Sunday, May 9, 2010

It's "unorthodox" only if you have no frame of reference

It amazes me how many sportswriters--now that they have been forced to notice Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez--are describing her playing style as "unorthodox" and even "weird." It is neither. "Throwback" I'll accept, and more the pity that there's truth in that. Martinez Sanchez, when she was a very little girl, used to watch Martina Navritalova on television. Therefore, as a child, she used to run to the net right after she served the ball. That's called "aggression," and it is a very useful tactic.

I even saw a fan on the Web express doubt as to whether Martinez Sanchez was playing tennis at all--after all, she's supposed to be engaged in hitting the ball. No, she's supposed to be engaged in winning points. I think there are a lot of people who need to sit down and watch some Navratilova and Evonne Goolagong matches.

And while I'm on the topic, what Martinez Sanchez does is not "junk"--it's spin variety, cleverness, aggression, and great use of the volley. It wins points, and it's a lot of fun to watch. I thought the game was more intersesting when players used wooden racquets, and it's nice to see a player who is willing to use a contemporary racquet for power, but not neglect touch and volley. That would be the Rome champion.


Unknown said...

I dunno, I'm a fan of all the other players you named in this post, but MJMS just bugs for some reason. That said, I respect what she does on the court and it definitely provides for some fun, drama-filled matches.

Sunny said...

I hadn't seen Martinez Sanchez play much before but enjoyed it immensely. She seemed to totally confound Ivanovic. The media has acted like they have never seen this before. The thing is, MJMS also played some baseline tennis often winning outright down the line points or disguising her drop shot and hitting that. THey don't give her credit for performing all types of play. I wish she was more consistent though. Maybe a big tournament like Rome, which she closed out pretty well, will give her confidence.

Unknown said...

I totally share your frame of reference. I grew up watching serve & volley tennis at Eastbourne & Wimbly in the 80's. I don't fully get why new technology has lead to the decline in this style of play - it's so refreshing to to see MJMS play this way! The reaction of some tennis journos simply shows they're too young to remember how good Martina & Evonne & Edberg (et al) were, and how exciting their tennis was to watch. I love it! More please!