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View Full Version : Strong Era/ Weak Era/ Impossible to Compare?


Omega_7000
04-10-2011, 11:19 PM
Simple question. Do you believe that a conclusion can be made about the strength of an era based on the tally of tournaments & Majors won by players from that particular era? Or do you think that it is not as simple as just a statistical analysis and there are far too many things to be taken into consideration which makes it impossible to compare eras?

piece
04-11-2011, 01:02 AM
You can't do it that way, at least. If a guy comes along with a Karlovic serve, Phau speed, Rosewall footwork, Borg defense, Federer forehand, Nalbandian backhand, Rafter net game and his opponents are guys on the level of Nadal, Sampras, Laver, Connors, Lendl then he's got strong competition by any good standard, but they're not going to be taking many majors from this super player. So the statistical analysis gives you the complete wrong answer in certain cases. Arguably this kind of scenario occurred (to a lesser extent, obviously) when Federer was playing his best. He made everyone look bad because he was so good. But they weren't bad, just inadequate, and there are few who wouldn't have been when playing someone at Federer's level.

The only way I can think of to judge era-strength is to look at the level of play of the relevant players. To make a cross-era comparison tractable on the kind of criteria I'm suggesting you'd have to either have some way to account and adjust for technological development in player equipment, or simply choose to compare two or more eras that played using the same technology, in which case you can start to use objective means of assessing level of play, one of which, for example, would be speed of shots.

So yeah, it's doable, but not in the way lots of people try to do it. There's a long, ongoing thread that is largely concerned with this topic in the former pro player section if you're interested. There's some worthwhile analysis in there.

darrinbaker00
04-11-2011, 08:02 AM
If a player you like is #1, then it's a strong era. If a player you don't like is #1, then it's a weak era. It really is that simple.

Dilettante
04-11-2011, 08:02 AM
Can't compare different eras' strength based on number of titles won by players. People will keep comparing it for ever, but there's no rational answer.

Also people don't want to be rational about this, they just want to think their favorite players played in the stronger era. And the make up all kind of argument to try to prove it.

EDIT:

If a player you like is #1, then it's a strong era. If a player you don't like is #1, then it's a weak era. It really is that simple.

hahaha, yeah, I was writing the same at the same moment.

MagneticCurls
04-11-2011, 10:39 AM
Sampras played in a weak era. Nuff said. Let the wars begin!

Omega_7000
08-31-2013, 05:55 PM
If a player you like is #1, then it's a strong era. If a player you don't like is #1, then it's a weak era. It really is that simple.

Wow! Simple yet so true! :)

Omega_7000
08-31-2013, 05:58 PM
Roger agrees with me :)

"No I don't feel like the greatest."

"I don't feel like I'm better than anyone."

"We needed all the legends in the game to pave the way for this generation and inspired this generation to chase the big records. Back in the day they weren't doing that. they were just playing to play tennis. Things have changed dramatically with the press coming in and reminding us 'You should do this', 'You have to win that', then you will be considered the greatest of all time."

I anyways don't think you can compare different eras in tennis."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXo12FekjUU

Amygdal
08-31-2013, 11:31 PM
Having said that,

Statistically speaking, while there could be one or more anomaly among eras, it would be weird and almost impossible statistically (assuming normal distribution and n=a lot!!) that the best 5 players in one era are all better than the best 5 in a different era.
In other words, I think you can compare eras (and I have done so).

However, note that there could be one (or more) alternate explanations - that in a certain era, more people were focused on tennis, and that the game was more popular than in a different era, that could definitely yield a variance.
For example, say in the 60's, 1% of the people in the world pursued a career in sports, and 2% of them pursued it in tennis. Well, that would be very different from a different era (say the 90's) where only 0.5% of people pursued a sports career, of whom only 0.2% pursued it in tennis. So, I dunno.

TMF
08-31-2013, 11:56 PM
Assuming that every decade has the number of pro players on the tour, then you can't tell which era is stronger. Same pool size there's no argument. However, the pool size doesn't stay constant but gradually increase by the decade. Let say today's pool is twice the size of the pool 20 years ago, the greater number of players in a given instance is likely to have more quality players, and better players. Seeing other sports follow the same patterns - basketball, soccer, baseball, swimming all have improve, the standard continue to rise. As sport getting more global there's more talented athletes competing for one prize.

HailDjokovic
08-31-2013, 11:58 PM
Impossible to compare the eras in terms of achievements done and goat status.

BUT i can guarantee you that if Djokovic,Federer,Murray, or Nadal played any of the top guys in the past they would definitely come out on top.

Omega_7000
09-01-2013, 09:16 PM
Impossible to compare the eras in terms of achievements done and goat status.

BUT i can guarantee you that if Djokovic,Federer,Murray, or Nadal played any of the top guys in the past they would definitely come out on top.

Yes of course and that is natural...players evolve, technology evolves, humans become taller, stronger etc. It's bound to happen.