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cabernetjunkie
09-04-2006, 09:10 AM
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/usopen06/news/story?id=2570537

What are your thoughts?

jimiforpres
09-04-2006, 09:15 AM
It would be interesting to see what would happen if the ATP listened to her. I think the game would be more interesting to watch if you play it, but not to the average person because they wouldn't be able to understand the tactics involved. But this will never happen, the top players will protest it because the rankings will change totally (goodbye Rafa), and a lot of players would lose a lot of money. Not to mention that the ATP is gutless.

Capt. Willie
09-04-2006, 11:45 AM
Good article, thanks for posting it. I couldn't agree with her more.

armand
09-04-2006, 11:58 AM
I think the players started to go Babolat once the good polys started to appear. I think all they'd need to do is to ban polys and the Babolats would die(on tour).

BTW: Is that true what Martina said about the golf clubs? Seems like she was exaggerating.

Discovery660
09-04-2006, 12:02 PM
I agree, the equipment has changed the way the game is played. Serve and volley people rarely exist. Actually, I love being at the net. :)

musicc
09-04-2006, 12:06 PM
their would be no TW if they regulated racquets.
Martina is just old fashioned and needs to adapt to the new style.

alwaysatnet
09-04-2006, 12:41 PM
While some dismiss Navratilova's comments as sour grapes, since she's over the hill anyway, people who really love tennis, all of tennis, will agree with her though it may not all be because of racquet size and construction. When you cause the serve and volleyers to go the way of the dinosaurs you are killing a good portion of tennis style and history. I love Edberg, Rafter, McEnroe, Mandlikova, etc. What makes tennis really interesting is, like boxing, the clashes of style. If the powers that be really want to there are many ways to speed up the game to make it faster and better for the s&v types.It really is depressing thought when even the geezers at Wimbledon(for God's sake) decided to slow things down and make the net rushers obsolete.
What we have now are a bunch of indentical, baseline hugging zombies who wouldn't know how to get to the net if they had a guide dog( the women's side in particular).The net rushers are a lost generation.

hummer23
09-04-2006, 12:49 PM
their would be no TW if they regulated racquets.
Martina is just old fashioned and needs to adapt to the new style.

Why would there be no TW? If racquets are regulated in size, length, or whatever other criteria they wish to impose, it doenst mean that many manufacturers cant compete to make the best possible frame. Tw would still have just as many brands, but instead of the superoverize frames, we'd see some more mids.

stormholloway
09-04-2006, 12:50 PM
I agree with her totally. It's easy to dismiss her and say that modern tennis is exactly the way it should be, but let's face it, tennis is not as popular as it used to be. That's really the bottom line. Maybe it's the personalities, but I think the quality of the game has diminished.

There should be regulations on racquet and string materials, as well has head sizes. No racquet heads larger than 95 inches, maybe 90.

NoBadMojo
09-04-2006, 12:56 PM
First of all, who proclaimed her as the best volleyer ever? surely she doesnt mean including the atp tour? i will give her the best volleyer ever amongst the wta'ers but nowhere close amongst the men...that's her being delusional..we all know Andy Roddick is the best volleyer ;O
Also, she is wrong about golf doing a great job to controlling the gear. It's hard to hit the new jumbo size drivers crooked especially if you are an advanced player..how often to you see guys hitting OB off the tee these days? Also, to compensate for the ease of hitting it long and straight, many of the shorter courses are obsolete, new ones are being stretched out to 7500 yards and they have had to narrow fairways so guys often cant even hit driver off the tee.
Also, the cat is way out of the bag and it is too late to change the headsize in tennis, and if they did, i think they should only change it for the pros only. it would obsolete far too many careers and would require technique adjustments and there is no way that would work. I believe from the beginning, or at least after the wood era that a racquets length + width should not exceed 36" and could be made of any material..that would change the strings around a bit too and you would see more gut and less poly. aint gonna happen...should have been just like baseball....almost anything goes until you get to the bigs, and then you have bat restrictions..serve/volley and all court play would return i think.

need2paint
09-04-2006, 01:37 PM
Tennis should have followed baseball's example by keeping the sport pure and using only wood racquets. They should also have kept the majors on natural surfaces like clay and grass. Oh well, it's too late.

BreakPoint
09-04-2006, 01:46 PM
I totally agree with Martina. Some of these racquets and strings have gotten way out of hand. When you have a guy who's only 5' 10" hitting 142mph serves like Ben Becker did yesterday against Agassi, something is definitely rotten in the State of Denmark.

I'd say 90 sq. in. should be the maximum head size and let's get rid of the poly strings. But even better would be going back to wood racquets! :eek: :D

hummer23
09-04-2006, 01:47 PM
Nobadmojo, i disagree with one point you made, i think its good that there is less gut being used, and more poly. If the demand among pros for natural gut goes down, maybe people will take a hint, and switch over to synthetic strings, as the trends have already shown. In the interest of the cows, a move away from gut is a good thing.

need2paint
09-04-2006, 01:58 PM
I totally agree with Martina. Some of these racquets and strings have gotten way out of hand. When you have a guy who's only 5' 10" hitting 142mph serves like Ben Becker did yesterday against Agassi, something is definitely rotten in the State of Denmark.

I'd say 90 sq. in. should be the maximum head size and let's get rid of the poly strings. But even better would be going back to wood racquets! :eek: :D

I can see wanting to go back to wood. I can see wanting to stay with graphite. But why would you care about what the strings are made of if you use a graphite racquet to begin with?

jjk20
09-04-2006, 02:04 PM
my thoughts--she's biased. she is a serve and volleyer, so of course she doesn't like the way the game is now. if the game was still the same, then she could still be winning titles, that's what I think her real beef with racquet technology is.

although, I might be biased too, since I didn't grow up in the serve & volley age.

need2paint
09-04-2006, 02:08 PM
my thoughts--she's biased. she is a serve and volleyer, so of course she doesn't like the way the game is now. if the game was still the same, then she could still be winning titles, that's what I think her real beef with racquet technology is.

although, I might be biased too, since I didn't grow up in the serve & volley age.
She's an old lady now. She would not still be winning titles, at least not in singles. I think she just wants more variety in the game, like there used to be.

jjk20
09-04-2006, 02:10 PM
oh, no doubt she wouldn't be winning in singles, I meant in doubles--that she'd have more of a chance.

patrick922
09-04-2006, 02:37 PM
who does navratilova think she is? first she proclaims that she is the greatest volleyer now she is complaining about the racquets and strings.
in my opinion the game has evolved to a power based game. i think evolution of the sport is great; i mean in the next 20 years who knows the style could be completely different again [maybe serving and volleying would be popular again; who knows] but i think that evolution and evolving is a way for tennis to survive. think about it this way if animals and humans dont evolve over time they would die because they cant adapt. well that is my take on it [please dont bash me:neutral: ]

Mick
09-04-2006, 02:41 PM
Martina also won many grand slam tournaments using those rackets with a larger head size and better technology. Apparently, those rackets didn't bother her then like they do now.

sureshs
09-04-2006, 03:13 PM
I totally agree with Martina. Some of these racquets and strings have gotten way out of hand. When you have a guy who's only 5' 10" hitting 142mph serves like Ben Becker did yesterday against Agassi, something is definitely rotten in the State of Denmark.

I'd say 90 sq. in. should be the maximum head size and let's get rid of the poly strings. But even better would be going back to wood racquets! :eek: :D

I played with a wooden racquet for the first time a month ago and developed new respect for those who played with woodies. Miss the sweetspot and you feel the pain. It requires great control and precision to play with a woodie. Most of the topspin game you see today will be gone with wood. No swinging wildly and still catching the ball on the strings. I understood how different tennis is today with the modern racquets. It is not just the frame and the strings - the grip cushioning is way more comfortable compared to a layer of leather wrapped around the wood.

stormholloway
09-04-2006, 03:16 PM
who does navratilova think she is? first she proclaims that she is the greatest volleyer now she is complaining about the racquets and strings.
in my opinion the game has evolved to a power based game. i think evolution of the sport is great; i mean in the next 20 years who knows the style could be completely different again [maybe serving and volleying would be popular again; who knows] but i think that evolution and evolving is a way for tennis to survive. think about it this way if animals and humans dont evolve over time they would die because they cant adapt. well that is my take on it [please dont bash me:neutral: ]

Just because something changes does not mean it is evolving. Evolution implies growth or development, but if I'm not mistaken tennis is LESS popular than it was in the days of Connors and McEnroe. This is not evolution, but it is change.

What's so great about a power based game? There is a trend toward more powerful technology so serve and volleying will not return if this trend continues. A way for tennis to survive? If anything, tennis is dying because of these changes. What exactly does tennis have to adapt to besides the technology? The will of the people? Remember, tennis' glory days are behind us, far behind us. What has happened is that corporate competition in the field of racquet technology has changed a game in a way that did not occur naturally.

The bottom line is that tennis is less popular than it was. The game emphasizes creative point construction less and power more. Power over strategy? How can anyone say this is good for tennis?

NoBadMojo
09-04-2006, 04:17 PM
Actually I thnk tennis is less popular <in the States> because we have turned into a nation of fat asses. When they invent some sort of waist clip that will hold your bag of Doritos so you can munch between points, maybe things like that will help. ;O. Obesity in the US is a HUGE <pun intended> problem, and I heard that life expectency here in the States for the first time is less rather than more amongst the latest crop.

stormholloway
09-04-2006, 04:21 PM
Seems like this would make sports less popular across the board though right? Or are you saying that tennis is different in that when people stop playing, people stop watching? As opposed to football where few people actually play football, but everyone watches.

BreakPoint
09-04-2006, 04:27 PM
I can see wanting to go back to wood. I can see wanting to stay with graphite. But why would you care about what the strings are made of if you use a graphite racquet to begin with?

Because it's the poly strings that allow the current pros to use uber powerful racquets like the Pure Drive and still hit the ball in. Like someone else mentioned earlier in this thread, without the poly strings, many pros would give up on their Babolats and the like and move back to smaller headed, less powerful racquets. Even Martina mentioned the new strings in her interview.

sloe_torture
09-04-2006, 04:36 PM
Yes, it's amusing because she's had over twenty years to complain about oversized (Prince Original Graphite 110) and overpowered (Wilson Pro Staff Graphite Kevlar & Wilson Profile) racquets. We had a guy named Sampras popping 120-130 mph serves fifteen years ago. We also had a hard-hitter from both sides in a lady named Seles. Could it be possible that today's athletes are stronger and smarter than yesterday's athletes? Employing both brawn and improved technique has also had an effect on today's tennis. Could it be possible that Lendl's 'power game' also drew criticisms because of his stiff Adidas racquet?

Sure the game is different, but I feel that it is more entertaining. I appreciated Seles and Serena slugging it out on the baseline. I appreciated Sampras slugging a 132 mph serve down the middle past Agassi's oversized, yellow and blue Donnay.

The serve and volley game wasn't a popular junior tennis style in the 90's, even with Sampras' popularity. Sure, it's a classic playing style but so is Connors', Wilander's, and Lendl's. In order for S&V player to truly survive, a player will have to conjure up a style and athleticism up against the bar that Federer and Nadal have set.

need2paint
09-04-2006, 04:37 PM
Because it's the poly strings that allow the current pros to use uber powerful racquets like the Pure Drive and still hit the ball in. Like someone else mentioned earlier in this thread, without the poly strings, many pros would give up on their Babolats and the like and move back to smaller headed, less powerful racquets. Even Martina mentioned the new strings in her interview.

You can get the same effect by stringing gut tightly. Outlawing polys is not going to bring less powerful racquets to the game.

I think either we go with wood, or we go with whatever you want to play with. To say that graphite is acceptable, but only without poly strings, seems rather contrived.

stormholloway
09-04-2006, 04:41 PM
Smart than yesterday's athletes? I don't think so. The lack of power forced players to think of placement. Placement is a thinking man's game.

I have a collection of wood and graphite racquets and I enjoy playing with both. It's good to train with wood too because when you go back to graphite it's like playing with a child's toy. Wood racquets certainly look cooler in my opinion, with new racquets trying to look all space-age even though many top pros just paint on the space crap over their older frames. A lot of new racquets just look cheap to me.

Lindsay
09-04-2006, 05:14 PM
Why all the sudden is poly bad? Its not more powerful. Its less powerful than gut(what she uses) and therefore, you just have to be stronger. I think the ATP is doing their best to regulate doping, and that's what is changing the game. And BTW, what top ATP player uses a powerful racquet anyway(besides Roddick?) FEDERER IS UNBEATABLE AND PLAYS WITH A BOARD.

sloe_torture
09-04-2006, 05:23 PM
Smart than yesterday's athletes? I don't think so. The lack of power forced players to think of placement. Placement is a thinking man's game.

I'll have to say that there is more parity in athleticism of the top-50 players now compared to the athleticism in the 1990's. How would P.Haarhuis, D. Rostagno, A.Krickstein have fared against the likes of today's N.Mahut, F.Lopez, or P.Srichaphan (all outside top-50). I'm sure most players in the pro ranks are competent placement hitters. It's the power AND placement that separates today's players from yesterday. And yes, todays players are smarter because they are more knowledgeable about diet, excercise, and self-preservation -- that is why racquet and string technology isn't an issue to me because everybody is allowed to use it. But it's still the best athletes that are at the top of tennis.

AJK1
09-04-2006, 06:27 PM
I agree with her in some respects, i would like to see more variety in the game. I think making a maximum regulated head size would be the best step. I also think a maximum flex rating limit should be part of the regulations. Say, 65 flex maximum. That way people would have to use more of their skill rather than sheer racquet stiffness to get the ball away. Poly strings are only for very good players as they have no power, so i cant' see that as an advantage.

brinkeguthrie
09-04-2006, 07:09 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/usopen06/news/story?id=2570537

What are your thoughts?

"I'm the greatest volleyer that's ever played, and I would have a hard time serve-volleying in today's game, so something is wrong."

Sad to see Martina say that- if she's the greatest volleyer ever..why does she feel the need to remind people of that?

stormholloway
09-04-2006, 07:14 PM
I'll have to say that there is more parity in athleticism of the top-50 players now compared to the athleticism in the 1990's. How would P.Haarhuis, D. Rostagno, A.Krickstein have fared against the likes of today's N.Mahut, F.Lopez, or P.Srichaphan (all outside top-50). I'm sure most players in the pro ranks are competent placement hitters. It's the power AND placement that separates today's players from yesterday. And yes, todays players are smarter because they are more knowledgeable about diet, excercise, and self-preservation -- that is why racquet and string technology isn't an issue to me because everybody is allowed to use it. But it's still the best athletes that are at the top of tennis.

I do have something to say in response to this. First off, if you saw Federer on the street would you ever think he was the greatest athlete in any sport? Federer doesn't look any bigger than Borg did, yet Federer is the best in the world.

Secondly, does advancement in exercise mean someone is smarter? That's like saying a ******** guy with a plasma TV is smarter than Einstein. Einstein didn't have access to a plasma TV so he must be dumber. Your argument makes no sense. Also, self preservation? Seems like injuries are WAY more common in the modern game. Ever played with wood? I have and can tell you that tennis elbow is virtually nullified with wood racquets. Injuries are rampant on both sides of the tennis tour.

"Racquet technology isn't an issue to me because everyone is allowed to use it."

You're missing the point here. The issue is how it affects the game, not how it gives unfair advantages to certain players. Serve and volleying is gone. Cat and mouse tennis is gone. It's about bashing the ball now. You can try and argue that this style is entertaining, but you completely miss the point when you say that it's okay cause everyone can use it. If everyone used jet packs on court would this be okay?

"But it's still the best athletes that are at the top of tennis."

This makes little sense too. Tennis players are athletes. It's like saying the best tennis players are at the top of tennis. If you're saying that the most fit players are the best, then you're probably flat wrong. Federer is not the fastest or the strongest yet he's the best. Technique does not require fitness. Fat golfers prove this. Fitness is a component of the game, but I'm sure there's some guy that runs the 40 yard dash faster than anyone and you've never heard of him.

Lindsay
09-04-2006, 07:44 PM
I hate to tell this to Martina, but being the best volleyer in the history of the game doesn't mean everything. I think Pete was the greatest server, yet now he would be mediocre. Someone else from earlier times may have the best forehand or backhand, it doesn't mean they would be winning now. It means that for their prime, they had the best something. There is more to tennis than volleying Martina, and other players are capitalizing on that. Martina sounds a little bitter, maybe because she thinks she should still be winning singles matches, maybe it has something to do with AGE.

Craig Sheppard
09-04-2006, 07:55 PM
I really have to agree with her. It hasn't hurt baseball to stick with all wood bats, even though everyone else uses alumnium. Golf clubs have been restricted, it's not the mfg's that dictate the rules. I'm not suggesting using wooden racquets, but perhaps banning poly strings and/or limiting head sizes to 90 inches on the pro tour wouldn't be a bad idea. I'm not even 30 so I'm not an old fuddy duddy, in fact I learned during the Agassi-bashing and widebody craze. But even for me, it seems like the majority of players are playing the same monotonous bash-n-dash type game. It really is boring to watch and is probably costing the sport some fans. The casual fans I watch with like to see the creative points (ooooh! ahhh!) instead of the bashfest.

tnkGod4tns
09-04-2006, 07:59 PM
I wonder if she would have said the same thing if she was a baseliner??

Lindsay
09-04-2006, 08:00 PM
Banning polyester is only going to make the game more powerful.

Craig Sheppard
09-04-2006, 08:31 PM
Banning polyester is only going to make the game more powerful.

Poly is counter-intuitive. Poly is used b/c the racquets with gut are too powerful, so they use the poly to tame them down. If there is no poly, they can't tame modern racquets' power, thus they'll have to use lower-powered frames. The banger philosophy and poly goes hand-in-hand.

sloe_torture
09-04-2006, 08:38 PM
I do have something to say in response to this. First off, if you saw Federer on the street would you ever think he was the greatest athlete in any sport? Federer doesn't look any bigger than Borg did, yet Federer is the best in the world.

Secondly, does advancement in exercise mean someone is smarter? That's like saying a ******** guy with a plasma TV is smarter than Einstein. Einstein didn't have access to a plasma TV so he must be dumber. Your argument makes no sense. Also, self preservation? Seems like injuries are WAY more common in the modern game. Ever played with wood? I have and can tell you that tennis elbow is virtually nullified with wood racquets. Injuries are rampant on both sides of the tennis tour.

"Racquet technology isn't an issue to me because everyone is allowed to use it."

You're missing the point here. The issue is how it affects the game, not how it gives unfair advantages to certain players. Serve and volleying is gone. Cat and mouse tennis is gone. It's about bashing the ball now. You can try and argue that this style is entertaining, but you completely miss the point when you say that it's okay cause everyone can use it. If everyone used jet packs on court would this be okay?

"But it's still the best athletes that are at the top of tennis."

This makes little sense too. Tennis players are athletes. It's like saying the best tennis players are at the top of tennis. If you're saying that the most fit players are the best, then you're probably flat wrong. Federer is not the fastest or the strongest yet he's the best. Technique does not require fitness. Fat golfers prove this. Fitness is a component of the game, but I'm sure there's some guy that runs the 40 yard dash faster than anyone and you've never heard of him.

Athleticism doesn't necessarily equate to strength or body size. Look at Federer, look at Tiger Woods, they are not the most imposing athletes but their athleticism have led them to the top of their professions. In general, however, athletes today are bigger and fitter than the athletes of yesteryear. Compare the size and general fitness of athletes from the 1970's in football, basketball, tennis, and golf with the athletes of today. Its the evolution of athletes that has made the playing field smaller.

Advanced knowledge in fitness and excercise do enhance performance. I believe that more tennis players today are physically and psychologically prepared to handle hard-hitting 30-shot rallies than ever before. There is no doubt that improved athleticism in tennis has raised the level of play in tennis.

A better analogy (rather than the ******** guy and his plasma vs. Einstein) would be an engineer having the the teachings of Einstein, Maxwell, and Feynman, to create a more accurate simulation than Einstein and his meager resources.

As for racquet and string technology, the power is generated by the tennis players themselves rather than the racquet. When racquets and strings start assisting the players in an unnatural way (like a hollow aluminum bat to hit the ball farther or thinner clubface of a golf driver creating a 'trampoline ' effect on the drive) then the tennis ruling board should start talking. But if the ball is moving faster just because the athlete can move the racquet at a higher velocity, then Martina shouldn't complain.

The raised level of athleticism has changed the game of tennis more than any racquet or string.

Kevo
09-04-2006, 08:53 PM
I have seen several good volleyers on the mens draw. Moodie was doing well off and on giving Nadal some trouble by rushing him with the serve and volley. He just wasn't consistent enough with it to win. The problem is that the serve and volley style is more difficult to learn and practice. It's a much tougher thing to do. Maybe if everyone hit the ball at 50-60 mph with no spin it would be easy, but would anyone really want to go back to that. With kids starting younger and learning to play baseline tennis, there would have to be some kind of conscious decision to change to a serve and volley style. I just don't think that is going to happen too often.

Maybe they will make the balls heavier or something and slow things back down, but the way the crowds cheer when people hit a serve at 140mph, I don't think it's likely.

need2paint
09-04-2006, 09:00 PM
Poly is counter-intuitive. Poly is used b/c the racquets with gut are too powerful, so they use the poly to tame them down. If there is no poly, they can't tame modern racquets' power, thus they'll have to use lower-powered frames. The banger philosophy and poly goes hand-in-hand.
Davenport, Henin Hardenne, The Williams sisters, Mauresmo, Clijsters, and a few ATP players, including our new friend Bennie Becker, use all-gut string jobs in their powerful racquets. I don't tink they would care one way or another whether poly was banned or not.

theace21
09-04-2006, 09:13 PM
Golf regulates the distance golf balls can fly, dimples, etc. The limit the size and shape of the grooves on irons...They are attempting to keep the standards of the game. What if professional baseball went with metal bats?

All she is saying it the USTA needs to step up and limit the improvements in technology. If the next 10 years a new material/strings are developed - the reduce the skill of the players. The banned the spaghetti string job, they need to put limits on length, weight, size, head size, string techonology...

BreakPoint
09-04-2006, 09:14 PM
You can get the same effect by stringing gut tightly. Outlawing polys is not going to bring less powerful racquets to the game.

I think either we go with wood, or we go with whatever you want to play with. To say that graphite is acceptable, but only without poly strings, seems rather contrived.

Have you read this article about Roman Prokes, the stringer of the stars?

http://www.sportsmediainc.com/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=13786&bannerregion=

Especially this quote:

"A key component to the job is understanding the subtlety of string and how different strings respond to different frames. Prokes says the Luxilon string, a string used by Agassi as well as other top players, has revolutionized the game.

"Babolat got incredibly lucky because it coincided with Luxilon strings," Prokes says. "You probably wouldn’t see Babolat racquets anywhere (on the pro tour) if it weren’t for Luxilon. The Babolat racquet is a wide-body racquet with a lot of power, which most people on the professional tour can’t handle because the ball will sail without the Luxilon string. Luxilon string enables you to have control with the racquet. You have to have a long swing and you have to be able to come over the ball. It’s not for people who come to the net, it’s not for serve-and-volleyers, it’s not for people with short swings because if you miss with Luxilon — let’s say you hit too deep — your natural reaction is ‘Oops, I over-hit it I’m gonna hit less.’ With Luxilon, it’s the opposite because you’re going to hit more because once you start holding back or hitting flat it flies. It grips the ball and gives you incredibly bite on the ball.

"A lot of people who used to use Luxilon string exclusively have switched to half and half — Federer does that — people start Luxilon with the mains and natural gut in the crosses, that’s great, but it still plays 75 percent Luxilon and 25 percent gut. Federer, for example, switched it because he’s coming off playing with natural gut so he wants the racquet to play more like natural gut, but he needs more control. So he uses natural gut in in the mains and Luxilon in the crosses. I think it’s the best thing to happen to tennis in 10, 15 years for everybody. I do it for the pros and for retail. The strings don’t move, the strings don’t break and its phenomenal for a lot of people."

stormholloway
09-04-2006, 09:25 PM
Athleticism doesn't necessarily equate to strength or body size. Look at Federer, look at Tiger Woods, they are not the most imposing athletes but their athleticism have led them to the top of their professions. In general, however, athletes today are bigger and fitter than the athletes of yesteryear. Compare the size and general fitness of athletes from the 1970's in football, basketball, tennis, and golf with the athletes of today. Its the evolution of athletes that has made the playing field smaller.

Advanced knowledge in fitness and excercise do enhance performance. I believe that more tennis players today are physically and psychologically prepared to handle hard-hitting 30-shot rallies than ever before. There is no doubt that improved athleticism in tennis has raised the level of play in tennis.

A better analogy (rather than the ******** guy and his plasma vs. Einstein) would be an engineer having the the teachings of Einstein, Maxwell, and Feynman, to create a more accurate simulation than Einstein and his meager resources.

As for racquet and string technology, the power is generated by the tennis players themselves rather than the racquet. When racquets and strings start assisting the players in an unnatural way (like a hollow aluminum bat to hit the ball farther or thinner clubface of a golf driver creating a 'trampoline ' effect on the drive) then the tennis ruling board should start talking. But if the ball is moving faster just because the athlete can move the racquet at a higher velocity, then Martina shouldn't complain.

The raised level of athleticism has changed the game of tennis more than any racquet or string.

Well the racquets definitely assist them. Saying it's unnatural is a matter of opinion. The same arm will never hit a ball faster with a graphite racquet it will with wood, therefore the racquets are responsible for an increase in speed. As for strength, I don't think anyone has had a bigger forearm than Rod Laver. McEnroe will attest to his. Laver could hit winners from anywhere with wood. Overall, I agree that players are fitter. New ways of training have evolved along with supplements and science. But you said that players are smarter because of this and that's just silly. Fitter does not mean smarter.

"The raised level of athleticism has changed the game of tennis more than any racquet or string."

That's just plain wrong. McEnroe hits his serve harder today at 46 than he ever did with a wood racquet. A larger headsize also means players have room for error and can swing away, which they do often. The ball is moving faster because the racquet can be swung more quickly and this is because of racquet technology.

Just look at Connor's run at 39 years old. He proved the old game can match up. If he had played with wood like Borg did in his comeback, he would have been destroyed.

jura
09-04-2006, 09:25 PM
For me the rackets are not the problem nor the strings. What did really changed since 1990? We had polys at this time - even Big Banger - and we had widebodies at this time. So what happened to the game? At first the players are more and more able to handle big serves of 125 mph and more because they are used to it. In the beginning of the 90s every serve over 125 was giving a "wow" to the spectators. Today even small baseliners like Hewitt serve with 125. But what kind of racket is he using? A 10-year-old SRD Tour 90. The best player in the world Roger Federer is using a probably 87 or 88 sq in racket with a 17 mm beam. The hardest hitting guy on tour (if he an his peak) Marat Safin plays with a PC 600. So what does MN wants to regulate? Go back to wooden rackets???

In my eyes the problem is the surface and the balls. The balls are much softer than 10 or 15 years ago. On softer balls you can hit as hard as you want to and it won't go out. The courts are that small (remember Hewitt saying the AO court were slower than clay!) so the baseliners have a lot of time to prepare even for todays fast strokes. So that's what's making them able to fire these hard shots all the time. The polys and the rackets are just a small part of this bis package.
What would Nadal do if polys and racket widths of more than - let's say - 22 mm were banned? He would ask Babolat for a 100 sq in Pure Control with 70 RA and a bit more open string pattern. He'd probably string it with kevlar and there wouldn't be a great difference.
My suggest: Go back to the surfaces and balls of the beginning of the 90s and we will have more serve & volliers again. But also the people who would cry because it's only a service game. Same as we had it 10 years before. Do you all remember the Wimby final Sampras - Ivanisevic?!

armand
09-04-2006, 09:27 PM
Breakpoint, thanks for citing me as the reference on the other pagehttp://gfx2.mail.live.com/mail/11.00/beta/emoticons/smile_sad.gif

doesn't look like Becker is using gut in the mains, looks like that blue hurricane stuff
http://cache.gettyimages.com/xc/71778924.jpg?v=1&c=MS_GINS&k=2&d=17A4AD9FDB9CF193875DCB1DD8387ABBF9445BA16C89F0D6
http://cache.gettyimages.com/xc/71778818.jpg?v=1&c=MS_GINS&k=2&d=08A8BA3C818346D018DE81D5ABAE7D58

need2paint
09-04-2006, 09:55 PM
Have you read this article about Roman Prokes, the stringer of the stars?

http://www.sportsmediainc.com/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=13786&bannerregion=

I'll quote myself:

Davenport, Henin Hardenne, The Williams sisters, Mauresmo, Clijsters, and a few ATP players, including our new friend Bennie Becker, use all-gut string jobs in their powerful racquets. I don't tink they would care one way or another whether poly was banned or not.

Roddick also used full gut on his powerful Babolat when he was #1. I stand corrected on B Becker. There was a post in another thread which claimed he went back and forth from Pacific to Babolat gut. The rest of my statement stands though.

Noveson
09-04-2006, 09:55 PM
This thread raises a lot of interesting questions. I agree that s and v is very fun to watch, but some of what you are proposing is ridiculous. I mean s and v without baseliners to play against them would not be very much fun, and 90 square " racquets? Come on that right there would almost completley destroy the most topspin ever produced by a human arm, which is nadal's forehand.
You can't suggest things that would bring back s and v when it would also be destroying baseliners. This would be like making the 3 point line 10 feet closer, which is to say totally take out one style of play(spot shooters).
I would like some changes but not something that would destroy a whole style, just ones that would bring a style back:)

need2paint
09-04-2006, 09:59 PM
This thread raises a lot of interesting questions. I agree that s and v is very fun to watch, but some of what you are proposing is ridiculous. I mean s and v without baseliners to play against them would not be very much fun, and 90 square " racquets? Come on that right there would almost completley destroy the most topspin ever produced by a human arm, which is nadal's forehand.
You can't suggest things that would bring back s and v when it would also be destroying baseliners. This would be like making the 3 point line 10 feet closer, which is to say totally take out one style of play(spot shooters).
I would like some changes but not something that would destroy a whole style, just ones that would bring a style back:)

There were plenty of baseliners in the days of wood racquets, as well as the early days of graphite. The idea is to go back to the days when different players chose different styles based on their individual strengths and talents, rather than have every pro be a baseliner, which is where tennis is heading.

stormholloway
09-04-2006, 10:52 PM
need2paint makes the same point I was about to make. Ever heard of Bjorn Borg? He lived at the baseline, though he did do alright at net at Wimbledon. Smaller racquet heads wouldn't do away with baseliners at all. I happen to love baseliners. Agassi is my favorite player, then Borg, but I just tire of all the mindless bashers you see today.

90" racquets wouldn't do away with baseliners at all. Hell, Federer uses a 90" (or so) racquet and he is pretty much a baseliner these days.

BreakPoint
09-04-2006, 10:56 PM
As for racquet and string technology, the power is generated by the tennis players themselves rather than the racquet. When racquets and strings start assisting the players in an unnatural way (like a hollow aluminum bat to hit the ball farther or thinner clubface of a golf driver creating a 'trampoline ' effect on the drive) then the tennis ruling board should start talking. But if the ball is moving faster just because the athlete can move the racquet at a higher velocity, then Martina shouldn't complain.


But the racquets and strings ARE assisting the players in unnatural ways. That's the whole point of what Martina is saying. There's no way the pros of today could hit the ball in the exact same way that they do with their Pure Drives and poly strings if they were uisng wood racquets and gut strings.

Have you ever even played with a wood racquet for an extended period of time competitively, like 5 or more years? You need to have used a wood racquet to be able to make a fair comparison to today's racquets and strings.

BreakPoint
09-04-2006, 11:06 PM
Roddick also used full gut on his powerful Babolat when he was #1.

I don't recall Roddick ever using full gut. Can you cite some sources?

Davenport may use gut because she hits the ball flat rather than heavy topspin. Mauresmo may use gut because she serves and volleys and poly has little feel on volleys.

sloe_torture
09-04-2006, 11:42 PM
But the racquets and strings ARE assisting the players in unnatural ways. That's the whole point of what Martina is saying. There's no way the pros of today could the ball in the exact same way that they do with their Pure Drives and poly strings if they were uisng wood racquets and gut strings.

Yes, I agree with the above statement to a point. I just don't think a 56 lb. setup that Federer has with a Pro Staff has any more control than a 75 lb. gut setup of say, a Jay Berger. Is there really a difference (other than maintaining tension) in stringing an 18 gauge gut at 80 lbs. compared to 16-17 gauge Luxilon at 70 lbs. or less. I'm sure the stringers on this board would love to hear the departure of Luxilon-type strings at ATP events.

Have you ever even played with a wood racquet for an extended period of time competitively, like 5 or more years? You need to have used a wood racquet to be able to make a fair comparison to today's racquets and strings.

Unfortunately I'm unfamiliar with wood racquets. But I find reverting to wood racquets akin to giving D.Wade and LeBron a pair of Chuck Taylors to do their thing on the basketball court. There is no 'magic' in the string, the players today are creating their own spin the same way Borg controlled his groundstrokes -- but with a stiffer racquet -- and that is why I feel that the work on the ball is attributed more to the player and not the racquet. There is no energy lost on the flex of the racquet, but there is also no flex assisting the athlete. Sure, the finesse perspective is disappearing due to changing racquet technology. This just challenges the future S&V players to have softer hands, better hand-eye coordination, hit better half-volleys, and have faster feet.

BreakPoint
09-05-2006, 12:05 AM
Unfortunately I'm unfamiliar with wood racquets.

Case closed.

Without having played with wood racquets, there's no way you could make a fair comparison, and more importantly, no way your argument that it's the increase in athleticism of the players today and not the modern racquets and strings that allow the players to hit the ball so much harder has any credibility at all. The difference is like night and day between wood racquets with gut and modern racquets, like a Pure Drive, with poly. Did you see post #20 in this thread by "sureshs", here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=1116898&postcount=20

Most of the stuff you see the pros doing today on the court they could not do with a wood racquet no matter how athletic they are. It's like the difference between using single shot musket rifle and an AK-47 machine gun rifle.

BTW, I'd be willing to bet that Bjorn Borg was a better athlete in his prime than ANY pro on the tour is today, including Nadal. Remember that since the wood racquets were so low powered, it was nearly impossible to hit a winner from the baseline, especially on clay, so you had to be in much better shape to run down balls all day long as rallies would last forever.

spaceman_spiff
09-05-2006, 12:17 AM
Ok, for all of those who are saying we should go back to small rackets or even wood, have any of you played anytime recently against a big server in a wood match?

Imagine this situation: you give someone like Federer or Ancic a wood racket and force their opponent to also use wood, Federer and Ancic take a little while to adjust, but they soon go back to hitting their serves just about as hard and accurate as with their old rackets. Now, the big question is, how well will their opponents be able to return those serves?

I can speak from experience that returning big serves with a wood racket is really difficult, and the server in an all-wood match has a huge advantage. So, what do you think the net result would be if you made the pros use these rackets? They would still be able to serve 120-135 (some might even hit 140), but no one would be able to hit a decent return. The game would be incredibly boring to watch (just remember the old Wimbledon match between Philipousis and Krajicek where no one could break serve), and the popularity of tennis as a spectator sport would diminish even further.

If none of you believe me on this, just go find a couple of big serving players, give them both wood rackets, and watch them play. I'm sure the number of unsuccessful serve returns will drive you mad (or put you to sleep).

chess9
09-05-2006, 12:42 AM
Case closed.

Without having played with wood racquets, there's no way you could make a fair comparison, and more importantly, no way your argument that it's the increase in athleticism of the players today and not the modern racquets and strings that allow the players to hit the ball so much harder has any credibility at all. The difference is like night and day between wood racquets with gut and modern racquets, like a Pure Drive, with poly. Did you see post #20 in this thread by "sureshs", here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=1116898&postcount=20

Most of the stuff you see the pros doing today on the court they could not do with a wood racquet no matter how athletic they are. It's like the difference between using single shot musket rifle and an AK-47 machine gun rifle.

BTW, I'd be willing to bet that Bjorn Borg was a better athlete in his prime than ANY pro on the tour is today, including Nadal. Remember that since the wood racquets were so low powered, it was nearly impossible to hit a winner from the baseline, especially on clay, so you had to be in much better shape to run down balls all day long as rallies would last forever.

I agree with all of this. If Borg were playing today he'd be dominating everyone. He played in the relative dark ages of training information (which has exploded) and racquet technology, especially strings. Even the gut is better today, with the new coatings. Oh, and imagine Borg with a modern day trainer and an extra ten pounds of muscle, instead of the 20 pounds of fat he's now carrying. :(

As for strings, if they are going to outlaw some strings I'd suggest they outlaw nylon. :) Blech. Please don't outlaw kevlar, which is the best stuff on the market after gut (beats Luxilon, IMHO) for spin generation.

-Robert

sloe_torture
09-05-2006, 12:53 AM
All I'm saying is that use of an infinitely stiff racquet strung at an infinitely high tension limits the variable of an athlete having an advantageous racquet. With other components equal, it's truly athlete vs. athlete.

What is unnatural to me, in concept, is the shot-dampening flex of a wooden racquet or the trampoline effect of the racquet bed.

Borg may be the greatest tennis athlete ever. But which generation has the quickest and strongest top-50 tennis players?

AlpineCadet
09-05-2006, 01:46 AM
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/usopen06/news/story?id=2570537

What are your thoughts?


(Since when did this topic turn into a discussion about wood vs graphite? As a matter of fact, since the introduction of graphite, ball speed and precision has increased exponentially, and there's no argument to be made between the two as wood is def. inferior compared to today's technologies. Anyway, back to the topic.)

It's the simple answer that defines what Martina is trying to say.

Martina is upset with how power baseliners are taking over the way tennis is played, and she is finding reasons to blame the new trend. Hence her equipment and strings rant. :rolleyes:

So in her mind... what can be the blame for the new power baseline trend? Equipment. Martina is obviously upset with her position in the tennis world, and there needs to be a boiled down reason for it all. But there's not much to her complaints because there's not much substance to it. Oversized heads have been offer long ago, and since when did strings make a 4.0 player into 7.0 player and beyond?

It's just her insight as to why serve and volleying has died, and there needs to be a solution to her problem. Her slice of the pie is gone, so what is there left to blame? Just because she was a superstar once in her life, doesnt mean what she says is the opinion of the rest of the tennis superstar world.

Get a grip, Martina.

jura
09-05-2006, 02:21 AM
One question to all the "pro Martina guys":
What do you suggest to do? Banning all graphite rackets and go back to wood??? You can't be serious! Limiting the headsize? Down to which size? 90 sq in? Federer, Safin or Hewitt are inside this limit. So would this change the conditions really? And one more question: Were should these rules start to be valid? Professional tennis? So if you become a pro you have to change your material? Or for all competition tennis? What about the millions of recreational players who would become tennis elbow patients and probably quit the sport???
Onliest thing you really can do is changing the surface or balls within the rules. So ITF, ATP and WTA could and should adjust the game. As they did before, when they made they game much more difficult for s&v.

spaceman_spiff
09-05-2006, 02:40 AM
(Since when did this topic turn into a discussion about wood vs graphite? As a matter of fact, since the introduction of graphite, ball speed and precision has increased exponentially, and there's no argument to be made between the two as wood is def. inferior compared to today's technologies. Anyway, back to the topic.)

It's the simple answer that defines what Martina is trying to say.

Martina is upset with how power baseliners are taking over the way tennis is played, and she is finding reasons to blame the new trend. Hence her equipment and strings rant. :rolleyes:

So in her mind... what can be the blame for the new power baseline trend? Equipment. Martina is obviously upset with her position in the tennis world, and there needs to be a boiled down reason for it all. But there's not much to her complaints because there's not much substance to it. Oversized heads have been offer long ago, and since when did strings make a 4.0 player into 7.0 player and beyond?

It's just her insight as to why serve and volleying has died, and there needs to be a solution to her problem. Her slice of the pie is gone, so what is there left to blame? Just because she's was a superstar once in her life, doesnt mean what she says is the opinion of the rest of the tennis superstar world.

Get a grip, Martina.

Good point.

Also, how many players in each generation were really good serve and volleyers in the WTA? Yes, there have been some individuals throughout the years that did really well, but at least over the last 20 years, S&V has not been really wide spread in the WTA (I can remember a number of baseliners volleying with two hands on the backhand whenever they were forced to the net). In my opinion, the ladies as a whole have improved their volleys (compare the volleys of the average baseliner today to those of the average baseliner 15 or 20 years ago). The WTA has never had a plethora of net rushers anyways.

Claiming to be the best volleyer ever in the WTA isn't really much to brag about if you consider the few good volleyers they've had over the years. It's like claiming to be America's best ever cross country skier or Holland's best ever baseball player.

Punisha
09-05-2006, 04:55 AM
90 square inches and no polys.. great... i can continue with my set up and own everyone while they start adapting to the new head size :D

onkystomper
09-05-2006, 07:14 AM
I hate to tell this to Martina, but being the best volleyer in the history of the game doesn't mean everything. I think Pete was the greatest server, yet now he would be mediocre. Someone else from earlier times may have the best forehand or backhand, it doesn't mean they would be winning now. It means that for their prime, they had the best something. There is more to tennis than volleying Martina, and other players are capitalizing on that. Martina sounds a little bitter, maybe because she thinks she should still be winning singles matches, maybe it has something to do with AGE.


How can you possibly say Sampras would be mediocre now!!

I think that more variety in the game would be a good thing. The question may not be should they regulate rackets. But instaed the surfaces played on should be more diverse. The ATP or Slam directors have manipulated the game by altering the balls and surfaces to make it more uniform.

If the same light balls were used on the same grass (i mean the type of grass) at Wimbledon you would certainly see the serve volley game return there.

Racket tech prob should have some regulations but it is more down to the pro tour to return to the diversifeid playing conditions at various tournaments to allow varying styles to emerge.

bad_call
09-05-2006, 07:16 AM
i never heard her complain about racquet size while she and Pam Shriver were playing doubles together. btw Pam played with some kind of POG i think.

Mick
09-05-2006, 07:43 AM
I agree with all of this. If Borg were playing today he'd be dominating everyone. He played in the relative dark ages of training information (which has exploded) and racquet technology, especially strings. Even the gut is better today, with the new coatings. Oh, and imagine Borg with a modern day trainer and an extra ten pounds of muscle, instead of the 20 pounds of fat he's now carrying. :(



I doubt it. Borg could never win the US Open and when he called it quit, McEnroe had broken his dominance at Wimbledon and a teenager named Lendl had taken him to five sets at the French Open.

NoBadMojo
09-05-2006, 07:43 AM
Ok, for all of those who are saying we should go back to small rackets or even wood, have any of you played anytime recently against a big server in a wood match?

Imagine this situation: you give someone like Federer or Ancic a wood racket and force their opponent to also use wood, Federer and Ancic take a little while to adjust, but they soon go back to hitting their serves just about as hard and accurate as with their old rackets. Now, the big question is, how well will their opponents be able to return those serves?

I can speak from experience that returning big serves with a wood racket is really difficult, and the server in an all-wood match has a huge advantage. So, what do you think the net result would be if you made the pros use these rackets? They would still be able to serve 120-135 (some might even hit 140), but no one would be able to hit a decent return. The game would be incredibly boring to watch (just remember the old Wimbledon match between Philipousis and Krajicek where no one could break serve), and the popularity of tennis as a spectator sport would diminish even further.

If none of you believe me on this, just go find a couple of big serving players, give them both wood rackets, and watch them play. I'm sure the number of unsuccessful serve returns will drive you mad (or put you to sleep).

This is exactly what has happened. The newer gear has benefitted the return of serve way more so than the serve, so there is no longer percentage in playing serve and volley T. Otherwise people like Fed would do it more and far fewer would be able to handle the 140mph serves of Roddick and others.

I played open events way back then with a wooden racquet and serve volley on both serves. There was an advantage for me to do that as i had a good serve and volley and people had trouble returning my serve.i can no longer play that style because of the larger headed lighter frames makin the service return MUCH easier. We are able to proove this every time I do a wood exhibiton. I can serve just about the same with a wooden frame on both serves as I can with my DNX9's altho it takes much more effort to do so..on the other hand, an opponent with wood in his hand has a much tougher time returnng my serve because of the small headsize and heavier weight of the frame..the game is much more precise with wood.

In addition to the gear changes, they have slowed the surfaces down and made the balls slower for the atp tour to compensate for how hard they are hittin the ball these days. they often still use a more lively ball on the wta. remember the serve speed is measured through the air, and the slower surface blunts the serve much more after the bounce.

The strings also contribute...it's a combnation of things with the lighweight larger headed frames giving the edge to the service return and to the baseline style. also academy style tennis and rushing kids to get better and compete means more baseline style as all court and serve/volley takes longer to develop. without them using the lighter larger headsizes, there wouldnt be poly. poly has been around for ages..nobody used it back then because it just isnt close to playable in those small headed frames..it was the cheapest string availabe

Roforot
09-05-2006, 09:00 AM
Well we can't go back to wooden racquets; the cats out of the bag, but I think they should make some sort of racquet guidelines before things get really out of hand. Imagine if one of these liquidDNA of hyperfreeradicals technologies really does generate 60% more power or something to that effect. I think they should set weight/flex/headsize/beamwidth/ stringpatterns/composition rules.

Besides this I agree they could make the surfaces more friendly or balanced for certain playing styles.

stormholloway
09-05-2006, 09:08 AM
Roscoe Tanner hit a big serve and it didn't seem to bother his opponents so much.

Craig Sheppard
09-05-2006, 10:37 AM
I'm pro-Martina. Let me elaborate on my take...

What I think Martina and us "old-schoolers" in general are trying to eliminate is "basher mentality" and the ease that today's equipment allows that type of game to be played. With today's equipment, almost any player can have a big banger (hint, hint) type game with huge groundstrokes, huge topspin, and little creativity. It leads to boring, monotonous tennis. Yesterday's game used to have more flair, more variety. Instead of horizontal bashing, it was really an all court (horizontal and vertical) game.

So what has changed in the last 20-30 years? The rules haven't changed. The balls haven't changed. 3 things have changed:

1) Racquets and strings have become phenomenally powerful and have made it very easy to generate huge spin.
2) Courts are slower now than ever.
3) Player fitness is probably better than it it was.

You obviously can't limit 3, and in general higher fitness leads to better matches.

You can speed up the courts for sure... I'm not sure why this wasn't in Martina's points.

You can limit the equipment. Who here has played with poly strings? You can slug the ball as hard as you can and it'll still drop in. It's amazing the difference these things make. It's not all about power though. Put gut in a Pro Staff Classic and you probably have the same power level as poly in a nSix-One. However, you don't generate the same crazy spin with the PSC. Poly strings really do have an effect.

Racquets are more and more powerful, and a 100" or 98" Babolat or Head is going to be a lot more powerful than a 90" Wilson or Yonex. You also can take a bigger cut at the ball because you have a larger margin of error.

I don't know about materials. It seems hard to regulate material b/c they're always coming up with some newfangled material, and how do you prove this actually makes a racquet more powerful? One suggestion is that the ATP or ITF could do scrutineering like F1 does it... devise a test to make sure a racquet doesn't go above a certain power level.

So... in summary... fitter players + bigger racquets + poly strings = basher mentality.

I'm not saying eliminate the baseline game and I'm not encouraging everyone to be a S&V'er. I'm saying that it's boring to see 95% of the players running sideline to sideline flailing around bashing huge groundstrokes and that equipment restrictions could be levied to help mitigate this monotony.

BreakPoint
09-05-2006, 10:40 AM
I doubt it. Borg could never win the US Open and when he called it quit, McEnroe had broken his dominance at Wimbledon and a teenager named Lendl had taken him to five sets at the French Open.

But that was when Borg was already past his prime. Besides, a player with the talent of a McEnroe only comes around once in a lifetime. Do you know of a player today that has the natural talent of a McEnroe? Other than Federer, do you know of a current player today that you think could beat Borg using a standard wood racquet at the French and at Wimbledon?

Mick
09-05-2006, 10:45 AM
But that was when Borg was already past his prime. Besides, a player with the talent of a McEnroe only comes around once in a lifetime. Do you know of a player today that has the natural talent of a McEnroe? Other than Federer, do you know of a current player today that you think could beat Borg using a standard wood racquet at the French and at Wimbledon?

but those matches occured in 1981 when Borg was 25 years old and he retired the next year. I don't think you could say that Borg was past his prime at 25.

BreakPoint
09-05-2006, 10:47 AM
but those matches occured in 1981 when Borg was 25 years old and he retired the next year. I don't think you could say that Borg was past his prime at 25.

Yes, you can. Look at Hewitt. He's also only 25 now. Or look at Chang. How old were Hewitt and Chang when they won their last Majors? Guys that did phenomenally well as teenagers tend to burn out by the time they hit their mid-20's. That's one of the reasons why Borg quit. He was just too burnt out.

stormholloway
09-05-2006, 11:13 AM
Borg had won 11 majors and had been on tour for about 10 years. He was definitely burnt out. McEnroe was relatively fresh on the scene and still had a lot to accomplish. Sure Lendl took him to 5 sets at the French but that was after Borg already had 5 French Open titles. I have that match on tape and it looks like Lendl was using graphite as well.

Think of it like this: at 39, Jimmy Connors made the semi-finals of the US Open. Borg had the edge on Connors head to head. Borg would have been younger than Connors if he had entered the US Open that year (or any other major). If Connors can play that well in the nineties at 39 years old, why couldn't Borg compete against the same players?

sloe_torture
09-05-2006, 11:26 AM
How would womens tennis be affected if racquets and strings were regulated? I'm glad the endless moonball days are over and, as a tennis fan, appreciate the power tennis games of a Mauresmo vs. Clijsters. I don't think there's less creativity in power tennis compared to the wooden racquet days. I find a good rally in todays mens and womens tennis to be as exciting as any marathon rally between Borg vs. McEnroe or Navratilova vs. Evert.

Tchocky
09-05-2006, 11:29 AM
Is there anything Martina hasn't complained about? She's just a whiner. I'm so sick of her.

AlpineCadet
09-05-2006, 11:46 AM
Is there anything Martina hasn't complained about? She's just a whiner. I'm so sick of her.

There's a point she's trying to make about the current lack of serve and volleying, but her reasons for it are just a bit extreme. The reason for the increase in power baseline play isn't just because the pro's are offered bigger head sizes and god-like strings. That point doesn't seem to be true to begin with. Since she says power is so important, why isn't the mean headsize 110 or greater? And doesn't more power equal less control?

Adaptation to the sport allows survival, and it's not the fault of technology. She should look elsewhere for her troubled demons.

AlpineCadet
09-05-2006, 11:52 AM
Also, if all players are starting to hit harder and stay farther back, wouldn't you need, as a competitor, to increase your game speed and baseline play as well?

the formula for coping with all this power play is simple: adjust and adapt, or be ranked incredibly low on the ATP tour.

Mick
09-05-2006, 11:53 AM
Is there anything Martina hasn't complained about? She's just a whiner. I'm so sick of her.
haha. when she lost the 1986 french open final to chris evert, she told the french crowd that she enjoyed playing there even though "you guys did not like me"

tennisfanatic
09-05-2006, 03:19 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/usopen06/news/story?id=2570537

What are your thoughts?

she should shut up and retire! I enjoy watching modern tennis than watching her matches 10-20 years back... if she doesn't like modern racket then she should not be playing with it instead she should play with wooden rackets. Tennis today is lot better than it was 10-20 yrs ago.

BreakPoint
09-05-2006, 03:30 PM
s Tennis today is lot better than it was 10-20 yrs ago.

Of course, the first question would be: Were you playing and watching tennis 20 years ago? Or else how could we judge that claim?

Noveson
09-05-2006, 04:51 PM
need2paint makes the same point I was about to make. Ever heard of Bjorn Borg? He lived at the baseline, though he did do alright at net at Wimbledon. Smaller racquet heads wouldn't do away with baseliners at all. I happen to love baseliners. Agassi is my favorite player, then Borg, but I just tire of all the mindless bashers you see today.

90" racquets wouldn't do away with baseliners at all. Hell, Federer uses a 90" (or so) racquet and he is pretty much a baseliner these days.

No it wouldn't do away with the baseliners but it would do away with Nadal's and others massive topspin, and don't come back to me with something about them just not hitting the ball square enough with a small racquet. With that much spin it just isn't possibly to consistenly hit the ball on the strings. Let me say once again I pro for changes, but 85" heads? I would be thinking more along the size of 95" so that it wouldn't be detrimental to all of the topspin.

tennisfanatic
09-05-2006, 05:06 PM
Of course, the first question would be: Were you playing and watching tennis 20 years ago? Or else how could we judge that claim?
watching classics that never really a classic..

LN_Dad
09-05-2006, 05:16 PM
I totally agree with Martina. Some of these racquets and strings have gotten way out of hand. When you have a guy who's only 5' 10" hitting 142mph serves like Ben Becker did yesterday against Agassi, something is definitely rotten in the State of Denmark.

I'd say 90 sq. in. should be the maximum head size and let's get rid of the poly strings. But even better would be going back to wood racquets! :eek: :D
You make it sound like the racket technology enables almost anyone to do this. Becker is very talented and has a "live" arm. If he didn't play tennis, he can probably throw a 95mph fast ball or a football 60yards.

LN_Dad
09-05-2006, 05:20 PM
Navratilova is an over-the-hill egomaniac. Nobody proclaimed her the best volleyer ever except herself. She makes it sound like all one has to do is get the latest strings and rackets and go out and smack the ball as hard as they can and produce winners every time. What a crock of sh....

tennisfanatic
09-05-2006, 05:51 PM
Navratilova is an over-the-hill egomaniac. Nobody proclaimed her the best volleyer ever except herself. She makes it sound like all one has to do is get the latest strings and rackets and go out and smack the ball as hard as they can and produce winners every time. What a crock of sh....

agreed!!! she's a b!tch....hahahaha

neo
09-05-2006, 06:08 PM
There is another way to influence balance of different playing styles. Regulate tennis balls, and leave the frames and strings alone. For example, larger balls will fly slower through the air, and will slow down the game. Balls with less grippy surface will have less topspin, etc.

stormholloway
09-05-2006, 06:22 PM
if she doesn't like modern racket then she should not be playing with it instead she should play with wooden rackets. Tennis today is lot better than it was 10-20 yrs ago.

Wow, I guess this flew right over your head. She's talking about the quality of the tennis. If she switched to wood then everyone else would have to. Tennis today is better than 10-20 years ago? A lot of people would argue with that. What's so much better about it? The lack of variety or the lack of people WATCHING tennis?

Ridiculous. People, tennis is less popular now than it was. That's what matters. If it gets too unpopular, then people from the outside will come in and change the game drastically all in the name of raising ratings. They play music at changeovers at the US Open. What's next, cheerleaders? Music DURING play?

AlpineCadet
09-05-2006, 06:44 PM
Wow, I guess this flew right over your head. She's talking about the quality of the tennis. If she switched to wood then everyone else would have to. Tennis today is better than 10-20 years ago? A lot of people would argue with that. What's so much better about it? The lack of variety or the lack of people WATCHING tennis?

Ridiculous. People, tennis is less popular now than it was. That's what matters. If it gets too unpopular, then people from the outside will come in and change the game drastically all in the name of raising ratings. They play music at changeovers at the US Open. What's next, cheerleaders? Music DURING play?

:rolleyes: don't be ridiculous, tennis will be played via handsets and lcd screens!

macroscopic
09-05-2006, 07:03 PM
Don't have an answer or opinion, just observations.

I grew up watching players like Laver, Smith, Connors, Borg, King, Evert Goolagong and Court and must say that I can't watch more than 3 games of a modern match, it's pretty boring. Maybe it's me that's changed along with the game.

After many years I started playing tennis again and found that I couldn't control the power of the modern racquets. I thought I was just out of practice but people used to play with said the gear is very different than the old days. Being a dinosaur that grew up playing wood I went to the local tennis joint and asked the guy for a racquet that played and felt like my old Kramer. He laughed and gave me a ncode n6-1 90 sq in racquet. He said Roger Federer used it..I asked who is Roger Federer? Don't know if it was me or the modern equipment but now I can swing pretty much like I used to and keep the ball in play.

I think it's more fun to play tennis than watch it.

brinkeguthrie
09-05-2006, 07:26 PM
Grew up playing tennis in the late 70s for real, so that was at the tail end of the wood frame era. Started with the Bancroft Borg, then settled on a great frame, the Fila WUD1One, or "Wood One." Medium flex, very aerodynamic, strung it pretty tight with VS, and it was pinpoint control and great power.
After I went thru as many as I could find, eventually moved to Prince (loved the Woodie) and it's been them since then. The wood is still my favorite- you could, to me, feel the ball.

BTW, Borg would be a star no matter what the era. If he was in his prime now, he'd be using a Donnay Borg Graphite Composite or something, and cleaning everyone's clock. Including Federer. A truly great player would be great in any era. Connors, Evert, Sampras, Laver, McEnroe, Agassi, etc. Talent always rises to the top. No matter what the frame, you need to have the chops.

BreakPoint
09-05-2006, 08:32 PM
No it wouldn't do away with the baseliners but it would do away with Nadal's and others massive topspin, and don't come back to me with something about them just not hitting the ball square enough with a small racquet. With that much spin it just isn't possibly to consistenly hit the ball on the strings. Let me say once again I pro for changes, but 85" heads? I would be thinking more along the size of 95" so that it wouldn't be detrimental to all of the topspin.

But both Borg and Vilas were able to hit massive topspin with the tiny 65 sq. in. heads on their wood racquets.

BreakPoint
09-05-2006, 08:33 PM
watching classics that never really a classic..

But watching is not nearly the same thing as doing. I think you have to have done it to appreciate and understand the nuances of what they were doing.

BreakPoint
09-05-2006, 08:39 PM
You make it sound like the racket technology enables almost anyone to do this. Becker is very talented and has a "live" arm. If he didn't play tennis, he can probably throw a 95mph fast ball or a football 60yards.

I don't recall ANY pro who was only 5'10" being able to hit a serve at 142mph with a wood racquet back in the wood era.

tennisfanatic
09-05-2006, 09:28 PM
I don't recall ANY pro who was only 5'10" being able to hit a serve at 142mph with a wood racquet back in the wood era.

how old are you? maybe you belong to martina's generation....:mrgreen: :rolleyes:

stormholloway
09-05-2006, 09:39 PM
Try getting a couple woodies and playing with a friend. It really is a different game. You think differently. Instead of trying to wack it you place it.

With graphite however you begin to feel that making the ball travel quickly will make it more difficult for your opponent to return rather than placement. At this point the focus of the game becomes power, but the game was designed around placement and angle. Power has become the dominant element in the game and it simply wasn't intended to be.

I was born in 1980 and think the game was cooler in the 70s. Watch the old matches and try playing with wood. It may change your perspective. All you kids who diss the classic game do so without any knowledge of it.

LN_Dad
09-05-2006, 09:41 PM
I don't recall ANY pro who was only 5'10" being able to hit a serve at 142mph with a wood racquet back in the wood era.
Let's see, Roscoe is about 5'11" and could hit 133mph serve with a primitive metal racket 30yrs ago. 142mph with a modern Babolat racket is no big deal; it's not like Becker can do that on every first serve.

BreakPoint
09-05-2006, 09:43 PM
how old are you? maybe you belong to martina's generation....:mrgreen: :rolleyes:

Yes, I do. That's why I'm able to intelligently comment on this subject since I've played tennis in both eras so I can compare from first hand experience. Why, how old are you?

tenis
09-05-2006, 09:44 PM
Martina is 100% right, tennis doesn't have the variety
anymore!

Mick
09-05-2006, 09:45 PM
maybe 20 years from now when the players can hit 170 miles per hour serves, we will look back at this time and say things were much better in 2006 :)

BreakPoint
09-05-2006, 09:48 PM
Let's see, Roscoe is about 5'11" and could hit 133mph serve with a primitive metal racket 30yrs ago. 142mph with a modern Babolat racket is no big deal; it's not like Becker can do that on every first serve.

Tanner was 6 feet tall: http://www.atptennis.com/3/en/players/playerprofiles/?playernumber=T006

And his metal PDP racquet was very heavy, probably at least 14 oz., unlike the lightweight Babolats of today, that's why he was able to hit his serves so hard. Besides, I don't think Tanner was hitting serves consistently at 133mph, more like under 120mph, whereas, Ben Becker was consistently cranking them at well over 130mph.

In any case, Tanner was not using a wood racquet, which was my point.

tennisfanatic
09-05-2006, 09:54 PM
Yes, I do. That's why I'm able to intelligently comment on this subject since I've played tennis in both eras so I can compare from first hand experience. Why, how old are you?

LOL... i knew it! With all due respect but i don't agree with you.. though i haven't played in Martina's generation, i think watching her ancient matches is enough to have better comparison... My dad (who competitively played in your generation) once had the same point of view as you until he saw Roger play!:rolleyes: it all changed when he saw ROger play in t.v. and in person.

LN_Dad
09-05-2006, 10:04 PM
Tanner was 6 feet tall: http://www.atptennis.com/3/en/players/playerprofiles/?playernumber=T006

So I'm off by 1" assuming this info is not exaggerated. But thanks for reminding me of the name of his racket. Haven't heard of a PDP racket in years.

BreakPoint
09-05-2006, 10:07 PM
LOL... i knew it! With all due respect but i don't agree with you.. though i haven't played in Martina's generation, i think watching her ancient matches is enough to have better comparison... My dad (who competitively played in your generation) once had the same point of view as you until he saw Roger play!:rolleyes: it all changed when he saw ROger play in t.v. and in person.

With all due respect, but watching is not the same thing as doing. If it were, nobody would ever bother having sex again! :mrgreen: LOL

Old tennis matches look boring to you because it's hard for you to understand what they were doing and why they were doing it since you were never in their shoes. You're probably thinking -"Why didn't he just blast that for a winner from the baseline?". Because the game wasn't played like that then, it was about constructing the point and hitting slow and with touch was part of the strategy to winning. It was about playing smart and not about who can hit the ball the hardest for the longest, which to me, doesn't take a whole lot of brain cells to do.

rfprse
09-05-2006, 10:28 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/usopen06/news/story?id=2570537

What are your thoughts?
Though some of her evidences were not chosen well (for example, it's hard to see that she's the best volleyer ever and it seems that the main reason that she can't play her s & v game as well is not the power based on new racquet and strings but her age) and it's poorly argued, I completely agree with her point.
They need restricitions of the head size and strings. I am not sure going back to wood is a good idea but definitely there must be some limits at least on head size and strings.

slack hack
09-05-2006, 11:13 PM
....and still the two top ranked woman volley quite a lot and play with lots of variety. Maybe the up and comers will be inspired.

spaceman_spiff
09-06-2006, 12:29 AM
This is exactly what has happened. The newer gear has benefitted the return of serve way more so than the serve, so there is no longer percentage in playing serve and volley T. Otherwise people like Fed would do it more and far fewer would be able to handle the 140mph serves of Roddick and others.

I played open events way back then with a wooden racquet and serve volley on both serves. There was an advantage for me to do that as i had a good serve and volley and people had trouble returning my serve.i can no longer play that style because of the larger headed lighter frames makin the service return MUCH easier. We are able to proove this every time I do a wood exhibiton. I can serve just about the same with a wooden frame on both serves as I can with my DNX9's altho it takes much more effort to do so..on the other hand, an opponent with wood in his hand has a much tougher time returnng my serve because of the small headsize and heavier weight of the frame..the game is much more precise with wood.

In addition to the gear changes, they have slowed the surfaces down and made the balls slower for the atp tour to compensate for how hard they are hittin the ball these days. they often still use a more lively ball on the wta. remember the serve speed is measured through the air, and the slower surface blunts the serve much more after the bounce.

The strings also contribute...it's a combnation of things with the lighweight larger headed frames giving the edge to the service return and to the baseline style. also academy style tennis and rushing kids to get better and compete means more baseline style as all court and serve/volley takes longer to develop. without them using the lighter larger headsizes, there wouldnt be poly. poly has been around for ages..nobody used it back then because it just isnt close to playable in those small headed frames..it was the cheapest string availabe

Sorry, I forgot to add my main point to the post you quoted. I don't think we should switch back to wood or anything similar precisely because of the fact that you and I agree on: the server will have too much of an advantage.

Everyone is saying that there is no variety anymore, but look at matchups like Karlovic vs. Rochus. With modern rackets and strings, Rochus has a chance and the match could be interesting. But, if you take that away with restrictions that give a huge advantage to the server, guys like Rochus would have absolutely no chance. Eventually, the game would transition to a game dominated almost entirely by tall serve and volleyers on all but the slowest of courts, and that would be incredibly boring to watch. Just recall what was happening to Wimbledon all the way up until they switched the grass. It was all people like Krajicek, Ivanisevic, Philippousis, and the like (with the occasional spin server like Rafter) lining up to have a shot a getting whooped by Sampras. The whole reason Wimbledon officials changed the grass is because there was no variety, and it was really boring.

As for the women's game. People need to go back and watch a few French Open matches from the early 80's and before involving anyone but the top 5 players of the time and then tell me if they really prefer watching two women in a moonball contest over a match between Na Li and Jelena Jankovic (I just picked a couple of random players outside of the top 5). Fifteen to twenty years ago, matches outside of the top 5 players almost weren't worth watching, and very few people outside of the top five had any chance whatsoever of beating the top player(s) of the era (how many people could beat Graf in her prime or Evert and Navratilova in their prime?).

A lot of people are saying that tennis isn't as popular as it used to be, but what are they basing these statements on? There are loads of tennis players all over the world, and there are pros coming from countries that didn't produce them in the past (at least not in significant numbers) like Russia and China. Maybe they are basing it on TV ratings. Well, the sad fact is that the NCAA and NFL's discovery that American football can dominate the market if it is turned into a huge extravaganza has meant that most other sports have lost ratings compared to the past (just look at baseball), and regular football has done that in much of the rest of the world. Nevertheless, most people in the past only tuned in to watch the major tournaments, and guess what, that's what they do today as well. In the end, the stadiums are usually full and there are people watching on TV.

Anyways, I've run out of steam for my rant. Just don't go making changes without fully contemplating the consequences, because I really don't want to go back to watching matches in which each point lasts about .75 sec and no one can break serve. I think that was something that turned off a lot of viewers in the 90's. I know it turned me off from watching Wimbledon.

Chang
09-06-2006, 12:43 AM
She's kind of right. It's now easier to play at the baseline than at the net because of racket and string technology. A racket can only get so powerful until it sails long. the only thing that stops a fast ball from travelling out is to either hit it really low or topspin. to get topspin it's either a more western grip or better strings and modern rackets help so it really benefits the baseliners.

match44
09-06-2006, 01:12 AM
You can get the same effect by stringing gut tightly. Outlawing polys is not going to bring less powerful racquets to the game.

I think either we go with wood, or we go with whatever you want to play with. To say that graphite is acceptable, but only without poly strings, seems rather contrived.
I might add that Sampras had his racquets strung fresh every morning with 75 lbs by his personal stringer. You can't go tighter. How can you get more control from a string? In those days, he also was seeking the limits. And I don't think that he was weighting up his racket to 14.0 to go back to the old days: he just wanted to win and was trying to get the best material available. So nothing new.

AlpineCadet
09-06-2006, 01:36 AM
Though some of her evidences were not chosen well (for example, it's hard to see that she's the best volleyer ever and it seems that the main reason that she can't play her s & v game as well is not the power based on new racquet and strings but her age) and it's poorly argued, I completely agree with her point.
They need restricitions of the head size and strings. I am not sure going back to wood is a good idea but definitely there must be some limits at least on head size and strings.


are you seriously considering a cap on how well/worse we can play tennis, by means of equipment regulations, will help tennis go back to a more mixed level of competition? since when did equipment make an average player into a professional, and a professional into an unreachable god?

here's an open question: i ask any of you to name one professional who should decrease their racket headsize just so other tour players can keep up.. next, name a professional who should choose a lesser string quality just so their opponent can return their ball. i doubt any of the equipment a professional uses can help improve their game so much that it changes THE WAY tennis is played.

the serve and volley strategy isn't used much because of other factors besides equipment, and equipment alone shouldn't be blamed for such a lack of a specific game play. since when did our equipment dictate how we should play tennis?

power is open for all to use and create, along with better strings and bigger racket headsizes. so i dont understand why navratilova is even using this excuse. serve and volley players can use just the same equipment as baseline players. her point is STILL lost on me.

swedechris
09-06-2006, 03:40 AM
the most common tennis match today on tv is one between 2 basline huggers and does not have many truly exciting points .. = no hustles /dashes to the net , lobs , sharp short angles hit within the service boxes stuff like that . that is what are the more interesting / 'selling ' points in tennis.
so yes overall she definitely has a good point that should be brought up asap for the sake of the games future.
also i think the long long basline rallies can be saping the players = injuries occur more often if you are not able to take care of the point in being offensive and also using touch and volleys.

there should be 1 or 2 tournys experimenting with wood only and it would be great to see the tennis that could be produced.. :)

chess9
09-06-2006, 04:43 AM
We can argue til we're blue in the face about the relative merits of the different eras, but without more extensive standards I think we are going to continue to see a much more powerful game developed. The string and racquet manufacturers are certainly working diligently towards that goal. So, when do we stop the progression? Do we wait until serves are being hit at 200 mph with some new compound string/racquet combo?

Martina's views have credibilty and merit closer consideration, but I wouldn't expect any response from the tennis federations, and particularly the USTA which is full of nervous nellies worried sick about the present state of American tennis and not sure what to do.

-Robert

Progressive10s
09-06-2006, 06:47 AM
I loved watching Martina Navratilova play, but her comments about being the world's greatest volleyer were way over the the top. What about McEnroe, Laver, Rosewall. Roche, Bille Jean and others?? The comment lacks humility. Roger Federer has sparked a comeback. Serve and volley may be dead, but the all-court game is very much alive. Players are learning to transition to net to win points.

jb193
09-06-2006, 07:13 AM
I like to see both sides of the issue on about everything. But on this one, I don't see how in the world anyone can dispute the fact that tennis needs some type of regulating to balance out this boring baseline power game with some type of diverse net play/all court game.

spaceman_spiff
09-06-2006, 07:32 AM
I like to see both sides of the issue on about everything. But on this one, I don't see how in the world anyone can dispute the fact that tennis needs some type of regulating to balance out this boring baseline power game with some type of diverse net play/all court game.

Easily done. Not long ago, players were using very similar technologies but on faster courts. The results were that the sport was getting to be dominated by one-dimensional server and volleyers, and the points usually lasted under 2 sec. In response to that, various tournament directors chose to slow down the surfaces of their courts to extend the points and make the game more fun to watch. This was and still remains the choice of tournament directors.

If the various tournament directors felt their crowds would be more interested in seeing a faster game played by more S&V'ers, then they could speed up their courts. Still, it's their choice. They are entertainers and try to cater to their crowds.

Still, I'd rather watch two baseliners on a hard court than two S&V'ers on the old Wimbledon grass (talk about a snooze fest).

BreakPoint
09-06-2006, 09:09 AM
Easily done. Not long ago, players were using very similar technologies but on faster courts. The results were that the sport was getting to be dominated by one-dimensional server and volleyers, and the points usually lasted under 2 sec. In response to that, various tournament directors chose to slow down the surfaces of their courts to extend the points and make the game more fun to watch. This was and still remains the choice of tournament directors.

If the various tournament directors felt their crowds would be more interested in seeing a faster game played by more S&V'ers, then they could speed up their courts. Still, it's their choice. They are entertainers and try to cater to their crowds.

Still, I'd rather watch two baseliners on a hard court than two S&V'ers on the old Wimbledon grass (talk about a snooze fest).

But that's because players like Sampras, Krajicek, Philippoussis, Ivanisevic, Becker, Stich, Edberg, etc. were using powerful graphite racquets to hit all those aces and service winners which made the points last 2 sec. at Wimbledon. You have to go back to the days of wood racquets, like when Borg, McEnroe, Nastase, Laver, Connors, etc, played in which there were fewer outright aces and service winners and the server actually had to hit at least one or two volleys to win the point. Also the contrast in styles between a serve and volleyer like McEnroe versus a baseliner like Borg or an all-courter like Connors made the game much more compelling and fun to watch than just bang, bang serving between Sampras and Ivanisevic.

stormholloway
09-06-2006, 09:18 AM
are you seriously considering a cap on how well/worse we can play tennis, by means of equipment regulations, will help tennis go back to a more mixed level of competition? since when did equipment make an average player into a professional, and a professional into an unreachable god?

here's an open question: i ask any of you to name one professional who should decrease their racket headsize just so other tour players can keep up.. next, name a professional who should choose a lesser string quality just so their opponent can return their ball. i doubt any of the equipment a professional uses can help improve their game so much that it changes THE WAY tennis is played.

the serve and volley strategy isn't used much because of other factors besides equipment, and equipment alone shouldn't be blamed for such a lack of a specific game play. since when did our equipment dictate how we should play tennis?

power is open for all to use and create, along with better strings and bigger racket headsizes. so i dont understand why navratilova is even using this excuse. serve and volley players can use just the same equipment as baseline players. her point is STILL lost on me.

This is not that hard to understand. There are equipment restrictions in other sports. It's not that wild of a concept. The new technology benefits the returner more than the server because the server tosses the ball in the same spot every time, while the returner benefits from a larger headsize which allows him/her to take big swings at the ball.

When's the last time you wiffed a serve? Last time you wiffed a return? Right. It happens more often because you don't know where serves are going.

If they somehow create a racquet that maintains control in a 120 sq inch head is this good for tennis? It's not impossible. What about a racquet that connects to the brain and knows where you want to to put the ball, and micro fibers on the strings react accordingly and help you put the ball there? Would you draw the line there? You have to draw it somewhere and many of us are saying it should have been drawn about 20-25 years ago.

AlpineCadet
09-06-2006, 11:40 AM
If they somehow create a racquet that maintains control in a 120 sq inch head is this good for tennis? It's not impossible. What about a racquet that connects to the brain and knows where you want to to put the ball, and micro fibers on the strings react accordingly and help you put the ball there? Would you draw the line there? You have to draw it somewhere and many of us are saying it should have been drawn about 20-25 years ago.


What in the world are you talking about?

chess9
09-06-2006, 11:47 AM
What in the world are you talking about?

The short answer is when should restrictions be imposed? It is inevitable, in my view, that restrictions must be imposed at some point. If serves hit 300 mph, will you be convinced some changes need to be made? How about your average pro serving at 175 mph? Is that the point? 200? 137?

No, the issue is clear. Golf did it long ago.....

-Robert

AlpineCadet
09-06-2006, 11:48 AM
A larger headsize also means players have room for error and can swing away, which they do often. The ball is moving faster because the racquet can be swung more quickly and this is because of racquet technology.

Okay let's go back down to earth and be realistic here. First, there's no comparison with wood and graphite, because there's no point in brining back wood to tennis. NO professional is encouraged to do this. Second, if you're so right about larger racket headsizes then why aren't ALL the professionals using bigger headsizes? (Hmm, shouldn't Federer switch from his tiny little 90 square inches to 120 square inches instead?) There's a reason why headsizes stay small during competition, and it has a lot to do with their high levels of play.

If you're a professional, why would you need more than what you require?

Please don't beat a dead horse, with your comparisons between wood and graphite rackets.

BreakPoint
09-06-2006, 11:50 AM
The short answer is when should restrictions be imposed? It is inevitable, in my view, that restrictions must be imposed at some point. If serves hit 300 mph, will you be convinced some changes need to be made? How about your average pro serving at 175 mph? Is that the point? 200? 137?

No, the issue is clear. Golf did it long ago.....

-Robert

How about when pros start hitting 150mph groundstrokes? So that every time the ball touches a player's racquet, it's a winner. Would anybody still want to watch? Not me.

AlpineCadet
09-06-2006, 11:51 AM
The short answer is when should restrictions be imposed? It is inevitable, in my view, that restrictions must be imposed at some point. If serves hit 300 mph, will you be convinced some changes need to be made? How about your average pro serving at 175 mph? Is that the point? 200? 137?

No, the issue is clear. Golf did it long ago.....

-Robert


Those extreme what if this and that can be said about ANY sport. You can compare tennis to golf if you want, but with tennis, i dont see ANY indication of balls reaching 175mph on serves.

neo
09-06-2006, 07:33 PM
What does it matter if serves reach 175mph and groundstrokes reach 150mph? What matters is how many of them are returned. And rallies today are much longer then they were on peak of S&V era when average point lasted exactly two seconds.

Mick
09-06-2006, 07:58 PM
haha. I am thinking about getting this high tech racket to get more power out from my strokes.

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpage.html?PCODE=MTLX10

LN_Dad
09-06-2006, 08:03 PM
haha. I am thinking about getting this high tech racket to get more power out from my strokes.

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpage.html?PCODE=MTLX10
good racket for the senior citizen set. I wouldn't be caught dead with that thing in my hand.

Mick
09-06-2006, 08:11 PM
good racket for the senior citizen set. I wouldn't be caught dead with that thing in my hand.
not even if it adds 10 mph more to your strokes ??? :)

BreakPoint
09-06-2006, 08:40 PM
What does it matter if serves reach 175mph and groundstrokes reach 150mph? What matters is how many of them are returned.

But that could only happen if people started growing arms that are 8 feet long to return those 175mph serves and started running the 100 meter dash in 3 seconds to get to all those 150mph groundstrokes going side to side. ;)

AlpineCadet
09-06-2006, 10:12 PM
What does it matter if serves reach 175mph and groundstrokes reach 150mph? What matters is how many of them are returned. And rallies today are much longer then they were on peak of S&V era when average point lasted exactly two seconds.

Well it matters because that'll be one consequence you guys are suggesting, since player equipment is so dangerously reaching skylimit proportions of ball speed and string resilience.

spaceman_spiff
09-07-2006, 12:47 AM
But that's because players like Sampras, Krajicek, Philippoussis, Ivanisevic, Becker, Stich, Edberg, etc. were using powerful graphite racquets to hit all those aces and service winners which made the points last 2 sec. at Wimbledon. You have to go back to the days of wood racquets, like when Borg, McEnroe, Nastase, Laver, Connors, etc, played in which there were fewer outright aces and service winners and the server actually had to hit at least one or two volleys to win the point. Also the contrast in styles between a serve and volleyer like McEnroe versus a baseliner like Borg or an all-courter like Connors made the game much more compelling and fun to watch than just bang, bang serving between Sampras and Ivanisevic.

Ah, don't make me go dig up the article about the serving experiment involving Phlippousis and a wood racket ;). I'll do it if I have to :)

In that experiment, he hit a number of serves with a wood racket, his normal racket, and an extended length racket, and the serve speeds were very close between the three of them. The only thing that differed was the extra little bit of consistency he had with the extended length; otherwise, the results were close to the same.

The point is that Becker, Stich, Sampras, Ivanisevic, etc., would have been able to serve nearly as big with wood as they did with their normal rackets. Apart from McEnroe, the other players you listed wouldn't be able to dominate with the serve no matter what racket they had (just look at Jimmy Connors' serves in his last US Open run; they were so much weaker than most of his competitors that year).

Also, not long ago I rewatched a classic US Open match between McEnroe and Borg, one of the last when Mac was using wood. He hit loads of service winners and quite a few aces, and the points were very short throughout the match. Because of the difficulty returning, this match wasn't nearly as entertaining as last year's final between Federer and Agassi, and I was dissappointed. There wasn't the plethora of magical shots and entertaining points that everyone talks about; it was just another tennis match: good shots on occasion, bad shots on occasion, same old stuff.

Anyways, I just played last night on a really fast indoor court with a couple of regular hitting partners. It was a completely different game than out on our slow outdoor courts. Servers had a definite advantage, and S&V was a viable strategy. It's amazing how much the court surface affects the game.

BreakPoint
09-07-2006, 12:56 AM
Ah, don't make me go dig up the article about the serving experiment involving Phlippousis and a wood racket . I'll do it if I have to


Yes, please dig it up as I think it's a myth. He may have been able able to generate pace with the wood racquet due to the weight of the racquet, but like you said, he wouldn't have been nearly as consistent in a match situation. Also, the amount of spin on the serve would be greatly reduced which is how a lot of the big servers are able to hit so many aces and service winners.

Yes, the pros hit aces and service winners with wood racquets due to the difficulty in returning serve with wood racquets, but not nearly as many as Sampras, Ivanisevic, Becker, Krajicek, etc. did with their graphite racquets. I don't recall any pro being able to consistenly serve at over 130mph with a wood racquet, like some of the big servers can today with graphite racquets.

BTW, if Philippoussis could serve just as well with a wood racquet, why is he still using a graphite racquet? His whole game is based on his serve anyway.

spaceman_spiff
09-07-2006, 01:32 AM
Yes, please dig it up as I think it's a myth. He may have been able able to generate pace with the wood racquet due to the weight of the racquet, but like you said, he wouldn't have been nearly as consistent in a match situation. Also, the amount of spin on the serve would be greatly reduced which is how a lot of the big servers are able to hit so many aces and service winners.

Yes, the pros hit aces and service winners with wood racquets due to the difficulty in returning serve with wood racquets, but not nearly as many as Sampras, Ivanisevic, Becker, Krajicek, etc. did with their graphite racquets. I don't recall any pro being able to consistenly serve at over 130mph with a wood racquet, like some of the big servers can today with graphite racquets.

BTW, if Philippoussis could serve just as well with a wood racquet, why is he still using a graphite racquet? His whole game is based on his serve anyway.

I'll need a few minutes to find that thread. I just wanted to reply to the last bit. He uses the graphite racket because it allows him to hit his returns, groundstrokes, and volleys better due to the bigger head. If you go back to that horrendous match he had against Krajicek at Wimbledon that took forever to finish the last set because neither could return serve, imagine if they had to return with a wood racket.

Edit: Here is the TT thread on the subject http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=68298&highlight=philippousis+wood

I'll see if I can go into the Tennis Magazine archives to find the full text of the article.

Oops, I didn't see the link in the second post of that thread. Thanks to ChicagoJack for that. http://www.100megsfree4.com/scudzone/scud_articles/scudnews6.htm

spaceman_spiff
09-07-2006, 01:54 AM
Here are some interesting quotes from that article:

"The Philippoussis test supports what we've been saying all along: The long racquets don't produce significant serving power; that comes from the player's technique and physical strength.

That caused Tennis Australia's Peter Johnston, who was on hand, to reflect. "I've seen a lot of old film footage of great players with wood racquets," he said, "but I swear none served as fast as Mark just did.''

(Serving with the wood racket) After being disappointed by four more moderate deliveries, he unexpectedly hit a string of serves at 119 m.p.h. or better, averaging 122 over his best five serves.

(Serving with the superlong racket) His five best serves with the extra-long 2.25 averaged 126 m.p.h.

(Serving with his regular racket) Although his five best serves averaged 124 m.p.h. and his best was 127, consistency eluded him.

Philippoussis acquired the elements of a strong serve: a sound ball toss and consistent rhythm in the successful transference of body power...

He continues to work on his serve, devoting about 30 minutes of a daily two-hour practice session to serving thunderbolts. He adds to his strength and flexibility through gym work, and recently took a course in kickboxing to smarten up footwork and timing.

He rebuts criticism that today's racquets give big men with big serves an overwhelming advantage and that watching them bombard opponents with aces eventually becomes boring. "Big servers have been involved in plenty of great matches," he said. "People have to understand that even for a big guy, it's not easy to go ace, ace, ace. They don't appreciate the skill required. It takes a lot of work, and if you can do it, good luck to you."
Added Rick Perry of Dunlop Australia: "This guy could serve aces with a baseball bat."

spaceman_spiff
09-07-2006, 02:21 AM
So, like I was saying, would you rather watch someone trying to return serves averaging 122 mph with a tiny wood racket, or would you rather watch them using a bigger racket to return serves averaging 124 or 126? I myself can imagine how boring the prospect of pros using wood would be.

Ooh, there's another unreturned serve. Oops, he didn't quite get his strings on that serve. Uh oh, another framed return sends the ball 40 feet into the air, and we still haven't seen any breaks of serve this entire match.

BTW, I warned you I would find that article ;)

bluegrasser
09-07-2006, 05:02 AM
Actually I thnk tennis is less popular <in the States> because we have turned into a nation of fat asses. When they invent some sort of waist clip that will hold your bag of Doritos so you can munch between points, maybe things like that will help. ;O. Obesity in the US is a HUGE <pun intended> problem, and I heard that life expectency here in the States for the first time is less rather than more amongst the latest crop.

That's why ' Golf ' is so popular..

phat
09-07-2006, 07:05 AM
I think the ATP has address some of the problems by using "slower" balls. Even Wimbledon has changed their grass type to make the court slower.... So the game is being monitored. I have watched tennis from 80s till now. I have to say the game is not the same, but it's the most entertaining (.. thanx Federer)!!

spaceman_spiff
09-07-2006, 07:31 AM
I think the ATP has address some of the problems by using "slower" balls. Even Wimbledon has changed their grass type to make the court slower.... So the game is being monitored. I have watched tennis from 80s till now. I have to say the game is not the same, but it's the most entertaining (.. thanx Federer)!!

Finally, someone in this thread I agree with.

NoBadMojo
09-07-2006, 08:02 AM
I think the ATP has address some of the problems by using "slower" balls. Even Wimbledon has changed their grass type to make the court slower.... So the game is being monitored. I have watched tennis from 80s till now. I have to say the game is not the same, but it's the most entertaining (.. thanx Federer)!!

ya but without the Fed, you basically have a whole flock of baseline clones who are essentially interchangeable save for a small handful of serve/volleyers who rarely get deep into the draw (some of whom are staying back anyway these days). Tennis lacks variety now..i dont know how people can dispute that.

heartman
09-07-2006, 09:26 AM
I'd like to see today's players play a tournament with a wooden racquet - a series of matches and practice, not just a hitting session. We did in the past with wood technology, with what people are doing today with graphite technology - granted the ball goes harder and faster, but it was proper technique that allowed us to accomplish so much with so little technological help.

I agree with Martina - and for those who had issue with her "best volleyer" statement, it was rhetorical, and should not be taken out of context. She's the most accomplished professional tennis player alive, and she won based on the S & V game. She had/has it all, and her accomplishments allow her to say what she says...

prostaff18
09-07-2006, 10:01 AM
To see serve and volly play we need to first teach it to the young learning the game. When I go to lessons we will dead ball for hours from the baseline and spend almost no time at the net. We will do two on two drills where you have two at the baseline and two at the net and play points up to ten and there are times where the net will only get one or two points, and we only play the singles court. The kids just miss there vollies. I play 18's and I will play matches against kids that will run up to a short ball and hit it really good then just run back to the baseline. Or they will get you on the run and you will throw up a short lob and they will wait for it to bounce and hit a forehand insted of the over head. We just need to teach kids how to volly because I think that a good all courter can beat anyone, just look at Federer.

PETE1990
09-07-2006, 02:22 PM
I totally agree with her. There should be some type of regulations to the racquets on the tour. Hand a wooden racquet to Nadal or Rodick and you'll see a whole different game. I also agree with BreakPoint that 90 sq. in. should be the maximum head size!

AlpineCadet
09-07-2006, 02:51 PM
the day there's a regulation on how large a headsize can be among the ATP tour--since they're so extremely useful and must be limited, before it gets out of hand--is the day I agree with how unrealistic these ideas have become. it'll be an eventful day, wouldn't you say?

neo
09-07-2006, 04:03 PM
But that could only happen if people started growing arms that are 8 feet long to return those 175mph serves and started running the 100 meter dash in 3 seconds to get to all those 150mph groundstrokes going side to side. ;)

That's only one possibility. And believe me, I can think of other. :D The bottom line is, when not enough groundstrokes are returned, that will be a problem, not when groundstrokes reach an arbitrary speed limit. And like I said, the way things are going, rallies are getting longer then they were in the S&V era.

AlpineCadet
09-07-2006, 04:09 PM
That's only one possibility. And believe me, I can think of other. :D The bottom line is, when not enough groundstrokes are returned, that will be a problem, not when groundstrokes reach an arbitrary speed limit. And like I said, the way things are going, rallies are getting longer then they were in the S&V era.

i guess a serve @ 150mph is also an arbitrary speed, along with 90mph forehands. :rolleyes:

neo
09-07-2006, 04:14 PM
i guess a serve @ 150mph is also an arbitrary speed, along with 90mph forehands. :rolleyes:

Good guess...

Zverev
09-07-2006, 04:41 PM
Finally, someone in this thread I agree with.
Lots of people would agree with you.
Modern tennis is most entertaining.
I have borrowed tapes from my friend with some tennis from 80s, including 1981 Wimby final Borg-Mac. I don't know what people are missing about that.
Bloody booooring! The game lacked speed and dynamic of today's game.
Also, your famous Borg looked like a guy of the street to me in terms of athletisism. Not even close to today's Safins, Nadals, Federers, etc.
Who's missing service based tennis?! RG is very slow but it's immensly entertaining. Players really have to work on each point, lots of tactics, lots of thinking, not just ball bashing. And S/V as one of the game techniques still is very valid, but only as one of many tactics, not as an only one.
Come on, the game is great as it is, but rather as NBM said peopel got fat and lazy. 18 yo kids playing golf? Disgusting!

BreakPoint
09-07-2006, 04:49 PM
Lots of people would agree with you.
Modern tennis is most entertaining.
I have borrowed tapes from my friend with some tennis from 80s, including 1981 Wimby final Borg-Mac. I don't know what people are missing about that.
Bloody booooring! The game lacked speed and dynamic of today's game.
Also, your famous Borg looked like a guy of the street to me in terms of athletisism. Not even close to today's Safins, Nadals, Federers, etc.
Who's missing service based tennis?! RG is very slow but it's immensly entertaining. Players really have to work on each point, lots of tactics, lots of thinking, not just ball bashing. And S/V as one of the game techniques still is very valid, but only as one of many tactics, not as an only one.
Come on, the game is great as it is, but rather as NBM said peopel got fat and lazy. 18 yo kids playing golf? Disgusting!

I'd bet you'd never played tennis with a wood racquet back in the '70's either, right? Watching old tapes is nothing like having been there and actually playing the game the way it was played.

neo
09-07-2006, 05:00 PM
I'd bet you'd never played tennis with a wood racquet back in the '70's either, right? Watching old tapes is nothing like having been there and actually playing the game the way it was played.

You can still play it any way you want. Regulating pro's game is about making it more entertaining to watch.

NamRanger
09-07-2006, 05:01 PM
Lots of people would agree with you.
Modern tennis is most entertaining.
I have borrowed tapes from my friend with some tennis from 80s, including 1981 Wimby final Borg-Mac. I don't know what people are missing about that.
Bloody booooring! The game lacked speed and dynamic of today's game.
Also, your famous Borg looked like a guy of the street to me in terms of athletisism. Not even close to today's Safins, Nadals, Federers, etc.
Who's missing service based tennis?! RG is very slow but it's immensly entertaining. Players really have to work on each point, lots of tactics, lots of thinking, not just ball bashing. And S/V as one of the game techniques still is very valid, but only as one of many tactics, not as an only one.
Come on, the game is great as it is, but rather as NBM said peopel got fat and lazy. 18 yo kids playing golf? Disgusting!


You do realize that Borg was hitting with a Western grip on a slick and extremely fast grass court with a wooden racquet with about 55 ins of room to hit with. If you think Borg wasn't a big guy, you are an absolute ignorant fool.


Today's modern game is extremely predictable. Baseline grinding for abit, wait for a ball that drops 4 inches shorter than normal, and then BOOM. I guess you've never touched a racquet less then 95 square inches, because if you did, you would realize how difficult it is to hit some of those shots that those guys in 70s did with such heavy and small racquets.


Change is not always good, history is a testament to that.

neo
09-07-2006, 05:08 PM
... you would realize how difficult it is to hit some of those shots that those guys in 70s did with such heavy and small racquets.

No one said it was easy. We are just saying today's game is more entertaining to watch.

Change is not always good, history is a testament to that.

Again, no one said change is always good. We are just saying this change is good.

BigServer1
09-07-2006, 06:32 PM
Things in sports change. The example of restrictions in golf has been brought up a lot, but no one has pointed out that pro golfers used to use all wooden clubs, and then they used steel shaft clubs, and now, everyone on tour is using graphite shafted clubs. Do these give greater distance, ball speed and control? Yes. Is golf worse off for it? No. There is an evolution in every sport that changes the dynamic of that sport. Do I support MINOR restrictions on Tennis Gear? Yes, especially on huge 120"+ racquets. But please someone tell me, who on tour uses these? I think that the Williams' use 113" or something, but that's about it. The myth that big racquets give huge power is crazy in the context of the players on the pro tour. Yeah, maybe roddick could serve 160 with a Head Metallix, but he couldn't keep it in the stadium, let alone the service box. I think that limiting head size to 90" is a dumb idea. Just because some are purists, that doen't mean that it's the best for the sport. Sure, outlaw poly strings. Outlaw new racquet technology. Everyone will switch to the next best thing that comes out that's "legal" and then we can all complain about that, too.

Zverev
09-07-2006, 07:18 PM
... If you think Borg wasn't a big guy, you are an absolute ignorant fool.
.......
It just shows that your fool. Not all big guys are athletic, as not all people with big heads are smart.

AlpineCadet
09-07-2006, 07:55 PM
Again, no one said change is always good. We are just saying this change is good.

please speak for yourself.

BreakPoint
09-07-2006, 09:23 PM
It just shows that your fool. Not all big guys are athletic, as not all people with big heads are smart.

Borg isn't that big anyway. He's only 5' 11" and about 160 lbs.

http://www.atptennis.com/3/en/players/playerprofiles/?playernumber=B058

spaceman_spiff
09-08-2006, 12:01 AM
Ok, this is my last post on this thread, because I'm starting to get bored of it. If you want to give net rushers a chance, then I think the best way to go in terms of keeping it entertaining is to speed up some court surfaces a little. This will still allow groundstrokers to use rackets that give them a better chance of returning big bombs while not giving them all the time in the world to set up a passing shot. The change really doesn't have to be that big. However, if you limit the rackets to something like a max size of 90" and no poly-type strings, it would be the death of guys like Rochus, and the game will be dominated by one-dimensional power servers like Karlovic (just look at the state of the game as it was in the early to mid-90s). Ace, ace, service winner, weak return easily volleyed away, game. Repeat that about a million times and it sums up a tournament or a season (except on clay).

On another note, I just got my new practice racket yesterday and I'm getting it strung with Gamma TNT2 18. It's a Dunlop Maxply Tournament, never used. As soon as it's ready, I'm going to take it out to the club on a regular club night and serve and volley just to prove that I can beat everyone there with that strategy using a wood racket, despite the fact that the courts are really slow (carpet with a layer of sand on top). It should be a bit easier to hit first serves with the Dunlop since it's has a lighter SW than my normal racket, but I will have to concentrate a little more on my second serves to make sure I don't frame them.

Anyways, have fun arguing about this.

rfprse
09-08-2006, 12:11 AM
are you seriously considering a cap on how well/worse we can play tennis, by means of equipment regulations, will help tennis go back to a more mixed level of competition?
Well, the issue is about pro tennis and we're not talking about us hackers. (Un)fortunately I don't play on tour. Do you? Don't worry, nobody is talking about taking away your beloved racquets with the precious strings.
And, No, I don't want mixed level of competition. I want the highest level of competition which has diversity.

since when did equipment make an average player into a professional, and a professional into an unreachable god?

Did anyone claim that?

here's an open question: i ask any of you to name one professional who should decrease their racket headsize just so other tour players can keep up.. next, name a professional who should choose a lesser string quality just so their opponent can return their ball.

That's why we're talking about regulation.

i doubt any of the equipment a professional uses can help improve their game so much.

Haven't you ever heard about old pros talking "now I can hit my forehand harder than when I was playing"?
Or McEnroe's joke about his newly found lethal insideout forehand....?

power is open for all to use and create, along with better strings and bigger racket headsizes. so i dont understand why navratilova is even using this excuse. serve and volley players can use just the same equipment as baseline players. her point is STILL lost on me.

To understand her complain; yes, power is open for all to use. But it works well for good servers. It works well for good baseliners.
But not so good for those real serve & VOLLEYERs (not those pseudo serve & volleyers who end the point with big serve without any need for real effort/skill in volley).

i doubt any of the equipment a professional uses can help improve their game so much that it changes THE WAY tennis is played......
since when did our equipment dictate how we should play tennis?

Where have you been last 20 years? You've never watched tennis until now?
Since you don't seem to know what other guys are talking about, here goes the same old song & dance again: Unlike 20~25 years ago, the pros now can hit the winners from anywhere around the baseline (the usual expression for it is "10 ft behind the baseline") quite consistently mainly due to the development of new equipments.
By providing such ability, the development simply changed the mentality (of pro players & those who teach them in their youth) to approach the game: for example, there's no need to emphasize the finishing points at the net (& constructing points to do so),..., etc. Instead, the focal point of the game play (& development) became more about big banger approach (hit a big serve & hope you win the point; if the opponent returns, hit a forehand as hard as you can & hope you win the point; or grind out with heavy top spin all day long).
If the change in the tactical approach to the game is not enough, think about the so called "modern" stroke that so many people talk about.
It wouldn't be the case without the development of the new equipments that the "modern" technique is adopted by almost every pros in some form or another.
It should not be that hard to see how the equipment forced the change in the way tennis is played.

Just read carefully what others wrote and at least try to understand what's at issue, please. I don't think it's too much to ask even for a tennis forum.

sloe_torture
09-08-2006, 12:52 AM
So Phillippoussis proved that a wooden racquet can hit tennis balls as fast as stiffer racquets. With that information I don't think a professional tennis player would have any difficulty adjusting his mechanics to hit a fast-paced ground stroke with a wooden racquet.

As for creating extreme spin from a wood wood racquet? Well, we know that Borg strung his racquets near 80lbs. and had plenty of of spin on his groundstrokes (I read on this board that Vilas also hit with plenty of spin).

Now you're probably wondering about the difficulty in returning serves with a racquet with a small headsize. Lendl played with a 80 square inch racquet was a decent returner with a good fast-court record (42 titles indoors, 33 carpet).

I don't doubt that professional tennis players today can use old-school wooden racquets to match shots created by their current graphite racquets.
I believe pros today are more discerning with their equipment because they
know they are capable of placing exact power and spin on a tennis ball. Wood racquets and natural gut are terrible in maintaining consistent playing characteristics.

There are better reasons than blaming racquet stiffness and string technology
for the Serve&Volleyer's demise. The most obvious reason is that the courts
are slower. But I'll also have to give credit to the western forehand. The western forehand allows the ball to dip very fast against a S&Ver and also adds additional control in hitting near the lines for impressive passing shots.

Today's best tennis matches aren't bash-fests, they are impressive points
consisting of pace, speed, and placement. Tennis today is played by
athletes that may seem to have an impatient playing style but are actually
precise, calculating, and aggressive -- elements needed for entertaining tennis.

BTW - About changing tennis balls to affect ball speed... might be a reasonable alternative that the ball manufacturers are willing to get into. But
the that's another conversation with the tennis ball purists...

morten
09-08-2006, 04:24 AM
again... raise the damn net, only 5-10 cm will do.

Thud and blunder
09-08-2006, 05:01 AM
Sloe Torture, I agree with a lot of what you say, but: it's the bigger headsize that promotes the use of the Western grip, as you can keep a closed face without the risk of framing it.

Bigger headsize ---> more extreme grips ----> more topspin ----> ability to tee off with more power while still keeping the ball in court.

neo
09-08-2006, 08:57 AM
please speak for yourself.

Please don't tell me what to say.

wyutani
09-08-2006, 09:02 AM
again... raise the damn net, only 5-10 cm will do.

nah. then i'll have to re-learn my serve all over again mate'...

iksmols
09-08-2006, 09:09 AM
Nobadmojo, i disagree with one point you made, i think its good that there is less gut being used, and more poly. If the demand among pros for natural gut goes down, maybe people will take a hint, and switch over to synthetic strings, as the trends have already shown. In the interest of the cows, a move away from gut is a good thing.
Cows rule!

Thud and blunder
09-08-2006, 09:34 AM
I think it would be helpful if the nostalgists were to specify exactly which era they're hearkening back to. If it's the Wood Age, I agree, there's no comparison in terms of the equipment's potential, but if we define the Golden Age of Serve and Volley as the late 80's / early 90's, then the biggest difference is probably the evolution of technique, since many pros at least are playing with pretty old skool racquets, but have new skool games.

Zverev
09-08-2006, 05:30 PM
I'd bet you'd never played tennis with a wood racquet back in the '70's either, right? Watching old tapes is nothing like having been there and actually playing the game the way it was played.
Of course, nothing will replace the actual experience, and you are quite right I haven't played with wood, though I should have because I am old enough.
I have picked up tennis just 3 years ago and got addicted to it, playing 10-15 hrs a week. I enjoy tennis as it is now, there is nothing wrong with it.
Also, players don't seem to be keen to jump to widebodies, anyway.
There is nothing wrong with 90-95 size heads, I want to see Fed's and Safin's power drives, not dinks of the 80s. Thanks.
Ah, yeah, I agree that playing with wood would be fun, I don't thinks it would be as spectacular though to watch.

BreakPoint
09-08-2006, 06:44 PM
Of course, nothing will replace the actual experience, and you are quite right I haven't played with wood, though I should have because I am old enough.
I have picked up tennis just 3 years ago and got addicted to it, playing 10-15 hrs a week. I enjoy tennis as it is now, there is nothing wrong with it.
Also, players don't seem to be keen to jump to widebodies, anyway.
There is nothing wrong with 90-95 size heads, I want to see Fed's and Safin's power drives, not dinks of the 80s. Thanks.
Ah, yeah, I agree that playing with wood would be fun, I don't thinks it would be as spectacular though to watch.

Well, I think most people that have played a long time with wood would probably disagree with you. In fact, more people watched tennis back in the '70's than they do now, so they must have enjoyed it more back then, right?

I guess the analogy I would draw is with golf. I don't play golf at all so I find it incredibly boring to watch. But people who do play golf obviously find it very enjoyable to watch as it's on TV everywhere on weekends and people pay big bucks to go watch golf tournaments because people who play golf understand and appreciate the nuances, strategy, and what the pros are doing a lot more than I do, thus, they find it exciting while I find it painfully boring to watch. Same with baseball or cricket. If you've never played nor understand those sports, it's incredibly boring to watch. This is why people who never played with wood racquets find watching old tennis matches with wood racquets very boring to watch - because it's a completely different game from what it is today, and one which they have a hard time understanding and appreciating.

AlpineCadet
09-08-2006, 08:31 PM
Please don't tell me what to say.

:confused: yes, ma'am.

neo
09-08-2006, 08:56 PM
:confused: yes, ma'am.

Good boy.

Mick
09-08-2006, 09:03 PM
the problem is nobody these days would buy a wood racquet to play tennis with (except for the truly die hard fans) and makers of tennis racquets will not pay the tennis pros hundreds of thousands to endorse something that they cannot make money on.

AlpineCadet
09-09-2006, 04:31 AM
the problem is nobody these days would buy a wood racquet to play tennis with (except for the truly die hard fans) and makers of tennis racquets will not pay the tennis pros hundreds of thousands to endorse something that they cannot make money on.

Quoted for truth.

rosenstar
09-09-2006, 05:26 AM
I totally disagree. Back in the day anyone could play tennis. now you have to an amazing athlete to even play college ball. that's the way it should be. I spend hours in the weight room every week so I can compete with kids at my level and hopefully play college ball. thats the way it should be. Remember, this is a sport, meaning it's a PHYSICAL COMPATITION, not a game.

Golden Retriever
09-09-2006, 07:32 AM
If powerful racquets were so great why wouldn't all the pros use 115 OS extra stiff racquets?

Captain Haddock
09-09-2006, 08:35 AM
It seems to me that Navratilova is ill positioned to complain about the effects of modern racquets. She was one the first pros to switch to an oversize graphite racquet in 82 (Yonex R-7), and she has always sought the newest technology improvements to better her game: R-22, a fling with the Max 200G, RQ-180 (again, one of the first pros to use a widebody), RD-7, RQ-380 painted like an RD-7 for her last Wimbledon, then Prince frames and now Bosworth. You could also argue that these racquets helped her volleying skills and build her career. It's only when she switched to the R-7 that she separated herself from the pack. It's a bit late to complain now, especially since Federer is head and shoulders above everybody, using a thin-beamed, 90 sq. in. racquet, which is far more basic than the widebodies Navratilova has been using.

pound cat
09-09-2006, 08:38 AM
Navrotilova criticizes a lot of things in tennis. That's why they're not naming any courts after her at the USopen site, unlike B J King who spent years doing constructive things for tennis...WTA, fed Cup, eg

NoBadMojo
09-09-2006, 09:42 AM
I have mixed feelings about her as reported earlier, but it is logical she uses the best available equip for her but still thinks the technology needs controlled..that's not being a hypocrite..that's not being dumb and not doing battle underarmed gearwise and further prooves that the newer gear aids the pros. it's far too late now to change the equipment regs...the cat is well out of the bag.

AlpineCadet
09-09-2006, 11:56 AM
I have mixed feelings about her as reported earlier, but it is logical she uses the best available equip for her but still thinks the technology needs controlled..that's not being a hypocrite..that's not being dumb and not doing battle underarmed gearwise and further prooves that the newer gear aids the pros. it's far too late now to change the equipment regs...the cat is well out of the bag.

:confused: I'm sorry, can you clarify what you mean? I dont understand. There was so much contradiction, it could well rip a hole in the space-time continuum!

need2paint
09-09-2006, 03:32 PM
NBM, I understand what you meant.

I think this thread is missing the point though. There is a fundamental issue in what Navratilova said: Who should decide, and who has the authority, to determine what equipment will be used in a particular sport? Is it the equipment manufacturers? (Wilson, Prince, Head, etc...), The governing bodies? (ATP, WTA, ITF, USTA, etc...), or the fans?

There is no doubt that graphite has changed the game. Without getting into a debate over whether this change is positive or negative, I don't think the equipment manufacturers should be dictating how the game is played.

Long ago, baseball took a stand against aluminum bats. Tennis chose not to regulate its racquets, and like NBM said, the cat's out of the bag. I would like to see the reinvention of the tennis ball, in order to counter some of the effects of the modern racquets, strings, and so on.

BreakPoint
09-09-2006, 03:39 PM
I totally disagree. Back in the day anyone could play tennis. now you have to an amazing athlete to even play college ball. that's the way it should be. I spend hours in the weight room every week so I can compete with kids at my level and hopefully play college ball. thats the way it should be. Remember, this is a sport, meaning it's a PHYSICAL COMPATITION, not a game.

I think it's the other way around. Today almost anyone can play tennis because they have such big, powerful, longer racquets that you don't even need to have any strokes to hit the ball back, and to hit it deep with spin and pace. Back in the days of wood, you needed to have excellent eye-hand coordination to hit the ball back, and with pace and spin, with a small 65 sq. in. wood racquet with a super-dense 18x20 stringbed and a correspondingly tiny sweetspot. You also needed to be in pretty good shape to swing a heavy 14 oz. wood racquet for hours as it was tough to hit winners with them so you had to do a lot of swinging, and more pro matches were best of 5 sets and some, like Davis Cup had no tiebreaks in any set. That's why you had 6.5 hour matches like McEnroe-Wilander.

need2paint
09-09-2006, 04:00 PM
I totally disagree. Back in the day anyone could play tennis. now you have to an amazing athlete to even play college ball. that's the way it should be. I spend hours in the weight room every week so I can compete with kids at my level and hopefully play college ball. thats the way it should be. Remember, this is a sport, meaning it's a PHYSICAL COMPATITION, not a game.

Have you seen Federer with his shirt off?

BTW, it's spelled comp-E-tition.

GugaGuga
09-10-2006, 07:11 AM
I agree wholeheartedly. The golf analogy is a good one.

Like the USGA, the USTA should set headsize/weight etc. limits on racquets used by the pros and allow recreational players to use whatever they want. It seems like an easy decision to me.

Then you would see a variety of tennis styles played throughout the year as the surfaces and conditions change from tournament to tournament.

It seems like a lot of politics to me...IGF vs. USGA ATP vs. USTA

It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

NoBadMojo
09-10-2006, 07:55 AM
NBM, I understand what you meant.

I think this thread is missing the point though. There is a fundamental issue in what Navratilova said: Who should decide, and who has the authority, to determine what equipment will be used in a particular sport? Is it the equipment manufacturers? (Wilson, Prince, Head, etc...), The governing bodies? (ATP, WTA, ITF, USTA, etc...), or the fans?

There is no doubt that graphite has changed the game. Without getting into a debate over whether this change is positive or negative, I don't think the equipment manufacturers should be dictating how the game is played.

Long ago, baseball took a stand against aluminum bats. Tennis chose not to regulate its racquets, and like NBM said, the cat's out of the bag. I would like to see the reinvention of the tennis ball, in order to counter some of the effects of the modern racquets, strings, and so on.

paint,
didnt they experiment with the larger ball earlier?..i think it was called the ralley ball..it was larger in size and traveled throuh the air more slowly. the mens tour is already using slower balls than the wta in many cases, and they've slowed the surfaces down...beyond that i dont know what can be done, as i dont think you can grandfather in smaller headsizes on the tour. sometimes it is a situation where you have a problem with no practical solution

chess9
09-10-2006, 08:41 AM
Federer with his shirt off? No thanks, I'd rather watch the Wendy's Olympic Cheeseburger Lifting Team in the buff. :)

Winning by two games was a huge problem for everyone back in the pre-tie breaker days. I had a high school match go 25-23. One of my college matches against Dartmouth went something like 18-16 in the third and I'd been up all night with a new puppy. My opponent was a very steady pusher and I could barely move!

And, so many young people are fat and/or in terrible shape. At my club the older guys are fitter than the younger guys. I am not kidding! No wonder the manufacturers are selling 8-10 oz racquets like crazy. Any heavier and these kids would be quitting the game. Too hard.

Anyway, Martina has the kernel of a good idea. I'd support some limits on racquet/string technology.

-Robert

0d1n
09-10-2006, 09:03 AM
There is another way to influence balance of different playing styles. Regulate tennis balls, and leave the frames and strings alone. For example, larger balls will fly slower through the air, and will slow down the game. Balls with less grippy surface will have less topspin, etc.

Spoken like a true "baseline banger" :).
Larger balls or "slower" balls would hurt S&V tennis more than current racket technology. Ask ANY S&V type player if he could volley effectively with bigger, slower balls. Trust me, if you would ask any net rusher if he would prefer playing at Wimbledon with bigger slower balls or on a reasonably fast clay court at the French with fast balls he would choose the French.
In my opinion, using the current technology (rackets) the best way to give a chance to allcourt / S&V type play against the top spin baseliner would be to slow down the courts (to avoid the boring serve dominated type of match …think Ivanisevic-Krajicek) and provide fairly fast balls (which still allow good fast serving …and especially VOLLEYING).
P.S the "slow down the courts" part is already happening.

mctennis
09-10-2006, 10:48 AM
I agree with her about the serve and volley game going away with the baseline bangers. The pros don't use the racquets we can buy so yes they should be regulated. They banned a few racquets in the past so why not make some sort of regulations for them now. It would make the game more interesting than seeing two people banging away at the baseline for 3 hours. Power is one thing but finess and net play are always a nice change to see.

mctennis
09-10-2006, 10:50 AM
Spoken like a true "baseline banger" :).
Larger balls or "slower" balls would hurt S&V tennis more than current racket technology. Ask ANY S&V type player if he could volley effectively with bigger, slower balls. Trust me, if you would ask any net rusher if he would prefer playing at Wimbledon with bigger slower balls or on a reasonably fast clay court at the French with fast balls he would choose the French.
In my opinion, using the current technology (rackets) the best way to give a chance to allcourt / S&V type play against the top spin baseliner would be to slow down the courts (to avoid the boring serve dominated type of match …think Ivanisevic-Krajicek) and provide fairly fast balls (which still allow good fast serving …and especially VOLLEYING).
P.S the "slow down the courts" part is already happening.
They have changed the courts on some tournaments to be slower. However, Wimbledon has changed the grass to accomodate the baseline player. I hated to see them do that. That ruins the serve and volley player from taking advantage of the grass surface as we had seen it.

Rabbit
09-10-2006, 11:39 AM
I think it's the other way around. Today almost anyone can play tennis because they have such big, powerful, longer racquets that you don't even need to have any strokes to hit the ball back, and to hit it deep with spin and pace. Back in the days of wood, you needed to have excellent eye-hand coordination to hit the ball back, and with pace and spin, with a small 65 sq. in. wood racquet with a super-dense 18x20 stringbed and a correspondingly tiny sweetspot. You also needed to be in pretty good shape to swing a heavy 14 oz. wood racquet for hours as it was tough to hit winners with them so you had to do a lot of swinging, and more pro matches were best of 5 sets and some, like Davis Cup had no tiebreaks in any set. That's why you had 6.5 hour matches like McEnroe-Wilander.

This hits the nail on the head as far as I'm concerned. The equipment of today requires much less work than of yesteryear, much less practice, and much less of everything. The equipment of today makes the game easier for the average Joe. And yet tennis is on the downside of its most popular point...why?

Probably because it was more of a challenge to play tennis when the equipment was smaller and heavier and less engineered.

IMO, they should make a pro specification racket. You wanna be a pro? OK, here are the specs that you have to comply with. They do it in baseball, they do in in golf, they even do it in NASCAR, why not tennis? The reason is they've been chasing the dollars too much rather than protetcting the sport. Now, they're talking about reducing the dollars. They think the market is too saturated. It's neither. They should have taken care of the sport because now it's just plain less enjoyable to watch.

Jesse K.
09-10-2006, 11:49 AM
I don't understand everyone ranting about regulating head sizes to 90sq inches...ok so we so that...now what...they are still hitting the same groundstrokes and serves. Not sure what you think you gain. It's not like pro's are running around with racquet head sizes of 120sq inches. The majority of pros raquets are 100sq inches or less. If you really wanted to impact the power generated from the bigger head sizes you really would need to go much smaller.

The truth is it's a generational thing with a few exceptions. People from the last generation of tennis look at todays game and think it's boring and the "new" players lack the skills of yester year. The youth of today look at the players of yester year and can appreciate the skill the players had, but look at the games and think they lack the excitement of today.

There are a lot of good points that have been made, but the truth is if equipment has benefited anyone it's benefited the club and recreational player the most. The pros would find a way to win with a racquetball racquet if that's all they had. It has much more to do with ability than the racquet they are using.

And Martina...just retire already...all sports change over the course of 4 decades get over it. Football is a pass oriented and offense oriented game now...it wasn't always that way. Do we see everyone blaming the equipment for the evolution of football? No it's just a different emphasis on one part of the game no different than tennis where the emphasis is on power right now.

dannyjjang
09-10-2006, 04:11 PM
that is true i cant afford luxlion and other players who can buy luxilon hits wayy harder

dannyjjang
09-10-2006, 04:12 PM
I think the players started to go Babolat once the good polys started to appear. I think all they'd need to do is to ban polys and the Babolats would die(on tour).

BTW: Is that true what Martina said about the golf clubs? Seems like she was exaggerating.
ya babos do hit like a monster...

Zverev
09-10-2006, 04:33 PM
Well, I think most people that have played a long time with wood would probably disagree with you. In fact, more people watched tennis back in the '70's than they do now, so they must have enjoyed it more back then, right?
.
BP, I don't think that's a reason of tennis popularity decline.
personally support the explanation that people become more lazy, attitude of instant gratification, along these lines. And modern tennis is not an easy game to learn - it takes 2-3 years to get to 3-3.5 level. Today's kids don't have that much patience. It's easier just to grab the egg-ball and run.
As well try to find those cricket/baseball/golf bellies in tennis - OK, you got me - Labadze, but he's an exception.

I guess the analogy I would draw is with golf. I don't play golf at all so I find it incredibly boring to watch. But people who do play golf obviously find it very enjoyable to watch as it's on TV everywhere on weekends and people pay big bucks to go watch golf tournaments because people who play golf understand and appreciate the nuances, strategy, and what the pros are doing a lot more than I do, thus, they find it exciting while I find it painfully boring to watch. Same with baseball or cricket. If you've never played nor understand those sports, it's incredibly boring to watch. This is why people who never played with wood racquets find watching old tennis matches with wood racquets very boring to watch - because it's a completely different game from what it is today, and one which they have a hard time understanding and appreciating.
True. It must be more interesting to play those games, than to watch.
Though, I have tried - it's shiiit. At least for another 20 years fro me - as I keep saying - I am not old enough to play golf.
And you guys in US - you are over fed with golf, I spent most of last two months in US - Jees! Sometimes golf is on on five channels simultaniously.
How do you survive?!

nalbandian_fan
09-18-2006, 03:17 PM
I think martina navratolova made a very good analogy from tennis to golf, but i still disagree with her... who wouldn't like to see 400 yard drives? 400 yard drives in golf would add to the importance of accuracy, and the game of golf would become so much more exciting as they could add more obstacles to the course.

newnuse
09-19-2006, 01:12 AM
I think martina navratolova made a very good analogy from tennis to golf, but i still disagree with her... who wouldn't like to see 400 yard drives? 400 yard drives in golf would add to the importance of accuracy, and the game of golf would become so much more exciting as they could add more obstacles to the course.

The problem with 400 yard drives is that it makes the golf courses obsolete. The equipment is so advance, guys are hitting short irons and wedges on the 2nd shot of a par 5. The course was designed to reward a player for hitting a tough long iron or wood into the green. The modern clubs and balls are making many golf courses play in a way there were not meant to be played.

You can say the same for tennis. The serve in tennis has become so dominant. The power from the baseline... all of this is making certain elements of tennis obsolete. Shot making, strategy, working a point, S&V... all becoming rapidly obsolete... is this a good thing?? I don't think so.

LN_Dad
09-19-2006, 08:47 AM
The problem with 400 yard drives is that it makes the golf courses obsolete. The equipment is so advance, guys are hitting short irons and wedges on the 2nd shot of a par 5. The course was designed to reward a player for hitting a tough long iron or wood into the green. The modern clubs and balls are making many golf courses play in a way there were not meant to be played.

You can say the same for tennis. The serve in tennis has become so dominant. The power from the baseline... all of this is making certain elements of tennis obsolete. Shot making, strategy, working a point, S&V... all becoming rapidly obsolete... is this a good thing?? I don't think so.
Well I like it just fine. If you don't then you can curl up with some old Borg-Connors videotapes and watch those.

stormholloway
09-19-2006, 10:33 AM
Well I like it just fine. If you don't then you can curl up with some old Borg-Connors videotapes and watch those.

Pathetic argument, if you can even call this an argument.

LN_Dad
09-19-2006, 10:43 AM
Pathetic argument, if you can even call this an argument.
It's not an argument but an opinion. You have a problem with that?:p

superstition
10-02-2006, 08:08 PM
Tennis is more boring to watch and to play than it was in the wood days. I grew up in the graphite era, and I have seen a depressing decline in the quality of matches during that era alone. Watching the old wood matches replayed on TV, I found them more exciting than anything available today. Anyone who thinks wood is boring should see McEnroe volley with it.

Serve and volley was a bit too good during the Sampras era because of graphite. I like Pete, but I felt that his groundstrokes in some matches were subpar and he won simply because of aces. Now, though, passing shots are too good.

Martina did benefit from graphite and, more importantly, a larger head, but the reason she came to the top of the pack was not the graphite. She embarked on a punishing fitness regime with Nancy Lieberman. She went from being called the "Great Wide Hope" to being the fittest female tennis player ever. Not only that, she was incredibly talented.

The graphite racquets she used were available to other pros. For instance, Andrea Jaeger used the stiff Wilson Ultra 2. Calling Martina a hypocrite is wrong. She didn't say "ban graphite because it's evil". She said the current technology (which is more powerful than the early stuff she used) is spoiling the game.

For those who complain about her "greatest volleyer ever" comment, there are two points. First... the statement should be taken in context. What's important is not whether or not she actually is the greatest volleyer ever. What's important is the point she was making about her ability to compete in the current game if she were at her prime, due to racquet/string tech changes. Second... she probably was the greatest volleyer in the women's game, and when people talk about "the greatest ever", they usually confine themselves to the game that player played. She didn't play on the men's tour.

Wood racquets never made the serve all-important, especially on clay. Having a big serve was very helpful, particularly on grass. However, Tanner's big serve didn't allow him to dominate. Tilden, despite having a huge serve, didn't dominate when he was going out of his prime.

Players back in the wood days actually complained about a new "power game", represented by players like Jack Kramer. They said it was one-dimensional and monotonous, where powerful groundstrokes were more important than craft. Others complained about serve/volley, saying it was too simplistic (all-court players like Tilden). Yes, folks, these arguments predates graphite. The difference, of course, is one of mammoth proportions. While that style merely annoyed players in the wood era, it's gone far beyond that with the absurd "evolution (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpage.html?PCODE=W3GR)" of equipment.

Wood racquets are safer for players. This point can't be underestimated in importance to the women's game. The players in the WTA are being injured like crazy. Not "like". CRAZY. It's insane how many injuries there are and have been in recent years. Modern racquets and hard courts are a recipe for chaos on the women's side. More than even the variety argument, tennis needs wood and grass/clay simply so the best players can compete, instead of spending most of their time injured or retiring in their 20s! C'mon people... don't you follow the women's game? It's always about the latest batch of 17-19 year olds while the "old ladies" at 25 are injured beyond recognition. It's nuts. What's even weirder is that no one talks about it but Martina (aside from me.. a "nobody"). She has mentioned this problem in other articles.

People who dismiss her comments as being irrelevant because "she's from another generation" need to stop seeing this as a generational issue. It's not. The truth is not determined by time. It's the truth, or it's not the truth. Tennis has serious problems right now. It's becoming less popular.

Recreational players in their teens are getting tennis elbow and wrist problems because of stiff light racquets and hard string, coupled with western grips and a "bashing" game. The junior racquets most kids use are particularly horrible. My niece's super-light "Venus and Serena" racquet caused her to give up tennis because of hand pain. When I was a kid, I swung a wood racquet (because it was cheap). I never had any pain.

The racquets are only one component of the problem. The other component is the surface. Hard courts, not just "slow" courts, are a big problem for injuries. The US Open and the Australian Open used to be on grass. The grass court season was much longer, which made serve/volley a useful style. Now, there's no point in becoming a great grass player because only a tiny number of tournaments use grass, and Wimbledon switched to rye because the baseline couldn't handle the traffic with the traditional fescue. People blame Wimbledon for the switch, but it's the racquets that caused it. I suppose they could have just used it at the baseline, though.

I think hard courts should be banned for pro tennis. The surface is just too hard on the body, especially for female players. Grass and clay work fine. I'm not sure about carpet. Is it alright for the body? Or, if hard courts are going to stay, we need to go back to wood. There would be fewer hard court injuries if players didn't have to lunge wildly as often to return the huge shots coming from Pure Drives. (I still favor a big reduction in hard courts, because it's simply not a safe surface for pro-level play.)

Wood racquets do not kill topspin. Plenty of players used it. They also used semi-western and western grips. Others used eastern and continental grips. There was much more variety in the past because there were fewer hard court tournaments and the equipment didn't force people, in conjunction with those courts, into a baseliner mode. As someone else said, people could more readily play to their individual strength.

Martina's argument sometimes are a bit awkward, but she has the right idea in mind. For instance.. she said she can do more with today's racquets, but that argument is a bit weak because Tilden wrote a book in the 30s about all the things that a player can do with a tiny wood racquet, like left and right side spins... you name it. The difference is that wood racquets didn't homogenize the game by making one thing (groundstrokes) so much better than everything else. Even if people are correct, which I doubt, about the point about the serve being too dominant... courts can be slowed to compensate. Wimbledon, for instance, could use rye while players are using wood.

One more thing... The notion that the truth is created by a person's agenda is specious. I'm not a serve/volleyer. I am a baseliner. However, I am a crafty baseliner, not a simple basher. My favorite shot is a slice forehand, a shot practically unheard of in today's "power game". The point, though, is that I am not trying to promote serve/volley at the expense of the baseline game. I can return serves with my 75" Wilson Ultra 2, and I'm sure I could do it with wood, too. If the game would return to wood, it might be best for some graphite reinforcement to be allowed so frames can be midsize (around 75" with an open throat). The 67" size is a bit tiny, even in my opinion. Wood racquets can be made in midsize, even without graphite. And, with some graphite, a racquet like the Borg Pro is still a far far cry from a Pure Drive.

superstition
10-02-2006, 08:36 PM
Simply restricting the head size to 90" is not a good idea. Returners like Agassi would be unfairly hampered while big servers would be advantaged. Agassi said he could not imagine playing with an 85" head, that he used every inch of his oversize racquet. So, it's critical for serves to be toned down if racquet heads are going to be restricted in size. Instead of restricting racquet head size, I think a wood percentage mandate should be enacted. For instance, the Prince Woodie (http://www.woodtennis.com/prince/prncewoodie.jpg), a wood/graphite composite, was hardly a power racquet, but it was available in oversize. So, a player like Agassi would not be disadvantaged. What's an ideal minimum wood percentage? 80%?

Returning to wood composites and having no maximum head size would allow racquet manufacturers more freedom to be innovative. The minimum wood percentage would take the excessive power out of the game, restoring the variety, along with a reduction in hard courts.

lacoster
10-02-2006, 09:05 PM
Martina is a walking contradiction because I remember her playing with very powerful oversive Yonex widebodies during the end of her career in the 90's. Exhibit A (see pic)...She used the SRQ-500, 27mm widebody and 105," which is the same one in the pic held by Monica Seles, who we all know loves huge racquets.

http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=51989334&cdi=0
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superstition
10-02-2006, 09:16 PM
Martina is a walking contradiction because I remember her playing with very powerful oversive Yonex widebodies during the end of her career in the 90's. Exhibit A (see pic)...She used the SRQ-500, 27mm widebody and 105," which is the same one in the pic held by Monica Seles, who we all know loves huge racquets.

http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=51989334&cdi=0
So, Martina sets the racquet standards for the WTA. Who knew? :rolleyes:

She could have played with a Big Bubba and it wouldn't contradict her points at all. It would be funny, though.

Martina won her first Wimbledon with a wood racquet. She competed against teenage players like Graf in her 30s. If you're going to hold it against her that she used the same racquet Seles used, I fail to see the logic. If you go back in time to the wood era, you'll find players in their 40s competing in singles, because the power game wasn't as much of a factor. Certainly, players in their prime had a big advantage, but it wasn't as big as it is now, where 26 is considered old. It's absurd.

People were talking about Schiavone at her latest final as if she's an old woman. She's 26! Everyone's always looking for the latest teenager now. Tennis, like the rest of our culture, is becoming increasingly youth obsessed. It's ironic that so many kids today are turning to the music of the 60s and 70s because the music of today is so shallow.

There is something seriously wrong with tennis when 20 year olds regularly retire with injuries and someone who is 26 is considered old. Clijsters. Hingis. Jaeger. Austin. Davenport. Williams sisters. Henin-Hardenne... I can make a long list of injured players, many of whom spent more time injured than well. All of them used graphite. Hingis first retired at 21.

Mick
10-02-2006, 09:21 PM
you must admit, had they not changed to larger size graphite rackets, Martina would have stayed at the top of the women's tennis much longer. Graf and Seles probably would have a tougher time beating her (Martina) with the old wooden rackets.

superstition
10-02-2006, 09:34 PM
Martina's quick slump actually corresponded with the fact that she and her coach split. Right when that happened, her dominance evaporated. But, she came back after that and did things like her win over Graf at the US Open in a SF (losing to Seles in the final).

The power racquets helped Graf and Seles, but Martina could be beaten by a baseliner. Her edge over Evert corresponded not only to her improved fitness, but also to her adoption of graphite. The fitness was definitely the main thing, but Evert beat her quite a few times when both were playing with wood, so it's a moot point really. If every player is using wood, the playing field is more even. Little Chris Evert beat lots of serve/volleyers with wood. She even got to finals with wood against players using graphite in the early 80s.

superstition
10-02-2006, 09:39 PM
I think my wood composite idea might satisfy most people. It would reduce the power in the game but allow racquet manufacturers to be creative and allow players to use oversize frames if they choose to. The racquets would be flexible, heavy, and low-power, but the heads wouldn't be 67" so return of serve wouldn't be as difficult. Replacing hard courts with grass and clay for pro tournaments would, with the wood, reduce the injuries that plague the women's game, and allow players to compete longer. This would make for better matches because the best players would play, instead of being injured all the time.

I think the key to any problem is finding a solution that satisfies as many criteria as possible, instead of trying to solve things with stark ideology. The wood composite solution is an elegant compromise that solves practically every issue. One way to compromise about the court surface problem is to adopt a 50/30/20 system for pro tournaments. 50% grass. 30% clay. 20% hard. That way, there would still be the variety offered by hard courts, without so many injuries. (I'm not sure how carpet would figure into the calculation, because I don't know how safe it is.) Having only half the tournaments on grass also would balance the serve/volley style with the baseline style, eliminating the complaint about serves being too dominant.

superstition
10-02-2006, 10:02 PM
This is a bit of trivia, but... Someone objected to the use of gut because of animal cruelty. Well, gut is a by-product of the meat packing industry. If it's not used in racquets, it would just be thrown away, given to chickens to eat, or processed into hotdogs.

tlm
10-02-2006, 10:04 PM
Forget the old slomotion game, i like the modern style of tennis.

superstition
10-02-2006, 10:51 PM
How much you like it isn't the only thing to consider. You should consider the health of the sport. It's declining in popularity. Female players are perpetually injured. Do you think your pleasure is more important than having the top female players be able to play regularly? That seems pretty shallow to me, frankly.

lacoster
10-03-2006, 08:19 AM
If you're going to hold it against her that she used the same racquet Seles used, I fail to see the logic.

Of course I am going to hold it against her because she talks so negatively against the use of them.
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andrew_b
10-03-2006, 08:26 AM
I agree, the equipment has changed the way the game is played. Serve and volley people rarely exist. Actually, I love being at the net. :)

I think it is what it is. I remember when serve & volley became big, and there was talk that it was taking all the excitement out of matches ... "everyone just serves and puts away a volley, there are no long points anymore!".

play well,
Andrew

superstition
10-03-2006, 10:13 AM
I remember when serve & volley became big, and there was talk that it was taking all the excitement out of matches.
How old are you? 105? Serve and volley tennis has been around for a long time. As I said in one of my posts, people complained about it a long time ago when the game was played with wood on grass. But, the difference between the complain then and the complaint during the Sampras era is quite different. The former was mere annoyance. The latter was a more serious problem.

The problem today is two-fold:

A. The grass court season has shrunk to the point of making it pointless to become a grass specialist. Grass specialists are generally serve/volley players. The US Open and the Australian Open used to be on grass, for instance. And, Wimbledon switched to rye grass because nearly everyone stayed at the baseline and the faster lower-bounce fescue couldn't take the trampling as well.

B. Today's racquet and string technology makes coming to net extremely difficult, especially on hard courts and clay, because passing shots are too easy to hit.

We've already discussed why people complained about serve/volley tennis in the early graphite era. It's the graphite that was the problem more than anything else. But, aside from Sampras with his huge serve, Agassi did quite well as a baseliner during that era. So did Michael Chang, a guy who had no weapons. So, the whining about serve/volley matches being boring was less credible than the problem today with the baseline bashing game. Only the gifted Federer can come into net somewhat often, and even he can't be a pure serve/volleyer because of the passing shots.

During the wood era, Chris Evert, a baseliner, did quite well against Navratilova, Court, King, Mandlikova, and the numerous other net rushers, which contradicts the notion that the serve/volley style is too dominant with wood.

superstition
10-03-2006, 10:17 AM
Of course I am going to hold it against her because she talks so negatively against the use of them.
Go ahead. But, it's illogical to do so. I already explained why.

andrew_b
10-03-2006, 11:30 AM
How old are you? 105? Serve and volley tennis has been around for a long time. As I said in one of my posts, people complained about it a long time ago when the game was played with wood on grass. But, the difference between the complain then and the complaint during the Sampras era is quite different. The former was mere annoyance. The latter was a more serious problem.

Old enough not to be baited by your implied name-calling. You're stating your opinions as fact, and they're not.

And to enlighten your closed view, I'm referring to the transitory time near the end of the Connors/Borg/McEnroe era. At that time, all the announcers wanted to talk about was how sad it was that serve & volley players were dominating so much that long rallies were a thing of the past.

The problem today is two-fold:

A. The grass court season has shrunk to the point of making it pointless to become a grass specialist. Grass specialists are generally serve/volley players. The US Open and the Australian Open used to be on grass, for instance. And, Wimbledon switched to rye grass because nearly everyone stayed at the baseline and the faster lower-bounce fescue couldn't take the trampling as well.

B. Today's racquet and string technology makes coming to net extremely difficult, especially on hard courts and clay, because passing shots are too easy to hit.

We've already discussed why people complained about serve/volley tennis in the early graphite era. It's the graphite that was the problem more than anything else. But, aside from Sampras with his huge serve, Agassi did quite well as a baseliner during that era. So did Michael Chang, a guy who had no weapons. So, the whining about serve/volley matches being boring was less credible than the problem today with the baseline bashing game. Only the gifted Federer can come into net somewhat often, and even he can't be a pure serve/volleyer because of the passing shots.

During the wood era, Chris Evert, a baseliner, did quite well against Navratilova, Court, King, Mandlikova, and the numerous other net rushers, which contradicts the notion that the serve/volley style is too dominant with wood.

There was a period where serve&volley dominated, much as baseline play does today. Then Agassi came along. And granted, it was not discussed as a "problem" nearly as much for the women as for the men.

All I'm saying is the game will continue to evolve with all of the various technologies and tools (think nutrition and training techniques). Some people will not like the changes and complain. Others will just continue to enjoy the great game that is tennis.

play well,
Andrew

superstition
10-03-2006, 12:21 PM
I'm referring to the transitory time near the end of the Connors/Borg/McEnroe era. At that time, all the announcers wanted to talk about was how sad it was that serve & volley players were dominating so much that long rallies were a thing of the past.
The serve/volley complaint is older than that. Borg didn't dominate with serve/volley and McEnroe's genius hardly counts as proof that it was the only style of play available to pros. Connors was more of a returner or all-court. I fail to see the point. People complained about serve and volley several times during the wood era. People even complained about heavy-hitting baseliners like Kramer. So what? Today, because of the power racquets, strings, slow courts, and loss of fescue grass tournaments, there is no reason to become a serve/volleyer, which means the game has less variety.

Perhaps more importantly, the women's game is a mess of injuries. People seem blithely disinterested in that fact and myopically focus on the men's game. I like women's tennis and I want to see the best players competing, not retiring in their 20s and being injured all the time.

FitzRoy
10-03-2006, 01:09 PM
Superstition-

You suggest changing to 50% grass-court tournaments? I don't see any way that the ATP or WTA would agree to anything like this. It's completely impractical to mandate a change of that magnitude, and for that matter there isn't really anyone with the power to do so. I agree that it would probably reduce injury, but I'd be willing to wager that the bulk of WTA players would reject your idea outright, injury-prone or not. Most of them simply do not like the type of grass you're talking about. I'd love to see more grass tournaments, but the ATP and WTA were founded to protect the interests of the players, and they're not going to allow anyone to force them to play on a particular court surface.

On another note, I disagree with those who have argued that wood racquets are only suitable for serve-and-volley tennis. That's not at all true. As superstition pointed out, Borg and Connors were hardly serve-and-volley players. For that matter neither was the great Bill Tilden (whose book argues that singles tennis is ideally played from the baseline) or his early rival Bill Johnston, who invented and played with a Western forehand with wood racquets back before 1920.

sureshs
10-03-2006, 01:39 PM
Tennis is more boring to watch and to play than it was in the wood days. I grew up in the graphite era, and I have seen a depressing decline in the quality of matches during that era alone. Watching the old wood matches replayed on TV, I found them more exciting than anything available today. Anyone who thinks wood is boring should see McEnroe volley with it.

Serve and volley was a bit too good during the Sampras era because of graphite. I like Pete, but I felt that his groundstrokes in some matches were subpar and he won simply because of aces. Now, though, passing shots are too good.

Martina did benefit from graphite and, more importantly, a larger head, but the reason she came to the top of the pack was not the graphite. She embarked on a punishing fitness regime with Nancy Lieberman. She went from being called the "Great Wide Hope" to being the fittest female tennis player ever. Not only that, she was incredibly talented.

The graphite racquets she used were available to other pros. For instance, Andrea Jaeger used the stiff Wilson Ultra 2. Calling Martina a hypocrite is wrong. She didn't say "ban graphite because it's evil". She said the current technology (which is more powerful than the early stuff she used) is spoiling the game.

For those who complain about her "greatest volleyer ever" comment, there are two points. First... the statement should be taken in context. What's important is not whether or not she actually is the greatest volleyer ever. What's important is the point she was making about her ability to compete in the current game if she were at her prime, due to racquet/string tech changes. Second... she probably was the greatest volleyer in the women's game, and when people talk about "the greatest ever", they usually confine themselves to the game that player played. She didn't play on the men's tour.

Wood racquets never made the serve all-important, especially on clay. Having a big serve was very helpful, particularly on grass. However, Tanner's big serve didn't allow him to dominate. Tilden, despite having a huge serve, didn't dominate when he was going out of his prime.

Players back in the wood days actually complained about a new "power game", represented by players like Jack Kramer. They said it was one-dimensional and monotonous, where powerful groundstrokes were more important than craft. Others complained about serve/volley, saying it was too simplistic (all-court players like Tilden). Yes, folks, these arguments predates graphite. The difference, of course, is one of mammoth proportions. While that style merely annoyed players in the wood era, it's gone far beyond that with the absurd "evolution (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpage.html?PCODE=W3GR)" of equipment.

Wood racquets are safer for players. This point can't be underestimated in importance to the women's game. The players in the WTA are being injured like crazy. Not "like". CRAZY. It's insane how many injuries there are and have been in recent years. Modern racquets and hard courts are a recipe for chaos on the women's side. More than even the variety argument, tennis needs wood and grass/clay simply so the best players can compete, instead of spending most of their time injured or retiring in their 20s! C'mon people... don't you follow the women's game? It's always about the latest batch of 17-19 year olds while the "old ladies" at 25 are injured beyond recognition. It's nuts. What's even weirder is that no one talks about it but Martina (aside from me.. a "nobody"). She has mentioned this problem in other articles.

People who dismiss her comments as being irrelevant because "she's from another generation" need to stop seeing this as a generational issue. It's not. The truth is not determined by time. It's the truth, or it's not the truth. Tennis has serious problems right now. It's becoming less popular.

Recreational players in their teens are getting tennis elbow and wrist problems because of stiff light racquets and hard string, coupled with western grips and a "bashing" game. The junior racquets most kids use are particularly horrible. My niece's super-light "Venus and Serena" racquet caused her to give up tennis because of hand pain. When I was a kid, I swung a wood racquet (because it was cheap). I never had any pain.

The racquets are only one component of the problem. The other component is the surface. Hard courts, not just "slow" courts, are a big problem for injuries. The US Open and the Australian Open used to be on grass. The grass court season was much longer, which made serve/volley a useful style. Now, there's no point in becoming a great grass player because only a tiny number of tournaments use grass, and Wimbledon switched to rye because the baseline couldn't handle the traffic with the traditional fescue. People blame Wimbledon for the switch, but it's the racquets that caused it. I suppose they could have just used it at the baseline, though.

I think hard courts should be banned for pro tennis. The surface is just too hard on the body, especially for female players. Grass and clay work fine. I'm not sure about carpet. Is it alright for the body? Or, if hard courts are going to stay, we need to go back to wood. There would be fewer hard court injuries if players didn't have to lunge wildly as often to return the huge shots coming from Pure Drives. (I still favor a big reduction in hard courts, because it's simply not a safe surface for pro-level play.)

Wood racquets do not kill topspin. Plenty of players used it. They also used semi-western and western grips. Others used eastern and continental grips. There was much more variety in the past because there were fewer hard court tournaments and the equipment didn't force people, in conjunction with those courts, into a baseliner mode. As someone else said, people could more readily play to their individual strength.

Martina's argument sometimes are a bit awkward, but she has the right idea in mind. For instance.. she said she can do more with today's racquets, but that argument is a bit weak because Tilden wrote a book in the 30s about all the things that a player can do with a tiny wood racquet, like left and right side spins... you name it. The difference is that wood racquets didn't homogenize the game by making one thing (groundstrokes) so much better than everything else. Even if people are correct, which I doubt, about the point about the serve being too dominant... courts can be slowed to compensate. Wimbledon, for instance, could use rye while players are using wood.

One more thing... The notion that the truth is created by a person's agenda is specious. I'm not a serve/volleyer. I am a baseliner. However, I am a crafty baseliner, not a simple basher. My favorite shot is a slice forehand, a shot practically unheard of in today's "power game". The point, though, is that I am not trying to promote serve/volley at the expense of the baseline game. I can return serves with my 75" Wilson Ultra 2, and I'm sure I could do it with wood, too. If the game would return to wood, it might be best for some graphite reinforcement to be allowed so frames can be midsize (around 75" with an open throat). The 67" size is a bit tiny, even in my opinion. Wood racquets can be made in midsize, even without graphite. And, with some graphite, a racquet like the Borg Pro is still a far far cry from a Pure Drive.

Agree with some of your ideas, and disagree with some. Only disagreements are below:

Wood racquets are not necessarily better for TE. They are heavy and harsh on off center hits. As you mentioned, technique is developed better with wood but it is a long process. Recreational players like me who started out late don't have the time to go thru this. I play reasonably well at the 3.5 level but when I tried wood, I was horrible and my arm hurt. I am too old and busy to learn proper wood technique now.

If hard courts are banned at the pro level, then you need many more clay and grass courts because pros and aspiring pros play at clubs to practise. The maintenance cost of these courts have to be taken into account, specially considering how many resorts are shutting their tennis courts and cities are building condos on them. Make them more expensive, and they will disappear.

Sebastien
10-03-2006, 02:57 PM
I see her point, but she is a dinosaur and she has to realize that everything evolves.
Yeah! and go tell the Formula 1 regulation that their cars are going to fast! (if you see my point)

superstition
10-03-2006, 07:48 PM
How much of an injury problem did the WTA have in the wood era? None, that I can think of. If grass is too expensive to replace most hard courts, then perhaps carpet is a solution. I don't know how easy that is on the body. The injury problem in the women's game can't be ignored, at least by anyone who cares about it. What players like is also not the most important thing. If baseball players want high-technology bats, should baseball cave? The injury problem needs to be remedied, and the extra time off idea is the worst one I've heard. Extra time between tournaments is not going to solve the problem.

Wood racquets and grass courts (plus clay) as tennis used to be played on brought a better game, because players didn't get injured and people could play a variety of styles. Tennis somehow managed to survive in those days, despite the expense of grass courts. Why is it that pro tennis requires cheap injury-causing hard courts? Changing to small-head wood racquets would help, though. Players would not have to lunge as wildly to return huge serves and groundstrokes.

But, what about serve/volley? The fact that the grasscourt season is so miniscule now has killed the variety because it doesn't make sense to be a serve/volleyer anymore. The current courts and racquet/string tech make the baseline too good.

superstition
10-03-2006, 07:53 PM
Wood racquets are not necessarily better for TE. They are heavy and harsh on off center hits. As you mentioned, technique is developed better with wood but it is a long process. Recreational players like me who started out late don't have the time to go thru this. I play reasonably well at the 3.5 level but when I tried wood, I was horrible and my arm hurt. I am too old and busy to learn proper wood technique now.
Recreational players should be able to play with whatever they like, and on hard courts. I was talking about pro-level restrictions. Tennis pros play all the time.

Injury wasn't a big problem in the wood era because people didn't hit the way they do now. They also used gut. Wood is a soft material that absorbs shock and the weight (mass) of the racquets absorbed shock. If you're getting joint pain with a wood racquet, you're doing something really wrong or already have an injury. Women were competing in their 50s in singles in the wood era, not retiring at 21 due to injury.

lacoster
10-03-2006, 07:58 PM
Go ahead. But, it's illogical to do so. I already explained why.

Your explanation and defense of Martina using oversize widebodied racquets during her career is still very weak. It is just as analagous, in recent news, to Mark Foley (R-Fla.) getting caught having relations with teenage boys. This was the same politician that spearheaded laws against such pedophilia.
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lacoster
10-03-2006, 08:07 PM
Women were competing in their 50s in singles in the wood era, not retiring at 21 due to injury.

That is true for ALL sports in that era. In the early 1900's, Chuck Taylor was a pro basketball player who lasted through his 50's. The only woman of the graphite generation that I know to retire early at 21 was Martina Hingis, who retired of injuries related to her feet, NOT anything related to using a racquet. On the other hand, Tracy Austin, a woman of the wood generation, was virtually finished before turning 21.
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Mick
10-03-2006, 08:11 PM
Your explanation and defense of Martina using oversize widebodied racquets during her career is still very weak. It is just as analagous, in recent news, to Mark Foley (R-Fla.) getting caught having relations with teenage boys. This was the same politician that spearheaded laws against such pedophilia.

people who live in glass houses should not throw stones :)

superstition
10-03-2006, 08:17 PM
Your explanation and defense of Martina using oversize widebodied racquets during her career is still very weak. It is just as analagous, in recent news, to Mark Foley (R-Fla.) getting caught having relations with teenage boys. This was the same politician that spearheaded laws against such pedophilia.
Nice troll. Trying to drag Foley and "pedophilia" into this topic is classic.

If you're going to call my analysis weak, explain how it's weak. Your Foley comparison is silly at best. Martina never hid her use of graphite racquets. Martina didn't break any rules by using them. Martina's opponents, like Seles, used them.

Martina, like numerous other pros like McEnroe, supports returning to wood for a variety of reasons, none of which are invalidated by her use of the same racquets as her opponents.

superstition
10-03-2006, 08:19 PM
That is true for ALL sports in that era. In the early 1900's, Chuck Taylor was a pro basketball player who lasted through his 50's. The only woman of the graphite generation that I know to retire early at 21 was Martina Hingis, who retired of injuries related to her feet, NOT anything related to using a racquet. On the other hand, Tracy Austin, a woman of the wood generation, was virtually finished before turning 21.
Austin used graphite, didn't she? I know Jaeger did.

The injuries to other parts of the body are related to the combination of powerful racquets/string on hard courts. I've already talked about that, and so has Martina in other articles.

Hingis isn't the only woman to be seriously injured on the tour in recent years! Retirement isn't the only thing that counts. If top players are injured a large percentage of the time, it hurts the game, and them.

Mick
10-03-2006, 08:24 PM
yeah but Martina Navratilova also used the new graphite rackets and they didn't cause her to have any serious injury .

FitzRoy
10-03-2006, 09:55 PM
What players like is also not the most important thing. If baseball players want high-technology bats, should baseball cave?

superstition, I agree with you on a lot of things about this topic. The problem is when practical issues get brought into play. Major League Baseball is a poor analogy; they're notoriously opposed to change on just about every level, from players to ownership, and, to a large extent, fans. You wouldn't see baseball players arguing for high-tech bats because they want to use the same bats they've always used. They like the feel of them. College players are forced to play with aluminum, but if anyone tried to do this on the MLB level, there would be a pretty serious strike.

I'd definitely enjoy seeing a much longer grass season, and more net play. Like you said, the expense of grass courts wouldn't be an issue, as there's more money in tournaments now than ever before. The problem I see is when it comes to imposing regulations on the WTA and ATP as to racquet types and court surfaces. This would only be feasible at the Grand Slams, since they still have control over their own tournaments. Beyond that, the ATP and WTA are in total control over the entirity of their respective tours and have been since 1990 (actually, I only know this for certain regarding the ATP - not sure on WTA). So, for example, you'd have to convince the ATP to change 50% of its venues to grass and draw up and enforce racquet regulations. It's too drastic and the entire ATP would just never buy into it.

sinatra161
10-03-2006, 10:01 PM
"I'm the greatest volleyer that's ever played, and I would have a hard time serve-volleying in today's game, so something is wrong."

Atleast she's humble!:rolleyes:

Midlife crisis
10-03-2006, 11:58 PM
You should consider the health of the sport. It's declining in popularity.

According to this:

http://www.charleston.net/assets/webPages/departmental/news/Stories.aspx?section=sports&tableId=110976&pubDate=10/1/2006

tennis is the only mainstream sport **GAINING** in popularity.

equinox
10-04-2006, 12:55 AM
Tennis isn't gaining in popularity.
I believe with the older players (45+) dropping off with ill health and the lack of young people (8-16) taking up and sticking with the sport past there late teens, tennis will be dead in 10-15 years.

People just no time for tennis on the weekends. With work and socialising taking priority.

superstition
10-04-2006, 12:35 PM
yeah but Martina Navratilova also used the new graphite rackets and they didn't cause her to have any serious injury .
Martina had knee operations, hurt her foot recently, etc. She hurt her "good" knee recently during practice, she said. Martina wasn't as injured much in the past because the game wasn't as brutally fast, due to weaker graphite and wood racquets. But, playing on hard courts took its toll on her knees. The grass season was longer, though. And, Martina simply wasn't a baseline grinder. She moved to net immediately on every point, even her second serves. She kept points fairly short.

If Martina was in her prime now, she would be just as injured as the other players, or perhaps a little less (because of her serve/volley play which keeps the points short). Martina's injury record shows mainly that the sport was better for the body when there were more grass court tournaments and wood racquets.

superstition
10-04-2006, 12:37 PM
It's too drastic.
Well, it could be a phased plan. First, players would convert to wood. Then, the US Open and the Australian would return to grass. That alone might be enough to make the women's game viable again. If not, other hard court tournaments could be converted in stages.

Rabbit
10-04-2006, 01:05 PM
Austin used graphite, didn't she? I know Jaeger did.



Austin started out playing with a Spalding wood frame. She moved to the Dunlop 200G at a later date. Her playing career was cut short by an injury I believe she received in a car wreck, it had nothing to do with tennis.

Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe were both early proponents of the newer technology.

In the case of McEnroe, he was having arm trouble and his brother the one and only PMac was playing with the 200G. He suggested that John try it. He did and the rest is history. When McEnroe was on tour though, he had a different story. When Boris Becker came on tour, McEnroe was very much impressed with Becker's power. So much so that he said Dunlop needed to develop a frame which would help him match Becker's power. Becker was playing with the Puma frame at the time. McEnroe didn't find Dunlop helping, so he really wound up trying different frames in the hopes of finding a silver bullet. He never did, but now appears to hit the ball harder than when he was on tour!

Navratilova's foray into the world of new technology started with wood. She actually was playing with the Yonex Carbonex or Carbonelle prior to moving to a mid-sized frame. This was a latter day wood frame with quite a bit of graphite overlays. Martina's first all-graphite frame was the now classic R-7 which sported a slightly larger than wood squared off head. I owned one, and it was a great frame. It wasn't very sturdy. Navratilova was also one of the first top pros to embrace wide-body technology with her pearl colored Yonex RQ-180(?). She dominated with it for a while and was quite successful with it.

The above demonstrates that while both of these pros were competing and earning money on the tour, they wanted the latest greatest and bestest(sic) technology to help them be the best they could be. They did so and didn't care what it did to the game. Now that they are out of the game, maybe they see that they should have been better stewards of the game and done more to protect it. However, it should be noted that both of them helped accelerate the arms race that we have today.

BreakPoint
10-04-2006, 01:53 PM
Austin started out playing with a Spalding wood frame. She moved to the Dunlop 200G at a later date.


Hmmm....I could of swore that Tracy Austin started out on the pro tour with a Wilson Jack Kramer Autograph (as did so many others at that time). Oh, yeah, she did. Here: http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=1244192&cdi=0

Even when she did switch to a Spalding later, you can see here that it was essentially a "paintjob" of a Jack Kramer Auto: http://editorial.gettyimages.com/source/search/details_pop.aspx?iid=53033706&cdi=0

sureshs
10-04-2006, 04:38 PM
Recreational players should be able to play with whatever they like, and on hard courts. I was talking about pro-level restrictions. Tennis pros play all the time.

Injury wasn't a big problem in the wood era because people didn't hit the way they do now. They also used gut. Wood is a soft material that absorbs shock and the weight (mass) of the racquets absorbed shock. If you're getting joint pain with a wood racquet, you're doing something really wrong or already have an injury. Women were competing in their 50s in singles in the wood era, not retiring at 21 due to injury.

What about college tournaments like the NCAA? On what surfaces will juniors train? At what point would someone start playing only on clay and grass with wood, and what about the expense of maintaining these courts, which will be passed on to these aspiring but poor players thru court fees or club dues?

Wood technique is very different from graphite technique. If a junior is serious about going the pro route, he/she has to train from the beginning with wood. Then he will be losing to all his peers who play with graphite, unless you want the junior tourneys to be also with wood.

I think you have not taken this into consideraton. Many facilities on which juniors train also double as courts for adult recreational players, socials, challenger venues, etc. A lot of planning has to be done if aspiring pros need one type of court and the rest of the guys another.

I admit I played only for 10 minutes with wood, so maybe I can get used to it. The pain may just have been due to adjustment.

jamus30
10-05-2006, 11:55 PM
I love that fact she speaks her mind, but Martina Navratilova seems to have been revealing herself ever since she retired. She's come back how many times? 3? She seems to be concerned with everybody believing and knowing that she was and is a great tennis player. OK Martina, we agree. You have the results to show for it. But perhaps it's time for Martina to deal with the fact that this is not the 80s and her glory days are over. Humans get bigger, run faster, and hit harder in all sports because of one thing: evolution. There's nothing else to it. Martina's game doesn't win like it used to because she was born in 1956. And Jesse Owens would be smoked in the 100m dash by top juniors and high school students. But these facts don't lessen Martina's or Jesse's accomplishments. These facts just exemplify human history.

No matter how big and powerful a racquet is, one still has to control it so that the ball will stay between the lines. A person is only going to hit the ball hard and in the court as much as that person's physics in conjunction with the physics of that person's racquet will allow. Let's look at two players who used the smallest and biggest racquets in their time. At one time, Monica Seles played with a racquet whose head was 130 square inches. But because she was so strong and the racquet head was so big, she had to string it at about 90 pounds. Pete Sampras played with a racquet whose head was 85 square inches and strung very tightly, but he had to add a lot of lead tape so that it didn't play like a brick.

Martina is simply suggesting a regulation that would benefit her. Should the net be lowered so that dwarves have a better chance to play? Should the net be raised when a 7-foot plus giant--and there will be some day in tennis; just look at Yao Min--decides to dump aces down everybody's throat like overheads? Or will they just tell him that he can't hit a serve over 150 mph? Should the width of the court be shortened so that slow people like Lindsay Davenport can dominate?Or should the width be lengthened so that James Blake and Lleyton Hewitt can be 1 and 2 in the world? Should regulators even say that one can only play tennis with one hand? That would really shake things up, wouldn't it? Maybe it's time for serve-and-volleyers to either step up their games or realize that it's just not smart for them to stand at the net and withstand the assault of 90 mph groundstrokes possible with physics of today's athlete.

BreakPoint
10-06-2006, 12:12 AM
If the game is faster today due to the players being bigger, stronger, and more athletic then why do the racquets keep getting bigger and more powerful? You would think it would be the opposite, right? To compensate for the bigger, more powerful players of today, shouldn't the racquets be getting smaller and less powerful since the ball still needs to land inside the same sized court?

And if the players are indeed bigger, stronger, and more athletic today, then they should have no trouble using wood racquets, right? I mean even the tiny, weakling, uncoordinated players of yesteryear could handle them just fine, right?

morten
10-06-2006, 12:35 AM
If the game is faster today due to the players being bigger, stronger, and more athletic then why do the racquets keep getting bigger and more powerful? You would think it would be the opposite, right? To compensate for the bigger, more powerful players of today, shouldn't the racquets be getting smaller and less powerful since the ball still needs to land inside the same sized court?

And if the players are indeed bigger, stronger, and more athletic today, then they should have no trouble using wood racquets, right? I mean even the tiny, weakling, uncoordinated players of yesteryear could handle them just fine, right?
this is where strings come in, poly also ruin the sport, you can hit so hard and still keep the ball in.

haerdalis
10-06-2006, 12:54 AM
Strings more than racquets have changed the game I think. Not that much has really happened to players racquets in the past 10 years or so. Navratilova compared it to golf saying golf regulate it better, but that IMHO is totally wrong. Game improvement equipment actually benefits good players in golf too.

travlerajm
10-06-2006, 01:27 AM
The way pro racquets look on the outside hasn't changed much in the last 10 years.

But the weight distributions have changed a lot. Pro racquets today are much more polarized than they were 10 years ago, making them much more spin friendly. And a lot more players are in on the secrets of how to properly customize a racquet with the right swingweight for optimal performance.

BigServer1
10-06-2006, 01:38 AM
The way pro racquets look on the outside hasn't changed much in the last 10 years.

But the weight distributions have changed a lot. Pro racquets today are much more polarized than they were 10 years ago, making them much more spin friendly. And a lot more players are in on the secrets of how to properly customize a racquet with the right swingweight for optimal performance.

Do you think that this has as much or even more to do with the changes in the game when compared to racquet/string technology? Or do you feel like technology plays a bigger role...

travlerajm
10-06-2006, 02:16 AM
Do you think that this has as much or even more to do with the changes in the game when compared to racquet/string technology? Or do you feel like technology plays a bigger role...

I think that the advances in weight distribution play a bigger part in the changes in the game than string technology, at least for guys in the top-100. Ten years ago, only the top 10 or 20 guys were in the loop. Now it's the top 100-150 guys. Most guys in the top 100 are now using highly polarized frames with swingweights around 365, while there are guys ranked in the 300's who are just as talented, but they won't get any higher because they are using stock weight distributions with lower swingweights.

BreakPoint
10-06-2006, 02:32 AM
travelerajm,
Are the average swingweights of the Top 100 really that high? A SW of 365 seems awfully high to me, even for the pros. Do you have any stats?

jamus30
10-06-2006, 09:12 AM
If the game is faster today due to the players being bigger, stronger, and more athletic then why do the racquets keep getting bigger and more powerful? You would think it would be the opposite, right? To compensate for the bigger, more powerful players of today, shouldn't the racquets be getting smaller and less powerful since the ball still needs to land inside the same sized court?

And if the players are indeed bigger, stronger, and more athletic today, then they should have no trouble using wood racquets, right? I mean even the tiny, weakling, uncoordinated players of yesteryear could handle them just fine, right?

The racquets have gotten bigger and more powerful to cater to recreational players who have the cash flow but not the talent and practice commitment to play good tennis with smaller racquets. I think it's wonderful that one can simply switch to one of many different types of racquets to help out with your tennis game. Let's also not forget that there are all kinds of racquets that the professionals use. Many professionals, men and women, still play with smaller racquets. But some have chosen to play with the bigger, more powerful racquets. A few of these players are Andy Roddick, Venus Williams, and Serena Williams. But we all know--and forget--that these bigger, stronger, more athletic players play with customized racquets that are heavier and strung very tightly so that their balls stay in the court. The playing conditions of their racquets are essentially like everybody elses. I think they simply play with larger racquets to accomodate their wilder swings. And they were born in the 80s and grew up with the new technology. Why should they go back to ancient technology? They shouldn't. But if they did, then they would still hit harder than players who played back in the day.

superstition
10-06-2006, 12:48 PM
Navratilova's foray into the world of new technology started with wood. She actually was playing with the Yonex Carbonex or Carbonelle prior to moving to a mid-sized frame. This was a latter day wood frame with quite a bit of graphite overlays. Martina's first all-graphite frame was the now classic R-7 which sported a slightly larger than wood squared off head. I owned one, and it was a great frame. It wasn't very sturdy. Navratilova was also one of the first top pros to embrace wide-body technology with her pearl colored Yonex RQ-180(?). She dominated with it for a while and was quite successful with it.

The above demonstrates that while both of these pros were competing and earning money on the tour, they wanted the latest greatest and bestest(sic) technology to help them be the best they could be. They did so and didn't care what it did to the game. Now that they are out of the game, maybe they see that they should have been better stewards of the game and done more to protect it. However, it should be noted that both of them helped accelerate the arms race that we have today.
She didn't invent the rackets or sell them. More importantly, she didn't set the rules that said they're OK. Was the R-7 the equivalent of a Pro Drive with polyester string? She didn't convert the Australian Open to grass, or the US Open, either. The rackets she used were available to everyone.

It's like the net height issue. One guy says the net is too high. The other says "it's the same height on both sides". The first guy says "I hit flat, you hit topspin.. it's worse for me". The way to resolve this issue is to have a rule that does its best to balance every consideration. We don't want the net to be so low that topspin is pointless, or so high that only topspin is viable. The game has made the baseliner too dominant and has led to an extremely injured women's tour. These things need to change. Arguing for an unbalanced situation isn't going to solve the problem.

sureshs
10-06-2006, 01:28 PM
If the game is faster today due to the players being bigger, stronger, and more athletic then why do the racquets keep getting bigger and more powerful? You would think it would be the opposite, right? To compensate for the bigger, more powerful players of today, shouldn't the racquets be getting smaller and less powerful since the ball still needs to land inside the same sized court?

And if the players are indeed bigger, stronger, and more athletic today, then they should have no trouble using wood racquets, right? I mean even the tiny, weakling, uncoordinated players of yesteryear could handle them just fine, right?

Modern racquets offer them more opportunities to showcase their talent.

superstition
10-06-2006, 01:51 PM
Modern racquets offer them more opportunities to showcase their talent.
Actually, it's the opposite. The fact that many former serve/volley players have said the racquets/string/hard courts have made that style of play obsolete shows that there are fewer opportunities to showcase one's talent, if one's physique and personality favor that style of play. The game is more homogenous today.

For instance, Wimbledon used to favor serve/volley. The tournament changed to rye because of changes in the game (fewer grass court tournaments and thus fewer grass court players, bigger racquets, etc.) which made the problem even worse. Rye has a higher bounce and is slower. Clay favored counterpunching baseliners. Hard courts favored all-court players with an emphasis on baseline. Now, grass has been practically taken out of the tennis world, and the grass that's left at Wimbledon is wrong. The year rye was first used, the final involved two baseliners.

Modern racquets have taken the slice forehand out of the game. Everyone basically hits topspin all the time, especially in the men's game. etc.

It takes more talent to produce amazing shots with a 67" wood racquet, anyway.

superstition
10-06-2006, 03:49 PM
This (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061006/ap_on_sp_te_ga_su/ten_stuttgart;_ylt=AlYuyS1Y9svEsYEc2fsZjj5Nz7QF;_y lu=X3oDMTBjMHVqMTQ4BHNlYwN5bnN1YmNhdA--)is from one of today's Yahoo News tennis articles:

Jankovic, who reached the U.S. Open semifinals, made repeated unforced errors in the second set. The Serb was treated for cramps during her victory over Tsvetana Pironkova only 15 hours earlier.

Third-seeded Elena Dementieva withdrew Friday from her match against fifth-seeded Patty Schnyder because of a thigh injury. Dementieva cramped during her second-round match on Wednesday and strained her left thigh muscle.

She joined a long list of injured players who either didn't travel to Stuttgart or couldn't finish the tournament. Top-ranked Amelie Mauresmo pulled out before her first match Thursday after injuring her shoulder, and Francesca Schiavone retired with a wrist injury during her first-round match.

Many top stars did not attend because of injuries, including Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Maria Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport, and Serena and Venus Williams.

sureshs
10-07-2006, 10:21 AM
This is from one of today's Yahoo News tennis articles:


Quote:
Jankovic, who reached the U.S. Open semifinals, made repeated unforced errors in the second set. The Serb was treated for cramps during her victory over Tsvetana Pironkova only 15 hours earlier.

Third-seeded Elena Dementieva withdrew Friday from her match against fifth-seeded Patty Schnyder because of a thigh injury. Dementieva cramped during her second-round match on Wednesday and strained her left thigh muscle.

She joined a long list of injured players who either didn't travel to Stuttgart or couldn't finish the tournament. Top-ranked Amelie Mauresmo pulled out before her first match Thursday after injuring her shoulder, and Francesca Schiavone retired with a wrist injury during her first-round match.

Many top stars did not attend because of injuries, including Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Maria Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport, and Serena and Venus Williams.
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Cramps, thighs -> not really racquet related

Many other injuries/no-shows -> are fake, they just don't want to play

Not denying there are a lot of injuries, but I think it is exaggerated a little. Also, we don't have reliable numbers from the wood era.

superstition
10-07-2006, 10:50 AM
These are weak excuses. It's more than obvious that the women's game is a mess of injuries now and wasn't during the wood era. The "power game" causes all sorts of injuries. It's not just the racquets, it's also the string (gut is gentler for the body) and the courts (more grass tournaments in the past).

neo
10-07-2006, 11:29 AM
I think the "thighs, cramps not racket related" is pretty strong excuse. If you exclude those injuries the list wouldn't look nearly as impressive.

joe sch
10-07-2006, 12:43 PM
What Martina states is surely true, especially in doubles but the best player in the world still used a midsize racket and so did the best player before him (Federer pst90, Sampras ps60) and I would argue that these rackets are still not that diff from the graphite rackets of the 80s. The classic allcourt game can still be effective, its just that all the players now specialize in baseline blasting.

Mick
10-07-2006, 01:27 PM
I think the "thighs, cramps not racket related" is pretty strong excuse. If you exclude those injuries the list wouldn't look nearly as impressive.
They are racket related injuries this way: if their opponents had been using the wood rackets, they would not have been able to hit the balls so hard from side to side and cause these women to have those thigh and cramp injuries from chasing after the balls. If you look at tapes of women's tennis from the 80s and compared them to today's women's game, it was much so much slower.

sureshs
10-07-2006, 01:33 PM
They are racket related injuries this way: if their opponents had been using the wood rackets, they would not have been able to hit the balls so hard from side to side and cause these women to have those thigh and cramp injuries from chasing after the balls. If you look at tapes of women's tennis from the 80s and compared them to today's women's games, it is much so much slower.

Yes, but it means you have to be fitter and stronger to play now. Some of the women's matches from the wooden era and even with graphite in the earlier days were sad to watch. Today, it is much more exciting and drawing huge crowds. The fitness requirements also seem to have made the women look more attractive :-)

neo
10-07-2006, 03:53 PM
If you look at tapes of women's tennis from the 80s and compared them to today's women's game, it was much so much slower.

Same could be said about other sports, without any equipment changes whatsoever. Athletes strive to become better, faster, stronger. Unrelated to equipment they are using.

BreakPoint
10-07-2006, 09:07 PM
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Cramps, thighs -> not really racquet related

Many other injuries/no-shows -> are fake, they just don't want to play

Not denying there are a lot of injuries, but I think it is exaggerated a little. Also, we don't have reliable numbers from the wood era.

But cramps and muscle pulls ARE indirectly related to the racquets. The powerful racquets have made the game so much faster that the players have to run so much faster and stretch so much more just to get to every ball. The end result is lots of muscle cramps, muscle pulls, and other injuries related to the game being so much more physical due to the more powerful racquets.

superstition
10-07-2006, 09:39 PM
And, it's wrong to believe that the game is more popular because of the "power game". If anything, it's less popular. Who wants to hear players like Sharapova shriek, and have most of the top players injured? A slower game is not necessarily a more boring game. People who saw the McEnroe/Martin match recently could see how exciting even a retired 47 year old with wood-era strokes can be to watch. I think the match would have been better on fescue grass, though.

superstition
10-07-2006, 09:47 PM
No one has commented on my idea about compromising between the 67" all-wood days and the almost "anything goes" mentality of today's racquet tech. I talked about having a minimum wood percentage in racquets, like 80%. Allowing wood to be reinforced with other materials would allow racquet makers to be innovative, and would provide more options for players. Smaller players could use longer racquets with oversize frames, for instance. There would be no minimum weight, maximum head size, or any restriction aside from spaghetti string and less than 80% wood.

The wood in the racquets would tone down the power, and additionally reduce injuries by adding dampening/flexibility/mass. Players in humid environments wouldn't have to worry because the reinforcement would keep the racquets stable, and people wouldn't have to go back to using racquet presses and worrying about warping.

neo
10-08-2006, 02:59 AM
And what the poor guys in sports like running should do? Athletes run much faster today then they did 30 years ago, there are lots of cramps "because they have to run faster since competition is able to run faster". And they have no equipment to blame for it. Maybe we should make them run with wooden rackets, one in each hand. That ought to slow them down.