Experience the US Open Courtside with Grand Slam Tennis Tours
For two decades, Grand Slam Tennis Tours has been providing its clients unparalleled access to the US Open. From the Courtside Tickets, accommodations at official player hotels, and dinner parties with tennis legends, to playing tennis at the famed grass courts at West Side Tennis Club, let the experts at GSTT customize a trip for you today!
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The Good, The Bad & The Kimmie
The return of Kim Clijsters? Why not? At one level, it’s vexing. More than two years ago, the Belgian was so adamant, so clear she’d had enough, so eager to raise a family. She was 23, a millionaire several times over. Goodbye tennis.
Click photo: The good Clijsters' days saw her rapidly walk up to the baseline, bounce the ball a couple of times and go to work with a refreshing lack of pretension and a hearty dose of physicality.
Now it’s hello tennis. Why she couldn’t announce a sabbatical back then is beyond me. One thing I’ve learned is that tennis players enjoy speaking decisively, as if the lines of the court were etched into their cranium. Such is the code of sports, where the rules are defined and the rest of life is oh-so-ambiguous.
But at heart, any confusion I feel about Clijsters’ actions is far more my problem than hers. The real matter at the table is she’s back. Clijsters declared herself emphatically at the Western and Southern Financial Group Women’s Open in Cincinnati with a first-round win over Marion Bartoli, herself a couple of weeks removed from beating Venus Williams in the finals of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California. Next came a win over Patty Schnyder, then an impressive three-set victory versus French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.
It’s nice to see Clijsters competing again – not just because she is a likeable, kind person but mostly because she’s a fine tennis player. I remember seeing her at age 16 reaching the round of 16 in her first-ever Slam event, the 1999 Wimbledon. She took out the rough-and-tumble Amanda Coetzer, showing a bouncy, engaging brand of athleticism that immediately commanded high respect from Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova.
|After more than two years off the tour, in her first three matches back at the Western and Southern Financial Group Women’s Open, Clijsters took out Marion Bartoli, Patty Schnyder, and French open champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova, quite a feat by any measurement.
At her best, there’s a no-nonsense quality to Clijsters game. If not quite as hard a hitter as, say, Lindsay Davenport, she was certainly a much better mover, able to track down one ball after another (even though I found her trademark splits an extravagance borne of bad technique) and happily pound one drive after another into the corners of the court.
The good Clijsters' days saw her rapidly walk up to the baseline, bounce the ball a couple of times and go to work with a refreshing lack of pretension and a hearty dose of physicality. This was the Clijsters who I thought back in 2002 would turn out to post more results than her countrywoman, Justine Henin, a player who back then confessed to struggling to calm her nerves and execute her layered game.
Though I was personally delighted to be proven wrong – yet another good reason to beg out of the prediction business – it was frustrating to watch bad things happen to a player as seemingly simple and skilled as Clijsters. There were times when that quick clip up to serve masked the tennis equivalent of a pitcher in a hurry, rushing through pitches, not really playing with purpose. Uncluttered as her technique appeared, forehands in particular could fly. And most of all, in the late stages of Slams. There Clijsters seemed as if she was merely hitting tennis balls rather than working her way through a game plan. Meanwhile, Henin was the one who didn’t blink when the going got tough.
Still, it was delightful in 2005 to see Clijsters at last breakthrough and earn a Slam at the US Open. She had labored long, lost painfully, smiled through all of it, even maintained a long-term romance with the roguish Lleyton Hewitt.
Click photo: Uncluttered as her technique appeared, forehands in particular could fly.
And now she is back. How will it go? Writing about this game for so long has taught me the dangers of making predictions. But let’s face it: The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour is in an odd phase. Watching such stars as Henin, Davenport, Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati and others fade prematurely (or maybe not?) has left a constant gap at the top.
I tip my hat to the Williams sisters for their enduring excellence – at least at Slams. The Russians continue to punch the clock and generate results – even if earning those Slams is somewhat evasive. Once Venus and Serena are gone, there’s a good chance no American women will be in the top 30.
So amid all these vacuums, why shouldn’t Clijsters give it a go? Her work ethic is solid. Her meat-and-potatoes playing style (and that’s a compliment) makes it easy for her to return to competition. She’s earned tenure with her requisite Slam, and with a child in tow, probably doesn’t feel the need to win another.
But it’s clear from her manner and approach that she never wanted to be the tennis equivalent of a Nobel Laureate. Just hit a few balls, make a few bucks and keep being nice. Colleagues in a team sport might not be so content to hear about a teammate who wants to play it this way. But in an individual sport, Clijsters is utterly free to choose. I hope she can give us more than a few engaging moments.
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Essence of Movement
Ever notice that the really good movers, like Federer, seem to glide effortlessly around the court? Well, it's been long noted among professionals that tennis isn't really a hitting game but rather one of movement. Here, Doug King talks about the essentials of movement, balance, and imbalance, and how it affects the way we hit a tennis ball. Learn some of Doug's key rules for good movement and how they can make you a better player.
The Receiver’s Partner – Hero or Target
When your partner’s returning serve, you’re squarely in the hot seat. If he does his job and hits an effective return, you can move forward, pick off your opponents shots and be a hero. If he hits a return that your opponents can attack you’ll be a target with your only goal being self-preservation. A feast or famine position to say the least, however, with the right strategy you can turn this hot spot into an advantage for your team. Greg Moran
ProStrokes 2.0 – Philipp Kohlschreiber's Forehand
This big-serving German has quietly broke into the top 50 on the ATP Tour this year, with a career high ranking of 27 last month. Kohlschreiber is one of few one-handed backhand players, using a strong eastern grip and nearly a full western grip on his forehands. Mixing in slice backhands and occasional migration to the net, Philipp has a well-rounded game, similar in style to that of Roger Federer. Check out Philipp Kohlschreiber's game in the all new TennisOne ProStrokes Gallery 2.0.
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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