Wimbledon 2012: Keys to Claiming Glory Part 1-- Getting to Net
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Unfortunately for tennis traditionalists, the ubiquitous nature of the serve and volley is no longer present---the modernity of the current game has yielded increased predication of a grass court game based increasingly on ground-strokes.
With all of this said, those players who are able to effectively garner opportunities to move forward and place their opponents in positions of trouble are adding an additional element by which they can end points.
For big hitters like Tsonga, Del Potro, and Berdych, the impact of their already powerful ground-strokes will be amplified by the swift moving grass surface.
Their propensity to penetrate the court will be much higher than if it was at Roland Garros. And considering Tsonga and Del Potro were on the verge of taking out Djokovic and Federer respectively on a slower surface, their chances of taking out one of the big guns will increase on grass.
If someone like Tsonga is able to not only become a bludgeoning presence from the baseline but is able to introduce variety by getting to net, his level of play is being readily enhanced.
Due to the fact that the grass courts at Wimbledon have slowed down in recent years, the serve and volley has become less effective and as a result less used. Looking back to the classic Sampras-Federer matchup from 2001, the serve and volley was the staple of both men's games. But, now, as the Spanish would say, "no mas."
But if the guys at the top of the game can learn from a Michael Llodra, Lukasz Kubot, or Ivo Karlovic and mix in some serve and volley into their games, it will undoubtedly do them wonders.
At this very moment in time, I think arguments can be made for any of the "Big Four" to take down the crown at Wimbledon. But in a sport where the tide can change based off the outcome of several points, gaining those critical inches is key. And adding this component of net play may be the key to unlocking success.
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