Becker: Djokovic's 2011 is the greatest season in tennis history

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by 5555, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Not my planet but, you know, tennis was played under very different circumstances much before you were born.

    I know it looks a contradiction.Of course it does.

    But the difference in bouncing and speeds on the three slam grass ( and there could be even more differences if we include some grass court tournaments that were not part of the Gran Slam) was really considerable

    Now, tennis has been homogeneized by authorities.Grass bounce and speed is almost clay court and hard speed and bounce is almost the very same.No indoor carpet anymore.

    I am not stating it was better or not.My opinion is it was much more interesting but that is an opinion.But what I stated about the differences is a truth.
     
  2. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    I don't doubt that the grass was different, wasn't the USO very muddy or something?

    What I disagree which is a blatant exaggeration that grass plays like clay. It doesn't. You can see from the number of aces, hold game percentage etc...that there is still a considerable difference between them. Why has Nadal won the FO so many times without dropping barely a set but nearly always struggles in the first week of Wimbledon, even going out in the first 2 rounds in back to back years? Why does Djokovic dominate the AO but not win anywhere else?

    There are clear differences between the slams, easily as much as the 3 grass majors of 1969.
     
  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    why all players play the same game? the more it goes, the more Federer looks like the rest.

    yes, rackets and strings of course, but also court homogeneity
     
  4. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Pure serve and volley players were on the decline even in the 90's I think. The court speeds in the mid 00's were still fairly varied, there was some carpet and the USO was faster. Federer won Wimbledon in 2003 with an all court game etc...

    I think the strings making it easier to pass are perhaps the main reason for the lack of net play. I do agree that in recent years the hardcourt speeds seemed to have converged. Also the defence of players like Djokovic and Murray can turn even center court into a ping pong match...
     
  5. Martin J

    Martin J Professional

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    I agree on this. The polyester strings had sent the S&V into oblivion, because the players could generate more pace and more spin, so it became much easier to pass the volleyer or to catch him behind the service line right after the return of serve (putting him in a much worse position for the volley, behind the service line and with the ball below the net), because the returned ball flied faster.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I used to go to the Old West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills where the US Open was played and the grass was just awful. You had bad bounces as a regular part of the game and often the ball wouldn't bounce at all. They had to serve and volley with that type of court. I would venture to say that even with today's racquets they may have to serve and volley because you wouldn't be sure of the bounce. You would have to take it in the air.

    I am not totally sure of the reasons behind the extinction of the serve and volley but I'm not sure if the polyester string is the main reason behind it. Yes it could be a partial reason but my best guess (and your guess is as good as mine as they say) is that no one trains kids to serve and volley anymore. It's not natural to take the ball in the air with a strong punch volley for players.

    The topspin makes it tougher but at the same time their are biggest racquets and they are lighter. The same racquets allows for greater spin and power. Players have much higher first serve percentages nowadays which I would think would be advantageous to serve and volleying.

    They have been so many times I've seen player hit a big serve in which the returner barely get the ball back. That fuzzy yellow ball is just asking to be volleyed away and yet the server decides to let it bounce softly near the baseline and hit a massive topspin forehand drive.

    I think a lack of practice has a lot to do with it in the juniors. I have a good friend who is a top tennis coach for a top college team. I asked him if he ever teaches players the one hander anymore and to serve and volley. He told me that he would love to be the parents just don't want that for their children.

    Worst case scenarios is that I believe players can approach the net more when they get floaters from their opponents. I think they would win a higher percentage of points but that's not what players do today. Better to play it safe at the baseline.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  7. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    It does seem counter-intuitive. . . .
     
  8. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    This begs the question of why do they not train the juniors to serve and volley any more?

    When did the trend start? And where? etc.
     
  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Don't know for sure. My best guess is that it started in the 1970's with Evert, Borg, Connors and the two handed baseliners. Two handers became popular and eventually overtook the one handers. And you know the main emphasis was on baseline play for the two handers.

    The bigger racquets, the poly strings, the lighter racquets helped consistent baseline play.
     
  10. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    And the reason he doesn't train juniors is that the parents don't want the kids to be trained that way.
     
  11. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    So you're saying that the parents who grew up watching Borg, Connors, Evert etc. think that baseline play is best, so don't want their kids to play S&V?

    I was just wondering why the parents suddenly went off S&V if they're from an earlier generation. Or maybe it's because they see all of today's top players at the baseline most of the time, so they think it's the only way to succeed?
     
  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    That's what my friend says. I haven't heard that myself but I have no reason to doubt him.

    My best guess is that people see the best players are two handed baseliners and want to go with the trend as with so many other things in life.
     
  13. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I'm also not sure if parents say that they don't want their kids to be serve and volleyers. My guess is that it's just an outgrow of two handed baseliners playing each other in the juniors and when or if they turn pro they stay that type of player. Probably your last sentence is the most logical answer.
     
  14. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Yes and as you would expect the courts at Wimbledon were immaculate. What were the AO courts like?

    I still don't think that's enough to say the court surfaces were more varied than today, at least at the slam level.

    It's going to be a combination of factors which have influenced the decline of the serve and volley style. It's not going to be just the strings or just the courts, I see the teaching as a by product of these other factors myself.

    Players are still capable of volleying, Federer generation especially had many capable net players. There were also several serve and volley players such as Taylor Dent, Max Mirnyi, Henman and others who can play a more all court style like Federer, Haas, Youzhny, Lopez, Stepanek, Fish etc...Even plays like Nalbandian, Safin, Hewitt etc...Were capable volleyers.

    But the poly strings do make a huge difference. Think of the angles, spins, the heavyness and the pace players hit with now. A guy like Federer hits angles which were impossible before. Passing shots which dip in ways that make volleying much more difficult. You mentioned bigger serves but that also means bigger returns which certainly don't help your volley. I agree there are many players which would benefit from a more complete game but this era has the best collective of baseliners ever. This will ofcourse influence teaching.

    I think I am noticing a trend to venture to the net more than the last few years recently. I think players are realizing that they need to use the net to game an advantage over the elite baseliners.

    I agree about taking out floaters. So many players just float the ball back and reset the rally. Frustrates me, 10 years ago and further back even on clay they'd be able to run in take care of floaters. Watching Almagro play epitomizes this, huge serve and groundies but is allergic to the net.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  15. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I could be that, with the invention of tennis camps and under the influence of gurus like Bollettieri, the coaches now do seek instant success of their pupils. Its easier of course to have fast success with a limited, but solid baseline game, than to blossom later into a more complex allcourt game. It was a sort of rule in the older days, that serve and volleyers peaked later than the pure baseliner. The double hander also has been a factor. While younger players now have it easier to get a strong backhand and baseline game, it prevents them from learning a good backhand volley with full reach. The third factor simply is imo, that many coaches today were themselves baseliners, and cannot teach a proper volley game anymore.
     
  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Simply it started with Bolletieri
     
  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Much diverse surfaces and different approach to the game resulted in much varied styles
    It also happened in life
    As for Kooyong the high bounce was helped by a very dense grass and very high grass concentration
    That helped baselines like Wilander,Vilas and to a lesser degree Connors do very well there
    Vilas won 3 majors there and Wilander won 2
     
  18. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

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    The Australian tournaments and locales were famous for having great grass with true bounces.

    This was partly due to the climate in Australia, which is drier than at Forest Hills or Wimbledon.
    The damp climates there caused the grass to be a darker green, and get mushy and muddy after repeated use during a tournament.

    Australia rules!
     
  19. Roddick85

    Roddick85 Professional

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    Boris is hyping up his guy it seems. 2011 was Djokovic's greatest year and he never even came close to repeating that afterwards. It seemed like a great year stat wise, but as I recall, after the USO he pretty much disappeared in fall of that year because he was burned out physically. I wouldn't go as far as to call this the greatest year in tennis, as invincible as he was, he was schooled by Federer at the FO and was down 2 MP at the USO against again a 30 year old Federer. There's year in his prime where Federer was just unplayable, those were great year in terms of tennis quality. 2011 was the best version of Djokovic the human backboard, however unplayable he was not.
     
  20. The Sandbagger

    The Sandbagger New User

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    McEnroe's was better.
     

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