Thorlos Egoscue E-cise Program for Tennis
Focusing on proper alignment, posture and muscle engagement, the Thorlos Egoscue E-cise Program provides simple but powerful techniques to restore flexibility and function while at the same time boosting energy, revving up the immune system, even raising the body's metabolic rate.
See these great tennis warm-up and strengthening exercises!
US Open – Final Thoughts for the Players' Perspective
Federer. Certainly as good as it gets. Djokovic is gaining. Roddick played pretty darn well. Nadal may suffer from the length of the clay court season. And Davydenko competes but there is just the slightest thing missing.
Others may be gaining a bit but Federer seems to always comes home
with the prize.
There have been dominant players in other eras. McEnroe, Connors, Borg, Lendl, and Sampras have all held down the number one position. Certainly no one as long as Federer and certainly no one with as complete a game. Just as one can watch a particularly good tennis match on television, and be influenced such that the next time on court one plays just slightly better, I think there are many “take-aways” from Roger’s game that can genuinely help you and me. The following are a number of areas that you and I can approach when on court, and these areas were the cornerstones of many of the previous champions.
Djokovic, in summarizing his agonizingly close loss in the finals commented on Federer’s “mental strength.” But somehow I don’t think that captures the essence here. On the big points, Federer appears unflappable, somehow “Borg-like.” Note that of the seven set points Djokovic held and lost in the first two sets, only one was decided by a service ace, in the other six Federer simply stayed in the point. No spectacular winners. But Roger’s composure and unerring consistency creates enormous pressure, for any opponent knows they will have to earn, and will never be given, the point.
Further, remember the four break points Nadal held and lost against Federer in the fifth set of the Wimbledon final. Again, no winners but of greater importance no errors from Federer on any of those chances. Composure. Consistency. Make the opponent earn it. Evaluate your own skills when the chips are down. It is not about winners, but about making the opponent play the ball.
Creating the Most Difficult Reply
McEnroe consistently praised Federer’s game, not only for his shot making but equally for his tactics and strategy. As points unfold, first with backcourt groundstrokes, then perhaps an approach shot, and finishing with a either a winner or error from the backcourt or at the net, there will always be decisions faced by both players on each and every shot. When to add pace, when to defend, when to move forward, when to retreat. McEnroe knew to create situations where the opponent was forced to choose the most difficult, and therefore most error-prone, reply. And in so doing, often his opponents undid themselves with a string of errors.
Federer has remarked that it takes him “15 seconds” to size up an opponent. Perhaps a little bold, but who can argue with his success. And this “sizing up” clarifies his opponent’s tendencies, and more importantly the shots they have the most difficulty executing.
Click Photo: McEnroe used soft chips and awkward placements to open up the court for easy volleys.
Often two-handed players (Roddick, Djokovic, and Hewitt) are less comfortable approaching on the backhand side. For some reason that particular shot may be more easily struck with one-handed mechanics. So on the first championship point, with Djokovic serving to the ad court, Federer gently chipped short and crosscourt, and the kid neatly ran around the ball to knock off a forehand winner from midcourt. Next championship point, ad court, Federer chipped softly again but this time the kid didn’t run around, hesitated, then inexplicably tried a one-handed crosscourt drop shot that fell aimlessly into the net.
You too can learn to run these patterns against your opponents, but only if you diligently study their style of play, and then if you are able to expose those weaknesses when the chips are down. McEnroe played a similar style, chipping, dinking, driving, a full admixture of pace and spin, until as Arthur Ashe described, “He knicks you in so many places, ultimately you are bleeding to death.” Your game can be as much about power as about guile, but only if you work to perfect the guile side of the street.
Agassi was an artful commentator for the Roddick/Federer quarterfinal. Insightful, well spoken, and critical of the Roddick backhand wing. There has always been a muscular appearance to that stroke, as well as the unfortunate tendency to avoid the backhand, with extreme run around footwork into that corner.
Click Photo: Compare Roddick with Agassi
below. Andy instantly backs up, his arms are stiff, and he hits more with his shoulders than his hips - effortful.
Agassi commented that his own backhand felt far different, where the right arm led the swing into the ball and the left hand took over at impact. And when viewed side by side the comparison speaks volumes about effort and efficiency. But for as well as Roddick played, my lasting impression was of one man grunting, jumping, fighting, muscling, and the other playing smoothly.
At the end of the match, Roddick said, “I'm not walking off with any questions in my head this time.” Well for better or worse, I have a question. Where was the coach when Andy was a kid to acknowledge perhaps he hit the ball hard but worked way too much? Where is the coach to say, let's be a little more graceful and on balance? And the same goes for you. The big game is now played with a lot of ball speed by strong and well trained athletes. But the big game can be played gracefully and without effort. This grunting thing may actually disguise mechanical flaws in your technique. Monitor yourself next time on court. Are you working too hard?
Click Photo: Andre holds his ground, arms are relaxed, and he hits with hips and shoulders - effortless.
I asked Jim Courier, “When developing a junior (or adult) player, who would he recommend modeling the game after?” He answered in two words, “Roger Federer.” And as much as any other element within his game, it is the skill and variety of his one-handed backhand that sets Roger apart. Somehow the two-handers rarely develop the knack for approaching and net game. Further, the one-handed backhand creates options for wicked underspin as well as penetrating topspin drives and passing shots.
Pete Sampras moved from a two to one-handed backhand as a teenager in Los Angeles, and for the next few years his teenage opponents owned him until he found the form of the one-hander, and the rest as they say is history. No discounting the incredible Sampras serve, but his one-handed backhand led to a great backhand volley, generally missing from all the two-handers arsenals.
Interestingly, Federer credits his opponents for the improvement in his backhand over the years, as the players worked to avoid his deadly forehand. So I ask you, do you have a feel for the one-hander, and if so, do you have a feel for coming both under and over the ball? If not, let’s get to work.
Pete's backhand volley was among the best
in the game.
Roger Federer has set the bar impossibly high for most of his contemporaries. Unless any of them develop a complete and well rounded game, they rarely threaten, and the incredible consistency of his results attests to just that dominance. But though most cannot approach his grace, rhythm, and creativity, I do believe we can use his game to model aspects within our own. Composure on the big points. Creating difficult situations for the opponent. Playing gracefully to minimize effort. And finally, building a versatile one-handed backhand.
Generally Federer’s winners greatly outnumber his errors. Aces, wicked forehand winners, finishing volleys at the net, the guy plays from everywhere and when feeling it, he has been and continues to be unbeatable. But until the midpoint of the second set of the final, Roger’s errors outnumbered his winners. In the first set he made 15 errors to 10 winners. In the second set he turned things around with 9 errors and 18 winners, and finished the third set with 10 errors and 14 winners. But was Federer just having an off day, or did Djokovic play a role in this unusual, unfederer like statistic?
To my eye Djokovic contributed to this statistical wrinkle in two key areas. First, Novak played much more straight ahead, often keeping the ball deep rather than into the corners. Federer appears more dangerous when moved to the side of the court where he can open it up with sharp crosscourt angles or pin point down the line winners.
Second (and both Andy and James can take note here), Djokovic does not over hit the ball when out of position. Yes, he drives the ball with pace and depth, but always with an eye to recover, so that he appeared to scramble less than many of Roger’s opponents, and was more often in position as the rallies developed. The players may learn a thing or two from Djokovic’s performance, but equally I believe Roger may have learned a thing or two as well.
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 Swinging Topspin Volley
As little as twenty years ago, this shot was rarely seen on the pro circuit but as the “Modern Game” continues to evolve, variations, adaptations, and, quite frankly, experimentation dictate the changes we are seeing in the game. The swinging topspin volley followed the natural evolution of the power game and today is commonplace on the tour, however, at the club level, this stroke is still problematic. Dave Smith examines the technique of this offensive weapon.
Many of the best players in the Open Era have been all-court players. The modern all-court player is primarily an aggressive baseliner and differs from the classic all-court player by using more power from the baseline and relying less on finish the point at the net. Though rare on the pro circuit, the classic all-courter still thrives at the club level since power is less important. Here, Doug Eng present a series of fun games that allow you to hone your all-court skills in an open-skilled environment.
Tim Mayotte Interview
Tim Mayotte turned pro in 1988 and had a long and storied career, not quite reaching the highest echelons, but with many wins over the top players along the way. His highest ranking was 7th in October of 1988, his overall record was 340 singles wins against 203 singles losses, capturing 12 singles titles, one doubles title and $2 million dollars in prize money along the way. Monty Basnyat caught up with Tim at this year's US Open and Tim had some interesting things to say about the way the game is played, then and now.
ProStrokes Gallery - Juan Carlos Ferrero's Backhand
Nicknamed the Mosquito, for his tenacity and court movement, this 27 year old Spaniard was ranked number one in September of 2003. He reached the final of the US Open that year, losing to Andy Roddick, and owns two French Open titles from 2002 and 2003. Primarily a clay court player, Juan Carlos is currently ranked 21st. His whip-like forehand is deadly accurate, and with a few wins this year at key moments he may yet again crack the top ten. Check out Juan Carlos Ferrero's strokes in the TennisOne Prostrokes Gallery. New this issue, Ferrero'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.
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.
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