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View Full Version : Shortage of successful young talents - trend or blip ?


shakes1975
01-18-2011, 03:11 PM
The astounding fact is that there are no players below 20 yrs in the top-100. The best is a ranking of 105 by Grigor Dimitrov, 19.

I think this is something that is unprecedented.

According to Todd Martin, it's because the game has subtly shifted from a game of primarily skill to a game that relies primarily on stamina and endurance.

The slower courts and balls, the strings, and racquets have levelled the field skill-wise so that every body can hit the ball hard and generate tremendous spin from the back of the court.

So it now comes down to a test of stamina and match-smarts. Which means the younger guys are always at a disadvantage.

To me, this is a very sad state of affairs. Something has to be done or there will be no player worth looking forward to, after Fed/Nadal.

Already, Murray and Djok have only flattered to deceive. Murray does not have the self-belief required to win slams, while Djok has physical limitations (lack of stamina and breathing problems).

DelPo is just coming back from injury.

The rest like Monfils, Cilic, Gulbis are fruitcakes and otherwise lack genuine talent.

AM95
01-18-2011, 03:17 PM
dimitrov is ranked like top 80 now i think. or top 90 for sure.

shakes1975
01-18-2011, 03:24 PM
dimitrov is ranked like top 80 now i think. or top 90 for sure.

After his 1st rd win ? Good. I hope to see his game live.

But in general, I think the point about young players struggling to shine is correct.

dlk
01-18-2011, 03:31 PM
Power is a key factor I bet.

Messarger
01-18-2011, 03:52 PM
So it now comes down to a test of stamina and match-smarts. Which means the younger guys are always at a disadvantage.

shouldnt this favour the younger players?

Bobby Jr
01-18-2011, 04:20 PM
shouldnt this favour the younger players?
Not at all. Male physical stamina doesn't peak until the 30s - evidenced by multisport and distance-sportsmen (marathon, thriathletes etc) - it is extremely unusual to see someone at the top under 30 yrs old.

Strength-wise and recover-wise the peak seems to be a little younger - but definitely not at the lower end of the 20s.

On the point of stamina there is also a considerable mental aspect which generally eludes younger players. With experience at training, recovery and matchplay comes a hardness which talent can't create like it can magical touch or serves etc. I think Todd Martin's point is that the gap between the talent required to overcome stamina/consistency is getting wider so we're seeing fewer 17 year olds upsetting top players early in tournaments. They just can't hack the intensity and unrelenting barrage which comes with more experienced, 'harder' players.

Messarger
01-18-2011, 04:36 PM
Not at all. Male physical stamina doesn't peak until the 30s - evidenced by multisport and distance-sportsmen (marathon, thriathletes etc) - it is extremely unusual to see someone at the top under 30 yrs old.

Strength-wise and recover-wise the peak seems to be a little younger - but definitely not at the lower end of the 20s.

On the point of stamina there is also a considerable mental aspect which generally eludes younger players. With experience at training, recovery and matchplay comes a hardness which talent can't create like it can magical touch or serves etc. I think Todd Martin's point is that the gap between the talent required to overcome stamina/consistency is getting wider so we're seeing fewer 17 year olds upsetting top players early in tournaments. They just can't hack the intensity and unrelenting barrage which comes with more experienced, 'harder' players.

Hmmm, i always thought the peak was mid 20s and after that it is all down hill.

dlk
01-18-2011, 04:40 PM
In the US Army, the highest physical expectations are in the 27-31 age group.

Bobby Jr
01-18-2011, 04:46 PM
Hmmm, i always thought the peak was mid 20s and after that it is all down hill.
It's not even a close call in terms of stamina. Check out marathon runners, iron-man triathletes, multisport guys etc.. Everyone of note is in their 30s, many are 35 or older. Young guys generally cannot match them. Strength however peaks earlier, as does ability to recover.

As dlk says above though the crossover where strength is still roughly peak but stamina/endurance is still increasing is in the late 20s to early 30s bracket. I guess you could call it the overall ideal zone for male physical performance.

Tennis however has its particular quirk of requiring tons of high impact running/sprinting which probably 'ages' legs quicker than in 'normal' people. It's this aspect which has been talked about plenty in terms of Federer the past year - maybe he's not at his peak speed anymore so he's working on ways to shorten points (just as Sampras did a decade earlier when he was near 30).

DMan
01-19-2011, 12:37 AM
The astounding fact is that there are no players below 20 yrs in the top-100. The best is a ranking of 105 by Grigor Dimitrov, 19.

I think this is something that is unprecedented.

According to Todd Martin, it's because the game has subtly shifted from a game of primarily skill to a game that relies primarily on stamina and endurance.

The slower courts and balls, the strings, and racquets have levelled the field skill-wise so that every body can hit the ball hard and generate tremendous spin from the back of the court.

So it now comes down to a test of stamina and match-smarts. Which means the younger guys are always at a disadvantage.

To me, this is a very sad state of affairs. Something has to be done or there will be no player worth looking forward to, after Fed/Nadal.

Already, Murray and Djok have only flattered to deceive. Murray does not have the self-belief required to win slams, while Djok has physical limitations (lack of stamina and breathing problems).

DelPo is just coming back from injury.

The rest like Monfils, Cilic, Gulbis are fruitcakes and otherwise lack genuine talent.

Tennis has always relied on stamina and endurance. But today power is at such a high premium And that is why fewer and fewer younger players, on both men's and women's tour, can succeed before they are 20.

There are still some young women on tour. But gone are the days when teens regularly used to win majors, and be staples of the top 10 rankings. Last year, a married 26 year old mother Kim Clijsters was the youngest woman to win a major that year! (Contrast that to nearly 30 years ago, when in 1981, 26 year old married Chris Evert was the oldest winner of a major, while two of the other winners were teens - both winning the 2nd majors of their career!)

We have lost a decent amount of the skill set that was employed by so many top players. And I am not just talking about the wood generation either. As much as 10 years ago, there were more serve and volley players, all court players, wily veterans able to compete with stronger power players.

Sadly, many of today's top players still don't have the right kind of endurance, or even know how to effectively train to compete on the pro tour. Too much emphasis is placed on mindless ball bashing. Properly constructing points, playing smart, thoughtful tennis, is considered weak, or insignificant.

For a few years Henin and Federer were the top players, generously displaying their marvelous all-court games, employing one handed backhands, the most varied shot selection of any of their rivals, as well as the fearlessness and belief to use these tactics on the biggest occasions. Even though Henin and Federer are still top contenders on tour, sadly, we haven't seen any other players emerge who have mirrored their own games after them. None. But plenty of two fisted, Western forehand gripping, ball bashers.

It's sad.

I also think the game is less enjoyable that there isn't a new young player emerging, to build buzz and attention. As good as Federer and Nadal are, the men's game has almost gotten stale int hat the top 10 is largely unchanged for the last few years. Sure Delpo and Davy have not dropped out, largely due to injuries. No doubt if they didn't have injuries, they'd be in the top 10, and the bottom feeders like Tsonga, Ferrer, or Youzhny wouldn't be.

accidental
01-19-2011, 12:50 AM
i disagree with todd martins viewpoint. I think this current generation are just comparatively very weak compared to other generations of young players. I dont think the game has changed much since 2005-6, the years when teenagers like nadal, murray, gasquet, djokovic and monfils were making an impact.

The game may be about stamina and endurance more, but it cant be an excuse that the younger generation is somehow always at a disadvantage in these areas naturally. Just look at the previous generations first breakout players michael chang, then lleyton hewitt, then rafael nadal.

Where is this generations equivilent? None of this current generation are even close to those guys

namelessone
01-19-2011, 12:53 AM
The astounding fact is that there are no players below 20 yrs in the top-100. The best is a ranking of 105 by Grigor Dimitrov, 19.

I think this is something that is unprecedented.

According to Todd Martin, it's because the game has subtly shifted from a game of primarily skill to a game that relies primarily on stamina and endurance.

The slower courts and balls, the strings, and racquets have levelled the field skill-wise so that every body can hit the ball hard and generate tremendous spin from the back of the court.

So it now comes down to a test of stamina and match-smarts. Which means the younger guys are always at a disadvantage.

To me, this is a very sad state of affairs. Something has to be done or there will be no player worth looking forward to, after Fed/Nadal.

Already, Murray and Djok have only flattered to deceive. Murray does not have the self-belief required to win slams, while Djok has physical limitations (lack of stamina and breathing problems).

DelPo is just coming back from injury.

The rest like Monfils, Cilic, Gulbis are fruitcakes and otherwise lack genuine talent.

Flattered to deceive? Murray has 2 slam finals at 23(beaten by Fed), Djoker has 3 slam finals under his belt and a AO, both guys have a couple of masters tourneys between them, Novak is WTF champ, Murray has a WTF semi. Under a non Fedal regime, they would be multi GS champs.

I don't think the "new" ATP game goes against teens. Those teens of the past that you talk about were monsters, exceptions if you will, both physical and talent-wise. Federer had some great results as a junior and continued them. Chang was freaking speedy gonzalez. Not to mention becker, with tree trunk like legs, winning WB at a very young age. Don't get me started on Borg, winning the italian open and RG at 18. Nadal, then 49th player in the world, straight setting the world nr.1 at 17. If you saw these players for the first time, before they became big, you knew that they would amount to something, cause they had the eye of the tiger so to speak.

These are/were very special players.

The problem with today's teens is that they lack BALLS. No one comes up to top 50-100 guys(not to mention Fedal) and says "you know what, I'm gonna go out hitting today, what have I got to lose". They all get tentative. There are very few with a real hunger for performance. Look at boy wonder Gulbis, so loved by many around here. He is rich, has a s**tload of talent, but doesn't give a f**k. And this attitude is shared by a lot of teens who are satisfied with their place instead of trying to push forward. I rarely see ambition in teens today, I mostly see young conceited people when they go on court.

Bryan Swartz
01-19-2011, 01:25 AM
To me, this is a very sad state of affairs. Something has to be done or there will be no player worth looking forward to, after Fed/Nadal.

Totally disagree with this. Let's assume you are correct that today's game is more geared toward players a little older than it has been in the past(I happen to agree).

This does not mean there won't be good young players to watch -- it just means it will take them longer to appear on the scene. Instead of someone being great from 19-26(or whatever), it'll be more like 22-29. The careers/primes are just getting shifted later. There will still be great players, it's just a change in when they emerge.

Berankis is 20, Nishikori 21(and reached his career high, #56, at age 19).

Young players are not dead.

Mikael
01-19-2011, 08:32 PM
I think the original analysis is spot on. The sad thing is that since it will take much longer for young players to break through, only the really rich kids or those with a lot of support from their national federations will be able to hang in there long enough.

A lot might quit after a few years below the top 100, because of a lack of money and maybe some desperation. 10-20y ago the same guys might have been able to break through much earlier.

vive le beau jeu !
01-20-2011, 07:09 AM
before the 3rd round, we've got 4 players aged between 18 and 21 among the 32 remaining players in the draw...

tacou
01-20-2011, 10:38 AM
OP I feel like you started two threads in one.
as some have addressed, the last generation of young players played just 5-6 years ago and nothing really changed since then, so I believe this is a blip.
as for "nothing to look forward to after Nadal and Fed", that does not make sense. maybe guys like Tomic, Harrison, Dimitrov haven't broken through yet, but when they are 23-24 they will be completely different players, the entire ATP will be different. tennis won't stop when Federer retires.

CityTennis22
01-20-2011, 11:25 AM
OP I feel like you started two threads in one.
as some have addressed, the last generation of young players played just 5-6 years ago and nothing really changed since then, so I believe this is a blip.
as for "nothing to look forward to after Nadal and Fed", that does not make sense. maybe guys like Tomic, Harrison, Dimitrov haven't broken through yet, but when they are 23-24 they will be completely different players, the entire ATP will be different. tennis won't stop when Federer retires.

If anything it will be more interesting because anybody could be a threat to win it.

shakes1975
01-21-2011, 01:12 PM
Flattered to deceive? Murray has 2 slam finals at 23(beaten by Fed), Djoker has 3 slam finals under his belt and a AO, both guys have a couple of masters tourneys between them, Novak is WTF champ, Murray has a WTF semi. Under a non Fedal regime, they would be multi GS champs.

I don't think the "new" ATP game goes against teens. Those teens of the past that you talk about were monsters, exceptions if you will, both physical and talent-wise. Federer had some great results as a junior and continued them. Chang was freaking speedy gonzalez. Not to mention becker, with tree trunk like legs, winning WB at a very young age. Don't get me started on Borg, winning the italian open and RG at 18. Nadal, then 49th player in the world, straight setting the world nr.1 at 17. If you saw these players for the first time, before they became big, you knew that they would amount to something, cause they had the eye of the tiger so to speak.

These are/were very special players.

The problem with today's teens is that they lack BALLS. No one comes up to top 50-100 guys(not to mention Fedal) and says "you know what, I'm gonna go out hitting today, what have I got to lose". They all get tentative. There are very few with a real hunger for performance. Look at boy wonder Gulbis, so loved by many around here. He is rich, has a s**tload of talent, but doesn't give a f**k. And this attitude is shared by a lot of teens who are satisfied with their place instead of trying to push forward. I rarely see ambition in teens today, I mostly see young conceited people when they go on court.


I agree with you that that desire, that ambition is lacking among today's young players. But, even otherwise, the talent level is not as high too. Nadal was the last talented, ambitious player to emerge as a teenager.

That's exactly my point. I was talking about "special" players. We mostly always had one every few yrs. 1974 - Connors, Borg; 1979 - Mac; 1981-82 - Lendl, Wilander; 1985 - Becker, Edberg; 1989-1991 - Chang, Sampras, Courier, Agassi; 2000-2001 - Safin, Hewitt, Federer; 2005 - Nadal.

Why should we not expect a special player in this era ? The only other time I can think of where this didn't happen is the era between Sampras, Agassi and Federer. The generation of Moya, Corretja, Kuerten etc. did not produce any special players.

If you will notice, except for Agassi, Courier, and Lendl, almost all others became slam champions by the time they were 20 yrs old. And they did beat the then #1 or at least a top 3 player at least occasionally while winning a tournament.

Neither Murray nor Djokovic did that. Which means, as good as they are, they are not good enough to beat Federer, Nadal.

shakes1975
01-21-2011, 01:14 PM
before the 3rd round, we've got 4 players aged between 18 and 21 among the 32 remaining players in the draw...

Well, in 1982 17 yr old Wilander won the FO; 1985 - 17 yr old Becker and 19 yr old Edberg won the Wimbledon and AO; 1990 - 19 yr old Sampras won the USO; 2000 - 20 yr old Safin won the USO; 2001 - 20 yr old Hewitt won the USO etc.

The current crop of young players are not up to that caliber.

shakes1975
01-21-2011, 01:21 PM
OP I feel like you started two threads in one.
as some have addressed, the last generation of young players played just 5-6 years ago and nothing really changed since then, so I believe this is a blip.
as for "nothing to look forward to after Nadal and Fed", that does not make sense. maybe guys like Tomic, Harrison, Dimitrov haven't broken through yet, but when they are 23-24 they will be completely different players, the entire ATP will be different. tennis won't stop when Federer retires.

If they are not good enough to beat Fed or Nadal while they are 19 (and Fed is nearing 30), it only means that they are actually not of the caliber of these two but are making hay during the aftermath of these two.

Previously, Mac beat Connors on the way to win his 1st Slam, and repeated that feat the next 2 yrs beating Borg.

Becker and Edberg beat Lendl, Wilander etc. en route to winning their 1st couple of slams.

Sampras beat Lendl en route to winning his 1st USO.

Federer beat Sampras at Wim.

All these guys did these when they were less than 20 yrs. That is a sign that they are special.

Today these guys do not seem to show that level of talent. And that's the pity.

And according to Martin, a part of the blame is to be put on the surfaces/balls/strings that have levelled the playing field as far as skills are concerned, and made it a marathon match.

IvanAndreevich
01-21-2011, 03:00 PM
The game is very physical these days. You really need to be in tip top shape to compete. It's very hard to be so well-developed at an early age.

shakes1975
01-21-2011, 06:41 PM
The game is very physical these days. You really need to be in tip top shape to compete. It's very hard to be so well-developed at an early age.

Yes, that's exactly what Todd Martin said. And that's too bad because the game should be a primary test of skill and then of stamina, not the other way around.