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View Full Version : Tell me how these guys are worse than the stars today


CyBorg
05-24-2007, 09:17 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWpY6Qe0go0

A few of smartasses here are deadset that today's shotmakers play at a more advanced level than pros 30 years ago. This is a nice sampler of a top-notch tennis match played on fast clay (Vilas-Connors US Open final).

I wish tennis was still as good as this.

I think that these highlights are especially valid in light of the videos of red clay matches 25-30 years ago, which show extremely slow-paced tennis. Isn't it amazing how these guys were able to adjust from such a fast surface to a slower red clay? Much more difficult than anything in today's game, where most surfaces are getting closer and closer to each other in terms of pace and bounce.

suwanee4712
05-24-2007, 10:46 AM
I don't get it either. For those of us who grew up playing with wood racquets and later switched, I think most of us would agree that the racquets have gradually done more and more of the work for us as players. Because of the increased power and larger sweet spots, it takes less skill to be an average player today than it did 25 years ago.

Not to mention that the more powerful racquets have made the serve and volley game nearly extinct. There's so much less variety today. That's what I really miss. I always liked matchups of contrasting styles.

PrinceO3TourOS
05-24-2007, 11:18 AM
That was a great match between 2 great champions :D thanks for share ;)

basil J
05-24-2007, 12:03 PM
I forget how good these guys really were. A lot more variety was needed to be at the top of the game back then than today. They still hit the ball pretty hard as well.

armand
05-24-2007, 12:57 PM
The first few highlights in there were brutal; they were swinging in slow motion and hello? does anyone know what a putaway is?
I guess they were nervous there at the beginning because later in the highlights they were swinging faster and puting the ball away with authority. Some great bh passing shots by Vilas. And whata weird end to the match with that late call.

Is that Pat Sumerall anouncing? My god.
-"He'd be great at discotheque"
-"pretty good at tennis too" no sh** Sherlock!

oh yes and saw some reverse forehands from Vilas. The inventor of the shot continues...

CyBorg
05-24-2007, 01:10 PM
A putaway is something that's become nearly automatic with the lighter ball and graphite racket technology. Back in the days, even an overhead smash could be returned if timed right.

CyBorg
05-24-2007, 01:12 PM
Is that Pat Sumerall anouncing? My god.
-"He'd be great at discotheque"
-"pretty good at tennis too" no sh** Sherlock!

Pretty annoying - especially him talking while the two players exchange grounstrokes. Tennis really doesn't need an annoying blowhole to say obvious things like "and that! and that!" when all the viewer wants to do is enjoy the sweet sound of ball hitting the racket.

jaggy
05-24-2007, 03:27 PM
Didn't Connors hit somebody who came on the court?

CEvertFan
05-24-2007, 04:18 PM
Some excellent old school clay court tennis there from Vilas. He glides on the clay like a cat. Pretty cool stuff.

Watch the clip on youtube of Vilas and Borg going at it at the French. Vilas is great but Borg is incredible.

CyBorg
05-24-2007, 04:20 PM
Some excellent old school clay court tennis there from Vilas. He glides on the clay like a cat. Pretty cool stuff.

Watch the clip on youtube of Vilas and Borg going at it at the French. Vilas is great but Borg is incredible.

And that clip was generous to Vilas. Both of these clips are worth seeing, even if to just contrast the two surfaces.

Gizo
05-25-2007, 01:41 AM
Thanks for posting that clip CyBorg. There was some superb tennis from both players. I am surprised that so many people that haven't seen any older tennis footage just assume (wrongly in my opinion) that the overall quality is greater now than it was 20-30 years ago.

grizzly4life
05-26-2007, 10:43 AM
i love watching the old stuff and i think it may be more entertaining too.

but these guys playing like this might get double or triple bageled today....... don't get me wrong, if vilas/connors were young guys today, they'd both be top 5.... but i'm judging the tennis they actually play in that clip.

grizzly4life
05-26-2007, 10:47 AM
two more to check out are....

borg-laver from hilton head.

borg-lendl from FO.....

both on youtube.com..... laver's physique is funny, that older muscular look.

Roger Sampras
05-26-2007, 10:00 PM
Thanks for posting that clip CyBorg. There was some superb tennis from both players. I am surprised that so many people that haven't seen any older tennis footage just assume (wrongly in my opinion) that the overall quality is greater now than it was 20-30 years ago.

up until 5 minutes ago that was my opinion. i had incorrectly assumed that the tennis pre lendl or becker wasnt really worth watching!
thank you for informing me what an arse opinion i once had!

navratilovafan
05-27-2007, 12:07 AM
What I like is they were playing all court tennis which the guys today dont. Even Federer doesnt play real all court tennis, which is very dissapointing since with his talent he should be. I am speculating that is part of the reason he parted with Roche. Roche probably told him he was much too talented to just be playing baseline tennis, and Federer probably scoffed.

FiveO
05-27-2007, 07:30 AM
i love watching the old stuff and i think it may be more entertaining too.

but these guys playing like this might get double or triple bageled today....... don't get me wrong, if vilas/connors were young guys today, they'd both be top 5.... but i'm judging the tennis they actually play in that clip.

This, even with the "don't get me wrong" caveat, conclusion based on an assumption that I think Cyborg and Gizo are alluding to.

Newer = better, is a conclusion many leap to w/o any supportive argument.

Bigger? Nope. Average height on the ATP has dropped since the '90's.

Fitter? No way, not when you see today's top young guns, i.e. Bagdahtis, Murray, Djokovic, Monfils struggling to last five sets. False assumption.

Better? Based on what? Fed exposed the current #3's, total inability to transition forward off the bh side at the '06 USO. Embarassingly so.

Old tactics don't work? Really? Then how did Roddick's game look after Connors taught him the when's and where's of transitioning forward as opposed his confused, "winging it" style that he employed during his downward spiral. He became a more complete player. Then realize, that Connors learned his approach tactics from Pancho Segura from two generations of tennis player prior to him.

It's why McEnroe can beat a Korda from generation or two after his own and be competitive with a Sampras, NOW.

Any flirtation with this thought or statement of this baseless claim as fact should be prefaced with a comparison of any popular sport and the greatest athletes of past generations.

How would a youthful Ali, Pele, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Michael Jordan, Joe Namath, Jerry Rice, Nolan Ryan, Ricky Henderson, Ken Dryden, Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, etc. fare in their respective leagues today.

Then they can try to articulate a concrete reason why those same standards would not apply to our sport.

The greats of every generation are great. From each generation there are only two to five of them who consistently demonstrate greatness. Give any one of them the current conditions and/or transplant the best of the current crop to the equpment of the past and playing conditions of those eras and they will be there again at or very near the top. There are a larger pool of "very goods", "goods" and "journeymen" who would be in the same relative mix they occupy now.

federerfanatic
05-27-2007, 08:23 AM
Bigger? Nope. Average height on the ATP has dropped since the '90's.

Just curious do you know this for sure as fact, or are you just going by your general feeling thinking of all the players you have seen and remember from each time period. I am not saying you are wrong, I am just curious if you have actually done a statistical calculation of this. Or do you mean just the top 10, top 20, or a certain group?

Fitter? No way, not when you see today's top young guns, i.e. Bagdahtis, Murray, Djokovic, Monfils struggling to last five sets. False assumption.

There are some very fit players today, and not some not so fit players today. This is similar to almost all past generations IMO. As for Baghdatis though he made the Australian Open final by playing 22 sets in his 5 matches from 2nd round-semis, and 10 sets total in his quarterfinal and semifinal. Not bad for someone who supposably lacks fitness. Monfils reached the 4th round of the French Open, the most physicaly demanding tournament in the World, by winning 3 straight 5 setters in his first 3 rounds. Again not shabby at all in the fitness category as I see it.

Better? Based on what? Fed exposed the current #3's, total inability to transition forward off the bh side at the '06 USO. Embarassingly so.

I would hardly call taking the greatest player in the game today by far to 4 tough sets as "embarassing". Also Roddick is soon to drop from #3, he is only ahead of about 5 others by a bit, and once he hits the summer hard court season that ranking is going to drop big again.

armand
05-27-2007, 08:33 AM
I remember Rod Laver being perplexed by Sampras' inability to win the French Open. He said something like "He should come to Europe early and practice a couple of weeks on clay"

He made it sound so simple. Don't know if that was due to the fact that Laver was so good compared to his peers and didn't even know it, or he either underestimated Sampras or Sampras' competition.

federerfanatic
05-27-2007, 08:35 AM
I think Laver overestimated Sampras's ability on clay, and the strength of the clay court field then if he really said those things. The clay court field then is much stronger then today, and Federer is a much more capable and skilled clay courter then Sampras, and even Federer hasnt won the French yet. There is no reason to think Sampras should have won the French, just that it would have been an incredible achievement if he somehow did.

grizzly4life
05-27-2007, 08:37 AM
five0, i think the biggest difference is in the racquets.....

but yes, the players today are bigger and stronger and generally more fit (some exceptions) than previous generations.

if you took all those old athletes you mentioned and put them in today's sports just as they were, i think they wouldn't do nearly as well.... but if you exposed them to modern equipment and modern training, they'd be fine. not sure how big all of yesterday's superstars (all sports) were. but guys are much bigger today.

FiveO
05-27-2007, 08:52 AM
Just curious do you know this for sure as fact, or are you just going by your general feeling thinking of all the players you have seen and remember from each time period. I am not saying you are wrong, I am just curious if you have actually done a statistical calculation of this. Or do you mean just the top 10, top 20, or a certain group?

This was published either by the ATP or Tennis Mag in relation to, at least, the top 100, though I can't cite the source.


There are some very fit players today, and not some not so fit players today. This is similar to almost all past generations IMO.

This was my point exactly.

As for Baghdatis though he made the Australian Open final by playing 22 sets in his 5 matches from 2nd round-semis, and 10 sets total in his quarterfinal and semifinal. Not bad for someone who supposably lacks fitness. Monfils reached the 4th round of the French Open, the most physicaly demanding tournament in the World, by winning 3 straight 5 setters in his first 3 rounds. Again not shabby at all in the fitness category as I see it.

You haven't been watching Bags then. Nor Monfils at the US Open. Prior generation's "young guns" without the benefit of the today's most "state of the art" training techniques which are often cited as one of the major reasons players today are "superior" to prior ones never exhibited similar inadequate conditioning in the numbers that the current crop has.



I would hardly call taking the greatest player in the game today by far to 4 tough sets as "embarassing". Also Roddick is soon to drop from #3, he is only ahead of about 5 others by a bit, and once he hits the summer hard court season that ranking is going to drop big again.

My bad. I was refering to Davydenko who was #3 in ranking points the week of May 14.

Rabbit
05-27-2007, 09:08 AM
This, even with the "don't get me wrong" caveat, conclusion based on an assumption that I think Cyborg and Gizo are alluding to.

Newer = better, is a conclusion many leap to w/o any supportive argument.

Bigger? Nope. Average height on the ATP has dropped since the '90's.

Fitter? No way, not when you see today's top young guns, i.e. Bagdahtis, Murray, Djokovic, Monfils struggling to last five sets. False assumption.

Better? Based on what? Fed exposed the current #3's, total inability to transition forward off the bh side at the '06 USO. Embarassingly so.

Old tactics don't work? Really? Then how did Roddick's game look after Connors taught him the when's and where's of transitioning forward as opposed his confused, "winging it" style that he employed during his downward spiral. He became a more complete player. Then realize, that Connors learned his approach tactics from Pancho Segura from two generations of tennis player prior to him.

It's why McEnroe can beat a Korda from generation or two after his own and be competitive with a Sampras, NOW.

Any flirtation with this thought or statement of this baseless claim as fact should be prefaced with a comparison of any popular sport and the greatest athletes of past generations.

How would a youthful Ali, Pele, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Michael Jordan, Joe Namath, Jerry Rice, Nolan Ryan, Ricky Henderson, Ken Dryden, Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, etc. fare in their respective leagues today.

Then they can try to articulate a concrete reason why those same standards would not apply to our sport.

The greats of every generation are great. From each generation there are only two to five of them who consistently demonstrate greatness. Give any one of them the current conditions and/or transplant the best of the current crop to the equpment of the past and playing conditions of those eras and they will be there again at or very near the top. There are a larger pool of "very goods", "goods" and "journeymen" who would be in the same relative mix they occupy now.

Great post, I couldn't agree more.

Also Roddick is soon to drop from #3, he is only ahead of about 5 others by a bit, and once he hits the summer hard court season that ranking is going to drop big again.

I couldn't disagree more. The hardcourt season is Roddick's bread and butter. If anything, he'll regain ground this summer. Unless, of course, he's hurt.

I remember reading an article about the height deal in Tennis Magazine. The average height of the top ten in the late 70s was 5'11". I think now the average height is 6'1", which is down from the 6'3" when Becker/Edberg were on top of the game. Plus, there was Todd Martin and Magnus Larsson, both at 6'6" who kinda skewed the results back then.

federerfanatic
05-27-2007, 09:40 AM
I couldn't disagree more. The hardcourt season is Roddick's bread and butter. If anything, he'll regain ground this summer. Unless, of course, he's hurt.

I expect him to do well in the summer hard court season but he won Cincinnati and reached the U.S Open final last year. So he is defending some big time results/points. Considering he was schooled by Federer and Nadal in his most recent meetings with each on a hard court, Djokovic's rise on the hard courts, and another rising star Andy Murray challenging him closely in head to head matches on hard courts of late, he will have a big challenge to not drop points back defending those kind of results/points IMHO.

Rabbit
05-27-2007, 11:49 AM
That's true. We'll see if the association with Connors will improve his transition game enough to keep him moving forward or if he'll stagnate.

federerfanatic
05-27-2007, 01:02 PM
That's true. We'll see if the association with Connors will improve his transition game enough to keep him moving forward or if he'll stagnate.

I hope it is the former, and that he continues to progress under Connors. After last years U.S Open where he gave Federer a real scare for the first time in a long time I thought we would be seeing her challenge for the top more closely again. Although his post-U.S Open fall results were not particularly great, his performance vs Federer in the round robin of the year end Championships was another positive sign.

However his season thus far in 2007 probably has been a bit dissapointing. I expected him to give Federer a much closer match in the Australian Open semis then he did. I was then even more surprised Nadal had a relatively easy time beating him in their match at the Nasdaq, on Roddick's home turf. He is yet to win a tournament this year too. I wouldnt say he is doing bad, but I think this is less then pretty much everyone was expecting with the momentum he seemed to building late last season going into this season. Maybe he will get it back for the summer hard court swing, or even for the grass court season. However I wonder what his mindset is at the moment.

Moose Malloy
05-27-2007, 06:53 PM
Just curious do you know this for sure as fact, or are you just going by your general feeling thinking of all the players you have seen and remember from each time period. I am not saying you are wrong, I am just curious if you have actually done a statistical calculation of this. Or do you mean just the top 10, top 20, or a certain group?


but yes, the players today are bigger and stronger and generally more fit (some exceptions) than previous generations.


here is a graph with average heights of top 100 players from 1994-2005:

http://www.tennis28.com/charts/Player_Heights.GIF

players seem to be getting shorter every year actually. "players getting bigger" seems to be a common myth floated by the tennis media. tennis isn't the nba, nfl, I doubt players' heights, weights will ever change that much.

plus its too expensive a sport to ever really attract the elite athletes.

tennus
05-28-2007, 02:26 PM
[QUOTE=Moose Malloy;1472663]here is a graph with average heights of top 100 players from 1994-2005:

http://www.tennis28.com/charts/Player_Heights.GIF

players seem to be getting shorter every year actually. "players getting bigger" seems to be a common myth floated by the tennis media. tennis isn't the nba, nfl, I doubt players' heights, weights will ever change that much.
/QUOTE]

This graph proves little as it's taken from 1994-2006 and therefore may not be reflective of the past 30 years. :)

Moose Malloy
05-28-2007, 02:34 PM
This graph proves little as it's taken from 1994-2006 and therefore may not be reflective of the past 30 years.

a lot of posters here(& commentators) frequently say stuff like 'players are bigger now than they were 10 years ago' its sounds catchy, but apparently there is no truth to it. I wonder what Cliff Drysdale & Pmac would say if they saw that chart.

federerfanatic
05-28-2007, 02:45 PM
a lot of posters here(& commentators) frequently say stuff like 'players are bigger now than they were 10 years ago' its sounds catchy, but apparently there is no truth to it. I wonder what Cliff Drysdale & Pmac would say if they saw that chart.

They would probably pretend they knew players today were not bigger now then they were 10 years ago all along. They hate to be wrong on anything and have large egos. ESPN has become nauseating, and Drysdale was 10x better with Stolle then with mini McEnroe.

Deuce
05-28-2007, 11:29 PM
The most significant difference in the way tennis is played today to the way of 30 years ago is that the brain is neither used nor required in today's game.
Because the game was slower back then, one had to use his/her brain to think and construct points. The brain was therefore as essential a tool as was the racquet.
Today, no-one needs to use the brain to think or construct points - all that is done to finish the point is to hit it hard enough so that it doesn't come back.
30 years ago, rather than hitting it hard enough so that it didn't come back, players constructed the point. It was much, much more of a thinking and strategy game back then than it is today.

This might also be part of the reason that the players of yesterday were so much more interesting as people than the players of today - they simply used their brains more, and so their brains were better developed - as opposed to the monotonous, cloned robots of today.