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TennisOne members have a new way to view videos of the Pros--our HD Channel on the TennisOne Video Network. Here's what's new about the HD Channel:
- Higher-resolution videos.
- Longer sequences than ProStrokes, which is typically a single stroke.
- Frame of the video is wider, excellent for studying movement as well as the stroke biomechanics. Sample new Vera Zvonareva HD forehand sequence.
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Roger Federer is a great champion but so far
this year he's only been the third best player
on the tour.
As Wimbledon approaches I’m reminded of a phrase I often hear from the wise coach and former pro, Hall of Famer Pancho Segura. No matter if the player being discussed is likeable or not as a person, engaging or not with his playing style, when push comes to shove Segura will pause and then say, “We’re talking tennis here, buddy.” What he means to say is that we must get down to business, peel away our emotional desires, our projections and illusions and instead look at the cold harsh light of what’s really going on.
So to talk tennis, I must say it’s a tricky time for the great Roger Federer. Gunning for a record sixth straight Wimbledon, he’s certainly one kind of favorite – but only more based on form that’s nearly a year old. For in 2008, Federer has only been the world’s third-best player. I am awed by his brilliance, but haven’t seen too much of it this year. Illness or no, he was ushered out of the Australian Open semis by a forceful Novak Djokovic. Even more significantly, at the recent French Open final he was not just outplayed by Rafael Nadal, he was out-thought. For reasons we’ll never know, Federer that day grew narrow in vision, rigid in tactics, utterly cornered – albeit by a great champion.
Nadal and Djokovic have dominated the tour this year but is either ready to step it up against Federer at Wimbledon?
Wimbledon, though, could liberate Federer. While the slowness of clay seems to impose a surtax on his shotmaking, it’s the opposite on grass. Probably sometime in the first three rounds we will see at least ten of the breathtaking points only Federer can play. But for all that, he won’t really be fully back until he’s won that final point to earn another title. And last year it took him five arduous sets to do so versus Nadal.
Anyone with Roddick's serve should surely be able to make waves at Wimbledon.
But Federer’s only part of the Wimbledon story. The best two players of 2008 have been Djokovic and Nadal. Besides sharing the year’s first two majors, they’ve won many other events, mostly by playing their respective brand of forceful, hard-hitting, penetrating contemporary power baseline tennis. Each has engaging skills that can smother most and, as proven, heartily test Federer. Djokovic’s flat drives are impressive, but I’ve become even more smitten with Nadal’s range of speeds, spins and movement. I’m not the only person who thinks he’s got a good shot at becoming the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win the French and Wimbledon in the same year. Borg thinks so too.
The fourth man worth pondering is Andy Roddick. Anyone with that serve can surely make waves at Wimbledon. An optimist will believe that by sitting out the French to take care of a shoulder injury Roddick is fresh and eager. A pessimist worries about him being a bit stale and, even worse, outgunned not just by the likes of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, but also by a variety of opponents, including David Nalbandian, Richard Gasquet (who beat Roddick at Wimbledon last year), cagey Andy Murray or even a disruptive big server such as Ivo Karlovic. Still, my hope is that Roddick’s movement will be crisp and decisive and that he can get into the hunt.
The Women's Field
Serena and Venus Williams have shown too often that no matter how rusty or uncommitted each can be towards tennis, these two know how to rise to big occasions.
The women’s field is a good deal more open than the men’s. Venus and Serena Williams have shown too often that no matter how rusty or uncommitted, erratic or indifferent each can be towards tennis, these two know how to rise to big occasions. If Roland Garros is the tournament that least rewards indifferent work habits, Wimbledon is a venue for the opportunist, favoring the bold and the confident over the meek.
Sharapova's power game seems to be suited to Wimbledon and she's won
Venus’ four titles are testimony to her moxie and ability to play forward-moving, swarming tennis. If she can grub her way through the early rounds, look out, particularly when she uses her wingspan at the net. The same holds true, albeit in a somewhat different way, for Serena, who relies more on powerful shotmaking and her own brand of willpower. Even if I’m more than a little tired by these two and their wavering engagement with the sport, they are the kind of champions who can always do well at Wimbledon.
Ditto for Maria Sharapova. Also graced with the same kind of swagger as Venus and Serena, Sharapova looked very sharp in winning Australia but came off rather awkward in Paris. Her round of 16 loss to Dinara Safina showcased some of Sharapova’s movement and flexibility issues. But again, Wimbledon has a way of rewarding brazen play – Sharapova’s strong suit. Assuming she’s serving well, she should be in the thick of things.
Coming off her triumph at Roland Garros, there will be a lot more pressure on Ivanovic, how will she hold up?
I’m more intrigued to see how Ana Ivanovic copes with everything from the pressures of being ranked number one in the world to the crushing probes of British tabloids. The work she’s put into her fitness paid off handsomely in Paris, and should help her further at Wimbledon. Her fellow Serb, Jelena Jankovic, still strikes me as a bit too passive to do more than reach a Wimbledon semi at best. I’m also perplexed by the continued struggles of Svetlana Kuznetsova. She has worked so hard to balance defense and offense, emotion and intensity, but continues to come up short at crunch-time. One hopes for better results from the likeable Russian.
And yet, for all this analysis, no other tournament can surprise quite like Wimbledon. Everything from the grand occasion, to the remaining odd presence of grass courts, to the havoc of the weather and the emphasis on opportunism, makes it at once tennis' centerpiece for the traditional and the unexpected.
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The Secret to Controlled Power, part 2
In the second part of his series on controlled power, Doug King takes you through the evolutionary teaching philosophies of the sport that led up to the "Wave" model; the Pendulum model and the Kinetic Chain approach. Here, Doug breaks down the Wave Model into the specific actions of the big parts of the wave – the legs and trunk for the body, typically referred to as the “weight shift.” This is the action implied in the phrase “getting the body into the shot.”
Justine Henin's Forehand
Recently retired Justine Henin was much admired for her elegant one-handed backhand but it was her forehand that was really her go to shot. She could hit it open or closed stance and generate great racquet head speed at impact. Vic Braden along with Andy Fitzell digitize Justine's forehand (which results in a skeletal figure) then analyze her stroke using multiple views. See what made this women such a great champion and apply her technique to your own game.
TennisOne Video Network HD Channel - Vera Zvonareva
Vera Zvonareva has won five WTA Tour singles titles, four WTA Tour doubles titles and two ITF Women's Circuit singles titles. She had a breakthrough season in 2003 when she won the title in Bol, beating Conchita Martínez Granados in the final, and reaching three other semifinals. Zvonareva is a powerful, all court player with a good understanding of the game. She strikes the ball with both finesse and precision, combining strength and speed. Check out Vera Zvonareva's strokes on the HD Channel on the TennisOne Video Network.
The Etcheberry Experience DVD
For more than twenty years Pat Etcheberry has been providing athletes from around the world with the winning edge. We call this the Etcheberry Experience, and players with an Etcheberry experience have hoisted Championship Trophies at over one hundred major championships, including 28 Australian Opens, 18 Wimbledons, 22 UP Opens, 22 French Opens and 15 Olympic medals.
And now it's your turn! This is your chance to experience the same drills, exercises and words of tennis wisdom that Pat gave to Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Jim Courier, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and others, that helped launch them on their incredible careers. For the first time, Pat Etcheberry shares his training secrets in a series of DVDs for players of all ages, their coaches, and trainers.
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