Rohan Bopanna Baseline game

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Defender
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Rohan Bopanna Baseline game

Post by Defender » Sat Jan 18, 2003 5:40 pm

I was struck by the news reports about RB stuck in the baseline against Mankad and that when Bopanna did venture to the net he won just a few points. RB by accounts seems to have a world-class serve, if there is such a thing, but one would think his type of game would be more suited to playing at the net instead of the baseline. Perhaps Mankad dictated the terms of that particular match. It seems RB has many of the tools, but lacks either top-notch coaching or the experience to take it to another level.

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Rohan Bopanna Baseline game

Post by jayakris » Sat Jan 18, 2003 8:08 pm

I don't know if it was Mankad pinning him back or because Rohan decided on that as the strategy. Doesn't matter. I am glad that he did it. Needs to do more of that. His serve and volley skills are not in doubt. He can trade serves with the best in the business (we are beginning to hear things like "one of the best serves in Asia", etc). Serve and volley hardly wins these days on the tour. If you have that as the weapon to pull out at the right time, you can really go places. You need the groundies and baseline game or you are toast in the tour now. However good you are, the guys know how to stay behind and pass you at the net. It is even tougher against guys like Mankad who hit the ball on the rise.

Coaching is also probably not much of an issue. He probably has one of the best ones in India advising him - Bhupathi Sr. He also has Srinath, not at all a serve and volleyer, as a traveling coach for some events. What he needs is to improve by playing a lot of matches against baseliners. I also hear that he needs to improve court movement, footwork etc. Some of it can be developed.

Don't forget, Bopanna is truly a late bloomer. He played all of some 10-15 matches in the junior circuit, not getting too far, as he started on tennis itself only after he was 10 or something, coming from Kodagu, a rural part of Karnataka. Effectively he has only been playing tennis for 3-4 years. Has been taking steps up and up in the last 18 months. May need about that much more in the challenger level before he is ready for ATP level matches. Hopefully by the time he turns 24 he will be ready for all that. This will be fun, to follow him.

Jay

PS: Defender, I guess you tried to post the above note earlier today, but it came to me as an email. That is what made me write a few things in my notes today. Was waiting for you to post here as you did.

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Rohan Bopanna Baseline game

Post by jayakris » Sat Jan 18, 2003 9:00 pm

Here are excerpts from the deccan herald article:

The match was a wake-up call for the 387th ranked Bopanna. Till the final, he had won comfortably, and barring the semifinal against Harsh Mankad, he had not been tested by his opponents. Against Vlasov today though, his weak backhand and inexperienced net play stood exposed. To say that the Russian completely outplayed him would be an understatement.

“I was on the defensive from the beginning. He was hitting flat and hard... And there was no opportunity to attack,” a disappointed Bopanna said later. “I think he also liked my pace. Probably I should have attacked more, when you stand back and just keep hitting it is only going to help the opponent,” he said.

The players traded breaks in the first two games but the Indian found himself against the wall in the ninth game when he faced three break points. He avoided two of them but then, going for a forehand shot off a ball that was not up there, hit it long to concede the game.

Vlasov allowed his next game to go to deuce but managed to hold serve and take the set. From there on, the match swung decisively in the Russian’s favour as he attacked Bopanna’s backhand repeatedly with his drilling forehands.

“There was not much really I could do. In the first set at least he was missing some shots but in the second he got into a groove and was hitting winners everywhere,” Bopanna said.



there is a good amount of details in there about the kind of things RB needs to get good at.

Play on CLAY, man. Play on CLAY. You can't get anywhere without that in world tennis. That training stint in Spain was a good idea a few months back. Needs more of that.

A bit surprised at the PTi reference to a weak backhand. I din't know that was a problem. Sometime the reporters exaggerate too, so we need to be careful in buying all of that.

Jay

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