Talk about a comeback, and for that matter a delivering your first child and returning to the tour comeback, Kim is presently ranked 5th with three straight US Open titles under her belt. Over $19 million in prize money, 39 career titles, she reached the finals of the French in 2001 and 2003, the Australian final in 2004 and the US Open final in 2003 – then took a break from the tour from 2006 to 2009 – now this “young” 27 year old veteran has reclaimed her place among the games elite.
Click photo: Kim plays equally well off both wings and is not always prone to run around her backhand and sacrifice court position for power.
Known for incredible movement, perhaps quicker than anyone on the tour, for those of you tuned in to footwork technique, Kim routinely uses gravity turns to cover the court. But more than that she plays with a simplicity lacking in many of her opponent’s “one note” playing styles. Rather than a huge forehand, indifferent serve and limited tactics so common on the women’s tour – Kim serves well with an alarmingly low (read sufficient) service toss, simple rather than massive forehand and backhand ground strokes, but truly a knack for moving forward to take control of the point when any and all short opportunities arise (sounds like the Federer of old).
Kim is drawing me back to enjoy the women’s game – hope the same happens to you.
Simplicity off the ground – Equal skills off both wings – different from some of the big hitters (read one note massive forehand players), Kim plays equally well off both wings and is not always prone to run around her backhand and sacrifice court position for power. This simplicity translates to a player who has no relative weakness off the ground.
Handling the kick serve in the ad court – I had the opportunity to study Sam Stosur's kick serve at the recent Bank of the West tournament at Stanford in July. Stosur is known to have perhaps the second best serve in women's tennis behind Serena (of course). But in her quarterfinal victory over Stosur I noted how often and somehow easily she returned this wicked kick serve crosscourt.
At Stanford Wickmayer struggled with this serve, was often pulled wide of the sideline and well behind the baseline, and whenever her backhand return went down the line or up the middle Sam loaded up on forehand winners. But with better court position, much closer to if not inside the baseline, Kim handled the serve far better than Wickmayer, or for that matter, any player who had limited mobility and stood well behind the baseline to return.
Knows how to move forward – Unlike so many of the one dimensional tour players, and yes there is a plague of one dimensionality – Kim can and will move forward to either open the court and or finish at the net.
Click photo: Given an opportunity, Kim can and will move forward to either open the court and or finish at the net.
My hunch and this is just a hunch, is that as the pro players were young 12 and 14 year old international competitors, that level of physicality depends more on baseline retrieving than forward moving moxie. And for better or worse that game plan seems to be imprinted on the ladies as they grow older.
Yes the racquets are more powerful, yes it is more difficult to learn to volley as well as to competently volley against the laser like groundies, but there are many, many short balls, and if you watch closely, many of our "top" players are loath to move forward. But not Kim.
Gravity footwork – Study Kim's movements about the court. She is quick without being powerful, she moves easily but with deceptive speed. Monica Seles used similar footwork, and though many of the ladies know this technique, to my eye Kim uses it in a more routine fashion – like all the time.
Click photo: Study Kim's movements about the court. She is quick without being powerful, she moves easily but with deceptive speed.
We have a number of links within the library if you want more information.
The Women’s game is up for grabs – so many of the former number 1 ranked players are hovering at the top but no one seems to have a firm grasp on the premier spot. Yes Serena is invincible on grass, but vulnerable elsewhere. Justine has returned with some good play but now she is out. Jelena, Anna, Dinara, and Maria are threats but their serving is way too spotty to be legitimate contenders. And yes, Kim won’t win all the titles, but oh what a US Open, and oh what an amazingly simple (read fundamental) game.
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Generating Power on the One-Handed Backhand
Many players have trouble generating pace on the one-handed backhand. In the final analysis, racquet head speed is what gives a stroke power. Here, Tom Avery shows you how to properly align the racquet on the take-back, use a nice, loose grip, arm, and shoulder, and use an inside out swing to increase racquet head speed with very little added effort.
You Don't Need Power to Make Your Forehand a Weapon
In tennis we read and hear all the time, “Try to make sure you have at least one stroke which is a weapon.” But what does “weapon” mean? I bet most tennis players would define it as being able to “crush” the ball. Yet by comparison with those on the professional tour, the overwhelming majority of average tennis players are not going to be able to generate the same kind of velocity with their strokes. Therefore, they believe there is no chance for them to have a “weapon,” but Dave Kensler, believes you don't have to crush the ball to have a weapon. Find out why.
US Beats Crowd and Columbia in Davis Cup Tie
What would entice Andrew Chmura to travel to Bogota, Colombia? Well, this last weekend while the Red Sox were falling out of contention and the Patriots were playing a grudge match against their rivals, the Jets, the US Davis Cup team was battling to avoid being dropped from the elite group in Davis Cup competition against a talented Colombian team. With all the other sports we are bombarded with on TV, it was easy to overlook the heroic performance of Mardy Fish under some of the most extreme conditions imaginable.
ProStrokes 2.0 – Kim Clijsters' Forehand
Known for incredible movement, perhaps quicker than anyone on the tour. Kim Clijsters routinely uses gravity turns to cover the court. But more than that, she plays with a simplicity lacking in many of her opponent's "one note" playing styles. Rather than a huge forehand, indifferent serve and limited tactics so common on the women's tour – Kim serves well, simple rather than massive forehand and backhand ground strokes, but truly a knack for moving forward to take control of the point when any and all short opportunities arise.
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