Save Your Court and Your Budget
By all reports, this has been one of the busiest seasons for tennis facilities. The stay-cation has kept more families around the club, and many pros are reporting that they have had record participation in programs, and that court usage is at an all-time high. While this is good news for tennis and those within the industry, it can add an element of challenge to keeping courts performing optimally, so having the proper equipment is crucial. At Lee Tennis Court Products, providing the right tools to make caring for your courts simple and effective is what we do. We hope some of these specials running through October will help.
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"What's New" Product Video
- from Tennis Warehouse - Liquidation - Nike Men & Women's Apparel; Wilson Tour II and Open II shoes
5 MegaThoughts About This Year's US Open
32 Seeds Drastically Blunts Drama
The protectionism of having 32 seeds creates far more bouncing molecules in the early rounds, fewer challenges for top players and far less drama for fans. It’s a shame to see a tournament not really kick into higher gear until the third round.
Even – or Especially? – Among the Pros a Few Points Tell the Tale
It’s amazing how a few points could have changed the entire course of the tournament. Just a few that come to mind:
- Nadia Petrova serving up a set and 4-3, 40-15 versus Melanie Oudin in their round of 16 match
- Kim Clijsters serving at 2-4, 15-40 in the finals versus Caroline Wozniacki
- Serena Williams’ tirade when serving down a set and 5-6, 15-40
- The entire fifth-set tiebreaker between Andy Roddick and John Isner – the underdog Isner seizing offense as he did the entire match to win the best battle of the tournament
- Roger Federer serving up a set and 5-4, 30-love. He loses one point with a lazy slice backhand. But the next he’ll likely never forget. Given the chance to approach, he attempted a drop shot – the same shot that had done so much for him at the French Open. But perhaps this wasn’t the best shot selection on a hardcourt, particularly at 30-15. Then again, he’s Roger Federer, the man with the greatest arsenal in tennis history.
Fascinating how ten points played differently could have altered the entire shape of the tournament. The great Jack Kramer, who died on the tournament’s final Sunday, once told me that generally, each player in a match will win 45 percent of the points. “It’s those ten percent that make the difference,” he said. Perhaps never more was that premise proven at this year’s US Open.
Serena’s Selective Memory Erodes Her Credibility
Serena is without a doubt the most accomplished women’s player of the 21st century. It’s a shame that so much of her manner leaves a bad taste. It’s one thing to verbally tear into an official – but to do so at such a late stage of the match revealed just how mentally fragile Serena was versus Kim Clijsters’ consistent and intelligent barrage.
Serena’s threatening gesture towards the lineswoman was painful to watch and her conduct in the wake of that incident was far more reprehensible.
Serena’s conduct in the wake of that incident is far more reprehensible. Constantly saying she didn’t remember what she said, issuing evasive statements, declaring the desire to “move on” are all signs of a profound abdication of responsibility – precisely the opposite of the qualities we (and Serena) value most in a champion.
Note to Serena: stop insulting us. Stop offending paying customers all over the world with your indifference to smaller events. And if you do that, perhaps you’ll be less mentally-fragile when you come up against a player who can test you the way Clijsters did.
del Potro: The Shape of Things to Come
The day of the US Open final is always an interesting time to gather opinions – particularly since the match doesn’t start until after 4:00 p.m. Cruising the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center this past Monday, I kept asking tennis notables for their thoughts. Generally, as expected, Federer was favored. But one person, ESPN’s Darren Cahill, told me “it’ll go five, and Roger will need nothing but his very best.” And then I remembered taking the same walk in 2000, when another reigning king, Pete Sampras, sought to take on another languid, powerful ballstriker – Marat Safin. The same majority view favoring Sampras had prevailed that day too – and then Sampras had been bludgeoned. All of which proves once again how valuable it is to make a prediction.
At 6’ 5”, this talented Argentinean may very well be the shape of things to come.
But as my Tennis Channel colleague Leif Shiras noted often throughout the US Open, del Potro is indeed the shape of things to come. Time was when a player 6’ 5” was considered a lumbering giant – a shotmaker who by dint of his size and speed (or lack thereof) would hardly be expected to play consistent, grinding tennis. But that’s changed. Juan Martin del Potro is a sleek mover and a powerful hitter. His sleepy demeanor belies his competitive intensity.
It was dazzling to see del Potro strike the ball so well and remain so fit throughout the entire tournament. No one has ever beaten Rafael Nadal and Federer in the same Grand Slam event – and to do so on consecutive days is even more impressive.
And yet, equally beguiling was the way Federer utterly vanished in the fifth set. It conjured up echoes of what happened to him versus Nadal in Australia.
Here’s my favorite stat about del Potro: Last year he won four titles in a calendar year while still in his teens. Of the 11 men who’ve also done that, ten of them eventually became number one in the world.
Women’s Tennis: There’s Gold to be Had
Never has the women’s game been more deregulated. Never has there been more opportunity for a dedicated woman to step in, train hard, compete well, serve wisely, and kick some butt.
Click photo: What does it mean that Kim Clijsters (pictured here before her layoff) can take more than two years off and win a major in only her third
How could it be that 17-year-old Melanie Oudin could unmask the limited skills of so many Russians? Are such players who’ve been ranked number one as Dinara Safina, Ana Ivanovic, and Jelena Jankovic accidental tourists? What does it mean that Kim Clijsters can take more than two years off and win a major in only her third tournament back?
I’ve spoken about this before, but now more than ever I’m convinced there is something missing in the way tons of women – from the juniors to the pros – are taught, coached, and shaped as players. Those who grab the missing puzzle piece – my Tennis Channel colleague Martina Navratilova believes too many women don’t play enough practice sets – could well be on the path to grabbing greater riches.
Longstanding TennisOne contributing writer Joel Drucker worked as the story editor for Tennis Channel’s coverage of all four Grand Slam events this year.
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Women's Serving Woes
During the telecast of a recent women’s tournament, Pam Shriver and Mary Joe Fernandez lamented on the woeful state of the serve in women’s professional tennis. They raise a good point. Why is it that the women have been able to hit the daylights out of the groundstrokes and yet have found the serve relatively unsolvable? The number of double faults and critical service breakdowns is unprecedented. Doug King examines this phenomenon.
Taking the Ball on the Rise
Ian Tiriac, one of the great tennis coaches of the past, once said that the most important thing in tennis is to get the ball over the net and that's how most people learn to play, by hitting the ball up and over the net. They stand well behind the baseline, let the ball drop below the net, and swing up. Watching Kim Clijsters' amazing run at the US Open, however, one couldn't help but notice how she seemed to take every ball on the rise, that is, she stepped in and took the ball at the top of the bounce. Jim McLennan has some definite ideas about this scenario.
ProStrokes 2.0 – Venus Williams' Backhand
Venus Williams, the leaner, taller, and arguably, the more fluid Williams Sister, commands the court with her presence, her well-rounded ground and volley game, one of the biggest serves in the history of women's tennis. At just over six feet, Venus controls the net with her long reach but has one of the most powerful ground games on the women's tour. Her backhand, more compact and more reliable than her forehand, sets up points as well as finishes them. To date Venus Venus has amassed 18 Grand Slam titles – seven singles and eleven doubles, and is still a major threat at every event. New this issue – the Venus Williams backhand.
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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