View Full Version : An interesting view on court speeds and racket head sizes.
Read this interview with Navratilova. I think she has a point with regard to rackets, court speeds and the S&V game being on it's deathbed.
03-28-2006, 03:14 AM
Thanks for the link.
So, basically: bigger head + slower court = death of S&V?
So it would seem. Basically she's saying it's not the speed of the balls coming at the volleyer, but the amount of spin that's on it that's the problem.
03-28-2006, 03:32 AM
I agree with her that the head sizes should be limited. I'd cap them at 85 for the pros. That's a good compromise between the 66 size that dominated for so long and the garage doors now used by the Braille Tennis Federation.
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03-28-2006, 07:21 AM
Cool interview, thanks Maurice! :cool:
03-28-2006, 07:23 AM
So, basically: bigger head + slower court = death of S&V?
Perhaps, perhaps not. There will be some talented player who will re-invent the s&v game, I hope.
03-28-2006, 08:46 AM
You know, I think some of the old-timers are a little full of crap (and I am sort of an oldtimer).
All sports have cycles in terms of what styles/strategies win and what don't.
CLEARLY, racket technology has evolved, but in my opinion, many of the rackets actually used by today's pros are not revolutionarily disimilar from the original Wilson Pro Staffs and Max 200Gs.
I could not access the link, but I wonder whether Martina was talking more about the womens' game than the men's.
I absolutely do think the serve and volley style is still viable on the men's side. It just so happens that theguys at the top are either baseliners or all-courters now. I'm sure there is a young serve and volleyer out there that will become a force before too long.
I personally think that weight training and nutrition has had much more of an impact on tennis than racket evolution.
Martina's sure one to talk, LOL. She arguably STARTED the freaky fitness/strength trend we now see in full effect on the women's game.
03-28-2006, 09:00 AM
CLEARLY, racket technology has evolved, but in my opinion, many of the rackets actually used by today's pros are not revolutionarily disimilar from the original Wilson Pro Staffs and Max 200Gs...
If the link wasn't borked, you could see that she also blames the slower court speeds and advances in strings.
There's no question that a slower court hurts S&V. Even in its heyday, S&V was shut down on clay more often than not.
With strings, she mentions "nylon", but I think she's talking about poly. Blake had a recent interview where he said he's gone from full gut to a hybrid with poly and he'll never go back. A pro player doesn't care about the durability benefits of poly, he cares about the added spin it imparts.
Obviously someone who's made a living off of S&V is going to be biased, but they also know better than anyone what shuts down their game. If she says the court speed and strings are killing S&V, she's probably pretty close to the truth.
03-28-2006, 09:23 AM
Just because things have been cyclical in the past doesnt mean they will always be cyclical and that s.v will return...i dont see how it can because of all the many reasons MN states.
I'm with MN..reduce the headsizes the pros can use. the problem with that is that Fed would become even more dominant if that is possible. Cream would rise to the top on the pro tour and maybe we'd get more athletes on the tour rather than fitness grinders and the variety would return. serve/volley would return because the return of server would no longer have the advantage with their larger headed frames. grips would return to less extreme because of less racquet surface area and there would be more all court play and less endless baseline rallies.
I propose making the legal limit on the ATP Tour a total of 36" in any combination of length and width and any construction. want a bigger headed frame? no problemo...it would have to be shorter.
Controlling the bats in pro baseball has kept the game viable. Can you see if they allowed aluminum bats in the pros? talk about advantange return of server......errrrrrrr batter
03-28-2006, 09:40 AM
Not too many people train for the S&V game, I personally have never even heard of anyone.
You can't have it if people are looking to play it, I have seen some lazy S&V on tv.
Nadal could have been a good S&V but these people just aren't training for that.
Further more I don't know what is so great about a pure S&V game.
All-Cour is far more interesting to watch.
03-28-2006, 09:53 AM
It is hard to hold back technology and the advantages it gives you.
Game is fast and hard these days. But like any sport the bar has been raised.
I agree that something could be done but It can't be anytime soon.
Today, Serves speeds are crazy high. But sounds skills will win most of the time. Todays game you need both to compete and win.
Look at golf. You can drive the ball 300 + yards and approach with a wedge or short iron. It's well documented that the average drive on tour is up year after year.
Technolgy will not be the downfall of tennis. Players who rely on it will be.
03-28-2006, 10:05 AM
Lots of people think people playing with big head racquets don't have as good as hand-eye coordination as littled-headed people. Navratilova says as much in the interview. I think that's not getting to the root of it. Big headed people adapt and take advantage of the larger string bed to generate more vertical action on their swing for kicking or dipping topspin. It's just common sense that if you're swinging faster and harder and more vertically at a horizontally incoming ball, you will not make as clean a contact. If you're using a flat classic continental grip and slower swing with a small headed racquet of course you're going to think you make better contact. I just think its a big myth, that on a general basis bigger racquet players have lesser hand eye coordination. If you add in the factor of the extreme vertical swings and grips, it may very well be that big swingers actually have BETTER hand eye coordination, though I'm not claiming it. And neither my point being, should little headed people claim from their standpoint.
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