Was John McEnroe A Pusher? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Was John McEnroe A Pusher?

vahep
10-31-2006, 10:28 PM
I've read a lot of people's definitions of what a "pusher" is here, and watching some of his old 80's matches it just seemed like he relied on his wicked serve and supernatural volleys to win points.
If he ever got into a baseline rally against someone (most likely on the service game of a baseliner opponent, and even then only on the first serve, because we would always chip and charge on the second), he just basically kept the ball in play with some weak groundies until he got a short ball and then pounced.

I could not help thinking to myself that with the huge hitters we have today, if he could get away with those kinds of ground strokes, as seeing a ball hit like that today to even a number 50 ranked player is just a sitting duck for a winner (even from slightly behind the baseline).

So was he a "pusher", or was there a method to the madness that I fail to see?

uglyamerican
10-31-2006, 10:58 PM
There was an aritcle a while back about how McEnroe couldn't deal with the shift to non-wooden rackets very well, and when Lendl came along he was unnable to cope.

Most of the pre-Lendl players swung the racket with less force than the post-Lendl players. So when you watch some classic era tennis it doesn't seem nearly as athletic as modern tennis.

Ernham
10-31-2006, 11:02 PM
Most of the pre-Lendl players swung the racket with less force than the post-Lendl players. So when you watch some classic era tennis it doesn't seem nearly as athletic as modern tennis.

Yep. Especially when they were playing on clay. Compared to now, it often looked like they were hitting practice balls back and forth.

Tennis Fool
10-31-2006, 11:08 PM
From what I understand, there is a reason there are no serve-and-volleyers today. Racquet technology always you to blow passing shots by players and the opponent is a sitting duck at the net.

lordmanji
10-31-2006, 11:11 PM
There was an aritcle a while back about how McEnroe couldn't deal with the shift to non-wooden rackets very well, and when Lendl came along he was unnable to cope.

Most of the pre-Lendl players swung the racket with less force than the post-Lendl players. So when you watch some classic era tennis it doesn't seem nearly as athletic as modern tennis.

any idea if it mentioned about the switch from eastern to semi western/western as for the appearance of more "athleticism?"

KaxMisha
10-31-2006, 11:15 PM
There was an aritcle a while back about how McEnroe couldn't deal with the shift to non-wooden rackets very well, and when Lendl came along he was unnable to cope.

Most of the pre-Lendl players swung the racket with less force than the post-Lendl players. So when you watch some classic era tennis it doesn't seem nearly as athletic as modern tennis.

Yeah. Lendl is the father of modern tennis.

uglyamerican
10-31-2006, 11:21 PM
any idea if it mentioned about the switch from eastern to semi western/western as for the appearance of more "athleticism?"

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/sports/playmagazine/20federer.html?pagewanted=4&ei=5090&en=716968175e36505e&ex=1313726400

Scroll down to "Extreme Topspin" in bold.

Highlights:

"Itís the width of the face thatís vital. A wider face means thereís more total string area, which means the sweet spotís bigger. With a composite racket, you donít have to meet the ball in the precise geometric center of the strings in order to generate good pace. Nor must you be spot-on to generate topspin, a spin that (recall) requires a tilted face and upwardly curved stroke, brushing over the ball rather than hitting flat through it"

"itís common now to see male pros pulled up off the ground and halfway around in the air by the force of their strokes, which in the old days was something one saw only in Jimmy Connors."

"the classic advantage of volleying was that you could hit angles that would go way wide if attempted from the baseline or midcourt. But topspin on a groundstroke, if itís really extreme, can bring the ball down fast and shallow enough to exploit many of these same angles."

"The generic power-baseline game is not boring ó certainly not compared with the two-second points of old-time serve-and-volley or the moon-ball tedium of classic baseline attrition. But it is somewhat static and limited; it is not, as pundits have publicly feared for years, the evolutionary endpoint of tennis."

--David Foster Wallace

lordmanji
10-31-2006, 11:51 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/sports/playmagazine/20federer.html?pagewanted=4&ei=5090&en=716968175e36505e&ex=1313726400

Scroll down to "Extreme Topspin" in bold.

Highlights:

"Itís the width of the face thatís vital. A wider face means thereís more total string area, which means the sweet spotís bigger. With a composite racket, you donít have to meet the ball in the precise geometric center of the strings in order to generate good pace. Nor must you be spot-on to generate topspin, a spin that (recall) requires a tilted face and upwardly curved stroke, brushing over the ball rather than hitting flat through it"

"itís common now to see male pros pulled up off the ground and halfway around in the air by the force of their strokes, which in the old days was something one saw only in Jimmy Connors."

"the classic advantage of volleying was that you could hit angles that would go way wide if attempted from the baseline or midcourt. But topspin on a groundstroke, if itís really extreme, can bring the ball down fast and shallow enough to exploit many of these same angles."

"The generic power-baseline game is not boring ó certainly not compared with the two-second points of old-time serve-and-volley or the moon-ball tedium of classic baseline attrition. But it is somewhat static and limited; it is not, as pundits have publicly feared for years, the evolutionary endpoint of tennis."

--David Foster Wallace

thanks for the article. a very interesting read. i dont know if i'd call fed's game "power baseline." it's all-court for me. most intersting was his claim that not the material of the racket but the bigger head is the reason for the topspin in todays game. hmm

General Suburbia
11-01-2006, 05:29 AM
thanks for the article. a very interesting read. i dont know if i'd call fed's game "power baseline." it's all-court for me. most intersting was his claim that not the material of the racket but the bigger head is the reason for the topspin in todays game. hmm

The new racket material provided for a stronger, more durable racket, which in turn allowed support for larger heads.

Action Jackson
11-01-2006, 05:36 AM
McEnroe did admit to taking steroids and cocaine, so I am not sure if he was a pusher, but he was a user.

bluefork
11-01-2006, 06:02 AM
Steroids didn't seem to do too much as he was always scrawny guy. Then again, maybe they did help. But if that's the case, he would have been a stick figure without them.

But as for the original question, I wouldn't say he was a pusher. It takes some agressiveness to serve and volley, and a pusher by definition is not agressive.