How good were the early players really?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by gzhpcu, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Messages:
    1,019
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #1
  2. They are, but thats natural since they are such a huge part of the tennis-history and they were some of the first greats and since we all know tennis is very conservative-theyll cherish them forever.
    Level-wise? They are very over-rated but still good thinking of what they played with.
     
    #2
  3. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    Regarding the fact that this is only three points -- i. e. much too brief to base as any kind of evidence beyond reasonable doubt so anyone who does that based on this doesn't use their grey cells very actively.

    We need to see AT LEAST a full great match from this era (rather five to ten ful matches with sound to even build a solid case for a decisive judgement PLUS that we don't know at all the tactics and the stage of the match these glimpses were taken from, it lacks sound (extremely important for a sound judgment -- pun intended).

    If we just took three random points from the Del Petro vs Federer USO 2009 F and Federer shanks a weak second serve, Del Potro DFs and then after a brief, uninspired rally Federer fires a forced error from the BH in the corridor -- many matches are filled with patches of errors and weaker rallies, even the best of them -- so if we saw some long distance, jerky shots without sound for those shots people in a century from now would go "Aw, they suck! Overrated! Total bs, yadda, yadda, yadda!" Same BS different day...

    Tennis, which is sad, takes some time to really grasp and understand the size and variations of. It also takes quite an effort even to be decent on court. Try explain the point system and the intricacies for non-tennis-fans.

    It sounds absolutely, grotesquely baroque in it's weirdness. Break-points, tie-break, love, 40-15, 5th deuce, all the detailed tactics.

    Crap -- it's a science. Takes half a life-time one is always a student...

    That said -- I do think Tilden throws a mean second serve in the first point in the deuce-court which Lacoste (or is it Tilden -- I just looked twice -- I am busy but will study a bit more) thunders almost a clean, bombing cross-court FH-on.

    Next point Tilden throws a nastily nice BH-slice in a great angle that Lacoste cannot dig up...

    No really great or marvelous Federer-hitting between the legs point or the most nuclear serve or the most sickening passing-shot or the most dizzyingly fantastic volley-work on display here which would shock me if the footage here did include. That would mean that they would've needed to record the entire match, select the most typical and greatest and most important shots, rallies and big point-moments.

    Something that just didn't happen really before TV in the 1950s sadly...

    Still I love this footage Gzhpcu -- thanks, you're a trooper yet again!

    And reserve judgment until we know. We just might dig up some serious evidence.

    My Doherty-footage is very promising indeed. It's marvelous, with sound, right speed -- it's a lot of work. Man it takes a lot out of me.

    But -- I am indeed doing the world's first highlight-reel with sound from the Eastbourne-final of 1900 with many rallies both from the singles and doubles-match!

    With the immortal R. F. too around his peak. Too good to be true...

    Nuts! A shock to the system...
     
    #3
  4. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,647
    Backhand

    I liked the cross court backhand that Tilden hit - made Lacoste stretch!
     
    #4
  5. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,647
    Better example - Tilden - Vines

    I think this match between Tilden and Vines gives a better view of what they were capable of. Vines creates a net point that looks not out of place in modern tennis.

    http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=4863

    The last serve of the match seems to be of considerable pace and also a serve by Tilden about 1/2 way through the video seems to be very heavy (Vines returned it out).

    Tilden is the one with the rolled up sleeves and Vines is the one with a short sleeve shirt.

    Recommend you go to full screen.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2009
    #5
  6. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    3,060
    Location:
    somewhere in calif
    competitive with 5.5 today. These guys play with their wooden racquets and the 5.5 plays with modern racquets.

    I will personally come over and slap you, if you say a modern 4.5 will beat these guys. :)
     
    #6
  7. aphex

    aphex Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    6,263
    Location:
    athens, greece
    don't bother---some people will never understand the intricacies and tactics in tennis...
     
    #7
  8. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    Great stuff. Look at Tilden's Tanneresque service, WA-BANG and Vines is smooth and deadly. This is great play. These racquets hardly had any serious grips on them, was thicker and heavier than if you held a cut-down redwood tree in your hands...

    Well, not maybe not exactly the size of a redwood-tree -- but they were nothing like ones today so heavy they were directly clumsy to wield -- disguise was also of extreme importance back then and to appear to be doing something while doing something else was an art-form. Today it's just about -- well, almost -- power -- and if the precision missiles are off by a couple of fractions of an inch -- the tennis know-how ends -- and the player, as we witness way too often, just becomes a sitting duck and yawn-inducing cannon-fodder for the guy with a just a bit more daily form.

    That's the sad part of todays game. The finer tactical maneuvers are usually only seen around the top ten, if that, nowadays...

    The way Vines deals aggressively creating the opportunity at the net and killing the shot is text-book and has all the hallmarks of truly superior talent.

    Big Bill's serve is a beaut. And he punishes the match-point with panache. Man I wish I saw the whole deal. I dislike the world and it's limitations :-D
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2009
    #8
  9. some6uy008

    some6uy008 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    456
    And often don't factor in the fact that each generation builds up on the previous generations
     
    #9
  10. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,564
    This has got nothing to do with the OP, I know, just adding to what I was saying about tactics above:

    Worst example I've seen this year, the awful Söderling at RG against Roger. Note I don't have an asterisk on Roger's victory mainly because of his Madrid-Rafa-destruction (even if Rafa was tired after a 4-hour SF and probably by the ropes form-wise) and his Haas and Del Potro-clutch-kills --

    -- And that he played The Sod like a champ. Slicing, not giving Robin any target for his power-game -- playing disciplined all the way through and deserved the title. Sad thing was, well, I was happy Sod lost, but from a tennis-perspective it would've been more interesting if Söderling had something in store for that tactic, which was predictable -- he hadn't. With brilliance and one tactical-move Roger took it.

    Söderling didn't change a losing game. Incompetent. Absolutely. Boring.

    The 1969 Wimby-final, Newk started chipping his returns low to Laver's first volley and then started lobbing away, surpising the champ with such a weird tactic that it threw the momentum in John's way. Trouble was, Laver was no dummy when it came to HQ-work and started -- lobbing back, maneuvered himself into the match, adapted, as was characteristic and then unleashed teh tidal-wave again...

    Elder players, even the lower ranked ones, were muuuuuuuch more wily and a lot of aces up their sleeves.

    Today's tech allows players to hit balls giving a way higher sound on the dB-range -- yesterday's tech allowed player's to it their balls with a vastly higher IQ-range...
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2009
    #10
  11. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Messages:
    1,019
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Yet look at their footwork. Don't see much of the athletic stance...

    IMHO, it begins to really look good starting with Kramer, Gonzales, Segura...
     
    #11
  12. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,647
    #12
  13. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,668
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    #13
  14. Bjorkman & Johnny Mac

    Bjorkman & Johnny Mac Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    127
    Sometimes its difficult to take it seriously when they are playing in cotton docker khakis
     
    #14
  15. Clintspin

    Clintspin Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Messages:
    776
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9SmGflhMq8

    Watch Helen Woods Moody take a big cut with a wrap around finish and in the end a really nice topspin backhand. She was on the female side of this era and it doesn't look too bad to me. Tilden had to be hitting the ball much harder.

    The old films always make things look funny. Does Charlie Chaplin look like he is moving the same way people do in movies today?
     
    #15
  16. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863
    It is hard to compare any athlete from another era... but it is obvious they were skill tennis players. The thing they could not have taken advantage of is the technology of today, plus the players of today are true professionals... they cross-train and are at the highest levels of fitness. Back then I am sure they went and had a beer after the match.

    So were the good... they were very very good. Could they have been better with todays technology and training...absolutely.
     
    #16
  17. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,773
    Location:
    Hotel CA
    Even this is not a fair comparison, you really cant compare diff era's. These guys were the best athletes in the world and the most skilled tennis players using the equipment of the time. 5.5 players today are not open players and surely not world class players because of these skills that make players "world class". The way that Tilden, Budge, Vines and these other great players shown on these old videos hit the balls with those 14oz wood rackets with 65" heads on tricky fast grass wearing pants and vintage sneakers is exceptional. Most modern fans and players can just not appreciate these conditions.
     
    #17
  18. VGP

    VGP Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,311
    Location:
    Location: Location
    .....not to mention pressureless balls that came out of a box.
     
    #18
  19. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,768
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    #19
  20. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,768
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    If you watch the video at around 0:57 you see the player hitting several almost Almagro-like backhands, and the ball is hit with lots of pace--immediately gone, out of the camera range.

    One factor that must be taken into account is the film-speed: standard silent movie film-speed was 18 frames per second; standard sound film-speed is 24 frames per second Much video footage is 32-36 frames per second. 18 frames per second results in a quick but jerky set of motions a la Charlie Chaplin (particularly when played back on modern projectors, which have only one playback speed, that is 24 frames per second).
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
    #20
  21. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,773
    Location:
    Hotel CA
    Very true ! The balls like all the equipment were very different ... they were softer, not pressurized and did not explode of rackets like modern tennis. The strings were thick guage natural gut, not poly that allowed players to take all out swings and still keep the hits in courts.

    These posters who try to lesson the greatness of the GOATs from different eras just do not understand. Only the best players today would be able to compete with the best players from eras bygone. A 5.5 modern player would not have been able to beat Rod Laver. This kind of talk just makes me sick.
     
    #21
  22. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Messages:
    1,019
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Certainly not talking about Laver, Gonzales, Hoad, Kramer. All great players.

    It is when I look earlier in time at Tilden and company that I have my doubts... Am talking about the 20's and 30's...
     
    #22
  23. VGP

    VGP Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,311
    Location:
    Location: Location
    You realize that "Tilden and company" are the guys that started to figure out how to turn tennis into the sport that it is.

    It's a progression that stems from inovation. Like Maurice McLoughlin's game especially the serve......the California Comet influenced Tilden's cannonball serve.....Tilden's forehand.....and so on.

    Read Tilden's "The Art of Lawn Tennis" sometime. The strategies and approaches of which he writes are very similar to how the game is still played.

    They laid the groundwork. Those are the guys that figured it out.

    I don't care is some "modern 5.5" can hypothetically beat Tilden and company. Without them, tennis wouldn't be where it is. Show some damn respect.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
    #23
  24. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    This is excellent tennis. Consistent depth, great variation, excellent serving. Both guys look extremely fit and mobile.

    In terms of pure skill and athleticism this is top-notch. Of course, this is not the kind of tennis that we see now.
     
    #24
  25. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I think these guys are every bit as skilled as the best in the game today and are better at certain facets of the game than today's pros - volleying, lobbing, slicing. They're worse at certain facets not yet common at the time and developed later, partly due to changes in technology.

    Tilden moved like a gazelle.
     
    #25
  26. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    A lot of wrongfooting, which is a bit of a lost art today and it goes over the head of some viewers who just expect a forehand up the line. But these guys really timed every move.
     
    #26
  27. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    The Laver era for me is peak tennis. The artistry, the skill, the pace, the quickness - sure today's guys are stronger, but skill-wise only a handful are anywhere near the level of Laver/Rosewall.
     
    #27
  28. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,768
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    I agree. Then the great players did it with placement, pace, reflexes, and variety. Today it's all about power and spin.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
    #28
  29. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863
    This is the cornerstone of where my tennis game was built. A lot of he said in this book made sense to me as a learning the game, especially how spin worked.
     
    #29
  30. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,773
    Location:
    Hotel CA
    I also really enjoyed Tilden's "Match Play and Spin of the Ball"
    Tilden was both a great champion and extremely talented analytical tennis writer.
     
    #30
  31. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    Sigh...."crosstraining". LOL. The old party line, started up in the 80's. THESE guys were the original crosstrainers, it was tilden spending the winters running in the snow and chopping wood intensely every day. Ironically, many of the very latest fitness "innovations" are in fact directly stolen from the functional training of earlier eras.

    People (especially amateurs and the unfit) so outrageously overrate "training". As if we have modern techniques SO superior (we don't). And I say this with some pain, as a former trainer! The truth is, the best training is functional stuff, (here's a hint, are you doing it in a gym? 2nd rate...). And the fitness levels and feats of the top-of-the-line old timers was simply phenomenal. I haven't seen much evidence of any of these greats being impeded by a lack of fitness. Quite frankly, they all look smooth, quick, strong and very fit to my trained eye. I ams sure they were not obsessed with their body fat percentage or the new core training ball exercise they learned yesteray, or the third physiotherapist on their team who is currently obsessed with the alignment of their vastus medialis. However, I am sure, they took concern to keep themselves fit and strong, with no excuses. Seemed to work pretty darn well.

    More importantly, "training" really cannot put in "talent". It can help maximize it, but that's it. Quite frankly, if you work hard, you will already maximize your talent. A great trainer might help get you 95 percent vs only 90. But a great athlete, is a great athlete. And old-timers DEFINITELY knew how to get very fit and very strong. In some cases, moreso than the coddled athletes of today, who have been sold increasing loads of fluff (by people "like" me). PERIOD.
     
    #31
  32. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863


    Cannot disagree with anything you have said... but my point is that the current players have the benefit of the science of the sport. They now not only train better, but eat better. They are trained to understand the most effective way to play the current game... they have now become technical players, position of your body your racket etc...

    What I love about the past is that these players were naturally gifted... thoughtful players and not so much the atomatons of today (I know I am going to get kicked for that statement, and I am making it as a general statement not a blanket one). I also fully agree with your statement about functional training, but I am not sure chopping wood helps my game. And running in snow would help my endurance but not my explosive starts and stops required in tennis. I am not interested debating the issue... just stating my thoughts.

    I do believe that as far as training is concerned you cannot beat the science of what is being provided currently. But that does not mean it will not get better as the science of it improves. We learn from the past and the current players have the full advantage of learning from the greats of yesteryear.

    The players of today may have as much or more game... but are they as skilled and masterful as those of the past... I would say very few.
     
    #32
  33. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I am skeptical about this 'science' stuff. It sounds like there are certain standards that have been developed for ways to treat the body, which are now being applied generally.

    Conversely, a player like Tilden developed his own particular standards geared for his own body and I would bet that they were ideal for his time.

    The word 'science' gets thrown around too superficially. Tennis is not run by scientists. It's run by businessmen.
     
    #33
  34. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863


    When I use the word science I am not talking about scientists in white lab coats... but referring to those that study the game... ie. Vic Braden etc...

    Coaches... and trainers... who are designing specific methods of preparing tennis players to preform at their best... mentally and physically.

    What Tilden did was create something that did not exist... I would not say it was ideal at the time, but it was a stepping stone which was built upon a process that does not ever end.

    Tennis may be run by businessmen but tennis players are not.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
    #34
  35. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    How is Vic Braden specifically qualified on the matters of nutrition and training? You just kind of throw his name in there.

    As for coaches and trainers - I am not saying that these guys know nothing about getting their players ready. Rather, I very much doubt that their approach is as scientific as it is made out to be by some around here.

    I bet that Tilden was as fit as a fiddle in his peak days. But I acknowledge that the average tennis pro was probably nowhere near his level in terms of fitness and preparation. I suspect that across the board there were more discrepancies among players, but when it came to the most dedicated athletes I don't doubt that they were extremely fit, even for today's standards. Does anyone really doubt that Jesse Owens was fit?
     
    #35
  36. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863

    Obviously I am not getting my point across... how about I use the word "study" as opposed to "science" if it makes it better for you.
     
    #36
  37. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,768
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Man could thse guys hit the angles and paint the lines.
     
    #37
  38. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Messages:
    1,019
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #38
  39. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863
    Thanks I have never seen either Trabert or Hoad play... Hoad apparently had Laver's number for the longest time.
     
    #39
  40. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,260
    Linkage across the generations should be enough. You concede Hoad and Trabert. Link it back from them. Note how the greats play overlaps the greats of the next gen. Also note the due paid to them by those who faced and succeeded them.

    Rosewall?
    Sedgman?
    Gonzales?
    Kramer?
    Riggs?
    Budge?
    Perry?
    Vines?
    The Four Musketeers?
    Tilden?

    Check the records and how late each of these guys faired against the next greats of the generation. For example:

    In 1941 when Tilden was 48 he could still take matches off of the then prime undisputed number 1 in the world Don Budge.

    In '46 and '47 Don Budge after a suffering a severely career limiting shoulder injury played the then #1 Bobby Riggs nearly to a stalemate h2h facing each other nearly 50 times each of those two years when Budge was 31 and 32. And Riggs barely eked Budge out at that time.

    Kramer shelled Gonzales early on in Pancho's pro career.

    Pancho barely beat Segura and an aging Kramer by 1953, had a back and forth with Hoad but dominated Rosewall early.

    The point is there is tremendous linkage Great to Great through the generations. These guys, the greats of the past, going all the way back proved their metal against the next greats, and they against the greats that then followed them.

    They're legit. Their pedigrees and results against the next measuring sticks prove it.

    5
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
    #40
  41. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Well, I still disagree with you that tennis players are not being run by businessmen. Agassi was run by businessmen at least until he hired Brad Gilbert. The whole academy environment is pure business. They may have years worth of studies, knowledge and equipment to go on, but does this environment really serve players better than what went on before?

    I'm not so sure. I suspect that this churns out more competitive players. But not more great ones.
     
    #41
  42. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,647

    Agree totally. Early players for instance believe that Tony Wilding (world number 1 - 1911, 1912 & 1913) would have given Tilden a run for his money.
     
    #42
  43. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Messages:
    1,019
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Do you see McEnroe taking matches off Federer or Sampras? Certainly not. All the above proves is the lack of athletisism of the early players, allowing aging players to still have a chance. Just like Golf. Golfers in their 50's can still be a threat.
     
    #43
  44. VGP

    VGP Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,311
    Location:
    Location: Location
    A 49 yo McEnroe beat a 37 yo Sampras last year....

    (ok, Pete tweaked his back, but still)

    Then when they were both healthy, McEnroe played his "best ever" according to Sampras in the Black Rock finals of '08.

    As for McEnroe vs. Federer, they haven't played one-on-one. I assume McEnroe would get beat, but he is almost twice Federer's age......and Federer's 28.

    The un-equalizer is equipment. I think the reason a 48 year old former great could still hang with a 24 year old current great is the equipment, not the athleticism. Everyone gets slower with age. It was true in 1949 as it is in 2009. It's just magnified now with how the game is played.
     
    #44
  45. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863

    Hey VGP nice to see you around...

    I would have to debates Pete's claim... I don't think he could judge how well Mac played since he never played McEnroe in '84 what many of us would consider his best tennis.

    I agree a player McEnroe's age could hang with a current pro like Federer... I think McEnroe could hit with Federer... but giving up a step of foot speed in todays game is the difference between returning a ball and watching it go by you. I would debate that todays game has never had so many well conditioned athletes. Which I attribute to the new training regiments and eating practices... I don't remember seeing muscles like Nadal's on McEnroe or Connors in the '80s.
     
    #45
  46. VGP

    VGP Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,311
    Location:
    Location: Location
    When I quoted him, it was from an interview when Sampras said that McEnroe played the best he's ever played against him.

    Sorry to have (inadvertently) overstated.

    very true....

    Although, Vilas was pretty beastly at the time.....and could run all day.

    [​IMG]
     
    #46
  47. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863

    It is funny you brought him up... because I thought of him after I posted and I agree he was a beast.
     
    #47
  48. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,464
    Vilas' strength was scary. I remember someone barely got a shot back to Vilas' side of the court just barely over the net, let's say about four feet over the net. Vilas' flicked at the ball with his backhand smash and it went high into the stands. That's an amazing feat of strength. His stamina was legendary also.

    I heard that he practiced for many hours before he was to play Jimmy Connors in the finals of the US Open in 1977. Usually players don't do that because they are afraid they would wear themselves out but Vilas played Connors and defeated him in perhaps his greatest victory.

    In general I would tend to agree with that.

    Pancho Gonzalez was able to defeat a young Jimmy Connors in a tournament in 1971. Connors was able to defeat Edberg at the US Open in 1989 in straight sets. Edberg, who are around his peak only won seven games for the match.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
    #48
  49. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Nadal inherited incredible genes. I doubt his workout regimens are more sophisticated than McEnroe's. Just a different body type.

    Mac is just a skrawny Irish dude. He was screwed from the start.;)
     
    #49
  50. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    That is fine, and you have every right to state your opinion, which you have done quite rationally. However, while I agree with some, I disagree in several ways. I dont' want to get into a debate on these many and varied issues either, as I have posted extensively on them before. Let's just say, even though I spent years training hockey and tennis players for explosive starts, I have little confidence in the efficacy. At best it helps the athlete maximize there potential, but this is usually at best, the gain of a few percentage in an already fit and trained athlete, probably much less in a world class athlete. That might make a real difference if you're trying to shave .02 off your running time, but is likely almost negligble in most mainstream sports.

    I think nutrition has improved in general, but this to, has been rather overpromoted and overrated. The truth is, good, healthy eating in general is still the best policy. In fact, forward thinking scientists and research have begun to show that STILL many of our newfound beliefs and truth on nutrition may be backasswards!

    Lastly, I'd say not to give too much credit to modern knowledge of mechanics. (which in fact is still EXTREMELY primitive compared to say....golf). But really, top players, (aside from the odd idiosyncratic stroke) have always had good mechanics. REALLY good. The reason is that good mechanics are natural mechanics. I think that more below world-class players have good mechanics now, but the truth is, most world class players didnt' learn their mechanics at all from formal coaches. This has been changing as academy kids rule the roost, but the truth is, most great kids even today, developed their strokes the way the players of old did, by sheer natural repetition, emulation, and experimentation. Sure, a few tips here and there, but really, modern knowledge of biomechanics is heavily overrated when it comes to their contribution to the pros. In fact, we constantly see those same "experts' revising their theories and teaching in response to how say..Fed hits his forehand, or how Sampras serves, or how Player X hits stroke Y so well!

    Although, this is lessening because we see a much more homogenous style played out there unfortunately (just as you mentioned). Even within the baseline game, I would love to see a player come along with the groundsrokes of a Mecir or Connors. Even in the late 90's, you could still see the wild contrast of a player like a Korda facing a heavy topspin two hander. That sure made tennis more interesting to me, let alone having net rushers in there...
     
    #50

Share This Page