Comparing current players to previous era

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by TMF, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Messages:
    21,231
    Whether how tough it is to compare players from different generations, obviously, there’s a tremendous bias against the current players on this forum. When the players in the past did not play the kind of game the current player are doing right now, they get a free pass simply b/c the argument is about today’s players have the advantage with new equipment and technologies. Therefore, anything a modern players did better than the old school, it’s get written off. E.g. serve, footwork, speed, pace, power, etc. BUT, when players like Laver, Rosewall or Gonzalez did something better(statistically) than today, it’s all good. There’s nothing to argue simply b/c they were playing inferior equipments. This is all hogwash! For example, using past players winning more single titles is a testament of their superiority or durability is wrong. The players today are more prone for injury b/c of game is more physically demanding. Plus, most tourneys are hard court which takes a lot more beating on the body. Another example is the ability to hit passing shot. Yep, today’s have better racquet, so no matter how skillful they can hit passing shot, it’s means little or nothing when comparing to Laver and company. Yet, I even heard that today’s players doesn’t qualify for the debate about the greatest passing shot. Why? Because today’s players don’t serve and volley, so their skill cannot be measure, therefore current players aren’t as good. I found that odd b/c when I use the same argument about ‘best tennis movement of all time’. The current era are playing at a much faster pace, where players are force to run much more, and must be a great court coverage to be the best. The previous generations was playing at a much slower pace, pressure is less apply on running, therefore they weren’t being tested, so how good they can cover the court are unknown. What do I get out of that argument? SARCASM left and right by member from the old school!
     
    #1
  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,411
    Did someone say that current players don't qualify for great passing shots? :confused: I'm surprised. Anyway I think current players can qualify for that thread and I think players like Nadal are fantastic at passing shots and a number of others today also.

    TMF,

    One of the fun things about sports, not just tennis is the debate about players, whether they are current players or former players. A lot of the posters in this forum have seen past and current players and they voice their opinions as you do yours. I agree with you often and often I disagree but I do think you make good points even when I disagree.
     
    #2
  3. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,023
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    In terms of thread topics regarding equipment, you cannot simply ignore the benefits of modern technology. A bigger racket face, different types of frame and stringing all have a great impact upon the impact of contact with the ball, a player playing with a modern racket can do things that a player playing with a wooden wilson for instance would have a lot of trouble doing themselves given their current technology. Smaller racket faces requires more precise swings and with a bigger racket face its a little easier to let loose and generate more power, thats just an inconvenient truth to both sides of that arguement that you just sort of have to accept even if you don't like it.

    As for the movement comment, The movement today is more side to side and baseline oriented movement. While players of older era's maybe didn't have to do that as much they had net movement, approaching speed, and other areas of movement. I don't think its possible to say one person is best at all areas defined under moving, speed, volleying, etc etc because there are to many dimensions within it some of which are more emphasized within the modern game and some of which were more emphasized in the past.

    Also, you make the comment that there is an overwhelming bias against current players? I could turn that around and say just the opposite. There are posters on this board who put a ton of emphasis on past players and how great there eras were and so on and so forth, but there are I would argue just as many who seem to dismiss the older generations as inferior to the current one for reasons x, y and z. Yes we have had a lot of threads that go along the lines of "Laver would dominate the current Generation" or another past great, but then we have people who say even a player like Olivier Rochus could dominate the older generation. There is just as tremendous bias against previous players and in favor of current ones, this is not a one sided issue whatsoever and people on both sides need to learn to respect the other side and come to a middle ground.

    That is why I have said its ok to compare players of different eras as long as you are doing it in context of their era and their competition. I have no problem with threads about greatest player ever at whatever because its nice to speculate and see how things have truly evolved, but all it is is speculation and should not be taken as seriously as your tone might suggest you do. I guarantee there are people here who feel opposite in view but just as strongly, this is not a one sided issue.
     
    #3
  4. davey25

    davey25 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Messages:
    5,059
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Totally agree with everything you said. The 3rd paragraph the most of all!
     
    #4
  5. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,622
    Agreed 100%. I just don't know how much this will happen. Not to throw a cynical note in here, but how many times do you see posters making arguments against their favorite player(s)? It happens here and there -- and that's when this board really seems at its most worthwhile, because you sense that something more than bias and favoritism is driving the arguments.

    Of course, you can't eradicate all bias. Nothing wrong with liking a certain player, or with making arguments for him. But far and away most arguments are always the same. Always the same people arguing for the same players. It gets so old.
     
    #5
  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,411
    Can't agree more. That why I often like to cite statistics concerning players because a number helps to show how good or bad a player is. Yet at the same time you have to put the stats in perspective. For example one stat I used to see in the past was that Pete Sampras was the GOAT because he won the most majors with 14. Excellent point but at the same time these people fail to mention how often Sampras has entered the majors. Far more than many old time greats or even recent greats. If you mention all the facts, only then can you possibly reach a decent conclusion.
     
    #6
  7. swordtennis

    swordtennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Messages:
    4,194
    I dont buy the technology excuse. For some odd reason all the 2 modern greats Sampras and Federer use 85-90 square inch rackets.
    All I have to do is watch and compare.
    Laver and Pancho G. have really stood out to me from the old timers from what I see. Borg I am still trying to figure out. Just does not stand out. He is great for sure just not seeing how he is above Laver and Fed.
    Connors and Mcenroe are great too. Laver was a bit short and thats the only fault I can find with him.
    Love Agassi but I watched that guy fold sooooooo many times in big moments and **** me off.
    :)
     
    #7
  8. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    LOL. Normally I don't bother responding to TMF, as he's childish and ignorant....waste of time. Can't help but point out one of the major flaws in his "logic" here though. I just posted 2 min. ago, that I can't consider current players among GOAT contenders for passing shots, due to lack of data. One huge difference between "us" and him though is that, instead of dismissing them as being inferior, I simply said I could not compare them. In fact, I then threw in a bit of speculation. Even if we ignore his flawed premises that:

    The game was so much slower we cannot compare - it is slower, though not nearly as much as he thinks, and knowledgeable observers know this. However, that does not stop us from comparing....that difference, small as it is, is a quantitative one, not a qualitative one eg. no passing shots vs passing shots....

    If he wished to say that the game is faster, and thus HE can't compare them, then that is fair. (we see in fact that it's true, he cannot, whether it's through lack of a discerning eye or his inability to overcome his personal bias) However, his tactic is that Federer IS the best. The irrationality/incompatibility of this conclusion with the argument presented here speaks for itself. I am happy he did this! Very revealing!
     
    #8
  9. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Messages:
    21,231
    I don’t want to be mean by bringing up names, but since Datacipher’s post was quite disturbing, I must say something. The lack of passing shots against players from the net today are again, there isn’t much s/v players. However, there are a few players like Dent, Stepanek, or Karlovic do play s/v and have shown for getting passed quite often. It may not have much data, but it sure tell us that s/v is suicidal against players are equip to hit passing shot. That’s the reason why players chose to stick behind the baseline simply it’s the best tactics for them to win. So….we can’t compare b/c the sample data are so small today than the old school players. But how do you define passing shot? Does it always has to be against a player charging to the net? I define passing shot is an ability for a player to hit the ball on both wings where his opponent is out of position to get the ball back, and whether if his opponent is at the net or well behind the baseline. With a result of clean winner or a force-error. Today’s players have the ability to hit passing shot when both players are behind the baseline. It’s more common in this era and this is something where the past generations lack the data. But I know this gets written off by Datacipher b/c he will use the advanced racquet & strings that promote better results.

    With that being said, I think hitting passing shot against a net rusher is just as difficult as trying to hit a passing shot when a player is behind the baseline. The net rusher doesn’t give a player much time, he has to make quick decision as to whether lob, hit DTL or crosscourt. Pressure is immense to hit a passing shot b/c if he don’t come up with the good, his opponent will put a volley away. Hitting a passing shot against a baseliner require power, good angle or placement. When a player try to go for broke, it increases in chance for error, which is risky(especially against a quick player like Rafa).
     
    #9
  10. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    Again, I usually ignore this moron. But sometimes even I cannot resist such a troll. ANYONE who has read my posts knows that I MINIMIZE the impact of technology. I think it is largely irrelevant...of course, you didn't even bother to read MY post, to see exactly WHY I wouldn't consider modern players...or again, cannot understand it. What a joke...sigh. And yes, we all know that any post which does not contain "Federer is by far the best at ____ there is no comparison, I wish he'd oil me up tonight" is disturbing to you.

    And yes, you go ahead and define passing shots for you as being shots when both players are at the baseline. I stand by what I said about psychology. Yes, I know, you didn't understand that part.
     
    #10
  11. davey25

    davey25 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Messages:
    5,059
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    You hit the nail on the head of TMF to an absolute T. That and any post which does not contain "Serena is a total fluke and nobody who will never be great despite her 12 slams, who TMF is not at all jealous and obsessed with despite his angry rants anytime she wins another tournament"
     
    #11
  12. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Why is Fed the best player around today? (Careful, this is a rhetorical question.)
     
    #12
  13. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    How many of these matches were on hard court? (Careful, this is a rhetorical question.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
    #13
  14. swordtennis

    swordtennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Messages:
    4,194
    hoodjem,
    Wow check out some of those cities! Rochester, NY back in its glory days. Troy too. THey used to be glorious cities. Now burned out boarded up downtowns.
    Boise! I live there!
     
    #14
  15. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,411
    Incidentally notice how many days in a row these guys (Gonzalez and Rosewall in this instance but the Pros in general in those days) played. They played full out, switched from city to city, court to court and yes they had a lot of injuries but they played through them. I would venture to say they these players had tougher schedules, played on awful courts and very well were more vulnerable to injury because of the bad conditions that they played under.
     
    #15
  16. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Yes, an absolutely grueling schedule.

    And notice the places and dates: don't tell me they were playing outside on a sunny, lush grass courts in Muncie, Indiana or Sherbrooke, Quebec in March.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
    #16
  17. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,411
    At the same time Rosewall playing a Gonzalez night after night has to improved the level of your game by a great amount. And of course Gonzalez's level of play couldn't be hurt by playing the great Rosewall, even if he was very young and inexperienced.
     
    #17
  18. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    GOAT against GOAT--day in and day out..

    Imagine a schedule like this where Nadal plays Fed night after night after night?
     
    #18
  19. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Messages:
    21,231
    You are asking modern players to play as much as they did is simply impossible. The game is much more taxing on the body. This isn’t just happened to one or two players, but a host of other players are beat up too. You use Gonzo and Rosewall as an example of the player’s fitness are much better than today. So how is it 50+ years ago players are so healthy and doesn’t get burned out like today? Did today’s players eating too much junk foods? Are they just simply out of shape? After all the excuses about players today having the advantage over equipments, nutrition, training, blah blah blah. Maybe having all of the advantage does make these modern athletes getting worse.:confused:
     
    #19
  20. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,411
    It of course it is possible. It would be extremely tough and it was extremely tough at that time also.

    I didn't write their fitness was better than today but I wanted to point out how tough they had it. They may have been hurting but the match must go on.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
    #20
  21. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863
    This argument is not an easy one to assess... my humble opinion is that equipment plays a large part of todays game. The way I think of it is this... if you think of tennis of a game of control and power... and consider a sliding scale.

    Power<<< >>>Control

    With a larger racket you could slide the scale more to the power side since hitting the center of your racket is at less of a premium. Using a 60 sq/in racket... control is much more an important... and mishits become much more of an issue. With a smaller racket most of us would play a much more controlled game, making sure to hit the center of your racket to get the most out of every shot... opposed to swinging wildly trying to max out on power and spin.

    Playing tennis with a small racket competitively is a different game, but this is just my opinion.
     
    #21
  22. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    TMF, You seem like a nice person and an intelligent and knowledgable poster, but I didn't say any of the things you believe I said.

    I asked you to imagine if Fed and Rafa played this schedule. I am not suggesting any conclusions from your imagining. I'll leave that to you.

    I did not say that Gonzales or Rosewall are more fit. You inferred that, I did not say that. If that is the conclusion you draw, then that is your conclusion.

    All I meant to suggest is that the Pro game was not as easy, cushy, and "country club" as some have suggested. That's all.

    If you want to say that for today's players to play this schedule would be impossible for the toll it would take on their bodies, then OK say that. (I am not so sure--maybe they are so fit they could actually could play this tough, hard schedule.) But to use this belief to conclude therefore that today's game is much more demanding is simply logically incorrect.

    Please stop arguing against yourself, and then disliking your own conclusions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
    #22

Share This Page