- Instruction Bryan FactorBob and Mike Bryan, who beat Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-4, 7-6 (2) last Saturday, to capture the Olympic doubles gold medal last for the first time, are playing some of their best tennis at the ages of 34 and show no signs of slowing down. Renowned coach Paul Annacone reveals three reasons why.

“The best doubles teams consist of players whose skills balance each other and who know their role in the duo,” Annacone says. “Bob and Mike Bryan are good examples of this—Mike is a little more steady and solid, while Bob, who has a big lefty serve and a stronger forehand, is the more explosive of the two. These differences aren’t huge, but they allow the brothers to help each other out during points. Another thing to consider in pairing up is personality— fiery players often work well with calmer types.”

“Good doubles players like Mike and Bob understand that a big part of success in the two-on-two game is a willingness to select shots that will play to their partners’ strengths. For those accustomed to singles, that can be a challenge. You should also look at the sides of the court from which you and your partner return serve. Because six of the eight game-winning points—40-0, 0-40, 40-30, 30-40, ad-in and ad-out—are served to the ad side, the steadier player, and not necessarily the player with the best backhand, should return from that position. You’ll put more returns back into play in the long run, which should translate to more breaks of serve.”

“The Bryans talk before and after every point to set up plays. The basic information you should communicate to your partner is where you plan to put your serve or your return, and what you want your partner to do after that. You might say, ‘I’m going to serve up the middle, and you cross,’ or, ‘Hit the return at the net person and I’ll lean toward the middle.’ The Bryans also communicate enthusiasm well. They bring great energy to the court and always help each other stay positive. You’ll rarely see one of them grimace when the other makes a mistake. Nor will you see either of them express displeasure with the way the other is playing.”

Originally published in the November/December 2011 issue of TENNIS.

]]>, 10 Aug 2012 10:00:00 GMT
Sharapova out of Montreal with stomach virus

On Tuesday in her pre-tournament press conference, Sharapova said she hadn't lost hope after her quick loss to Serena. The world No. 2 hasn't beaten Williams since 2004 and had only won nine games in their past three contests.

"If I sat here and thought there was nothing I could do, that would probably be very disappointing," Sharapova said. "It will motivate me to keep going and keep practicing. There are certainly things I could have done better but she was playing really good tennis."
— Matt Cronin

]]>, 08 Aug 2012 13:23:00 GMT
Raonic sees big opportunity in Toronto

]]>, 07 Aug 2012 15:03:00 GMT
Jankovic: 'I prefer the complicated moments'Former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, who is 6-10 since the tournament in Stuttgart in April and has not won a title in two-and-a-half years, heavily criticizes herself after failing to covert two match points in her three-hour and 13-minute loss to Yung-Jan Chan. 6-7 (4), 7-6 (8), 7-5, in Carlsbad.

"I was thinking, 'She's tired. She cannot walk any more. She's dead because of the sun,'" said Jankovic, who was up 3-1 in the second set before Chan took a medical timeout and won the next four games. "We'd been playing a lot. Then I slowed down my arm. I didn't accelerate. I wasn't bending. I was making errors right off the first or second shot. I didn't make her work for anything. So I kind of, 'Here you go, a couple games.' Like, 'Let's play again, because I don't need this lead.' I prefer the complicated moments. That's the way it went. Now I can be a little sarcastic, but really I'm frustrated. I'm disappointed. When you have something in your control and it's all up to you and then you just do to the wrong way, I mean—and all the credit of course to her."

]]>, 21 Jul 2012 09:44:00 GMT
Court of Appeals: Out of Bounds?My partner hit a short cross-court shot. Our opponent charged in and, while hitting a winner, his momentum carried him well onto our side of the court but outside the sideline. Can he do that?—Rick Winkel, Denver, CO

He sure can. Rule 24, Case 4, is specifcally on point: "Does a player lose the point if an imaginary line in the extension of the net is crossed ... after hitting the ball? The player does not lose the point ... provided the player does not touch the opponent's court."

Except where noted, answers are based on the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA's The Code.

Got a question? Email it to:

]]>, 19 Jul 2012 14:31:00 GMT
Court of Appeals: Lucky BounceMy return hit the net cord, popped directly up, hit the net cord again and then dropped on my opponent's side of the net. He couldn't return it. Was this a winner?—Karyn Theis, Fairfax, VA

Sounds like a perfect shot. Rule 25 says that your return is good if "The ball touches the net, net posts/singles sticks, cord or metal cable, strap or band, provided that it passes over any of them and hits the ground on the correct court." It makes no difference how many times it touches the net. Oh, and keep practicing that shot!

Except where noted, answers are based on the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA's The Code.

Got a question? Email it to:

]]>, 18 Jul 2012 10:00:00 GMT
Court of Appeals: Stop, Shrieker!In a USTA 4.0 league doubles match, one of our opponents grunted or shreiked loudly on most of her hits. When we changed ends, I politely asked her to top since this was distracting me. She told me she could make as much noise as she wanted and said I could protest after the match. We won anyway. Was I correct in requesting her to stop? What does one do if the opponent refuses to cooperate or follow the rules when there is no official present?—Sheron Landis, Sacramento, CA

You have raised two separate issues: How do you stop excessive grunting by an opponent, and what do you do when you have no official to resolve disputes? When there is no official present or available, your only recourse is diplomacy. The Code, Item 37, says, "A player should avoid grunting and making other loud noises" (Comment IV, D-16, also addresses the issue). The penalty can be loss of point for a hindrance. So you can ask them to stop, as you did. Unfortunately for you, both cases require an official to impose the penalty. Without access to one, and in the face of an incorrigible grunter, your only recourse would appear to be earplugs.

Except where noted, answers are based on the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA's The Code.

Got a question? Email it to:

]]>, 17 Jul 2012 08:00:00 GMT
Vera Zvonareva’s Running Forehand]]>, 12 Jul 2012 14:00:00 GMTSabine Lisicki’s Serve]]>, 12 Jul 2012 14:00:00 GMTAlexandr Dolgopolov’s Sidespin Backhand]]>, 10 Jul 2012 14:15:00 GMTNick Bollettieri's Top 10 Tips]]>, 25 Apr 2012 16:00:00 GMTThe Six Most Underrated Shots In Tennis]]>, 17 Apr 2012 10:00:00 GMTHow to ... Get Out of Deep Trouble, 04 Apr 2012 13:30:00 GMTTotal Control: Quick Tip

There will be many moments in matches where you instantly go from being in control to being out of control. A common problem occurs when your opponent disrupts a rally you’re controlling by hitting a shot behind you, causing you to change directions quickly. Here’s what you do.

1) Stop, keep your balance and push off your outside foot to get your body moving in the opposite direction with a crossover step. Then start your movement depending on how far away the ball is.

2) As you start your movement, you must also start your swing pattern. Have your racquet back and in position to swing once you’ve reached the ball.

3) Don’t hit a short defensive ball. Try to hit a deep topspin shot or even a deep slice. This will give you a chance to recover for the next ball.

Originally published in the March 2012 issue of TENNIS.

]]>, 21 Mar 2012 00:00:00 GMT
How to ... Hit a Slice Serve Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE