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View Full Version : Top 10 getting taller in spite of slow surfaces


Mikael
04-04-2009, 02:44 AM
I just realized that compared to a couple years ago the top 10 as a whole seems to be getting significantly taller:

Federer and Nadal at 6'1''
Djokovic at 6'2''
Murray at 6'3"
Roddick at 6'2''
Del Potro at 6'6"
Monfils at 6'4"
Verdasco at 6'2"

Only leaves two "shorties" under 6ft: Simon (5ft11) and Davydenko (5ft10) - who's on the way down anyway.

And when you factor in the most promising youngsters that will probably make the top 10 in the future: Cilic (6ft5), Gulbis (6ft5), Tsonga (6ft2), maybe Isner (6ft9)...

you get a very different picture from a few years back when the top 10 seemed to be dominated by smaller, quicker guys like Coria, Ferrer, Gaudio, Hewitt, Davydenko, Nalbandian, Robredo, Gonzalez... all under 6ft. Back then people were saying that because of slower surfaces since around 2000-2002 shorter players were given a big advantage over tall power players.

The interesting part is that the surfaces or the balls haven't gotten any faster and yet the elite seems to be getting much taller all of a sudden.

Blade0324
04-04-2009, 06:09 AM
In my eyes it's really about angles. Taller players have an easier time serving. They have longer reach when stretched wide, etc. Even though it makes it tough to hit lower balls for taller players especially at net. The reality is that slice is not used as often, and most players don't come to net much either. I can tell you that at 5'10" or just over, it would be nice to be about 6'2".

Josherer
04-04-2009, 06:19 AM
I just realized that compared to a couple years ago the top 10 as a whole seems to be getting significantly taller:

Federer and Nadal at 6'1''
Djokovic at 6'2''
Murray at 6'3"
Roddick at 6'2''
Del Potro at 6'6"
Monfils at 6'4"
Verdasco at 6'2"

Only leaves two "shorties" under 6ft: Simon (5ft11) and Davydenko (5ft10) - who's on the way down anyway.
And when you factor in the most promising youngsters that will probably make the top 10 in the future: Cilic (6ft5), Gulbis (6ft5), Tsonga (6ft2), maybe Isner (6ft9)...

you get a very different picture from a few years back when the top 10 seemed to be dominated by smaller, quicker guys like Coria, Ferrer, Gaudio, Hewitt, Davydenko, Nalbandian, Robredo, Gonzalez... all under 6ft. Back then people were saying that because of slower surfaces since around 2000-2002 shorter players were given a big advantage over tall power players.

The interesting part is that the surfaces or the balls haven't gotten any faster and yet the elite seems to be getting much taller all of a sudden.

Davydenko has been injured and hasn't played any tournaments.

He isn't on his way down.

Tennis Dunce
04-04-2009, 04:26 PM
Isner a future top 10?! Uhhh...no.

jms007
04-04-2009, 04:33 PM
Isner a future top 10?! Uhhh...no.

heh...Gulbis in top 10? Sorry but, not bloody likely.

rubberduckies
04-04-2009, 04:46 PM
heh...Gulbis in top 10? Sorry but, not bloody likely.

This forum's blatant hatred of the Latvian Legend is just appalling.

deltox
04-04-2009, 04:53 PM
Isner a future top 10?! Uhhh...no.

this guy will be inside the top 75 or so before the end of this year. karlovic is what rank? and Isner has his height and strengths but moves much much better with real groundstroke weapons.

Patrick_St
04-04-2009, 05:34 PM
This is an interesting topic. There are advantages to being taller and I think as more taller players adapt to slowers surfaces you will sart to see taller players dominate even more, especially if topspin hitters continue to be so prevelant. It's just like almost all other sports, where taller people excel.

Could you imagine a tall guy with a body like LeBron James who decided to make tennis his sport of choice? LeBron is extremely strong, but he is still very athletic and fast. It seems there are so many scrawny little guys who are professional tennis players, especially the tall guys. I would love to see a very powerfully built, strong tall guy burst onto the tennis scene and start ripping it up. A 6'8" Rafael Nadal if you will. Although it may not happen.

mikeler
04-04-2009, 05:43 PM
In my eyes it's really about angles. Taller players have an easier time serving. They have longer reach when stretched wide, etc. Even though it makes it tough to hit lower balls for taller players especially at net. The reality is that slice is not used as often, and most players don't come to net much either. I can tell you that at 5'10" or just over, it would be nice to be about 6'2".

I am 5'8" with shoes on. I'd settle for 5'10"! :)

Tennis Dunce
04-04-2009, 06:26 PM
this guy will be inside the top 75 or so before the end of this year. karlovic is what rank? and Isner has his height and strengths but moves much much better with real groundstroke weapons.

Kevin Anderson>John Isner

Bud
04-04-2009, 06:35 PM
heh...Gulbis in top 10? Sorry but, not bloody likely.

This forum's blatant hatred of the Latvian Legend is just appalling.

:roll::roll::roll:

The Latvian Legend, huh? :lol:

Bud
04-04-2009, 06:37 PM
I am 5'8" with shoes on. I'd settle for 5'10"! :)

If you were 5'10, you'd desire 6'2. It never ends :wink:

6' to 6'1 is the perfect height for tennis.

Barricade V
04-04-2009, 06:40 PM
The one thing I like most about tennis in general, is that you don't have to have a specific body type like tall for basketball, big for football, etc. to be able to play tennis. I like that no matter who you are, you can be amazing at tennis. I personally think that it is coincidence that the top 10 are so big right now.

bad_call
04-05-2009, 06:47 AM
i think the general population is getting taller...people (upcoming generations) are getting taller...natural selection or something like that i heard.

bad_call
04-05-2009, 06:59 AM
here are some stats i found in an article...being curious and all.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++
1980 Top 10
Bjorn Borg 5' 11"; John McEnroe 5' 11"; Gene Mayer 6'; Jimmy Connors 5' 10"; Guillermo Vilas 5' 9"; Ivan Lendl 6' 2"; Harold Solomon 5' 6"; Jose Luis Clerc 6' 1"; Vitas Gerulaitis 6' 0"; Eliot Tetlscher 5' 10".

2000 Top 10
Marat Safin 6' 4"; Gustavo Kuerten 6' 3"; Pete Sampras 6' 1"; Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6' 3"; Lleyton Hewitt 5' 11"; Andre Agassi 5' 11"; Magnus Norman 6' 2"; Alex Corretja 5' 11"; Thomas Enquist 6' 3" ; Tim Henman 6' 1".

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ocean Drive
04-05-2009, 09:51 AM
I just realized that compared to a couple years ago the top 10 as a whole seems to be getting significantly taller:

Federer and Nadal at 6'1''
Djokovic at 6'2''
Murray at 6'3"
Roddick at 6'2''
Del Potro at 6'6"
Monfils at 6'4"
Verdasco at 6'2"

Only leaves two "shorties" under 6ft: Simon (5ft11) and Davydenko (5ft10) - who's on the way down anyway.

And when you factor in the most promising youngsters that will probably make the top 10 in the future: Cilic (6ft5), Gulbis (6ft5), Tsonga (6ft2), maybe Isner (6ft9)...

you get a very different picture from a few years back when the top 10 seemed to be dominated by smaller, quicker guys like Coria, Ferrer, Gaudio, Hewitt, Davydenko, Nalbandian, Robredo, Gonzalez... all under 6ft. Back then people were saying that because of slower surfaces since around 2000-2002 shorter players were given a big advantage over tall power players.

The interesting part is that the surfaces or the balls haven't gotten any faster and yet the elite seems to be getting much taller all of a sudden.

haha cilic is 6'6'' and gulbis is 6'3'', gonzalez is 6'.

droliver
04-05-2009, 12:27 PM
I think this will be just a blip with the (slightly) taller group. The lateral movement required in the modern game will always limit the ideal height of players to some degree. I'd suspect the taller player is also going to have more injury problems over time, particularly with their lower back

Nanshiki
04-05-2009, 01:54 PM
The ideal range is probably between 6'1 and 6'9 or so. Any shorter and you have a hard time with the first serve, any taller and you'll have movement/balance issues.

At this point, anyone below 5'10" will probably never have a shot at the men's top 10 again.

Melissa
04-05-2009, 03:06 PM
i think the general population is getting taller...people (upcoming generations) are getting taller...natural selection or something like that i heard.

~GiGGle~It is all about the mommies to be; being fed all those extra vitamins while carrying~GiGGle~

AndrewD
04-05-2009, 03:09 PM
The interesting part is that the surfaces or the balls haven't gotten any faster and yet the elite seems to be getting much taller all of a sudden.

The pace is slower and the bounce is higher so tall players aren't penalised by slower reaction times and balls that stay low.

That said, the statement that "anyone below 5'10" will probably never have a shot at the men's top 10 again" is absolute garbage.

Nanshiki
04-05-2009, 06:32 PM
No it isn't. So far it's been totally true for like, what, 10+ years?

Agassi, Hewitt, etc, were all considered to be relatively 'short' guys, but they were 5'10-5'11, which isn't small at all.

Not to mention every World #1 for 36 years has been at least 5'10" (give or take half an inch).

Mikael
04-06-2009, 01:49 AM
No it isn't. So far it's been totally true for like, what, 10+ years?

Agassi, Hewitt, etc, were all considered to be relatively 'short' guys, but they were 5'10-5'11, which isn't small at all.

Not to mention every World #1 for 36 years has been at least 5'10" (give or take half an inch).


The top 10 got a lot taller in the late 80s - 90s with the advent of the power game and fast surfaces (grass+indoors)... So big servers and power players dominated.
Guys like Sampras, Ivanisevic, Rafter, Enqvist, Korda, Kafelnikov, Moya, Krajicek, Kuerten, Rusedski, Philipoussis were in the top 10 regularly... and maybe a couple shorter guys like Chang and Agassi or some claycourter like Corretja or Rios.

Then in the early 2000s the average height got much shorter... with guys like Coria, Hewitt, Nalbandian, etc reaching the top. Many people said it was because surfaces had gotten slower and you could no longer dominate with just a massive serve&volley and forehand.

So it's definitely varied over the years.

Nanshiki
04-06-2009, 05:21 AM
Nalbandian and Hewitt are both around 5'11". Coria and Chang are both 5'9, which isn't *that* short.

Even Fabrice Santoro is 5'10.

All the guys of average height are considered to be small in pro tennis.

Ocean Drive
04-06-2009, 06:05 AM
Tallest number 1 of all time - Marat Safin.

6'4'', but maybe taller as his height was done aged 17.

legend.