Friday, November 8, 2013


               Of course, there are no easy matches in the London
ATP World Tour finals this week. It's the 
top 8 men players in the world, and these guys 
don't give anybody an easy win.
      At this level, when you see lapses of concentration,
the loss of presence of mind usually won't last longer
than one or two games.

       Wawrinka is now playing Ferrer. Ferrer has just won
the Paris tournament, but has yet to win a match
here in London.

        About the backhand. It is the accepted wisdom
nowadays that it's better to have a two handed
backhand than a single-handed backhand. This is not
always true. There are major exceptions to this
so-called rule.
STRENGTH, it can be better to have a single-handed
backhand. You can get a better angle on the
ball with a one arm motion than you can with
a two-handed motion.  
        Watch the snap Wawrinka gets on his backhand
often, and how he opens his arms and his chest as he
hits such shots - you'll see what I mean.

        People point at Nadal's two-handed backhand.
But of course, Nadal is an exception. Nadal was
originally right handed but Uncle Tony got
him playing with his left hand when Rafa was
very young...So Nadal's two-handed backhand is
really Nadal using his natural right-handed 
strength and orientation. That's why his "backhand"
is so good. It's not really a backhand.

        Now it's the Ferrer-Wawrinka match. I had
assumed Wawrinka would win it.
        But you can never count Ferrer out with
his incredible athleticism, stamina and determination.
Ferrer's taken the first set. I'd forgotten: Ferrer beat
Nadal last week in Paris.  So all bets are off.
        I shouldn't  be surprised when Ferrer
takes the next set.
        Ferrer uses his intense almost continuous
running to amp him up into the correct mental

        When any of these top eight players gets
"IN THE ZONE",; any one of these
guys can beat any of the others.
         Though Nadal has just clinched the
#1 world ranking with his second match victory
this week, and at this time he seems to be
about the hardest man to beat.
         Djokovic is also playing brilliantly and
likely wants his #1 ranking back.

         Getting "in the zone" is what this blog
is all about.
          There are specific ways to do it, ways
to get there... But we are really entering
into the area of meditative techniques.
          There is such a thing as meditation
in action. That's part of what the dervishes
are all about.
          There are also yogic techniques
that apply.
           It's not a method you can use just
anywhere - I try not to get into too
deep a meditative state on my bicycle, 
for example.
           But tennis is a game well-suited
for meditation in action. I'll have to
get a better phrase for this discipline -
the "Art of Ecstasy" comes to mind, but this
is not a phrase that I have invented.
           Getting "in the zone" is a good
phrase. You know you're 'there', when
there are no thoughts in your mind,
just a intense, burning attention to
every movement you see across the net.

          Runners know  about "the zone".
In fact, a combination of the feeling
that you have when the endorphins start
to click  in - plus that sense of utter
concentration that comes with hard
breathing and strong exercise -
this is why many distance runners run.
Also, more casual runners who run
just for  exercise and  health,
who are not necessarily racing a stopwatch,
they know about "the zone" also.
           Let's face it, this moment of the
intense concentration of a mind
that is fully aware is a delight!
The game is to find the joy at
the core of things, without being
burdened with an endless train of 
           Full concentrated awareness
without content, while in the midst
of focused activity - this is the joy
of sports! But I must say, tennis
is particularly relevant  to this
kind of awareness, this joy of the
           There is a lot of empty
space in tennis. The situation
you are facing is more cosmic
than cluttered.
            Across the area in which
you play is a net full of holes - more
empty space! And an opponent some
distance away... firing balls in your
direction at high rates of speed.
             And you are running and reacting
in a court that is exactly big enough
to challenge even the best athelete.
The area and size of the tennis court
is a work of art, almost a work of genius.
          Any larger, and nobody would be able to
make it to the lines. Any smaller area
between the lines, and the challenge would
start to disappear - the elegance of the
strokes would become constricted.
          Tennis is the enemy of the enslaved,
monkey-like mind.

          Like in the martial arts, the player
is in a situation where any thought at all
impedes reaction times.
           Intense concentrated awaresness
without content, aided by pain-killing endorphins
fed with the energy of a fully functioning 
cardiovascular system - this is the joy of 
the game! And tennis is the game of life!


                                      (C)2013 by William G. Milne
                                          All rights reserved.

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