"Tennis: the most perfect combination of athleticism, artistry, power, style, and wit." - Martin Amis
TENNIS PLAYERS MOVE UP, back, left, and right at varying speeds with different types of footwork. They hit the ball fast or slow, deep or short, high or low, flat or with heavy spin. They play against a variety of opponents whose style of play can range from relentlessly aggressive to incredibly patient. During a match, emotions can quickly swing up and down and concentration may fade in and out. The spectrum of physical and mental skills required in tennis is broad, so when Marty Smith told me about his plan to write a comprehensive tennis instructional book, I thought it was a terrific idea. His book Absolute Tennis appreciates the wide-ranging nature of the sport and is a great read for tennis enthusiasts both new and experienced to the game.
Acknowledging the fact that tennis is a very athletic game, Marty starts by discussing balance, the kinetic chain, and movement. Next, he takes you through grips and each phase of every stroke, giving you insights to improve your technique and play your best tennis. At each step, he pairs his instructional text with engaging individual and frame-byframe photographs of the world’s top players to illustrate his explanations. Federer’s serve, Nadal’s forehand, Djokovic’s return, and Murray’s backhand are a few of the strokes that are highlighted. Marty discusses not only the strokes of today, but also explores strokes that may be used in the future. Viewing tennis through the prism of the game’s increasing speed, athleticism, and serving prowess, he explains how swings could evolve and makes a compelling case for three unconventional shots. Following the chapters on the key athletic principles and the strokes, Marty dedicates the last third of the book to strategy, the mind, and fitness. Successful tennis players “think” well on the court and his chapters on singles and doubles strategy provide tips on how to play smart. Additionally, his extensive chapters on psychology and fitness will teach you how to focus the mind to compete in a more consistent and confident manner as well as how to train your body to move faster and last longer. Back in my day, we did not have access to advice on psychology, stretching, nutrition, etc. that are now such an important part of training for the elite athlete.
Marty’s goal is absolutely clear. He wants to teach you a tremendous amount, all while entertaining you with his holistic, practical, and forward approach to tennis. So read on to gain a deeper understanding of tennis and learn how to improve different parts of your game. If you put his advice into action, you will have more fun on the court and win more, just as his many students over his decades of coaching have done.
- Fred Stolle - Winner of 19 Grand Slam singles and doubles titles and member of the international Tennis Hall of Fame.