Navratilova & Mcenroe on Racquet/String Tech

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by dmcb101, May 28, 2013.

  1. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Messages:
    572
    Hello TT Readers,

    I was watching some French open today and the Tennis Channel did a special about racquet/string technology and was wondering what others thought on the matter.

    Navratilova thought thought that the strings should be banned and Mcenroe and Christopher Clarey (NY Times tennis writer) thought that making the sweet spot smaller (i.e. reducing the legal head size) would also help the game. They believed that tennis was heading in the direction of less skill and more based on pure physicality. They also all agreed that with the current technology, construction of points is becoming less important because players can just flick winners from seemingly impossible locations on the court.

    I am not so sure i'd like to see a rule change as much as I would like to see a tournament where players are only allowed to use a certain racquet head size or ban poly string or something like that. I would like to see how certain players perform without their extremely powerful racquets/extra spinny strings and see the outcome.

    This whole coversation started because the commentators were talking about how golf banned the use of long putters and anchoring to the stomach while putting. I think its interesting golf can change and I am curious if tennis might take steps to do the same for game modifications.

    Thoughts?

    Here is the link to the conversation...

    http://www.tennischannel.com/video/...dcode=FrczN5Yjr3rDzmUrLj9qBNi8RMAuVG2e&lid=2&


    Thanks!
     
    #1
  2. USArmyTennis

    USArmyTennis New User

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    76
    I saw this on French Open Tonight. It was interesting hearing from the older players on the new ways tennis was going and their ideas to bring back S&V. But even JMac said people are adapting and learning how to come to the net more to finish points. It would be cool to see some pros go out with some old woodies even in an exhibition to see how it goes.
     
    #2
  3. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,461
    Yes, I saw that segment on French Open Tonight as well. I agree with everything everyone on the panel said. Point construction, serving and volleying, strategy, creativity, using your brain, etc, have all pretty much gone out the window with today's massive, lightweight, ultra powerful racquets and poly strings. Now it's all about smacking winners from 10 feet behind the baseline, which was once impossible to do.

    Going back to wood racquets and gut strings would pretty much solve all of these problems. :)
     
    #3
  4. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,461
    Within the past couple of years, both Pete Sampras and Todd Martin have used old wood racquets on the senior's tour and kicked butt with them (even though their opponents used modern graphite racquets). :) :shock:
     
    #4
  5. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    3,995
    Location:
    1313 Mockingbird Lane.
    They just sounded jealous that they didn't have these toys when they were kids
     
    #5
  6. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    6,526
    Location:
    France
    ^Somehow yeah.

    I'm rather for bringing more surface variety and change the balls according to this. It's not because Borg had a wooden racquet that he wasn't more fit than his opponents and could, at his level, grind them until they're exhausted. If you want less physical tennis, encourage the players to do something else with the ball. The fact the surfaces are homogenized makes them realize that playing attacking tennis doesn't work well, and therefore they hit the gym instead of doing volley drills.
     
    #6
  7. Welsh Wizard

    Welsh Wizard Rookie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    UK

    Completely agree with this point. The standardisation of the surfaces (i.e. the slowing down of!) is what has led to lack of variety in the game. That has led to four players being able to dominate becuase they are solid in all areas of the game, rather than having specialists coming out of the woodwork at Paris and Wimbledon like we used to see. There is no real fast surface and no real slow surface anymore. Grass can provide just as high a bounce as clay these days and the difference in court speed between the Oz open and the US is negligable at best.

    I'm not saying strings and rackets don't play a part, but polyester strings have been around for many years now in various forms and many players still use gut in a hybrid. Many of the most popular rackets are based on rackets that have been around for 25 years (Head prestige/pro tour, Wilson Pro Staff, etc) - even back in McEnroe's and Navratilova's day. In Mac's autobiography he even states how he switched to graphite after getting beaten by his brother who was using one!

    Back to the point, it's the slow down in surface that has led to the baseline bashing. The likes of Nadal and Djokovic, with their style of game and phobia of the net, should get nowhere near a grass final, let alone win one!

    Also, just to put it out there, like any other sport, perhaps the players today are just a little better and more professional than 20-30 years ago? Fitness regimes have improved, attitudes have changed. I sometimes think Mac and Navratilova do need to accept the fact that they don't compete at that level anymore and accept that some of the modern players may be, just may be, better than they were? It's just evolution of the sport.
     
    #7
  8. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Messages:
    572
    This is a good point and I agree with the court surface as the problem but I am still interested in what people think about reducing the legal head size and keeping the strings; or keeping the head size and taking away poly strings.

    I would be interested in seeing how some people perform with out either one. Looking at the top 4 players (Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray), rank in order who would do best with the changes (i.e. reduced head size/ no poly's)

    AKA
    Best 1. Player A
    ... 2. Player B
    ... 3. Player C
    Worst 4. Player D

    My pick

    1. Federer
    2. Murray
    3. Djokovic
    4. Nadal
     
    #8
  9. HRB

    HRB Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,482
    I enjoy the modern game, and the physicality...trying to change that sounds like the vertically challenged white old guys who want to "raise the hoop" in basketball...driven by pure jealousy!

    That being said, there is validity to how much modern equipment helps. I hold a wooden racquet round robin amongst a group of 3.5's to 5.0's who regularly play each other every year. The 4.5-5.0's are guys in their 20's while the rest are in their late 30's early 40's.

    Let's just say that when we break out the woodrows...those kids can get a ball past the service line and our quickly dispatched!
     
    #9
  10. HRB

    HRB Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,482
    CORRECTION...meant CAN'T...get the ball past service line!!! Fire my editor..me!
     
    #10
  11. rosewall4ever

    rosewall4ever Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    501
    "Now we're making rules for the betterment of the game based on zero evidence? Incredible," Scott said. "What did they think when they allowed it? You're dealing with professional athletes who are competitive, who want to find better ways. ... What do they think when they've got supertalented golfers (tennis players) putting in thousands of hours of practice with a long putter (oversize), short putter(midplus), sand wedge (midsize), whatever (strings)? It was just a matter of time. They're going to get good." -adam scott

    will it be the same for tennis i wonder?
    In respect to changing the surface and balls, at least in AO, it already has,to which it has changed the conditions of play, irrespective of racquet and string setup. The plexicushion was supposed to allow for a fairer and predictable game (like the baseline game style you see now) and as a result possibly reduced its dynamics , albeit for the safety of the players. As a result you see more players with greater shot making abilities reaching the final stages of a gs and therefore less upsets, which is a positive for fans. The question of speed was particularly an issue since it was claimed to be faster than the slower grass courts, but because the court had the effect of increasing bounce,in reality the court seemed charcteristically slower. This was compounded by the fact that the balls were changed from slanzenger to wilson, which had a tendency to fluff up. The general slowness meant the courts favoured players with stronger upper bodies to play through the court hence the bigger hitters like djko and nadal have been more sucessfull. Intrestingly prior to the surface change flatter hitters had been more suceessful such as Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Thomas Johansson, Andre Agassi, and Marat Safin while Novak is somewhere in between in that he can either flatten out his shots or impart a bit more topspin.
     
    #11
  12. USArmyTennis

    USArmyTennis New User

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    76
    I do agree on the professional athletes part. Even if the ITF limits racquet size and/or strings allowed, the players are so talented and fit that tennis will never go back to how it was.
     
    #12
  13. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Messages:
    572
    I dont think it would go back to where it was but I do think overall match length would probably go down. Lets just say on the ATP tour the average 3 set match length now is an hour and a half, it may go down to like and hour ten minutes or something. Anyone agree on that?
     
    #13
  14. tennisBIEST

    tennisBIEST Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2012
    Messages:
    149
    Christopher Clarey said this was the ''golden age" of tennis! Sooooo you want to change that?
     
    #14
  15. pennc94

    pennc94 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    756
    Location:
    Maryland
    I got a kick out of Navratilova referring to today's strings as "nylon".
     
    #15
  16. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,885
    Location:
    Northern NJ, USA
    Also saw..........

    I also saw the discussion on TC and I was also amused by Martina calling the "modern string" nylon; when we know she meant poly/co-poly.

    Great points made by BP, Lukhas and WW and I think given time more players will adapt a more well rounded game. However, they need help by having a nice variety of surfaces and speeds, which would give players the much needed varied experience. Without that tennis will fall completely into 1 dimensional tennis.

    As far as changing the racquets and string are concerned, you can forget that as string is finally turned into big business along with racquets. Also, string designers are still searching for that magic poly string that is everything to everyone (never gonna happen). There is way too much money involved in the new technology to change it now.

    Cheers, TennezSport :cool:
     
    #16
  17. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    3,995
    Location:
    1313 Mockingbird Lane.
    they were saying that it limits strategy but i think its the opposite. MN made it sound like her and JM could come in on any ole ball and but away the volley because there wasnt as much pace and spin, and now a days you cant do that because you could get passed from anywhere on the court. Its a whole new strategy when to come in, players now have to really pick when to come in and have to be prepared to hit a few volleys.
    IMO all their arguments were pretty weak and just sounded biased because their style of play doesn't work now. It's the evolution of the sport.
     
    #17
  18. Backhanded Compliment

    Backhanded Compliment Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,944
    great points... basically, lets speed up Wimby and the USO surfaces. I like the Aussie with slow hardcourts.

    Strings and rackets are here to stay because major stars have built their games around powerful rackets and spinny strings.

    The balls dont seem to favor servers either... is it just me or have the balls changed too?
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2013
    #18
  19. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    When I saw this panel discussion today, I knew there would be a thread on TW not long after.

    My thoughts::::

    Martina needs to shut up before stating things that just aren't true.

    Fact is, players are getting more spin, not necessarily because of strings alone, but because they are swinging faster. Period.

    To date, the highest recorded spin on a shot was done with a 90 inch frame, using natural gut in the mains, and was off a slice backhand at 5,300 RPMs. That backhand was hit by Federer, who could also average over 3,500 RPMs of spin on his forehand, and get it near 5,000 (same as nadal who uses full poly and a stiff oversize frame).

    The other guy who could hit well of 5,000 rpm average was Sampras on his second serve, who used a 85 sq inch frame and full gut, strung in the 70's.

    as other have already stated, bring back the fast surface, and faster balls. The game and how players approach the different surfaces will take care of itself, in the same way players today approach the game by only worrying about baseline bashing all day on the newly created slow surfaces that reward long rallies.

    oh, and create a rule that any player yelling/grunting/squealing like a pig in heat is automatically disqualified from the game forever.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2013
    #19
  20. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Messages:
    689
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL U.S.A.
    I don't get what they saying. In contrast to the key themes they talked about, I think modern tennis is infinitely more entertaining and strategic in nature then what we were seeing on both fast courts and slow courts in the 1990's as it's democratized both surfaces. Hard courts are where most of the grind a thons are taking place these days

    The pace of old clay court matches is almost unwatchable, and you now see very exciting and aggressive exchanges on most points. As was noted in that panel, you do in fact see a lot of points now finished at the net as every short ball is punished and followed in, even if not from a serve and volley style.

    Grass has never been more entertaining in the points being played as we'd gotten to an unbearable serve dominated ace-fest in the late 1990's. While I love the matches I watched as a child in the late 1970's through the late 1980's, it had clearly become an unbalanced surface. The true bounce you now get still favors servers (the % of games held really hasn't changed much in 20 years) but allows actual points to be constructed, kind of the opposite theme the panel was suggesting.

    I do think the changes they suggested to the equipment are reasonable though in restricting racquet head size and string technology. I'm not sure what's a reasonable compromise on racquet size as most players have never hit with anything less then 95-98 sq inch frames. Maybe 600 cm2 (~90 sq in) would be workable as this was the original midsize range from 25 years ago.
     
    #20
  21. pjonesy

    pjonesy Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,098
    Very good questions and comments regarding this thread.

    But I just don't understand having a segment with Mac and Martina on the negative effect of current racquet and string technology, during the French Open. The Major that requires the most patience, consistency and physical stamina. Not exactly a glowing endorsement for the tournament they are covering. How interesting that 2 serve and volley players from a bygone era, don't care for the excessive spin and forgiving sweet spots that allow players more power and control from the baseline.

    Around a decade ago, didn't John Lloyd recommend that they dig up the grass at Wimbledon? Arguing that the points were too short and rallies were all but gone on fast surfaces?
     
    #21
  22. LeftyRighty

    LeftyRighty Rookie

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    201
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've felt that tennis is getting to point where it's so different from what it used to be, it's going in a wrong direction a bit.

    I loved seeing the old games with serve and volley. Now someone would just blast the serve return down the line or some other ridiculous passing shot.

    I watched a tournament with kids from my club, and I was annoyed to say the least. I was hoping I would see kids using some variety out there from what they've learned. The kids now are learning to just stand baseline and try to hit as hard as possible until someone misses. None of them came to the net.

    One kid came to the net once because the other kid was stretch and flicked it back and it just made it pass the net...He made the net shot, and it was easily the most exciting point of the day, and the ONLY net shot of the day...Even though it was a sloppy, desperate volley.

    Baseliners are very boring to watch over and over again. But that's exactly what the kids are learning now, so I doubt anything will change in the future even if they change the tech. They will still find a way to stay far behind baseline.
     
    #22
  23. vandre

    vandre Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,762
    Location:
    no man's land
    quoted for truth! in addition to some of the points that have already been made, i wonder if there's a bit of ego here behind the comments martina and jmac are making? afterall, you hear many comparisons between borg and current players (borg and rafa off the top of my head) but you never hear anyone say "_________ is the next jmac" or "_________ is the next martina n" (the closest thing they had was kvitova who has nothing in common with mn aside from country of origin and being a southpaw). admittedly, this two are incomparable athletes of the highest order and had talents that it would be virtually impossible to duplicate so maybe that should comfort them more than it does atm perhaps.

    if ego isn't the reason why they said these things, then maybe the modern game isn't what the type of tennis they like to watch. that's fine but if recommending broad, sweeping changes to the game which will quite possibly make the game less popular and "relate-able" (any of us hackers wanna go back to wood or a 70 in stick for a usta season??? let your captains know!) i try to live by a rule: don't ask others to do something i'm not willing to do myself. if you're one of the folks clamouring for 70 in racquets, go play with one first. then go look up some tournament footage from the 60s (on youtube if there is any) and tell me if you think this is what the modern sports audience wants to watch.

    why stop with racquets? let's go back to these

    [​IMG]
     
    #23
  24. vandre

    vandre Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,762
    Location:
    no man's land
    it seems like someone hasn't read all the "fed needs a bigger racquet" threads yet!
     
    #24
  25. ProRadTour

    ProRadTour Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
    Messages:
    219
    I totally agree. It's not the rackets or the strings that is the major factor as to how the game is played today. It's the surfaces.

    The sport has evolved and with that the players are fitter and stronger. With the surface speeds they have to be because the points last a hell of a lot longer. With the added strength, comes the ability so generate higher racket head speed which is the main element in being able to generate spin. Even if Nadal used a all natural gut setup, he would still produce a very heavy, high rpm ball. That argument about blasting winners is totally true about the game in the 90's not now. The average rally length now is much higher than it ever was.

    They slowed down the surfaces because everyone got bored of quick points and un-returnable serves. They all said we would love to see rallies like there used to be. Now we have more rallies and people are complaining again.

    The game is in a great position, they just need to introduce more variety on surface speeds.
     
    #25
  26. pjonesy

    pjonesy Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,098
    Another great perspective on the technology issue. It's not only the strings, racquets and surface speeds. You can't ignore the increased size, strength and conditioning of the players. Your comments dovetail perfectly with my theory that the prototype for the modern player goes back 30 years.

    Ivan Lendl. We can take this conversation all over the place, but I'm gonna try to just focus on Lendl's influence. It makes a lot of sense, if you look at it logically. Basically, Lendl was a player who did not have perfect ball striking technique or great tennis SKILL(by that era's standards). What he did have, was physical strength, good size, athleticism and great work ethic. So he became the best baseliner in tennis, by the late 80s. Even though he was a power baseliner that had relatively long strokes, his game was low risk. Based on the control he had by using the perfect blend of pace and topspin. If the game evolves over time, wouldn't players naturally get better at hitting the ball with pace and spin? Let's be honest. Is it really that far of a stretch to say that Djokovic's rally balls are basically Lendl approach shots or winners from the 80s? The difference now, is that you have to hit 10 of those shots to win the point. Instead of 1 or 2 shots like that in the 80s. Plus they do hit much harder on average.

    Obviously, the 2hbh is the preferred shot these days. But based on Lendl's comfort with controlling the rallies, I think he would use the 2hbh if he played now. Just generally a higher percentage shot, with more stability and less risk.

    As far as surface speeds go, YOU might be right. More variety would be more interesting for the fans and would force players to change court strategy, develop new skills or improve certain skills for each surface. But I would say the players who benefit from the homogenization of the game might want to keep things the way they are right now. If they are winning, they don't want any disruption that would force them to change and result in more losses.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2013
    #26
  27. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    249
    60's - early 70's: laver , rosewall, newcombe, ashe, smith, nastase
    (wood, metal, steel 85 sq. inches racquets - gut)

    late 70's - early 80's: borg, vilas, gerulaitus, mc enroe, connors
    (wood, steel T2000, composites, graphite, 90 -110 sq. inch, widebody)

    late 80's - 90's: becker, wilander, edberg, lendl, sampras, agassi, courier
    (no wood, graphite, 90 - 100 sq. inch)

    early 2000's: moya, safin, hewitt, kuertin
    (graphite, BABOLAT, 93 - 98 sq inch)

    mid 2000's - present: fed, nadal, djokovic, murray, del potro
    (babolat, 98 - 100 sq inch, poly strings

    Regardless of all the changes in equipment and technology, why is it that during each period and era of tennis, there is always a select group of 4 to 6 players who dominate? So the technology hasn't replaced hard work, discipline, talent and that special something that it takes to be a champion.
     
    #27
  28. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,667
    Location:
    Here and There
    Better training, better fitness routines, better strength training off court, better nutrition and so on. That's the biggest difference. Remember Connors saying he had a steak and potatoes before his Wimbledon final. Different era, different mentality. The way they train juniors now in the gym at places like IMG/Bollettieri is miles ahead of what was done in the 70's and 80's. When I hit with Vilas a few years back and had a talk with him, he said he used to drink Coca Cola on court during his matches. A lot of players did that actually.

    Players are fitter, bigger and stronger. Yes strings changed, racket technology as well. The biggest change in that department was the re-introducing of poly strings. If I remember correctly, poly strings were first available in the 70's? However, the biggest difference are the players themselves.
     
    #28
  29. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,461
    Yes, and Yes. :)

    Tennis peaked in popularity in the U.S. in the 70's when just about everybody used wood racquets. Tennis has never again been as popular in the U.S. since. Recreational players today cannot relate to what we see Nadal or Djokovic do on TV, whereas, back in the wood era, we could relate to what we saw the pros doing on TV.
     
    #29
  30. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Messages:
    6,035
    ^^ tennis peaked in popularity when the huge post-war baby boom generation came of age and was looking for leisure activities. The next large cohort, the children of the baby boomers, came of age in the computer/internet era, when physical sports competed with more passive activities. The idea that wood racquets somehow relates to the great popularity of tennis in the 70s seems odd, as wood had also been used for the preceding 90 years, when the popularity of tennis was more limited.
     
    #30
  31. kul

    kul New User

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Perhaps it's not the tennis that is boring but the players. If the one of the BIG 4 acted more like Mac and less like Borg, then maybe that's what we would be talking/writing about.
     
    #31
  32. pennc94

    pennc94 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    756
    Location:
    Maryland
    Tennis peaked in the 70's (in the USA) in large part to the NFL and NBA not yet having the popularity they have now. Tennis' popularity has nothing to do with the presence of wood racquets. Today's players could switch to wood racquets, wood shoes, and wood clothes and the NFL and NBA would still dominate in the USA.
     
    #32
  33. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,682
    I think "evolution" is the wrong way to view this.

    WE construct the sport. (Or rather, the equipment makers do, in the absence of genuine player organization). The sport is not some innate feature of nature, but is always being impacted by the hand of man.

    If we want slow court surfaces, we make slow court surfaces. We've tried larger/slower balls as well.

    Back in 1989 I wrote a letter to Tennis magazine on this topic, saying essentially that it's not tennis if it's tinkered with. I think then the idea was doing away with the second serve.

    But I've come around to realizing that it's for the good of tennis to restrict the size of the racquet head . .. for pros only.
     
    #33
  34. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,682
    There's merit to this! I remember as a kid people laughing about the NBA stuff; the real Bball focus was college.

    In addition, sports themselves as a pastime are losing appeal, simply because there are more and more recreation and entertainment options.
     
    #34
  35. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,682
    As someone really getting into tennis around 1976, I'll have to say the "tennis boom" really included a social dimension: you had people wanting some country club cachet, you had more young unmarried adults (particularly unmarried young women) and you had the great fashion styles going on with the famous jet-setters.

    and other factors in addition to these
     
    #35
  36. scotus

    scotus Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Messages:
    7,623
    It would be interesting to see, if the pros ever decide to limit themselves to wooden racquets of say 28 inches of length and 100 sq in of hoop area, then what new racquet technologies this change might give birth to in this highly competitive sport.

    Aero Pro Drive Woodie?
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2013
    #36
  37. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13,496
    Location:
    So Cal
    Great post. The tour could easily follow your advice -- especially lighter, faster balls - and give attacking players more options without getting into a <you know what> contest with the racket/string manufacturers.
     
    #37
  38. StringingIrvine

    StringingIrvine Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Messages:
    556
    Location:
    Irvine, Southern California
    I do feel like the players are more athletic now then they were 20 years ago. I don't think its just the technology but everyone just seems so much more physical (with skill included).

    I wonder if financial differences play a roll as well? With the growth of the media and sponsors, do players now have more money than they did before? Having a nutritionist, physical trainer, personal masseuse, etc follow you around seem like it would help you become a fitter person.

    I could be completely wrong, it was just a thought
     
    #38
  39. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    274
    I think that placing these restrictions on tennis would be like the ill fated rule in NCAA basketball that outlawed dunking-- ineffective, not an improvement, and a colossal attempt to limit the style of an entire sport. I haven't heard one legitimate reason yet to perform any of these modifications, with the exception of court surface changes.
     
    #39
  40. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,461
    Are you serious? The NFL and NBA were not popular in the '70's? You must be kidding, right? Also, are you saying that kids didn't play football and basketball in the 70's? Because I certainly did, and so did all the other kids I knew.
     
    #40
  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,057
    First reference I could find was Brian Gottfried using a monofilament polyester string in 1983, made by a German company called Polystar (which had introduced it in 1981).

    After that, the revival seems to have happened with Guga in 1997 using Luxilon.
     
    #41
  42. pennc94

    pennc94 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    756
    Location:
    Maryland
    Very serious and very true. NBA finals were not even live until Magic and Bird came along.
     
    #42
  43. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    274
    The NFL was extremely popular, I don't know where that assertion came from, but it wasn't the enormous industry that it is today. The NBA is a totally different story. This was the heyday of the NBA's cocaine era, when inept management, boring play style, and lots and lots of "nose-candy" nearly drove the league into the ground. In 1970, CBS showed 3 games of the NBA finals on after midnight tape delay. It was that bad. AND, don't forget, this was in the time of the ABA. So, essentially, you had two pro leagues fighting for the same revenue, often in the same cities! The NBA was many things in the 70's, but "popular" was not one of them.
     
    #43
  44. pennc94

    pennc94 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    756
    Location:
    Maryland
    The assertion was never made. BP twisted my words. My words were:

    "Tennis peaked in the 70's (in the USA) in large part to the NFL and NBA not yet having the popularity they have now."

    Your comments support my views. Thanks.
     
    #44
  45. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Messages:
    1,837
    i dont think tennis less popular because of basketball or football. if tennis were interesting enough fans would watch both, its not like they are always on tv the same time. ..tennis is probably more popular globally but less popular in u.s. due to
    1 - lack of top american players (no connors, mac, agassi, sampras)
    2 - lack of personality (i blame the atp for all the rules that made the game bigger than the players. before it was the opposite. in the 80s people went to a tennis match to see connors or mcenroe. now people go to watch a tennis match).
    3 - homogenous style of play (i think they should speed up the courts like others said, to adjust with the times. they did it in the late 90s when play was getting too fast, now its too slow)
     
    #45
  46. leroy_sunset

    leroy_sunset Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    Messages:
    343
    Listening to Marty and JMac complain about "new racquets and poly strings" is like listening to your grandparents complain about MTV or smartphones. It's just hilarious.

    First of all, poly strings have been around for decades. The big deal is that they are slippery as snot, so they snap back pretty well when newly strung. This does indeed generate more spin if your swing mechanics are built that way. But that extreme-spin style has only happened more recently. The strings have been around for much longer than that. Yet most pros chose gut for a long time because it better suited their game.

    And these "new sticks" they are complaining about. Yes, you can get more power out of a wide-beam stiff frame. But what pro actually uses them? Most pros still use racquets similar to what you saw after the woodies died - thinner beam, lower powered, head light with customized lead weight. Look at Chang's stick from 1990, it's not all that different than what you see today.

    You know what has changed? Fitness. JMac in his prime would be physically crushed by today's top pros. They run faster, swing harder, and are just in better shape. Period.

    I wanna see Laver versus Federer, both prime, on grass, using 90 inch graphites. That would be something to see.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2013
    #46
  47. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,461
    So Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were not worth showing on TV? :???:
     
    #47
  48. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,461
    The NFL was huge in the 70's. The Miami Dolphins undefeated season, the Minnesota Vikings making it to numerous Super Bowls, the Pittsburgh Steelers "Iron Curtain", NFL Films, etc.
     
    #48
  49. Joonas

    Joonas Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    381
    Location:
    Costa del Sol, Spain
    I agree, players are more physical. But why? Is it because slower balls and courts stress the importance of being athletic.

    Tennis is and should be still to great extent skill sport. Not as much as say golf but also not as much about being physical as say bicycling.

    When the sport supports more and more physical endurance and fitness we will (and start having to) see inevitable talk about doping. If that 3% improvement in your recovery time, increase in volume of training etc. can lift you up from being number 100 to top ten then I think with the pressure of whole industry and your ambition threshold to step in to the "enhanced" nutrition is too attractive.

    Aside from doping what worries me more is junior training. I am watching very close bunch of 12-16 years old players that are in work to reach top level of TE and ITF levels. The amount of physical problems due to over training, fatigue and pushing their non developed bodies beyond the limits is scaring. But at the same time even the most unbelievable talents can't thrive after certain point without extraordinary physical condition. And needless to say all this involves huge financial investments and sacrificing their life outside of tennis.

    And still, of course to be a pro you need to train like pro and sacrifice a lot. It was same in the past. But I just would like to see this sport rewarding the skill side little bit more. So faster courts (at least more variety) and faster balls, please.
     
    #49
  50. pennc94

    pennc94 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    756
    Location:
    Maryland
    All true. Nevertheless, the popularity the NFL had at that time was far less than it has today.
     
    #50

Share This Page