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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Re: Playing styles

From: Kjell Petterson <>
Date: Thu 3 Apr 2003 07:36:10 -0500

Thanks to Paul Fein for starting such an interesting thread! Some of my
favorite tennisbiz contributors have offered their very thoughtful

I don't have the expertise of those teaching professionals, but I have
played the game for half a century, and I watch it on TV whenever I have
an opportunity. So, from my perspective, let me focus on one of the
points Scott Stacey made:

"G. Watching 2 players slugging from the baseline is boring. S&V adds
variety and risk."

Yes, indeed. I watched the Nasdaq tournament last weekend, and thought
that all the semifinalists were playing interesting tennis. Moya,
Federer, Costa and Agassi all mixed up their games by moving to a
volleying position when given the opportunity. They are not net rushers,
like Edberg and Krajicek, but they work themselves into a situation
where they often can make a volley winner.

So, what do they have in common? They all grew up - tenniswise - on clay
courts. Well, Agassi didn't, but the mature Agassi is a much more
versatile player than he was back in the days when he had hair.

So, how can I suggest that clay court tennis is a foundation for serve
and volley? Many people think about clay court tennis as just endless
points which go on until one player falls asleep. Yes, there has
certainly been that type of tennis through the years, but if a player
really wants to win a point - not just wait for the other guy to make an
error - he can't do it as easily from the baseline as on a fast surface.
Most of the time, he has to work himself into a commanding net position.

In my opinion, those who were responsible for killing the clay court
circuit in this country, hammered the first nail in the coffin of tennis
as we used to know it! There are other things which work in the same
direction. About a year ago I wrote a web page , where I tried to express some of those
thoughts in an article, called "Is tennis losing its soul?"

"I may be wrong but I doubt it", to quote a basketball player...

Kjell Petterson

Received on Thu Apr 03 2003 - 08:53:45 CST

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