Tag Archives: clay court

Davis Cup. Could this be a Swiss master stroke.

20 Nov

Roger rips BHand

Roger Federer in full flight, ripping into a backhand earlier in 2014.

It will be interesting to see if the so-called spat between team mates (and good      mates) Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka has any implication for team harmony   in the Davis Cup final which starts tomorrow in Lille, France.

The tie will be played indoors on clay – a choice made by the home French team –  who probably feel they need to slow things down to negate the Stanimal and  Roger’s weapons. Should be an amazing atmosphere – a 27,000 seat indoor  stadium full of parochial French, with the 4th ranked Swiss looking to topple the  2nd ranked French team.

122 nations contested the Davis Cup in 2014, and now we are down to the final two. This will be a great clash. The French have a long and proud history in Davis Cup. Equal 3rd on the all-time tally with 9 victories, whilst Switzerland are yet to win the Davis Cup. It is one of Roger Federer’s stated remaining goals in the game. The Swiss did make the final back in 1992 – but ran into something of a USA Dream Team – Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and John McEnroe!

The French will probably go with Tsonga and Monfils in the singles, but could surprise with either Gasquet or Simon – nice to have those selection issues.. The Swiss are a little more straight forward – Federer and Wawrinka – and hang their hopes on gaining 3 singles wins.

The PRO

Adjust. Adapt. It’s Grass time

13 Jun

This should get you in the mood for grass. A few points from Queen’s, in the lead-up to Wimbledon. Is that summer in England?

In one of the idiosyncratic nuances of the world tennis tour, play shifts from the European clay-court season to the hallowed grass of Wimbledon. In the space of 3 weeks player’s are expected to go from the energy sapping suffering of grinding extended rallies, baseline scrambling, a blood-on-the-knees defensive mindset – to the cut and thrust of grass-court tennis. And it is how well they adjust that makes the 4 week grass-court swing so entertaining.

Tournament officials have made the transition as comfortable as possible (without ever making the one really obvious change  – that is change the schedule). Grass courts have been rolled flat, and dried out as much as possible so they play slower, balls are a tad lighter, base-liners can now look to the grass without fear. From as far back as 2002 when Lleyton Hewitt’s big heart (and not so broken body) got him across the line in a warning shot to serve-and-volley players everywhere. And who did Little Lleyton face in that 2002 Wimbledon final? Grumpy baseliner Davide Nalbandian. What happened at the mecca of serve-and-volley?

For a start the courts at Wimbledon are harder, the bounce higher putting more balls into the baseliners strike zone. With the new media centre and underground facilities the courts are now laid on a concrete base. And following years of frustration watching the court deteriorate quite literally by the second week of the tournament officials began experimenting with the grass itself. Since 1993  the surface has been steadily modified with the addition of more hard wearing rye grass, primarily to make it last the 2 weeks of The Championships. From a court that was a blend of 50% rye and 50% fescue and bent grasses, by 2002 and still today the surface is now 100% perennial rye. The rye grass grows vertically – so the sponge layer of fescue and bent grass that traditionally aided the serve-and-volley player has gone. So to the serve-and -volley player. Gone.

Enough of that – who’s going to win? Hate to sit on the fence at this point – but stick with Djokovic / Nadal or Federer and in the women’s there’s only one – Serena.

The PRO.

Rafa rules. OK

8 Jun

Rafael Nadal whizzed through his quarter final against Stanislas Wawrinka. The Spanish 3rd seed took the win in 3 sets, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

Rafa was stretched to the limit, but rules Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic almost did what he said he would do, claim victory over Raphael Nadal in the French Open semi final. It took Rafa all of his renowned athleticism, fighting qualities and mental toughness to hold off the belligerent Serb over 4 hours and 37 minutes of roller coaster tennis. The result a 9/7 in the 5th set win in a match that just adds to the back catalogue of classic Nadal / Djokovic  matches. In the other men’s semi David Ferrer, the Spanish ball machine, set up an all Spanish final by thrashing local favourite Jo-Wi Tsonga in straight sets.

While Djokovic licks his wounds and counts an 0-5 win loss record at the French against Rafa, he also rued the lack of support from tournament staff when he asked for the court to be watered as “it was too slippery, it was difficult to change direction, I don’t understand, it was wrong that they didn’t water” – perhaps in a rivalry where it is the smallest of details that can give one player the edge this excuse says more about Djokovic’s state of mind.

As for Rafa – his post match comments leave no doubt, excuses do not enter his thought process. “I lost a match like this in Australia. This one today was for me”. And in a telling philosophical moment he confided to the gathered media – “You need to love the game and appreciate every moment. I have learned to enjoy suffering in these matches”. Uncle Tony would be proud.

The PRO

PS follow the link to The PRO’s blog on the importance of learning to “suffer” on clay.

https://tennistipsfromapro.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/clay-court-masters/

Rafa – take 2.

22 May

<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />             GREGORIO BORGIA/ASSOCIATED PRESS<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning his final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Monday.” /></p> <p>Pictures: AP. RAPHAEL NADAL WINS A RECORD 6TH ITALIAN OPEN MEN’S SINGLES TITLE. and celebrates.</p> <p>Rafa defeated ATP world #1 Novak Djokovic for the second consecutive time in a Masters event final this clay court season. This will help erase some of the demons of the 7 straight losses in finals – including Rome last year – that  he suffered at the hands of Djokovic.</p> <p>In his post match press conference, Nadal acknowledged last year that Djokovic had a mental advantage over him after all those losses.</p> <p>“You need to accept your losses because this is a game and in this sport you will always lose, but it is normal that you lose and you need to be patient to wait for your moment,” Nadal said. “I accept my losses and try to keep being competitive. You win a few points and you lose a few and you can lose a match. Today I won and that’s the difference. You don’t need to find great things — it is the small things that make the difference.”</p> <p>The Rome Masters win was Rafa’s  49th career title – and 35th on clay – but the real prize is that Rafa has again gone past Roger Federer and moves  back to ATP#2. This is a big deal coming into the French Open as it means Nadal is safe from a semi-final with Djokovic, something I’m sure Federer himself was trying to avoid. And some ominous words from Rafa also at his press conference - ”I don’t think I played that well. I can do better,” Nadal said. “When you are not serving 100 percent perfect then you are in trouble because he returns hard. I am trying to play more aggressive and I am hitting the ball better than last year.”</p> <p>It was the record 7th win at the Monte Carlo Masters earlier this month that got “the monkey off the back” in Nadal’s head to head count with Djokovic, and with this straight sets win for a record 6th singles title in Rome, the undisputed King of Clay – Raphael Nadal looks re-invigorated and hungry for French Open success. Long live the king of clay!</p> <p><strong>The PRO</strong></p> 												<p>Tags: <a href=

Raphael Nadal won his 6th Rome Masters singles title earlier today. Rafa defeated ATP world #1 Novak Djokovic for the second consecutive time in a Masters event final this clay court season. This will help erase some of the demons of the 7 straight losses in finals – including Rome last year – that  he suffered at the hands of Djokovic.

In his post match press conference, Nadal acknowledged last year that Djokovic had a mental advantage over him after all those losses.

“You need to accept your losses because this is a game and in this sport you will always lose, but it is normal that you lose and you need to be patient to wait for your moment,” Nadal said. “I accept my losses and try to keep being competitive. You win a few points and you lose a few and you can lose a match. Today I won and that’s the difference. You don’t need to find great things — it is the small things that make the difference.”

The Rome Masters win was Rafa’s  49th career title – and 35th on clay – but the real prize is that Rafa has again gone past Roger Federer and moves  back to ATP#2. This is a big deal coming into the French Open as it means Nadal is safe from a semi-final with Djokovic, something I’m sure Federer himself was trying to avoid. And some ominous words from Rafa also at his press conference – “I don’t think I played that well. I can do better,” Nadal said. “When you are not serving 100 percent perfect then you are in trouble because he returns hard. I am trying to play more aggressive and I am hitting the ball better than last year.”

It was the record 7th win at the Monte Carlo Masters earlier this month that got “the monkey off the back” in Nadal’s head to head count with Djokovic, and with this straight sets win for a record 6th singles title in Rome, the undisputed King of Clay – Raphael Nadal looks re-invigorated and hungry for French Open success. Long live the king of clay!

The PRO

How much should I play..

21 Feb

Junior talent, how much should you be playing?

20 February 2012 |   0 1

HOW MUCH SHOULD I BE PLAYING?   by former Tennis Australia Head Coach, High Performance and Club Master Pro Jamie Parrott.

One of the most frequently asked questions from players and especially parents of younger players is “How much should I train? And how many matches and tournaments should I gear up for?”

In my 30+ years of coaching tennis I would be rich if I had a dollar for every time this question has been asked. I have, over time and with coaching industry consultation, come up with the following information which should be of use to you all. The table is reflective of the coaching pathway I  devised over time and was used by Tennis Australia at their commercial tennis centres and also published on their web-site. It aligns with each of the progressive levels in Australia’s accepted junior coaching pathway.

Please remember all young players are different and have different needs. This is not just dependant on size and physical development, but technical ability, stage and type of gamestyle development,  and in terms of sleep patterns and recovery, so the tables are generalisations that are a guideline only.

PLAYING LEVEL (Guide only) ON COURT TENNIS TRAINING ** OFF COURT PHYSICAL TRAINING TOTAL HOURS PER WEEK
Hot Shots Minis and Red Ball 2-3 2-3 4-6
MLC Orange and Green ball Hot Shots 4-6 4 8-10
Development Squad 7-8 4 12-13
Comp squad (starting level) 10-12 5 15-17

*On court tennis, includes coaching sessions – squad training, private lessons, and matchplay.

** Off court physical training includes tennis specific fitness, other sports, school P.E etc

In addition to these training hours players should also be following a competitive schedule too. Whether it be at coloured ball challenges at Hot Shots level, JDS tournaments, local and schools competition or tournaments, or simply practice matches as part of a weekly program – they are all important parts of a players development.

I generally recommend players are ready for inter-club competition at an advanced Orange or early Green ball stage of their development. Ideally these formative years should be on a clay court (en-tout-cas in Melbourne). The surface is much softer therefore reducing injuries in growing bodies. It also plays slower, which it makes it the best learning surface. Kids have to learn to work the ball and their opponent around the court, and when defending are more able to run balls down due to the slower court. Check out your local club and get involved in their competitive pathway. I also suggest players enter and play JDS and OJT level tournaments at the appropriate stages of their development.

Level Practice matches and competition Matches per year
Green ball 2 sets / 1-2 matches per week 30 – 40 matches
Development squad level 4 sets or 2 matches per week 50-80 matches
Competition squad level 6 sets or 3 matches per week 60-80 matches

In any form of endeavour that you wish to take seriously there is no substitute for practice and persistence. Time on the court – more specifically quality time on the court is paramount to achieving any milestones in the game. Like anything there is no substitute for hard work. So continue to strive for your goals and climb the player pathway – and remember to “do your best every day”.

The PRO.