From the Author

From the Author

Insights from Paul on his new book, "Fein Points of Tennis, Techniques & Tactics to Unleash Your Talent"

Lessons from First-Round Matches at the Australian Open

“Don't forget about practicing service returns. This is one stroke that hardly anybody in tennis practices enough, and yet you hit it almost as often as you hit a serve.” — Roy Emerson, from the 1976 instruction book, Tennis for the Bloody Fun of It

More singles matches are played in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament, 64, than in the combined six remaining rounds. So there was a lot to watch and learn from—both from the winners and losers.

Tennis Is A Game of Chess — Do You Play Checkers?

“Never allow a player to play the game he prefers if you can possibly force him to play any other. Never give a player a shot he likes to play.” 
— Bill Tilden’s authoritative and time-tested advice. From his 1925 classic, Match Play and the Spin of the Ball
 
Let the tennis season begin! For the men, 2022 began with a big event, the ATP Cup; and for the women, smaller tune-up tournaments for the Australian Open.
 
One of the most intriguing ATP Cup matches pitted 5’7” Argentine Diego Schwartzman against 6’4” Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. Three years ago, Tsitsipas, then 20, enjoyed a breakthrough tournament at the Aussie Open when he out-volleyed defending champion and superstar Roger Federer to make the semis.

Do You Enjoy Other Sports Besides Tennis?

Do you enjoy other sports besides tennis? I live in Massachusetts and playing tennis almost every day isn’t feasible in the winter. So I’ve added indoor basketball and ping-pong to my sporting life. Both sports are a lot of fun, but they also help my tennis, in addition to staying in good physical condition. Both are fast-paced, moving-ball sports that enhance hand-eye coordination and several other abilities and skills required in tennis.

You Can Learn a Lot from Watching the Pros

In no other sport are the strategic possibilities so numerous, the ways to outwit your opponent so rich and varied within the accepted sportsmanlike bounds.”
– Sarah Palfrey, a clever strategist who captured 18 Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles from 1930 to 1945. From her 1968 book, Tennis for Anyone!
 
Sixty years ago, FCC Chairman Newton N. Minow, in a famous speech to a conference of broadcasters, called television “a vast wasteland.” That’s certainly not true of tennis on TV.
 
I find watching the December re-runs of big 2021 matches on Tennis Channel interesting, enjoyable, and instructive. For example, No. 1 Ash Barty’s 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 victory over Karolina Pliskova in the Wimbledon final treated tennis fans to a clash between players with contrasting playing styles, physiques, levels of athleticism, and mental games.

Bigger is better...

Bigger is better. Height makes might. The good big man beats the good little man. More than ever, these maxims apply to pro tennis today. Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, both 6’6” tall, look likely to dethrone Novak Djokovic in 2022 or 2023. In the US Open final, No. 2-ranked Medvedev foiled Djokovic’s bid for a Grand Slam, while Zverev captured the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics and overpowered Medvedev in the final of the ATP Finals.

Recharge your Tennis Batteries

If you take a complete break from tennis during the holiday season, play less frequently, or don’t compete either in league matches or tournaments, the break will help you in several ways. It will give your injuries vital time to heal. And it will recharge your tennis batteries. When you resume play, you’ll be fired up.

Does Djokovic Have the Perfect Game?

The title of the last chapter of The Fein Points of Tennis asks a thought-proving question: "Does Djokovic Have the Perfect Game?"  I focused on Novak's technique and concluded it's near-perfect with only one relatively minor flaw, his slice backhand. 

I wanted you and other readers to finish the book thinking about the great importance of technique, which was the first chapter's title. In the US Open final and the first set of the recent Paris Masters final, Novak learned that even great technique is not enough if your opponent has better tactics.