Have you ever been annoyingly reminded repeatedly to drop a bad habit of yours by a tennis coach or any other self-righteous tennis player? Have you found yourself struggling to attain a certain kind of playing style or technique deemed correct for months and then reverting back to your natural style? Well, if either/both of these situations apply to you, you do not have to worry. This article is written specifically to avail you of any anxieties of yours stemming from such situations. Here are the top 3 ATP player of ours who made it to the top despite at least one obvious serious fundamental flaw to their game.
Alexandr Dolgopolov is not just an unorthodox player in style, he is very much unorthodox in substance too. That did not prevent him from reaching the 2011 Australian Open quarterfinals and reaching his career high of world number 13 in 2012. He is technically flawed on both sides of the swing. For his backhand, he very much uses only his arm to propel the ball forward, with the arms guiding his legs. This contrasts with the standard backhand, which entails the moving of the lower body in conjunction with the arms, such that the power comes mainly from the lower body. On his forehand side too Dolgopolov starts his swing from high to low. This is again contrasting with the proper way of hitting (which is the obverse of what he is doing - it is supposed to be a swing from low to high). As such, instead of relying mainly on his lower body like most other players, he relies on more accurate racket timing and quicker racket preparations to generate the necessary speed and weight on the ball.
Given his reaching of 2 grand slam singles semifinals, 3 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament finals, and the attainment of a career highest ranking of world number of six, no one will really believe that Monfil is 'plagued' by one major technical flaw. If you observe more carefully Monfils' forehands, you will notice that unlike the normal tennis player, Monfils does not have a follow-through (or rather, he has a really really abrupt one). A more normal player who tries such a stunt will realize that he cannot propel the ball adequately far enough with the usual amount of effort he has been putting into his shots all along. How does Monfils pull it off? He has extremely strong upper body muscles mainly, despite his lean body structure. He is after all rumoured to have hit the fastest forehand ever recorded.
This one may come rather surprisingly to most of you reading this. Yes, to be fair. Nadal's forehand is rather unconventional given its grip and the radicalness of it. Few people realize however about the theoretical unsoundness of Nadal's forehand technique. Conventional tennis wisdom dictates that one should follow through the ball in a lateral motion, to give the ball weight and penetration. An around-the-shoulder is only to be used in the most pressing of moments when the normal stroke cannot be possibly executed. Such wisdom holds that this around-the-shoulder produces weak high-bouncing shots which could be given the kill easily by the opponent receiving it. Yet, Nadal embraces such deficiency and became the world's second greatest tennis player ever in the process. How does someone pull off what Nadal has been doing, be strong in the way that Nadal is strong.
Final analysis: Such technical deficiencies are indeed drawbacks, that can only be overcome by some offsetting strength. As much as it may seem like so, we are not arguing that such traits conventionally deemed as 'deficiencies' are not really deficiencies in fact.
Rovo is an app that connects you with other sports players nearby. It takes the hassle out of coordinating timings and matching others of the same skill level so you can #playmore!
Get the latest versions of the app here