Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Serena and styles of play

Did you catch Serena's semifinal and final matches in South Carolina over the weekend?  I go back and forth whether I am truly a Serena fan or not due to her attitudes that are, shall we say, questionable at times.  Regardless of that, however, how can you not appreciate her play over the weekend?  To me it was no less than inspirational!  Truly there was nothing her opponents could do.  She was, as the commentators said multiple times, in the zone.  She was playing very worthy opponents - Sam Stosur, who beat her in the U.S. Open final, and Lucie Safarova, who had a double bagel win in the semis.  Yet it seemed that everything was working for Serena as she hit one winner after the other.

The purpose of this post isn't to talk about whether Serena will stay in this form and go on to win the French Open, though feel free to comment on that.  What it makes me think more about is what type of tennis player I want to be.  I watch a LOT of tennis, so when I go on court myself I see in my mind some of what I have been watching, and every once in a while some of those shots actually work!  In the women's game there is a big extreme in styles of player.  On one extreme there is Caroline Wozniacki, who plays a mainly defensive game, often from way behind the baseline, getting lots of balls back and usually waiting for her opponent to make an error rather than creating winners herself, yet also often watching the ball whiz past her as her competitor takes advantage of the opportunities to be aggressive.  On the opposite extreme are players like Serena or Maria Sharapova who are creating their game by aggressive play, hitting many winners and willing to put up often with a few more errors.  I would say I used to be more like a Wozniacki.  As my game has progressed however (mind you, I'm not very good, just someone having fun playing at the club), I have found that I really enjoy hitting the ball hard, looking for my opportunities, and trying to create aggressive play.  And when it's working - occasionally I might be in "the zone" for a set - it can really become rather addicting!

So I guess my encouragement for myself and anyone who might read this is to watch what the pros do, find the style that you would like to work towards, and go for it!  What a great sport tennis is, both to watch and to play.  Enjoy!

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