On Tennis and Grassroots Tennis

This post is about Grassroots tennis and strategy.

ON STRATEGY

The current game right now is baseline heavy.  People want to hang back and wail from the baseline.   The “best” players are the ones who can hit the hardest over and over from the back of the court.  Or the ones that can last the longest from the back hitting heavy ball after heavy ball.   BUT players that can learn to play the net are in a great position.  Baseline players they are not ready for the net rusher.   A player needs to learn now how to slice and chip AND charge and volley effectively.  It will work at all levels.  At the junior level it would be effective and right now at the pro level it is effective also.   It is currently on display at the US open (2019)  Taylor Townsend has found her fearless game and used to dispatch Halep.    Even the writer of this post (The Biscuit) is trying to get more aggressive and go to the net and his/her own tennis game.

ON PARENTS

 

ON MENTALITY

 

ON GROWING THE GAME and FINDING TALENT

Tennis Training and Talent

When teaching kids, you have to look for “talent”

But I think the MOST important element that can help a kid get some success with tennis at a young age is their competitiveness.    If there is a kid who is “competitive” in that they really want to win the matches, then they will be willing to fight and “grind” in order to win points and win games and ultimately win matches.  They will grunt and bend their knees and exert their force in order to try and win.

I have definitely seen kids who are in tournaments but they really don’t care at all.  Or they don’t try their best.  They could be rich kids or their parents want them to play.  But they really don’t care if they win the matches, they are not going to fight for it.  In theory, wealthy kids can eventually do well because they can get so many lessons that they learn how to hit hard and clean balls.   BUT, in the end, the advantage goes to the FIGHTER who is willing to battle and win the points.  You just have to look at someone like Nadal or somebody like DAVID FERRER and you can see.

That is just my 2 cents on the matter.

Look for kids who are very competitive because they will become really good tennis players with the right training and the right encouragement.

 

-DJ ROBO BISCUIT

Tennis Talent, training young talent

Some thoughts on tennis development.

I have spent a good amount of time watching women’s tennis and watching girls junior tennis.  There is a severe lack of net play.  There is definitely more in the pros and I am surprised that Taylor Townsend is not able to get to the net even more because she has great hands.

In the world of junior girls, they spend most of their time behind the baseline.  I think they don’t want to get brought forward and they don’t like the net.   A young athletic girl if you can train her to play the net then she can win many matches.  I think a lot of girls will not be ready for it.

It is true on both sides, boys and girls.  Most kids just try to hit hard and hit heavy topspin.  If you have a good junior they just need training in how to slice, how to approach and how to volley.   They will get passed and lobbed sometimes but I think the resulting effect will be a victory and the opponent will be so pissed and thrown off by the aggression.

-DJ ROBO BISCUIT

On Tennis and Talent

On coaching tennis and Talent.

When teaching tennis, if you are looking for a student who can be a winner then you must seek out someone who has “talent.”  It can take different forms.  Some players have great hand-eye coordination, some players are very balanced in their movement, some players have natural strength.  There are some men and women who are more “built” to be playing Softball or baseball: they are not that fast, they are a little bit chunky or heavier, but they can hit the ball with great power.  These players can be quite good on the junior level since they can develop big serves and lots of power with their groundstrokes.

Some players are gifted with speed but they are “slight of build.”  And perhaps not only are they speedy but also “patient.”  Some players have a natural talent for patience.  So, at the junior level and in tournaments they become the “pushers.”  They get all of the balls back and they wait for a mistake to happen.  And they are willing to play all day and hit as many balls as possible to wait for the mistake to occur.

The kids who are able to succeed the most, they usually have a combination of talents.  Perhaps they are competitive with a strong desire to win the matches.  If the “competitive nature” is mixed in with a good hand-eye coordination and natural strength then you have the potential for an extremely good player.  If the player is athletic and can develop “weapons” to play with, then they will be able to surpass players who are less gifted.

 

-DJ ROBO BISCUIT

Motivation, Sport, and Fulfillment (Biscuit Post)

It is a great thing to feel alive.   A person can feel alive when they are moving and breathing and really feeling it.   And a person feels alive when they are “in” something when they can be in the FLOW of something real.    And a person can feel fulfillment when they are achieving or when they are doing something at the highest level.

I have felt my highest levels of success and greatness on a tennis court.  Even though I am not a great player I have had moments of success and moments of purity.  I have had moments when the pressure is on to perform and I did it. I have had moments when I was on the brink of defeat, but I was able to fight back and overcome.  Or I have had moments when people did not expect me to win and I could do it.

People can feel fulfilled when they are making progress and achieving.  Tennis is a great vehicle for that kind of thing. It is an individual game where one person has to go up against another one person.  And the game has different ways of tracking a person’s skill.   It can be the “ranking” or it can be the “rating” but you often can figure out where you stand in the game.

There is also a certain magic to the game in that you have the ability to truly “defeat” your opponent or defeat another person.  It is just one-on-one and it is a battle of skill.  Your skills against theirs.  And I think it is a lovely thing because you don’t get to fight it out like that in the real world.  But on a tennis court you can be a gladiator and battle tooth and nail to defeat your opponent.     The game has ego too, a person can be a big talker and think they are “hot stuff” but the best thing is you can challenge that person and play them one-on-one.  If you beat them, what can they say?  They can make excuses, but you can play them again.   If you play a person and you beat them 3 or 4 times in a row, how many excuses can they make?    And other people can witness it too because usually tennis matches are played in public.

And the game is so mental.  There is so much mental fortitude needed to win tennis matches, especially against other good players.

I could go on forever.   But a person needs motivation and sometimes tennis can serve as the vehicle through which to motivate and inspire.

-DJ ROBO BISCUIT

2018 Pro Men To Watch

Federer and Nadal are the 2 big players of 2017.  Will they be able to keep the magic flowing in 2018?     Nadal is still very dangerous on Clay at the French.  Federer could literally beat anybody if he is healthy and playing well and Federer is most likely still the favorite at Wimbledon.

I think if Dimitrov keeps his head straight then he can maintain his time in the top 10.  And Dimitrov is incredibly dangerous.  He played amazing at the World Tour Finals but I’ll be curious to see if he can maintain his form.

The Young Guns of Zverev and Thiem are definitely the big dangers to the elite players since both of them have a lot of energy and both of them hit the ball huge off the ground.

Also, If Jack Sock and Del Potro keep their bodies healthy then they are both incredibly dangerous to the rest of the field.   Sock has a unique power game with his huge spin on the forehand and he has become more crafty and versatile, as well as being faster.   Del Potro is also super dangerous with his big serve and big forehand, if his timing is there he can boss around the other players.

I will be very curious to see if Djokovic and Murray come back to form, since they are returning from injury.   I think both of them had a rough 2017.   Djokovic had very noticeable losses to Nick Kyrgios in Indian Wells and Mexico.   Murray lost to Pospisil at Indian Wells.   I think Murray can come back to the top 5 but I am not sure about Djokovic, I think Djokovic has lost some of his drive and lost a lot of confidence.

The biggest player to watch in 2018 will be Nick Kyrgios.  Nick Kyrigos has the whole game, huge serve, big forehand, touch, volleys, sneaky backhand, no fear.     He has the ability to beat all of the top players.   He is prone to having meltdowns and to lose his focus and motivation.  If Kyrgios is focused then I have no doubt that he can move right up towards the top 5.

Also, if Raonic is healthy, then Milos can return to the top 10.   The combination of his massive serve with his forehand and his desire to go to the net makes him mega dangerous especially on the hard courts and grass courts.   On the Clay courts, Raonic is a dud, he can’t keep up with any of the spaniards.  If Raonic is healthy, look for him to do some damage at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open.

I hope that Gilles Muller can keep it up, he had a great upset over Nadal and I love Muller’s lefty attacking game.     I hope that Diego Schwartzman will stay solid as rock and continue his climb up I think he can move close to the top 20.     Also, I hope that Gasquet will stay healthy because he has the ability to get inside the top 15.

Andrey Rublev, Ryan Harrison, Denis Shapovalov, Jared Donalson, and Hyeon Chung are the young gun players to watch in 2018.  Rublev had a big run at the US Open and his ball-striking is excellent.   Ryan Harrison is more of a veteran but it seems that he has found his mental game again.   Shapovalov is mega talented and lefty and it is no fluke that he was able to beat Nadal.   Donaldson is super steady and had that clay court training in Buenos Aires, I think Donaldson will continue to grind his way up into the top 30.   Chung hits the ball in a unique way but it is also no fluke that he won the next gen tournament;  Chung was having a good run at the French Open last year but had a difficult run in with Nishikori.

Also, I think that Matthew Ebden is back in the game.  Look for Ebden to move his way up and get into the top 50.

Overall, the men’s game has a lot of talent right now.  I think 2018 is going to be a year of upsets with various players like Thiem or Shapovalov or Rublev beating well-known players at big events.    It is good to see that the ATP is trying to help the young players since the “old guard” of Fed, Nadal, Murray, and Djoko are hitting 30+.   I’ll be watching the year closely.

One last piece, the prize money has increased more at the Grand Slams.  It is crazy.  Sloane Stephens got 3.7 million at the US Open (good for her!)    And at the Australian Open it looks like the winner is going to get 4 million !!!    This is huge money.   I’ll be curious if the numbers just keep going up,     up to 4.5 million, and then 5 million, etc etc.

Let me know what you think.

-End of Post, DJ ROBO BISCUIT,   stay fluffy!

 

2018 Pro Women To Watch (WTA)

These are women to watch in 2018.

Jaimee Fourlis (Ranking: 324)   18 year old Jaimee Fourlis will be a player to watch on the WTA tour.   Fourlis has an athletic build and is a big striker of the ball.  She has had good junior success and is ready to make her breakthrough on the pro stage.    She has a wildcard into the Australian Open and will most likely be seen in the lead up tournaments as well.

 

Destanee Aiava (153)  17 year old Aiava of Australia is also set to gain ground in 2018.  She won the Wildcard playoff in Australia so she is into the year’s first grand slam.  Aiava has a good athletic build and hits the ball very strong off the ground; she has easy power.   In 2017 she defeated Bethanie Mattek Sands.

 

3) Wozniacki.   Expect more winning and more consistency from Wozniacki.  By the end of 2017, Wozniacki was looking to be the most “solid” of the players with her movement, her returning, and her backhand looking the most consistent.

4) Bundle Group –    Look for Svitolina, Ostapenko, and Garcia to continue their winning ways.   Svitolina has the best “all around game” of the top 10 women.   If Ostapenko is “hot” then she can beat any player by just hitting winner after winner.   Look for Garcia to have more wins especially against players like Wozniacki and Halep.  Garcia is striking her groundstrokes very cleanly and her swing volley as well as her aggressive play is strong!

5)  Ashleigh Barty.  World #17 Ashleigh Barty is extremely dangerous.   She is a very talented and athletic player.   If she is playing well I expect her to produce upsets and work her way close to the top 10.

 

6) NOT Kerber.   I think players have figured out how to beat Kerber and she has lost some of her confidence.

7) Maria Sharapova.   Expect Sharapova to continue her climb up the rankings.   Sharapova has an extremely strong competitive spirit combined with some of the other players.  You will see various players give up once they start losing, but Sharapova will continue to fight for the whole match.    She has the heart of a champion.

8) Naomi Osaka of Japan.  Osaka is a huge striker of the ball.  Expect her to do more winning in 2018 and work her way up the rankings more.

9) Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil.    She is very solid and clearly has more of a clay court style game.  She is lefty and is very consistent.  I expect her to continue her winning ways and to climb the rankings.

10) Sabalenka of Belarus. The 19 year old World #73 is like a young Sharapova.  She is a grunter and a big striker of the ball off of both wings.  I expect her to win more matches (as long as keeps her on straight)

 

Also, assuming they are healthy, If Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka come back for the full season then they have good chances of dominating the tour.  They will face opposition from players like Pliskova or Venus or Sharapova.  But when they are playing well, Serena and Azarenka are extremely hard for the other women to beat.

Let me know if you agree or disagree.  Or just let me know what players you think are the ones to watch in 2018.

-End of Post, DJ ROBO BISCUIT