Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game? - MensTennisForums.com

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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
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Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

For instance, Soderling's success on clay does not seem to make much sense. He is has a pretty sizable serve, flat groundstrokes, and so-so movement.

Another example is Nadal on grass. His serve is arguably his weakest aspect. He plays a hyper-defensive game. He does not come to net very often (31 times compared to Fed's 75 in the Wimbledon final of 2008). He is capable of hitting flat shots, but is obviously much more comfortable with using topsin.

Are there any examples more puzzling than these two?
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:19 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

Roger Federer reaching multiple RG finals.
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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:24 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

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Originally Posted by hipolymer View Post
Roger Federer reaching multiple RG finals.
but Federer is a great clay court player....

an oddity might be that Ferrer can play amazing on hard court at TIMES. I am struggling to recall really strange consistant examples, but a weird very specific situation was Isner vs. Nadal R1 Roland Garros a few years ago, Isner playing outstanding on clay which obviously suits him much less than hard. of course Nadal was a bit sluggish and off as he is sometimes in early rounds BUT Isner was uncharacteristcally great on the surface

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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:25 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

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Originally Posted by Gabe32 View Post
For instance, Soderling's success on clay does not seem to make much sense. He is has a pretty sizable serve, flat groundstrokes, and so-so movement.

Another example is Nadal on grass. His serve is arguably his weakest aspect. He plays a hyper-defensive game. He does not come to net very often (31 times compared to Fed's 75 in the Wimbledon final of 2008). He is capable of hitting flat shots, but is obviously much more comfortable with using topsin.

Are there any examples more puzzling than these two?
yeah soderling is truly puzzling, making two RG finals proves he's no fluke on clay

but nadal is not surprising, the grass at wimbledon has moved on from serve and volley days of the 90s
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:26 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

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For instance, Soderling's success on clay does not seem to make much sense. He is has a pretty sizable serve, flat groundstrokes, and so-so movement.
Soderling's strokes are pretty spinny actually, just incredibly hard and spinny.
His relatively poor movement means he is effective on a slow surface when he has time to get in position to set up for a huge groundie. Same reason del Potro and Isner can perform well on clay.

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Another example is Nadal on grass. His serve is arguably his weakest aspect. He plays a hyper-defensive game. He does not come to net very often (31 times compared to Fed's 75 in the Wimbledon final of 2008). He is capable of hitting flat shots, but is obviously much more comfortable with using topsin.

Are there any examples more puzzling than these two?
1) Nadal's serve is pretty good, it's just not always 215 kmh. He puts a lot of spin on his serve....the slice serve is most effective on grass. He doesn't get broken much on grass partially because of this.
2) He is basically an aggressive counterpuncher, certainly not hyper-defensive, unless he's playing a ballbasher.

His exceptional movement is one of the main reasons why he's so good on grass, where small steps and quick feet help him get in position better than most/nearly all players.
Topspin is actually pretty useful on a (medium-pace, fairly high bouncing) grasscourt like at Wimbledon, to open up angles from the baseline.

His slice is pretty mediocre, but he doesn't use it much, so it's not too much of a handicap.
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 02:04 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

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Originally Posted by Gabe32 View Post
For instance, Soderling's success on clay does not seem to make much sense. He is has a pretty sizable serve, flat groundstrokes, and so-so movement.

Another example is Nadal on grass.
Neither of these are oddities, especially the first one.

While most players have the potency of their shots impaired by the surface's slow properties, Soderling's immense firepower makes him virtually immune to it. The dynamic is such that Soderling ends up with added time to set up his big, loopy swings to take greater cuts at the ball.


In Nadal's case... Grass demands great athleticism to effectively maneuver on it. In that, sense, Nadal's an animal on the stuff. His spin is also carried quite nicely on the surface.

It's also worth noting how dead the surface gets as the tournament carries into its second week. Accordingly, he's always looked vulnerable against aggressive players early in the tournament (Muller, Kendrick, Soderling, Haase, Rosol, etc.), but looks increasingly more comfortable as things progress.
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 02:11 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

Raonic on clay. Other than indoor hard, it's probably his best surface and he's had some great results on it like 2012 Barcelona. His worst surface has been grass.
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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 02:12 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

Ferrer on indoor hard, which is probably now his best surface
Simon's sucking on clay shocks me too
Soderling has a huge backswing and his serve will give him a short ball he can kill anyway, Isner on clay is more mysterious to me.



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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 02:32 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

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Originally Posted by Mountaindewslave View Post
but Federer is a great clay court player....

an oddity might be that Ferrer can play amazing on hard court at TIMES. I am struggling to recall really strange consistant examples, but a weird very specific situation was Isner vs. Nadal R1 Roland Garros a few years ago, Isner playing outstanding on clay which obviously suits him much less than hard. of course Nadal was a bit sluggish and off as he is sometimes in early rounds BUT Isner was uncharacteristcally great on the surface
not really he is just a great player no matter the surface his game style is not suited for clay
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 02:38 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

Dustin Brown's earliest successes at the Challenger level came on clay, and Mischa Zverev has also had some of his best results on the dirt.

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post #11 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 03:05 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

I have wondered how Nadal would do on grass if he wasn't confident from winning the French Open. Yes, the grass surface isn't significantly different from the clay nowadays but Rafa is a confidence player and there's little turnaround.

I find it amusing how, late in their careers, both Safin and Ferrero made deep runs at Wimbledon. You wouldn't have pictured that when they were in their prime.

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post #12 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 03:07 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

all official surfaces play similar these days so nothing is very surprising


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post #13 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 03:19 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

Murray on a tennis court.

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post #14 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 04:55 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

Berdshit on blue clay. He moves like he was born on the surface.
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post #15 of 51 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 04:58 AM
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Re: Players who play well on surfaces which seem unfavorable to their game?

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not really he is just a great player no matter the surface his game style is not suited for clay
True, I think bc of his he won the smurf title aka Madrid 2012 it's easy for him to adjust

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