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I haven't watched much tennis this year, but one player I've managed to catch a lot of is Kei Nishikori. He certainly seems to be playing more offensively this year, playing much closer to the baseline. Last year, he was camped very deep, and was getting bullied by his competitors. His recent results suggest that something in his game is improving, though it could just be the influence of Michael Chang. I was very critical of the defensive approach to tennis that he used last year, and perhaps I was wrong to be. He is certainly more enjoyable to watch nowadays.

Are there any other examples of players who have embarked on this season with a different tactical approach? Any differences in how any players are playing? Doesn't matter how subtle they are.

:)
 

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Djokovic has rediscovered his BH DTL. Federer working more on his net game, should be interesting at Wimbledon. Nadal added a few more RPM to his moonballs. Gulbis tactically fixed his brain. Dimitrov tactically turned into a defensive pusher.

Hm what else
 

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Fossil upped his mid match retirements to preserve his real W/L record.
 

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Nishikori seems to have improved his backhand, I think. Federer is making way less errors although I suppose that's not a tactical thing. Nadal is playing more defensively compared to the North American hard court season, but that might just be surface adaptation. Raonic has improved his ground game. Everyone's coming to the net more.
 

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What :lol:?

It's exactly the opposite; Nishikori was far more aggressive last year, to the point of recklessness often spraying 50+ UE in 3 set matches. What has improved this year under Chang is that he's choosing when to pull trigger and when to simply stay in the rally much better, he's playing with more control and no longer leaking UEs hence the improved results/level of play. He's playing much smarter, a few times he did revert to swinging for the fences but that was because of physical problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What :lol:?

It's exactly the opposite; Nishikori was far more aggressive last year, to the point of recklessness often spraying 50+ UE in 3 set matches. What has improved this year under Chang is that he's choosing when to pull trigger and when to simply stay in the rally much better, he's playing with more control and no longer leaking UEs hence the improved results/level of play. He's playing much smarter, a few times he did revert to swinging for the fences but that was because of physical problems.
I completely disagree. First of all, him hitting more unforced errors last year doesn't necessarily mean he was more offensive. You can be offensive in a way which does not involve hitting the ball harder or closer to the lines, and that is to assume a position closer to the baseline in anticipation of dictating points. Last year, Nishikori was being bullied by the likes of Ferrer and Seppi, with a constant pattern being that they would continuously play Nishikori from side to side, and ultimately he would have to attempt a ridiculous winner, which is probably where plenty of those unforced errors came from. This year, he seemed to be on top in the rallies when he met Ferrer.
 

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I completely disagree. First of all, him hitting more unforced errors last year doesn't necessarily mean he was more offensive. You can be offensive in a way which does not involve hitting the ball harder or closer to the lines, and that is to assume a position closer to the baseline in anticipation of dictating points. Last year, Nishikori was being bullied by the likes of Ferrer and Seppi, with a constant pattern being that they would continuously play Nishikori from side to side, and ultimately he would have to attempt a ridiculous winner, which is probably where plenty of those unforced errors came from. This year, he seemed to be on top in the rallies when he met Ferrer.
Lenders is right here, the diffrence from last year is that he's having a better shot selection, pulling the trigger in better moments, thus resulting with more winners. And no, last year the pattern wasnt that he was being bullied around (especially by the likes of Ferrer and Seppi), it was just him not being consistant enough, missing way too many shots he shouldnt be missing.
 

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I completely disagree. First of all, him hitting more unforced errors last year doesn't necessarily mean he was more offensive. You can be offensive in a way which does not involve hitting the ball harder or closer to the lines, and that is to assume a position closer to the baseline in anticipation of dictating points. Last year, Nishikori was being bullied by the likes of Ferrer and Seppi, with a constant pattern being that they would continuously play Nishikori from side to side, and ultimately he would have to attempt a ridiculous winner, which is probably where plenty of those unforced errors came from. This year, he seemed to be on top in the rallies when he met Ferrer.
I agree, he is dictating play more.
 

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Lenders is right here, the diffrence from last year is that he's having a better shot selection, pulling the trigger in better moments, thus resulting with more winners. And no, last year the pattern wasnt that he was being bullied around (especially by the likes of Ferrer and Seppi), it was just him not being consistant enough, missing way too many shots he shouldnt be missing.
Good to see someone was paying attention last year; it was a very difficult year for him, especially in the second half of the year where he was very low on confidence and insisting on going for outrageous shots early in rallies thus resulting in error after error - and a loss of confidence that made him miss even the easiest shots. Under Chang, he has finally found the right formula; Chang himself mentioned in an interview that what he worked with Nishikori mostly was attacking pattern involving many shots and I think it paid off. Now Kei has not only the flashy shotmaking but the ability to stay in rallies and know when to pull to trigger, now finally we can say that if he plays well he has a chance to beat anyone on tour.

I completely disagree. First of all, him hitting more unforced errors last year doesn't necessarily mean he was more offensive. You can be offensive in a way which does not involve hitting the ball harder or closer to the lines, and that is to assume a position closer to the baseline in anticipation of dictating points. Last year, Nishikori was being bullied by the likes of Ferrer and Seppi, with a constant pattern being that they would continuously play Nishikori from side to side, and ultimately he would have to attempt a ridiculous winner, which is probably where plenty of those unforced errors came from. This year, he seemed to be on top in the rallies when he met Ferrer.
Uh? Very few players can bully Nishikori around on a tennis court, Ferrer and Seppi are definitely not among those, they beat Kei last year by outlasting him in rallies and being more consistent. I do agree that last year he wasn't 'on top of rallies' though, he wasn't in control at all, but rather playing very low % shots and attempting outrageous winners every time he was on the defensive instead of trying to work his way back into the point.

This year, he looks more in on top of rallies against Ferrer because he's actually moving Ferrer from side to side or pinning him down on his BH corner to make space for a winner or provoke an error instead of just brainlessly trying to hit through his defense. He's actually looking to dictate the points instead of simply finishing them. I agree he's much better to watch this year, just for different reasons; in no match last year was he 'camped behind the baseline' at all.
 

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Murray has chosen to play more agressively, he's changed his string tension apparently since Madrid to increase power
 

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Nishikori is definitely more aggressive this year, no question in my mind. Murray has certainly been so as well this week, though that may be temporary. Gulbis is slicing the forehand quite a bit this year. Nadal seems more defensive. Karlovic coming to the net a lot less on clay. Stepanek also hanging around the baseline a lot more.
 

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Nadal seems a lot more defensive than the US Open Swing.
Djokovic is rushing the net more, but has not been consistently successful until a little bit recent.
Wawrinka seemed to have hit the ball much harder and has been either a big threat, or being a big liability, especially if he's not playing well on the day.
Federer has been playing well on the net more during the Hard season.
Ferrer seems to be trying to be more patient against Djokovic/Nadal recently and his BHDTL seems to be improving.
Raonic seems to have a better Clay game and his groundstrokes are now more consistent.
Nishikori seems to be a little more aggressive now and more potent.
Not sure about the other Top 10ers and other players though.
 

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Djokovic has rediscovered his BH DTL. Federer working more on his net game, should be interesting at Wimbledon. Nadal added a few more RPM to his moonballs. Gulbis tactically fixed his brain. Dimitrov tactically turned into a defensive pusher.

Hm what else
Novak is also going to the net more :)
 

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The only obvious change is that Wawrnika becomes a servebot who also has an above average baseline game.
 

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- Dimitrov goes for ATP Hot Shots
- Haas tries to pass Tipsarevic as the retirement legend
- Janowicz changed from very little tactics to none
- Youzhny is trying to get rid of being seeded
 

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Nadal serving worse
Federer more aggressive, serving well
Djokovic coming to net, more aggressive when facing Nadal
Golubev rising
Murray not skipping clay season
 

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Nadal serving worse
Federer more aggressive, serving well
Djokovic coming to net, more aggressive when facing Nadal
Golubev rising
Murray not skipping clay season
Serving worse isn't a tactic
 
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