Career Slam Easier Now?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Aug 12, 2007
    There has been lots of talk about the homogenization of the surfaces of the slams lately. Also factor in jet travel making it much easier for players to get to the slams while remaining in peak form.

    Does this make achieving a career slam easier today? Fed has done it. Nadal has done it. Djoker is coming close--within one match.

    Is it easier now?
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
  2. TennisLovaLova

    TennisLovaLova Hall of Fame

    Jun 10, 2011
    Yes it is, obviously.
    Surface homogenization and poly are the 2 main causes it's easier now. Also, the game has become much more physical, so not anyone can come and do the career slam. But compared to the 80's and the 90's IMHO I'd say it's much easier.
    You dont need to be a grass or HC specialist to win Wimbledon or USO/AO.
  3. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

    Jan 4, 2010
    Of course it is.. similar surfaces and 32 seeds in last 10 years
  4. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

    Jul 18, 2008
    Considering now that every top player plays every major in every year I would say so.
    One-The first reason is the simple laws of probability says that if a top player plays a tournament enough he has a better chance of winning it. Players like Ellsworth Vines or Don Budge didn't play that many majors in their careers. Despite that Budge did win every major in his career.

    Several other factors involved in the past preventing players from winning every major in the course of their career.
    Two-The second reason was obviously in the past player did not want to travel for weeks on end by boat to go to the Australian, Wimbledon or the French or US Nationals.
    Three-The Pro/Amateur divide. Once a top player won several majors they would want to make a living from tennis, once that happened they would be banned from the classic majors. Examples of this would be Jack Kramer, Bobby Riggs, Pancho Segura, Pancho Gonzalez, Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Gimeno, Budge, Vines, Perry and Laver. Of course some of these players did win all the majors but they could not accumulate more majors.
    Four-The classic majors often were not as important as some tournaments and frankly big money. The Australian was not played by top players like Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase, Stan Smith, John McEnroe that often. I think combined they played it less than Pete Sampras did or at least around the same amount. The player often decided to play bigger money tournaments. Also tournaments like the WCT Championships and the Year End Masters were essentially majors and were preferred to some majors.
    Five-They don't have boycotts or bans anymore. They used to do ridiculous things like not allowing the players to play the French Open because they wanted to play World Team Tennis. Jimmy Connors in 1974 was prevented from playing the French Open (and possibly missing a Grand Slam for the year) because he was going to play WTT. Bjorn Borg was prevented playing the French in 1977 because of the same reason. If Borg won the French he may have been a clear number one for the year.

    There have been many super dominant players in the history of tennis yet only in recent years has top players begun to win a decent amount of majors. How many majors would Federer and Sampras have won under the past conditions? Obviously not nearly as many because they would have turn pro if they played in the 1930's to 1960's and couldn't win majors. It would not make them lesser players. They would be just as great but they wouldn't have as many of the classic majors but perhaps they would have won Pro Majors instead.

    I think if we have Open Tennis all the time the majors record with the men may very well be in the mid twenties or so. Look at the Women in tennis. Players like Court could play all the majors and she won 24 majors. Graf won 22. Evert and Navratilova won 18. Wills and Lenglen did participate in as many majors so they didn't win as many as Court or Graf although Wills did win 19 out of 24 played. I believe Lenglen won 8 of 11.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
  5. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

    Jul 15, 2009
    Disagree. The slams are involved with 3 different surfaces unlike in the old days when there's 3 grass and 1 clay. Even today's Calendar Slam is much more difficult to achieved. Rod Laver said the Calendar Slam today is equal to 2 in his heyday.
  6. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Legend

    Jul 15, 2012

    I found your analysis excellent.

    Today we have only four top players while in Laver's time there were six or more.
  7. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Hall of Fame

    Dec 14, 2010
    Augusta, GA
    It's like any sport really.

    with the training practices/technology of equipment number of people playing recovery energy bars/drinks etc..

    the level of the game today ii so far beyond the past..

    and in 25-30 years when medical advances can improve injury's and keep players at 100% it will be beyond that.

    imagine a Nadal or Novak (like player) who in great health is nearly untouchable when in good health/form/fitness.

    now imagine multiples of those players at the level playing each other.

    AO 2012 was a glimpse at the future of the battle mens tennis is going to become.
  8. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

    Apr 26, 2012
    Obviously... Just in the last 5 years or so we have already had 3 guys win 3 slams in one year. I think before that we didn't have that done for 40 years. Taking nothing away from Fed, Nole or Nadal.. But IMO that has to deal with homogenizing the conditions and play. I think that says a lot.. And rest assured it will be done ALOT more in the next 20 years if conditions stay the same.

    Unless they implement more indoor slams or some sort of slam with carpet or decide to go back to polarized conditions of the 90's (Doubtful), we will probably continue on with these slow conditions and the grinders will be threats at every slam. (Unless wimbledon rains every year and they have to close the roof where an attacker more aggressive type player prospers)
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
  9. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Legend

    Jul 15, 2012

    You really believe the game today is much beyond the old game, a Federer is better than Laver? Then I believe you are an alchemist.
  10. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

    Jul 18, 2008
    I know I won't change your agenda but let's use a hypothetical here--Let's say Federer in 2004 was transportated to 1949 and had the same year in 1949 he had in 2004 relatively speaking. Federer decides (he's an amateur) to turn pro in order to make a living at tennis. He is now banned from the majors until 1968 and he is now 42. How is playing now harder to win all the majors than the past when you couldn't play the majors at all? The odds of winning any major prior to 1968 if you were a pro is zero percent. Please explain that to me.
  11. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Feb 11, 2004
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    I'm going to disagree with your disagree.

    Biggest point is that the disparity between grass and clay was bigger then. Even pros from the 80s say that Roland Garros is much faster and the courts are firmer. Add to that the change from pressureless balls and you have a different tournament.

    The grass at Wimbledon has been slowed down.

    I've done some reading and the pros from the days of 3 grass and one clay all say that the three grass tournaments were completely different surfaces as well. To a player, they all hated the courts in New York as they were just plain crappy. That is what made the USTA change to Har Tru for a period.

    The Australian's surface was the polar opposite of New York's. Where New York was soggy and the courts were soft (grass that is), the AO was sun baked and hard. Finally, like Goldie Locks, Wimbledon was always "just right". But different they were.

    Also, scheduling for players was a scramble back in the day. The money wasn't in tennis and players had to do whatever they could to make a buck. There wasn't the slow and steady build to peak for a major. The schedules were much more frenetic.

    And of course the seeds were limited to 16 back then.

    Finally, as a rebuttal, you must remember that the tournaments leading up to the majors were not necessarily the same surface as the major. So, players didn't get time on the same surface as tournament directors didn't care if they were helping the players because the players themselves didn't put the emphasis on the majors that they do now. So, it was harder to win.

    And you neglect to factor in the Aussie & US Opens being on the same surface which is one tournament short of 3 grass and 1 clay by your logic.
  12. timnz

    timnz Legend

    Oct 17, 2008
    In a way, can you really call them different surfaces? Navritilova said this year that the australian open was playing like clay. Wimbledon has been slowed down enormously. I thought that the us open was going to be a hold out, but they slowed that down last year as well. Okay, there is still some variance, but nothing like pre-2002.
  13. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

    Sep 13, 2007
    Weak era
    In short, yes.

    Surface homogenization, heavier balls, going from 16 seeding system to 32 (which protects top players more).

    Oh for Pete's sake, Wilander won 3 slams in 1988 (after him Fed did in 2004, that's not even 20 years) and I'm positive Borg would have definitely had a few 3 slam years if AO wasn't such a "meaningless" event in those days (not to mention McEnroe in 1984, when he was near unstoppable on any surface).
  14. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Jun 18, 2004
    Of course it is easier now. Pre-Open era, players often only played a year or two as the top amateur in the slams before turning pro. You only had 2 or maybe 3 shots at each.

Share This Page