As the U.S. Open qualifiers approach starting next Tuesday, Jeff Salzenstein comes to mind. Salzy was a qualifier warrrior, and although he only qualified for one open, I'm pretty sure that Jeff qualified at every slam except for the French Open. Salzy had a big lefty forehand. He hit it with tremendous pop and top. So check out his tips, they can only help you raise the level of your game.
I’ll always remember Jeff Salzenstein for the match he played in the 2003 U.S. Open Qualification Tournament on Court 16 against Fernando Verdasco. Salzenstein, the lefty out of Colorado and Stanford University, played a high-risk, extremely entertaining style of play and he was a crowd favorite. The winner of five Challenger tournaments during his 12-year pro career, Salzy, as he was called on the ATP Tour, took out the promising Spaniard and proceeded to launch a ball high and far into the Arthur Ashe Stadium court. It capped a remarkable run into the U.S. Open Main Draw (where he lost in the first round on the Grandstand Court to Hicham Arazi).
In Salzy’s only other U.S. Open appearance, his first, as a wild card into the 1997 event, the dynamic lefty won his opening round match against Mikael Tillstrom and then took the opening set in the Arthur Ashe Stadium against No. 2-ranked Michael Chang, before succumbing in four sets. Injuries and the fact that Salzenstein never traveled with a coach derailed what might have been a headier pro career. There was a semi-finals appearance at Delray Beach and a quarter-finals at Newport, but perhaps Salzenstein’s crowning glory as a pro was breaking into the Top-100 at the age of 30 at Wimbledon in 2004. Only one other player in the game (Dick Norman) achieved the feat of breaking into the Top-100 for the first time after the age of 30.
Now the affable and knowledgeable lefty (Salzenstein has always been a student of the game. He developed his potent, wicked serve in between his freshman and sophomore years at Stanford by watching videos of Goran Ivanisivic’s delivery) has turned his attention to teaching and coaching tennis. He has taken to the internet to develop JeffSalzensteintennis.com
and he has create a an awesome Free Forehand Video Series
that is available right now. Jeff will show you what it takes develop an awesome forehand and he does so in a simple step by step way. Jeff is big on getting the grip, the first move, and the finish of the forehand just right for maximum success. Salzenstein has chosen to start with the forehand because in his many battles on tour against such stellar players as Patrick Rafter, Michael Chang, Mark Phillipoussis and Greg Rusedski, as well as practicing against Roger Federer, he realized the tremendous importance of developing a big forehand. Students of the game will also acknowledge that the forehands of the Big Three—Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer—are the staples of their game.