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View Full Version : Is it more depth in the ATP now then ever in History?


Gonzo
08-12-2009, 08:07 AM
I was watching Federer VS Niemeyer last night. And even tho Fed won in straight sets, Niemeyer was holding his own. The first set was a tiebreak. The commentators mentioned the Niemeyer was ranked 485. I didn't know that or would have guessed. The Commentators said that this shows how much depth it is in todays mens tennis. That a guy ranked 485 can give Federer , one of if not the best player of all time, a great match.

What do you all think?

drwood
08-12-2009, 08:17 AM
Depth = Definitely yes
Quality = No

dropshot winner
08-12-2009, 08:19 AM
I'm not sure.
Some low ranked players are able to play fantastic tennis against the top players, but that's often not their normal level, they are just going for broke or take huge risk because they know there's no other way to get in the match. On a good day that can make them look better then they are.

I've seen some truly bad performances lately, from players like Schuttler and Serra. After such matches I really wondered how those guys manage to be ranked where they are.

akv89
08-12-2009, 08:24 AM
There's definitely more depth outside the top 20. It's not that hard to imagine guys ranked outside the top 20 losing to guys ranked outside the top 100 in high quality matches.

Turning Pro
08-12-2009, 09:20 AM
no.............The 90's and even 80's were stronger. Although the real stand out players, like Fed and Nadal are probably higher standard than any of them era's.

Breaker
08-12-2009, 09:42 AM
It's probably about equal depth really. Remember 10 years ago 500+ ranked Voltchkov making the quarters/semis at Wimby and giving Sampras a decent match? Lower ranked players throughout history have been able to challenge top players on a good day.

In fact the addition of 16 seeds at slams may have reduced depth a bit as it becomed more difficult for lower ranked players to get a good draw.

tiebraek
08-12-2009, 10:07 AM
it's kind of all the same tennis with all these baseliners (the new racquets do help them alot)..would like to see a bit
of serve and volley..sampras, becker, edberg, Rafter versus Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray..

ubermeyer
08-12-2009, 11:57 AM
it's kind of all the same tennis with all these baseliners (the new racquets do help them alot)..would like to see a bit
of serve and volley..sampras, becker, edberg, Rafter versus Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray..

serve and volley is ineffective unless you have a serve like Karlovic's because the courts are slower, so you are going to get passed 95% of the time nowadays.

VivalaVida
08-12-2009, 11:58 AM
I have no idea. I wasnt around for long enough to observe tennis history completely.

GameSampras
08-12-2009, 12:03 PM
General consesus is the top 100, the ATP is pretty deep.. The quality of the ATP players right now especially top 10-20 is another story.. Its far from the greatest in history.

80s, early 90s, maybe mid late 70s as well, produced far more quality.


So depth wise sure.. Maybe it is the strongest.... But that doesnt negate the poor quality of top ranked players these days

clayman2000
08-12-2009, 02:16 PM
Well to be honest, the Canadians this year just stepped it up. Raonic, Polansky, and Niemeyer all played amazing matches against top 10 players Gonzo, Djokovic and Federer. I think the home crowd helped too.

Chadwixx
08-12-2009, 02:34 PM
But that doesnt negate the poor quality of top ranked players these days

Shots are harder, fitness is higher and every other aspect of the game has improved. Not sure how its possible to not see this.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-12-2009, 02:40 PM
But that doesnt negate the poor quality of top ranked players these days
What???:shock:

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-12-2009, 02:42 PM
Shots are harder, fitness is higher and every other aspect of the game has improved. Not sure how its possible to not see this.
Actually,the shots are not harder today, todays players are hitting with a lot more spin than the top-players used to do. Boris Becker for example is hitting a lot harder than Federer,hard to believe? Yes,but its true. Agree on the fitness and the other aspects of the game though

Blinkism
08-12-2009, 02:47 PM
Well to be honest, the Canadians this year just stepped it up. Raonic, Polansky, and Niemeyer all played amazing matches against top 10 players Gonzo, Djokovic and Federer. I think the home crowd helped too.

Yeah, it's usually only Dancevic who can challenge top 100 players consistently, but this year Niemeyer and Polansky finally took a step forward (even though Niemeyer is probably retiring any time soon)...

Raonic is brand new on the circuit so he may very well go up the rankings fast enough.

Nadalfan89
08-12-2009, 03:06 PM
Only because the overall quality of the game is so low these days. I blame the slowing of the courts.

GameSampras
08-12-2009, 09:57 PM
What???:shock:

Outside of Nadal and Fed, the top guys cant hold a candle to guys in the 80s and early 90s. Djoker and Murray or young del potro, < Roddick arent even in the same zipcode as guys like Lendl, Mac, Courier, Wilander, Pete, Andre and down the line..

Not yet anyways. Everyone should agree on that

dincuss
08-12-2009, 09:59 PM
General consesus is the top 100, the ATP is pretty deep.. The quality of the ATP players right now especially top 10-20 is another story.. Its far from the greatest in history.

80s, early 90s, maybe mid late 70s as well, produced far more quality.


So depth wise sure.. Maybe it is the strongest.... But that doesnt negate the poor quality of top ranked players these days

But of course,
How could we forget? :roll:

grafselesfan
08-12-2009, 10:00 PM
No NO NO no no NO NO no no no NO NO no NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. That is my answer. This is the least deep field of the top 20 in tennis history.

lessthanjake
08-12-2009, 11:05 PM
If you look at it from a sort of mathematical/statistical/economics standpoint, I think it is obvious what the facts are:

1. Tennis is a more worldwide sport than ever before. Many decades ago, the Australians and Americans were the only countries with significant exposure to tennis. That changed after the 60s, but until relatively recently, the United States still dominated the tennis world, largely because other countries weren't sufficiently interested/exposed to it. Now tennis has become more worldwide than ever. What should the result of that be? Well, the more people that are exposed to tennis, the bigger the pool of players are. The bigger the pool of players, the more overall talent.

This is just logical. For instance, let's assume that 1 out of every million people that play tennis will be extremely good at it. If you had 100 million people exposed to tennis, you'd have 100 really good players. If 1 billion people played tennis, suddenly the odds tell you you'd have 1000 really good players.


2. Tennis is more profitable than it was in the past. Bjorn Borg made 3.6 million dollars in his career. Inflation adjusted, that is about 12 million dollars. A player like Borg would make that much in about two years nowadays. Why is this important? Well, because at its core, tennis is like a firm in a competitive market for the world's athletes. It is actually an extremely complicated labor market, but in its simplest terms, the higher the wage, the greater the supply of labor (the world's best athletes). If it did not pay as much to be a tennis player, then many great athletes who currently play tennis would likely have taken up a different sport that paid more, or some other different career. Tennis would be left with the lesser athletes who aren't good enough to hack it in other higher paying sports. As such, the fact that inflation adjusted wages have increased means that tennis has likely attracted a greater share of the world's best athletes than it once did.

3. The last two points are all on a macro level and seem to indicate that statistically, there should be more great athletes in tennis these days. This is why the top 100 is more deep than before, and why the 500th ranked player can give Federer a decent match. However, when we start looking at it from a more individual, micro perspective, the effect of those previous factors starts to lessen.

Statistically, probability would say that the #1 tennis player nowadays SHOULD be better than ever before because he is the best of a wider and higher paid pool. However, since we are now talking about a single player instead of the entire pro tour, the margin of error on that assumption is sky high, making that no longer a valid assumption.

For instance, let's say that tennis was suddenly ONLY played in Switzerland instead of worldwide. Probability would tell us that with so few people now playing tennis, the quality of the pro tour would go down. Therefore, we would think that the quality of the best player in the world would likely decrease too. However, there is a huge margin of error because any country can produce one exceptional player. In this case, the quality of the best player in the world would NOT decrease in that situation.

On a wider scale, this applies to the top 10 these days. Tennis is more widespread and should attract more athletes due to higher pay nowadays. However, that does not mean that the top 10 nowadays are better than ever because the quality of the best few players are subject to a huge margin of error. Just like how even the smallest country is capable of producing the greatest athlete (even if you wouldn't bet on it), an era with less overall talent is still capable of producing a better crop of top 10 players (again, even if you wouldn't bet on it).



Conclusion: Tennis should be more deep now when we look at it from a very broad perspective of the entire pro tour because of sweeping factors of a globalized game and more money. However, the margin of error involved in applying those factors to the top 10 or 20 players is large enough that we cannot really say if this era is the deepest when looked at from that perspective.

FiveO
08-13-2009, 06:39 AM
If you look at it from a sort of mathematical/statistical/economics standpoint, I think it is obvious what the facts are:

1. Tennis is a more worldwide sport than ever before. Many decades ago, the Australians and Americans were the only countries with significant exposure to tennis. That changed after the 60s, but until relatively recently, the United States still dominated the tennis world, largely because other countries weren't sufficiently interested/exposed to it. Now tennis has become more worldwide than ever. What should the result of that be? Well, the more people that are exposed to tennis, the bigger the pool of players are. The bigger the pool of players, the more overall talent.

This is just logical. For instance, let's assume that 1 out of every million people that play tennis will be extremely good at it. If you had 100 million people exposed to tennis, you'd have 100 really good players. If 1 billion people played tennis, suddenly the odds tell you you'd have 1000 really good players.

Fallacy. One really needs to identify where players came from throughout the history of the game. Look up Drobny, Segura, Osuna, Pietrangeli, Panatta, Davidson, Kodes, Nastase, Gomez, Okker, Metreveli, Bungert, Franulovic, Pilic, Santana, Gimeno, Orantes, Vilas. Czech's, Croats, Spanish, Swedes were all represented won or reached finals of Majors. How many Germans since Becker have finaled at Majors? How about Mexicans, Peruvians, Chileans, Ecuadorians, or Romanians? Where have they been recently been in last weekends of events? How have the French and Italians faired since Noah (by way of Cameroon) or Panatta? Look further and you'll find Swiss (Gunthardt), Austria (Muster), Koch and Kuerten (Brazil). How well has South Africa remained represented. Asia? Japan has produced players for decades just simply not that good. How much impact has India had since the Amritraj brothers left the sport to produce movies?

China is perhaps the only large population really never to emerge at least on the men's side. They may make an impact but other than that the sport has become more centralized with the Spanish who were always represented in numbers becoming a mecca for every player coming from as far as Russia and those travelling to Florida to develop their games in largely much more homogenous environments. The youth of other countries like the US and Australia, have had their potential talent pools sapped by other athletic choices as well. As far as the rest of the world it has remained a niche sport with world class players coming from all corners of the globe for many decades.


2. Tennis is more profitable than it was in the past. Bjorn Borg made 3.6 million dollars in his career. Inflation adjusted, that is about 12 million dollars. A player like Borg would make that much in about two years nowadays. Why is this important? Well, because at its core, tennis is like a firm in a competitive market for the world's athletes. It is actually an extremely complicated labor market, but in its simplest terms, the higher the wage, the greater the supply of labor (the world's best athletes). If it did not pay as much to be a tennis player, then many great athletes who currently play tennis would likely have taken up a different sport that paid more, or some other different career. Tennis would be left with the lesser athletes who aren't good enough to hack it in other higher paying sports. As such, the fact that inflation adjusted wages have increased means that tennis has likely attracted a greater share of the world's best athletes than it once did.

3. The last two points are all on a macro level and seem to indicate that statistically, there should be more great athletes in tennis these days. This is why the top 100 is more deep than before, and why the 500th ranked player can give Federer a decent match. However, when we start looking at it from a more individual, micro perspective, the effect of those previous factors starts to lessen.

False on two levels. The example is Baseball. Salaries have increased exponentially, the game has gone completely global, team size has grown, and second basemen with journeyman numbers still exist, any lefthand reliever who could only strike out my mother if she were lefthanded still have jobs.

Tennis specific? Someone named Tito Vasquez (Argentina) took Nastase (Romania) to three sets in the 1R of an event in Utah losing 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in 1973, the year Nastase was #1 in the world. No offense to Mr. Vasquez, but he apparently never had a ranking but is listed as having a 6-25 match record in his career.

Statistically, probability would say that the #1 tennis player nowadays SHOULD be better than ever before because he is the best of a wider and higher paid pool. However, since we are now talking about a single player instead of the entire pro tour, the margin of error on that assumption is sky high, making that no longer a valid assumption.

For instance, let's say that tennis was suddenly ONLY played in Switzerland instead of worldwide. Probability would tell us that with so few people now playing tennis, the quality of the pro tour would go down. Therefore, we would think that the quality of the best player in the world would likely decrease too. However, there is a huge margin of error because any country can produce one exceptional player. In this case, the quality of the best player in the world would NOT decrease in that situation.

On a wider scale, this applies to the top 10 these days. Tennis is more widespread and should attract more athletes due to higher pay nowadays. However, that does not mean that the top 10 nowadays are better than ever because the quality of the best few players are subject to a huge margin of error. Just like how even the smallest country is capable of producing the greatest athlete (even if you wouldn't bet on it), an era with less overall talent is still capable of producing a better crop of top 10 players (again, even if you wouldn't bet on it).



Conclusion: Tennis should be more deep now when we look at it from a very broad perspective of the entire pro tour because of sweeping factors of a globalized game and more money. However, the margin of error involved in applying those factors to the top 10 or 20 players is large enough that we cannot really say if this era is the deepest when looked at from that perspective.

Bad conclusion based on incorrect "facts". No the game is not more global now than ever. Yes there is more money, there has always been more money. When prize money available to Laver and the greats of his time and prior is compared to the money Borg and McEnroe were making the same non-valid argument could be made. Compare Lendl's era to Sampras's same argument. Sampras's to now same argument, all invalid. In fact a stronger argument could be made that not only the prize money but the endorsement money lavished on players at early ages, based on projection of their potential stardom has done more to thwart many a player's focus and commitment than provided them the drive to reach their best.

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