From one German tennis player to another, both world no. 1’s, both Grand Slam champions, but with very different careers and styles of play with each other. We are obviously talking about Steffi Graf and Angelique Kerber.
Steffi Graf was a great player from the baseline, whose best weapons were her powerful forehand and fast footwork. When she impacted the ball with her backhand, she tended to give it a backspin effect that was very precise and low, as to be almost an offensive shot.
Her service was one of the fastest among women. Being a doubles player as well, she was also very skilled in the net game. Considered by all as one of the greatest athletes in history, Graf was quick, powerful and fast and her famous forehand earned her the nickname of Fraulein Forehand. Kerber, left-handed and with a two-handed backhand, technically is also an aggressive player from the baseline and with a slight preference for the forehand, but she also has a great defense and is capable of returning difficult shots, back with ease. These facts then make us understand how tennis has changed in all this time, evolving in step with the technological evolution of the rackets.
The differences between Graf and Kerber are profound, as profound are the differences between the courts of the late 80s and early 90s and of the present. Kerber’s found herself in the midst of great champions and she’s discovered one of them and she’s perhaps the only one who’s able to compete with Serena Williams.
Her tennis is much closer to that of Rafael Nadal than her countrywoman and thus, it reflects the current era of tennis. More from the baseline, less of a net game, winners hit even in situations of extreme difficulty and a game balanced between attack and defense.
Graf matched power and speed with an excellent net game, characteristic of the players of her time. Angelique is a more tactical tennis player, who with patience has been able to make the most of her defense and who’s equally solid mentally.
We don’t say that this kind of evolution is a good thing or not for tennis, but in any case the style of play of the current world no. 1 is enjoyable to watch. We can say that from one German to another, tennis is inevitably changed, adapting itself to various factors.
But when talking about changes, it’s however true that every tennis era takes the best from the previous in order to achieve a higher level. The same can be said about this tennis era, to which Kerber belongs and the one to which, Graf belonged.
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