Above you will find the link to a Q&A done with Brad Gilbert by the Bleachers Report. I’ve always admired Brad Gilbert for his tennis brain. I don’t think anyone in history played the game smarter than he did. With minimal raw talent he became number four in the world as well as one of the highest paid tennis players ever. His book ‘Winning Ugly‘ is a timeless classic that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in becoming a better player, at any level. In the Q&A he gives some insightful answers about which I would like to say one or two things myself.
He compares the tennis season to a horse race and says that it really only gets going between Monte Carlo and Wimbledon, which is an interesting point. Personally I think this is the time in which we will really see Federer get going as well. He had a great start to the season but have slowed down in America.
BG back in the day.
He says tennis coaching on court should be allowed. That would definitely make things interesting, but it would also be a big break in tradition. I’m not sure I would like it and I don’t think Roger would either. Tennis is such a unique game for the very reason that a person is all on their own on the court. It is truly the most lonely sport in the world, and I like that. They are doing it in the women’s game which I don’t care for as much as the men’s game. I think a man must be out there on his own battling his own demons. I think something like hawkeye was a crucial addition to the game, but if you get coaches on the court you start messing with a fundamental part of the game which I don’t see as a good thing. But that’s just me
Then there is an interesting part where he talks about the dominance of Federer and Nadal. People always seem to assume that someone else will just come along and dominate, like Sampras and Roger did. But I see that more as a coincidence. It is very hard to dominate like these guys did. Not only did they have immense talent, but they had the dedication to go with it. That combination doesn’t come along too often. Rafa is an example of dedication, but he doesn’t quite have the tennis gifts of a Roger or Sampras. Of course it could happen that someone like that comes along again, but we are already seeing how hard it is for any of the youngsters to topple Roger from his throne. Federer is one is a trillion.
Gilbert think the homogenization of court surfaces is a good thing for tennis. I know many who would disagree with him, but I find his viewpoint refreshing. He didn’t elaborate on why he thinks it’s good for the game, but I tend to agree with him. It’s part of the evolution of the sport.
Then he says something funny, which is that he would probably still be playing if he had Agassi’s backhand. And I don’t think he is missing the mark by much. He would struggle physically, but add Roddick’s serve and you have someone with the best brain in the history of tennis, as well as possibly the the best serve and backhand. I bet he could still do some damage on the tour