Tennis Players - Analyses/Capabilities/Predictions
In this articale I will evaluate the top tennis players, their games and the what they might be able to achieve. These are my own evaluations and are quite subjective but I have tried to produce as much argument as I thought was possible. I have also suggested what the players may need to do if they want to make major progress. Failing this I estimate as to how far they can go. The objective of course is simply to talk about tennis which is a great sport for me and a lot of other people and to keep generating more interest for the game and more revenue for all. This article will be a continuing one in the sense that it will be constantly added to and updated. I can only concentrate on the top few players.
I cannot adduce any empirical evidence for what I am writing since I do not believe in any empirical analysis much of the time and I think it has only limited application in this area and in fact in most others. So unfortunately, I cannot and will not produce much evidence from the the history of the previous matches but I will draw freely on the previous matches that I have seen ( I do not read many books/magazines for reasons best known to me. Basically to argue about any subject you need analytical ability and not scholarship. Think about it!) but may not be able to produce the exact date and place of the matches. (Remember, I do not read much of anything!) But I will try to do this minimally.
Before we start our analysis lets' try to find the core and fundamental attribute of a players' game that will determine how far they can go. I believe it is not something that one can acquire through practice and I think it is not something that can be instilled through some coaching. It is not the length of the shot, its top or bottom (if you will ) spin. It is not the pace of the ball. It is not the serve or the speed of it or its placement or whether it is kicked in or what. It is not the net charging. It is none of that. It is not what all the pundits in this business will tell you. It is not consistencey although it could be somewhat related to it. It is somerthing that I call the Player-Net-Line Sense. Let me elaborate on this.
Player-Net-Line Sense or PNL sense is defined as follows:
The ability of a player to guage and picture the ball (on his side of the court), net, and line(s) (the relevant line(s) in the opponents' court) in a split second in such a way or accurate a way that his body/swing and footwork automatically and internally assume the position to return the ball with the required force and placement dictated by the strategy/tactical combination extant in the players mind at that and each and every moment and at each and every shot in the play. This is quite a mouthfull so lets elaborate on this.
It is critical to see that this whole PNL sense boils down to an ability to picture the ball-net-line combination accurately. (Notice that the picture says nothing about the players! Why? Think about this for now as this is the key to the problem of tennis and as to who can be a winner in the long run. We will address this later, see infra, PNL Scale). Accordingly once we know that this is a a matter of a picture, we must ask what makes for a good picture. The answer is both simple an complex and indeed makes us differ from each other. This PNL also has aplication in other aspects of our lives, as you can readily see. Let us see some examples of this phenomenon so that we begin to get a grap of this. Once we grasp this we can easily see which players are going to go where. But let me formaslize these concepts so that they become identifiable and are quantifiable for analytical purposes.
So the elements of this player ability are identifiable as follows:
1. PNL picture (before each shot is executed) in the players' mind that must form in a split second. The accuracy of this pricture is critcal. This is a complex combination.
2. The resulting automatic positioning of the players body as dictated by the strategico-tactical combination demanded/required by the PNL position/picture. We will call this element the 'total response position' or TRP element. Remember that this response includes your entire and total response to the opponent's ball and is your decesion as to where and how you are going to return the ball to make the point. But your response will be nothing if your PNL sense is incorect since you will be missing
it and although your stratergy or rsponse planning or whatever may be excellent, it will not be any good. This element can interfere with the first and destroy the entire response altogether. Hence this one is even more of a complex combination. This is because the opponents position can take an undue importance in your response so that you try to outwit the opponent by making a clever placemnet in your return shot or the pace of it or its delivery. But this can go overboard and you lose your PNL so that the ball goes in the net or sails wide or out. Some of the commentators call this 'overcooking'. Neeed I give you examples of this phenomenon? The primary purpose is to return the ball safely and to keep it in play if you cannot outwit the opponent just yet. You must wait for the kill. If you rush, you are short changining Element 1 and you are already dead and your supposedly excellenet skills in Element 2 will never be of any value since you will not have a chance to even employ them. I see this again and again. This happens a lot in a long rally when a player gets impatient and tries to change the direction of the ball or charge the net. Any such change requires carefull analysis of the return ball (which is element 3) and any quick or impatient play on your part will result in loss of control and hence loss of the point. I see this a lot also when the player is getting increasingly concerned about the long rally and tries a "drop shot". By the way a "drop shot" is generally a "desperation shot" and must be tried only when you have control (See infra) otherwise it tells the opponents a lot about your mental state and in particular when you miss it in the most ridiculous a fashion. My advicee: Use it very sparingly and only when you have absolute control and the opponent sees that. In plain English the element 2 says that it is your stategy to the opponents response but is subservient to the PNL sense since what good is the strategy if the PNL is wrong ansd the ball sails out or wide? I hope this makes sense. This element has a lot to do with training
3. The pace and placement the opponents' return can take. I am assuming the opponents' ball in your court is not a basic one, see supra. We will call this the Pace/Placement on Return element or PPR for short.
These 3 elements will be referenced in the following analyses by number.
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