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View Full Version : Why is tennis becoming slower and slower?


timnz
10-14-2009, 12:27 PM
By this I mean why are the court surfaces getting slower and slower? Because of this we have seen the death of Serve and Volley as a style. Players can't be effective in that strategy anymore because there is too much time for the baseline to line up for the pass on these slow courts that we have these days.

There used to be two indoor carpet seasons until the mid-90's at least. Straight after the Australian Open you can big indoor carpet tournaments like Philadelphia & Milan. The other indoor season was from after the US Open finished until the Masters event at the end of the year. Tournaments like Stuttgart, Paris Indoor (on carpet) lead up to the Masters. Indoor carpet doesn't exist really anymore. They have indoor seasons on indoor hard court - which is not anywhere near as fast.

Wimbledon has been slowed down massively since 2002.

Instead of having a support where there is a variety of surfaces which play differently - which adds interests and colour to the sport. We have homogenity.

The question is why?

Why have the powers that be decided that fast court tennis should die? They are the ones who have eliminated indoor carpet and made Wimbledon slow.

DownTheLine
10-14-2009, 12:28 PM
It might be because players are hitting the ball alot harder.

SystemicAnomaly
10-14-2009, 12:35 PM
Court surfaces, even grass, have gotten slower because the game has gotten too fast. Goundstrokes that can be hit in excess of 80 mph, even 100+ mph is the reason for the near-extinction of the S&V game in singles.

I recall that the men's matches at Wimbledon in the 1990s was often pretty boring because of the power in the game. Most points would end with the serve or the ROS. One fix for this was this was to make the ball larger (more air drag) but this idea flopped. Players were hurting themselves, trying to hit the ball harder. The fixes that worked were making the ball brighter and slowing down the grass (and other surfaces).

Blinkism
10-14-2009, 01:40 PM
Well, this year's Wimbledon was the lowest, in terms of break percentages, of all the 4 slams and had the high amount of aces served in a grand slam EVER

So, it's not as much the surface changing as it is the styles changing, too.

Here is an article from 2002 in which a Wimbledon official, a spokesperson, answers question about Wimbledon's speed.

He does however, point out, that Wimbledon has gradually slowed down due to a drop of serve-and-volley players

And not the other way around, as the OP claims

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/wimbledon/2088800.stm

But Championships spokesman Johnny Perkins told BBC Sport Online that there had been no change in court preparation this year.

"Absolutely not," said Perkins. "The grass is the same, and it's the same seed mix at the same height.

"It was dry for longer beforehand so that makes the balls bounce more and gives the players longer to play their shots, so there are more rallies."

Wimbledon has made a concerted move to slow the courts over the last decade, but Perkins insisted the change would not be discernible from one year to another.

"Over the last 10 years the courts have gradually been firmed up in line with the movement of the game," said Perkins.

"As the number of serve-volleyers decreased it was just felt that the ball was going through a bit too quickly.

"But it has been a gradual change and not enough that you would notice in one particular year."

kidrock
10-14-2009, 01:54 PM
I miss those contrast of styles, now you only see baseliners even at wimbledon.

Blinkism
10-14-2009, 01:56 PM
I miss those contrast of styles, now you only see baseliners even at wimbledon.

Not true, Tommy Haas made the semi-finals by moving into the net.

Karlovic made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon by mixing it up with serve-and-volley.

And, ofcourse, there's always guys like Tsonga and Lopez varying it up.

fed_rulz
10-14-2009, 01:59 PM
Not true, Tommy Haas made the semi-finals by moving into the net.

Karlovic made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon by mixing it up with serve-and-volley.

And, ofcourse, there's always guys like Tsonga and Lopez varying it up.

you're kidding right? It's more like serve-and-no volley :)

Blinkism
10-14-2009, 02:02 PM
you're kidding right? It's more like serve-and-no volley :)

Hey, it's different from just camping on the baseline.

He does play a different style.

Also, Hewitt sometimes throws in a net game once in a while and Roddick attempts to and they made the quarter-finals and finals, respectively. Both are baseliners, though, sure.

Federer varies his game around, he was the Champion. He's also a baseliner, but he's got more variety than that.

Ferrero is a baseliner, sure, but he's aggresive - he made the quarter-finals.

And you have Murray, semi-finalist, playing a counterpuncher style with a strong serve.

And ofcourse, there's Djokovic, quarter-finalist, who plays an aggressive baseline game but also mixed it up with an allcourt game occasionally and has a strong service game.

I don't see why anyone would say this year's Wimbledon draw lacked variety in styles. IMO, it was nice to see different styles the way it was.

President of Serve/Volley
10-14-2009, 02:04 PM
Because no one wants to see Serve and Volley anymore considering how boring it might be, but I absolutely love watching S/V vs Baseliners, Lord, I miss Edberg and Sampras. Now, Carpet was great to watch, fastest surface other than Wimbledon circa 1996.

How about Wood Surface? Yikes.

kOaMaster
10-14-2009, 02:52 PM
passing shots and groundstrokes are a lot faster/harder than they used to be couple of years ago. baseline-play has become stronger. the return is either in for good or out. you do not get a big advantage with s/v, too risky.

I like both. baseline only can be boring, as long as it isn't spectacular like nadal, feder play it...