PDA

View Full Version : Sampras - "Hewitt was a victim of his time"


benmarks1984
06-10-2011, 01:41 AM
Interesting comments in Pete Sampras's book on his thoughts on Lleyton Hewitt =

"He loved players who served and volleyed and tried to pressure him. Lleyton was one of the few guys who really could resist the onslaught of a high quality attacker. For a period I felt Lleyton might really dominate. His game translated well from surface to surface, but then a few things happened.

For one Roger federer improved, and he figured Lleyton out cold. The game in general also improved while Lleyton was at the top. Guys were playing with a little more power, partly thanks to advances in racket technology, but fewer of them were playing into Hewitt's hands. Lleyton liked having a target, but in his era guys stopped coming to the net. Hewitt was a victim of his time"

Sampras comments make a lot of sense if you look at Hewitt's head to head record against the top serve and volley players of the time. In brackets is the matches they played on grass, the surface usually dominated by the serve and volleyers.

Hewitt 5-4 Sampras (2-1)
Hewitt 9-1 Henman (4-0)
Hewitt 3-1 Rafter (0-0)
Hewitt 3-0 Ivanišević (3-0)
Hewitt 3-1 Philippoussis (1-0)
Hewitt 4-3 Rusedski (1-1)

Does anyone else agree with Sampras's comments?? Is it fair to say Hewitt would have achieved more if he had played in another era where more players were coming to the net, like in the 1990s? Or to people think Lleyton would have had the same problems as Michael Chang had and would have been over-powered?

Any thoughts?

slice bh compliment
06-10-2011, 01:50 AM
I agree with Pete's comments.
I also think Hewitt was able to out baseline most baseliners. He's a hustler with counterattacking skills. Like a Frankenplayer made of Chang and Murray parts.

But that grinding game and passing shot wizardry took its toll on his body. Also his mind.

I like Pete's comment about how Rog figured him out 'cold'.

Hewitt winning big titles and having a spell as world number one was not the most pleasant thing for those of us who prefer a Ferrero, a Safin, a Sampras, a Rafter or a Guga. Nice how Roger took over.

Max G.
06-10-2011, 01:50 AM
Well, I'd say he was sort of in a transition period. The older generation were still playing an older-school style that was going obsolete, and Hewitt did everything right to take advantage of that.

I don't agree with the sentiment that he would have done more earlier. I mean yes, he would have had great records against those guys... IF he played the same way he did, but one generation earlier. But he wouldn't have been able to develop his game the way he did if he'd learned tennis 10 years earlier.

Players are products of their time. It really makes no sense to wonder "how would he have done in a different era" without also wondering "how would he have played differently if he'd been taught tennis differently", which are basically impossible questions to answer authoritatively.

slice bh compliment
06-10-2011, 01:52 AM
...It really makes no sense to wonder "how would he have done in a different era" without also wondering "how would he have played differently if he'd been taught tennis differently", which are basically impossible questions to answer authoritatively.

Impossible is nothing.
Now, there is app for that.

Kidding. Great post.

aphex
06-10-2011, 02:09 AM
He would have a better career than Agassi if he was born 10 years earlier.

Cesc Fabregas
06-10-2011, 02:18 AM
He would have a better career than Agassi if he was born 10 years earlier.

No he wouldn't. No way does he win a FO in the 90's and prime Sampras would take Hewitt to the cleaners on the other surfaces.

aphex
06-10-2011, 02:20 AM
No he wouldn't. No way does he win a FO in the 90's and prime Sampras would take Hewitt to the cleaners on the other surfaces.

I'm not saying he would be a better player than Agassi. I'm saying he wouldn't have Agassi's long "black-out" periods and would have probably won more than him.

Especially grass and HC...

benmarks1984
06-10-2011, 02:27 AM
thats true, Agassi was absent for a lot of 90s and he when he did turn up at times he looked like he couldnt give a ****. I think hewitt's game would have been more successful in the 90s. Plus there were a lot of slams won by not great players like Rafter winning back to back US open titles, Krajeck beating Mel Washington at Wimbledon, Peter Korda and Kafelnikov winning the Australian open

bolo
06-10-2011, 02:49 AM
Sampras once noted that hewitt was a slightly better version of chang.

Timbo's hopeless slice
06-10-2011, 03:07 AM
so, let me get this straight. In TT world, Sampras is still good enough to play on the Tour, and 'prime Sampras' would take Hewitt to the cleaners.

Except Hewitt has a career 5 - 4 winning record against Sampras?

This place cracks me up.

gpt
06-10-2011, 03:09 AM
so, let me get this straight. In TT world, Sampras is still good enough to play on the Tour, and 'prime Sampras' would take Hewitt to the cleaners.

Except Hewitt has a career 5 - 4 winning record against Sampras?

This place cracks me up.

me too Timbo, me too

aphex
06-10-2011, 03:17 AM
so, let me get this straight. In TT world, Sampras is still good enough to play on the Tour, and 'prime Sampras' would take Hewitt to the cleaners.

Except Hewitt has a career 5 - 4 winning record against Sampras?

This place cracks me up.

Where was this written?

zagor
06-10-2011, 03:17 AM
Where was this written?

Post #6 .

aphex
06-10-2011, 03:20 AM
Post #6 .

LMAO...I only read the 1st part of that post....

In fact, people shouldn't read Cesc's posts at all.

TheNatural
06-10-2011, 04:11 AM
Interesting comments in Pete Sampras's book on his thoughts on Lleyton Hewitt =

"He loved players who served and volleyed and tried to pressure him. Lleyton was one of the few guys who really could resist the onslaught of a high quality attacker. For a period I felt Lleyton might really dominate. His game translated well from surface to surface, but then a few things happened.

For one Roger federer improved, and he figured Lleyton out cold. The game in general also improved while Lleyton was at the top. Guys were playing with a little more power, partly thanks to advances in racket technology, but fewer of them were playing into Hewitt's hands. Lleyton liked having a target, but in his era guys stopped coming to the net. Hewitt was a victim of his time"

Sampras comments make a lot of sense if you look at Hewitt's head to head record against the top serve and volley players of the time. In brackets is the matches they played on grass, the surface usually dominated by the serve and volleyers.

Hewitt 5-4 Sampras (2-1)
Hewitt 9-1 Henman (4-0)
Hewitt 3-1 Rafter (0-0)
Hewitt 3-0 Ivanišević (3-0)
Hewitt 3-1 Philippoussis (1-0)
Hewitt 4-3 Rusedski (1-1)

Does anyone else agree with Sampras's comments?? Is it fair to say Hewitt would have achieved more if he had played in another era where more players were coming to the net, like in the 1990s? Or to people think Lleyton would have had the same problems as Michael Chang had and would have been over-powered?

Any thoughts?

Hewitt's strength was consistency and counterattacking. He grew up being good under 1 set of conditions, then the new rackets and strings came along(and slower courts) and they took away the relative advantage he had over his competitors by making it a lot easier for the average player to hit consistently and harder. Now Hewitt's game is too underpowered compared to the other bigger hitting and just as consistent players.

Same happened with Agassi, he lost his relative advantage too. The new string technology made everyone hit just about as hard and consistently as Agassi, then Agassi's lesser relative athletisicm was exposed easier. I remember him making some statements about how the new strings changed the game.

Fed was actually one of the beneficiaries of this, he used to be great sometimes and inconsistent other times. He was able to leapfrog the top guys faster with the help of the extra consistency. You could say he came along just at the right time, during the transition period in the improvement of technology, mainly string technology and maybe also rackets to complement the strings.

Look at that list of Hewitt Opponents, most were all court players. Now the top players have to be more athletic baseline runners than they used to have to be but theres not many good all court players any more because it's too easy for baseline players to be consistent now relative to before when it payed off more to attack with an all court game.

ANyways the baseline game has evolved, but the all court, net game hasn't under these conditions.

sarmpas
06-10-2011, 04:43 AM
I don't agree with the sentiment that he would have done more earlier. I mean yes, he would have had great records against those guys... IF he played the same way he did, but one generation earlier. But he wouldn't have been able to develop his game the way he did if he'd learned tennis 10 years earlier.


Ever heard of Agassi, Chang who were quite good as hitting passing shots. What about Connors before, his return of serve wasn't bad either.

sarmpas
06-10-2011, 04:47 AM
so, let me get this straight. In TT world, Sampras is still good enough to play on the Tour, and 'prime Sampras' would take Hewitt to the cleaners.

Except Hewitt has a career 5 - 4 winning record against Sampras?

This place cracks me up.

Hewitt cleaned Pete's clock in a USO final 7-6(4), 6-1, 6-1.

Two bagels on a fast hardcourt against one of the best servers of all time.


I like the bit where Pete said himself the players started to hit the ball a bit harder(than his generation).

marcub
06-10-2011, 04:52 AM
Hewitt was indeed a victim of his own time just as much as
he was lucky to peak exactly when he did, i.e at the dusk of
the Sampras era and just before Fed's dawned. His game
was primarily based on speed, retrieving everything in sight
and he could not have sustained his peak for long.
Before Ralph changed his game around 2009 I was convinced
he would fade away just like Hewitt. Boy was I wrong!

sarmpas
06-10-2011, 04:54 AM
Surprising thing is Hewitt is only 6 months older than Federer.

benmarks1984
06-10-2011, 04:56 AM
I defiantly think the fast courts at Wimbledon & the us open in the 1990s would have suited Lleyton. Nearly all the top players were serve and volleyers so were giving him that target he loved to hit.

For Sampras to say "For a period I felt Lleyton might really dominate" just confirms how highly a player Pete must have thought of Lleyton.

As for Cesc Fabragaes saying "'prime Sampras would take Hewitt to the cleaners" is rubbish. I mean Pete was playing great at queens in 1999 and 2000, and 18 year old Hewitt beat him in 2000 final and was serving for the match in 1999 s/final before losing in a 3rd set tie-break.

marcub
06-10-2011, 05:01 AM
As for Cesc Fabragaes saying "'prime Sampras would take Hewitt to the cleaners" is rubbish. I mean Pete was playing great at queens in 1999 and 2000, and 18 year old Hewitt beat him in 2000 final and was serving for the match in 1999 s/final before losing in a 3rd set tie-break.

99-00 Sampras was well past his prime.

There was once a prime-to-prime type of survey on Eurosport's site (interesting idea, but results were kind of messed up). A prime Sampras might very well have taken prime Hewitt to the cleaners.

sarmpas
06-10-2011, 05:06 AM
99-00 Sampras was well past his prime.

There was once a prime-to-prime type of survey on Eurosport's site (interesting idea, but results were kind of messed up). A prime Sampras might very well have taken prime Hewitt to the cleaners.

How can Pete be past his prime. He beat Federer recently in an exhibition match.

zagor
06-10-2011, 05:09 AM
How can Pete be past his prime. He beat Federer recently in an exhibition match.

LOOOOOOL! :)

benmarks1984
06-10-2011, 05:16 AM
99-00 Sampras was well past his prime.

There was once a prime-to-prime type of survey on Eurosport's site (interesting idea, but results were kind of messed up). A prime Sampras might very well have taken prime Hewitt to the cleaners.

How can you say 99 sampras was well past his time??? Did you not see the wimbledon final in 99 against agassi, possibly the best performance of his career.

He even said in his book = "that was as close to perfect as i felt i could get" He also said at that moment in 1999 "I was probably at the absolute height of my tennis powers, and secretly felt that my game had quietly jumped a notch"

So defiantly not past his prime!

Mustard
06-10-2011, 05:16 AM
I totally agree with Sampras' comments about Hewitt. I also felt Hewitt would dominate tennis, not foreseeing that serve and volley tennis would become virtually extinct on the main ATP Tour.

marcub
06-10-2011, 05:17 AM
How can Pete be past his prime. He beat Federer recently in an exhibition match.

And his best is yet to come :)

sarmpas
06-10-2011, 05:24 AM
How can you say 99 sampras was well past his time??? Did you not see the wimbledon final in 99 against agassi, possibly the best performance of his career.

He even said in his book = "that was as close to perfect as i felt i could get" He also said at that moment in 1999 "I was probably at the absolute height of my tennis powers, and secretly felt that my game had quietly jumped a notch"

So defiantly not past his prime!

Damn! That book is good.

marcub
06-10-2011, 05:30 AM
How can you say 99 sampras was well past his time??? Did you not see the wimbledon final in 99 against agassi, possibly the best performance of his career.

He even said in his book = "that was as close to perfect as i felt i could get" He also said at that moment in 1999 "I was probably at the absolute height of my tennis powers, and secretly felt that my game had quietly jumped a notch"

So defiantly not past his prime!
He was 28-29 at that time, Agassi is the only exception in modern tennis who can still be called prime at that age, mostly because of the breaks he took earlier in his career.
Past prime doesn't mean spots of brilliance are gone with the wind. Consistency however is. Just look at Fed nowadays.

I read Pete's book. Everyone is entitled to a dose of being subjective, and that includes him. BTW, I used to like him better before reading the book.

TheNatural
06-10-2011, 05:31 AM
How can Pete be past his prime. He beat Federer recently in an exhibition match.

5 years retired Sampras+ modern strings and racket > Prime Fred + same modern strings and racket

sarmpas
06-10-2011, 05:38 AM
5 years retired Sampras+ modern strings and racket > Prime Fred + same modern strings and racket

16 > 14..........

zagor
06-10-2011, 05:40 AM
16 > 14..........

Not to mention a 3-1 H2H lead.

marcub
06-10-2011, 05:41 AM
5 years retired Sampras+ modern strings and racket > Prime Fred + same modern strings and racket

Did you really feel the urge to troll?

sarmpas
06-10-2011, 05:47 AM
Not to mention a 3-1 H2H lead.

Pete wasn't at his best but he was

5 years retired Sampras+ modern strings and racket > Prime Fred + same modern strings and racket

aphex
06-10-2011, 06:07 AM
99-00 Sampras was well past his prime.

There was once a prime-to-prime type of survey on Eurosport's site (interesting idea, but results were kind of messed up). A prime Sampras might very well have taken prime Hewitt to the cleaners.

Prime Sampras. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd5Zo0ldOFg&feature=related)

Post prime Sampras. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmUdiAH71Bc)

BrooklynNY
06-10-2011, 06:08 AM
Prime Sampras would be beating Hewitt Regularly. He won 4/5 first meetings, and then lost the next 4 within a year of retiring.

I already mentioned this in another thread. Here were my thoughts on Hewitt

Hewitt is a strange example to use in my opinion, he is a counter puncher suited to faster courts with his generally flat(ter) strokes. To me this is why he excelled during the last year and half of Sampras' career and into the transition period between Sampras and Federer eras/Quick skewed conditions into slower present day conditions.

I don't think Hewitt is an accurate comparison to how Nadal/Nole/Murray would do against Pete or Andre or a 90s era player, with the constant being that they are all in peak form, because I have the feeling Lleyton's game is really more suited to that quick court era(given his strength is redirecting pace, not so much absorbing pace and tracking down balls in the same vein Andy Murray does) even though he played a large portion of his career during the entire time Federer was #1 and present day.

I personally think aside from injury, the gradual heavier conditions sort of pushed a player like Lleyton out of the game, and made way for slow hardcourt counterpunchers like Andy Murray, Gilles Simon type players who are a bit taller/stronger

TheNatural
06-10-2011, 06:10 AM
I totally agree with Sampras' comments about Hewitt. I also felt Hewitt would dominate tennis, not foreseeing that serve and volley tennis would become virtually extinct on the main ATP Tour.

Nadal is keeping Serve and volley alive (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3dwmHyAa3g) :)

Mustard
06-10-2011, 06:23 AM
Some people talk about Hewitt making use of the transitional period between the end of the Sampras era and before the start of the Federer era, and that is when Hewitt won most of his tournaments, but I think Hewitt played his best level of tennis in 2004-2005. Unfortunately for Hewitt, prime Federer was about in 2004-2005.

The reason Hewitt didn't finish 2004 as the world number 2 was because of his low ranking of 17 at the start of the year, which meant that he kept bumping into Federer earlier on in tournaments, while Roddick was in the top 2 all throughout the year. And in 2005, Hewitt had 2 spells out with injury, which included the whole clay-court season and the last few months of the year, yet he was still losing to the eventual champions in majors.

NadalAgassi
06-10-2011, 06:26 AM
99-00 Sampras was well past his prime.


Sampras was still much closer to his prime level those years than Hewitt was. Especialy in 1999, you would have to be completely delusional to think otherwise.

That said I am pretty sure prime Sampras would have figured Hewitt out the same way Federer did. Instead he was getting older and slower and Hewitt gradually got better so that wasnt as likely.

marcub
06-10-2011, 06:34 AM
Sampras was still much closer to his prime level those years than Hewitt was. Especialy in 1999, you would have to be completely delusional to think otherwise.

That said I am pretty sure prime Sampras would have figured Hewitt out the same way Federer did. Instead he was getting older and slower and Hewitt gradually got better so that wasnt as likely.

We're not disagreeing. He was closer but not by much.

tacou
06-10-2011, 08:02 AM
Well, I'd say he was sort of in a transition period. The older generation were still playing an older-school style that was going obsolete, and Hewitt did everything right to take advantage of that.

I don't agree with the sentiment that he would have done more earlier. I mean yes, he would have had great records against those guys... IF he played the same way he did, but one generation earlier. But he wouldn't have been able to develop his game the way he did if he'd learned tennis 10 years earlier.

Players are products of their time. It really makes no sense to wonder "how would he have done in a different era" without also wondering "how would he have played differently if he'd been taught tennis differently", which are basically impossible questions to answer authoritatively.

I agree, but that's sort of Pete's point..Lleyton developed in an "era" of tennis that didn't really exist, a player between generations--at least as far as his style of play. He played like the newer generation but based around defeating the older generation which was disappearing.
very interesting I think.

jackson vile
06-10-2011, 08:10 AM
You can't argue with the facts, just look at the guy. Once baseliners took over it was lights out for Hewitt. He could not compete in this environment as his game was designed for something completely different. One way to acknowledge this would be to take a look at his record against top baseliners.

TMF
06-10-2011, 08:38 AM
He would have a better career than Agassi if he was born 10 years earlier.

Not sure if he would have a better career, but definite would have achieved more. His great footwok, ROS, passing shot and figthing spirit would be better off playing against a s/v rather than a baseline specialist.

corners
06-10-2011, 09:02 AM
Interesting comments in Pete Sampras's book on his thoughts on Lleyton Hewitt =

"He loved players who served and volleyed and tried to pressure him. Lleyton was one of the few guys who really could resist the onslaught of a high quality attacker. For a period I felt Lleyton might really dominate. His game translated well from surface to surface, but then a few things happened.

For one Roger federer improved, and he figured Lleyton out cold. The game in general also improved while Lleyton was at the top. Guys were playing with a little more power, partly thanks to advances in racket technology, but fewer of them were playing into Hewitt's hands. Lleyton liked having a target, but in his era guys stopped coming to the net. Hewitt was a victim of his time"

Sampras comments make a lot of sense if you look at Hewitt's head to head record against the top serve and volley players of the time. In brackets is the matches they played on grass, the surface usually dominated by the serve and volleyers.

Hewitt 5-4 Sampras (2-1)
Hewitt 9-1 Henman (4-0)
Hewitt 3-1 Rafter (0-0)
Hewitt 3-0 Ivanišević (3-0)
Hewitt 3-1 Philippoussis (1-0)
Hewitt 4-3 Rusedski (1-1)

Does anyone else agree with Sampras's comments?? Is it fair to say Hewitt would have achieved more if he had played in another era where more players were coming to the net, like in the 1990s? Or to people think Lleyton would have had the same problems as Michael Chang had and would have been over-powered?

Any thoughts?

Hewitt's record against those premier attackers also suggests how they would have fared against a mature Federer - not well.

Mustard
06-10-2011, 09:47 AM
I agree, but that's sort of Pete's point..Lleyton developed in an "era" of tennis that didn't really exist, a player between generations--at least as far as his style of play. He played like the newer generation but based around defeating the older generation which was disappearing.
very interesting I think.

That is why Hewitt had most of his achievements in 2001-2002, despite his best tennis coming during 2004-2005 when Federer was at his peak. The thing is, in the early noughties, I didn't foresee serve and volley just disappearing, so I thought Hewitt would thrive and be the next dominant player in tennis. Serve and volley style seemed to decrease dramatically around 2002 when Rafter retired and the grass at 2002 Wimbledon seemed very different to before with regular baseline players suddenly getting deep into the tournament, even beating serve and volley players. Malisse beating both Rusedski and Krajicek, and Nalbandian getting to the final, sums it up.

Mustard
06-10-2011, 01:16 PM
Sampras once noted that hewitt was a slightly better version of chang.

I don't see it, personally. I never once thought that Chang would dominate tennis, no matter how much of a fighter he was. Hewitt seemed to have it all, he was simply amazing at turning a serve and volleyer's firepower back on them and could rally with the best of the baseliners. He also had a will and determination that was similar to Jimmy Connors. His lightening speed also made up for his lack of bulk when he was a teenager and in his early 20s. Hewitt was a guy who went to Florianopolis, Brazil with Australia's Davis Cup team in 2001, and beat Kuerten on clay in 3 straight sets in a very high quality match.

Hewitt was definitely the best prospect out that generation to my mind. Safin was amazingly talented, brilliantly entertaining and with an amazing game, but was very volatile and unpredictable. Federer, although very talented, seemed even more of a headcase than Safin, and without the ability to put all the pieces together in his game. As for Roddick, an impressive serve and seemed a future Wimbledon champion, although his volley needed a lot of improvement.

NadalAgassi
06-10-2011, 01:26 PM
Well I never thought Hewitt would dominate tennis either, even while he was #1. I just never thought he was that great to do something like that. I never thought he would win anything on clay either. I actually thought Federer, Roddick, and Safin would all have better careers, and only on Federer was I clearly right (by an even bigger margin than I imagined).

marcub
06-10-2011, 01:30 PM
Prime Sampras. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd5Zo0ldOFg&feature=related)

Post prime Sampras. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmUdiAH71Bc)

That's funny.
Based on that logic, Fed of December 2010 beating Ralph's ***** at the WTC at past 28 is prime, whereas Fed getting his ***** whipped by Ralph at Roland Garros in 2006-7 would be, well, sub-prime.

Mustard
06-10-2011, 01:35 PM
Well I never thought Hewitt would dominate tennis either, even while he was #1. I just never thought he was that great to do something like that. I never thought he would win anything on clay either. I actually thought Federer, Roddick, and Safin would all have better careers, and only on Federer was I clearly right (by an even bigger margin than I imagined).

I can possibly understand Safin, but how the heck could anyone have thought when Hewitt was number 1 in the world that Federer or Roddick would have better careers? That would have been a joke at the time.

NadalAgassi
06-10-2011, 01:44 PM
I can possibly understand Safin, but how the heck could anyone have thought when Hewitt was number 1 in the world that Federer or Roddick would have better careers? That would have been a joke at the time.

Not really. Federer visibly had more natural talent than Hewitt even while Hewitt was the better player, and Roddick had alot more power and the serve. Roddick also was a couple years younger, which is a big deal when you are younger and coming up.

It is just like when Sabatini and Graf were both young and Sabatini was doing better at first, I never predicted Sabatini would end up being the better player either, which she clearly didnt.

BevelDevil
06-10-2011, 01:58 PM
How can you say 99 sampras was well past his time??? Did you not see the wimbledon final in 99 against agassi, possibly the best performance of his career.

He even said in his book = "that was as close to perfect as i felt i could get" He also said at that moment in 1999 "I was probably at the absolute height of my tennis powers, and secretly felt that my game had quietly jumped a notch"

So defiantly not past his prime!


There's a difference between "prime" and "prime performance".

Agassi said his best performance of his career was at age 35, in the 2005 USO vs. Federer. However, I don't think we would say Agassi was "in his prime" at 35.

mellowyellow
06-10-2011, 06:07 PM
Players are products of their time. It really makes no sense to wonder "how would he have done in a different era" without also wondering "how would he have played differently if he'd been taught tennis differently", which are basically impossible questions to answer authoritatively.

This is what should be said in every thread taking players back in time to compete with others. Well articulated.

Bobby Jr
06-10-2011, 10:20 PM
Sampras once noted that hewitt was a slightly better version of chang.

I don't see it, personally. I never once thought that Chang would dominate tennis, no matter how much of a fighter he was. Hewitt seemed to have it all, he was simply amazing at turning a serve and volleyer's firepower back on them and could rally with the best of the baseliners.
While I never thought Chang would dominate I agree that Hewitt was basically Chang 2.0. Never once in his entire career did I look at Hewitt and think he would dominate for any stretch. It seemed like he was there and playing well while others were getting old or having patchy runs - not that he was a genuine contender while his peers were at the top of their game around him.

He did surprise me with his achievements for sure - but it felt to me like it was never going to last or that he would win more than a few slams.

accidental
06-10-2011, 11:05 PM
Lets be real here. If it werent for injuries Hewitt would have been a solid top 10 player for the last 5-6 years. He would have had his chances just as Roddick has had. Dont forget in 2009 he was only a few points from beating Roddick at Wimbledon, and really that was one of the few slams he's been healthy and had match practice for quite a long time.

Messarger
06-10-2011, 11:54 PM
Hewitt's strength was consistency and counterattacking. He grew up being good under 1 set of conditions, then the new rackets and strings came along(and slower courts) and they took away the relative advantage he had over his competitors by making it a lot easier for the average player to hit consistently and harder. Now Hewitt's game is too underpowered compared to the other bigger hitting and just as consistent players.

Same happened with Agassi, he lost his relative advantage too. The new string technology made everyone hit just about as hard and consistently as Agassi, then Agassi's lesser relative athletisicm was exposed easier. I remember him making some statements about how the new strings changed the game.

Fed was actually one of the beneficiaries of this, he used to be great sometimes and inconsistent other times. He was able to leapfrog the top guys faster with the help of the extra consistency. You could say he came along just at the right time, during the transition period in the improvement of technology, mainly string technology and maybe also rackets to complement the strings.

Look at that list of Hewitt Opponents, most were all court players. Now the top players have to be more athletic baseline runners than they used to have to be but theres not many good all court players any more because it's too easy for baseline players to be consistent now relative to before when it payed off more to attack with an all court game.

ANyways the baseline game has evolved, but the all court, net game hasn't under these conditions.

Why didnt the new rackets and strings bring Hewitt's consistency and power to another level? In theory, shouldnt he benefit with the rest of the tour?

TheNatural
06-11-2011, 12:13 AM
Why didnt the new rackets and strings bring Hewitt's consistency and power to another level? In theory, shouldnt he benefit with the rest of the tour?

It probably did also, a bit, but it helped the bigger hitting, less consistent guys more so he lost his relative advantage. Not many could chase and keep the rallies up as long as hewitt as consistently, thats why there were so many great all court/net players. Hewitt used to be able to handle bigger hitters as long as they hit the ball out more often..lol. With the new strings, they didn't hit the ball out enough, more of the big risky shots that used to go out now went for winners:)

Mustard
06-11-2011, 05:15 AM
Why didnt the new rackets and strings bring Hewitt's consistency and power to another level? In theory, shouldnt he benefit with the rest of the tour?

Hewitt did benefit from the new racquets and strings, as well as bulking up his physique in late 2003. The problem is that prime Federer arrived on the scene. In 2004, Federer beat Hewitt 3 times in majors, and Gaudio beat him at the French Open. In 2005, Safin beat Hewitt at the Australian Open, while Federer beat Hewitt at Wimbledon and the US Open. Hewitt could have had another 5 majors in total in 2004-2005 without Federer on the scene, and Hewitt was playing his best tennis in these years.

In 2005, however, he started to get injury troubles, forcing him to miss the entire clay-court season and the last few months of the year. In 2006, his speed and timing had clearly slowed down considerably.

tata
06-11-2011, 06:22 AM
Hewitt did benefit from the new racquets and strings, as well as bulking up his physique in late 2003. The problem is that prime Federer arrived on the scene. In 2004, Federer beat Hewitt 3 times in majors, and Gaudio beat him at the French Open. In 2005, Safin beat Hewitt at the Australian Open, while Federer beat Hewitt at Wimbledon and the US Open. Hewitt could have had another 5 majors in total in 2004-2005 without Federer on the scene, and Hewitt was playing his best tennis in these years.

In 2005, however, he started to get injury troubles, forcing him to miss the entire clay-court season and the last few months of the year. In 2006, his speed and timing had clearly slowed down considerably.

If federer didnt show up on the scene im sure the slams would have been more so between roddick and hewitt.

Mustard
06-11-2011, 06:37 AM
If federer didnt show up on the scene im sure the slams would have been more so between roddick and hewitt.

Exactly, and Hewitt once had a 6-1 head-to-head lead over Roddick. Roddick has won their last 5 matches, but he has more longevity because Roddick's game relies less on speed and timing like Hewitt's and more on his serving power. Roddick has also had better luck with injuries than Hewitt.

NadalAgassi
06-11-2011, 07:50 AM
The early wins of Hewitt or Roddick dont mean anything really, especialy if you disregard the later wins for Roddick. In 2004 and 2005 when both were at their best it was 3-2 Hewitt so quite close. Roddick won their only meeting on grass in straight sets at Queens.

hawk eye
06-11-2011, 08:29 AM
Hewitt's game was more suited to play S & V type players but let's not forget he was a more than decent volleyer himself as well. Really good hands at the net, and his (running) lobs were even better, arguably he's the GLOAT.
I believe he was a more refined and versatile player than e.g Safin, there was just more to his game, also when you make compare his to many of the guys today who rely on big serving & baseline bashing. Always loved to see the guy compete out there.

mellowyellow
06-11-2011, 11:20 AM
Exactly, and Hewitt once had a 6-1 head-to-head lead over Roddick. Roddick has won their last 5 matches, but he has more longevity because Roddick's game relies less on speed and timing like Hewitt's and more on his serving power. Roddick has also had better luck with injuries than Hewitt.

I agree to an extent, but lets not take for granted that Roddick grew up relying on his serve so early on he was not a good baseliner, but over the years has been better from the baseline, and his 2hbh is actually a good neutral ball against player like Hewitt now. Roddick has developed his game and Hewitt did not late in their respective careers.

droliver
06-11-2011, 12:10 PM
He grew up being good under 1 set of conditions, then the new rackets and strings came along(and slower courts) and they took away the relative advantage he had over his competitors by making it a lot easier for the average player to hit consistently and harder. .

The Babolat Pure Drive & Poly strings have been around awhile (5-6 years) by the time he made it to the top, so I disagree that was key in his decline. He got older and slower and the court surfaces got generally slower, both of which worked against him

TheNatural
06-11-2011, 12:21 PM
The Babolat Pure Drive & Poly strings have been around awhile (5-6 years) by the time he made it to the top, so I disagree that was key in his decline. He got older and slower and the court surfaces got generally slower, both of which worked against him

maybe so. Maybe Hewitt just didnt continue to develop his game enough. Agassi attributes the string technology to changing the game dramatically. But Agassi had more firepower, I think Agassi said it helped prolong his career.

mellowyellow
06-11-2011, 02:36 PM
The Babolat Pure Drive & Poly strings have been around awhile (5-6 years) by the time he made it to the top, so I disagree that was key in his decline. He got older and slower and the court surfaces got generally slower, both of which worked against him

At that point they were not as common though, like now = everybody uses them.