Sunday, November 15, 2015

Marcelo Rios Vs Andre Agassi 1998 Grand Slam Cup Part 3


       Join me at 60 minutes into this match. Agassi is making Rios cover some ground on these points!
Agassi's backhands are peppered deep into Rios' forehand corner. Finally Rios crushes a forehand into Agassi's backhand. If Marcelo Rios is not hitting the ball hard and deep enough Agassi is teeing off. What a shot from Rios! Right before 1:03:30 Agassi runs him out wide with the same shot as before. But Rios has picked up on Agassi's backhand pattern. Agassi's strength is now being attacked.

       Marcelo then just dismisses  a forehand into Agassi's backhand corner at 1:04:00. And another forehand winner into Agassi's forehand corner to close out the game. Rios shows that he can flatten out his shots and hit with unreal pace. People that label players as simply a powerful player or finesse player fail to realize the depth of players such as Marcelo Rios and Roger Federer.

      Rios starts the 2-1 game in the third set with a routine backhand winner. At 1:07:00 Agassi hits a tremendous kick serve. By now Agassi has really dug into this match. He hits an ace.

      I urge you to discipline yourself to watch this match so your game can improve. The language barrier creates major attention issues. Does anyone have an English broadcast of this match? Your comments are truly welcome. Use the comment box below.

       Rios is knocking off winners too easily against Agassi. Andre cannot read Rios's shots. As casual as Rios is his game must be planned out. His game is simply too effective. His approach shots are perfectly timed to the right corner with such depth and pace to set up a winning volley. When Rios is on he can't lose. All I can say is that you should build your tennis sense. Build your instincts to hit the right shot. The daring shot your are lined up for and feel good about hitting. Rios squashes the ball back over the net. Then he cracks a backhand that becomes a passing shot winner.

       1:14:26 is such a ridiculously good point from Rios. I don't care he missed the last shot. Still, Agassi is doing the right thing by playing a similar game. He is continuously asking questions of Rios: How good is your shot making on the run? Can you wrestle control of these points?

      3 all in the third set. Rios has all the time in the world during the 1:16:20 point. Like Federer, Rios can hold the ball on his racquet so long Agassi has to guess where the shot is heading. Agassi is often frozen. Rios takes the tennis ball so early. His preparation for getting his weight into the shot, and racquet head into position, as well as anticipating where the ball is going from his opponent are extremely difficult to emulate. He also somehow calculates workable angles ahead of time. He is able to find the lengthier angles. Angles that take the opponent off the court but carry an added margin of error. This is because he also adds spin and takes some pace off his shots with longer angles.

        Agassi is now setting up his shots to hit easy winners. Rios fires back with a swinging a volley behind Agassi for  a winner. He is so confident he takes pace off his shot to be sure the ball lands in. No need for him over hit the shot.

        5 games to 4 Rios leads the third set. Agassi is misfiring on his angles. He is not taking the ball early enough; and he is going for too sharp an angle from middle of the court. He is hitting the ball too hard. This might be a match shift right here in Rios' favor. But Agassi can take it early up the line quite well.

   
       For such a small guy Rios gets tremendous Pop and bounce on his serve. His free arm motion winds up for maximum racquet head speed and control. Agassi copies Rios' ideas on the serve. He matches Rios and then one-ups him to force a third set tiebreaker.

     A Great start from Rios. Obviously important in any tiebreak to bring out your best stuff right away. Agassi misses probably because he is intimidated by the way Rios is running. He is channeling his Super Sonic, Super Tails or Hyper Knuckles speed. Rios goes back to his best stuff (the inside out forehand) and simply adds more pace to the shot. He stays a few steps ahead of Agassi.

      Despite missing the last shot, that was  a great point (right before 1:35:00). Meanwhile, Agassi cannot find a first serve. And he is frozen by Rios's shots. Rios continues to find amazing angles. In this championship tennis match Rios now leads 5 points to 1 in the third set tiebreaker.

       The Majority of the time in a best of five set match the winner of the third set will prevail. Rios is applying scoreboard pressure. 6 points to 1 now. Rios hits with so much spin his nerves aren't affecting his shots. Believe me, everyone is feeling nerves while closing out  a third set tiebreaker.

We are at:

Agassi     4      6        6

Rios        6      2        7

      For more on Marcelo Rios I strongly recommend Marcelo Rios: The Man We Barely Knew by Scoop Malinowski.

      I wish I could hear what the commentators are saying. Oh well. We are now at 1 hour 39 minutes into the match. Please comment with your opinions. I will see you all for part 4!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Marcelo Rios vs Andre Agassi Grand Slam Cup Part 2


Starting at 24:40, Rios looks to be hurting movement wise. He seems to favor one side and is trying to end points quickly.

Without control of his shots, Marcelo Rios hands Agassi the game.

4-4
Rios finishes with a passing shot finding the corner. Rios angles the ball away from Agassi at a relatively conservative angle by his standards.
5-4
Rios shuffles way behind the baseline, ready to move in either direction.Once he knows where the ball is going he turns and runs. He gets sideways to the ball so his racquet can swing through the strike zone.

So many players hit the ball long or wide because their feet are in open position and his or her arm only goes so far before it is forced to turn parallel with your body. You can make much greater angles with a closed stance. Or use a semi-open stance if you need to get around the ball. I invite your opinion on this subject in the comments below.

Rios stance seems more solid than Agassi's stance who seems limited in his angles. If you know the ball is going far way don't shuffle. Instead bend the leg nearest to the ball and take the first step with the other leg. In this way you get a sprinter's step. To illustrate my point check out Rios on set point. He runs further than anyone I have seen to track down Agassi's shots and hit a winner up the line.

6-4 first set goes to Rios. Set point is at 34:08
As far as movement goes to a ball far away don't shuffle. But turn and take the first step with the leg furthest away from the ball.  Bend the leg nearest to the ball for a sprinter's start.


Second set

Rios quick running has kept him alive. Another ace and it's 30-love. And the 30-love point is vintage Rios. He is moving Agassi around with angles.

Marcelo is simply running balls down to keep them in play. This uninspired and careless play of Rios gives Agassi an early psychological advantage in the second set. Marcelo is not getting his feet properly lined up for his shots. The first game goes to Agassi.

We are at 37:32 of Andre Agassi vs Marcelo Rios 1998 Grand Slam Cup. Rios shows his talent by dropping his racquet head below the ball to get tremendous topspin. Both on his ground strokes and especially his spin serve. His tremendous racquet head speed leads to aces. But a drop in the overall quality of play combined with the steadiness of Agassi means the set is getting away from Rios.

Agassi leads 2-1.
Now we are 43:15 in.
Agassi has raised his play but again Rios shows his pristine movement; he stops his weight leaving room to swing up the line.
Still Rios is misfiring, he is still hitting decent angles but not closing points out.
But don't count Marcelo Rios out. He hits 3 straight winners. With his high racquet head speed people don't see his power coming. His shots are unreadable. Agassi is frozen to open up the 3-2 game. An easy winner up the line for Rios.

49:50 you know somehow that when Rios is being pushed back behind the baseline by Agassi a great point is coming! Rios re-maneuvers Agassi and approaches the net. Rios falls on his back but keeps his eye on the ball and completes the smash.Tell me this isn't an excellent point? Do you have a better or equal point? Link it in the comments.

Yet somehow Agassi sneaks a 4-2 lead. He hits the serve out wide and loops a backhand winner Rios doesn't try for. But Agassi pays the price the next point by trying to go behind Rios. Rios pastes a forehand in the corner. Still Agassi perseveres and closes out the second set with his best point of the match. Agassi wins the second set 6-2!

We have a match folks! One set all.
Marcelo Rios                6           2
Andre Agassi                4           6

A Quick reset from Rios give him a 1-0 lead. We
He leads the third set 1-0.
We end today at 60 minutes flat into the match.
Thanks for reading!
Please share who you think is playing better so far in this match.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Marcelo Rios vs Andre Agassi 1998 Grand Slam Cup

Marcelo Rios has perfect flow on his shots. He angles his body on his each shot for perfect rhythm, torque and power. The point at 0:47 he out Agassis Agassi.

But Agassi is the early aggressor. Rios is staying consistent and Agassi is missing by inches. Agassi has a great deep approach shot, only he doesn't come in. In tennis deciding whether to come in or stay back is always tricky. If Agassi had come in and covered the down the line Rios's ability to blister the ball up the line while on the run wouldn't be displayed.

But Rios gets so much slice spin on his serve he forces the error. 3:20 is a great point for various reasons: 1.  Andre Agassi and Marcelo Rios are keeping the ball in play while going for angles and direction on their shots; This is not the boring power tennis up the middle of today. 2. From what should have been a defensive shot Rios hits a winner up the line.

1-1 all

5:35 Marcelo lines up the out wide serve and then hits the inside out forehand winner. But he gives himself so much margin on this shot by having the path of the angle go through the middle of the court, and hitting the ball short through low pace and topspin. This makes Rios's tennis put away shot virtually impossible for him to miss. However, Agassi strikes back by doing much the same thing over the next two points.

6:48 Agassi would have won this point against anyone else in the world. Agassi is hitting to the same corner multiple times widening the angle each time. In this point Rios hits the sickest angle you may ever see. All of this great play for Rios to hold 2-1. But early in the match he is sending Agassi the message that Agassi's best within Agassi's wheelhouse isn't good enough. When Sampras dominated Agassi; Agassi probably felt outside his comfort zone. Rios is in Agassi's territory in the type of baseline exchanges Agassi wants yet Rios is out playing Agassi. This would devastate most opponents but Agassi doesn't give up.

 I love Marcelo Rios' practice court mentality. He is relaxed and isn't going to miss shots due to nerves. He is just trying to find his control. This will pay off for him over the course of the match. Rather than just pushing the ball to keep it in play and getting dominated by Agassi, Rios is searching for his control. Yes it's terrible to give up points by not keeping the ball in play. But when you start making your shots and are in the flow you want to capitalize on your concentration by going for big enough shots. In this way can you reel off multiple games in a row. And play sicker points.
than if he had tried to push to just keep the ball in play.

In the opening point of Rios' service game he is late on a backhand. The 2nd point Marcelo plays a long rally just missing long. Love-30. But Marcelo Rios looks to the good he has built up the last two points and betters this. From the baseline he takes the same backhand he has previously missed and instead hits a swinging backhand down the line. He follows this approach shot to net and takes the overhead out of the air for a winner. He doesn't lack confidence and wins 3 points in a row. This rarely happens on its own, you have to stay relaxed each point. He hits a topspin slice serve out wide. He always is hitting with multiple spins on each shot. Agassi hits it deep to his backhand again and forces the error. Relentless Agassi leads 3-2.

Rios takes some pills and then gets treated for what looks like a serious injury. Boris Becker is commentating in German. I don't know if he appreciated the subtle beauty of the Agassi Rios rivalry. He enjoyed his raw power game. He and Agassi hated each other as descried in Andre Agassi's book Open. Since I don't know German I don't know if Becker is treating this match like the classic match it is.

Let's see if Rios runs likes  a cheetah after treatment as so many players do. But really this shows his heart and intensity. After all, the treatment is geared towards these super athletes being able to play at peak performance. Rios continues on with crowd support.

After winning the 19:57 point Rios seems to be standing through the net. Like he is standing on Agassi's side. Agassi had given up control on this point. He should have punished the second ball in the rally into the opposite corner. He allowed the similarly styled Rios to gain control of the point. He did this by hitting the ball to the same corner. This pattern of play can be effective. But the most  brutal form of the side to side strategy is to always have the opponent running. Never let them catch their breath or gain momentum by hitting to the same side. Because then you will feel the pressure and go for too much on your next shot. Only hit to the same side if you hit the ball short or deep as the winning shot. But Agassi repeats his mistake. Rios retakes control of the match. A few good Marcelo serves and Rios leads 4-3. That concludes part 1. We find ourselves 24 minutes into this match.
If you must skip ahead I urge you to check out the following points in the Agassi vs Rios Grand Slam cup match.
1:01
6:48
12:48
19:58
21:37
26:49
27:29
33:08
34:08
40:37
44:10
46:36
47:00
48:52
49:52   Sensational smash from on his back.
51:30

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Marcelo Rios 1998 Liption Key Biscane Final to become Number one

       In 1998 Marcelo Rios won Rome, Indian Wells and Key Biscane in succession to become number one in the world. These are events where you have to beat all top seeded players to win. He beat Greg Rusedski in the Indian Wells Final.

       No one can hit angles the same way Marcelo Rios can. No one can take the ball on the rise as early as Rios can. To play this style he needed to be one of the quickest players of all time. He was. He was never standing straight up but always on the move filling the photographer's shot. So beautiful to film was he. But even more exciting for fans was watch him line up his absurdly angled shot with such consistency. His finesse on volleys and drop shots rarely failed him.

      Agassi vs Rios Lipton Championship in Miami 1998 is featured below. The Agassi vs Rios rivalry is fantastically underrated. They can both play long extended rallies moving each other around the court with angles. Each are supremely fit. Rios will run everything down and be able to hit any shot while on the run. He can hit angles with finesse, he can slice the ball, or drop-shot you. His loopy ground-strokes bring fluidity to his swing thus adding consistency.  His ability to create successful angled shots comes from two reasons: the fluidity of his topspin shot allow him to swing through the ball making the shot regardless of his nerves. Secondly, he reads the geometry of the court so well he knows the exact pace and spin to use so the attempted angle doesn't go wide. When the angle is long enough like on the slight deep crosscourt he puts full pace on the shot. Otherwise if his angle is sharp enough he doesn't hit the ball unnecessarily hard to risk error. He even seems to realize if his shot will be a winner. Or if he needs to keep grinding from the baseline or advance to the net to finish the point.

Set 1
Everything said in the last two paragraphs is evident in the 26:02 point. He mercilessly moves Andre Agassi around the court.
   
      Commentator Mary Carillo claims Rios is trying to hit up the middle. Instead, I feel he is hitting the shot available to him. He is trying for the angle, but if his body isn't turned enough he knows trying for a sharper angle will be a mishit. So he turns his body fully and fearlessly hits severe angles. And he runs down all of Agassi's shots so the play feels continuous. The fact that his winning style of play is percentage tennis adds excitement because fans know they will see many great points. The fans have something to cheer about at 28:15. I want that shot in my arsenal. Although, I could never hit the angled inside out forehand so casually in the biggest match of my life.


      The point construction starting at 31:21 is great because of Rios' accuracy and ability to keep Agassi unsettled. Three shots to his backhand and one to his forehand while on the run. Rios's accuracy on the run is unappreciated by the average player who only studies points that end in winners.  Rios is able to run to any shot with perfect footwork  and hit the ball the way he wants. Although not as glamorous as hitting outright winners, this is the true joy of tennis. Look how he almost runs down Agassi's shot at 32:01.

      The fun commentary team of Bill Macatee and Mary Carillo mention that Rios will become number one today because of his quickness and his ability to take the ball early. Mary Carillo adds that some number ones lacked great backhands, lacked great serves, lacked great net games. But they were all quick. She never saw a slow number one. Then Bill Macatee creates fun from the windsurfer falling at 39 minutes.

      If you can hit the Rios angles from the baseline, why should you ever leave the baseline? Well, at the 41:45 point Rios shows the advantages of a properly timed net advance (he got Agassi deep and off to the side): added pressure to your opponent, ends the point quicker, and forces a difficult topspin drive from your opponent. Instead, Rios gets an easy high volley. Rios then brings himself to set point by knocking off a sharply-angled backhand. Agassi puts him away with groundstrokes, but Carillo adds Rios quickness was above normal. That is why this is fun to watch. This Rios match is unprecedented tennis. Yet Agassi keeps saving set points with aces or ground stroke winners. Everyone should have Rios's second shot from the 44:20 point. He angles the ball with tremendous pace, yet it's a safe shot! Excellent put away! At 45:20 Rios does incredibly well to curl ball inside the line. Perhaps Agassi felt the pressure of Rios returns, or maybe he lacks match play. Because Agassi double faults to give Rios the first set 7-5.


Set 2
      47 Minutes in, Tennis Champion Marcelo Rios opens up the court inflicting pain on the scurrying Agassi. And he does this again on the next point, notice how he takes pace off the finishing shot. The true talent lies in hitting the correct finishing shot in a side to side combat point. Rios varies his kill shots by varying depth. He hits inside the service line on shots he wants to angle and adds depth on put-aways into the corner. Agassi cannot read Rios's shots. And after facing Rios's sideways tennis in a point Agassi can run no more. Rios knocks off an easy-looking soft volley ending the point at 51 minutes.


      At 1:07:00 we are saying sarcastically to ourselves, "sure the net game is that easy lol" Rios punches the volley up the line then a nice touch volley to win the game. At 1:08:00 we are amazed at the angle and pace of Rios' return. He then hits one of the most insanely-good-belly-button-jammed-volleys for a clean winner. Rios plays with the perfect mindset of going for length on his shots unafraid of hitting long. Occasionally he gets the desired depth and he never commits the sin of hitting the ball into the net.

     Agassi definitely counters Rios with similar play throughout the match. Agassi has some great returns and passing shots. But he is overshadowed by Marcelo Rios in this match. Rios puts in the hard running yards at 1:12:30. Rios bangs a few aces and takes the 2nd set 6-3. Rios's clean grinding game inevitably builds his winner error to 16 winners and 2 errors in the second set.

Set 3
      Even when he misses Rios looks good. At 1:16:40 he basically gets jammed by the ball but creates a crazy spin on the ball when it lands. Rios sees the ball as having four sides to create angles. He always has a perverse degree of sides pin on his topspin or slice shots. He has practiced to have the necessary amount of spin for each shot. To fully develop our games we must not simply hit the ball bottom to top (topspin) or cut it top to bottom (slice); But we must hit across the ball right to left, left to right regardless of our court position or stance. Only then are we on our way to mastering the game of Tennis.

     Near the end of the third set Rios has hit 33 winners and 20 errors. More impressively though, is the fact that in the 2nd and 3rd sets he has struck 29 winners to only 9 errors. Agassi is under tremendous pressure to win individual points. Rios hits with tremendous racquet head speed on his inside out shots and inside in shots. Rios' racquet head preparation on his way to the ball is so good he has all the time in the world to hit a passing shot off of Agassi's approach shot. Rios is a player firing on all cylinders hitting angled winner after crushing forehand winner. Yet Agassi presses with one final error.

      After 1 hour and 56 minutes, Rios wins the third set 6-4. He wins the match 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.  Rios waves his Chilean flag to the erupting crowd. Rios was confident he would win today. He now embraces his father and girlfriend with hugs. Agassi looks to the positives and shows love for this tournament, Miami, and fans.

Quick Match Insight
Neither guy hits the ball long very much. Yet they were both hitting the ball quite hard. This match is easy to follow and watch in one sitting. If Agassi or Rios were to play in a junior clinic the kids would be amazed at how hard they hit the ball yet have it land before the service box. This depth allows them to angle the ball off the court without hitting the ball wide. Both Agassi and Rios know how to hit the ball side to side, angle to angle, corner to corner. But what makes Rios great is that he varies his kill shot. He often doesn't overplay the final shot. Especially when running down a drop shot. He just slowly loops the ball at an angle. Rios impresses the viewer with his poise, consistency, angled looping ground strokes and efficient net play.

For more on Rios I recommend Scoop Malinowski's book.

Marcelo Rios: The Man We Barely Knew


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Federer vs Sampras Exhibitions

        I don't believe these matches were "fixed" in any way. Both Sampras and Federer have too much pride and integrity to fake a match. You can't hit exceptional drop volleys or compete as hard when you are "acting". You can't control the score and whoever tried this would get their ass handed to them by the other player. That said I don't think either felt the most pressure in the world. They simply went out and displayed the quality of tennis only two of the all time greats could.

       The first in the Federer vs Sampras Exhibitions of 2007 was in Seoul, Korea. Federer won 6-4, 6-3. The second was in Kuala Lumpur, Malasia. Again, Federer won. This time a more tightly contested match; 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5). The last match was in Macau, China. Sampras won 7-6 (10-8), 6-4.

       
      In March of 2008 they met at Madison Square Garden for the Net Jets Showdown. Federer won 6-3, 6-7, 7-6.


      Sampras Federer Asian Showdown  was a reintroduction to the world of the Sampras vs Federer rivalry.

In Seoul, Korea they picked up where they left off in 2001 Wimbledon.
Federer vs Sampras Exhibition 2007 Seoul, Korea

      To the appreciator of tennis one sees complete games competing against one another. The Sampras drop volleys. Those opportunities given to Sampras by the relentless power of his first and second serves. The very straightforward power groundstrokes of Sampras. On the same hand, one sees a game complete with all the weapons of a defensive specialist. Federer's balletic foot work allows him to jet in position. He is able to dip passing shots at Sampras' feet. He is able to hold the ball on his racquet and hit the forehand into the open court. And he is able to get virtually every ball tailing off the court Sampras hits.

In Kuala, Lumpur they seem to be STAYING BACK ? ? ? ?
I have a link to a youtube series where you can watch Federer vs Sampras Exhibition Kuala Lumpur 2007 in its entirety by watching all 9 videos. I randomly posted part 4 above. And just by watching the first point you can tell it is a completely different match than Seoul, Korea. Powerful forehands exchanged by Federer and Sampras. Each trying to one up each other. But their defense is underrated and you have the feeling of watching the flow and continuity of a clay court match. Because no matter how powerful the shots hit the other gets there and hits an even faster scorching shot. Great stuff!

And 2007 wraps up with Macau, China.
Sampras' volley game was strengthened by the power and variety of his serve in this match. He never faced a break point. His serve was stronger than Federer and he won 7-6, 6-4.

March 2008 the Net Jets Showdown occurred in Madison Square Garden. This was hyped by John McEnroe and many others. This goes back to the complete games facing each other. Like Seoul and Wimbledon both players come in a good deal. Mostly Sampras displaying his vintage move his body away from the shot to hit pristine angled volleys. And Federer hitting tremendous passing shots on the run to counter attack the Sampras serve and volley.

For a complete quality viewing of this match that is basically a tennis seminar; Please check out this dvd below.
The Netjets Showdown: Pete Sampras vs. Roger Federer


Summary: The fact that Sampras won a match puts some doubt into who is the true GOAT (Greatest of All Time). And the argument will always wage on. Fueled by facts like Sampras had a better record against the people in his era. But Federer won more Slams. Federer has a stronger backcourt game. But Sampras' serve was more powerful. They are certainly two players we can and should model our games after.

To have all the Federer Sampras exhibition permanent video versions that won't disappear or buffer click the link below. This will take you to the page that describes the process and transaction.

Federer vs Sampras Exhibitions

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Roger Federer vs Pete Sampras Wimbledon 2001



Federer Vs Sampras Part 1

      This is amazing serve volley tennis from both Federer and Sampras. They are not just charging the net, but moving quick enough to get in position. From there they both are demonstrating amazing creativity with shots and angles and put-aways. By watching this match you will learn how to creatively return serve. Federer and Sampras can hit sliced and low returns. John McEnroe is more suffer-able as a commentator because of his experience as a slam champion, analysis and humor. He provides you, the viewer with lessons on the serve and volley mentality. Such insights as you can get passed 30 or 40 times while serving and volleying and still win the match. Not a popular concept for most players, but if you persistently approach the net; hitting any shot you feel like hitting, Trusting your instinct, and not panicking even when your opponent also charges the net you will succeed. You got to be the more explosive one in a net dual. But even if you are on the baseline and your opponent has taken over the net. You can still dictate play with passing shots. Narrow down your shot selection, try to cut out the floating slice. There is more hope in  a topspin passing shot that dips below the net and forces your opponent to add pace to the volley. I will for the most part do play by play with some analysis for the last 3 sets. We start in the third set. They have split sets. If you watch this whole match (both videos) and follow along here, agreeing or disagreeing with my strategy and analysis you will have added great knowledge to your tennis game. For a spoiler alert check to the bottom of the article for the score.

       3rd Set
       On his eleventh break point Federer finally breaks to go up 2 -1 in the third set. Its a set all, so in most matches the winner of the third set will win the match.

       Sampras' heavy racquet doesn't require a big swing to generate his sensational power. He has little backs-wing and a simple swing to guide returns back and hit pinpoint passing shots. He never tries to kill the ball with a huge swing. His technique is beautifully simple. Only when it sits there does Sampras go for great pace. Even then he still keeps within his swing. He doesn't break down his stroke, elbow or shoulder to get this great pace.

       AMAZING POINT AT 1:33:23 Federer hits a 170 degree angle after running down a drop shot going over the high part of the net. He volleys the ball at a 10 degree angle or 170 degree angle. You pick. Whatever sounds more impressive to you. Sampras hits a serve to nullify all Federer's glory and holds serve.

       On this Wimbledon Monday where all the greats play, Agassi, Hewitt, Henman, Martin, etc.  play continues . . .  1:39:23 is just brilliant from Federer. Sliced return and ridiculous backhand winner on the run. With the head level cam that only Wimbledon shows you can try to return Sampras' quick service. Very quickly Federer fends off a hand cuffed serve. Sampras misses the overhead. Time for Federer to serve for the third set. Federer rapidly hits an ace to win the third set 6-4. Does this mean Federer will win the match?

         4th set
        Sampras has his habits. He likes to hold his racquet in a choke-hold by the throat; This is a mental thing that allows him to generate his incredible racquet head speed. In the same way, baseball player David Ortiz waves his bat before generating enough juice to clear the fences. You can get so much power on the return of serve with a short backs wing. Federer and Sampras continually display true racquet skills in many of these great points. They compete for the better backhand overheads and Sampras wins this time. I don't recommend the backhand overhead. Step to the side and hit an overhead. However, sometimes you have no choice.

       Federer runs down a ridiculous Sampras volley about 6 minutes into second video, but Sampras is there to cover the passing shot. Beautiful Sampras forehand at 9 minutes. Sampras lets his weight stop, he clears the path for his swing by getting his feet and body out of the way and crushes the angled inside-in forehand. Sampras's  service toss stays perfectly still. And when either player comes to net they know when to let the ball go because it is going out. A court awareness and anticipation you can only learn by serving and volleying millions of times.

        If you turn your body you can take the volley so early! Now to be able to serve like these two. Sampras can ace on demand. I love watching Wimbledon on NBC. They have the best graphics and camera angles. And watching these two play is a joy to watch!

      Sampras owns the running backhand passing shot. The backhand that dips down at Federer's feet. Federer and Sampras make these shots look routine. Neither one fears hitting the ball out because they practice so much. They can hit with great pace or simply angle the pitch of their racquet face to hit clean winners. In this way they hit with great power or hit insanely sharp angles with the same swing and little effort. This is similar to the play of great past Australians like Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, and Lew Hoad. Watch them and practice these shots on a table tennis table. Just like college team mate Andrew Smith and I used to play table tennis before or after practice. And instead of studying haha.

        All of Sampras's varied serves seem to be going in. So much power from a small swing. Sampras also has variety with his underrated ground game. He has hit a winning topspin lob.


Federer vs Sampras Part 2


       Love 30 down, Four big serves and Federer gives Sampras a taste of his own medicine. 5-5 all 4th set. Sampras is so dialed in. Ace, ace, ace . . . Then Sampras hits lazer returns. I miss the days when Wimbledon was about the big servers not about  dull 50 stroke rallies. Sampras can handle a fast paced passing shot drilled at him. But Federer perseveres with a drop volley of his own. Sampras hits his hardest serve of the tournament,  a mere 136mph out wide (radar measures less speed out wide). Sampras expertly hits a  shoelace volley at a winning gracious angle. Brigette Wilson can take a breath of relaxation because Sampras has forced a Fifth set.

       5th set
       Federer is returning every serve now. And finally his passing shots are taking hold. Federer hits an absurd angled forehand at 43:45. Agassi and Sampras  are playing at the same time on this historic wimbledon day. Sampras makes it 2-2 with his own obscene angled volley. The mental struggle of the fifth set begins. Advantage Federer?  Martin and Henman  are still waiting to get their match started haha.

       The WESH 2 symbol came on screen meaning that this is taped from a home in the crime-filled Central Florida. This person may have had their home broken into or heard violence down the street as they were taping this.

      Federer hits a ridiculous passing shot off a deep Sampras approach shot. These guys are two greats. They have found the same mode as Bill Tilden and Rene Lacoste. and the same championship caliber play as Australians like Tony Roche and the Rocket Rod Laver. Federer and Sampras have so much slice and power on their serves. so much power. And return wise they have mastered the chip return as an offensive weapon.

       They are both so good with half-volleys. The half-volley is really a ground stroke off the bounce. They uniquely hit their half-volleys in the style of their ground strokes. Sampras seems impressive using this shot as an approach shot and then hits a winner on the next volley. Then  Federer saves a step by decreasing pace and adding some spin and hits the half volley for a winner. Great stuff, it is now 4 all now in the fifth set.  Down break point, a virtual set and match point Federer hits the half-volley and closes the net. Sampras nails a backhand. But Federer leans back and forward and sticks the volley taking time away to take time away from Sampras. Well done Federer! After another Sampras return winner Federer is down another virtual set point; this time he has a second serve. But he doesn't go for too much and forces the error by hitting a strong inside-in down the line forehand. No winners for Federer but he keeps the ball deep enough, even off his backhand. Federer goes up 5-4 final set.

       These guys are so consistent with such great serves. It's more than just intense practice with a tennis professional. It goes more than just talent. They have discovered for themselves the way to hit the perfects slice, topspin or kick-serve. And never ceasing practice allows for them to hit clutch serves in the fifth set.

The point at 1:04:00!

       Sampras says he will continue to play Wimbledon as long as he can serve. John McEnroe says that means he will be here playing at Wimbledon another 10 to 15 years. Love McEnroe's commentary humor. Amazingly Sampras stops making clutch first serves and misses a volley or two. Double match point Federer.

       Sampras gets a first serve in out wide and Federer hits an incredible forehand winner. Yeah Federer! The king is dead at Wimbledon. Having seen this match, the debate of Federer vs Sampras should end. Both players are at their relative primes. Sampras coming down, Federer going up. But the Sampras interview following the match is so true. Sampras thought he won, because he played like the King of Swing. There you have a classic match encounter between two champions. Federer wins in 5 sets.

       We are reminded that NBC stands for National Broadcasting Company. Sampras gives Federer credit. It was Federer's first time on center court and he was relaxed and played the big points well. Federer played some great stuff. Sampras played well and fought hard. Sampras continues . . .Sampras has played well enough to win, but eventually you can't win every tiebreak. By the law of averages domination ends. This match makes Sampras appreciate every tough win he escaped with victory. One or two mistakes changes everything. Sampras laments on his break points: Sampras hits a great return on his first break point that was a virtual match point. Sampras chipped his return on his second break point.  This Video ends with tennis on TNT with a young Ernie Johnson lmao.

Spoiler:
By now you should know that Federer won 7-6 (9-7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 7-5
The first video shows through the first three sets. The second video picks up from the start of the 4th set through the Finish line. Plus some bonus TV. Sampras would end up reaching the 100 grass match wins milestone before losing  at the 2002 Wimbledon second round to George Bastl. His last grass court match! To get parts 1 and 2 of this match. Click on the link below. Read the process, and follow the directions mention parts 1 and 2 of this match to get them emailed to you as a google drive file.

Federer vs Sampras 2001 Wimbledon Parts 1 and 2

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

French Open - clay tennis champions, Guillermo Coria

     Guillermo Coria had something special even though he never won the French open. He was amazingly quick. He could out defense Nadal on clay. If Djokovic can't do it at the 2015 French Open especially after Nadal's weak spring season, then when will he ever? Who will? Federer played the Coria brand of tennis to win in 2009. And this is the same French Open Djokovic is entering as Federer and Agassi when they won their first and only French Open titles respectively.

      I find Coria's not missing style of play with flatter shots more exciting than Nadal's looping shots in the center of the court or always to the backhand. Coria could hit line after line and wasn't afraid of a player's forehand. Because he could run lightning quick. This is entertaining to watch. A tennis player who was at his true potential. Coria couldn't bother with developing a massive serve and forehand because he was slighter of frame. But his technique and disguise for his size make those shots average on the tour. Coria could run down anything and had great disguise with the drop shot. He could then use his hands for a slow angled winner. He had the ability to hit shots with great power or slow angle with no indication of the shot he was going to play. David Ferrer can dictate more on his forehand but not on his backhand than Coria. And on the run he is weaker. But as always David is a pleasure to watch on clay during the 2015 French Open. I would like to see more of Marcelo Rios at the French Open. His any angle is possible no matter the score or his court position brand of tennis was magical. If anyone has links to Marcelo Rios matches please post in the comments below. But back to Coria.

     His match vs Tim Henman at the French Open 2004. Was highly entertaining. He hit every line. And had wide variety of shots. He even went on a 13 game run against Tim Henman who was arguably playing some of best tennis of his life. In addition, Coria's resume is also comprised of two epic matches against Nadal in 2005. Boy! If you want to see quality clay court tennis and see Nadal face his equal on clay. Then search 2005 Montecarlo final. In the Montecarlo final Coria accomplishes the rare feat of winning a 6-0 set against an in form Nadal on clay. And 2005 Rome Final. The Rome final lasted 5 hours 14 minutes! Inspiring tennis.

   

2003 French Open Quarterfinal between Andre Agassi and Guillermo Coria


Guillermo Coria hits down the line with tremendous pace regardless of the ball's height to him. He can redirect the ball without losing pace, in fact he gains pace. He demonstrates gifted timing. He even does the jumping backhand that Marcelo Rios started.

      Who would have thought at the time that Agassi would have a chance against Coria on clay. But he had owned him going into the match. Agassi had beat him numerous times on hard courts, including the 2003 Australian Open. And later that year at the 2003 US Open. Agassi plays the better tennis of the two to win the first set 6-4. He pummels the ball on the run. Coria gets EVERYTHING back and can change direction with pace on both sides. Sometimes his shots loop and land short but mostly his shots land deep. And he has amazing pinpoint accuracy with them. And Guillermo Coria has a personal style that countless clay court specialists will copy to this day.  You can see this whenever you watch the 2015 French Open and watch a player with a backwards cap, makes the same grunting exhale, and same facial mannerisms. That person was influenced by Guillermo Coria. In much the same way Coria was influenced by his namesake Guillermo Vilas while growing up in Argentina.

      At one point Agassi shows off his deft touch. But he is about to be out done with Coria's cat and mouse game at the net. Coria will consistently show greater touch and wheels. No drop shot is out of Coria's reach. He skillfully runs up and hits a winner each time. This was the beauty of play shown in the highlights of the Guillermo Coria vs Carlos Moya match a year later in 2004. If anyone has that match please upload it and paste it in the comments below.

      Coria started to take control by just playing the similar style of the two players a little better. Agassi never went away or made much errors. If two players have similar styles and one plays a little better the score can be a blow out. I won't give the final score so as not to ruin for anyone who simply stays on this page. This match was enjoyable to watch because you can't make a player run more or work the point better than Agassi consistently does in this match. He hits the ball hard to each corner and then hits a punishing finish shot. He knows Coria will track it down so he is at the net to put it away. No overhead or volley was out of Coria's reach. Coria could skillfully hit an angle or dip the ball at Agassi's feet. Pupils of tennis, take notes on the clipboard from this clay court battle. The patterns of play especially, will make you a better tennis player.

To receive a permanent  video version of this match in the form of a file sent in an email. Click below on the following link to the page where you will follow directions, understand the process and transaction.  And simply mention this match.  

 2003 French Open Coria Vs Agassi

 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Strategy

What makes a player a champion? I will explore the basic strategies at the professional level and club level. I will also cover how champions are conceived, starting as kids. I will still do brief profiles of selected professionals such as Marcelo Rios. I am a certified tennis professional for USPTA. I played division 2 tennis. And I will help anyone in my area (South Shore, MA) work on their tennis strokes. Check out my Tennis Pro page. I sincerely hope a real first post will be uploaded very shortly. Thank You!