Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players - MensTennisForums.com

MensTennisForums.com

MenstennisForums.com is the premier Men's Tennis forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.Please Register - It's Free!

Reply

Old 06-20-2008, 06:56 PM   #1
country flag star
Blown Out On the Trail
 
star's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 62,737
star has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond repute
Default Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/21/sp...ts&oref=slogin

Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY
Published: June 21, 2008
LONDON — Men’s tennis is in a golden age for talent with the greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and their fast-emerging rival Novak Djokovic all winning Grand Slam singles titles in the past year and now preparing for a grass-court summit at Wimbledon.
But this is also the golden age of the quirk, with Djokovic and Nadal elevating tennis idiosyncrasy to an Olympian level and sometimes irking the opposition along the way.

Djokovic’s cardinal trait, sometimes viewed as his cardinal sin, is the ball bounce, a psychological need that can occupy large blocks of his and his opponent’s time before he serves, particularly before big points. Wayne Odesnik, his American opponent in the third round of the French Open this year, was distracted enough at one stage that he turned his back as the bouncing continued and forced the Serb to reboot.

Djokovic typically starts by bouncing the ball on the ground with his racket strings before shifting the ball to his left hand, leaning forward and continuing his routine by bouncing the ball eight, nine, 10, sometimes 25 more times before tossing it into the air, arching his back and slamming an often marvelous serve.

“He does impressions of all the other players and has their quirks down pat, but he’s got his own that are just about as detailed and elongated; he’s calling the kettle black,” said Jim Loehr, the prominent sports psychologist who is chief executive officer of the Human Performance Institute in Lake Nona, Florida.

Nadal has his own, more elaborate set of behaviors that have nothing to do with that wicked, left-handed hook of a forehand. There will be kangaroo jumps in the locker room, ultra-precise drink bottle positioning on changeovers, obsessive toweling off between points and equally obsessive wiping of the lines between points with a sneaker sole even when those lines are already clean. Above all, there is his backwards grab at the seat of his tennis shorts that one imagines has not helped sales of the clam diggers that he has otherwise popularized.

When reporters once tried to get to the bottom of the habit, Nadal said the problem was actually his own bottom. “A little bigger than usual,” the Spaniard explained.

In the middle of a testy five-set match at Wimbledon last year, Robin Soderling of Sweden mocked Nadal’s signature move by doing it himself. Nadal still came out the winner, but such complex rituals clearly require time, which is why both Nadal and Djokovic have received warnings for code violations before serving and why Djokovic is making efforts to minimize his bouncing.

“My worst habit,” he said after winning the Australian Open. “I don’t know how many times I do it and sometimes I don’t want to do it at all.”

Perhaps it would help him to know that he is not the first of his kind. “Sylvia Hanika, a left handed German player in the 1980s bounced the ball more than anyone I can remember, as many as into the 30s,” said tennis historian Bud Collins. “If she faulted on the first, it was awful, another 30 or so bounces.”

Current Grand Slam rules, clearly not strictly enforced, stipulate that players have 20 seconds to put the ball in play after the previous point has ended. With Djokovic’s ball bouncing and Nadal’s towel-grabbing and pant-adjusting the gap can often extend to 30 seconds or beyond.

It is all enough to make someone like Federer seem tic-free despite his occasional and superfluous shakes of the head and his racket twirling before receiving serve.

Still, the quirk is more the rule than the exception for professional tennis players in their pressurized profession. That is appropriate considering that the game itself is full of quirks, such as the oddity that winning one point gets you to 15-love, winning the next gets you to 30-love and winning a third — mathematicians should be mystified — gets you to only 40-love.

And just why do players feel compelled to bounce the ball before they serve anyway?

Loehr has answers for that one, and he should after spending the better part of six years collecting data on what top players did to kill time and nerves between points.

“What I concluded was that the between-point time was a very fertile opportunity to get completely distracted and off course,” Loehr said. “The more time you have that you’re not doing something constructive, the more time you have to do things that absolutely allow you to drift and what the better players do is learn how to fill that time with things that sequentially help them deal. It’s their countdown to launch.”

The countdown is sometimes fraught with angst, however. Conchita Martinez, a former Wimbledon women’s champion, used to expend plenty of time and energy securing the ball with which she had just won the previous point so she could serve it again. Her Swiss opponent, Patty Schnyder, got so exasperated by this during a semifinal at the Family Circle Cup in 2004 that she resorted to keeping the ball in question tucked away in a pocket in order to thwart her increasingly vexed opponent (Martinez ended up winning and Schnyder ended up walking to net, extending her hand and then jerking it away before Martinez could shake it).

“I just wanted to look at her; I just wanted to stare into her eyes,” Schnyder said.

Martinez, it should be noted, was hardly the first to become dependent on a ball that had done her right. Collins said that Ron Holmberg, an American player in the 1970s, had the same habit. Goran Ivanisevic was also intent on re-using the same ball after firing an ace, which was hardly infrequent in his huge-serving case in the 1990s. And Luis Horna, the Peruvian who just won the French Open doubles title, is keeping the superstition alive on tour now.

But there are no shortage of other rituals. Shahar Peer of Israel turns her back to her opponent between points, faces the back of the court, closes her eyes and tries to wipe the mental slate clean. Maria Sharapova daintily tucks her hair behind her ear before each serve even if, as usual with the well-groomed Russian, there is not a hair out of place.

“If you tell her she can’t do it, she might not play as well,” Loehr said. “You have to redo the whole readying response, getting that balance and chemistry right.”

Back in the superstition department, Sharapova also avoids walking on lines between points, as does her new rival at the top, Ana Ivanovic. Meanwhile, intersecting lines are more of concern to Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer, who likes to lightly tap the corner of the court with his racket before returning serve. “One day the time will come when I will put the racket away and can stop with all these tics,” Kiefer said in Halle earlier this month. “That would be nice.”

But when it comes to tapping things, Kiefer has a way to go to match Art Larsen, an American left-hander who won the United States Open in 1950 and was nicknamed “Tappy”.

“He made a habit of tapping everything with his racket: a light touch for the umpire, the ball boy, his opponent, the net,” Collins said. “Good naturedly but a lot.”

Ivan Lendl, during his reign as number one, used to sprinkle sawdust on his grip to help dry it before serving but it was tougher to see the utility of another part of Lendl’s pre-serve routine: he would pluck his eyebrows. Andre Agassi, the now-retired eight-time Grand Slam champion, could get positively dictatorial if a ballkid was out of standard position before a point started: refusing to play ball until his feng shui standards had been met.

Agassi also made use of the ballkids to pioneer the art of removing a freshly strung racket from its plastic bag. He would loosen the bag, expose the grip and then extend the racket to a ballkid who would be left holding nothing but clear plastic as Agassi hustled off, pigeon-toed as usual, with his new weapon already in hand. Other players have now followed his lead..

“Andre was the best at managing the between-point time of any athlete I’d seen to that stage,” Loehr said. “If you go back and look, no matter whether he hit a winner or missed three balls in a row, if you literally isolated the cameraman on him over and over again, you honestly couldn’t tell if he had lost the point or won it. He would follow his routine 100 percent: the walk, the movement of the eyes, it was absolutely the best.”

Extracting names from Loehr about bad habits and bizarre quirks of the past is more complicated. “The problem is I worked with a lot of these people,” he said. “If I mention them, they’ll come back and want to shoot me. We had to work hard to eliminate a lot of that stuff.”

But neither Loehr nor anyone else has succeeded in eliminating all of it from tennis, which means that Djokovic, if he chooses to re-launch his act, still has plenty of fodder for his impressions. And he is still providing plenty of fodder himself as he bounces his way from point to point.

Last edited by star : 06-20-2008 at 07:11 PM.
star is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 

Old 06-20-2008, 07:11 PM   #2
country flag habibko
Registered User
 
habibko's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Age: 28
Posts: 19,873
habibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Tics and Superstitions (NYT Article)

Nadal about his famous ass: “A little bigger than usual”

__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Federer View Post
If I can help the game of tennis with the image or with making it more popular, that’s enough for me really. I want to leave the game better off than when I came into this great game
habibko is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 07:17 PM   #3
country flag Ilovetheblues_86
Registered User
 
Ilovetheblues_86's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Age: 27
Posts: 10,949
Ilovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players

Rituals are important, keep you familiarized with tha game, which boosts your confidence.
__________________
HELLAS TT ARMY


MAY THE SPIRIT OF KOSTAS PROTECT US
Ilovetheblues_86 is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 07:20 PM   #4
country flag habibko
Registered User
 
habibko's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Age: 28
Posts: 19,873
habibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond reputehabibko has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players

who else doesn't step on the lines between points by the way? I know Johnny Mac had this tic, does Nadal have this one too?
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Federer View Post
If I can help the game of tennis with the image or with making it more popular, that’s enough for me really. I want to leave the game better off than when I came into this great game
habibko is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 07:24 PM   #5
country flag groundstroke
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,741
groundstroke has a reputation beyond reputegroundstroke has a reputation beyond reputegroundstroke has a reputation beyond reputegroundstroke has a reputation beyond reputegroundstroke has a reputation beyond reputegroundstroke has a reputation beyond reputegroundstroke has a reputation beyond reputegroundstroke has a reputation beyond reputegroundstroke has a reputation beyond reputegroundstroke has a reputation beyond reputegroundstroke has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players

Great read. Let's hope Djoke and Nadull keep on getting warned and hopefully one day, defaulted.
groundstroke is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 07:28 PM   #6
country flag kalisita
Registered User
 
kalisita's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 9,317
kalisita has a reputation beyond reputekalisita has a reputation beyond reputekalisita has a reputation beyond reputekalisita has a reputation beyond reputekalisita has a reputation beyond reputekalisita has a reputation beyond reputekalisita has a reputation beyond reputekalisita has a reputation beyond reputekalisita has a reputation beyond reputekalisita has a reputation beyond reputekalisita has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players

Quote:
Originally Posted by groundstroke View Post
Great read. Let's hope Djoke and Nadull keep on getting warned and hopefully one day, defaulted.
Never happen. Tennis, like all sports, kisses the butts of its' top stars.

I wonder how some of these habits get started. Some of them you can kind of see but what about the Lendl one? I wonder what made him start thinking serve success and plucking his eyebrows were related?
kalisita is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 07:34 PM   #7
country flag sanshisan
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 522
sanshisan has a reputation beyond reputesanshisan has a reputation beyond reputesanshisan has a reputation beyond reputesanshisan has a reputation beyond reputesanshisan has a reputation beyond reputesanshisan has a reputation beyond reputesanshisan has a reputation beyond reputesanshisan has a reputation beyond reputesanshisan has a reputation beyond reputesanshisan has a reputation beyond reputesanshisan has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players

Quote:
Originally Posted by groundstroke View Post
Great read. Let's hope Djoke and Nadull keep on getting warned and hopefully one day, defaulted.
They left out Nadal adjusting his socks as he bends over and carefully spitting at a pre-ordained spot just before serving. Both Federer and Nadal are constantly adjusting their long sweaty locks behind their ears before serving ala Sharapova.
sanshisan is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 08:01 PM   #8
country flag star
Blown Out On the Trail
 
star's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 62,737
star has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players

Quote:
Originally Posted by kalisita View Post
Never happen. Tennis, like all sports, kisses the butts of its' top stars.

I wonder how some of these habits get started. Some of them you can kind of see but what about the Lendl one? I wonder what made him start thinking serve success and plucking his eyebrows were related?
I know! How do they get started??? How did Agassi start the wierd thing about the ball boys taking the celophane off his rackets but they can only take it off as he holds it out to them and is in the process of walking away? I mean, that's pretty complicated stuff -- as opposed to pulling at your eyebrow.
There's a disorder -- can't remember the name -- where people pull out their eyelashes or eyebrow hair or even head hair.
star is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 08:27 PM   #9
country flag FedFan_2007
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Cylon Base Ship
Posts: 12,385
FedFan_2007 has a reputation beyond reputeFedFan_2007 has a reputation beyond reputeFedFan_2007 has a reputation beyond reputeFedFan_2007 has a reputation beyond reputeFedFan_2007 has a reputation beyond reputeFedFan_2007 has a reputation beyond reputeFedFan_2007 has a reputation beyond reputeFedFan_2007 has a reputation beyond reputeFedFan_2007 has a reputation beyond reputeFedFan_2007 has a reputation beyond reputeFedFan_2007 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players

I love Fed's hair flicking routine. It's so metro sexual.
FedFan_2007 is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 08:37 PM   #10
country flag Ilovetheblues_86
Registered User
 
Ilovetheblues_86's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Age: 27
Posts: 10,949
Ilovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond reputeIlovetheblues_86 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players

Baghdatis trick is also difficult to perform.
__________________
HELLAS TT ARMY


MAY THE SPIRIT OF KOSTAS PROTECT US
Ilovetheblues_86 is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 08:57 PM   #11
country flag Manon
@Casteldurante
 
Manon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Lambertville
Posts: 19,519
Manon has a reputation beyond reputeManon has a reputation beyond reputeManon has a reputation beyond reputeManon has a reputation beyond reputeManon has a reputation beyond reputeManon has a reputation beyond reputeManon has a reputation beyond reputeManon has a reputation beyond reputeManon has a reputation beyond reputeManon has a reputation beyond reputeManon has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players

Quote:
Originally Posted by FedFan_2007 View Post
I love Fed's hair flicking routine. It's so metro sexual.
Metrosexual (one word) is so 2002. Fem Fed.
__________________
'Nosce Te Ipsum'

Novak Djokovic, Huan Martin Del Potro, Monaco, Berdych....
Manon is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 09:06 PM   #12
country flag sheeter
Registered User
 
sheeter's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 596
sheeter has a reputation beyond reputesheeter has a reputation beyond reputesheeter has a reputation beyond reputesheeter has a reputation beyond reputesheeter has a reputation beyond reputesheeter has a reputation beyond reputesheeter has a reputation beyond reputesheeter has a reputation beyond reputesheeter has a reputation beyond reputesheeter has a reputation beyond reputesheeter has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players

Thanks for the article. It was a good read! They didn't mention Sampras and his tongue or Federer with the hair flick though.
sheeter is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 09:10 PM   #13
country flag Clay Death
Banned!
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Thermopylae Pass
Posts: 65,983
Clay Death has a reputation beyond reputeClay Death has a reputation beyond reputeClay Death has a reputation beyond reputeClay Death has a reputation beyond reputeClay Death has a reputation beyond reputeClay Death has a reputation beyond reputeClay Death has a reputation beyond reputeClay Death has a reputation beyond reputeClay Death has a reputation beyond reputeClay Death has a reputation beyond reputeClay Death has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players

Quote:
Originally Posted by star View Post
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/21/sp...ts&oref=slogin

Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY
Published: June 21, 2008
LONDON — Men’s tennis is in a golden age for talent with the greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and their fast-emerging rival Novak Djokovic all winning Grand Slam singles titles in the past year and now preparing for a grass-court summit at Wimbledon.
But this is also the golden age of the quirk, with Djokovic and Nadal elevating tennis idiosyncrasy to an Olympian level and sometimes irking the opposition along the way.

Djokovic’s cardinal trait, sometimes viewed as his cardinal sin, is the ball bounce, a psychological need that can occupy large blocks of his and his opponent’s time before he serves, particularly before big points. Wayne Odesnik, his American opponent in the third round of the French Open this year, was distracted enough at one stage that he turned his back as the bouncing continued and forced the Serb to reboot.

Djokovic typically starts by bouncing the ball on the ground with his racket strings before shifting the ball to his left hand, leaning forward and continuing his routine by bouncing the ball eight, nine, 10, sometimes 25 more times before tossing it into the air, arching his back and slamming an often marvelous serve.

“He does impressions of all the other players and has their quirks down pat, but he’s got his own that are just about as detailed and elongated; he’s calling the kettle black,” said Jim Loehr, the prominent sports psychologist who is chief executive officer of the Human Performance Institute in Lake Nona, Florida.

Nadal has his own, more elaborate set of behaviors that have nothing to do with that wicked, left-handed hook of a forehand. There will be kangaroo jumps in the locker room, ultra-precise drink bottle positioning on changeovers, obsessive toweling off between points and equally obsessive wiping of the lines between points with a sneaker sole even when those lines are already clean. Above all, there is his backwards grab at the seat of his tennis shorts that one imagines has not helped sales of the clam diggers that he has otherwise popularized.

When reporters once tried to get to the bottom of the habit, Nadal said the problem was actually his own bottom. “A little bigger than usual,” the Spaniard explained.

In the middle of a testy five-set match at Wimbledon last year, Robin Soderling of Sweden mocked Nadal’s signature move by doing it himself. Nadal still came out the winner, but such complex rituals clearly require time, which is why both Nadal and Djokovic have received warnings for code violations before serving and why Djokovic is making efforts to minimize his bouncing.

“My worst habit,” he said after winning the Australian Open. “I don’t know how many times I do it and sometimes I don’t want to do it at all.”

Perhaps it would help him to know that he is not the first of his kind. “Sylvia Hanika, a left handed German player in the 1980s bounced the ball more than anyone I can remember, as many as into the 30s,” said tennis historian Bud Collins. “If she faulted on the first, it was awful, another 30 or so bounces.”

Current Grand Slam rules, clearly not strictly enforced, stipulate that players have 20 seconds to put the ball in play after the previous point has ended. With Djokovic’s ball bouncing and Nadal’s towel-grabbing and pant-adjusting the gap can often extend to 30 seconds or beyond.

It is all enough to make someone like Federer seem tic-free despite his occasional and superfluous shakes of the head and his racket twirling before receiving serve.

Still, the quirk is more the rule than the exception for professional tennis players in their pressurized profession. That is appropriate considering that the game itself is full of quirks, such as the oddity that winning one point gets you to 15-love, winning the next gets you to 30-love and winning a third — mathematicians should be mystified — gets you to only 40-love.

And just why do players feel compelled to bounce the ball before they serve anyway?

Loehr has answers for that one, and he should after spending the better part of six years collecting data on what top players did to kill time and nerves between points.

“What I concluded was that the between-point time was a very fertile opportunity to get completely distracted and off course,” Loehr said. “The more time you have that you’re not doing something constructive, the more time you have to do things that absolutely allow you to drift and what the better players do is learn how to fill that time with things that sequentially help them deal. It’s their countdown to launch.”

The countdown is sometimes fraught with angst, however. Conchita Martinez, a former Wimbledon women’s champion, used to expend plenty of time and energy securing the ball with which she had just won the previous point so she could serve it again. Her Swiss opponent, Patty Schnyder, got so exasperated by this during a semifinal at the Family Circle Cup in 2004 that she resorted to keeping the ball in question tucked away in a pocket in order to thwart her increasingly vexed opponent (Martinez ended up winning and Schnyder ended up walking to net, extending her hand and then jerking it away before Martinez could shake it).

“I just wanted to look at her; I just wanted to stare into her eyes,” Schnyder said.

Martinez, it should be noted, was hardly the first to become dependent on a ball that had done her right. Collins said that Ron Holmberg, an American player in the 1970s, had the same habit. Goran Ivanisevic was also intent on re-using the same ball after firing an ace, which was hardly infrequent in his huge-serving case in the 1990s. And Luis Horna, the Peruvian who just won the French Open doubles title, is keeping the superstition alive on tour now.

But there are no shortage of other rituals. Shahar Peer of Israel turns her back to her opponent between points, faces the back of the court, closes her eyes and tries to wipe the mental slate clean. Maria Sharapova daintily tucks her hair behind her ear before each serve even if, as usual with the well-groomed Russian, there is not a hair out of place.

“If you tell her she can’t do it, she might not play as well,” Loehr said. “You have to redo the whole readying response, getting that balance and chemistry right.”

Back in the superstition department, Sharapova also avoids walking on lines between points, as does her new rival at the top, Ana Ivanovic. Meanwhile, intersecting lines are more of concern to Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer, who likes to lightly tap the corner of the court with his racket before returning serve. “One day the time will come when I will put the racket away and can stop with all these tics,” Kiefer said in Halle earlier this month. “That would be nice.”

But when it comes to tapping things, Kiefer has a way to go to match Art Larsen, an American left-hander who won the United States Open in 1950 and was nicknamed “Tappy”.

“He made a habit of tapping everything with his racket: a light touch for the umpire, the ball boy, his opponent, the net,” Collins said. “Good naturedly but a lot.”

Ivan Lendl, during his reign as number one, used to sprinkle sawdust on his grip to help dry it before serving but it was tougher to see the utility of another part of Lendl’s pre-serve routine: he would pluck his eyebrows. Andre Agassi, the now-retired eight-time Grand Slam champion, could get positively dictatorial if a ballkid was out of standard position before a point started: refusing to play ball until his feng shui standards had been met.

Agassi also made use of the ballkids to pioneer the art of removing a freshly strung racket from its plastic bag. He would loosen the bag, expose the grip and then extend the racket to a ballkid who would be left holding nothing but clear plastic as Agassi hustled off, pigeon-toed as usual, with his new weapon already in hand. Other players have now followed his lead..

“Andre was the best at managing the between-point time of any athlete I’d seen to that stage,” Loehr said. “If you go back and look, no matter whether he hit a winner or missed three balls in a row, if you literally isolated the cameraman on him over and over again, you honestly couldn’t tell if he had lost the point or won it. He would follow his routine 100 percent: the walk, the movement of the eyes, it was absolutely the best.”

Extracting names from Loehr about bad habits and bizarre quirks of the past is more complicated. “The problem is I worked with a lot of these people,” he said. “If I mention them, they’ll come back and want to shoot me. We had to work hard to eliminate a lot of that stuff.”

But neither Loehr nor anyone else has succeeded in eliminating all of it from tennis, which means that Djokovic, if he chooses to re-launch his act, still has plenty of fodder for his impressions. And he is still providing plenty of fodder himself as he bounces his way from point to point.
i like this thread Star. interesting title.

how about Roddick`s nasty habit? he has a few picularities as well. i think Clay Monster does his thing to calm himself down.
Clay Death is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 09:57 PM   #14
country flag star
Blown Out On the Trail
 
star's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 62,737
star has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond reputestar has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheeter View Post
Thanks for the article. It was a good read! They didn't mention Sampras and his tongue or Federer with the hair flick though.
That's because they are GOATS.
star is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2008, 10:05 PM   #15
country flag *snowflake*
Registered User
 
*snowflake*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Age: 28
Posts: 1,160
*snowflake* has a reputation beyond repute*snowflake* has a reputation beyond repute*snowflake* has a reputation beyond repute*snowflake* has a reputation beyond repute*snowflake* has a reputation beyond repute*snowflake* has a reputation beyond repute*snowflake* has a reputation beyond repute*snowflake* has a reputation beyond repute*snowflake* has a reputation beyond repute*snowflake* has a reputation beyond repute*snowflake* has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Tics and Superstitions (NYT Article)

Quote:
Originally Posted by habibko View Post
Nadal about his famous ass: “A little bigger than usual”

That line actually made me laugh out loud.

Nice article.
__________________
~Spanish Adoptees~ Moyá|Ferrer|Nadal|López|Verdasco|Ferrero
~Argentine Adoptees~ Cañas|Mónaco|Del Potro|Nalbandián|Chela|Acasuso|Calleri|Schwank|González
~Chilean Adoptee~ González
~Russian Adoptees~ Сафин|Турсунов|Южный
~G.luck coming back~ Zabaleta|Gaudio
*snowflake* is offline View My Blog!   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


Copyright (C) Verticalscope Inc
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
vBCredits v1.4 Copyright ©2007, PixelFX Studios