Navratilova & Mcenroe on Racquet/String Tech

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

  1. ProRadTour

    ProRadTour Rookie

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    I agree that Ivan Lendl is a prime example of taking conditioning to another level to gain advantage. I wasn't around when Borg was playing but by all accounts he was the pioneer of bringing physicality and fitness to the game. He outlasted everyone and is quoted as saying he was never tired on a tennis court.

    The next player after Lendl that comes to mind who relied on fitness as his weapon was Jim Courier. At his peak he out muscled his opponents. Agassi stated he sought out trainers after loosing to courier to become physically stronger so he could make up ground to compete. Courier was a great player, but but no means was he a technically graceful player.

    The player of this generation who raised the stakes is Rafa. He is a fantastic talent but his strength and endurance go along way to helping him beat players that are superior in terms of technique.

    You can also see the top 10 players physical conditioning is superior to the remainder of the top 100.

    People draw parallels to boxing when talking about tennis. This parallel has never been truer when you look at the state of the modern game. It is very physical. Not only do you have to be great technically, you have to be an elite athlete to be among the top.
     
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  2. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Not with me. I watched NFL football all the time in the 70's but I almost never watch it these days. About the only NFL game I watch nowadays is the Super Bowl. :)

    I still don't agree that the NFL is more popular today. Back in the 70's, we didn't have ESPN nor any other cable sports networks. Thus, the NFL was one of the few sports that was televised on network TV. These days, you can watch just about any sport on an assortment of cable and network channels. Back in the 70's, if you wanted to watch sports, you had no choice but to watch the NFL.
     
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  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    How much of this fitness thing is exaggerated? Men were playing all matches as best of 5 without tie-breaks, and minimal changeovers, for a long time, before the rules changed. Didn't those matches require a lot more fitness? And they didn't have the advantages of massages, sports drinks, cushioned shoes, etc. that modern players have.
     
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  4. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    . . . oh. Consider pro golf and pro baseball.
     
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  5. WINZOWAR

    WINZOWAR Rookie

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    The problem with slow surfaces is Nadal and Djokovic will play six hour matches. While that doesn't bother me at the French, it certainly does at the Australian. Different skill sets are what the game is missing. With no fast surfaces, there are no more rivalries like Borg - McEnroe or Agassi - Sampras. The most entertaining match up is baseliner vs. serve and volleyer. We're not just missing out on great volleying; there aren't as many great passing shots either.
     
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  6. Stevo Karlovic

    Stevo Karlovic Rookie

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    This debate should've just been left here. Simple...perfect...truth. Period.
     
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  7. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    And they didn't even have chairs to sit in and rest during changeovers. They just walked on over to the other side of the court. And I also don't recall seeing MTO's being called back then, either.
     
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  8. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    All this talk about equipment....all they have to do is return the surfaces to normal playing speeds......done!

    Mac and Navratilova are liberal nutjobs that want change for the sake of change as long as their names are attatched to it. They want to make noise so they can be seen as relevant. They have been saying this kind of stuff for years. Both want to be politicians and should not be trusted. McEnroe wants to be ambassador of tennis although he couldnt even run a davis cup team for a whole year. Navratilova wants to be Mayor of NYC some day. They are loons.

    Take the surfaces back to 90s speed and you will see the diversity in playing styles come back. Players were useing poly and oversize racquets in the 90s too. Its not as big of a factor as people think.

    Fast court attacking tennis is not about equipment its about time and court positioning.
     
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  9. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    to add, most players played singles, doubles, and even mixed.

    Mcenroe for example played 85? singles matches in 1984 and another 45 doubles, not to mention around 13 Davis Cup, and then any mixed doubles for that year.
     
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  10. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, but players like Sampras, Edberg, Courier, etc. were also very successful using 85 sq. in. racquets and natural gut strings back in the 90's, too. How many pros do you think could win multiple Grand Slams and become #1 in the world using an 85 sq. in. racquet with gut strings today regardless of the surface and court speed?
     
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  11. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    I am not sure what your asking. I dont think the head size is a huge factor. You know as well as anyone if you lay an 85 on top of a 95 the differences are miniscule. Head size IMO is more of a "feel" thing than anything else. The majority of these players today would do just fine with an 85 inch head size. Courier is one that pops to mind. He played a pretty modern version of the game with an 85 and got to #1. Bruguera used a yonex that was a widebody maybe 95-98 inches.

    What I am getting at is they equipment is not as much of a factor as court speed.

    2 things I would change in the modern game that would make the biggest difference would be ....go back to 90s court speeds and get rid of the 32 seed system and put it back at 16 so new blood could break through at the majors. Those two things would get the game back on track IMO.

    ATP will never do it though. The sponsors will lose too much money. This game is toast in 10 years for hardcore fans who enjoy variety of styles. Serve and volley wont be back until it happens unless you get another Rafter/Edberg type athlete who is willing to commit to the style.

    The game of the future is going to be more like the WTA. Last years US Open final between Djokavic and Murray was a sign. Push...push....push....run forward...run back....push....push...etc. etc.

    The sad part about it is most fans dont care. The ATP does not really care either as long as the top players and sposors are protected. They really have younger fans convinced that this new crop of players are more complete and better than earlier generations (which they are not...Djokavich best returner GOAT LOL).
     
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  12. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    I hate it when people say this because it's total nonsense. The difference between an 85 and 95 is huge. If it weren't, all the pros would still be using 85's instead of 95's and up, but none do today. Why? Because there's a huge difference. It's not about holding one racquet up against the other. Those few centimeters make a big difference in how a racquet plays and responds. It's like saying the difference between a size 9 shoe is not much different than a size 11 shoe because when I hold them up against each other I don't see a huge difference. Well, if you wear size 11 shoes, I'd like to see you play an entire tournament with size 9 tennis shoes and see if you still feel the same way afterwards.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2013
    #62
  13. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    Thats what I said.....its feel.
     
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  14. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    It's not just feel. It's power, it's spin, it's defense, it's returning serve, etc. There's a good reason why almost ALL pros use 95-100 sq. in. racquets while none use 85 sq. in. racquets anymore.
     
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  15. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    I think your confusing equipment with skill and technique. Maybe I overestimated your intelligence or experience. Conners did not become a better returner when he went from the t2000...wilson pro staff.....estusa yellow slazenger. Federer uses a small head size and has power, spin, defense etc.


    Its not the arrow its the archer. I can hit heavy kickers and baseline shots as well and as hard with a Jack Kramer as I can with a POG. Technique and skill allow me to do this....not the racquet....not the strings....etc. etc. Is one easier than the other...not really. Once your comfortable with a frame the whole equipment issue becomes mute.

    Take Fed. He doesnt shank because he uses a smaller headsize. He shanks because he doesnt move like he used to.

    Cmon Breakpoint. Whats the matter with you? You know this stuff.
     
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  16. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    That's because you don't play against other pros. Try playing against Nadal on clay with a Jack Kramer Autograph and you'll soon be reaching for an APD strung with poly. The only way this is going to change is if EVERYONE was forced to use Jack Kramer Autographs.
     
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  17. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    Thats your arguement? I have some news for you. If you put a Blabolat in my hands I cant play against Nadal either.....and it aint got nothin to do with the racquet. I am also very confident in saying if I had a Blabalot and Rafeal had a Jack Kramer he would do well against me. Skill is skill.

    You must be having an off day or something..... Maybe a bologna sandwich for dinner? Your not making any sense.
     
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  18. WINZOWAR

    WINZOWAR Rookie

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    Spin is the marketing tool right now, both rackets and strings. Most of the guys I play use poly or hybrid setups, but I can't say they're hitting with more spin than before. Every now and then you run into someone who hits a ball with enough action on it to make it look like a potato. Those guys are freaks of nature and could do it with any racket or string. I think Nadal must be like that. We have an entire generation of slow court players. Keep in mind that Lavers, McEnroes, Edbergs, Samprases and Rafters were rare. There are serve volley guys that wouldn't do well in any generation. Speed up the courts and a guy with that skill set who can also win will emerge.
     
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  19. radionise

    radionise New User

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    my 2 cent opinion:

    Phase 1 - introduce faster balls, and/or the return of faster surface (the former is likely to be easier to introduce, cheaper and quicker to implement).
    Phase 2 - change of scoring system, i.e. reward delicate shots (first simplify the scoring system, and give 2-points for volley / drive volley, 1-point for other shots... something like that).
     
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  20. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    Two points for a volley LOL. Everybody would be rushing the net and hitting lobs. That would be some interesting tennis for sure!

    I think you guys are making this more complicated than it needs to be.
     
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  21. WINZOWAR

    WINZOWAR Rookie

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    It wouldn't be difficult to speed up the courts. Wimbledon, cut the grass shorter and use lighter balls. US, they repave every year, use less sand. Oz, not sure, but I'm sure they can make them quicker. French, leave it alone. It could happen. They slowed down the courts to counter the big servers, and it worked. If the current game gets boring, speed it up.
     
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  22. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    I'm not talking about YOU. I'm talking about other pros. Do you think Djokovic could beat Nadal on clay using a Jack Kramer Autograph while Nadal used his usual APD strung with poly?

    I do know one thing though - give both Nadal and Federer Jack Kramer Autographs strung with gut and Federer wins every time on any surface.
     
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  23. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    Who the heck are YOU talking to then?

    Are you going crazy or something?
     
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  24. Doubles

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    Are you just figuring this out?
     
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  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Exactly. And no, the head size does not cease mattering at the pro level because they "always hit the sweetspot." If 85 is not different from 90, then 90 is not different from 95, and so on. Small changes in head size which are barely visible makes a huge difference in power and margin of error.
     
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  26. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    What do you mean?
     
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  27. bjsnider

    bjsnider Professional

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    I always enjoy Martina's opinions, but there's something she left out when talking about the effect of the poly string and head size. Wood sticks were much more flexible than composite sticks are. That's why you've got a slower ball back then. The racquet would bend and take a lot of power away. Simply going to a smaller head size and gut isn't going to undo all the damage of the past 35 years.
     
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  28. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    Aaaaaah. Never mind on my last post. I see. You're referencing pro baseball's use of wooden bats rather than college's aluminum bats. That is indeed a valid reason to change a rule because if the pros used aluminum bats, they would doubtless hit home runs half the time! The difference between this and your proposed rule changes in tennis is that there is no equivalent to the home run problem in tennis. There is no racket that would allow the pros to hit a winner on every stroke or to never miss a shot! If there were, I would say yes! Make every pro play with a 75 inch wood racket, but it doesn't exist. What new racket technology does is change the way tennis is played-- what it does not do is damage the integrity of the game.

    I don't know exactly which golf rule change you're referencing, but if it's the belly putter rule, I'm against that too. 8)
     
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  29. Rjtennis

    Rjtennis Hall of Fame

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    You must play some old school tennis then. The new sticks and string allow you to take huge cuts with enough spin to keep the ball in and allow you to generate pace in defensive situations. If you are playing with a frying pan grip maybe it wouldn't matter.
     
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  30. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Yes, YOU don't play against other pros and you never will. Thus, you will never play against Nadal, since Nadal is a pro. Therefore, of course, I was talking about other pros trying to play against Nadal using a Jack Kramer Autograph.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2013
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  31. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Compared to a 65 sq. in. wood racquet strung with gut, a modern 100 sq. in. racquet strung with poly does exactly that (in the hands of a pro, of course).
     
    #81
  32. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

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    It probably seems like that to the people who used to use racquets like that. Tennis must be so different to watch for the Kramer/Laver era.
     
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  33. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    Hmmmmmm. If you'll look at my original statement, you'll see that it was an absolute. "There is no racket that would allow the pros to hit a winner on every stroke or to never miss a shot!" You can't "compare" that assertion about rackets to the days of wooden rackets because it doesn't make sense! The whole point of my post was that no racket provides an indisputable imbalance in the same way that aluminum baseball bats would.

    Anyway, you've confused me yet again. Is the point of your argument that new racket and string tech allows for more winners? Or is it that the new tech promotes a grinding style of play? It would seem to me that those arguments don't go together. Is more winners or fewer winners the style of play that encourages point construction? More grinding or less? It would seem to me that the new-age grinding style of play actually encourages point construction because due to the fitness of today's players, it's becoming more difficult to get a ball by them. I can't decipher a central statement from you guys except "old rackets are worse in every possible way, but the pros should be forced to use them."
     
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  34. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Now you've got it!

    The pros are way too good with today's modern racquets and poly strings. We want them to play worse! :) That's the gist of Navratilova's point - that tennis today doesn't take nearly the skill it used to when everyone used wood racquets. Skill should be rewarded, not choice of equipment.
     
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  35. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    Can you see how little that makes sense? If you're a more skilled player, it shouldn't matter what equipment you're using, as long as everyone has access to it! What you're talking about isn't rewarding skill, it's rewarding old-school play-- a certain kind of skill. What you're talking about is saying "there is only one way to play tennis," which isn't true.
    What we have now is many different styles of play competing at the top level-- physical specimens like Nadal and Djoker, ball-strikers like Fed and Berdych, defenders like Murray, power players like Tsonga and Delpo. Now, I agree that the styles of play aren't as varied as we'd like. More volleyers and touch players would be fun, but changing to wooden rackets would simply imbalance things in favor of great-hands players, rather than the physical, grinding tennis that is repulsive to you, but exciting and fun-to-watch to many others! That's why I would go for more surface variation as the only rule change, not an imposed restriction on how one can play the game! Your point about this equipment would only be valid if we had a small portion of the tour playing Poly and new rackets and winning every tournament. As long as the equipment can be used by all, skill, passion, determination, hard work, and yes, physical abilities will rise to the top.
     
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  36. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Your argument sound's like the NRA's argument that if everyone had an assault rifle then we'd all be safer. Um...no, no one should have access to superior weapons. Golf has all kinds of restrictions on equipment to make sure no players have access to superior equipment, why doesn't tennis?

    During the wood era, we had both serve and volleyers as well as baseliners, and so much more creativity, strategy, touch, tactics, etc. in the game. It was a thinking man's game. Today, all we have are mindless ball-bashing baseliners. Booooooring!! Don't you think chess players would get upset if they turned chess into a physical game?
     
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  37. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    Please, don't ever compare me to the NRA. I can't even understand the basis for your analogy-- my argument states that if everyone has access to the same equipment, the advantage that the equipment conveys does not matter. It has no similarity to the NRA's advocacy for assault rifles.

    The golf analogy is again flawed. There are actually legitimate reasons for limiting golf equipment, not the least of which that courses would need to be extended further and further to meet growing drive distances, at unsustainable cost-- but, even so, golfers don't use wood shafts anymore 8)

    The next paragraph is actually mostly stuff that I agree with. Who doesn't like creativity, strategy, and tactics? The problem is that if we made everyone play with a wood racket, the game would become boring in a different way- a one-two punch, serve-and volley kind of way. The only reason modern tennis "bores" you is because you don't like the style, which is not a legitimate reason to make such an imposition on the game. Yet another reason to make court surfaces more varied, but that's for another day. Again, the chess analogy makes no sense because equipment makes no difference in chess.
     
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  38. Readers

    Readers Semi-Pro

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    God, she think nylon is what they use now...

    Also she also seems forgot if they had to keep using woody, Chris Evert would have something like 25 GS and she might only get around 10.

    I just found it's so dumb for someone who keep getting her *** kicked by her rival with small sweet spot woody, and only started to take off after using graphite , now complain about sweet spot being too big.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
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  39. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Yes, it does matter because it completely changes the sport. Just like giving fencers semi-automatic assault rifles instead. Wouldn't that completely change the sport? But according to your logic, it doesn't matter since everyone would have access to the same equipment. And I guess you would be OK with everyone using spaghetti strings, too?

    In regards to golf, it's more than just about driving the ball long. But let's take your analogy of having to make the golf courses bigger to compensate for the new equipment. Well, then we should now have to make tennis courts smaller since the modern racquets and strings put so much spin on the ball that it makes it so much harder to hit the ball out?

    The chess analogy is apt because I was talking about changing a game from a thinking man's game to a purely physical game.
     
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  40. darkhorse

    darkhorse Rookie

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    I saw this segment, part of it at least, and it kind of blows my mind that influential people have this view. I mean, I sort of get the premise that tactics are not as important as they used to be, but to suggest going back to technology from 50 years ago seems ridiculous. How would that even work? Are we gonna just pluck out juniors who have pro potential and start them on wood racquets at some point?

    It seems like the discussion started in regards to anchor putting in golf, which is not a good analogy at all. Anchor putters are not "new" technology, they've been around for decades, its just that some recent major winners have used them. The basis for the ban on them was that many golfers don't see it as a "swing", and the basic rule of golf is that you have to swing all 14 clubs. As has been pointed out, there are a few restrictions on technology on clubs (club head size mainly), but there's still a lot of things in there now that guys like Jack, Hogan, etc didn't have access two, like steel/graphite shafts, hybrid clubs, etc. Yet I have never heard anybody say Tiger's accomplishments aren't as impressive because of the technology he has access to.

    The sport would suffer a great deal if it did what John and Martina were suggesting. Can you imagine if the NHL said that composite sticks were banned because it's too easy to score compared to the 1960s? Or the NFL said receivers couldn't wear gloves and everyone had to wear the same cleats Johnny Unitas did?
     
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  41. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    Break Point, you're using your trademarks to good effect, just like always. Twisting what I said is one thing, but completely disregarding the meaning is another.
    First, when I said that equipment "does not matter" in regards to tennis equipment, I was clearly not speaking about "giving fencers semi-automatic assault rifles." What I obviously meant, if you'll actually read my original post, is that no imbalance is created by new tennis equipment as long as everyone is able to use it. The most basic premise of tennis is completely unchanged by new equipment. The only thing that changes is the style of tennis being played-- something that I enjoy (with limits) and you despise.

    Second, the golf analogy was not mine, for the record, it was yours, but it has its uses. I made the point about golf-course lengthening simply to state the legitimate reason for limiting golf equipment-- as compared to the unnecessary restrictions you propose for tennis. I have another question for you--purely out of interest-- has the number of errors really decreased so much since the 60's? Can you find me some stats? At this point, I've been going under the assumption that it is much easier to hit balls in with modern rackets and strings, but I think the real difference is in how hard one can hit the ball with it still going in.

    And no, the chess analogy doesn't compare well to tennis because chess has no initial physical component.
     
    #91
  42. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    Perfect. I can't say anything more than that.
     
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  43. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    alot of what they were complaining about was that its too hard to serve and volley anymore. if they would just speed up the courts (even just some of them), players would adapt and come in more.
     
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  44. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    Exactly-- but not all of them. Enough to provide variety-- to satisfy those nostalgics who want the 60's again and to appease the grinder junkies who love Nadal and his ilk.
     
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  45. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    I am a serve and volley lover but even I would not want it to get back to the 60-70s eras of predominantly serve and volley. 80s and 90s were great because you had it all. I used to love the matchups like Rafter VS Bruguera and Edberg VS Courier because you had two players that take a different approach to the sport. There were lots of fun matchups like that....Lendl VS McEnroe....Becker vs Agassi etc. etc.

    Tennis has lost all of that now. Its very much like Borg vs Vilas on every surface.....boring. They may be bigger and stronger but in the end its two players sitting in the back court hitting and waiting for the error. There is no taking the court away from the opponent....forcing players under preasure to pass......quick reactions at net etc. etc.

    For those to young to understand this...go on youtube and check out Rafter VS Agassi 1997 US Open round of 16. Thats one of the all time exciting matches......Great shotmaking, lightning fast court movement, total contrast in styles etc. etc.
     
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  46. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    You know what, I agree with you, to an extent. But I really do think that you need the slow, grinding, clay and hardcourts as well the lightning fast grass, hard, and carpet. It allows every style of tennis to shine, which should be the ultimate goal of the ATP, to let any player approach the game in any way they want and succeed.
     
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  47. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    Exactly right. Take the courts back to 80s and 90s specs and be done with it. Thats all they need to do. Getting rid of the 32 seed system will also help the tour.

    Its just not that difficult. Leave the equipment alone. Not much has changed anyways
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
    #97
  48. qwertre

    qwertre Rookie

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    Yeah, I like that. Maybe if the Australian Open stayed the way it is now, but everything else back. It would require a LOT of experimentation. I don't know about the seeds, what would that do?
     
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  49. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    +1. Courts AND balls. The pendulum swung too far. Dial it back.
     
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  50. pennc94

    pennc94 Semi-Pro

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    Dropping the 32 seeds would likely break the stranglehold the top players have on the slams. I welcome this.
     

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