How to Slide on Clay
As the world's leading supplier of clay court surfaces, the question we get asked more than any other, from teaching pros and players alike, is about how to slide on clay. Sliding not only makes you more efficient and more consistent on clay, it makes the game more fun, so we have put together a three-part video series on how to slide on clay. Check out part 1 on our website. We hope you like it and find it instructional. Give us your feedback. Play the Clay, Learn to Win and Play for Life!
"What's New" Product Video
- from Tennis Warehouse - Liquidation Sale - Racquets - Wilson K-Factor KTOUR, Babolat Aerostrike, Pure Storm, Pure Storm Tour
Signup for TennisOne Membership Today – FREE Video Analysis Software ($99 Value)
Join TennisOne today and get unrestricted access and use of SportsCAD Home video analysis software package ($99 retail). Click here to see how to download SportsCAD if you're a TennisOne member (or for details on this offer)..
Click here for a 30 day FREE trial TennisOne membership and get instant access to SportsCAD Home software.
Contemporary Men Stretching the Court
Watching the men at the Australian Open this year, one word comes to mind: elastic. This is how I see the evolution of men's tennis. As a point of comparison, I recently watched a few points from the superb 2000 Australian Open semifinal between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. This was an enthralling, state-of-the-art match between two hard hitters, the ball crackling deep through the court, each player pushed to his physical limits. And yet, compared to how the game is played now, Sampras-Agassi had a vastly linear quality, each player's concussive drives a fine fit for the rectangle of a court.
That shape has changed. One major reason for this was the late '90s introduction of Luxilon, the dead string that permits players to fully avail themselves of contemporary racquet technology, take massive cuts at the ball, and generate severe forms of spin, angle, whip, and torque. Once upon a time this was the racquet model for a pro: dead frame, lively strings, big grip. Now it's the opposite: lively frame, dead strings, small grip. Rafael Nadal, for example, uses a 4 ¼-inch grip, all the better to whip his forearm through one forehand after another – and in the process, stretch the court's dimensions.
Click photo: Roger Federer’s balls are not just moving and penetrating through the court. They are jumping, rotating, spinning, kicking and biting with supreme pace, angle, and depth.
Working for Tennis Channel in Melbourne, I had the chance to sit right behind the court and watch the incredible action on Roger Federer's balls. These shots aren't just moving and penetrating through the court. They are jumping, rotating, spinning, kicking and biting with supreme pace, angle, and depth.
And so the geography of the court has taken on a new shape. Contemporary tennis is predicated not just on pace, but on spin, a combination which enables confident, free-flowing players to generate more sustained depth and angle than they ever have. Transitions back and forth between offense and defense occur repeatedly on just about every point. Federer, Nadal, Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko, and Marin Cilic are just a few exemplary practitioners of this brand of highly-physical, mostly baseline-based play.
For recreational players, it’s a good news, bad news scenario. The good news is that the quality of play has never been higher. To witness up close the degree of fitness, movement and ball-striking aptitude it takes to play contemporary men’s tennis is inspiring, an ode to our sport’s remarkable mix of physical prowess, skill and focus. To have watched Murray, for example, evolve over these first five years of his career from a nimble counterpuncher to a 6’ 3” force shows how a player can improve his athleticism – and in the process, enhance his tools and even add new ones (such as Murray’s faster serve). Recreational players should take heart from this: You can make yourself a better athlete, if not obviously to the degree of a Murray, but certainly in a way that enhances movement, strength and stamina.
What’s problematic is that we have never lived in an era when the gap between the playing styles of pros and those of civilians is so disparate. While on the one hand we might learn a bit about tactical maneuvers from someone like Murray and Federer – each of whom is a master at mixing spin, pace, height and depth – it’s tricky for recreational players to try to imitate too much else from the pro game. Dead strings – don’t even think about it. Massive cuts – please. And I’d daresay that for anyone over 40, the two-handed backhand employed by most pros can be quite labor-intensive.
Click photo: We might learn a bit about tactical maneuvers from someone like Nadal or Federer, but it’s tricky for recreational players to try to imitate too much else from the pro game.
Consider, also, the topic of shot selection. In the pro game, for example, a driving down-the-line backhand is a vital tool for keeping opponents from dictating play with inside-out forehands. But whenever I see recreational players zealously try this, what I really wonder is why they don’t put in more time improving their overheads. No question, it’s all quite different than the days when I could trot out my Dunlop Maxply, watch Rod Laver or John McEnroe and try to imitate not just their strokes, but also the way they built points.
For those who teach the game, it’s a conundrum. Young players who want to be as good as they can be are naturally smitten of the very best. Older players aspire to improve too. For there is the question: No matter what the age, will a player have the fitness – supple bodies, strong legs, emotional commitment – to try and play like a pro? I doubt it.
So yes, there’s a chasm between the pros and the rest of us. If on the one hand that makes teaching and learning the game tricky, on the other hand, so what? Shakespeare was no folk artist. And our lives are richer for the chance to witness his genius.
As always, we would love to hear from you! Questions, comments, personal experiences all create helpful dialogue for everyone! Please click here to send us your email.
The Forgotten Forehand
Years ago, before tennis became a game dominated by extreme grips and supersonic forehands, an effective weapon in a player’s repertoire was the slice forehand. The widely used continental grip was ideal for hitting with slice plus, the spin kept the ball lower as it came off of the grass surface where most tournaments were played. Though topspin is King in today, the slice forehand can still be a potent weapon in your arsenal. Greg Moran shows you how and when to use it.
The Importance of Momentum in Tennis
In tennis, more than in other sports, it is momentum that influences which player wins or loses. “The Big Mo” in tennis can switch within the blink of an eye and stun unsuspecting players and spectators. It can carry the athlete a long way, sometimes to ultimate victory. Or, it can, just as suddenly, be lost, and even reversed, so that one's opponent rides the wondrous waves just as swiftly and as far as he had before. Paul Fein looks at this year's Australian Open to see just how big a part momentum played in a few of the most important matches.
ProStrokes 2.0 – Marat Safin's Backhand
With two Grand Slam Titles and a dozen ATP Titles, Marat Safin was certainly no "flash in the pan." Enigmatic, popular, and with loads of talent, however, if ever there was a player who failed to reach expected potential, Safin fits the bill. One of the purist physical talents in the history of the game, Safin both physically and technically had the goods! He had periods of 'fleeting ecstasy" followed by disappointing meltdowns, but one could always admire his execution. Graceful fluidity, plenty of raw power, delicate touch and an all-court awareness, Safin has been a model for students of the game to study and emulate. New this issue, Marat Safin's backhand.
The Etcheberry Experience DVD
For more than twenty years Pat Etcheberry has been providing athletes from around the world with the winning edge. We call this the Etcheberry Experience, and players with an Etcheberry experience have hoisted Championship Trophies at over one hundred major championships, including 28 Australian Opens, 18 Wimbledons, 22 UP Opens, 22 French Opens and 15 Olympic medals.
And now it's your turn! This is your chance to experience the same drills, exercises and words of tennis wisdom that Pat gave to Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Jim Courier, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and others, that helped launch them on their incredible careers. For the first time, Pat Etcheberry shares his training secrets in a series of DVDs for players of all ages, their coaches, and trainers.
Copyright Notice: The contents of the TennisONE web site and contents forwarded to you by TennisONE are intended for your personal, noncommercial use. Republishing of TennisONE content in any way, including framing or posting of these materials on other Web sites, is strictly prohibited. See our full copyright statement
If you wish to be removed from our newsletter list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and leave the subject line blank. A confirmation email will be sent to you, and you will be removed from our newsletter list once you reply to that confirmation.