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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was having a conversation with an old guy recently and he offered the opinion that the only skill in tennis was the way the players were hitting the ball, he went on to say that tennis today is more or less movement and brute force, i.e. movement to the ball and applying brute force, repeat process until someone misses. I disagreed at first but the more I thought about it the more I kind of understood where he was coming from. I tired to recall a match where one player beat another using more brain/skill than brawn and the best example i could come up with was when Stakhovsy dismantled Federer at Wimbledon a few years ago. Also, if you watch WTA I think his view is more clearly reflected in the womens game. Your thoughts?
 

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Is this just another "subtle" Federer bashing thread or what?

Physicality has become more important but the argument is still ridiculous, running is just fast running, swimming just fast swimming, soccer just kicking a ball etc. Probably only said by someone who has never touched a racket in his life. Haters gonna hate.
 

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Just because one doesnt proclaim undying love for Federer doesn't mean they're a hater or it's a ' lets bash Federer time ' I only mentioned that because I saw that match, I was there and it was the only match that I'd seen myself where there was almost exclusive serve and volley from one player. I happen to like Federer and I hope he plays til he's 40. I wouldnt scoff at the guys opinion just cos I dont agree. I understand his point of view, I didnt buy into 100% but I can see why he would say that and just an aside, I once heard Jimmy Connors say more or less the same thing so his opinion is shared by someone who has actually played the game at a pro level.
 

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or until you hit a winner :p

well today's baseline game is pretty much standard in terms of the physical elements. But that is an oversimplification. There is skill involved in how power and dimension is generated. The professionals who play in the top 100 are really good at what they do.

Here are some components where skill surely have to come in play:

- Accuracy and shot timing (how close to the lines and how often)
- Adjusting to shots of various pace, spins and bounces
- Consistency
- Net play, dropshots and volleys.
- Reactions eg. when returning serve, under pressure.
- Court coverage, footwork and spacing

Power is definitely a useful component, but there are less powerful opponents who can make up for their lack of power with smart player, movement, shot placement and timing. I think one way to understand is the difference between good and poor shot execution. For example, why is Nishikori's two handed BH considered one of the best 2 handed backhands in the game? Racket control is a severely underrated aspect of the game.
 

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Just because one doesnt proclaim undying love for Federer doesn't mean they're a hater or it's a ' lets bash Federer time ' I only mentioned that because I saw that match, I was there and it was the only match that I'd seen myself where there was almost exclusive serve and volley from one player. I happen to like Federer and I hope he plays til he's 40. I wouldnt scoff at the guys opinion just cos I dont agree. I understand his point of view, I didnt buy into 100% but I can see why he would say that and just an aside, I once heard Jimmy Connors say more or less the same thing so his opinion is shared by someone who has actually played the game at a pro level.
Nobody needs to have undying love, I just found it a weird example. If anything Stakhovsky overpowered Federer in a way and Federer on that day (keyword being on that day cause the match would likely have ended in 3 for Federer on most other occassions with Stak employing the same tactics) just didn't have an answer. He did it in an unorthodox style, but that is his style to begin with, not something he invented for the day, and I'm not sure that qualifies as using your brains, which is kind of an undefinable thing anyways.
I'm not hating on Stak either cause it was an excpetional performance for him.

And I do scoff opinions that I just find silly. I guess if you compare tennis now to tennis 40 years ago you could say it's more physical now, but thats a lot more of a nuanced statement than he seemed to make.
 

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Nonsense. No skill required would mean anyone could start playing tennis 10 hours a day and eventually get in the Top 100. Can anyone do that? Not anytime soon.

- Physical effort is not just brainless, it requires a skill too: dozing your effort, otherwise you could start running like Forrest Gump and win Olympic Gold in 2020.
- Hitting a ball with any additional object requires tremendous skill, you're not just hitting randomly, you must place it in precise points in the other court. That doesn't mean that hitting it hard requires no skill because it doesn't look artistic, it requires the skill to hit it just right in order for the ball to land inside the damn court.
- Tennis may not be a contest of precision and speed of the ball anymore, but it's still (perhaps even more than before) dependent on skill: the skill to balance your strokes between speed and precision, to tire your opponent, to psychologically dominate him/her, to win points exactly when it matters, to fool your opponent that he has the control only to win points exactly when the opponent thinks it matters the most, thus demoralizing him.

Tell the old man to stop watching tennis and actually looking and understanding.
 

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Bitter old man that was
 

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I was having a conversation with an old guy recently and he offered the opinion that the only skill in tennis was the way the players were hitting the ball, he went on to say that tennis today is more or less movement and brute force, i.e. movement to the ball and applying brute force
Lol, get to the ball, apply brute force and the ball goes out of the stadium. I guess playing the piano pretty much boils down to approaching the piano and applying force on the keys, no skill needed.
 

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There is hardly any skill in serving (some of the best servers never even make it to pro tennis), but there is skill in tennis overall.
For example watch Nadal-Del Potro at Wimbledon, Nadal won that match with drop shots.
Nadal almost won the 3rd Set of the Djokovic match with drop shots too.
 
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