Andy's
shoulders. Maybe it's an American thing about loving to be number
one, but Federer and Ferrero don't seem as hungry to bear the
weight of the crown. Roddick, on the other hand, loves it all.
Look at it from his perspective: he has the best girlfriend (Mandy
Moore), the best coach (Brad Gilbert), and the world says he's
the best player. If someone wants to steal his ring of power, it's going to
take an effort worthy of Saron and 10,000 frenzied Orks. I don't
see Federer and Ferrero fighting that hard. Could Agassi be number
one? You can't say it's not possible, as he ended up number four
in 2003. However, I think Agassi is all about surpassing his
own internal goals of excellence, particularly in the grand slams.
I just don't think the goal of number one is forged in his heart,
which it has to be in a year-long race. But if he did come out
on top, I would be happy to lose my bet on Roddick.
- Venus Williams #1 in 2004. All hail to Justine Henin-Hardenne
for her two grand slams victories and winning the race for number
one last year. Henin-Hardenne is a terrific competitor, but if
Venus and Serena Williams are healthy and motivated, I give them
both an edge over her in a sustained race. We saw evidence at
last year's Wimbledon how much Venus wanted to beat her sister,
when she competed fiercely in the final with a badly torn stomach
muscle. I think she wants to return to the number one position
badly. Serena Williams, of course, has demonstrated she's the
best player in the world over the last few years. However, she's
already pulled out of the Australian Open this year, still trying
to recuperate from knee surgery this past summer. She may come
on strong later in the season, but I just have a hunch it will
be Venus's year.
- Clijsters to Win First Grand Slam. Many champions
have lost their first two or three Grand Slam contests (Agassi,
Lendl), and have used those defeats to figure out how to win
at the highest levels. Clijsters has endured the same process,
and her spirit and will-to-win remain strong. She'll step through
to another level this year, and she'll be holding that champion's
cup above her head.
- Philippoussis to win first grand slam. Just to show
I have no American bias, I think Philippoussis has a good shot
to win his first grand slam this year. He made it the Wimbledon
finals last year, and he was the Australian hero for beating
Ferrero to clinch the Davis Cup for his country this past November.
- United States to Win the Davis Cup. This could be
put into the long-shot category, but I don't think I'm sticking
my neck out too far. With the world's number one player (Roddick)
and the world's number one doubles team (Bryan brothers), and
a young, closely-knit team, I think the U.S. comes back from
near-extinction last year to win the Davis Cup.
- Henman Will Win Wimbledon. This isn't as long a shot
as it may seem. Henman has been close to the finals several times.
However, now no one expects him to win, and with the pressure
reduced, perhaps he makes the dream a reality this year. Go get
'em, Tim, make 2004 the year we'll never forget.
TennisOne at Siebel Open
TennisOne will be a major sponsor at the first men's professional
tournament in the U.S. this year, the Siebel Open, February 9-15,
in San Jose, California. The top draws are Andre Agassi, Andy
Roddick, Paradorn Srichaphan, Tommy Haas, Mardy Fish, and James
Blake. TennisOne will have a booth at the event, and many of
our staff members, myself included, will be attending all week.
We would love to have you come by our booth and say hello. TennisOne
members are offered up to $10 off per ticket if you purchase
your tickets to the event via our website. Additionally, two
of our associate editors, Jeff Greenwald ("Fearless Tennis")
and Steve Tourdo ("Unlimited Doubles") will be hosting
a Peak Performance Seminar on Friday, February 13th, and TennisOne
members are also offered $10 off this seminar fee. Seminar topics
- How to compete without fear at all times
- Staying relaxed and focused under pressure
- How to formulate a winning strategy
- Your tactical objectives in the heat of battle
- How to play as an effective doubles team
here for all the information related to TennisOne at the
Siebel Open, including purchasing tickets and the Peak Performance
seminar. We hope all those who live in Northern California or
who are traveling to San Francisco/San Jose area between February
9-15, will come out and see us.
As always, I would love to hear your views on the subjects
raised in this newsletter. Please click
here to send your email directly to me.
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here for the details.
You a Tennis Dinker?" by Dave Smith
At any club in the country you'll find a proliferation of
players who not only stagnate at mediocre levels, but continue
to play for decades without advancing. While it is true, these
players often bring home trophies, it is seldom at levels above
3.5. So why don't these players improve? There are many factors
but Dave Smith may have the answer to the emergence of the tennis
Taking Time Away from Your Opponent," by David
One of the most important aspects club players can learn by
observing the pros is the ability to take time away from an opponent.
This, along with the ability to defend or buy time when in a
weakened position are the two major ingredients to becoming a
success at any level of play. This understanding has done more
to develop technique, movement patterns, and tactics than anything
else. David Sammel examines how it has impacted tennis development
over the years.
Getting Your Body Into the Shot ," by Doug King
The most critical point of any stroke is the moment the ball
and the strings collide - the contact point. Two important aspects
of a good contact are racquet alignment and racquet stability.
The more stable the racquet at contact the more power will be
delivered into the shot. Doug King demonstrates how to properly
position the body so that it acts as a support system for the
racquet and wrist.
"Make Your Backhand Your Strength: Learn From Two of the Best,"
by Heath Waters
Whether you consider your backhand a detriment or your biggest
strength, you can learn a great deal from studying Kim Clijsters
and Daniela Hantuchova, two of the best backhands in women's
tennis. Heath Waters breaks down the fundamental commonalities
of these two great backhands into a 1, 2, 3 step easy to learn
system and shows you how to apply these fundamentals to your
"Revisiting The Inner Game of Tennis," by Sean Brawley
Why is it that we can play so well one day and so poorly the
next? Why do we miss easy shots and choke under pressure? Why
is it so difficult to break a bad habit and learn a better one?
Back in 1974, Tim Gallwey answered questions like these in The
Inner Game of Tennis, one of the first books to deal with the
mental side of learning and performance in sports. Thirty years
later, Sean Brawley reexamines the book that rocked the tennis
Core Strength in Tennis Players Part 3 - Trunk Rotation Exercises,"
by Dr. Donald Chu
Everyone's searching for that tennis fitness edge? If you
are making progress, but it doesn't seem to be quickly enough,
plyometric exercises may be the answer. Trunk strength is the
foundation of sports performance and plyometric exercises for
the trunk may be grouped into three categories: trunk flexor
exercises, trunk extensor exercises, and trunk rotation exercises.
In part three of this series we will focus on trunk rotation
Exclusively on TennisONE
Gallery: Jelena Dokic Groundstrokes
Dokic had what has to be considered a disappointing year.
She was the victim of a number of upsets and that sent her into
a season long funk. No one denies her talent though and at only
20 there is still a lot of upside here. Dokic moves well and
is solid off the ground. If she can get her head on straight,
she should work her way back up the rankings. A good model from
a technical point of view. See her groundstrokes in the TennisOne