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Thud and blunder
07-25-2006, 07:20 AM
Britain's latest Davis Cup debacle set me thinking...of course British tennis underperformance is frequently noted and analysed, but I was thinking, which other countries are in the same boat (ie strong tennis traditions, popular sport, etc) but pretty thin crop of quality players in recent times....OK, some might argue that Britain doesn't have a strong tennis tradition, but I'm being a bit generous here).

I'd say Italy and South Africa seem to suck a lot, considering their history, pedigree and climatic advantages. Any others spring to mind?

diegaa
07-25-2006, 07:22 AM
maybe germany?

bdawg
07-25-2006, 07:25 AM
canada is always not doing well.

Thud and blunder
07-25-2006, 07:47 AM
Well, Germany is not as strong as in the days of Becker, Stich, Graf...but they have a solid crop of strong pros, and they seem to have systems in place for bringing junior talent to fruition...

Canada don't have any pedigree, AFAIK.

OTOH, Italy and probably to a lesser degree South Africa are serious tennis countries ito hsitory, resources etc, but seem to have almost nothing to show for it in the last 20 years or so...bad luck ? bad systems? these things go in waves? who knows...

diegaa
07-25-2006, 07:56 AM
well, italy doesnt have a great tradition neither...

tennisnj
07-25-2006, 11:01 AM
Well lets look at the Davis World Groups & Zones, & then compare them to say players in the top 100 in singles or doubles.

Davis Cup World Group 2006:

Croatia: You decide which teams you feel have
Austria: not played to their pedigree or tradition.
Argentina:
Sweden:
Spain:
Belarus:
Australia:
Switzerland:
Netherlands:
Russia:
USA:
Romania:
Chile:
Slovakia:
France:
Germany:

World Group Playoffs

Mexico:
Thailand:
Czech:
Korea:
Belgium:
Italy:
Brazil:
Serbia:

Zone I Teams:

Morocco: Ecuador: Taiwan:
Great Britain: Peru: Japan:
Ukraine: Venezuela: Uzbekistan:
Portugal: Mexico: India:
Luxembourg: Pakistan:
Israel: China:
Italy:

Its easy to see what countries are missing from the 'Top Groups' in the men's game: Just look at the rankings & you'll not find Baghdatis's Cyprus, Ullyett (& the Blacks) Zimbabwe, Nieminen's Finland, Moodie's South Africa, Knowles' Bahamas, Matkowski & Fyrstenberg's Poland listed amongst the top teams in Davis Cup. Some of these nations have achieved success in the Davis Cup in the last 20 years or so, making it to the World Group but have fallen on hard times finding further talent (Zimbabwe, S. Africa, Bahamas). Others are trying to work their way up for the first time ever (Cyprus).

peter
07-25-2006, 12:34 PM
Nieminen's Finland

Finland doesn't have much of a tennis tradition unfortunately (Nieminen was practicing and playing in Sweden a lot while growing up).

Tennis in Sweden has been in a slump for a long time now - so I must say we are underperforming a lot (something I attribute to the fact that two other sports have "taken" a lot of the same "talent" the last years (floorball and golf). However I have a feeling tennis is gaining popularity again so perhaps we'll be a force to recon with again - in some 10-15 years.

Big Fed
07-25-2006, 01:09 PM
Usa should be playin alot better...........
Well maybe only Andy Roddick cause James blake is sweet

jaggy
07-25-2006, 04:12 PM
Given the money the LTA has at her disposal I don't think anyone comes close to their failures, maybe the young Scots will change this

dmastous
07-25-2006, 04:16 PM
India has, in the past, been a pretty decent Davis Cup team. But that was back when Vijay was still playing and Ramash Krishnan was a factor.
I don't know if they've won the Davis Cup, but they've been in the top group a lot. And with over a billion people you'd think they could produce more than 1 top woman and a couple doubles specialists.

tennisnj
07-25-2006, 04:20 PM
Peter, I was surprised to find that Finland has been playing Davis Cup since 1928. They have never qualified for the World Group. I did notice that the players who are at the top of Finland's record book for most ties, wins, etc., are from a more modern time, within the last 15 years or so. Thanks for your insight.

slice bh compliment
07-25-2006, 05:21 PM
1] Why is this important, outside of Davis Cup.....and the like? It is an international, basically individual sport. Me, I root for a Brasilian, a Cypriot, a Swiss guy, two Americans, a Spaniard, a dubs team with a cat from Calcutta, a gay chick from France, an Aussie, a Greek girl and an African-American girl....and the Jamaican bobsled team, mon.
All at once. Why do we gotta get all into nationalities?

2] Okay, I'll bite.

The US is looking a little weak right now.
Australia's no better. GBR probably tops the list of underachievers given pedigree and tradition -- both wonderful things. However, pedigree, tradition plus about four bucks gets you a latte at a coffee chain near you.

Seems like Japan would do better, especially on the coat-tails of Kimiko Date and Shuzo Matsuoka....and the legendary Zenzo Shimizu.

Good points above re: South Africa, India and Italy. You'd think they would be pretty high up on the ladder. Economic factors possibly? Cricket and soccer, respectively, too. Not really stopping Argentina, though, but they've got their own issues with the supplements.

Overacheivers?
The Czechs, Slovaks, Serbs, Croats, Chileans, Swiss, Rumanians and Belarussians come to mind. Also, I think Alami, Arazi and El Aynaoui did something pretty special for Morocco.
Kudos to Spain as well, though they have always been good with the tennis.

Understandable where they are right now, but probably on the way up:
China, Brazil, Ecuador, Greece (nice climate, Pete/Flip/Eleni/et al), Ukraine and Chile.

tennisprofl
07-25-2006, 05:35 PM
Canada Canada Canada

Grigollif1
07-25-2006, 05:48 PM
Australia : For a country that has such a rich tradition, problably one of the biggest. Also as far as I know Australia is one of the few countries where tennis is the main Sport. They only have a Declinning Lleyton hewitt , the next Aussie player in the ranking is Mark P. at a low 92 Postion and even further is Peter Luscak at 150 + in the ranking. That's really off Australia.... It is a miracle that they still manage to do well in Davis Cup.

tennisprofl
07-25-2006, 05:49 PM
at least they have hewitt..who does canada have?

Grigollif1
07-25-2006, 05:52 PM
Who cares about Canada man???




hehehe! Joking... No, Canada doesn't have such a rich tennis tradition, at least they have great doubles players.

diegaa
07-25-2006, 05:55 PM
Good points above re: South Africa, India and Italy. You'd think they would be pretty high up on the ladder. Economic factors possibly? Cricket and soccer, respectively, too. Not really stopping Argentina, though, but they've got their own issues with the supplements.


come again, s´il te plait...? :mad:

tennisprofl
07-25-2006, 05:56 PM
Who cares about Canada man???




hehehe! Joking... No, Canada doesn't have such a rich tennis tradition, at least they have great doubles players.
what doubles...is it nestor? or knowles?

Grigollif1
07-25-2006, 05:57 PM
Nestor is Canada's Hero! hehehe... Go Canada..

tennisprofl
07-25-2006, 05:59 PM
lol canadas hero is a doubles player...yay

Grigollif1
07-25-2006, 06:04 PM
Hey, My home country Brazil is not doing so hot right now, We had Maria Esther Bueno, in the women side who won Wimbledon... In the man's side we had Gustavo Kuerten N# 1 and 3 Slams... Right now we are just barely able to mantain a few players in the top 100. Altough, I really see a great new Brazilian player coming, His name is Rogerio Silva, very talented, you can Writte his name down. He started the year around 800 Position and is already at 307. He won 3 Futures in a row, and is really doing well at challenger now, soon he will be in the scene... ;)

dmastous
07-25-2006, 06:22 PM
what doubles...is it nestor? or knowles?
Galbraith and Connely were a great doubles team a decade ago. I think Connely is Canadian, and maybe Galbraith as well.

dmastous
07-25-2006, 06:23 PM
Hey, My home country Brazil is not doing so hot right now, We had Maria Esther Bueno, in the women side who won Wimbledon... In the man's side we had Gustavo Kuerten N# 1 and 3 Slams... Right now we are just barely able to mantain a few players in the top 100. Altough, I really see a great new Brazilian player coming, His name is Rogerio Silva, very talented, you can Writte his name down. He started the year around 800 Position and is already at 307. He won 3 Futures in a row, and is really doing well at challenger now, soon he will be in the scene... ;)
I met 3 Brazillian players at Newport this year. All in the 100-200 range.

lacoster
07-25-2006, 06:28 PM
Greg Rusedski and Mary Pierce had Canadian citizenships, but I assume they skipped the pond to countries that had better national federations in terms of sponsorships, coaching, etc. and ultimately, indisposable wild cards.
________
HERBAL VAPORIZERS (http://herbalvaporizers.info)

Grigollif1
07-25-2006, 06:31 PM
I met 3 Brazillian players at Newport this year. All in the 100-200 range.


hehehe Let me guess.. Flavio Saretta, Ricardo Mello and Marcos Daniel ;)

Paloheimo
07-26-2006, 12:14 AM
Finland doesn't have much of a tennis tradition unfortunately (Nieminen was practicing and playing in Sweden a lot while growing up).

True, true. There isn't much tennis tradition here. Fortunately our top juniors can train in Sweden, so thanks for that :D The coaching & training culture is much better in Sweden, at least that's what it looks like, since you've had so much success in tennis.

It seems like 99% of the talented juniors in Finland choose to play ice hockey or soccer. I'm so fed up with the ice hockey championships every spring, the whole country goes crazy for a few weeks and then we always lose to Sweden in the end. ;)

I guess you're right about Swedish tennis being in a slump. Björkman is about to retire soon just like T Johansson, J Johansson is recovering (but should be a regular top 10 player if stays healthy), Söderling could do better. And the rest, like Vinciguerra, haven't proved their potential. BTW, Vinciguerra just won his first round match in Finland....

Peter, I was surprised to find that Finland has been playing Davis Cup since 1928. They have never qualified for the World Group. I did notice that the players who are at the top of Finland's record book for most ties, wins, etc., are from a more modern time, within the last 15 years or so. Thanks for your insight.

Yeah, we've been playing the DC for a long time, but we haven't had a top 20 player until now (hopefully Jarkko will be in the top 10 in the near future). In the 90's we had Aki Rahunen and Veli Paloheimo (not me), who both were in the top 100 (Paloheimo top 50 at best, Rahunen top 60). And now there's a big gap after Jarkko. Timo Nieminen (not related to Jarkko) is top 500 now, and then there's a ~500 places before the next one... :(

I think that we'll get to the group I, but not in the world group. One good singles player is not enough, since we don't even have one good doubles specialist.

The Grand Slam
07-26-2006, 12:17 AM
Australia. The only person we have in the top 100 has horrible 2006 results.

slice bh compliment
07-26-2006, 03:46 AM
come again, s´il te plait...? :mad:

Hey Diego,
I was saying that despite the economic difficulties and the pre-eminance of futbol...Argentina continues to produce a LOT of top 100 players on both tours. It was a compliment. What made it a slice ;) backhanded compliment was the crack about supplement abuse.
I'm just very glad that type of story has not re-appeared in the past few months.
If I were an Argentine coach, I would go OUT OF MY WAY to MAKE sure my guys took absolutely zero chances with the juicing. Sounds like they are all doing a good job...as there is plenty of stuff out there.

Thud and blunder
07-26-2006, 04:48 AM
[QUOTE=slice bh compliment]
Overacheivers?
The Czechs, Slovaks, Serbs, Croats, Chileans, Swiss, Rumanians and Belarussians come to mind. Also, I think Alami, Arazi and El Aynaoui did something pretty special for Morocco.
Kudos to Spain as well, though they have always been good with the tennis.
QUOTE]

Slice bh, you made a lot of good points.
I think Belgium would be a worthy addition to your list of most overachieving countries, though (perhaps even number 1 on the list?)

EDIT: mmmhh, I clearly haven't got the hang of this quoting thingie yet...

slice bh compliment
07-26-2006, 07:35 AM
Slice bh, you made a lot of good points.
I think Belgium would be a worthy addition to your list of most overachieving countries, though (perhaps even number 1 on the list?)

EDIT: mmmhh, I clearly haven't got the hang of this quoting thingie yet...

Good call!
Belgium tops the list of overachievers in women's tennis, and makes a good addition to the list for men. There's Malisse, The Rochus boys, Malisse et Rochus winning RG dubs a few years ago, Filip DeWulf making it to the semis of Roland one of the yrs Guga won it, and Dick Norman who is not bad on fast courts.

yvp
07-26-2006, 07:50 AM
Well,India used to have good players like the Krishnans and Vijay Amritraj.But after Paes, there's no one on the scene.Want to know why this is so?It's because of the fact that most players(indians) are older than what they claim to be,you'll find 18 yr olds playing in under-14 events..that's no way to go ahead,is it?
And don't say that Harsh Mankad just won a challenger in GBR, the guy is 28yrs old and has no scope for any more contribution to the davis cup squad...sad!!!

Watcher
07-26-2006, 08:25 AM
I'd have to say that of recently, USA has underperformed. When you look at its incredible history, having some of the greatest names in the history of the sport in Sampras, McEnroe, Connors, Agassi, etc., we're not doing so hot these days.

Australia, compared to its glorious past underperforms.

And if Cyprus can crank out Marcos Baghdatis, I'm inclined to give the Cypriots a nod here too.

Marat Safinator
07-26-2006, 09:47 AM
argentina.

slice bh compliment
07-26-2006, 09:48 AM
Well,India used to have good players like the Krishnans and Vijay Amritraj.But after Paes, there's no one on the scene.Want to know why this is so?It's because of the fact that most players(indians) are older than what they claim to be,you'll find 18 yr olds playing in under-14 events..that's no way to go ahead,is it?
And don't say that Harsh Mankad just won a challenger in GBR, the guy is 28yrs old and has no scope for any more contribution to the davis cup squad...sad!!!

Seriously, fake birth certs?
Hahehehehahaha...I thought that only happened in little league baseball!

Marat Safinator
07-26-2006, 10:01 AM
Well,India used to have good players like the Krishnans and Vijay Amritraj.But after Paes, there's no one on the scene.Want to know why this is so?It's because of the fact that most players(indians) are older than what they claim to be,you'll find 18 yr olds playing in under-14 events..that's no way to go ahead,is it?
And don't say that Harsh Mankad just won a challenger in GBR, the guy is 28yrs old and has no scope for any more contribution to the davis cup squad...sad!!!

thats strange....what about bhupathi, hes a good player.

rommil
07-26-2006, 10:05 AM
Finland doesn't have much of a tennis tradition unfortunately (Nieminen was practicing and playing in Sweden a lot while growing up).

Tennis in Sweden has been in a slump for a long time now - so I must say we are underperforming a lot (something I attribute to the fact that two other sports have "taken" a lot of the same "talent" the last years (floorball and golf). However I have a feeling tennis is gaining popularity again so perhaps we'll be a force to recon with again - in some 10-15 years.
Hopefully Conan starts picking up tennis and cause a boom in Finland. Maybe we will see Tarja in her catsuit tennis outfit....

slice bh compliment
07-26-2006, 10:40 AM
thats strange....what about bhupathi, hes a good player.

Yeah, didn't he play #1 at Mississippi State? A singles and dubs standout at the college level.

I suppose he lacked the mobility for singles on the ATP...but evidently one of the best dubs players alongside basically anyone.

RiosTheGenius
07-26-2006, 10:55 AM
thanks for the list tennisnj...lets see:

Davis Cup World Group 2006:

Croatia: pretty solid in DC
Austria: overachiever
Argentina:
Sweden:
Spain:
Belarus: great stuff, but too depending of Max Myrni
Australia:
Switzerland: one man team
Netherlands: who??... oh that's right , Verkerk!!
Russia:
USA:
Romania:
Chile: someone said overachieving, I say...STF up
Slovakia:
France: Grrrreat
Germany: the biggest underperformer of the world group, no doubt.

World Group Playoffs

Mexico: where is Pancho Gonzalez when they need him???
Thailand: one man team
Czech: can one of the Vacek bros. put it together?
Korea: they play tennis there??..... I know they kick butt in ping-pong
Belgium: Rochus clan .... nah
Italy: Volandri , Sanguinetti, Bracciali, Cannavaro, Nesta, Scudetto, viva il calcio
Brazil: nnnnnah.
Serbia: just wait 5 yrs so Djokovic matures, then they'll be a one man team, so...nah

Zone I Teams:

Morocco: Ecuador: Taiwan:
Great Britain: Peru: Japan:
Ukraine: Venezuela: Uzbekistan:
Portugal: Mexico: India:
Luxembourg: Pakistan:
Israel: China:
Italy:

peter
07-26-2006, 12:36 PM
It seems like 99% of the talented juniors in Finland choose to play ice hockey or soccer. I'm so fed up with the ice hockey championships every spring, the whole country goes crazy for a few weeks and then we always lose to Sweden in the end. ;)

Yeah. I suppose it must be frustrating to almost always lose to us when it really matters - time after time... It must have started to be psycological now - you guys have had better teams a number of times and yet somehow have managed to lose (I guess throwing away a 5-1 lead after two periods to lose 5-6 didn't help either :-)

Anyway, currently I think you probably have the better player in Nieminen than the our Swedish guys...

Exia
07-26-2006, 02:09 PM
Given the money the LTA has at her disposal I don't think anyone comes close to their failures, maybe the young Scots will change this

the funny thing is the LTA had nothing to do with him turning pro. He was lucky enough to have erich parent who could afford for him to play in sunny Spain.

children do not even play tennis at school so much for the next best British talent(!)

slice bh compliment
07-26-2006, 02:29 PM
...Mexico: where is Pancho Gonzalez when they need him???...

Donde esta Pancho por el equipo Mexicano? Where was he? He was serving the US team. 'Cause he was an American.

Raul Ramirez, Antonio Palafox, Rafael Osuna....those cats played Davis Cup for Mexico.

MaxT
07-26-2006, 02:47 PM
China has done nothing in tennis, especially males. Not comparable in other events.

Tennis with two people occupying an area larger than a basket ball court, is hard to develop in the country. China will not do well until average teens can afford to hang out at public courts.

Mikael
07-26-2006, 02:59 PM
True, true. There isn't much tennis tradition here. Fortunately our top juniors can train in Sweden, so thanks for that :D The coaching & training culture is much better in Sweden, at least that's what it looks like, since you've had so much success in tennis.

It seems like 99% of the talented juniors in Finland choose to play ice hockey or soccer. I'm so fed up with the ice hockey championships every spring, the whole country goes crazy for a few weeks and then we always lose to Sweden in the end. ;)

I guess you're right about Swedish tennis being in a slump. Björkman is about to retire soon just like T Johansson, J Johansson is recovering (but should be a regular top 10 player if stays healthy), Söderling could do better. And the rest, like Vinciguerra, haven't proved their potential. BTW, Vinciguerra just won his first round match in Finland....



Yeah, we've been playing the DC for a long time, but we haven't had a top 20 player until now (hopefully Jarkko will be in the top 10 in the near future). In the 90's we had Aki Rahunen and Veli Paloheimo (not me), who both were in the top 100 (Paloheimo top 50 at best, Rahunen top 60). And now there's a big gap after Jarkko. Timo Nieminen (not related to Jarkko) is top 500 now, and then there's a ~500 places before the next one... :(

I think that we'll get to the group I, but not in the world group. One good singles player is not enough, since we don't even have one good doubles specialist.



What about Janne Oijala... He seems to be pretty solid in the Futures circuit, no? I thought he'd break through at some point and reach the top 200 but it didn't happen.

dmastous
07-26-2006, 04:48 PM
hehehe Let me guess.. Flavio Saretta, Ricardo Mello and Marcos Daniel ;)
Ricardo Mello was one. Thiago Alves was another. I don't remember the third one's name, but he was from Rio.

diegaa
07-26-2006, 06:12 PM
Hey Diego,
I was saying that despite the economic difficulties and the pre-eminance of futbol...Argentina continues to produce a LOT of top 100 players on both tours. It was a compliment. What made it a slice ;) backhanded compliment was the crack about supplement abuse.
I'm just very glad that type of story has not re-appeared in the past few months.
If I were an Argentine coach, I would go OUT OF MY WAY to MAKE sure my guys took absolutely zero chances with the juicing. Sounds like they are all doing a good job...as there is plenty of stuff out there.

i was messing with you. yeah, the only problem in developing countries (at least in argentina) is that, as andres pointed it out several times, is really expensive to gear up to play tennis. not only the gear technology is imported, but economic issues make the argentina tennis association (AAT) has no depth in supporting the upcoming players. they are left to their own luck.
Right now, tennis is about the 3rd sport if we speak in terms of popularity (supporters + tv coverage), but not if we speak about people who actually play.

Well, in perspective, i would say argentina is an overachiver. BUT, with the players we have these days, we sure would be able to win the DC with no trouble. Right now, as marat safinator posted, we r underachievers.

RiosTheGenius
07-26-2006, 09:20 PM
Donde esta Pancho por el equipo Mexicano? Where was he? He was serving the US team. 'Cause he was an American.

Raul Ramirez, Antonio Palafox, Rafael Osuna....those cats played Davis Cup for Mexico.
cats, not tigers by any means

Paloheimo
07-26-2006, 11:59 PM
What about Janne Oijala... He seems to be pretty solid in the Futures circuit, no? I thought he'd break through at some point and reach the top 200 but it didn't happen.

It looks like he hasn't played any matches since last year. His best ranking was 295 in 1999. Anyway, he was born 1977 so he ain't got many years left. I guess he has already retired, though.

Paloheimo
07-27-2006, 12:07 AM
Yeah. I suppose it must be frustrating to almost always lose to us when it really matters - time after time... It must have started to be psycological now - you guys have had better teams a number of times and yet somehow have managed to lose (I guess throwing away a 5-1 lead after two periods to lose 5-6 didn't help either :-)

Yeah, don't mention about it :)

Anyway, I usually watch just the final of the ice hockey WC, cause the matches can be quite boring. They should reduce the world champions to be held only every other year or so, there's no prestige this way.

OK, back to tennis...

Paloheimo
07-27-2006, 12:10 AM
Hopefully Conan starts picking up tennis and cause a boom in Finland. Maybe we will see Tarja in her catsuit tennis outfit....

Haha! Conan might have a chance at S&V since he's so tall. Think about Conan playing Wimbledon in all whites w/ Tarja in the mixed doubles :D

rommil
07-27-2006, 10:39 AM
Haha! Conan might have a chance at S&V since he's so tall. Think about Conan playing Wimbledon in all whites w/ Tarja in the mixed doubles :D
That's hilarious. I don't know her or her politics but Tarja seems like she's a cool person.

doriancito
07-27-2006, 05:38 PM
Bolivia....??

Zverev
07-27-2006, 06:59 PM
Australia : For a country that has such a rich tradition, problably one of the biggest. Also as far as I know Australia is one of the few countries where tennis is the main Sport. ..........
you wish...about main sport.
First you have AFL (australian rules football)/ then CRICKET, if you can call it a sport, something like beysball in US - bunch of round faced guys with oval tummies trying to hit the ball with a stick and catch it.

Then you have rugby, Ligue and Union - with different rules.
Then you have netball for women.
And next you might have tennis or soccer.

Ah, yeah, you still might put that cancer - golf, in front of those two.

baros
07-28-2006, 06:26 PM
england invented tennis idiot.
________
Ford Ikon picture (http://www.ford-wiki.com/wiki/Ford_Ikon)

slice bh compliment
07-28-2006, 07:05 PM
england invented tennis idiot.

Well, LAWN tennis I suppose, but you can trace tennis' roots back to France as well -- jeu de paume. There's court tennis, real tennis...and we can't forget Greece's role in tennis' formation -- sphairistike (ball game).

But yeah, tennis as we know it is lawn tennis, and it was indeed English people who came up with the arcane scoring system.

I like to think of tennis the way I think of soccer: it is the conglomeration of a lot of different athletic influences over a lot of generations.

I am not thrilled with tennis' aristocratic, fancylad connotations....in this respect, I tip my hat to soccer's more universal appeal. But I love how our sport has evolved into a hell of a challenging game both physically and otherwise.