Monday, April 20, 2009

Quote For The Day

"Can we now agree, after this weekend's play, that clay is the best surface for the men’s game today? Seeing Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray hit every shot imaginable and run down every ball possible, I’m willing to say yes. Clay, which keeps topspin from skipping though the court while at the same time enabling players to slide themselves into position for hard-to-reach balls, allows the current generation to show off all of their skills like no other type of court."--Steve Tignor

No, we can't.

The best tennis the sport has to offer is still played on grass, the decline of serve-and-volley notwithstanding.

See the 2008 Wimbledon final.

Nothing that happened in Monte-Carlo remotely compares.


Savannah said...

As a long time clay court tennis aficionado I wonder where all this clay love is coming from all of a sudden? I just read another blog post stating that the US - specifically California - is not producing quality players because of the lack of clay courts.
I believe I was talking about this a couple of years ago.
Learn to play on clay and you learn to play tennis.

Graf_sampras said...

that's not a very complete assumption, Savannah.

"learn to play on clay and you learn to play tennis?"

it ASSUMES that claycourt tennis presents the complete game. it doesn't .

what it DOES which is very gracious to the player to think that way is :

it GIVES players TIME to get the ball...where on grass -- lightning quick speed, reaction, athleticism to contend with and deliver the complete sets of tennis skillful shotmaking is presented.

clay tennis is like giving the court to players who can not or will not or resist to REACH for the PEAKS of skillful playing in the COMPLETE game of tennis, inclusive of its most unpredictable aspects on grass.

MORe grass players over history have succeeded in matches against clay courters in their own turf than the other way around.


but a better question is to wonder about the great players that have won the FO or titles in clay or done well there against clay courters:

WHY does navratilova place wimbledon ABOVE the FO as the CROWN of her great achievements?

WHY did pete sampras consider (to his detriment of course, but that's another point) - FO or clay as "nothing but repeating the same strokes over and over again?'s not real tennis".

why is it that one of the GREATEST and also most naturally gifted CLAY courters ever -- Steffi Graf -

with her six FO's second only to Evert --

even in her struggling return to tennis from knee surgery in 1998

go through the humiliations of early defeats -- IN ORDER to .. as she revealed at the end of her wimbledon career in 1999 (after winning the FO once more) --

"Everything i did to return was for the sake of playing once more, one last time , in my BELOVED CENTRE COURT in wimbledon?"

why do you think RAFAEL nadal -- perhaps as of this moment at least the most accomplished claycourter ever --

SAY on the day after winning his first FO:
"I grew up watching pete sampras win wimbledon......

ANY SPANIARD can win the FO......

I must IMPROVE, improve a lot a lot a lot...if i am ever to win on grass....

I want to win is my dream to win wimbledon....'til the day I die"?

why do you think BORG is EVEN considered a GREAT player ? it CERTAINLY is NOT because he was the dominant CLAY COURTER of his is because he achieved the "Double crown" ...albeit at a time when the FO was THINLY competed on -(even borg dismissed it at one point for it was simply NOT important enough compared to davis cup -- BUT WIMBLEDON could NEVER be ignored).

ask yourself these questions -- and then thinka bout saying

"to LEARN to play tennis--- one plays on clay".

for in truth -- as Craighickman and the GREATEST champions ever , in their statements or displays of tennis , (and which includes the OVERRIDING overwhelming DESIRE of Rafael Nadal -- the greatest claycourter to BECOME a grass courter) --

have shown in their tennis and where they PLACED their GREATEST efforts on --


IS tennis.

everything else are parts of the whole or exaggerations of PARTS of the whole.

as is the "long points" in claycourt tennis MERELY an EXAGGERATION of rallying in grass court tennis between great athletes -- who ABOVE being merely ATHLETES are GREAT, COMPLETE shotmakers

IF they are to call themselves

TENNIS players.

Savannah said...

The folks on this site sum up how i feel and what the advantages of learning how to play on clay courts are.

1. Spin trumps power – It just doesn’t matter if you can hit the ball harder than the person across the net on a clay court. Hard shots are slowed down by the surface and sit up rather nicely in a player’s hitting zone. Even the hardest shots are typically chased down and returned – at least at the pro level. Spin on the other hand neutralizes the opponent. A well hit top spin shot (a “heavy” ball) bounds off the clay surface with such speed and height that countering offensively is not consistently possible.

2. Use the forehand to dominate the point – The forehand can be hit with greater spin and disguise than the backhand and you can handle the high bounce more effectively. Don’t hit backhands. Step around them and allow the forehand to control the middle of the court and dictate the point. Stand as far back as you need to, run as far around as you need to, don’t hit backhand returns on any second serves, DON’T HIT BACKHANDS!

3. Be ready to transition from defense to offense - Most clay court points are played with the players 5-8’ behind the baseline. This allows the ball to drop and provides additional time so players can generate better spin. When on defense players will stand back as far as they need to in order to chase the next shot down. The key that Garcia Lopez made clear is that when use of 1 & 2 above produce a short ball you should immediately be on or inside the baseline to press the advantage. By moving up you allow your opponent less recovery time, increase the angles you can create, and open up the option of hitting a drop shot.

Graf_sampras said...

well--that's all very nice, Savannah -- in describing what Clay ALLOWS players to do.......

but don't you realize that THAT is the very essence of the reason why clay court tennis is INFERIOR?

it MUST MAKE ALLOWANCES for players to contend with shots they OTHERWISE would NEVER manage on a fast or slick or unpredictable court such as grass in wimbledon...

and naturally -- that is why rafael has had to do what he had to do to realize his dream...LEARN how to PLAY TENNIS


and NOT MERELY DEPEND on a surface "neutralizing" and opponent, or merely depend on a SLOW surface ALLOWING the "ball to sit up high" in order for the player to "get to the ball in time and be in position".

i mean -- what the heck is this about anyway?

one would think tennis is about a game of SKILLS at heightened degrees of accomplishment and speeds

and it's the PLAYERS who must ACQUIRE them to stand up to the demands of high skills and athleticism

RATHER than have a surface SLOW "things down ENOUGH" in order for them to EVEN be IN a match!!

through the NEGATION of skillful shotmaking that they OTHERWISE CAN NOT REALLY DO or contend with.

is it ANY wonder that the spaniards like corretja, moya, the late 1990's "BOYCOTTED" wimbledon ?

it wasn't because the CLAY COURTERS player SUPERIOR tennis...

it was because wimbledon was TOO FAST for THEM and THEIR level of shotmaking!

THAT is the true nature of claycourt tennis:


or else the ball and skillful players are simply TOO MUCH and BEYOND their generaly more limited SKILLS in the game called


what you are doing is - you are really exposing the inferiority of claycourt playing - for defining its very nature:

THAT of ALLOWING MEDIOCRITY to contend with SUPERIOR tennis through the element of NEGATION of what is HIGH skill playing.

THAT"s not playing according to EXCELLENCE.

that is playing according to LOWERED standards.

and calycourters compensate for it largely by developing a game of ATTRITION

in order to PULL DOWN the quality of playing to THEIR level.

even NADAL knows this:

"i must IMPROVE a lot a lot a lot and BECOME MORE COMPLETE in order to win on grass".

"IT WAS ALWAYS ABOUT WIMBLEDON....everything we did -- was because of WIMBLEDON"......Toni Nadal.

Damián said...

Sorry friends, but I agree with Steve Tignor. By the way, I don´t think Sampras is the GOAT, despite his 14 GS: he was never competitive in one of the three surfaces.
Regarding the grass point, the fact that Philippousis and Roddick got Wimby finals says it all: in faster surfaces you can success only with a huge serve.

Damián said...

Some more impressions about the beauty of clay compared with the others:

"I like to see players carefully patting the surface back into place with their feet--tending to it. I like the fact that for the most part people can depend on the evidence of their own eyes rather than hawkeye to determine whether a contested ball was inside or out. I like the fact that it reacts to temperatures and humidity, organically. I like that players have to deal with odd bounces instead of counting on the predictable uniformity of a hardcourt. To me, clay is closer to real life, its needs, changes, and challenges", by Maedal in the TennisWorld forum about the Tignor´s article.

Graf_sampras said...

regardless of the great players like nadal on clay --

in essence -- claycourt tennis is like spelling the word :

"cat" over and over again....and trying to spell it DIFFERENTLY....

but coming to the same letters in the same arrangement.......


it is the epitome of REDUNDANCY -- passing for "building a point and variety".

and saying something LONGER than is necessary to say it.

C A T --




in wimbledon

say CAT -- then go on to the next word - DOG, CAMEL, PARROT, FISH...etc. etc. etc.

no nonsense needed.


but does NOT forgive MEDIOCRITY as 99 percent of players are forgiven in clay

while 99 percent of SKILLED players are PENALIZED on clay.

Craig Hickman said...

Besides last year's final, one of the best grass court matches I've witnessed in the open era was the 2007 quarterfinal between Andy Roddick and Richard Gasquet.

Check the stats if you didn't see the match. If you did, you won't need to. The serve was but one weapon from each player on display that day.

Roddick exhibited some of the best and most versatile tennis of his career in his run to the 2005 Wimbledon final.

Quite frankly, Andy served his way to a Slam title on hardcourts, not grass.

Real tennis is played on grass. All other tennis pales in comparison. I will never be convinced otherwise.

Karen said...

hear hear Craig, I agree with you absolutely.

Graf_sampras said...

Craig Hickman said...

Besides last year's final, one of the best grass court matches I've witnessed in the open era was the 2007 quarterfinal between Andy Roddick and Richard Gasquet.

Check the stats if you didn't see the match. If you did, you won't need to. The serve was but one weapon from each player on display that day.

Roddick exhibited some of the best and most versatile tennis of his career in his run to the 2005 Wimbledon final.

Quite frankly, Andy served his way to a Slam title on hardcourts, not grass.

Real tennis is played on grass. All other tennis pales in comparison. I will never be convinced otherwise.

Mon Apr 20, 08:17:00 PM


GREAT example. !

people need to think twice and many more times.


for ALL the FO titles and matches Rafael nadal has had to win -- he is now aiming for 5 consecutives - as overwhelming a sign of greatness as Roger's in wimbledon --


why is it that it is IN WIMBLEDON that he has played the most varied, the most electrifying COMBINATION of tennis seen FROM him?

it is because - he was NEVER going to win it the claystyle alone.

the SERVE had to become a weapon.

the RETURN had to become better to contend with the big serves ON grass -- UNNEUTRALIZED in comparison with that SAME serve on clay ;

he had to VOLLEY properly when BASELINE DEFENSE or even AGGRESSION was no longer enough and could NOT be covered up by the SLOWNESS of the clay against a PROPER grass courter, someone as GREAT as roger federer.

in short:

rafael - the GREATEST clay courter since borg - HAD to become SOMETHING like a grass courter.

something BEYOND what the clay court "allows" or FORGIVES towards lack of weaponry and which are, in clay, compensated for by the "{game of attrition" and the so-called "fit" , all day running players.

in short -- by nadal's OWN words himself --

"I HAVE TO IMPROVE a LOT a lot a lot...i must BECOME a COMPLETE player"

"i like grass because on grass you can play ALL STYLES, no?"

in grass - to win against the BEST --

you MUST play the ENTIRE game of tennis.

the serve is only the beginning, difficult as it is to master and the most important single shot in the game of tennis.

it has to be backed up by a rounded game behind it...

where the forehand is a forehand,,, the naturally strong wing. the backhand is a backhand and UNmitigated by slow courts in order to "reach the ball and get in position for topspin"....

everything has to be TRUE and NO fakery, NO mistakes for which you PAY dearly at a moment's notice ....

unlike clay which afford uncountable "do-overs".......

such things are , generally, for the LESSER players.

there is a reason why the greatest of the greast PLACED wimbledon ABOVE ALL ELSE among their achievements and/or desires to win ...for in WIMBLEDON -- the grass court tennis played properly is KING of Tennis.

in it is displayed the COMPLETE vocabulary of tennis.

not EXAGGERATIONS of parts of the whole promoted (primarily by the spaniards) - as "building points" when it is really

GAME OF ATTRITION , to borrow sampras' words, truly said , without adornment:

"mostly playing the same shots over and over and over again".

for which those without great serves can "compete"....

those without too much VOLLEYING ability or a real approach game of majestic mastery can get by -- for the ALLOWANCES GIVEN by the slow, highbouncing court, in order for them to be "superior" to the players who actually ARE the better shot producers.

in many ways -- the greatness of NADAL lies in his success in realizing his dream -- to TRANSCEND the expectations -- but more importantly -- to WIN WIMBLEDON

LIKE a grass court player -- as wimbledon DEMANDED for which NO FO WINNER would EVER win UNLESS he became a grass courter...

which MEANS --

"become a COMPLETE player,,,and i must improve, a lot a lot a lot". Rafael Nadal.

that is as summary a statement you can get without disparaging his OWN clay kingdom that can come from a clay courter HIMSELF about the difference between clay and grass.

clay "-- any SPANIARD CAN WIN FO".....

"I want to win is my dream to win wimbledon......'til the day I die".

and rafael nadal KNOWS WHY....

it is the mark of THE Complete Player in the KING OF COURTS -- wimbledon.

and yes -- everyone needs to check that RODDICK/GASQUET MATCH.

RARE as that is as the years go by -- THAT is tennis at its very best and most electrifying.


on the basis of POSITIVE energy and POSITIVE intent t0 WIN by shotmaking and athleticism and daring..........

NOT by "allowances" permitted by the surface for one's inadequacies!

Graf_sampras said...

as for elevating clay tennis beyond grass -- "for the beauty of seeing players CAREFULLY PLACE" their shots (what a laughable notion for expectations about "beauty") --

there is nothing more beautiful AND electrifying to watch than a proper grass courter play on the FAST surface , the unpredictable surface of grass, move with the speed of the wind at the slightest changes, not fall on the SLICK surface...step on a rough patch - only to have to HIT a ball bouncing or sliding from a SLICK patch at a lightning speed notice ....twirl on the air for winners of backhands at the most acute angles, absorb the fastest shots coming with full force and use the merest of strokes to change them into DEAD little birds on the ground....

and to do them all with ACCURACY for which the slightest mistake or even the briefest HESITATION TRYING TO
"place a ball nicely and neatly" as on clay with more time

will COST YOU an ENTIRE MATCH even if you are miles ahead!

on grass - the great shotmakers are REWARDED as to which of them are the better players on the day against each other.

but they are PUNISHED for the slightest error...dearly....

as roger found out against rafa....ONCE rafa BECAME a grass courter....

or RODDICK found out against Roger in 2004 EVEN when Roddick , by Roger's OWN admission, one of his most HONEST admissions:

"was killing me"...

or Sampras found out against Roger in 2001...or against krajicek in 1996...

or Edberg against Becker in 1990

or EVEN the WORLD NUMBER 3 behind Borg - Charles Passarell against a player returning from retirement 20 years his senior -- Pancho Gonzales bringing HIS grass court greatness back to show everyone what TENNIS is all about,,,notwithstanding the BORG champion around!


it is TENNIS.yhe

Graf_sampras said...

in many ways -- clay court tennis has become "dear" to the hearts and imaginations of many or most fans because it REFLECTS THEIR OWN BACKYARD , COMMUNITY court , NEIGHBORHOOD CLUB abilities -- which will NEVER ascend to the HEIGHTS required by the likes of a Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal or Sampras or Roddick, or Edberg or Becker, STich etc....

playing proper TENNIS -- GRASS COURT TENNIS.

it gives people a "closer relationship" to something which is more "of the people" and more "common" .

there is nothing wrong with THAT sentiment and notion. if anything it is highly "democratic" where ANYONE can play and feel according to his capacity --

and NOT be feeling "inadeguate" and to SOME extent IMAGINE "being just like the pros"

BECAUSE THE CLAY IS MORE FORGIVING of the lack of the highest skills or the development of the most complete set of skills for the game.

"everyone is a GOD" on clay!

but in REAL tennis competition -- where the greats are concerned and only a FeW ascend to mount olympus --

GRASS IS KING -- only the VERY ELECT can enter.

Graf_sampras said...

as navratilova -- one of the GREATEST ever players, man or woman -- in my mind, personally , she is the greatest of the open era...

said of grass - while commentating on a match by Steffi Graf -- and pointing out how ADVANCED the moves she was making really were:

"DON"T TRY THESE AT HOME FOLKS...too advanced".

and THAT is why the great grass courters make it LOOK like the simplest thing in the world....and people don't perceive the "placing of the ball" "carefully" as on clay

because ON GRASS -- the great players at their best and at the highest levels of playing -- DO NOT SHOW THE SEAMS....

unlike the way CLAY ALLOWS those "connections " to be shown which people translate , erroneously, as "building a point"

PRIMARILY because they can FOLLOW IT in its SLOWNESS!!!

it is like we are given the chance, on clay, to WATCH the progress in SLOW MOTION of a how a great pianist or violinist plays....

but THAT's not the proper pace or speed of the music. it is a DISTORTION in order to make the piece palatable to OUR slower senses.......

or to make the piece more MANAGEABLE FOR the performer who really CAN"T play it UP TO TEMPO

or ELSE he will fall into DISASTROUS MISTAKES and the piece will be MURDERED by that performer.

I know such things, believe me. and TENNIS is NO DIFFERENT!

Graf_sampras said...


"fewer players achieve or develop the serve and volley anymore , mainly because things have moved against it in technologies...but also , because serve and volley just takes much more time to is too advanced for most players"..

PETE SAMPRAS: "baseline playing is really the game we ALL played when we were kids...only you're bigger and older now".

Graf_sampras said...

take note of a remark by someone without the biggest career -- probably due to being DERAILED by that very UNJUST treatment by the ATP/ITF -- Guillermo Canas -

who defeated roger in canas' comeback 2 years ago by playing not merely solid baseline playing but some crafty volleying?

he comes froma 'clay oriented' culture , right>?

do people know that he revealed his long-ago dream as:

MANY YEARS AGO -- when i was healthier and rising (he reached top 6 , i believe winning Toronto Masters including defeats of Safin, Roddick and Federer in 2002) -

and before my injuries and the drug-ban -

it was my DREAM to win wimbledon...

but we can't return the years ".

WHY would a player NEVER to be seen as some "grass courter" -- have dreamt of winning wimbledon?

it is because he KNOWS what COMPLETE tennis is all about -- and to DO IT ON WIMBLEDOn and show it by WINNING wimbledon IS the mark of the "Complete Player".

there is a reason WHY federer has been given that accolade......for winning wimbledon -- not because he could PLAY or WIN ON "all surfaces".

it is because he could display "complete tennis"

where it CAN be displayed WITHOUT PENALTY for his superiority as a player!


the SAME has happened with Rafael's DREAM.

CLAY WASN"T EVER going to GRANT ANY of them THAT honor!

and everyone knows why -- even the SPANIARDS know it!

Craig Hickman said...

I was aware Rafa wanted to win Wimbledon, but I wasn't aware of his quote about needing to become a more complete player in order to do so.

When one of history's best and most dominant clay court players makes such an admission, the case seems pretty open and shut.

I understand preference. But last year, I watched Rafa work on his grass court game on clay, and he still won damn near every event he entered. And the expansion of his gifts paid dividends in London. He won the two grass events he entered there over the game's best grass court players, including Federer.

Just because grass is virtually extinct doesn't mean that a modern player wouldn't learn all there is to know about tennis if s/he were brought up on the lawns.

There is nothing more majestic in the sport than all-court tennis on the lawns.

That said, if the top players are going to play as aggressively as they did in Monte-Carlo for long stretches, at least I won't be bored by the later rounds of the big clay events.

Graf_sampras said...

Rafa basically been repeating the concept about "improving" over the years, we know that.

preceding wimbledon win - we know he also said what he said on the day after he won FO : "any spaniard can win the dream to win wimbledon. til the day i die"

then - it was somewhat around last year 2008 - when he began to use the word "to become a more complete player".....

FOLLOWING statements that kept showing up words like:

:"I have to be more aggressive, i have to play inside the court more, i have to serve better, i have to return better, i am practicing my volleyes, my slices".......

which were ALL precedent to WINNING wimbledon.

put them all together -- do tehy describe a player that HAD THOUGHT HE WAS playing a "complete game".?

TO WHERE was he pointing all those things - since FO 2005 - the monday after embarking on the greatest dominance ever seen on clay ?


not only was it his stated dream - and to do SO - in THAT SAME YEAR when he was hoping to play queens or halle or rotterdam (but still had to stop because of injuries) -

he ALSO began stating "i must improve a lot a lot a lot..........IF i AM TO WIN ON GRASS" (exact words, as i recall) .

and connect with the person who "created the Clay monster" --

"IT WAS ALWAYS ABOUT WIMBLEDON...everything we had done has been for Rafael to win wimbledon....but mostly people did not notice or acknowledge that this, the improvements, the small adjustments -- over time -- we were already doing them - for the purpose of winning wimbledon"...TONI NADAL.


the famous exchange between the boy rafa meeting his fellow spaniard and idol - carlos moya -

where moya asked the boy:

"well....wouldn't you also like to be able to achieve things like i did? like win the FO ?"

and the "boy - with all the wide-eyed earnestness of pure innocence looking straight into the veteran's eyes - said:


we NOW know -- rafael wanted MORE than JUST the FO ("any spaniard can win the FO...i want to win WIMBLEDON").

trace it back;;;;

WHAT DID RAFAEL SEE and "watched growing up"?>

"I grew up watching pete sampras win wimbledon".

it is not about PETE samrpas --
it was simply that NADAL SAW

HOW WIMBLEDON was being won -- how GRASS tennis IS

and HOW COMPLETE and wonderful and electrifying it is !!!

and RAFAEL NADAL wanted to be a wimbledon champion as the mark of COMPLETE TENNIS!

how people have failed to see these connections has always been beyond me.

it has been so obvious.

Graf_sampras said...

at the END of last year or , if i am wrong about that, at the LATEST , after his AO win....

rafa said :

" I think i am a more complete player than before, no?"

a simple factual statement bearing witness to his years of SAYING that he WAS trying to "improve"

"i am practicing my slices, my volleyes, trying to have a bigger serve, play inside the court more, be more aggressive, no?"

and ALWAYS ALWAYS -- it accompanied something that was a WIN OUTSIDE OF THE FO......

all we had to do was "accompany" rafael in his efforts to see it was happening right before our eyes....

as a testament to what the CLAY COURT MONSTER HAS KNOWN for a long time....

to win wimbledon or outside of clay - ONE MUST BECOME A "more" COMPLETE PLAYER...

in fact -- i recall posting in Bogledance's forum last year -- DURING the FO as rafa played his rounds...

if i remember my own words:

"RAFAEL is playing this FO LIKE he is practicing FOR wimbledon...he is playing it as if it is grass court tennis...keeping more points shorter, quicker, going for the kill faster, "........

and I think i was right. by the time he was in wimbledon -- the dye was cast.

he WAS ready. because he did his homework and USED CLAY as a STEPPING STONE to win the one title he wanted above all.

but while he had to master all that mostly as a claycourt champion -- it was GRASS that TAUGHT HIM what he NEEDED to achieve in tennis.....

but rafa simply was PRACTICAL MINDED -- and instead DID NOT WAIT for grass to arrive before APPLYING himself - regardless of surface

to play closer and closer to what the GRASS COURT TENNIS REQUIRED :

"a more complete game".

THAT"s why he has succeeded not only over roger -- but in ways that others have not.

he TOOK his own statements SERIOUSLY -- in terms of what it really meant to be a "complete player"...........


it is NOT about "winning every surface"........

but about winning on ANY surface BY playing a COMPLETE game.

Graf_sampras said...

there is a difference between

Having won on ALL surfaces...a task of doing it all .


PLAYING a complete game -- WHETHER one wins on ALL surfaces or NOT.

Savannah said...

why is it that it is IN WIMBLEDON that he has played the most varied, the most electrifying COMBINATION of tennis seen FROM him?

it is because - he was NEVER going to win it the claystyle alone.
Because he has the fundamentals down - how to construct a point, thinking about his shots, stamina and patience - Rafa is now able to make himself into a dominant all court player. We've seen that hard court players turn into "cows/bulls on ice" when they try to play on dirt. Hardcourts, and dare I say grass, do not make a player into a potential all court champion. The skills don't translate from grass/hardcourt.

Craig Hickman said...

The skills don't translate from grass/hardcourt.::

Tim Henman, though he never won a Slam, is a good example of a player who grew up on grass who learned the nuances of tennis. He could construct points, play angles, transition to the forecourt, volley, and see the whole geometry of the court. He had all the skills he needed to adapt his game to hardcourts and clay. He even made the semifinals of Roland Garros, and despite being up a set and a break against Guillermo Coria, he lost his way and lost the match. He choked. Just like he did on grass when a Wimbledon final was within grasp.

So much of what inhibits hard court players on clay is not so much a lack of skills, but a poor mindset and unsure footing. The same can be said for hard court and clay court players on grass. But if a good player has the will to get their feet right and not over-adapt their game to the less familiar surface, they can play on any surface.

It's all in the head. Not every great clay courter made the adjustment to grass or hard courts.

Graf_sampras said...

well, savannah

we might as well say that mcenroe or sampras or becker who grew up with clay (came from the same "clay court" hometown as graf, by the way) -

"did not learn the fundamentals".

but then EXACTLY what FUNDAMENTALS are we talking about?

when navratilova - who grew up on CLAY in czechoslovakia - became the grass court queen - did she do it because she ahd the 'Fundamentals' down' on clay , being the best clay courter in her homecountry

or because - regardless of clay or hard or grass --

SHE REMADE HERSELF into what WOULD be the justly famous MOST ATHLETIC player that played IN ORDER TO WIN WIMBLEDON?

what about Margaret Court? Rod Laver? Pancho Gonzales?

these were hardcourt and grass court bred players

did they LACK "fundamentals?"

on the contrary - the "fundamentals" that you are talking about is based on the assumption that has GROWN SINCE the days of the great grass courters --

which is a MYTH about "clay breeds the fundamentals properly"

when in fact it does nothing of the sort except breed what are basically BACKCOURT PLAYERS who never QUITE learn the "fundamentals" of using the ENTIRE court as well as the CLIMAX of tennis -- the net game and its corresponding necessity of the approach game.

if lcay courts never existed -- the "fundamentals" WOULD STILL require RALLIES - good serves, returns of very fast serves on FAST surfaces, slices, dealing with unpredictable bounces, low bounces , net game, drop shots, lobs, volleyes.

clay court , rather than supposedly provind the fundamentals" really just LIMITS players to the backcourt.

it is more proper to say for "fundamentals"

the EXACT DEFINITIOn that sampras gave:

:baseline playing is really the game we ALL played when we were kids....only --- you're older and bigger now.

in keeping with navratilova's quip that beyond the "basics" or "fundamentals" as you would put it --

there few serve and volleyers because to GRADUATE to THAT level is FAR TOO DIFFICULT a task to master for the majority.

either the players who GET THERE ARE ELITE talents OR BECOME elite talents.

the rest have to be satisfied with "fundamentals" and play

"the game we all used to play as kids..."

ONLY they are older and bigger.

and couldn't graduate from highschool....

fundamentals - to put it another way -- IS a prerequisite for any decent performance in ANYTHING in life, be it music. or tennis.,

I happen to be a pianist, classically trained with rather vast and deep experience...(not trying to toot my horn, but merely to give a point of reference) --

and i KNOW the matter of "fundamentals".

one is taught 'fundamentals' such as reading scores, memorizing, conducting, keeping time, figuring out time signatures, the 15 different positions of the Clefs based on C, F, G (most people know only 2 -- but never mind) nd to be able to read in any of those different "placements" of read orchestral scores at the piano by reducing them to two hands....reading at sight, transposing to differnt keys, harmonizing a melody ...improvising..etc. etc. etc.

as well as the routine scales, excercises to build endurance, strenght, muscular control and coordination, ear training....composition, theory, structural, harmonic analysis...knowledge of musical forms , the history of the discipline...they are all fundamentals.

we needn't discuss what "fundamentals" mean.

they are what anyone needs to know as a basis of what is LATER to come that is more advanced.

where the samprases and navratilovas or mcenroes or pancho gonzaleses had fundamentals -- they were conducive towards winning the king of courts by playing what the fundamentals of tennis ANYWHERE OUGHT to be preparing them FOR....

that nadal had good fundamentals' is not a result of being a :"clay courter"

it is a result of training TOWARDS WIMBLEDON...

because if clay was the nursery of "fundamentals" --as you would put it -- to make a "complete player" or prepare him for it -- to become as good as that which won wimbledon --

then we would be looking at


over the likes of sampras !!!

on the contrary -- what fundamentals there were to play and acquire -- were ALREADY put in place STRONGLY

for the likes of sampras or edberg, or mcenroe,

BECAUSE of who they WERE rather than because they played on "hard" or later grass --

just as it does not depend on clay that Nadal "had good fundamentals" preparing HIM for wimbledon.

take note:

both rafa and feliciano lopez

are spaniards - playing and training in the similar conditions characteristic of spanish training...

why is LOPEZ A FAILURE on grass ? but nadal a success?

DIFFERENCE in fundamentals?


but then -- IS THERE NOT the fact that they were BROUGHT UP with CLAY?

what did clay GIVE NADAL that it DIDN"T give lopez?

that alone removes clay as the factor that differentiates nadal FROM lopez.

and yes, to a great extent - characterizing one's style -- surface DOES influence the style.

but it does NOT , because it is clay, make "better fundamentals" .

than someone that was brought up on grass. or hardcourt.

sampras DETESTED GRASS up until 1991 ...and was overheard by mcenroe from the next practice court in wimbledon complaining loudly about grass:

"this surface is SO UNFAIR, it is SO fast"!!!!

and mcenroe put the kid in HIS place :

strolling over to pete's face and saying:

" u know what? pete? for such a talented kid -- you have a LOUSY attitude about THIS surface".

trained as pete was by HIS teacher pete fischer in teh fundamentals to be a grass court champ

sampras ACTUALY REFUSED until about 1993 0r even as late as 1995 to FULLY INCORPORATE the serve and volley - and was dogged by annaconne to do it...because Pete felt his FUNDAMENTALS as a backcourt player was strong enough for THAT was how he defeated PLENTY of players in his younger days.

BUT -- he GRADUATED from it and ended his career, a Fullfledged all courter and serve and volleyer

just as the NATURAL development of a player ought to be - if he has any claims to being a "complete player".

perhaps with rafa - it was NECESSARY for him to be as strong as he is in defense from teh backcourt in order to have a "fall-back" position should his "volleying" game be less than optimal.

and along the way - he has become the Monster of Clay.

but there is NO question -- this was part of an over-all strategy to become "complete" as ONLY< grass will show.

and to be complete -==-one ASSUMES the fudnametnals are ALREADY there if NECESSARY.

as was shown by the greats - where sampras, nvartilova or graf or anyone else like that.

it is irrelevant to the discussion of what makes a COMPLETE tennis player whether they "won on ALL grand slam surfaces".

as irrelevant as it was to say Pancho Gonzales was the cmost complete player ever seen for nearly 30 years ongoing

as the FATHER of MODERN TENNIS -- as he is known in history --

for growing up on US HARDCOURTS and GRASS

and YET - defeating FO and clay court CHAMPS on their own turf in World Championships in berlin or hamburg or paris!

did hsi "fundamentals" suffer because he , as a mexican american "prick" (lew hoad) - "the greatest of us all, the absolute ruler of us all"

grew up on california's hardcourts?

of course not!

Graf_sampras said...

Patrick Rafter was another, reaching the semis,

so was STICH who reached the Finals , losing to kafelnikov.

becker reached semis.

mcenroe reached finals.

edberg reached finals losing to chang.

sampras reached semis and at least 3 other quarters.

granted these players did NOT win the FO ...

but name me , apart from nadal -- CLAY COURTERS who did MUCH better as a contingent over the decades or even recent years -- IN wimbledon?

and AT THAT -- even with nadal's win -- for having slowed the courts down with higher bounces?

on the contrary --

the "fundamentals" so precious to CLAY playing that rewards mediocrity as often as not -- while negating SKILLS more often thatn NOT -

especially on really fast grass are shown time and again to be USELESS on grass.

YET the supposedly "incomplete sampras" could DEFEAT FO CHAMPS on THEIR own turf! even if not going all the way to win the title FO. ..having taken down resurgent 2 time champ bruguera , defeating muster , defeating 2 time champ courier in TOUGH battles that would DASH many of these so-called "clay courters" TODAY with their tonques rolling out for all their "all day running " trainings.

some of you are making out clay to produce the 'superior tennis' it REALLY DOESN"T.

Graf_sampras said...

if anything -- craighickman has pointed out a very critical fact about tennis today -- as "based on clay court style"....practiced by most who come to the net merely to shake hands...

often explained by "superior players and fitter" which is NONSENSE -- it only means - they DON"T KNOW what to DO away from teyh baseline!

except for a rare few LIKE nadal or federer. or djokovic. (and note they come with different "strengths") ..

and that critical fact is :

OUTSIDE of NADAL himself -- the rest of the claycourters are really NOT THAT GOOD AT ALL..except for VERY occasional bright days.

it does NOT mean nadal is NOT a great champion and player - as it does not mean roger is not a great grass courter - simply because there are FEWER real grass courters or players who know how to do "IT" as the samprases, edbergs, stichs, krajiceks, beckers and mcenroes did .

it simply means that most players have REDUCED the game to a highly UNIMAGINATED version of backcourt tennis that "retrieve balls" to send them back with nearly unvaried pounding of the ball that passes for "fitness". because...........


and then in wimbledon -- NO WONDER a spaniard that has enough wits and talent and desire to WIN IT and will go and move mountains to do it --


that's coz

the REST of them DON"T HAVE THE GAME for it!

Karen said...

whew, it took me all of 15 minutes to read through the comments here, especially Graf's comments and I have to say that I really look forward to Wimbledon, each year, rather than the FO. For one thing when I was in high school in Jamaica, as part of phys ed, we played lawn tennis and it was played on a lawn, thank you very much. Most of the games that we played in phys ed were played on grass or dirt. When I first became interested in tennis, one of the things that I liked was seeing the all court game brought out by a match by Venus Williams. Man, to see that girl move on the grass was just brilliant to me. I also saw a match against her and her sister at Wimbledon, and they looked so nice, all dressed in white, curtseying and stuff (bring back the curtsey). Maybe it is because I am from a country that was previously colonised, was taught by teachers from the continent, and read books that depicted English history, but to me Wimbledon, and by extension gras court tennis, brings me back to my childhood and makes me appreciate the gentleness of life (yes it does). While I will watch a clay court match, seeing people hit shot after shot after shot, does tend to be a bit exhausting after awhile. I like to see people coming to net, putting away crisp clean volleys, doing things with the ball that will make your head spin, if not the ball, and like Graf says it makes the players more complete because if you listen to people like Martina do commentary you will know about the subtle differences regarding the bounce of the ball. You will know why Venus and Roger do well there, and it is because they have superior footwork (not speed), they are able to adjust while moving to the ball and able to set up their shots. Recently I was reading Jon Wertheim's columns from way back when and I think it was in 2002 or thereabouts that someone asked the question about why all the clay courters have stopped playing at Wimbledon. I found that fascinating as I did not know so I guess now when people say that Wimbledon slowed down the grass to accommodate clay court players, they actually do have a point.

oddman said...

From TIME, there's an article about when the AELTC changed the grass and why: here's the link -,9171,1815724,00.html

They changed it in 2001, apparently needing a hardier grass to stand up to the modern game, and not die in patches, causing bad bounces. 'Any change in the pattern of play was just a natural byproduct of being able to keep the soil firmer.' - Head Groundsman Eddy Seaward.

edma1022 said...

phew! I had to take an Advil to counter the nausea reading thru G_S' monologue. :-) (just kidding, me boyo!)

Anyways, it's a good thing Steve Tignor suddenly graces us with this epiphany after just one clay final and not even the "premier" clay tournament.

There are several schools of thought on what really is the master's surface. There's a fellow in ESPN called Maddison who is very passionate about clay, but when asked who his GOAT is - he spits out Rod Laver immediately. THe same Laver who won 3 of his grand slams on grass.

Tennis was meant to be played in grass (as in "lawn tennis"?). The reason for the 'other' surfaces is plainly to give it an 'all-season' event. That is all.

edma1022 said...

"The same Laver who won 3 of his grand slams on grass."

I meant "The same Laver who won 3 out of 4 of his slam events played on grass".....

Beth said...

I may not be as able to articulate the whys and why not's on this issue as some of you are and to the GREAT LENGTH (ahem, graf-sampras) that some of you do, but I have to say Savannah's comments resonate with me and I am with her on the love of clay court and why it hones tennis skills.

MMT said...

I have to agree with an amalgamation of the Savannah's argument and Craig's: growing up on clay forces you to think about how to construct a point in a way that growing up on hard courts or grass does not. This does not mean someone growing up on either hard courts or grass courts cannot learn to construct a point, but growing up on clay really forces you to.

I wouldn't read too much into the results of players from past eras on clay. The truth is that all (good) players in past eras had to learn to construct points because of their equipment. If you don't believe me, just go to a second hand store, buy a wood tennis racquet and try playing a whole set with it - you'll probably have a hard time lifting your arm by set point.

Modern equipment allows young players to bypass development of various skills in order to win tennis matches. This problem is exacerbated by a fast surface, because every way that you can essentially "cheat" your way out of a full set of skills with modern equipment is much easier on a faster surface.

Your reaction time is less than on clay, but then again it doesn't matter much because you've always got a "shot" at hitting a winner to get yourself out of trouble. The fine art of staying in the point, using spin to give yourself time to get back in position, pulling your opponents from left to right to get a chance at a kill shot...why bother when you can close your eyes and swing on a faster surface.

Almost all the faster court specialists cited above, who had a wide variety of strokes either learned to play on clay or more importantly learned to play with wood racquets (especially Sampras). At the moment, I'm hard pressed to think of a single player born after 1980 that's any good on anything other than fast courts, that didn't learn the game on clay.

P.S. Henman's very first tournament win was a futures event in South Korea on...CLAY!

Graf_sampras said...

Karen -- very well put.

a rough way of saying it is:

Wimbledon is for the ballet dancer...with all the strength, power, finesse and variety -- that has to be done in an enduring way ...

clay is for STOMPERS of the ground.

has anyone noticed that where people often talk about the "footwork" or "the ability to SLIDE" on clay -- IT is about the ONLY thing that is made out to be the "superior" aspect of clay tennis over grass?

but ANALYSE it -- it is a way -- once players have "found their footing and timing" on how to do it -- considered one of the elements in the game that AIDS rather than presents a real obstacle to players.

grass - its unpredictabilities - actually are more demanding of secure footwork, NIMBLE footwork, CRISP, and PRECISE foot work and timing so as to be able to 'float' over the ground...which only the very best ATHLETES are left to demonstrate at its best.

most americans simply have not been "born" to clay and simply don't have a liking for it as the spaniards or south americans do - but that is largely based on cultural preferences and histories.

THIS fact has NOTHING to do with whether CLAY produces "better players" or players who have "learmned the fundamentals better'.

simply that they are more familiar WITH clay.

get to wimbledon -- where americans of the open era , especially since the late 80's -- NO LONGER REALLY had the ADVANTAGE of being "grass court bred" --

and are about on equal footing with the clay courters in NOT having been surrounded by "grass"

and THEREFORE come to wimbledon with about EQUAL LACK of opportunities (notwithstanding the american hardcourt style, which europeans and south americans are ALSO abotu equally exposed to) ...

and STILL there is the question -- why is it that the americasn pete sampras, mcenroe, even courier, agassi did MUCH BETTER OVERALL

on grass than spaniards or south americans

WHEN BOTH SIDES have had about EQUAL LACK of opportunities to train and compete on grass IN the USA as the "clay courters" ?

the only answer:


exists more among americans or australians BECAUSE of the NATURE of the TENNIS THEY PLAY - regardless of SURFACE.

FEDERER for example has grown "up on clay TOO, u know" (he reminded us)

and YET HE ELECTED to develop a style of playing that is CLOSER to the americans and australian "classic style" than the "clay court style"

where EVEN with THAT FEDERER HAS REACHED the FINALS of FO 3 times!!!!

by playing what is REALLY NOT a "clay based" or a "fundamentals learned by PLAYING clay"

that SHOWS how SUPERB roger's GAME REALLY is --

NOT because he can "win on all surfaces" (mcenroe, sampras, did THOSE too, albeit minus the FO title as roger too) -0-

but because of the STYLE of playing itself...

which shows its most elegantly explosive, SHOTMAKING SKILL heights , athletic power and refinement

on GRASS -- the KING of COURTS.

put it another way:

IF ONE were seeking for the BEST demonstration of a particular art work or music...

does one CHOOSE to perform a great symphony by a great orchestra with a great cast of choir and singers and soloists inside a GYMNASIUM with CHAOTIC or DEAD sound quality that DESTROYS the superb heights of the music and performances?

does one "enjoy" the music and performance because it is played in a BAD AUDITORIUM that ROBS the music and performance of their MANY refinements , POWER and encompassing depth?

if one KNEW the differences one would say :L OF COURSE NOT!

anything ELSE is a COMPROMISE of standards.

outside of WIMBLEDOn and the great grass courts --

global tennis is merely a COMPROMISE to ACCOMODATE what are REALLY LOWERED expectations and standards of what GREAT and COMPLETE tennis OUGHT to be -- because out of the millions that play

ONLY A FEW can ascend and reach the Heights of Mount Olympus


by the likes of sampras, federer, gonzales, laver, mcenroe!

and hopefully for years to come - nadal too.

in all of History -- the greatest of the greatest -- in accomplishments and their TENNIS itself --

have always shown the best tennis and the best OF tennis ON GRASS - in wimbledon or USO grass or australian grass........

whether it was Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzales, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, John MCEnroe , Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Stefan Edberg...Roger Federer

Suzanne Lenglen, Margaret Court, Helen Wills Moody, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Venus Williams, Serena Williams...

OR Rafael Nadal.

GRASS COURT TENNIS is the essence and the crowning glory of


Graf_sampras said...

At the moment, I'm hard pressed to think of a single player born after 1980 that's any good on anything other than fast courts, that didn't learn th


that's simply a function of the MOVE TO clay worldwide in order to ACCOMODATE players who CAN NOT ascend to the heights reached by the samprases and mcenroes.

had the grass courts been MAINTAINED and "cost" was not the problem --

you would be HARD PUT TODAY to say:

"most fundamentally sound players are clay bred"........

for THEY would have to CONTEND in half of the courts ON GRASS where they would be pounded into the roots by the grass courters that would be developed as a result of MORE grass court playing surfaces and tournaments AND training.

simply put:

as the former Chief Supervisor of the game in AELTC - after 4 decades had retired in 2004 -- said:

"the shots of pete sampras are really based on the wood , and his racquet is really closer to the old wood than any racquets today....the reason he has a conventional grip is because of that....TODAY"S GAME is basically ALL ABOUT TOPSPIN in order to clear the net...TRY these shots with sampras' racquet and you'd break your's game is basically a baseline game ".

THAT"s the ONLY reason people THINK that clay "produces"

"more fundamentally sound players"

because NO ONE ELSE really is playing the old grass game -_ BECAUSE ONLY WIMBLEDON is left of any significance, notwithstanding the tuneups as a dying concession

and the RESULT?

ACCOMODATING the "only game in town" the game of BASELINERS

who see around them NO OPPOSITION of ANY significance.

and YET

we have SEEN ROGER FEDERER DASH the great majority of them playing as CLOSE as HE can to the old classic "grass court" style!

does THAT NOT SAY SOMETHING about how POOR the quality of the REST of the tours have become in comparison?

this is IRRELEVANT to what roger's mental problems are with nadal.

we are talking purely about STYLE.

and you can be SURE that IF NADAL did NOT FIRST LEARN the GRASS COURT GAME -- IRRESPECTIVE of how GOOD or 'sound' he is ON CLAY -- he would NEVER have beaten roger federer on grass

playing a "clay court based, fundamentally sound" game

Against the best the GRASS COURT GAME of ROGER FEDERER

or for that matter a sampras, or edberg, or becker or stich, or gonzales !!!

you can BET ON IT!

the PROOF?

NADAL and HIS transformation TO grass playing ITSELF!!

and THAT is the greatest testament to the INHERENT INFERIORITY of the supposedly "more fudnamentally sound" clay court , baseline game!

it actually NEEDS ALL THE HELP IT CAN GET from surfaces

whether CLAY - or SLOWED DOWN high bounced grass --

AGAINST the very best REAL grass courters...

of whom , outside of the champion nadal right now for the dividends he has gotten in LEARNING and IMPROVING towards the grass game , Roger is likely the only TRUE grass player of real significance anyway.

IMAGINE if the tournaments were one quarter hard, one quarter INDOOR CARPET, one quarter CLAY, one quarter GRASS.........

these CLAY COURTERS and BASELINERS would INSTANTLY be relegated by a CORRESPONDING AMOUNT of talented athletes electing to DEVELOP themselves as GRASS courters or fast courters

to the OUSTSKIRTS of tennis

for being UNABLE to COPE with the LIGHTNING QUICK reflexes REQUIRED of the very best tennis in ALL its variety of shotmaking!

when all things were equalised in this manner

we would be seeing the SAME thing it WAS decades ago or in the last generation:


ABLE to INVADE into the turn of clay courters beating clay courters themselves -- as mcenroe, sampras, becker, federer and others DID --


and we would be hearing clay courters PROTESTING that WIMBLEDON or fast courts are "STILL TOO FAST" !!!!!

so they can get back to "the future" which is what the tennis surfaces are TODAY!


what the hell is this?

this is like watching and agreeing that it is alright and acceptable that a SLOW READER is doing "speed reading"!@!!

and that we need to make the TYPE BIGGER so they can "see the words"

as if they are still in KINDERGARTEN!!!

what the hey!

as sampras said - i repeat:

"tennis , where it has become more baseline oriented is really the kind of game we ALL used to play when we were KIDS........only're bigger and older now".........

in other words

YOU GOT SENT BACK TO REPEATING 3rd grade, again and again and again!!!!

and EVERYONE thinks this is equivalent to having a Doctoral degree!


Graf_sampras said...

connecting the statement:

"clay produces the fundamentally more sound players" -- along with:

"of the past several years from the 1980's i can't think of many fundamentally sound players NOT bred on clay".....

-- have any of you noted that just a FeW DAYS AGO -- on the monte carlo -- it was complained that "the ITF tennis development program CAN'T EVEN MAKE PLAYERS THAT CAN KEEP THE BALL IN PLAY?"

excuse me -- but THAT has been the CASE with these "fundamentally sound players bred on clay" -- and BASELINING

of the PAST TEN YEARS!!!

before that the players KNEW how to HIT the ball, PLACE THEM and man the courts!

that is-- BEFORE the nonsense about CLAY BRED or SLOW SURFACE accomodated playing "took over"

as the SUPPOSED 'better tennis'..........


and has anyone noted:

of the LAST TEN years -- with the exception of the highly EARNED results of Nadal and Roger because of their gifts and uniqueness as well as desire and discipline...and not to forget NADAL's efforts to go BEYOND 'clay playing' BECOME MORE SOUND than "fundamentally sound" ONLY....

(also pointed out by craighickman that nadal's wins on OTHER courts REALLY were examples of nadal playing things OTHER than "ALL TOPSPIN" or "defense" -- and nadal HAD to do other words nadal had to play the FAST COURT STYLE of aggressive initiative TYPICAL of the true grass players NOT BRED ON CLAY)

outside of these two -- the ONLY OTHER OCCASIONAL really GOOD performances showing VARIETY and SKILLS and ATHLETICISM WITHOUT any AID from SLOWED DOWN COURTS for these players to "find the ball and position"

are NOT CLAY BRED? OR even IF -- were actually playing and applying tennis that IS NOT of the "clay variety?"


hell -- even the HIP displaced , burned out, lightweight HEWITT TOOK A SET FROM NADAL in 2007!!!

when the clay courters COULDN'T!!!!

pompelmo said...

Tennis on grass? com'on. Serve big, it will be an ace or return for an easy winner, so finish it. If it returns again, hey you are a grass court expert, you cannot continue on a rally, strike it on the net.

You are under pressure, but you can survive. Just add an other ace to your already 67 aces in this match.

Tactics, technique? My name is Ivanisevic, I serve, that is my tactic and all my technique.

Beth said...

Like your comments pompelmo. :-)

Beth said...

I think we get your point graf_sampras. ;-)

Beth said...

MMT - just reread your post and I agree with your perspective: clay forces the player to learn to construct a point. We have to walk before we can run, right?

Graf_sampras said...

Beth said...

MMT - just reread your post and I agree with your perspective: clay forces the player to learn to construct a point. We have to walk before we can run, right?

Tue Apr 21, 10:41:00 PM


What I really love about the currency of stating "clay is about CONSTRUCTING POINTS".........

is people somehow NEVER REALLY DESCRIBE IT.....


but when they TRY and make attempts to describe it:

it defines a tennis of hitting the SAME TOPSPIN baseline stuff "over and over and over again".........

until players can "find" an "opening"

coz -- in REALITY -- they couldn't do it QUICKER!!!

compared to players on grass who CONSTRUCT POINTS without FUSS!!! and

GET TO THE POINT and WIN points by constructing points

A LOT FASTER for a measly

game point !!

Graf_sampras said...

"constructing a point" in clay tennis is really like

building a chair by rubbing one piece of wood again and again and again and again.....from one end to the other until there's no wood left.....


Graf_sampras said...

"constructing a point" in clay tennis is really like

building a chair by rubbing one piece of wood again and again and again and again.....from one end to the other until there's no wood left.....


Graf_sampras said...

a clay courter of the common variety -- so COMMON nowadays in tennis -- thinks:

":hmmm, let me see.....i will now construct a point....let's see....i will run from THIS side to THAT side...hit my topspin....and go THERE and hit my topspin...and then go HERE again ...and back THERE again...and hit my TOPSPIN.....let me -- i am now hitting my topspin 30 times......from HERE to THERE....and THERE back to HERE......oh, wait let's try ANOTHER TOPSPIN..the last one wasn't HIGH ENOUGH....wait -- let's try ANOTHER TOPSPIN...the other guy didn't hit HIS topspin HIGH ENOUGH for me to SET UP for my WINNER....".......

Graf_sampras said...

next thing you know....these "claycourt" variety players will demand CLAY courts to be SLOWED DOWN some more so they can perhaps

"have time to get a ladder and REACH for the TOPSPINS they send to each other" over the net for clearance......

Graf_sampras said...

some have claimed there were no "real solid fundamentals" from players outside of the claybred ones of the years past the 1980's....

welllllllll that would mean Andre Agassi, Pete sampras, Patrick Rafter, Richard Krajieck, Michael Stich....etc. etc. etc.....who didn't WIN THE FO...........

but then let us LOOK at the YEARS past 1980's.....

EXACTLY what HAVE the DROVES of claybred and clay oriented game players DONE in the last 2 decades? or including nowadays until RAFA came along?...........


they haven't won the USO, the AO, WIMBLEDON...nor much of ANYTHING like carpet -- outside of PRECIOUS CLAY..........

and we KNOW WHY........

the surfaces were just TOO FAST for their "solid fundamentals".........


pompelmo said...

G_S, I agree clay makes the attrition tactic very efficient, so lets the mediocre ones to survive much longer, but I also feel the same about grass. These are the two extremes. That is what makes the achievement of modern grand slam interesting. You have to get past likes of Kuerten, Brugera, Gaudio to win RG, and get past Ivanisevics, Philipoussises, Krajiceks to win Wimblodon who are not usually that of a challenge. THAT is what makes wimbledon title special: increased challenge. But if the player is particularly only a Wimbledon or Roland Garros overachiever, that tells me something about his overall tennis quality.

Personally I enjoy Australian Open the most. And this is why I enjoyed watching Agassi and Hingis most in the past years. Without any physical superiorities (height, strength, speed) they developed their game to survive everywhere. They diminished the big serves with quick and efficient returns, and killed of the claycourters with dropshots and sharp angles.

I like to see the players' mental toughness and how they survive under pressure, I like to watch a tactically constructed game; which I can't at Wimbledon.

The fine art of staying in the point, using spin to give yourself time to get back in position, pulling your opponents from left to right to get a chance at a kill shot...

Thanks MMT.

MMT said...

Graf_sampras said: "...some have claimed there were no "real solid fundamentals" from players outside of the claybred ones of the years past the 1980's...."

Actually I said players BORN after 1980 meaning they learned tennis in the mid-eighties with a non-wood racquet. The birthdate is significant because 1983 was the last year any player (men's or women's) won a slam with a wood racquet (Chris Evert and Yannick Noah NOT ironically both at the French Open)

Full disclosure: Noah's racquet in 1983 was a composite of wood and fiberglass, but I digress) it seems to me that only players growing up on clay have developed a full range of skills and tactics required to win tactically.

Why? Because in tennis every action is a reaction to something - even the serve. And it is that reaction that makes the difference on clay.

There are many average clay court players who make a living pushing, but not many good players. The good ones mix their strokes and choose their opportunities to attack more carefully.

One good example is the forehand approach up the line. No matter the surface, you've got to clear at least 6 inches higher to get over the net, but on grass or a fast hard court, the ensuing bounce is less extreme, and the pass is harder. The bounce on hard courts is true, but faster than clay.

On clay, that extra six inches translates into more time for the pass, so that approach has to be more precise and typically taken inside the baseline.

That means your PREVIOUS shot has to elicit a shorter response - in other words, you have to plan 2 strokes in advance. When you decide to approach up the line (good tactic) you have plan for it by eliciting a short response from which to do so(good execution).

It's this curious combination of execution and tactics that is harder on clay that still translate well onto other surfaces.

You may not necessarily learn this on a faster surface, where you can decide (almost) whenever you feel like it, to blast it up the line and approach because the response is typically more tame due to the reduced reaction time.

So while you're not constructing the whole point, as you pointed (pun intended) out, you are thinking 2 to 3 shots ahead on clay - least you should.

You'll more likely learn that the easy way (in the juniors) on clay, than the hard way (in the pros) when you grow up on clay.

Helen W said...

MMT, thank you for that insightful analysis.

Beth said...

Thanks for some great insights MMT. :-)

Graf_sampras said...

people can run rings around the "definition" of clay tennis..........

at bottom it is

SLOW DOWN THE SURFACE so players have a CHANCE.......


it is nothing more than a glorified - overglorified arena to make it "playable" for those that can't DO REAL tennis -- GRASS COURT TENNIS.

people can talk about how a "shot sets up a shot" blah, blah, blah..

and call it "constructing a point" --

even if they are really just BASHING the ball from the safety of the baseline .....

and it all amounts to making a mountain out of a molehill -- which is all about

hitting the same shots over and over and over and over again..........until someone dies out of exhaustion.........

and WINS by attrition -- RARELY - if ever -- by SHOTMAKING skills and real athleticism.

of course THAT is WHY Rafael Nadal the Great DECLARED upon embarking on the greatest Clay Court Career - on the monday after becoming King of Clay 2005:

"I grew up watching pete sampras win wimbledon.........ANY SPANIARD can win the FO........

but I have to IMPROVE ...a lot a lot a lot........if i am to win on grass....I want to win is my dream to win wimbledon....'til the day I die"........

it is also the reason -- why on the other END of the spectrum:

the Great Steffi Graf -- the winner of ALL surfaces - at least four times each -

USED the FO as a stepping stone and "I needed match practices on any court"......

simply to "play one last time on my Beloved Centre Court in Wimbledon" 1999.........

EVEN AFTER just winning her 6th FO and 22nd Major singles title.........

THAT"s what the GREATS really KNOW about CLAY and GRASS and WHICH court shoes and DEMANDS the


"point construction" INCLUDED

only -- it has to be done QUICKLY -- without too much FUSS....

the latter is for the LESSER ONES if they can't win WIMBLEDON!!

Graf_sampras said...

DESPITE Nadal's FOUR CONSECUTIVE FO's -- backed up by, now, FIVE consecutive Monte Carlos, and presumably FIVE consecutive Barcelonas, and altogether backed up by 25 CLAY court titles -- behind Borg's 28 titles on clay:

has it ever occured to people why -- when Nadal was asked a few months ago WHICH HE PREFERS and WOULD GIVE UP -- between wimbledon his LONE title and ALL his FO's and MONTE CARLOs....

NADAL REFUSED to make a choice?

it is CLEAR -- ONE WIMBLEDON TITLE -- is equivalent in his mind as an accomplishment for showing COMPLETE TENNIS as required BY GRASS in order to become a champion

done 5 times by Roger Federer, 7 times by Pete Sampras and Grass Majors and world championship titles done many times by the likes of Laver, Gonzales, etc.....

NADAL -- he knows alright....

great as one could become on CLAY ....

one will ALWAYS be known as a Clay Master and NEVER among the ALL TIME GREATS.


of course pete sampras paid a price for HIS stubbornness and principles that CLAY

"is about hitting the same shot over and over and over again".........

and that's just the PLAIN TRUTH folks......

that's ALSO the reason EVEN THE GREAT BJORN BORG --

IGNORED the FRENCH OPEN for 2 or 3 years in the MIDDLE of his own career in order to concentrate on Davis Cup.........

it just WASN'T THAT important!!! to "prove one can play tennis"......and has "good fundamentals".

but you can BET that Bjorn Borg KNEW that WITHOUT the wimbledon -- he could have won TEN FO's all he wanted and STILL be relegated to the SECOND TIER of All-time greats!

that just tells you what CLAY TENNIS REALLY is all about and what it REALLY shows in contrast to GRASS

the KING of Surfaces and COMPLETE TENNIS

and the court of the REAL champs and REAL tennis players!!!!

as for the ALL DAY RUNNERS of clay -- good thing Nadal EXTRICATED HIMSELF from that collection BY winning Wimbledon --

you might as well TAKE those raquets from them and let them run in long-distance ....

it would make no difference anyway....Shotmaking NOT REQUIRED.......

Graf_sampras said...

yes, yes, MMT - thank you for the eductation on "setting up shots" LEARNED on clay.........

the players all know THAT....

the ISSUE REALLY is not about what some of you use as central:

"you learn tennis on clay better than on grass" as some would put it -- and THEN translate that into an argument elevating CLAY TENNIS to that of Grass .

which is an erroneous way of argument.

LEARNING something is NOT the same as doing the achievements that require going BEYOND the "fundamentals".

on grass such things as you explained are for those that CAN'T manage the speed with which grass requires things to be accomplished. there are NO 'second chances' in the execution of a particular point to be played.

it always returns to the matter of the GREATS themselves:

there is a REASON why Navratilova transformed herself to become such an ATHLETE IN ORDER to win wimbledon -- and her proudest achievement of 9 Wimbledon Titles - to her 2 FO's.

I am WILLING to bet -- that navratilova would have GIVEN UP her two titles in FO for the sake of another 2 wimbledons.

but with 3 Wimbledons to HER name , EVERT would be hard put to accept "greatest ever clay queen" in FO with her 7 FO's and ADD TWO more to achieve 9 FO's

AGAINST navratilova's 9 wimbledons

HAD evert not had HER share of Wimbledons....

BECAUSE on wimbledon

where the TWO greatest champions of wimbledon and FO

9 and 7 respectively:


was proven the SUPERIOR player playing the SUPERIOR GAME!

in other words/.....with these two greatest examples of the EXTREMES of the surfaces that MMT and others portray in favor of arguing about the EQUAL importance of clay as a "measure of good tennis" --

it is shown -- that the qualities some of you declare as "desirable" from clay -- are IRRELEVANT on grass becuse they simple DON"T REACH THE LEVEL of excellence required by REAL tennis when there are NO "second chances" in "point construction".......

WHILE , in contrast, CLAY produces playing and players dependent on it -- that NEGATES GOOD SHOTMAKING - in order to have "second, third, fourth" chances!!!

which some of YOU call "point construction"........


has anyone EVER considered that?


Graf_sampras said...

it is also a grand fallacy to claim that clay - as for example described in instances of "point construction" by MMT -- that caly affords "point construction" where it is absent in wimbledon.

that is fallacious.

the real difference is that POINT CONSRUCTION in wimbledon is done QUICKLY and without CHANCES to SLOW the ball down "enough" to "construct a point" as on clay.

if anything -- point construction IN wimbledon is of such a high order of execution BECAUSE such things have to be done WITHOUT the AID of a surface SLOWING things DOWN in order for players to "find the ball and set up in position" .

in other words:

if TENNIS were a CHESS GAME --

grass tennis in wimbledon is for the REAL GRAND MASTERS who think about "shots in advance" MANY TIMES MORE QUICKLY than clay NEEDS.


and THAT's the reason the spaniards years ago PROTESTED and BOYCOTTED....

wimbledon simply put -- was TOO FAST for their "point construction"

ITS point constructions

Wasn't going to BOTHER TO WAIT FOR THEM to "set up shots"!!!

coz -- by the time they had "set up shots"

in REAL TENNIS on grass


and THAT"S why Nadal HAD to "improve a lot a lot a lot"...

"and play faster and quicker, and be inside the court more and serve bigger and return better, and volley and be more aggressive, I like grass because on grass you can play ALL styles, you have to play a COMPLETE GAME, no?"

so -- nadal may have LEFT his Trophies of FO at home shining in their glory

but THROUGHOUT THE YEAR of his professional Career --

even before that while "watching pete sampras win wimbledon"

Nadal was really like this:




Graf_sampras said...

The best tennis the sport has to offer is still played on grass, the decline of serve-and-volley notwithstanding.

See the 2008 Wimbledon final.

Nothing that happened in Monte-Carlo remotely compares.



the above quote Summarizes it all.

since I am a musician ...i would put it in an analogy from a calling that is ALL about performing, preparation, study, physicality, anatomy, coordination, mental acuity, blah , blah , blah, inclusive of these overly abused terms applied to sports by fans today: "beauty"....(i mean , let's put it this way...SENSES , the concepts of "beauty" , esthetics, form, organization, structure, details, relationships between the micro-parts and over-all architecture, and NOT LEAST the VERY physical aspects of an undertaking requiring great discipline...


and even if i were not a practicing "tennis player'...but only dabbled in it to examine what its unique characteristics are ...they operate under the same things of structure, organization, physical coordination...

so -- as a point of reference by way of analogy :

clay tennis - which i have tried, and grass tennis which i also have tried --

are different in the sense that:

if ONE were listening to music:

clay tennis is like listening to a piece that contains 2 or 3 chords or harmonies in the ENTIRE length - played at a slow or moderate pace with LITTLE essential changes in the structure of the music....

grass tennis is like listening to a symphony by Gustav Mahler.

now -- if people aren't familiar with these:

you'd have to get to youtube and compare:

"symphony for a thousand" by gustav mahler....

compred with a SO-CALLED "piece of music" by Philip Glass....with ITS repetitive dronings-on...


grass is completion, variety, athleticism at its peak

clay is .well,,,if you want to watch grass grow --

you won't do it in wimbledon....

you go and wathc clay's so slow -- even the grass will get IMPATIENT!

Beth said...

hasn't this argument been beaten to death at this point?

MMT said...

I love grass court tennis, as anyone purporting to be old school should. I wouldn't say I prefer any surface or that the better tennis is played on any surface. To me it's all tennis under different conditions.

I just think that a player who develops his game on clay has an advantage in the modern game, given modern equipment, in the skills and tactics they have to develop to be a good player on clay, which translates in a more complete player on any surface.

There are duds who focus on one surface and one surface only - clay and hard courts (maybe not so much grass court specialists anymore) - but I think the better players on tour have grown up on clay and as a result they repretoire of skills and tactical application thereof is better.

Graf_sampras said...

Beth said...

hasn't this argument been beaten to death at this point?

Thu Apr 23, 11:52:00 AM


only from the standpoint of the same people who bring up the idea that Clay is some measure of "learning solid fundamentals of tennis" and that Clay produces BETTER tennis than grass.

after all -- i DIDN'T start this subject about Clay being SUCH a great surface for "great" and the BEST tennis and players....

i merely point out what a FARCE it has been for the last many years - of course coming from the the groups that ARE EXACTLY the reflection of WHY tennis has become SO BORING with so many Copy-cat players with their VERY limited use of the court and their VERY limited vocabulary of the game

PASSED AROUND as if IT is "complete"

when in reality -- it is really a reflection of the "triumph of MEDIOCRITY" and banality spread around as "normal"

and therefore accepted as the STANDARD of the best that tennis CAN and OUGHT to be.

so -- no it ain't dead yet.

as for me, in response to MMT's last comment:

I TOO love watching players on clay .. i just happen to think like Craighickman -- that the BEST and GREATEST tennis -- that of COURSE has to be founded on GREAT fundamentals -- such as a REAL athlete like pete sampras actually LEARNING tennis on a small raquet with a small sweet spot that required REAL accuracy and REAL power --

in ORDER to BECOME great grass courters

coz -- THAT's what it means to have COMPLETE TENNIS!

REAL tennis.

TENNIS -- in other words.

the others are just COMPROMISES to give allowances for LESS than OPTIMAL skills and athleticism...

which of course means MOST OF US! and THAT"s why people Looooooooove clay court tennis and make it out to be some superior thing

coz it makes THEM feel like what THEY'RE playing --

the BACKCOURT GAME "that we all played as kids...only you're bigger and older now" (pete sampras)

makes people feel like they're a little CLOSER to the PROS who play the SAME GAME as THEY!!

it's really a defense of ONE's own amateurism (not to knock the abilities of people of course, but you all undwrstand what I mean)

that will NEVER ascend to the levels of the likes of sampras, federer, edberg, becker, stich, mcenroe, gonzales , laver , rosewall

but CAN PRETEND to be "accomplished" like the PROS who are MOSTLY

baseliners based on playing and learning on clay

that just happen to be the BEST of the world right now

but NEXT to the REAL champs and REAL tennis players and REAL athletes of the game of tennis are

really better off -- just joining the marathon runs of the olympics and NJOT BOTHER with holding their big raquets in order to "get into position" on SLOW courts -- to LOOK like they are GREAT TENNIS PLAYERS!!


let us at least be HONEST!

and yeah, like MMT said -- I TOO like watching tennis EVEN if it has to be played on clay..if nothing more than THERE's NO OTHER TENNIS to see that's actuallY BETTER

like on GRASS played PROPERLY with the REAL proper techniques, and athleticism!

and in reference to the power game of these baseliners today that is supposed to "prove" the superiority of having learned and played and lived on clay -- REMOVE those big raquets , SPEED UP the courts some more as they SHOULD be - and watch THEM ALL FLOUNDER trying to "get in position" to "hit incredible shots"....

and there goes their "accuracy" and "placing the shots neatly and carefully"..


as sampras also said: in relation to the big power raquets affording these players their ":incredible shots".....

where the old pros like mcenroe AND LAVER - have used BOTH the old raquets most similar to pete's old REAL small and heavy one with its small sweet spot Requiring REAL accuracy under REAL FAST circumstances -- where that goes:

"IF I were to teach a kid PROPER tennis...i'd keep him away from the new , big raquets....i'd give him the wood, because with wood, you can't have power and touch where it DOESN'T EXIST".......

no WONDER -- NO PLAYER today EVER wants to be tested with the REAL raquet of pete

in wimbledon OR on clay.......

as roger said:

"no -- I don't want to lose my EDGE".........


their ACCURACY ALONG with their vaunted POWER that supposedly is all about their superior tennis "for having learned on clay" (as most of them ARE that are , according to MMT, those since born from 1980)

would go by the way of the dinosaur or as quickly as the way of the "serve and volley" that THESE kinds of players and THESE SLOW courts and the RESULTING SLOW TENNIS pretending as "fast players playing better" produce!


saying that CLAY TENNIS producing the backcourt game as it DOES and MUST and by its NATURE --

is "better" or more "solid" is PURE BALONEY.

it is like saying that a kid that can give you answers in math by punching on some BUTTONS in his IPOD is a math wizard!

but actually can't even add in his brain his basic fractions and equations -- QUICKLY like a REAL math wizard DOES!

it is like saying a pianist that has "learned" his concert piece by repeating it and repeating it endlessly for 3 years to produce a perfect note performance is a GENIUS

next to a pianist that grabs the music , sits down at the piano and reads it all at FIRST SIGHT , near perfect and just as musical

while smoking a cigarette!
sorry to sound harsh but.........

fast as their legs run......

clay tennis is for slowpokes. PERIOD!

it is about "fast players" running as fast as their legs can in order to play SLOW TENNIS........

and then on REAL GRASS with REAL grass courters, with REAL tennis....

their fast legs run aground trying to "find the ball"......

no wonder they've slowed down Wimbledon......

it just WAS TOO FAST for the "better players" of today!!!

what an irony!

can you imagine? even the GREATEST player in matters of technical fluency, Roger Federer


"in the early 2000's -- i really had a hard time with the USO surfaces....they were just too fast and UNPLAYABLE"......

can you imagine the GRASS of the mid-to-late 1990's?

these guys today -- run as fast as they WOULD and TRY -- would BREAK their ligaments FIRST before they even GOT to the SECOND week!

and we'd have PROTESTS from the spaniards AGAIN!!!

Graf_sampras said...

as Craighickman has brilliantly pointed out a number of times:

Rafael Nadal, achieving his greatness by defeating the very best on hardcourts and grass -- has - in those places WON the BASIS of PLAYING what THOSE surfaces required --

of playing LIKE a hardcourter and LIKE a grass courter

NOT LIKE a "clay courter".

the moments that rafael DOES THAT -- we ALL have seen how IRRELEVENT it is -- be it against davydenko in Miami last year...or against TSONGA in AO last year....

that is why Rafael HAD to MAKE himself a "complete player".....knowing that his topspins -- great as they are -- are nearly USELESS in wimbledon...

knowing he HAD to search QUICKLY for the killing shots if he was to SURVIVE ROUNDS .

this is also the reason why - DESPITE NOT WINNING the FO - we all know because rafael is the greatest -- ROGER FEDERER --


is already at least one of the very VERY best players that game has ever seen in its 150 years of modern history....

PRECISELY because he has been the great player and champion he has been NOT "because he won on all surfaces" -- even if he HAS shown great capability next to rafael in winning also on clay --

BUT BECAUSE Roger - for the last 4 years and a half was the BEST in the FAST courts

where REAL tennis is produced!

it was SO in the days of Jack Kramer , BILL TILDEN, PANCHO GONZALES, ROD LAVER, KEN ROSEWALL, BJORN BORG, John MCenroe,

Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg,

Ivan LEndl and Mats Wilander

Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi

it is SO EVEN in these days of near-demise of the real grass court and fast court game

with Roger FEderer and Rafael Nadal.

and it will ALWAYS be so -- even if the last blades of grass are BURNED AWAY by the sun to transform the courts into the CLAY!!

Graf_sampras said...

when the day arrives , IF it arrives, that wimbledon and grass courts and fast courts are removed to accomodate SLOW TENNIS ..........

you will all see the TRIUMPH of MEDIOCRITY

PRETENDING to be "better".

Graf_sampras said...

clay court tennis claimed as producing "better tennis" and "better players"

is of the similar statement and argument:

"THE USA is really a Protectionist Nation PRETENDING to be free-market".....(Henry CK Liu...Asiatimes).



CLAY COURT tennis is really mediocre tennis PRETENDING to be "better tennis".....

Graf_sampras said...

I think when Savannah visits with Craighickman in Craighickman's Farm -- you have to play a GRASS court tennis out there....hehehe..Craighickman will yet CONVINCE Savannah that GRASS COURT TENNIS is the REAL tennis.

the lose gets to scrub clean the animals..

Graf_sampras said...


There are duds who focus on one surface and one surface only - clay and hard courts (maybe not so much grass court specialists anymore) - but I think the better players on tour have grown up on clay and as a result they repretoire of skills and tactical application thereof is better.

Thu Apr 23, 11:54:00 AM


Not really.

you leave out the critical fact:

they are only as good as the SLOW SURFACES ALLOW THEM to be!

that's why they , 99 percent of them FLOUNDER

EVEN on the SLOWER grass, higher bounce of wimbledon........

EVEN A FAKE WIMBLEDON is too much for most of them!

they :"clay court" better "fundamentals" players are only KINGS of today's tennis

BECAUSE of the ABSENCE of REAL grass courters around and the absence of the REAL surfaces to produce REAL fast court players.

in other words:

since there has been , over the years, in keeping with the "growing up" of these players that you see today and since the 1990's when they were just kids --

there's been only ONE GAME IN TOWN:


so these players who train and train and train to be as "fit and strong" as they could be

BUT STILL WOULD FLOUNDER on FAST grass -- when their "nicely placed fundamentally sound" shots are given NO TIME to produce -- (lol) --

are mostly "fast running players" who NEED SLOW surfaces to produce ANY decent tennis.

and THAT is what is passed around as "fundamentally better players".........

the ELEPHANT in the ROOM that no one wants to talk about much is that the surface that would DASH their HOPES -- DOESN"T EXIST anymore!!

coz it's TOO FAST FOR THEM!!

so - of course, apart from very rare examples such as the ever-injured and brittle, inconsistent Tsonga

WHY would TALENTED ATHLETES BOTHER to learn the COMPLETE GAME ABOVE and BEYOND the "fundamentals"

instead of the players today -- apart from roger and ndal -- going beyodn those which are "really the baseline game we ALL PLAYED AS're older and bigger now?" (pete sampras)....


Courters were TOO FAST for these kinds of players nowadays.

it would complicate matters for them FAR TOO MUCH!!!

and they simply , with all their muscles, and gym training and running all day --


THAT"S WHY balls, raquets, courts AND tennis training are all come together to produce


in order to accomodate their OWN MEDIOCRITY as a whole! \\

and people are sentimentally projecting THEIR own baseline-oriented mediocrities upon the players and tennis -- and passing THAT around as "better".


Graf_sampras said...

here's another favorite observation i like to put:

nowadays -- everyone talks about how "much faster and better players are"........

while seeing them run all day -- furiously pumping their pants off with all their long gym training --


for what is essentiallY SLOW "gimme more time to find the ball and make it bounce HIGHER so i can POSITION myself for my excellent shots that i can place nicely and so i can race IN TIME to hvave the high bouncing ball RIGHT IN MY COMFORT ZONE...after i got the NECESSARY TIME to GET to it of course"....

this is really about

"faster, fitter, stronger players" playing SLOW TENNIS.....

you might as well have strings up in the air holding the balls in place WAITING for the players to "speedily" "get to balls".....

it's so silly:

people elevate this "clay" tennis like it's some standard of mount olympus of great and "Complete" tennis

when what it REALLY does is

SLOWS THE BALL DOWN in order for players to GET TO IT!!!

what KIND of supposed "high standards" is THAT?

if these players are supposedly so MUCH BETTER AND FASTER

why is the FAST GRASS OF WIMBLEDON TOO MUCH FOR THEM that tons of them had to PROTEST and BOYCOTT...and in the ensuing years -- NONE COULD COME UP with tennis that can stand up to the REAL grass court demands of the FAST wimbledon?!!!

i mean:

is the SPORT OF TENNIS of high standards for accomplished shotmaking and athleticism -

supposed to be having players RISE to the demands of its highest skills or :

the surface where the skill demands CAN"T be reached by the MEDIOCRITIES coming from baseline and clay court tennis -- supposed to ACCOMODATE MEDIOCRITY?!!

that is like LOWERING standards in order for everyone to be a "master"!


that is like :

in order for the TURKEY to RACE with the FALCON -- one has to CLIP the falcon's WINGS!

coz -- clay tennis and clay -- THAT's what it does to the REAL tennis players and REAL tennis --

CLIPPING THEIR WINGS in order for the MEDIOCRITIES to have a chance and APPEAR as IF they are playing "great and superior tennis".