How to Slide on Clay
This is the third installment of our three-video series on how to slide on clay. As the world’s leading supplier of clay court surfaces, the question we get asked more than any other, from teaching pros and players alike, is about how to slide on clay. Sliding not only makes you more efficient and more consistent on clay, it makes the game more fun, so we have put together a three-part video series on how to slide on clay. Check out part 3 on our website. We hope you like it and find it instructional. Give us your feedback. Har-Tru – Developing champions around the world.
Tennis Warehouse – New Products – Quiksilver Men's Apparel, Server Polo, Thrive Crew, League Crew, Relay Longsleeve, Vital Jacket
It's No Djoke
At the U.S. Open in 2007, when Novak Djokovic capped a great breakout year by reaching his first major final, they called him "the Djoker." He was known as much for his on-court antics and impressions as for his skill. At the very next major, the Australian Open 2008, Djokovic – who prefers the nickname ‘Nole’ – stunned the tennis world by breaking the Federer-Nadal stranglehold on the Grand Slams. Nobody called him the Djoker much after that.
Click photo: With his first round win at this year's French Open, Djokovic's winning streak stands at 40 and counting. No one is laughing any more.
In 2009 and 2010, some observers complained that the Serb had a bad attitude on court, blaming his several high profile losses and retirements on minor injuries and ailments; they called him a choker. Then he won the Australian Open again. And the Masters at Indian Wells. And Miami. And Madrid. And Rome. Nobody calls him a choker any more either.
Novak Djokovic is having what Rafael Nadal has called a “monster year”. Beginning last December with Serbia’s Davis Cup triumph, Nole has won 40 consecutive matches. He has picked up seven titles, including a Grand Slam and four ATP Masters 1000 events. To put that in perspective, since their introduction in 1990, no one has ever won more than four Masters 1000 titles in one season. Just as impressively, he has registered nine wins against Nadal, Federer and Murray, his top three rivals. Are we witnessing the greatest men’s winning streak of the Open Era?
Let’s have a look at some of the other contenders:
Rafael Nadal, May-August 2008 (32 matches)
A phenomenal summer for Nadal saw him carry his tremendous momentum from the clay court season onto grass and hard courts. His straight sets victory at Roland Garros was one of the most dominant in history (he dropped only 42 games over seven matches) and his triumph in that year's epic Wimbledon final against Federer will echo throughout the ages. Nadal won five titles in this run, and registered nine wins against the rest of the top four.
Roger Federer, August 2006-March 2007 (41)
The Swiss’s longest winning streak saw seven months of sublime supremacy, underpinned by his spectacular record in tie-breaks. In 41 matches he won 17 breakers and lost only two. Federer claimed two majors, the year-end Masters and four other titles.
Click photo: In 1984, Mac started the year off with 42 straight wins while dropping only five sets.
John McEnroe, January-June 1984 (42)
Currently the best start anyone has had to one season, the first half of 1984 saw Mac conjure his way to eight titles with the loss of only five sets (he won 96). This magical streak was brought to an end famously by long-term rival Ivan Lendl, who came from two sets behind in the final to deny McEnroe the French Open crown.
Ivan Lendl, September 1981-February 1982 (44)
The hard-hitting Czech player, who had yet to claim a major title, made his intentions clear with this eight-title run. Notable wins included Barcelona, where he defeated four players who had or would win Roland Garros, and the year-end Masters, where he came from two sets behind in the final to beat Vitas Gerulaitis, avenging a loss that year in the U.S. Open 4th Round.
Bjorn Borg, September/October 1979 –May 1980 (43 or 52)
If you don’t count a walkover conceded to Johan Kriek, Borg played an incredible fifty-two matches unbeaten (a record), in which he captured nine titles (a record) over eight months (a record). He won over 68% of all games played in this period, but it did not include any Grand Slam titles.
Bjorn Borg, February/May-September 1978 (31 or 43)
Click photo: Arguably, Borg's 52 matches without a loss is the longest streak ever, however, he had a walkover loss to Johan Kriek in between.
The Swede’s previous best winning streak did include majors – two of them, at the French and at Wimbledon. Once again, if you ignore walkovers (this time there were two – to Nastase and Gerulaitis in successive tournaments), Borg went undefeated for the best part of a year. He won a notable five-set final at Rome against the man who interrupted his reign at Roland Garros two years earlier, Adriano Panatta, and served up no fewer than 20 bagel sets in 43 matches.
Guillermo Vilas, July-September 1977 (46)
The piece de resistance of what is officially regarded as the longest men’s winning streak of the Open Era (I guess that means they don’t ignore walkovers) was a surprising victory in the U.S. Open final against then two-time champ Jimmy Connors. Vilas played – and won – seven tournaments in two months.
In terms of numbers, then, Djokovic would seem to have some way to go, but I believe there is already a case for his winning streak to be considered the most impressive of the bunch.
Firstly, the Serb’s titles have mostly come at large tournaments with a great deal of depth in the field. No fewer than five of his titles came at events in which there is a mandatory player commitment (the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome) and the entire top ten turned up for four of these.
Click photo: If Nole wins the the French Open, he will tie Guillermo Vilas 46 match winning streak, the longest in the open era.
Secondly, Djokovic has had to face repeatedly strong opposition in the finals and semi-finals. The Serb has beaten Federer and Murray each three times since January, which is particularly notable given that both of these players had won their previous three matches against him. He’s defeated world number one Rafael Nadal four times in successive finals, including twice on red clay, where the Spaniard had seemed so invincible. Indeed, prior to their meeting in Madrid, Djokovic had been 0-9 against Nadal on the dirt. This is a remarkable turnaround, especially as Nadal isn’t playing badly – the Spaniard hasn’t lost to anyone else since the Australian Open.
In none of the winning streaks discussed above did any player so successfully overcome adverse records against their top opponents. The dramatic way Djokovic has turned the tables on his rivals and kept them turned for so long is unique in the Open Era.
Of course, a record is a record, and at 39 matches Nole is still trailing Federer, Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, and Vilas. His next tournament is the French Open, Nadal’s last great bastion. If Djokovic can win seven more matches there, he will equal Vilas’ record run from 1977, but his achievement would be so much greater than that. He would have proven himself supreme, for the best part of a year, in possibly the toughest, deepest era there has been in men’s tennis. The task will not be easy – Nadal won’t give up his crown without a fight – but for Djokovic the glory is there for the taking.
As always, we would love to hear from you! Questions, comments, personal experiences all create helpful dialogue for everyone! Please click here to send us your email.
Using the Legs to Create Topspin
The modern game is all about massive groundstrokes from the baseline and in order to keep the balls from flying into the back fence, today's pros must generate tremendous topspin. At the club level, a lot of players focus on the wrist, however, the pros use their legs to generate all that spin. It's about bending below the ball and Mark Gellard along with WTA touring pro, Melinda Czink, show you how it's done.
Do You Have Soft Hands?
It is an expression tennis players have heard for years in some shape or form: “You need to have soft hands around the net” or a certain tour player has “soft hands.” We also hear it used in other sports too. A basketball player has “soft hands around the rim” or a football wide receiver has “soft hands” on difficult catches. But what does it mean to have "soft hands" and, can you develop “soft hands” or is it simply a God-given gift? Here, Dave Kensler addresses these issues and suggests some drills you can do to add “soft hands” to your tennis game.
The half volley is a shot that many players fear. Multitudes of player debate if they should serve-and-volley in doubles simply because they fear this shot and want to avoid it all costs. The result is they often end up playing a strategically flawed match simply because they have not learned to execute this shot. The key to success on the half volley is understanding the difference between this shot and most others. Jorge Capestany
ProStrokes 2.0 – Daniela Hantuchova's Serve and Net Game
Known to many as much for her off-court fashion and modeling as for her on-court prowess, Daniela Hantuchova, has always been a player who can be a threat from most any place on the court and against most any opponent. Daniela possess a very fluid game; her long legs move her around the court with almost a graceful coverage that could be compared to those of players a generation ago when the game was indeed played with less animalistic grunts and outright muscle. Her strokes are pure and conventional as they fit the “modern”game and she has a serve that approaches some of the fastest on tour. New this issue, Daniela Hantuchova's serve and net game.
TennisOne Writers Store
One of your many new benefits as a TennisOne membership is your ability to purchase selected instructional DVDs at 20% off ($7.50 off each) in our new TennisOne Writers Store (login in first to access members links):
- "All-Court Game and the Volley: Keys to Modern Tennis Technique," by Doug King Public – Members
- "TennisOne's Stroke Secrets: Keys to Better Groundstrokes," Public; Members
- "Building Your Serve from the Ground Up," Jim McLennan Members Public
- "Building Your Ground Game," Jim McLennan Members – Public
- "Building a Kick Serve," Jim McLennan Members – Public
- "Underspin Backhand - Weapon," Jim McLennan Members Public
- "Achieving Peak Performance the Wholistic Way: The Mental Game," Happy Bhalla Members – Public
- "Building a World Class Serve," Phil Dent Members – Public
- "Building a World-class Volley," Dave Smith Members – Public
- "Keys to Modern Tennis Technique: One-Handed Topspin," Doug King Members Public
- "Best of Ken DeHart," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Corrective Techniques & Myths," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Defeating the Monsters in Your Mind," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Skills, Drills, and Games for Beginning Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public.
- "Drills for Intermediate Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Drills for Advanced Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public.
- Click here to see all the benefits of a TennisOne Membership.
- Click here to sign up for a risk-free, TennisOne 30 day free trial membership.
Copyright Notice: The contents of the TennisONE web site and contents forwarded to you by TennisONE are intended for your personal, noncommercial use. Republishing of TennisONE content in any way, including framing or posting of these materials on other Web sites, is strictly prohibited. See our full copyright statement
If you wish to be removed from our newsletter list, please click "reply" to the newsletter email, and for the subject line, write "unsubscribe." Or you can email us directly at: email@example.com