Quantcast
nodot nodot
Between The Lines
May 3, 2003 Article

Contact Ray Bowers

Latest Between The Lines Article

Between The Lines Archives:
2003 - 2014
August 1998 - 2003
1995 - May 1998

Tennis Server
HOME PAGE

Do You Want To Be A Better Tennis Player?

Then Sign Up For A Free Subscription to the Tennis Server INTERACTIVE
E-mail Newsletter!

You will join 25,000 other subscribers in receiving news of updates to the Tennis Server along with monthly tennis tips from tennis pro Tom Veneziano that won't be found on the web site.
 
Best of all, it is free!

Player Profiles:
 
Top Pros (Women)
tennis ball Serena Williams
tennis ball Maria Sharapova
tennis ball Petra Kvitova
tennis ball Simona Halep
tennis ball Eugenie Bouchard
tennis ball Agnieszka Radwanska
tennis ball Ana Ivanovic
tennis ball Caroline Wozniacki
tennis ball Na Li
tennis ball Angelique Kerber
 ... more profiles
 
Top Pros (Men)
tennis ball Novak Djokovic
tennis ball Roger Federer
tennis ball Rafael Nadal
tennis ball Stanislas Wawrinka
tennis ball David Ferrer
tennis ball Tomas Berdych
tennis ball Kei Nishikori
tennis ball Marin Cilic
tennis ball Milos Raonic
tennis ball Andy Murray
 ... more profiles
 
Tennis Features Icon TENNIS FEATURES:

BETWEEN THE LINES - Ray Bowers takes an analytical and sometimes controversial look at the ATP/WTA professional tour.
 
PRO TENNIS SHOWCASE - Tennis match reports and photography from around the world.
 
TURBO TENNIS - Ron Waite turbocharges your tennis game with tennis tips, strategic considerations, training and practice regimens, and mental mindsets and exercises.
 
TENNIS ANYONE? - USPTA Pro John Mills' quick player tip.
 
WILD CARDS - Each month a guest column by a new writer.
 
TENNIS SET - Jani Macari Pallis, Ph.D. looks at tennis science, engineering and technology.
 
MORTAL TENNIS - Greg Moran's tennis archive on how regular humans can play better tennis.
 
MENTAL EQUIPMENT - Explore the mental side of the game with Dr. John Murray.
 
TENNIS WARRIOR - Tom Veneziano's Tennis Warrior archive.
 
HARDSCRABBLE SCRAMBLE - USPTA pro Mike Whittington's player tip archive.
 
TENNIS EQUIPMENT TIPS.

Tennis Community Icon TENNIS COMMUNITY:


Tennis Book, DVD, and Video Index
 
Tennis Server Match Reports
 
Editor's Letter
 
Become a Tennis Server Sponsor

Explore The Tennis Net Icon EXPLORE THE TENNIS NET:

Pro Tennis Calendar & Event Links
 
Tennis News and Live Tennis Scores
 
Tennis Links on the Web
 
nodot
Between The Lines By Ray Bowers
 
Green Dot
 
Tennis Warehouse Logo
 
Green Dot

 
nodot
Clay Season 2003

Ray Bowers Photo
Ray Bowers

Here again is clay-court tennis--that wonderful test of footwork, finesse, big topspin, patience, and determination.

Three tournaments in Latin America began the men's clay circuit. Players from Spain and South America dominated the entry lists and indeed captured all semi-final berths in all three. Spain's David Sanchez and Carlos Moya won the tournaments in Chile and Buenos Aires, respectively, and Augustin Calleri of Argentina captured Acapulco. The only players reaching the semis of more than one event were Kuerten of Brazil and Gaudio of Argentina.

Spanish and Argentine strength on clay pervaded the first two rounds of Davis Cup, in February and in early April. Both nations comfortably defeated visiting opponents on clay in both rounds. Moya and Ferrero played singles for Spain, Nalbandian and Gaudio for Argentina, all of whom are now 4-0 in 2003 Cup play. Spain and Argentina will meet in the September semis, doubtless on clay, where host Spain will be the favorite.

April brought clay-court tournaments in Casablanca and Estoril (near Lisbon), where the cast now included larger contingents from Europe and North Africa. French player Boutter defeated El Aynaoui in the final at Casablanca, and the young Russian Davydenko defeated Calleri in the Estoril final.

The Monte Carlo Open--the first of the clay Masters events--followed in mid-April. The leading superstars of the hard courts remained absent, but nearly all the world's top clay-courters were on hand, including full delegations from Spain and Argentina. Led by tournament winner Ferrero, the Armada recorded a strong lead in the tally of matches won. Spain thus earned one National Team Point (NTP) in the unofficial competition outlined in last month's column. Argentina, which was second in matches won, acquired one-half NTP.

Here then are the end-of-April leaders in NTP for 2003.

Australia, 6.75
Spain, 6.75
USA, 6
Argentina, 5.5

Andre Agassi made his 2003 clay debut the week after Monte Carlo, winning the red-clay event in Houston by defeating Andy Roddick in a splendid final. Andre plays most often on hard courts, but he won the Italian last year and was Garros champion in 1999. Also entering clay action the same week, at Barcelona, was Marat Safin, who reached the final and won the first set against his opponent, Moya, before succumbing. Last year Safin was the only non-Spanish semi-finalist at Garros. Joining the clay wars the next week, at Valencia, was Roger Federer, who won the German Open last year at age 20. Yet outside were Lleyton Hewitt and Pete Sampras. Pete seems content to end his magnificent career without the crowning triumph at Garros.

Spanish success at Monte Carlo and Barcelona signals that the Armada is likely to dominate the coming Italian, German, and French Opens, all on clay. A nation winning all three tournaments would earn 5 NTP. Nothing is assured. Last year, the U.S. men won the most matches at Rome, while Czech Republic was second, excelling in the doubles.

THE WOMEN'S CLAY SEASON

A clay surface is often an equalizing factor, where the bounce reduces the penetration of power serves and ground strokes and where the reduced foot traction handicaps players unaccustomed to it. Sampras's long frustration in Paris illustrates the phenomenon. The effect is hardly dominant among today's top women, however. With Aranxa Sanchez-Vicario and Martina Hingis now on the sidelines, the era seems past when such artists could employ precision, variety, court mobility, and determination to outduel the best power players on clay.

The top ten women generally stayed away from this year's early clay events. The Tier One at Charleston, however, brought out a strong field headed by Serena Williams. In the semis, Serena convincingly defeated Lindsay Davenport, closing out a tight second set with some remarkable serving. Her opponent in the next day's final, 20-year-old Justine Henin-Hardenne, had divided meetings with Serena in the finals of the 2002 German and Italian Opens, both on clay. Justine won in Berlin, Serena in Rome.

On this day in Charleston Serena seemed uncharacteristically shy of moving to net, even when Henin was hard-pressed in deep court. Serena also had trouble weathering her own erratic periods. The result was that Henin's court speed and rocketry proved very nearly equal to Serena's, and her consistency was much better. Watching by tv, I was intrigued by Henin's lateral foot movement in returning Serena's bids for service aces to the corners. Serena's undefeated run thus ended at 25 (including four wins in Hopman Cup).

But Justine's glory was brief. One week later, she lost in the semis of the clay event at Amelia Island to Russian player Elena Dementieva, age 21 and 5-11 in height. A decisive factor at the end was the early-afternoon sun, which made serving difficult from the north. Elena's already weak serve seemed extremely vulnerable from that direction, but Justine failed to move up to attack the softies and instead took them on the descent at knee level. She missed a few and, more seriously, by failing to seize the initiative she allowed each point to become an equal baseline exchange. Dementieva's nerves then proved the stronger, and it was Elena into the final.

The rocketry of Lindsay Davenport had been impressive all week, especially in the first set of her win over Capriati. In the final, Lindsay regularly attacked Dementieva's weak serves, but the Russian player managed to equalize exchanges often enough to keep matters close. Meanwhile Dementieva reacted extremely well in returning Davenport's biggest serves, and her forehand and backhand rocketry from back court seemed as fast as Davenport's and often more accurate, though clearly less heavily loaded with topspin. Dementieva prevailed in three.

Fed Cup week in late April fit well into the clay season, as five of the eight meets were played on that surface. Most higher-ranking stars of the 16 contending nations turned out, including the Williams sisters of USA. Magui Serna, 24, fresh from winning clay tournaments at Estoril and Budapest, recorded two singles wins in Spain's clay-court win over Australia. Russia won on indoor clay behind singles performers Dementieva and Myskina. Advancing toward a probable late-year showdown with the Americans was the Belgian team of Clijsters and Henin-Hardenne.

Looking ahead to the big clay events coming in Berlin, Rome, and Paris, it appears that Serena Williams remains stronger than the other elites. We can expect many wonderful points, games, and matches.

--Ray Bowers

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Between The Lines Archives:
1995 - May 1998 | August 1998 - 2003 | 2004 - 2014


If you have not already signed up to receive our free e-mail newsletter Tennis Server INTERACTIVE, you can sign up here. You will receive notification each month of changes at the Tennis Server and news of new columns posted on our site.

This column is copyrighted by Ray Bowers, all rights reserved.

Following interesting military and civilian careers, Ray became a regular competitor in the senior divisions, reaching official rank of #1 in the 75 singles in the Mid-Atlantic Section for 2002. He was boys' tennis coach for four years at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Virginia, where the team three times reached the state Final Four. He was named Washington Post All-Metropolitan Coach of the Year in 2003. He is now researching a history of the early pro tennis wars, working mainly at U.S. Library of Congress. A tentative chapter, which appeared on Tennis Server, won a second-place award from U.S. Tennis Writers Association.

Questions and comments about these columns can be directed to Ray by using this form.


 

nodot
nodot
Google
Web tennisserver.com
nodot nodot
The Tennis Server
Ticket Exchange

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
 
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Tennis Tickets 11/7-11/14
 
Davis Cup Finals: France vs Switzerland Tennis Tickets 11/21
 
Chris Evert Pro-Celeb Tennis Classic Tickets 11/22-11/23
 
2015 BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells 3/11-3/22
 
2015 Miami Open Tennis Tickets 3/23-4/5
 
2015 US Open Tennis Tickets 8/31-9/13
 

 

Tennis MindGame

 
Popular Tennis books:
 
Smart Tennis by John Murray
 
Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis-Lessons from a Master by Brad Gilbert, Steve Jamison
 
The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance by Jeff Greenwald
 
The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
 
Most Recent Articles:
 
Tennis Warrior: Five Powerful Tennis Concepts by Tom Veneziano.
 
October 2014 Tennis Anyone: Why Can I Not Poach? by John Mills.
 
October 2014 Turbo Tennis: Momentum Revisited by Ron Waite.
 
October 12, 2014 Between The Lines: Home Stretch 2014 -- On the Hard Courts of Asia by Ray Bowers.
 
Tennis Warrior: In Tennis, Principle Trumps Emotion by Tom Veneziano.
 
September 2014 Tennis Anyone: Things To Do and Not To Do by John Mills.
 
September 2014 Turbo Tennis: The Only Thing You Have To Fear Is Fear Itself!!! by Ron Waite.
 
September 9, 2014 Between The Lines: Dissecting U.S. Open 2014 by Ray Bowers.
 
August 2014 Wild Cards: The Tennis Round Table: Interviews With Jim Courier, Todd Martin & Mark Philippoussis in Arizona by Vince Barr.
 
May 2014 Wild Cards: Michael Chang Wins Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Challenge in Arizona by Vince Barr.
 

 

 

 

 
 
Featured events in the Tennis Server Ticket Exchanges:
 
  Featured Tickets:
BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells CA Tennis Garden
Miami Open Tennis Tickets Miami Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
 

  Featured Tickets:
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 13 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 14 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 15 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 16 Finals W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 11 Third Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 10 Men's Second Round Women's Third Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 9 Men's Second Round Women's Third Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 8 Second Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona

  Featured Tickets:
Sony Open Tennis Session 13 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 3rd Round Women's Singles 4th Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 14 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 3rd Round Women's Singles 4th Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 15 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 4th Round Women's Singles Quarterfinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 16 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 4th Round Women's Singles Quarterfinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center

  Featured Tickets:
Sony Open Tennis Session 21 Tickets Miami Men's Singles Semifinals Women's Doubles Semifinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 22 Tickets Miami Men's Singles Semifinals Women's Doubles Semifinals Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 23 Tickets Miami Woman's Singles Final Men's Doubles Final Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 24 Tickets Miami Men's Singles Final Women's Doubles Final Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Great American Beer Festival Tickets Denver CO Colorado Convention Center

 
 
"Tennis Server" is a registered trademark and "Tennis Server INTERACTIVE" is a trademark of Tennis Server. All original material and graphics on the Tennis Server are copyrighted 1994 - by Tennis Server and its sponsors and contributors. Please do not reproduce without permission.

 

Tennis Server
Cliff Kurtzman
Editor-in-chief
2323 Clear Lake City Boulevard
Suite 180-139
Houston, Texas 77062-8120
Phone: (281) 480-6300
Fax: (281) 480-7715
Online Contact Form
How to support Tennis Server as a Sponsor/Advertiser
Tennis Server Privacy Policy