Friday, April 3, 2009

A Little Tennis Nostalgia

While cleaning up my room (yes Mom I DO clean my room from time to time) I came across some tennis matches I had recorded about five years ago. Among them were matches of one of my all-time favorite players, Lindsay Davenport. Davenport has for all intensive purposes retired (she had a kid in 2007 and is pregnant with her second), and played some last year. Anyway, the matches I came across were from 2003-2005 when she was playing some ridiculous tennis, and watching them reminded me of why I love tennis.

Davenport's backhand to me is a thing of beauty, and frankly makes me want to cry (Yes I am that pathetic). She's by far not the most athletic player but her groundstrokes are magnificent. Watching Lindsay Davenport hit a backhand makes me a very happy camper. It's the simple things, no? Many players are more athletic, but as a result rely more on their athleticism than their technique like the Williams Sisters, Kim Clijsters, and to a lessor degree Rafa Nadal. Of the listed players there I think the Williams sisters are the worst offenders. By offenders I don't mean their ability to play, and I can't knock them too much because they've won a ridiculous amount of tournaments. On the flipside you have Roger Federer who relies almost entirely on his technique and acts like a despondent child when it's not good enough to win matches. It's all about balance!

So, having prattled on about that, my thoughts turned to some of my favorite shots and attributes of some of my favorite players:

Lindsay Davenport -- backhand

Steffi Graf -- basically her whole entire game barring her topspin backhand. Her forehand was ridiculous in pace and production, but even better was her footwork which was beautiful!

Pete Sampras -- serve

Serena Williams -- serve, and only her serve, her groundstrokes make my arm hurt her technique is so off.

Jennifer Capriati -- forehand and gumption. She was so good at tracking down balls wide to her forehand that it seemed like her arm extended itself by a foot when she needed to.

Justine Henin -- backhand and nerve.

Rafa Nadal -- intensity and spirit. I'm not really a huge fan of his stroke production, though it's technically sound.

Stefan Edberg -- backhand and volleys. He moved so gracefully as well.

I was fortunate to be able to play some tennis this past weekend, though my play was splotchy at best. What more can I expect though when I've changed racquets and haven't played in four months. I still had fun. I need to get in better shape, haha, though honestly I think some of that was pollen. You could see it puffing up when the ball hit the ground.

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