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The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
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Clay Death Offline
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The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
the myth of the first strike tennis seems almost enduring by now but does it really work?

exactly who are the players that are playing first strike tennis and how good and how consistent are they?


what about nole, roger andy, nadal, and ferru?

they are top 5 in the game but are they really playing first strike tennis to achieve their results?

of these 5 only roger can be said to employ first strike tennis against players like nadal and nole. but that could quite possibly be because he knows he cannot engage them in brutal baseline rallies.

or it could be that he is just more assault oriented than the others. he does describe his game as more high risk when comparing it to that of nadal which is high percentage tennis.

on the other side of the ledger, nole said he was not patient enough against andy at Wimbledon.



lets take a moment to revisit first strike tennis. does it really work?


who is using it? are they achieving great results with it?

the whole idea of first strike tennis suggests to me that you don't have to be consistent. you just swing for the damn fences right from get go. and then if you are on, you end up with a match win of your life against a top player.

and if you are not consistent enough today then you are just not winning masters events and the slams. in fact you are probably just not winning much consistently even at mickey mouse events with first strike tennis.

what is your own take on this?

was first strike tennis oversold on the tele by these so called expert broadcasters?


you have the floor sports fans. have at it and have fun.


Big SmileBig SmileBig Smile

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(This post was last modified: 23-Aug-2013 09:54 PM by Clay Death.)
23-Aug-2013 09:08 PM
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1972Murat Offline
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RE: The Myth First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
First strike tennis pretty much died when serve and volley died. Roger is pretty much the last of his kind because he actually played serve and volley at the beginning of his career, for a good 4-5 years. Now, you construct a point, slooooowly, look for an opening , not to go to the net mind you, but to have a short ball so you can just kill it. Roger tries to do it quicker than the others, that's all. Edberg, Rafter, Pete, JMac...I guess you could call them first strike players. To me the term does not mean much. It means more attacking tennis...or maybe playing on your own terms...Guys like Rafter used to RETURN and rush to the net...a play you probably will never see again. Today's top guys' motto is, defend until your opponent makes the error...or something close to it...or maybe it is a tad harsh.

23-Aug-2013 10:01 PM
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Clay Death Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
excellent post general murat.



johnny mac was perhaps the pioneer of first strike tennis.



in the last few years press/media has continued to oversell first strike tennis.

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23-Aug-2013 10:08 PM
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atttomole Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
Similar topics have been discussed before, and most experts have pointed to racket technology as one of the reasons for the death of first strike tennis. Another being the slowing down of surfaces. As Murat said, Federer is the most offensive of the current players. There are times I have seen other players being offensive too; for example Nadal has been hitting forehand winners from the baseline in Montreal and Cinci, and I have been impressed. He has done that in the past sometimes. Nadal does play offensive tennis well when he wants to, or when he has to.
23-Aug-2013 10:15 PM
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Clay Death Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
how can the racquet technology affect or inhibit first strike tennis?


one would think that it can enhance it.


lot of guys can blast serves in excess of 130 mph for instance. that tends to or would produce weaker replies. and then pouncing on those weak replies is what is called first strike tennis.

somebody here said that ryan Harrison hit a serve at 141 mph 2 weeks ago.



translation: serve is the very first place you can put your first strike tennis in action.

they are all serving pretty big these days.

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(This post was last modified: 24-Aug-2013 12:38 AM by Clay Death.)
23-Aug-2013 10:21 PM
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Clay Death Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
a related question: if you believe in first strike tennis then what does it exactly mean to you?

and how can you benefit from it? how can you make it work for you?

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24-Aug-2013 12:39 AM
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1972Murat Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
(24-Aug-2013 12:39 AM)Clay Death Wrote:  a related question: if you believe in first strike tennis then what does it exactly mean to you?

and how can you benefit from it? how can you make it work for you?


I believe..it means playing on YOUR terms. Attack more and earlier. It is sexier.
How can you benefit? Look at Roger...quicker points,relatively injury free and longer career. The guys who constantly play 30 shot rallies and care more about defending will inevitably have health issues, but I may be wrong... Time will show.

24-Aug-2013 06:47 AM
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DarthFed Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
(23-Aug-2013 10:01 PM)1972Murat Wrote:  First strike tennis pretty much died when serve and volley died. Roger is pretty much the last of his kind because he actually played serve and volley at the beginning of his career, for a good 4-5 years. Now, you construct a point, slooooowly, look for an opening , not to go to the net mind you, but to have a short ball so you can just kill it. Roger tries to do it quicker than the others, that's all. Edberg, Rafter, Pete, JMac...I guess you could call them first strike players. To me the term does not mean much. It means more attacking tennis...or maybe playing on your own terms...Guys like Rafter used to RETURN and rush to the net...a play you probably will never see again. Today's top guys' motto is, defend until your opponent makes the error...or something close to it...or maybe it is a tad harsh.

Excellent post. I think the idea of first strike tennis has changed from prior eras. First strike tennis was serve and volley and on the return it was chip the return and rush the net.

First strike tennis today is returning aggressively and attacking the first neutral ball you get instead of patiently waiting for an error or weak reply.
24-Aug-2013 08:59 AM
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Clay Death Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
(24-Aug-2013 06:47 AM)1972Murat Wrote:  
(24-Aug-2013 12:39 AM)Clay Death Wrote:  a related question: if you believe in first strike tennis then what does it exactly mean to you?

and how can you benefit from it? how can you make it work for you?


I believe..it means playing on YOUR terms. Attack more and earlier. It is sexier.
How can you benefit? Look at Roger...quicker points,relatively injury free and longer career. The guys who constantly play 30 shot rallies and care more about defending will inevitably have health issues, but I may be wrong... Time will show.


that is a great point.



I think it worked for roger the best for a number of reasons:

he had such a complete game

he also played the game so easily.

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(This post was last modified: 24-Aug-2013 09:40 AM by Clay Death.)
24-Aug-2013 09:03 AM
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Broken_Shoelace Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
Pretty much every top player relies on a 1-2 punch of a well-placed serve, followed by an authoritative forehand. Just because the point may not end immediately after a couple of shots doesn't mean the concept is dead.
24-Aug-2013 09:50 AM
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Riotbeard (08-24-2013)
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
(24-Aug-2013 09:50 AM)Broken_Shoelace Wrote:  Pretty much every top player relies on a 1-2 punch of a well-placed serve, followed by an authoritative forehand. Just because the point may not end immediately after a couple of shots doesn't mean the concept is dead.

It's also worth noting that the changes that have gotten Andy to winning majors all have to do with him being more aggressive, particularly with the forehand. I don't think we are gonna see pure "first strike tennis" again, but there are a lot of players who need to be more aggressive with their shots. When Nadal beats Novak, it is almost always because he plays more aggressive than his instincts would have him play.

So it short I don't think it's a myth, but we need to reconfigure what aggressive means in this era. It goes without saying that defense will only get you so far against the best guys.
24-Aug-2013 12:52 PM
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Clay Death Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
opportunities for first strike tennis exist with a return of serve also.

especially on the 2nd serve.

you know the ball has to land in the box.

that is as short a ball as you will see.

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24-Aug-2013 01:48 PM
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atttomole Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
(24-Aug-2013 09:50 AM)Broken_Shoelace Wrote:  Pretty much every top player relies on a 1-2 punch of a well-placed serve, followed by an authoritative forehand. Just because the point may not end immediately after a couple of shots doesn't mean the concept is dead.

Exactly. That was what I was trying to say earlier above. The points may be more than two shorts long, but current players can hit powerful forehand winners from the baseline whenever they have the opportunity.
24-Aug-2013 08:44 PM
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Clay Death Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
good discussion sports fans.

no telling where it will take us.

so there are varying degrees of first strike tennis.

it does not simply have to be just swing for the fences right from get go.


the objective is to pull the trigger but you don't have to close your eyes and just pull it every chance you get.


you pick and choose your spots.

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24-Aug-2013 08:57 PM
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Haelfix Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
The pure american one two punch has sort of died out as a real effective form of winning points. The last player to really play that way was Marc Philipoussis. Even Roger uses the serve + forehand as more of a set up, and he doesn't necessarily go for the pure winner each time.

The racquet tech has hurt it, b/c players like Nole and Rafa are constantly able to reset points, even when they are stretched wide on the run, yet can return very deep neutralizing balls. Ditto on the return of serve (if you watch old youtubes of 90s matches watch how many ros simply lead to wide open sitters in the middle of the court)

The courts slowing down have hurt it. In particular at Wimbledon and the USO, where the tactic really was effective. Slower pace means that its easier for defenders to catch up to them, and alternatively it means having to hit harder in order to generate a winner (which leads to more UEs).

The ball changes have also hurt it. It's much easier to first strike when you have relatively low bouncing, dead balls that skid and penetrate off flat strokes. If the ball bounces too high, the opponent has an easier time of either hitting a passing shot (if you are net rushing) or brushing it back deep.

Now, many players will still pounce on easy sitters, and well everyone can do that. But the players who would literally go for broke even on long balls has mostly dissappeared.
26-Aug-2013 03:13 PM
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Luxilon Borg Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
(23-Aug-2013 09:08 PM)Clay Death Wrote:  the myth of the first strike tennis seems almost enduring by now but does it really work?

exactly who are the players that are playing first strike tennis and how good and how consistent are they?


what about nole, roger andy, nadal, and ferru?

they are top 5 in the game but are they really playing first strike tennis to achieve their results?

of these 5 only roger can be said to employ first strike tennis against players like nadal and nole. but that could quite possibly be because he knows he cannot engage them in brutal baseline rallies.

or it could be that he is just more assault oriented than the others. he does describe his game as more high risk when comparing it to that of nadal which is high percentage tennis.

on the other side of the ledger, nole said he was not patient enough against andy at Wimbledon.



lets take a moment to revisit first strike tennis. does it really work?


who is using it? are they achieving great results with it?

the whole idea of first strike tennis suggests to me that you don't have to be consistent. you just swing for the damn fences right from get go. and then if you are on, you end up with a match win of your life against a top player.

and if you are not consistent enough today then you are just not winning masters events and the slams. in fact you are probably just not winning much consistently even at mickey mouse events with first strike tennis.

what is your own take on this?

was first strike tennis oversold on the tele by these so called expert broadcasters?


you have the floor sports fans. have at it and have fun.


Big SmileBig SmileBig Smile

Yes, it DID work for generations. Players like Becker, Mac, Henman, Goran, Agassi, and most notably Sampras, had major weapons and the gift of total belief.

Today, it works less so, due to the amazing movement, physicality, and defense of todays players.

Murray is the first player I can remember that won a hard court slam playing defense since Wilander in 88.
26-Aug-2013 03:52 PM
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Clay Death Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
hitting deep consistently off both wings, getting every damn ball back on the return of serve, and waiting for your opportunities to pull the trigger is offensive enough if done right.

that is also a form of first strike tennis:

you just wait for the first strike.


the FIRST short ball you get, you STRIKE and go for the kill.

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26-Aug-2013 05:39 PM
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the AntiPusher Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
(26-Aug-2013 05:39 PM)Clay Death Wrote:  hitting deep consistently off both wings, getting every damn ball back on the return of serve, and waiting for your opportunities to pull the trigger is offensive enough if done right.

that is also a form of first strike tennis:

you just wait for the first strike.


the FIRST short ball you get, you STRIKE and go for the kill.

Google or Wikipedia James Blake tennis player , His entire career was 1st strike tennis
26-Aug-2013 05:57 PM
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Clay Death Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
that is why he never won anything of any significance.

he practiced first strike tennis to an extreme:

a. blast the hell out of the ball.

b. and if it comes back, close your eyes and blast it back even harder.


in at least 10 of his title wins, he never had to face anybody ranked higher than #30.

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(This post was last modified: 26-Aug-2013 10:47 PM by Clay Death.)
26-Aug-2013 10:45 PM
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johnsteinbeck Offline
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RE: The Enduring Myth of First Strike Tennis : Does It Really Work
for fans of that approach - Fed and Zemlja did pretty much that. after two thirds through the first set, the longest rallye was four shots.
27-Aug-2013 04:09 PM
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