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View Full Version : Bill Tilden vs. top college player...who would win?


Claudius
07-31-2009, 09:43 AM
Tilden in his prime with his wooden racquet vs. Top college player with modern day racquet and strings...who would win in a best of 5 set match?

TTMR
07-31-2009, 10:15 AM
Tilden wouldn't stand a chance with a wooden racquet. Now, if he updated his equipment and trained in the new style of game for a year or two, I have no doubt a man of his talent and serving prowess could be competitive. Otherwise, he would be decimated.

CyBorg
07-31-2009, 10:18 AM
Get yourself a hobby.

ClarkC
07-31-2009, 10:45 AM
Why should Tilden re-train? Make the college player use a wooden racket.

JoshDragon
07-31-2009, 10:59 AM
Why should Tilden re-train? Make the college player use a wooden racket.

Why should the college player re-train? Make Tilden use a graphite.

psYcon
07-31-2009, 02:00 PM
A decent 4.5 player would take out Tilden.

don't believe me? check the video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izEbU5u5J-I

No footwork, no kick serve, a **** poor backhand slice. There's no way he can win a single game against a college player of today.

Datacipher
07-31-2009, 03:12 PM
A decent 4.5 player would take out Tilden.

don't believe me? check the video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izEbU5u5J-I

No footwork, no kick serve, a **** poor backhand slice. There's no way he can win a single game against a college player of today.

You don't have a CLUE what you're talking about. Pathetic. You based this analysis off a 3 second youtube clip. How ignorant do you desire to be??

Tilden had a great kick serve by the way.

fluffy Beaver
07-31-2009, 03:17 PM
A decent 4.5 player would take out Tilden.

don't believe me? check the video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izEbU5u5J-I

No footwork, no kick serve, a **** poor backhand slice. There's no way he can win a single game against a college player of today.

You don't have a CLUE what you're talking about. Pathetic. You based this analysis off a 3 second youtube clip. How ignorant do you desire to be??

Tilden had a great kick serve by the way.

At first I thought he was being sarcastic, apparently not..

this appears to be a solid 4.0 game compared to today's standard.

^^ From another thread.

fluffy Beaver
07-31-2009, 03:19 PM
Let's see, so from this comment I can only assume psYcon believes he is a 4.5.


So anyway the level I was referring to earlier about competing with players with official USTA rating whom I am able to match up (i.e sometimes win / sometimes lose) is 4.5.

Now here is a video of psYcon hitting

http://vimeo.com/1873139

^^so apparently this type of player could beat Tilden?

Datacipher
07-31-2009, 03:48 PM
Let's see, so from this comment I can only assume psYcon believes he is a 4.5.



Now here is a video of psYcon hitting

http://vimeo.com/1873139

^^so apparently this type of player could beat Tilden?

Ugh. Well....I can see why he wouldnt' know what to actually look for in a great player.

In any case, that'd be great if he were being sarcastic! There was no indication of it in that post, and I have not read any other thread regarding this!

If not....well.....the video you posted speaks for itself.

Audiophile
08-01-2009, 08:10 PM
I get a good chuckle out of posts like this. I've never understood why there are those that seem to always want to try and compare players from different eras, no matter the sport. Different game, different equipment, different training, better supplements, etc. etc. Technology has it's way with just about everything. But, I'm sure you will get some interesting responses; and it should make for some fun reading. As to the poster with the comment "a 4.5 player could beat Tilden", well, what do you say to that? For those that know even a little about this game, nothing really needs to be said. Sigh......

MIGHTY MANFRED THE WONDER
08-01-2009, 09:14 PM
Tilden and wood, alright...

Tilden
08-03-2009, 12:03 AM
People forget how the game of old was played. In the 1920s, the game was different. For example, that serve that was alluded to. You could not step off your feet at the time but still, Tilden was able to generate enormous amounts of speed, more than 130+ by some estimates. Tilden's era had wood rackets that were total ****, that couldnt even be strung that tightly otherwise they would snap like twigs. Even so, Tilden could hit tricky spins, sidespin, backspin, knuckleball, and everything between. College players, especially the top players, are big hitters, often relying on sheer pace. You watch them play and they make amateurish mistakes, like not compensating for backspin on a ball and netting it. I have seen it thousands of times. Tilden was also a superb athlete, albeit with his questionable "meat and potato" diet. If Tilden had a late era wood racket, like 1980ish, or a couple composite rackets, Tilden would throw so much **** at the college player that his game would self destruct. On the other hand, if Tilden was forced to use the wood racket of his day, he would have great difficulty as those rackets would not be able to withstand the power and topspin of the modern game and buckle. Tilden with good wood or composite racquet wins in 4. Tilden with his racket loses in 4.

BU-Tennis
08-03-2009, 02:44 AM
We're not talking about a modern day 4.5 here people, we're talking top college player, which i take to mean a DI player, someone like John Isner. Isner, in my opinion, is what Tilden would be capable of if he grew up in this tennis generation. Huge serve and big groundies. He was a genius when it came to spins but now pure pace is much more important because instead of missing the ball you can't even get a racquet on it. Tilden was a great athlete for his time but his size will make his movement too weak to be such a champion today.

I have to give the win to the DI player over Big Bill.

Kick Serve 14
08-03-2009, 09:01 PM
college player, they are much more fit...

DownTheLine
08-03-2009, 10:43 PM
Collage player would OWN!!!

Bud
08-03-2009, 11:39 PM
Collage player would OWN!!!

Collage? :oops:

Datacipher
08-04-2009, 01:57 AM
We're not talking about a modern day 4.5 here people, we're talking top college player, which i take to mean a DI player, someone like John Isner. Isner, in my opinion, is what Tilden would be capable of if he grew up in this tennis generation. Huge serve and big groundies. He was a genius when it came to spins but now pure pace is much more important because instead of missing the ball you can't even get a racquet on it. Tilden was a great athlete for his time but his size will make his movement too weak to be such a champion today.

I have to give the win to the DI player over Big Bill.

Hi, my name is BU tennis. I don't have A CLUE what I'm talking about, but thought i'd mouth off on TW forums! BLAH BLAH Tilden could have been Isner! "his size will make his movement too weak"!!

There, I did it!!! YAH!!! Now people will think I know something about tennis and Tilden, and I've been able to make up a reason to defend my bias against Tilden and for the college player! WOOOOHHH!! I ROCK!

OOPS! Tilden was 6'2. Geez, if only I had known ANYTHING about Tilden before I posted :-( Now people will see my opinion for the piece of garbage it is....

nfor304
08-04-2009, 03:06 AM
Tilden in his late 40s played a close match against Gonzalez. No way any college player would beat Gonzalez, wood racket or no wood racket. Tilden in 3 or 4 sets.

wyutani
08-04-2009, 03:08 AM
Get yourself a hobby.

i 2nd that.

ttbrowne
08-04-2009, 07:23 AM
Oh Lord...The Tilden movement is akin to the Birthers.
This one clip which shows some of the tennis played back then at court level. C'mon, It's 3.5 stuff.

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=6524

Claudius
08-04-2009, 03:57 PM
Get yourself a hobby.

You're telling me this, when you start threads like this one...

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=249167

TennisNinja
08-05-2009, 06:29 PM
College player hands down.

psYcon
08-05-2009, 06:47 PM
Let's see, so from this comment I can only assume psYcon believes he is a 4.5.



Now here is a video of psYcon hitting

http://vimeo.com/1873139

^^so apparently this type of player could beat Tilden?

you haven't seen a matchplay video of me, so you have no clue what kind of play I am capable of. And yes, I am now officially USTA 4.5 rated. (in Texas I should mention)

Secondly this is a year old video of me. Most of the flaws I have already fixed, including the footwork, swing on volleys, takeback on both forehand and backhand, thanks to help from Bungalo Bill.

ClarkC
08-05-2009, 07:19 PM
Why should Tilden re-train? Make the college player use a wooden racket.

Why should the college player re-train? Make Tilden use a graphite.

Even though your answer is flippant and silly, there is serious issue here.

Every time one of these discussions is held, people picture the older player re-training for 6 months or a year with a new racket. In the back of our minds, we are always going to doubt how well he can do that. We can picture the power game of the current player, while it is hard to picture Fred Perry or or Bill Tilden or whomever picking up the modern game in a year. After seeing an old film of these guys, you just have a hard time picturing them banging balls with Nadal today.

My suggestion was made to force people to do the mental exercise the other way. I don't know if others have had this thought, but when I see slow motion replays during modern tennis matches, I often see balls striking the racket so close to the frame that, at best, the stroke would have been a mere grazing of the frame of an old wooden racket, causing the ball to go straight down or straight up. At worst, the stroke would have been a complete whiff. Today's bad mishits would almost all have been whiffs with a 1930s wooden racket. I would love to see a wooden racket superimposed on a freeze-frame still photo of an off-center hit or mishit from one of these current matches.

Now, the players of the 1930s were not known for whiffing at the ball. What can explain this terrible inaccuracy in modern play? The answers lie with larger frames, better control of off center hits, and better strings, all of which make it possible to use semi-Western and full Western grips and swing up more steeply at the back of the ball to make tremendous topspin. An entirely different style develops as a result.

Give today's college player some copies of Bill Tilden's racket and strings, and he would almost have to re-learn the game of tennis in a year. First he would have to change his grip. Then he would have to change how much spin he tries to put on the ball. Even then, he would probably have to reduce his racket head speed at least a little bit to cut down on mishits and off center hits and get more consistent hits in the small sweet spot.

I don't think one year would suffice for the modern college player to do anything besides embarrass himself. And it sure would be something to watch him in the early part of that year!

On the other hand, give Bill Tilden a modern racket and strings, and your main criticism in the early part of the year would be that he is not utilizing its (power and spin) potential very well. At the end of a year, he would have progressed, but he would probably still not utilize the full potential of modern technology in only a year. But he would never look like a joke, as a modern college player would at first.

MichaelChang
08-07-2009, 12:22 PM
For those who do not know how the tennis was played in Tilden's era, please see below for his game:
http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=4676

The poll is strictly comparing that tennis, to today's top college player, which is 6.0+. I hope you do understsand what 6.0+ means. Then you can cast your judgements. To me, the 6.0+ wins.

cadfael_tex
08-07-2009, 12:30 PM
It is impossible to be definitive with these sorts of things because all the variables are so different.

Here's my mental gymnastics...
1. Tilden was as good as he was for a reason, those reasons mostly trascend eras (ie athletic ability, reflexes, etc)

2. A question in my mind: How much difference is there between the top college player today and Roger Federer (or any top 5/top 10 pro player)?

3. I debate that in my head before what most people see as the crux of this debate - ie how much diffrence does the technology make?

After all that, my total guess is that Tilden wins and the margin increases with the amount of time he sees and reacts to the modern game.

Mick
08-07-2009, 12:37 PM
pretty soon, i will find out if a bill tilden racquet could be used today by a 3.5 - 4.0 player to beat another 3.5 - 4.0 player :)

MichaelChang
08-07-2009, 12:49 PM
2. A question in my mind: How much difference is there between the top college player today and Roger Federer (or any top 5/top 10 pro player)?


John Isner was a college player some 2-3 years ago. Just so you have an idea.

cadfael_tex
08-07-2009, 01:07 PM
Saw him (Isner) play a challenger event about that time. What is say watching now and then is that there is definitely an adjustment between the two. What is he ranked now?

Flyingpanda
08-07-2009, 01:52 PM
I would put my money on a top college player any day. Just think about it. Tilden brought physicality to a relatively new sport. In his day, the sheer amount of people competing and the depth of competition was a lot less than it is now. Secondly, the amount of training people put into today's game beats anything in that era.

From wikipedia: "Although Tilden almost never drank, he smoked heavily and disdained what today would be considered a healthy life style for an athlete; for most of his life his diet consisted of three enormous meals a day of steak and potatoes, with, perhaps, the occasional lamb chop."

Just from a fitness standpoint, people in today's game are stronger and probably have way more endurance than Tilden had.

Third, pro players have much more difficulty making changes to their form and the way they play. Tilden played with a wood racket, you guys are assuming that he'd want to or even be able to adjust to a modern racket and playing style. That in itself to me is doubtful and can't be taken for granted. Pro tennis players are extremely finnicky about their gear and most stick with the same racket they've been using for years.

Mick
08-07-2009, 05:31 PM
ok guys, in a few minutes I am gonna take the "big bill tilden championship" racquet to the tennis courts to take down those guys with their wilson K90 and babolat apdc. old school will destroy new school tonight :D


http://i27.tinypic.com/s3j1o5.jpg

Tennis Dunce
08-07-2009, 06:17 PM
I tend to lean towards the college player. Tilden wolfing down Lucky Strikes on changeovers and gnawing on raw meat doesn't help his chances.

cadfael_tex
08-07-2009, 06:19 PM
I tend to lean towards the college player. Tilden wolfing down Lucky Strikes on changeovers and gnawing on raw meat doesn't help his chances.

Does that mean I should stop doing this. I thought it was helping my game :twisted:

MichaelChang
08-08-2009, 02:34 PM
ok guys, in a few minutes I am gonna take the "big bill tilden championship" racquet to the tennis courts to take down those guys with their wilson K90 and babolat apdc. old school will destroy new school tonight :D


http://i27.tinypic.com/s3j1o5.jpg

So, does your racket hold up in the hitting session?

fluffy Beaver
08-08-2009, 02:47 PM
you haven't seen a matchplay video of me, so you have no clue what kind of play I am capable of. And yes, I am now officially USTA 4.5 rated. (in Texas I should mention)

Secondly this is a year old video of me. Most of the flaws I have already fixed, including the footwork, swing on volleys, takeback on both forehand and backhand, thanks to help from Bungalo Bill.

Put up or shut up.

How about a video of your so called "4.5" match play. Funny you say you're "officially" a 4.5 rated player. Guess what, ANYONE can self rate and be a 4.5 for that matter.

Or better yet, how about you post your results against 4.5's that have a decent record, not others like yourself who self rate 4.5.

Mick
08-08-2009, 03:24 PM
So, does your racket hold up in the hitting session?

yep. i beat the 3.5 fellow with a yonex rdis 100 midplus 6-3.

i also played doubles with it. the same 3.5 fellow was my doubles partner and we played against a pair of 4.0 players. they beat us 6-3 but the old racquet played a very small part in the lost because i did not get to hit much as most of the balls were directed to my partner (i held all of my serves).

the most surprising thing was, the 1920's racquet did not play much different than the 1970's wood racquets.

so my conclusion is, having been a world class player, bill tilden would beat everyone below the level of a top college player -- bill tilden vs. top college player, i still don't know :)

1970's & 1920's wood racquets
http://i25.tinypic.com/16bwllf.jpg

Tennis Dunce
08-08-2009, 07:53 PM
^^ Mick what kind of string was in the 20's wood?

psYcon
08-08-2009, 09:10 PM
Put up or shut up.

How about a video of your so called "4.5" match play. Funny you say you're "officially" a 4.5 rated player. Guess what, ANYONE can self rate and be a 4.5 for that matter.

Or better yet, how about you post your results against 4.5's that have a decent record, not others like yourself who self rate 4.5.

FYI, I self-rated myself as a 4.0 in Spring and played singles line-up where I almost swept all 12 matches I played. USTA themselves bumped me up to 4.5 in midyear rating, and they also bumped the guy I lost to (3rd set tie-break). As I said earlier, when I get a chance I will update with my matchplay video but until then I will let my record and rating speak for themselves.

fluffy Beaver
08-08-2009, 09:17 PM
FYI, I self-rated myself as a 4.0 in Spring and played singles line-up where I almost swept all 12 matches I played. USTA themselves bumped me up to 4.5 in midyear rating, and they also bumped the guy I lost to (3rd set tie-break). As I said earlier, when I get a chance I will update with my matchplay video but until then I will let my record and rating speak for themselves.

aaa, you didn't post anything.

Mick
08-08-2009, 10:46 PM
^^ Mick what kind of string was in the 20's wood?

it is some kind of modern nylon or synthetic gut string. i don't think it is very old because it does not feel dead yet. when i hit the slice serves, it still generated a lot of side spin.

psYcon
08-09-2009, 12:32 PM
aaa, you didn't post anything.

I don't post my personal info on public msg boards. If you don't want to believe me go ahead and do so, I don't care. But the fact will remain, Mr. Tilden is a solid 4.0

fluffy Beaver
08-09-2009, 01:12 PM
I don't post my personal info on public msg boards. If you don't want to believe me go ahead and do so, I don't care. But the fact will remain, Mr. Tilden is a solid 4.0

I knew it, all talk no proof. You're able to post a video of yourself with a full body and facial shot completely giving away your identity but not able to give details yourself when it's possible someone on the forum knows you.

And I like how it's become "fact" that Tilden is a 4.0 from opinions/observations. Again, all talk.

JoshDragon
08-09-2009, 01:16 PM
Bill Tilden, would never beat a college player.

psYcon
08-09-2009, 01:46 PM
I knew it, all talk no proof. You're able to post a video of yourself with a full body and facial shot completely giving away your identity but not able to give details yourself when it's possible someone on the forum knows you.

And I like how it's become "fact" that Tilden is a 4.0 from opinions/observations. Again, all talk.

hmm, let's see, even if I showed you my full name, results and rating, how would you know that's me? You can't . And that's how it is with these public boards. You don't want to accept it , don't, no one is forcing you. Also this is not about me, it's about Tilden, the guy moves and plays like a 4.0. He might have been the king back in his time, but tennis is a different sport now. Keep living in the past grandpa.

fluffy Beaver
08-09-2009, 01:49 PM
hmm, let's see, even if I showed you my full name, results and rating, how would you know that's me? You can't . And that's how it is with these public boards. You don't want to accept it , don't, no one is forcing you. Also this is not about me, it's about Tilden, the guy moves and plays like a 4.0. He might have been the king back in his time, but tennis is a different sport now. Keep living in the past grandpa.

talk talk talk allllllllllll talk.

35ft6
08-09-2009, 05:39 PM
Tilden had a great kick serve by the way.Links, please? Seriously, what are you basing this on?

MichaelChang
08-10-2009, 07:59 AM
Links, please? Seriously, what are you basing this on?

He watched a lot of tennis in the 1920s when Tilden played. :):):)

drakulie
08-10-2009, 08:07 AM
I honestly can't see Tilden getting even one game off a top college player. he was great for his time, but times change, players get better, stronger, faster, etc, etc, etc.

One more note::: I would love to see vid of Tilden's kicker. LMAO.

drakulie
08-10-2009, 08:11 AM
Now, the players of the 1930s were not known for whiffing at the ball. What can explain this terrible inaccuracy in modern play?


fact that they were hitting the ball **A LOT** slower back then.

Can't think of a name
08-12-2009, 09:11 PM
welp...judging from numberous videos ive seen of Tilden...a college level player today would absolutely destroy him. Times have changed...technology has advanced...techniques have advanced... For those who think Tilden would beat a modern college player..what do you base that off of? Its clear from watching the old Tilden vids who would win...

aphex
08-14-2009, 06:18 AM
tilden would destroy a top a college player...

as a certain mr. santoro has showed when he triple breadsticked a certain mr. sampras, power is not all that is required...

EtePras
08-14-2009, 12:45 PM
Now that all the Tilden fanboys have been utterly pwned, watch them pull their favorite one out: the "Tilden would dominate with modern equipment/training" line that they also pulled with Borg.

ubermeyer
08-14-2009, 01:13 PM
I accidentally voted for tilden because I didn't read that he's playing with a wooden racket.