I don’t know about you, but to me, 2013 seemed like it was only about 3 months long. One minute everyone was doing the Harlem Shake and the next, they moved on to something called twerking. It felt like just yesterday that I was writing my 2012 year in review. Weren’t we just talking about Rafael Nadal’s comeback? But here we are, at the end of the 2013, less than 1 month away from the 2014 Australian Open. And Rafa’s knee, much like Miley Cyrus, appears to be alive and well.
These past 12 months can be summed up in 2 words: Rafa, Serena. Both had spectacular seasons and both went into 2013 with question marks. Rafa with his knee and Serena with her age (which, at 32, is considered “over the hill” in tennis years). And yes, let’s not forget that this was the year Andy Murray got the monkey, well, more like Godzilla, off his back by winning Wimbledon.
Before anyone gets angry with me, thinking I’m trashing their game, remember, it’s not you, it’s them. These guys are really, really, really good. There’s a reason they are the top 8 players in the world (minus a hurt Andy Murray).
With the year end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals underway, showcasing the best of the best our sport has to offer, I wanted to just take some time to remind you why they are and forever will be better than you or me or pretty much any mere mortal human being. And if you want ATP World Tour Finals apparel, click here.
Here are just a few videos from this past 2013 year to refresh your memory on just how incredible these guys are at their craft.
Things are really starting to turn around. As I said in my previous blog, my biggest goal for the week was to find a way to improve my movement, and I’m happy to say that I have done just that. After writing my previous entry I went onto YouTube and I searched for movement exercises, and what I found was an analysis of Roger Federer‘s movement. Now we all know that Roger is one of the greatest movers of all time. He makes it all look so effortless, cat like. What really struck me and has stayed with me throughout the week is a slow motion image of Federer split stepping. Federer jumps off the ground and lands his split step with his feet almost double shoulder width apart. He times it perfectly so that as he lands his opponent is making contact. All the while he’s tracking the ball with his eyes.
I tried this on Wednesday morning. As simple as it sounds, I focused on exaggerating my split step, jumping up and landing with a wide base. I cannot put into words the difference it has made to my movement. Whereas before I felt slow, crouched over, out of position and off balance, now I feel more upright, more explosive and much more athletic. This is something I must have done naturally as a junior, but lost somewhere along the way between knee injuries and taking time off. For the first time in a long time I feel like I can really move and really chase down balls. This in turn helps with confidence and shot selection during the point and allows me the long forgotten luxury of playing the game, and constructing the point.
I urge all of you to try this in your practice or match. It’s a simple tip but it will make your court movement seem so much more natural. Jump up, land with a wide base, explode into your split step, and see the difference it will make to your game!