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View Full Version : Why I think "Modern Tennis" is bad for the game


seattle_1hander
03-13-2012, 09:11 PM
Since about 2004 the zeitgeist in professional tennis has been: serving and volleying is done, power tennis is here, courts are too slow, et cetera. And then in about 2008 with the rise of Nadal it was morphed into: More Margin, More athleticism, baseline tennis. Commentators and fans alike hold these views to be sacrosanct, and no kid or no young player should ever become a serve and volleyer or anything outside the mainstream. To me then, the idea of the "modern game" becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because everyone thinks this is how it is thus everyone becomes, or tries to become, this Nadal/Djokovic archetype.

To me this not only ruins the ATP by way of homogenizing it (like the WTA already is), but it could, or maybe already has, ruined players chances of being more successful than they are. Now I'm not saying Athleticism is a bad thing, far from it. But what I am saying is there shouldn't be this desire to become your own version of Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic. Being a Nadal/Djokovic works for NADAL/DJOKOVIC.

I see guys like Raonic or Isner who could be scary net attackers if they would develop in that way. However I fear that they will drift towards working on their speed and margin instead of aggression and power. Why? Why not "do you" to use a cliche.

IMHO Roddick ruined his career when he tried to become Federer or Nadal, instead of the best Andy Roddick he could be. Big Serve, Big Forehand, and Fearless. He was arguably more fearless on the court than Federer or Nadal earlier. When he won 2010 Miami this is what he was doing.

Anyway, anyone agree?

TopFH
03-13-2012, 09:35 PM
Perfectly written. One should always aspire to be the best he can be, not the best someone else is.

FlashFlare11
03-13-2012, 09:36 PM
I agree, but this whole "baseline generation" isn't going to last. Look at Tomic, Dolgopolov, Raonic, and Dimitrov. None of them are grinders. Dolgopolov and Tomic play with a variety that I think has been unseen so far in tennis. Dolgopolov is also a good net player, along with Raonic and his huge serves. Then there's Dimitrov, whom I believe will try his best to develop an all-court game similar to Federer's.

Fear not, for the future of tennis is bright!

kishnabe
03-13-2012, 10:02 PM
The Spanish are working on the next big clay courter.

henryshli
03-14-2012, 02:05 AM
It's not that simple. In fact it's very complicated the whole issue of court speed/style. It's good because the game is more popular but bad for those who appreciate the quality of tennis. I guess the OP is the latter.

The majority of tennis fans, don't even play tennis. I know that because there are definitely not as many people playing tennis (more than once a month) as the Wimbledon crowd would suggest!!

The non tennis playing fans do not like to see aces after aces or serve and volley points. To them that's too boring and perhaps too easy and quick. They like the grind and long rallies to get their moneys worth. In fact money is the buzz word. Money is why the courts are so slow nowadays. To overcome the dulled down game the marketing gurus have been very clever in creating "personalities" to build the drama. The classic look vs the pirate pants etc. Turning tennis into reality TV. I think the rivalries in the Mcenroe era were genuine where as the much of the drama behind the modern rivalries are created by marketing.

In a way they are right tennis is more popular now and that means it must be "better".

nadalwon2012
03-14-2012, 02:11 AM
Modern tennis is a man's game.

Gorecki
03-14-2012, 02:16 AM
Modern tennis is a man's game.

i agree...

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_5mxw-sYc_F0/SYN4T6HYn7I/AAAAAAAAck8/zLw8eGzl5_8/s400/nadal_verdasco.jpg

http://www.rafa-nadal.com/images/news/rafa-nadal_carlos-moya_roma.jpg

etc...

henryshli
03-14-2012, 02:20 AM
Modern tennis is a man's game.

I'm not sure you realised the irony in your statement. Can you explain the similarities between the modern ATP and WTA tennis?

nadalwon2012
03-14-2012, 02:30 AM
I'm not sure you realised the irony in your statement. Can you explain the similarities between the modern ATP and WTA tennis?

You haven't noticed that Sharapova is built like a man? 6 foot 2, massive shoulders, no boobs, rough face.

Even Ivanovic is rather shapeless for a female, and a similar body-type to Sharapova (at least in terms of height and flatness).

Compare the top females today to the womanly Hingis and Kournikova body types....

Females today are too muscular.

henryshli
03-14-2012, 02:40 AM
http://sportige.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Maria-Sharapova.jpg

Yeah I wouldn't even if she begged me.

Sartorius
03-14-2012, 03:03 AM
One thing I disagree, IMO Roddick never tried to be a Federer or Nadal. Federer is already an aggressive player, and even Nadal who doesn't have Roddick's serve is lethal when he is on offense. Roddick, especially since a few years, mainly tried to be a steady player from the baseline and deprioritized the first shot following the serve. It didn't work against the top dogs when it mattered, and I think it will never work.

The problem isn't that "modern tennis" is bad. The problem is that there is no diversity, and what you refer to as "modern tennis" is what we watch all year long. Everywhere it's "hit the ball and run". Like henryshli said, court speed becomes a huge factor.

Paul Murphy
03-14-2012, 04:54 AM
There's a sameness about the modern game.
As I've said before the best tennis comes from contrasts - the aggressive and skilful serve/volleyer versus the accurate and hard-hitting baseliner.
The volley versus the passing shot.
The contest between McEnroe and Lendl exemplifies what I am talking about.
Throw in their dislike of each other and you've got the complete package - the perfect match-up.

Netzroller
03-14-2012, 05:32 AM
The non tennis playing fans do not like to see aces after aces or serve and volley points. To them that's too boring and perhaps too easy and quick.
There are lots of fans who play tennis themselves and have the same opinion.

And even if you were right (which you are not imo), what would be wrong about that?
It's done the way the majority wants it, that is called democracy. There is no holy truth how tennis has to be played so taking into account the wishes of the fans seems reasonable.
And the non playing fans are no lesser fans, they have to pay the same prize for their tickets, don't they? I don't see why the opinion of nostalic S&V fans should count for more?

And yes, tennis is business, like it or not. Like any other sport, it has to be profitable and care about what fans want. Professional sport doesn't produce any actual value, without people being willing to pay money for watching, there would not be a single dollar to earn.
So if you totally disregard those concerns the sport will lose popularity which leads to worse tournaments, fewer sponsors, less broadcasting, fewer talented athletes chosing tennis which all would ultimately harm the sport even more.

thug the bunny
03-14-2012, 07:38 AM
Don't understand all this hate for the 'modern' game by the 'purists'.

I dunno, I watched a match between Connors and Ash, and it was all S&V, junkballing, soft touch angle shots, and most points didn't last more than 4 shots. By today's standards we would call them pushers/junkballers. It was entertaining, but what is so awesome about that style?

And talking about the WTA, look at women's tennis back then. There's a loop of Chrissy hitting a serve on some T Channel commercial..the thing looks all of 30mph.

OK, so there was more artistry back then. But what's so bad about brut power, laser-like placement, and incredible endurance? Are these things not entertaining when they are executed?

And, I don't think the modern game came about through the scheming of a consortium of evil tennis marketers. I think that as the equipment developed, the players found that a power game generally trumps a touch game, and that led to the game's evolution. Just like the images of man's evolution from hunched ape to upright human, you could do the same with Tilden at one end and Sampras at the other.

PSNELKE
03-14-2012, 08:11 AM
Modern tennis is a man's game.

i agree...

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_5mxw-sYc_F0/SYN4T6HYn7I/AAAAAAAAck8/zLw8eGzl5_8/s400/nadal_verdasco.jpg

http://www.rafa-nadal.com/images/news/rafa-nadal_carlos-moya_roma.jpg

etc...

+2

http://www1.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/Roger+Federer+Olympics+Day+8+Tennis+1QJKdAOaenZl.j pg

Gorecki
03-14-2012, 08:27 AM
+2

http://www1.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/Roger+Federer+Olympics+Day+8+Tennis+1QJKdAOaenZl.j pg

you sad bro?

henryshli
03-14-2012, 08:35 AM
There are lots of fans who play tennis themselves and have the same opinion.

And even if you were right (which you are not imo), what would be wrong about that?
It's done the way the majority wants it, that is called democracy. There is no holy truth how tennis has to be played so taking into account the wishes of the fans seems reasonable.
And the non playing fans are no lesser fans, they have to pay the same prize for their tickets, don't they? I don't see why the opinion of nostalic S&V fans should count for more?

And yes, tennis is business, like it or not. Like any other sport, it has to be profitable and care about what fans want. Professional sport doesn't produce any actual value, without people being willing to pay money for watching, there would not be a single dollar to earn.
So if you totally disregard those concerns the sport will lose popularity which leads to worse tournaments, fewer sponsors, less broadcasting, fewer talented athletes chosing tennis which all would ultimately harm the sport even more.

I didn't conclude that the modern games has made tennis more popular so it better for the game (because of the money).so we are agreeing.

henryshli
03-14-2012, 08:41 AM
Don't understand all this hate for the 'modern' game by the 'purists'.

I dunno, I watched a match between Connors and Ash, and it was all S&V, junkballing, soft touch angle shots, and most points didn't last more than 4 shots. By today's standards we would call them pushers/junkballers. It was entertaining, but what is so awesome about that style?

And talking about the WTA, look at women's tennis back then. There's a loop of Chrissy hitting a serve on some T Channel commercial..the thing looks all of 30mph.

OK, so there was more artistry back then. But what's so bad about brut power, laser-like placement, and incredible endurance? Are these things not entertaining when they are executed?

And, I don't think the modern game came about through the scheming of a consortium of evil tennis marketers. I think that as the equipment developed, the players found that a power game generally trumps a touch game, and that led to the game's evolution. Just like the images of man's evolution from hunched ape to upright human, you could do the same with Tilden at one end and Sampras at the other.

People just appreciate different styles that's all, can't you see the pros and cons to understand why some might prefer one over the other?

And yes, the courts have been deliberately slowed down to extend rallies to attract fans. It's not a conspiracy it's common knowledge......and modern equipment has made a difference but we cannot down play the change in court speeds. Court speeds make a massive difference to tennis style.

thug the bunny
03-14-2012, 09:10 AM
Of course different people appreciate different styles. So why does it seem that the majority on TT don't like the modern style, while the majority at large do? I think it is tennis snobbery. It's the 'most people don't even know what they are watching, but I do' attitude. Or maybe it's the '________ sucks these days, back in the day _________ was so much better' attitude. Bah.

Yes everyone knows that court speeds were slowed down to extend points and better fit modern power equipment. My point is, what's so awful about that?

PSNELKE
03-14-2012, 09:11 AM
you sad bro?

Why would I? lol

Noltae
03-14-2012, 10:04 AM
This notion of a "modern game" that the OP refers to is merely a negative stereotype of top level tennis in its current form - Its silly to suggest that the likes of Djokovic and Nadal lack variety - does not Nadal serve and volley on occasion ? Is not Djokovic's drop shot a serious tactical weapon? If one seriously watches "modern tennis" - or tennis as I prefer to call it the answers are obvious..

Power Player
03-14-2012, 10:11 AM
I think more variety will come into tennis..players will get used to digging up topspin shots from the ground, pick their spots on when to serve and volley..etc.

I look at modern tennis like MMA ..it started off as judo grapplers winning most of the competitions, and evolved to where the best fighters now use "mixed martial arts".

In other words, the best players in 5-10 years will be good at any strategy they need to use to win. (including S&V).

Gorecki
03-14-2012, 10:17 AM
Why would I? lol

i dont know!!!??? maybe you want a hug like those...

thug the bunny
03-14-2012, 10:20 AM
i dont know!!!??? maybe you want a hug like those...

Excuse me, this is not a dating website!

brettsticker86
03-14-2012, 10:46 AM
It's not that simple. In fact it's very complicated the whole issue of court speed/style. It's good because the game is more popular but bad for those who appreciate the quality of tennis. I guess the OP is the latter.

The majority of tennis fans, don't even play tennis. I know that because there are definitely not as many people playing tennis (more than once a month) as the Wimbledon crowd would suggest!!

The non tennis playing fans do not like to see aces after aces or serve and volley points. To them that's too boring and perhaps too easy and quick. They like the grind and long rallies to get their moneys worth. In fact money is the buzz word. Money is why the courts are so slow nowadays. To overcome the dulled down game the marketing gurus have been very clever in creating "personalities" to build the drama. The classic look vs the pirate pants etc. Turning tennis into reality TV. I think the rivalries in the Mcenroe era were genuine where as the much of the drama behind the modern rivalries are created by marketing.

In a way they are right tennis is more popular now and that means it must be "better".

who's to say serve and volley tennis is, in your words, "better"? it's a different style, but is it better? is it more entertaining? maybe to you, but to say that it's worse is purely an opinion. even worse, you say those who like the grinding style or enjoy watching this style aren't tennis players at all. WRONG. ignorant post.

mattennis
03-14-2012, 11:50 AM
It is not that difficult to understand.

I like Nadal-Djokovic matches, I like Federer-Djokovic matches,...

But I would love to see:

1) REAL different conditions (to see these same players clash in real fast and low-boucing grass, on a fast, skidding and low-bouncing carpet, on really slow clay, on fast skidding hard courts), not only always in the same type of conditions (slow and high bouncing courts anywhere).

2) If there were really totally different conditions (like there were always), we would see many different styles of the game, and that would be great.

A player like Korda can't triumph today, and I loved his game, so simple, so clean, incredible fast clean winners forehand and backhand on fast skidding courts (when he was inspired). The same with Enqvist, Ferreira, Larsson, Martin, and many others.

There was much more drama back then, when any of the "top dogs" (Agassi, Sampras, Courier...) drew any of these extremely dangerous players early in any tournament, because everybody knew that if the court was fast and that type of player was "on", the Top Dog would have his hands full and could possibly lose (unless he himself played to his full potential).

I liked very much the Dubai tournament last week, because we could see the players (even the same players) playing in a much faster court than usual and all of them tried to adapt to it. Federer played shorter points and went to the net more than usual, and won the tournament. I liked it very much.

I don't want to see the exactly same game again and again and again in every court.

As Agassi said one time after playing Rafter: "it is just a totally different game, you could be playing amazing all week against baseliners, and then you are forced to hit return winners and passing-shots winners all the time because he does not allow you to do anything else, and if you can't do it, you lose".

Or players like Ivanisevic, that won't give you any rythm at all, he would try to hit a winner with about any ball, and if he was inspired, you have a big problem.

There was more tension, more drama in earlier rounds because of all this.

In short, I want variety back (of conditions, and after that, variety in styles will come as well).

brettsticker86
03-14-2012, 11:52 AM
^^^^^ that's put way better. seeing a different clash would be interesting, but everyone has a different taste in what they enjoy watching in a tennis match.

Mustard
03-14-2012, 11:57 AM
Don't understand all this hate for the 'modern' game by the 'purists'.

The same thing was going on in the 1990s, with some people moaning about the power in the game "taking away from talent". Some people just love to moan for the sake of it.

mattennis
03-14-2012, 12:32 PM
Yesterday I was watching again the Wimbledon'2000 Final and, to my surprise, it did not appear to me "that low bouncing" as I remembered.

It is true that there were much much more "bad bounces" back then than today, but if you look at how high the serves bounces, and if you look at some baseline topspin exchanges (for example, at 4:33 and at 9:10 here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LAaWFDIRqI ) you can clearly see that they could play from the baseline perfectly well on that grass, the ball bounced higher than what I thought based on my memories (but after the 2001 grass change, the bounce got higher still and specially, "truer"). Possibly the balls as well is what make it looks (today) that much slower than before in Wimbledon (not only the grass change).

Anyways, it was (for me) a very beautiful match (like every match in which Rafter played) and that is what I meant, some variety in styles and conditions back then that made tennis much more entertaining for me (the variety).

It was a pity that Rafter could not win Wimbledon after being so close two times, he had a great stylish net game. I can't understand how some people don't see it beautiful. But everyone has different tastes.

Mustard
03-14-2012, 12:45 PM
They could play from the baseline on grass in the 1990s, unless a big server(s) was playing and intent on shortening the points. The narrowing of the gap between the different surfaces has been exaggerated.

mattennis
03-14-2012, 12:45 PM
An of course the next year he (Rafter) was even closer to win the title, but that time I wanted Goran to win.

Ivanisevic deserved a Wimbledon title, having lost three previous finals (one to Agassi, two to Sampras).

One of the greatest Wimbledon finals ever, for the drama, the unbearable tension, the occasion (being possibly the last chance for both players to be a Wimbledon champion).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hECNfj5G_s&feature=related

Mustard
03-14-2012, 12:48 PM
An of course the next year he (Rafter) was even closer to win the title, but that time I wanted Goran to win.

Ivanisevic deserved a Wimbledon title, having lost three previous finals (one to Agassi, two to Sampras).

One of the greatest Wimbledon finals ever, for the drama, the unbearable tension, the occasion (being possibly the last chance for both players to be a Wimbledon champion).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hECNfj5G_s&feature=related

I badly wanted Goran to win. I had been supporting him in blind hope from the start of the tournament, and had been through years of disappointments watching him underachieve. 2001 Wimbledon is the best major I've watched, closely followed by the 1991 US Open and the 2005 Australian Open.

PSNELKE
03-14-2012, 12:52 PM
i dont know!!!??? maybe you want a hug like those...

that would be a sweet gesture from you, which would make me...

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2009/02/01/2008696304.jpg

seattle_1hander
03-14-2012, 01:17 PM
This notion of a "modern game" that the OP refers to is merely a negative stereotype of top level tennis in its current form - Its silly to suggest that the likes of Djokovic and Nadal lack variety - does not Nadal serve and volley on occasion ? Is not Djokovic's drop shot a serious tactical weapon? If one seriously watches "modern tennis" - or tennis as I prefer to call it the answers are obvious..


I think this quote encapsulates the mischaracterization of my point that you all seem to be making. It's partly my fault with my word choice.

I'm not against the modern game. I'm against homogeneity. I'm against everyone aspiring to be Nadal or Djokovic (athletic baseliners) instead of the BEST TENNIS PLAYER THEY CAN BE. This shouldn't be controversial, but I would argue that it is the case that many players would maximize their potential by being something OTHER than a Nadal/Djokovic-esque. Maybe, just maybe, Milos Raonic would have the best career possible if he became something other than a "modern" player. Now, I realize, it works both ways. Clearly, Nadal maxed out his potential by NOT being a serve/volleyer. I would be equally as disappointed if today was all about serve-volley and Nadal was making himself become that.

I'm not against modern tennis. It's great. I just wish there was variety..and not CONTRIVED variety, but organic competitive variety. It's seems like players are drinking the kool-aid and telling themselves Tennis is about hundreds of players competing to be the best TYPE A (A=modern game=speedy baseliner). It should instead be, TYPE A, B, C, D, E, F....competing.

araghava
03-14-2012, 01:26 PM
Tennis unlike a lot of other sports has the opportunity to have different playing conditions. Fast vs slow, high bouncing vs low bouncing. indoors vs outdoors. grass vs clay vs hardcourt. it's unfortunate that they don't maximize this and create different conditions. if they had their act together, there would be a fast court season. a slow court season, grass season and clay season.

Gorecki
03-14-2012, 01:33 PM
that would be a sweet gesture from you, which would make me...

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2009/02/01/2008696304.jpg

i see you like Federer. too bad we disagree on that!

PSNELKE
03-14-2012, 01:43 PM
i see you like Federer. too bad we disagree on that!

Seriously mate, who the heck are you even rooting for???

OriginalHockeytowner
03-14-2012, 01:46 PM
One should always aspire to be the best he can be, not the best someone else is.

I am going to print that out, tack it to the apartment door, and read it every time I head out to the court, just awesome.

Gorecki
03-14-2012, 01:46 PM
Seriously mate, who the heck are you even rooting for???

Tennis and whoever plays against Fed & Nadal...?

:)

PSNELKE
03-14-2012, 01:49 PM
Tennis and whoever plays against Fed & Nadal...?

:)

This deserves some respect, nice answer ;)

Gorecki
03-14-2012, 01:50 PM
This deserves some respect, nice answer ;)

that was an honest response!

henryshli
03-14-2012, 03:22 PM
who's to say serve and volley tennis is, in your words, "better"? it's a different style, but is it better? is it more entertaining? maybe to you, but to say that it's worse is purely an opinion. even worse, you say those who like the grinding style or enjoy watching this style aren't tennis players at all. WRONG. ignorant post.

I said non tennis playing fans prefer grinding tennis. I never said those enjoy the grinding style are not tennis players. If you can't read learn. I still stand by what I said about the majority of tennis fans do not play tennis regularly.

The modern game favours rallies due to slower courts. It's obvious by the lack of variety in the top (100 say) players. The old era allows different styles to be successful and hence more variety at the top. You said you like contrast in styles, the modern game does not allow it. Don't think you know what you are saying. Do you like variety or do you like the modern game?? Unless you think the modern games has more variety than before?

brettsticker86
03-15-2012, 06:06 AM
I said non tennis playing fans prefer grinding tennis. I never said those enjoy the grinding style are not tennis players. If you can't read learn. I still stand by what I said about the majority of tennis fans do not play tennis regularly.

The modern game favours rallies due to slower courts. It's obvious by the lack of variety in the top (100 say) players. The old era allows different styles to be successful and hence more variety at the top. You said you like contrast in styles, the modern game does not allow it. Don't think you know what you are saying. Do you like variety or do you like the modern game?? Unless you think the modern games has more variety than before?

and how do you know that "non-tennis" playing fans prefer it? the modern game favors rallies because guys are bigger, stronger, faster and technology has changed. i said everyone likes contrasts in styles, i enjoy contrast, AS WELL AS 2 guys pounding the ball from the baseline. can you read? maybe you should learn. you're making a bold assumption based of your own opinion. do you even play tennis?

henryshli
03-16-2012, 06:33 AM
and how do you know that "non-tennis" playing fans prefer it? the modern game favors rallies because guys are bigger, stronger, faster and technology has changed. i said everyone likes contrasts in styles, i enjoy contrast, AS WELL AS 2 guys pounding the ball from the baseline. can you read? maybe you should learn. you're making a bold assumption based of your own opinion. do you even play tennis?

LMAO, there is nowhere in your posts that implicitly or explicitly said "everyone likes contrasts in styles". If you think so then maybe you need to review your writing skills as well.

Bold it may be but it's quite a safe assumption. Tennis is now more popular = there are now more tennis fans. More fans now means people actually prefer modern tennis so modern tennis has attracted non tennis playing fans to the game. So non tennis playing fans must prefer modern tennis. Very simple logic. Owned.

I play 3-4 times a week between practices and club matches. Probably not as much as you right? Noticed you are a new poster on the forum, what have you only just started playing? Has the modern game attracted you? Don't tell me you're a babolat banging baseliner? Apologies I'm stereotyping and again making a bold assumption.