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Thread: Tennis, tennis, tennis

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    Veteran Member Brian63's Avatar
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    Tennis, tennis, tennis

    Any other tennis fanatics out there? [Ground tennis, not table tennis] This thread is for you, and discussion of all things tennis, such as:

    Do you play yourself, or like to watch the professionals play, or both? Or used to play/watch, but not much anymore?

    Prefer singles or doubles?

    One-handed or two-handed backhand?

    Favorite shots for you? Most difficult shots for you?

    Who were/are your favorite players?

    What do you like and dislike the most about the sport, and how should it change to be enjoyable for the players and audiences?

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    Veteran Member Brian63's Avatar
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    Answering the above personally---

    Was inspired by my older brother to start playing tennis. He did so in high school and had a "meh" reaction. I loved it when my turn came around though. Doubles was a better fit, as my ground strokes have always been a bit weak and inconsistent. Last year I played a little bit recreationally with a local league, the first time playing in many years, and enjoyed it. If (big "if") time/health/finances allow for it, I want to rejoin them this summer. We will see.

    Best shot I have is the volleys and drop shots. Have a terrible 2nd serve. I so admire people who can consistently put the ball in play, but I double fault A LOT. Please do not tell my opponents, but I also secretly get nervous when having to hit overheads.

    I try to watch the Grand Slam tournaments when I can, as much of them as possible, plus any other lower-level or exhibition matches.

    Pete Sampras was my icon and hero when I was a kid growing up. Prior to and in the middle of points I would think "What would Pete do?" So my style is similar to his, even my form. Roger Federer has since taken over that deity-worship place in my head though, so I model my game after his. Except I hit with a two-handed backhand, whereas they were both one-hander's.

    One major drawback of modern professional tennis is how much of an advantage the server has. The returner has too much of a disadvantage, there are too few break opportunities, and too few actual breaks of serve. The only thing I could think of to even the odds a bit more is to raise the net height a little, to make the serve less dominating. Would that not work well for any reason?

    In the Grand Slam tournaments, the matches are best-of-5-setters, which I think is another problem. The match lengths are too inconsistent and variable. You can have a quick-and-easy match that lasts for just 1-and-a-half hours, or a drawn out marathon for 5 hours. There is no way to know how it will end up. Other major sports are more predictable and typical in their game length, being about 3 hours or so. It would be better for the players and fans if tennis matches were more uniform in their length.

    I do wish there was more variability in the professional game today with players having different styles. So there would be some degree of heavy servers, some great returners, some counterpunchers, some serve-and-volleyers, some who vary a lot between them. Unfortunately too much of the game is determined by the serve though, and you see few breaks of serve, and too many sets are decided in tiebreaks by just a handful of points. The game needs an overhaul to be more enjoyable in the future.

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    Tennis is a fun game to play but it is not a good spectator sport at the elite level. As you say, serving dominates now so it's not very entertaining to watch 100 mph serves consistently blasting past the the other player. Women's tennis seems to have longer rallies. I've only ever had a mild interest in the sport, I'll maybe check out Wimbledon when it's on but I don't really follow it.

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    I've enjoyed watching Federer over the years when I've had the opportunity, but those opportunities have been scarce because I've rarely had a cable package, and it wasn't until recently that I discovered a robust way to stream.

    So yea, I like tennis, but I don't like it enough to bother with matches that aren't showcasing the superstars. IIRC, the last match I went out of my way to watch was Federer attempting his 8th Wimbledon title (he won, but it was a bad match as his opponent was injured).

    I also played a bit as a kid, and even took lessons briefly, but I was never anything more than a thorough amateur.

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    Shrunken Member WAB's Avatar
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    Rod Laver was my favorite when I was young, but only because he was left-handed. Later on I loved Sampras. I'll never forget his blazing serves and how he totally shocked (and impressed) McEnroe.
    If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to a library. - Frank Zappa

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Rod Laver best player ever. Better than Tildon, better than Rosewall, better than Gonzales, better than Ashe, much better than Sampras or Federer, or the current crop, just better. That man had a wrist so strong he could power while diving for a ball or changing directions. Yes, a lefty. I probably like him so because he and I are both lefties. I don't care. He's the best.

    Began playing when I was a junior in HS. Earned my first Wilson Kramer model when I gardened for my coach in Kennewick. During summers of '57, '58, '59 played through a pair of sneakers every week during summer. Became a referee for area tournaments when I was a junior and senior in HS. Continued that role later when I got heavy when a post grad. While in the service I played the HS runner up from LA county and a very competitive guy from Florida while stationed a Mayport. Great to play those who are better than yourself. No only motivating but great learning experiences.

    By the time I entered college I was having my racket strung at about 70 lbs and serving well over 120 mph since power game was what was expected back then. Never went beyond that string tension. Actually I preferred the large head fiber rackets when they came out, I think, in the eighties maybe a little earlier.

    After some time off after my twenties I went back to tennis in my late forties in LA. Developed to a B player according to my coach which I learned under for about three years. Much better than I had played in the NW when I was younger. Then my achilles went. Then my vascular system went, then well you know the rest.

    Still love the game. Tried to play again after I retired up here in 2002. I was either much better or much worse than competition. There was no gradient just terrible and wow. Now I dream about my tennis days.

    It's fun going back to these threads dropped long ago.

    Hope you don't mind.

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    Veteran Member Brian63's Avatar
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    All good. Thanks for contributing.

    Wimbledon starts a week from today.

    I used to be anti-Nadal just because he was Federer's greatest rival and took away so many titles that Federer otherwise would have easily captured, but lately I find myself appreciating Nadal even more. He has fantastic stamina and never gives up on points, hits a lot of amazing shots, he has an amazing counterpuncher style (rather than a powerhouse server) and far exceeded guys like Lleyton Hewitt and Michael Chang who themselves were great counterpunchers, he is openly agnostic as well, and is an extremely nice guy too. He and Federer are both tremendous assets to the sport and to the world in general.

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    I've been checking in with Wimbledon from time to time. Krygios and Nadal was a decent match with Krygios doing really well. And Evans v Sousa was pretty good too.

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    Veteran Member Brian63's Avatar
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    The 15-year-old Cori Gauff lost today in the round of 16, when in the 1st round she had beaten her own tennis idol, Venus Williams. I had enough trouble hitting a basic backhand at all at that age, and cannot fathom playing so far into Major tournaments on the professional circuit by then.

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    Veteran Member Brian63's Avatar
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    Did anyone else see any part of today's Wimbledon men's final? Federer vs Djokovic. A new rule was instituted this year so that if the 5th set went to 6-6 in games, they would keep playing until either person got a 2 game lead. If that did not happen by the time the games reached 12-12, then that set goes to a tiebreak. That is what happened here, and ultimately that last set was 2 sets (since it scored up to 12-12 plus a tiebreaker). Pretty good quality of play from both sides. The emotional intensity and anxiety and nervousness was all over the place. Federer had double championship point on his own serve in that last set, but Djokovic saved them. Several times Djokovic was 2 points away from the title, but Federer stayed alive. In the end, Djokovic just barely squeaked out a win, helped with a controversial line call that resulted in them replaying a point that Federer would have easily won (and Federer went onto to lose the later replay, if I recall). A wild ride of a match. I wish I had seen the semifinal between Federer and Nadal, as apparently that was a classic as well.

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