Why isn't TMS Hamburg clay benefit of baseliners? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Why isn't TMS Hamburg clay benefit of baseliners?

konyalikartal
11-24-2005, 09:45 PM
Among several threads I have read that TMS Hamburg is slower than that of Roland Garros, Monte Carlo etc. So what is the reason that Federer is easily winning this tournament by easily beating Coria, Gaudio and many other baseliners although according to me this slowness of the court should benefit baseliners? Generally when the courts are becoming faster everyone knows that baseliners are less succesfull but why is this situation opposite in clay courts?

Galaxystorm
11-24-2005, 09:55 PM
Among several threads I have read that TMS Hamburg is slower than that of Roland Garros, Monte Carlo etc. So what is the reason that Federer is easily winning this tournament by easily beating Coria, Gaudio and many other baseliners although according to me this slowness of the court should benefit baseliners? Generally when the courts are becoming faster everyone knows that baseliners are less succesfull but why is this situation opposite in clay courts?

The main reason is that there are only few players better on clay than Federer right now , i would say Nadal ( he hasn't played in Hamburg the last two years ) and Gasquet ( if he has a good day .)

Players like Coria and Moya have shown that they aren't able to beat Federer , not even on clay . Players like Ferrero are very far from his best level , and players like Gaudio haven't the enough regularity to reach the final rounds when they would have to face Federer, although i don't see Gaudio winning Federer a lot of matches on clay ( in my opinion Federer will have always a winner head to head against Gaudio on clay , in fact Gaston has right now a loser head to head against Roger on clay 2-0 ).

Besides , Hamburg is a very cold tounament and a lot of claycourters hate to play under those weather conditions , on the other hand Federer has an special atmosphere with this german-speaking tournament.

konyalikartal
11-24-2005, 10:09 PM
Is the weather only reason? So courtwise I am right I think. Does that mean if the weather is not cold then Gasquet should beat Federer once again in Hamburg?

Jimnik
11-24-2005, 10:38 PM
I also haven't understood it. In 2004, Hewitt, Ljubicic and Federer (all fast court players) reached the semi-finals and Roger went on to win it.

I'm not totally convinced that Hamburg is so slow. The weather is always so bad there, so the retractable roof is always closed and my understanding is that indoor courts are faster.

Galaxystorm
11-24-2005, 10:41 PM
Is the weather only reason? So courtwise I am right I think. Does that mean if the weather is not cold then Gasquet should beat Federer once again in Hamburg?

I could tell you that in those heavy conditions the ball bounces lower than on another clay tournaments and this isn't positive for claycourters , who usually hit with a lot of topspin ( it's also true that Federer hits with topspin , but for claycourters their topspin is a key aspect of their game and without it they lose a lot of potential, on the other hand in my opinion Fed's topspin is much less important in his playstyle in comparison with a lot of claycourters who depend on it ) and blah blah blah

But , i think the main reason is 1) he's very good on clay , and 2) he has a special feeling with this tournament for any or random reason . If you try to find a tennistic ( technical ) reason to explain why Federer is better on Hamburg clay than on another clay surfaces, i think you are wasting your time , because i think it's more a matter of good feeling with this tournament, atmosphere ( german-speaking ) , the weather etc.

DrJules
11-24-2005, 10:49 PM
I have to admit it does surprise me that Roger has won 3 times in Hamburg and not won in Rome. Rome should in many ways be ideally suited to Roger's game and did have in the 90's a final between Pete Sampras and Boris Becker - 2 players much more suited to a fast court. Rome has always had a reputation for being a fast court.

Domino
11-24-2005, 11:33 PM
Because he has all the time to set up for his strokes, giving him more control over the already extreme angles he generates.

Sjengster
11-24-2005, 11:46 PM
He's said in interviews in the past, maybe in Paris one year, that the clay in Hamburg gives him time to generate more spin on the ball and create the angles that Domino mentions above; he needs to put work on the ball and surprisingly enough, this means a slower claycourt is better for him. I'm not sure he would feel that way if he ever had to play Nadal in Hamburg, but it seems to me a lot of his problems on clay come when the court is too fast and the ball zips through at pace, leading to a lot of bad bounces as it rears off the lines and destroying his timing. I remember the clinic of appalling returning he displayed two years ago against Mantilla in the final in Rome, a tournament where he's had one exceptional result in 2003 and little else besides.

Didn't he complain about the court not being watered after one set when he lost to Gasquet in Monte Carlo this year? That makes sense considering his dislike of claycourts that are too fast and more to the point, Gasquet's extremely aggressive, shot-making style of play. And he has nightmares when the opponent gets a ball to his baseline on Court Chatrier at RG, that much was obvious even this year when he made it as far as the semis.

+alonso
11-24-2005, 11:49 PM
Yeah i think it's because the weather...Hamburg has an awful weather during that season, and nobody likes to play im the cold. :lol:

DrJules
11-24-2005, 11:51 PM
He's said in interviews in the past, maybe in Paris one year, that the clay in Hamburg gives him time to generate more spin on the ball and create the angles that Domino mentions above; he needs to put work on the ball and surprisingly enough, this means a slower claycourt is better for him. I'm not sure he would feel that way if he ever had to play Nadal in Hamburg, but it seems to me a lot of his problems on clay come when the court is too fast and the ball zips through at pace, leading to a lot of bad bounces as it rears off the lines and destroying his timing. I remember the clinic of appalling returning he displayed two years ago against Mantilla in the final in Rome, a tournament where he's had one exceptional result in 2003 and little else besides.

Didn't he complain about the court not being watered after one set when he lost to Gasquet in Monte Carlo this year? That makes sense considering his dislike of claycourts that are too fast and more to the point, Gasquet's extremely aggressive, shot-making style of play. And he has nightmares when the opponent gets a ball to his baseline on Court Chatrier at RG, that much was obvious even this year when he made it as far as the semis.


Variable bounces and higher speed off the court do not seem to cause Roger a problem on the Wimbledon grass. Does it have anything to his movement on the various clay surfaces.

Sjengster
11-24-2005, 11:52 PM
Yeah i think it's because the weather...Hamburg has an awful weather during that season, and nobody likes to play im the cold.

Well, "nobody" should extend to Federer then, shouldn't it? Don't let that hat-trick of Wimbledon titles fool you, he doesn't play well here because of the weather. :p In fact, judging from his holiday choices he likes the sun as much if not more than many Spanish-speaking players. I do think the German-speaking aspect plays a part, he's on an incredible winning streak in German tournaments dating back to his loss to Philippoussis in Hamburg in 2003.

Sjengster
11-24-2005, 11:55 PM
Variable bounces and higher speed off the court do not seem to cause Roger a problem on the Wimbledon grass. Does it have anything to his movement on the various clay surfaces.

Oh yes, that too - I'm not sure he's a fan of the faster, more slippery claycourts. But Wimbledon's a different matter, he has an aggressive mindset on grass that allows him to play through occasional bad bounces or balls rushing off the court, whereas those sorts of factors can really throw you off your game and diminish your confidence if you're trying to build and create rallies as you have to do on clay.

DrJules
11-25-2005, 12:06 AM
Oh yes, that too - I'm not sure he's a fan of the faster, more slippery claycourts. But Wimbledon's a different matter, he has an aggressive mindset on grass that allows him to play through occasional bad bounces or balls rushing off the court, whereas those sorts of factors can really throw you off your game and diminish your confidence if you're trying to build and create rallies as you have to do on clay.

Maybe the wrong stratergy, that is too defensive, on the faster more slippery clay courts. :confused:

Sjengster
11-25-2005, 12:13 AM
Perhaps. His shots are quite loopy off both sides, especially the backhand - obviously he can flatten them out on grass because when he hits a big shot there, it usually stays hit, but he definitely needs time to create his shots on clay. That Rome final I mentioned, there were so many times when Mantilla served on the deuce side and hit a fairly slow first serve deep in the box but it hit the line, reared up slightly and Federer completely shanked it with a big swing on his backhand side, usually out of court to his right without it even going over the net. And he looked overwhelmed by the Kuerten power at last year's RG, but then who wouldn't with the latter in that sort of form.

konyalikartal
11-25-2005, 04:29 PM
Galaxystrom said that "In those heavy conditions the ball bounces lower than on another clay tournaments and this isn't positive for claycourters , who usually hit with a lot of topspin." This enhances my thesis because the ball bounces lower when the court becomes faster. This is why the heavy top spin of the baseliners are not effective in faster courts considering their effect on clay. So the baseliners are generally don't get good results on faster courts. Now I can safely say that the weather conditions at Hamburg makes the court faster. This is why Federer, Hewitt and Ljubicic got good results at Hamburg clay.

Galaxystorm
11-25-2005, 05:20 PM
Galaxystrom said that "In those heavy conditions the ball bounces lower than on another clay tournaments and this isn't positive for claycourters , who usually hit with a lot of topspin." This enhances my thesis because the ball bounces lower when the court becomes faster. This is why the heavy top spin of the baseliners are not effective in faster courts considering their effect on clay. So the baseliners are generally don't get good results on faster courts. Now I can safely say that the weather conditions at Hamburg makes the court faster. This is why Federer, Hewitt and Ljubicic got good results at Hamburg clay.

Talking about clay courts , in cold weather conditions the ball bounces lower than in a sunny and hot day . More hot = more bounce ( Did you see the killer combination of Nadal's toppsin + a very hot day when he faced Gasquet at Roland Garros ?? , the ball bounced more than for example some days after in the match Nadal-Grosjean , Nadal-Federer , two cloudy and rainy days ) . In cold and rainy conditions the ball is hevavier

The weather conditions makes the Hamburg courts slower, not faster

almouchie
11-25-2005, 05:30 PM
i liked what (galaxystorm) said about TMS Hamburg, its defintely slower & cold condition & closed roof change a lot of things for the pace of the ball & bounce.
I would have to say that the main reason Federer has been playing well on clay is due mainly to his mentality & approach to the surface. He has been trying to adjust his game as much as to serve the changing condition of clay & surely the lack of depth is helping him a lot.
Thou coria & Gaston are clay court specialist yet they dont enter their matches with Federer on clay as favorites & that plays a huge part

konyalikartal
11-25-2005, 05:59 PM
If the court becomes slow and the ball bounces low then how does Federer say that Hamburg gives him time to generate more spin on the ball. If it bounces high he would have more enough time to generate topspin. There is contradiction with your idea and Federer's interview.

Galaxystorm
11-25-2005, 07:18 PM
If the court becomes slow and the ball bounces low then how does Federer say that Hamburg gives him time to generate more spin on the ball. If it bounces high he would have more enough time to generate topspin. There is contradiction with your idea and Federer's interview.

My idea isn't an invention of mine, it's just a matter of physics laws and all the pro players will tell you what i have said . And i have said that on clay when the weather is cold the ball bounces lower than when the day is hot since when the day is hot the ball inflates and expands a bit and thus the bounce is higher .

I think the origin of your confusion is that you are linking low bounce with more court speed and although it's true that usually all the courts with low bounce are faster than courts with higher bounces ( that is , carpet has a lower bounce than hard courts and is also faster , and hard couts have a lower bounce than clay and are also faster than clay ) , although it's true , it's a mistake to identify bounce with court speed almost as synonyms when both are different terms , the court speed is different to the height of the bounce

When you play on clay, this court is slower than hard courts because when you play on hard the ball after bouncing comes towards the player faster than on clay since on clay the ball when bounces is stopped by the clay , ( What i have just said it's considering flat strokes , because if we talk about topspin would have to clarify more things and the analysis would be endless etc )

Why a clay court can be slower than another ?? there are serveral factors ( quantity of clay , soft or tough court , dry or damp court etc ) . Hamburg is slower than another clay courts is something very known, and slower means that Hamburg clay stops more the ball speed when bounces than on Rome for example.

It's difficult to know what Roger exactly wanted to mean ( because we aren't inside his mind and all the players have their own and different thougths about courts ) , but surely he meant that in Hamburg the ball comes towards the player with less speed than on another clay so he has more time to think and to choose the exact amount of spin that he wants to hit , and that's positive for him.

I will give you an advice, don't try to understand tennis as maths, because you will find a lot of contradictions since the court speed depends on a lot of factors ( surface , indoor or outdoors , balls , weather , geophysics conditions ( altitude etc ) ) ) an sometimes not even the pro players agree about if a court is slow or fast . Everything is very subjective

konyalikartal
11-25-2005, 08:04 PM
As you said these are subjective topics. This is related with player's characteristics. Although Federer has less time to hit the balls on Wimbledon's fast grass court because of his confidence this doesn't bother him. But on slower clay court he needs more time to focus on the ball because he hasn't got that much confidence on clay considering his huge confidence on grass. By the way thanks for your expalanations. I think I have the answer now...

BlackSilver
11-25-2005, 11:36 PM
As you said these are subjective topics. This is related with player's characteristics. Although Federer has less time to hit the balls on Wimbledon's fast grass court because of his confidence this doesn't bother him. But on slower clay court he needs more time to focus on the ball because he hasn't got that much confidence on clay considering his huge confidence on grass. By the way thanks for your expalanations. I think I have the answer now...

I can't see the connection. Federer's game is more suited to grass than clay, the competition is harder for him on clay. I don't see a reason too believe he has confidence problems on clay

DrJules
11-25-2005, 11:56 PM
I can't see the connection. Federer's game is more suited to grass than clay, the competition is harder for him on clay. I don't see a reason too believe he has confidence problems on clay

The mystery is that Federer prefers to play and is more suited to faster courts, but when playing on clay prefers the slower clay courts such as Hamburg to the faster courts such as Rome.

RonE
11-26-2005, 11:47 AM
The mystery is that Federer prefers to play and is more suited to faster courts, but when playing on clay prefers the slower clay courts such as Hamburg to the faster courts such as Rome.

My theory is that a lot of it has to do with his footing and movement on the surface, not only the speed of the courts.

In Hamburg, the soil is damper, giving him better footing on the ground and better traction, allowing him to move better and anticipate shots.

In the year he lost to Guga in Paris, I remember it was a sunny hot day which made the topsoil cover on the court very slippery. Roger couldn't get his feet into position in time as Guga ripped winner after winner and he slipped many times while trying to turn around after being wrongfooted.

When you have a slick fast clay court where it is difficult to plant your feet into position, you lose confidence in your movement and the rest of your game falls apart accordingly especially when you face players who hit the ball big like Guga and Gasquet.

Action Jackson
11-26-2005, 04:40 PM
RonE, is right on the money with his assessment. Federer always plays well in German-speaking countries. All his claycourt titles have been in German-speaking countries, that is one minor factor, but the footing is very important especially for a guy like Federer. Though he did play a lot of his tennis on clay, so really that shouldn't be as big a problem for him than say for other fast court players not used to clay.

The Guga example in RG, he looked like a hack and had a lot of balance problems. The Mantilla final in Rome is another example mentioned of problems Federer has on clay, he was just making so many errors and was shanking backhands everywhere,

Galaxystorm
11-26-2005, 04:52 PM
I remember in 2004 when in a press conference ( maybe in Hamburg ) Roger said that in his first matches on clay every season he has problems to adjust his return to this surface and also told a story about when he was a teenager one day his coach asked him what was the most complicated thing for him about playing on clay , and the young Roger answered something like : " The return, because i have too much time to think "

Action Jackson
11-26-2005, 04:56 PM
Considering Federer is not a serve/volleyer and plays most of his tennis from the baseline, then Hamburg does benefit baseliners.

DrJules
11-26-2005, 05:38 PM
I remember in 2004 when in a press conference ( maybe in Hamburg ) Roger said that in his first matches on clay every season he has problems to adjust his return to this surface and also told a story about when he was a teenager one day his coach asked him what was the most complicated thing for him about playing on clay , and the young Roger answered something like : " The return, because i have too much time to think "

Explains why Roger returns Andy Roddick's serve better than any other player.

RonE
11-27-2005, 08:07 AM
I remember in 2004 when in a press conference ( maybe in Hamburg ) Roger said that in his first matches on clay every season he has problems to adjust his return to this surface and also told a story about when he was a teenager one day his coach asked him what was the most complicated thing for him about playing on clay , and the young Roger answered something like : " The return, because i have too much time to think "

Yes, that is very evident with him also on surfaces other than clay. When he receives a slow kicking serve with a lot of spin to his backhand side he struggles to time the return often dumping it into the net or shanking the ball. So on clay that problem is more acute. Even this year in his matches at the French he was mishitting many returns especially on the backhand side.

The clay reacts to spin- especially topspin and kick and accentuates it in such a way that makes it really difficult- you have to have impeccable timing and footwork to be able to hit effective returns off serves like that.

prima donna
11-27-2005, 08:31 AM
Let's face it ...

Roger is the best player alive right now, for this reason (amongst numerous others):

His ability to play the big points.

Clay and Grass are night and day; water and oil. They are nothing similar.

A match can be decided on Grass by a few key points.
On Clay, a point is just, well, another point. Play on.

These are two completely different mentalities, what makes Roger such a good player (his ability to pace himself and play the important points), is his worst enemy on Clay. You have to play every point as if it's your last on dirt, can Roger do that for 7 matches ? Good question, requires lots of focus and to be quite honest. The more thinking Roger has to do the worse, he's very reactive (hence his stupendous return of serve, just ask Roddick or Safin), clay leaves you time to measure your nail cuticles, plan lunch and dinner; check your blackberry for an updated score on your favorite soccer team between shots.

Aside from Hamburg, if Roger ever wants to win Roland Garros, he's going to have to change his mental approach. Let's face it, dirtballers don't have ego's. They will take a point however they can get it, sometimes I get the feeling that Roger is too much of a perfectionist and needs to be a bit more defensive, because the word Ego and Clay do not go together. Borg frustrated plenty brilliant shotmakers (few and in-between during his day), it's the same thing any dirtballer does ... the only players that has ever won Roland Garros that I wouldn't describe as an "equal opportunist" would be Kuerten, Laver and Agassi, aside from this class, these guys (prototypical dirtballers) think the slower the better, because they are going to only push the ball back anyway.

Castafiore
11-27-2005, 09:59 AM
The more thinking Roger has to do the worse, he's very reactive (hence his stupendous return of serve, just ask Roddick or Safin), clay leaves you time to measure your nail cuticles, plan lunch and dinner; check your blackberry for an updated score on your favorite soccer team between shots.

Aside from Hamburg, if Roger ever wants to win Roland Garros, he's going to have to change his mental approach. Let's face it, dirtballers don't have ego's.
:worship: Utter nonsense but fun to read, thanks!

prima donna
11-27-2005, 10:07 AM
:worship: Utter nonsense but fun to read, thanks!
Nice one, captain. :rolleyes: