Splendor on the Grass  

When you see a great player in action at Wimbledon, most of his moves seem to be in a pattern.  His feet are in motion like a boxer’s, arms in independent action, eyes gazing the ball.

Some players move forcefully, others like a gazelle.  While a ballet dancer moves precisely on a certain pattern, a top player’s footwork responses, although looking alike, have a different approach that adjusts to the situation which he must face.

Imagine two concentric circles, one about 20 ft. in diameter, a smaller 10 footer within.  Each of these circles has 6 or 8 equidistant points, each numbered or lettered in a visible, distinctive form.

The player starts from the center, skipping like a boxer.  The coach calls a number or letter in random fashion, as if there the player will meet the next ball.  The player rushes to that location, mimics a stroke, and recovers slowly to the center, sometimes caught midway by the coach’s next call.

The player accelerates to the next target without a thought and as fast as he can, and recuperates more casually towards the center until he hears the next command.

At Wimbledon you’ll see some players slipping frequently, while others are moving with more command.

Moving on grass (and any other surface) is a symphony dictated by instinct and circumstances, and the most natural and efficient reactions the player has discovered through practice to be the best moves for himself.

Thus, this impressive theatrical performance we marvel of at Wimbledon, has become, through practice and self-discovery, the player’s lore.


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