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View Full Version : The bigger better theory may not hold water


Rabbit
03-14-2008, 08:55 AM
I had a thought watching Sampras and Federer play. Sampras made the match very competitive although I think Federer may have thrown the second set. Federer hit some cutsey shots that I don't think he would have tried had the outcome been in real doubt.

However, Sampras has won one and I think that may have been legit as it was on a fast indoor carpet. That's exactly the kind of surface that Federer isn't used to and the kind that was fairly common back in the good old indoor circuit days.

But, that brings up a series of matches that I've seen. In 1969, fresh off his Grand Slam, Rod Laver played Pancho Gonzalez who was very much past his prime and lost. Some years later, Rod Laver very much past his prime played Bjorn Borg fresh off his French and Wimbledon victories on green clay. Borg lost.

There are many who say the game continues to evolve. I don't doubt this. But, many of these same people say the game gets better. Does it really? When great players of just ended eras play great players of the current era and are not only competitive, but beat them, isn't that an indication that great is great and that great back then would have been great now? I think so.

stormholloway
03-14-2008, 09:04 AM
Borg lost that match? I'm pretty sure he won. It was the round robin correct?

Z-Man
03-14-2008, 09:23 AM
Without a time machine, we'll never be able to tell how the great players of this generation stack up against the great players of previous generations. However, this is tested on the recreational courts all of the time. In these recreational tennis situations, the skill levels aren't high enough for variables like age, conditioning, court speed, etc to matter as much as they would at the pro level. I find that older styles of play can be very effective against the current style of play. By "older styles", I mean flat forehands, rushing the net, slice backhands, and the use of placement over power. My strokes and style of play are patterned after the same template you see on the pro tour today, but when I play against good players who use "outdated" tactics, I find they can often be very effective. If old style tennis can work at 4.5, why not at 7.0? I do think the stiffer strings and slower courts are big factors at the pro level, but all things being equal, there are many different ways to win a tennis match.

ohplease
03-14-2008, 09:28 AM
Different discussion, but it's not hard to argue that level for level in NTRP handicapped leagues, the same level 10 years ago is much different today. How much is sandbagging and how much is legitimate improvement? Probably a bit (or a lot) of both.

NLBwell
03-15-2008, 11:57 AM
Actually, since most current tennis players grew up it the tennis boom (other than ranked juniors) the average level of tennis is the same except 10 years older than it was 10 years ago. The top players around here are still the same people, just 10 years older and more injured.

NLBwell
03-15-2008, 12:07 PM
Borg was 1-2 vs. Laver in 74 (5 years after Laver's peak). 3-0 vs. Laver in 75 & 76, but all went the distance (2 3set, 1 5set, one was on clay). Borg easily won in 78 when Laver was about 40 yrs old. So up until he was about 38, Laver was competitive with the #2 in the world.

slice bh compliment
03-15-2008, 01:52 PM
Without a time machine, we'll never be able to tell how the great players of this generation stack up against the great players of previous generations. However, this is tested on the recreational courts all of the time. In these recreational tennis situations, the skill levels aren't high enough for variables like age, conditioning, court speed, etc to matter as much as they would at the pro level. I find that older styles of play can be very effective against the current style of play. By "older styles", I mean flat forehands, rushing the net, slice backhands, and the use of placement over power. My strokes and style of play are patterned after the same template you see on the pro tour today, but when I play against good players who use "outdated" tactics, I find they can often be very effective. If old style tennis can work at 4.5, why not at 7.0? I do think the stiffer strings and slower courts are big factors at the pro level, but all things being equal, there are many different ways to win a tennis match.

What's up Z man! I probably shouldn't say anything, but, I actually have a time machine and here is what I noticed while cruising through 1920 to 2020: The people from the past are awesome, and given the time and the equipment, they are just as good as those from the future. But the past loses to the present. And the present loses to the future. Almost all the time, barring a serious choke job.

Oh, and about exrtapolating the 4.5 findings to the pro level. Good logic, but it is a stretch.

CyBorg
03-15-2008, 01:54 PM
Rod Laver very much past his prime played Bjorn Borg fresh off his French and Wimbledon victories on green clay. Borg lost.

As someone has already mentioned this isn't true. Borg lost to Laver on green clay I think in Houston in 1974. There may have been others right around this time.

Nonetheless the point stands. Laver made it competitive, most definitely

Leublu tennis
03-15-2008, 02:13 PM
I think someone posted a clip of the Borg-Laver match and Laver sure looked good.

NLBwell
03-15-2008, 02:43 PM
Houston in 1974 would have been River Oaks I believe, which was Red Clay - an even more impressive win for Laver.

Hedges
03-15-2008, 03:04 PM
What's up Z man! I probably shouldn't say anything, but, I actually have a time machine and here is what I noticed while cruising through 1920 to 2020: The people from the past are awesome, and given the time and the equipment, they are just as good as those from the future. But the past loses to the present. And the present loses to the future. Almost all the time, barring a serious choke job.

Oh, and about exrtapolating the 4.5 findings to the pro level. Good logic, but it is a stretch.

OMG...I'm so shocked that someone finally got their hands on one of my time machines! I leave them all over the place! Glad you found one; be careful ;-)

So yea...that's exactly what I saw while jumping around time. However, I did find that Nastase and Mcenroe managed to give people from the future fits due to the chaos they create with their misbehaviors. It seems the game has become quite sensitive and the future cannot handle the bad-boys of the past.

Today's 4.5s get wiped off the court by yesterdays pros.

grizzly4life
03-15-2008, 03:47 PM
seriously all you need to do is look at track and field records or golf driving distances to know that things always improve. track and field might not be the best example as obviously steroids have been big issue and i've read that sprint speeds are getting to the point where parts of the body i.e. bones, actually break down.

but there is no doubt that things change for the better....... just watch the borg-lendl final point from the FO on youtube.com to see how far tennis has come.

Hedges
03-15-2008, 04:12 PM
I don't disagree with you. But, watch final points of many of today's matches. In many cases, match point sucks because the loser has already given up.