10 May 2011


There's unfortunately too little to find about Jonathon Power in an acceptable resolution on YouTube. But even the mediocre image quality does not disable us to appreciate his genius in the below rally. I've pointed out in the past a few times how effective Karim Darwish's extremely compact racquet preparation is in terms of generating deception. Well, the inventor and godfather of the compact backswing was indeed Jonathon Power. Observe how close he keeps the elbow all the time to the hip, you never know if he is going for a drive, a boast or a drop, therefore the opponent is so often wrongfooted, just like Amr Shabana at 0:56. But there's more to observe here, for exemple the concluding backhand drop: even though Shabana was far in the diagonal back corner, knowing his speed, Power made sure to raise the racket head high enough to threaten with a drive or cross-court which made Shabana stuck at the 'T'; as this example shows it too, compact racket preparation does not mean that the racquet head is not up! And the third thing that is pretty apparent in this rally, is in fact the other famous weapon of Power: the faded kill into the sidewall, you can see it at 0:14, 0:16 and at 0:37 on the volley; it's not a real kill, as played only with half-pace and a lots of cut to make sure that the ball does not bounce off much the sidewall. In general terms it's interesting that Power often hits even the drives not too deep, bouncing around the top end of the service box; he wants to avoid the overhit drive that rebounces off the backwall and gives plenty of time to the opponent to hit the ball, he is rather obsessed with making the opponent scrapping off the ball from the sidewall. To put it in one sentence: the great stuff about Power's game is that it's a very intense mixture of shot-making and preparative shots - and on top of that, due to the uniform compact racquet preparation, you never know which one to await.