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Nick Wheatley Marginal Gains: Return Points

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  • klacr
    If you are watching the ball go back and forth you are watching tennis all wrong. Watch a player and watch him from start to finish on an entire point. The ritual, the preparation, the intensity. I love watching players return serve, the grips, the tactics, the decision making. Lots go into the return of serve yet along with maybe the overhead is the least practiced. Funny how we overlook a shot that starts a point for the non-server. It's all about the nuances.

    Great article Nick. really enjoying this whole series. Keep it up.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Delray Beach
    SETS Consulting

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  • nickw
    Thanks very much Stotty, and also for your kind words on my website. I appreciate you taking the time to have a look around it.

    You're so right about what all players can learn from watching the pro players, with a tactical viewpoint. It's something that can so easily be missed, along with all the other key elements such as technique, footwork etc. People are always guilty of just watching the ball when they watch tennis, and in so doing, they miss absolutely everything that could teach them so so much. It was interesting for me the other day, watching some old Sampras vs Agassi matchplay, that I haven't seen for ages, and immediately I was noticing tactical intentions that I'm sure I just didn't pick up when they were actually playing these matches 20-25 years ago. Years of experience makes it so easy to spot things these days, that of course younger people and less experienced players may struggle to see even if they are on the look-out.

    Echo those thoughts about us being able to get back on court, absolutely where we belong! Belgium allowed singles since Monday, and also Guernsey I was reading is now allowing singles and 1-2-1 coaching, so the day is perhaps getting closer.

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  • stotty
    Great article, Nick.

    They did some stats on Djokovic's return one year at Wimbledon and discovered he hit 69% of his returns deep down the middle third of the court, usually erring toward the backhand wing of his his opponent. It's a great ploy of for him. Hitting down the middle is low risk and gets him in the rally where he is better than most, if not better than anyone.

    When Borg used to play Roscoe Tanner he would stand way back behind the baseline, to give himself a ''longer look', as he put it. Roscoe could serve as hard as anyone today. Interestingly against McEnroe, Borg stood in much more. McEnroe didn't serve as heavily as Roscoe but could angle it better. Horses for courses I guess.

    If I had one criticism of Djokovic (sounds ridiculous to criticise I know), it would be that at times I would like to see him go for more on his returns.

    I think Nadal over does it when he stands way back behind the baseline. It was his undoing at Wimbledon against Muller when he lost in 2017.

    There is so much aspiring juniors and club players can take away from watching the world's great players. Okay maybe they have to tone down the dynamics and expectations of their shots a little compared to the pro's but the fundamental tactics remain the same: get the return in as best you can relative to the serve that's coming at you.

    Lovely website, Nick. Warm, friendly and full of knowledge. Let's hope they will lift the lockdown as soon as it is safe to do so and we can get back on court where we belong.
    Last edited by stotty; 05-03-2020, 02:12 AM.

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  • johnyandell
    started a topic Nick Wheatley Marginal Gains: Return Points

    Nick Wheatley Marginal Gains: Return Points

    Let's get your thoughts on Nick Wheatley's article, "Marginal Gains: Return Points"

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