Navratilova on Overall Slow Down of Surfaces

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by The tennis guy, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. The tennis guy

    The tennis guy Hall of Fame

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    Q. In general do you subscribe to the theory that the general homogenization of surface in the game, that clay is faster, grass is slower, hard courts are maybe

    MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Pretty slow.

    Q. Even in the U.S.? You do?

    MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: It's a bad thing. It's a bad thing, no question about it.

    Q. You think they use more sand in the paint in U.S. hard courts today?

    MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Everything's slower. All the courts are slower. I mean, Indian Wells, forget about it. You hit a great volley and, you know, the person's got five minutes to run it down and hit it by you.

    So it's frustrating, yeah. You can't play a normal game. It should be equal. A great serve and volleyer of the same ability should play against a great baseliner and it's like half and half. Half the time this one, and half the time that one. So on this court, this one's slightly favored; on this court, that one's slightly favored.

    Now the ball has gone completely in favor of the baseliner. It's a shame.
     
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  2. Exile

    Exile Professional

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    half the time people rag on her for rambling on about stuff, but here she pretty much hit it right on the mark.
     
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  3. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    Where was this quoted from?
     
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  4. Egalite

    Egalite New User

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    Yawn, play another record.

    In fact "yawn" is the word I remember for those godawful matches when the likes of Sampras, Ivanisevic, Krajicek, etc were playing at Wimbledon. No-one would return a serve in the first hour. Serve, return and putaway volley would count as a long rally.
     
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  5. Phil

    Phil Hall of Fame

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    I don't get that feeling. When she sticks to TENNIS she generally knows her stuff, and is often spot-on. It's when she goes off on politics or society that she sometimes puts her foot in her mouth.

    I agree with her...the tennis powers-that-be have killed s&v tennis, even at Wimbledon. I know a lot of people complained about boring no-strokes serve fests, but that, to me, was the fun of Wimby, while RG, USO and the AO had plenty of baseline rallies. That the different surfaces played as they were SUPPOSED TO, and made tennis a diverse game, was part of its attraction. I find myself less able to sit through Wimbledon matches these days, knowing what it used to be like.
     
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  6. HyperHorse

    HyperHorse Banned

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    I totally agree with her... Grass plays more like a medium paced hard court, but the bounce is still fairly low....
    I miss the S&V play... Wimby has been boring to watch, i must say....
    unless its a match where you're not sure who's going to win...
    most of Roger's matches are like that... im kinda dissapointed he hasnt S&V'ed more....
    *yawn*
     
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  7. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    When Nadal is dominating guys on grass, you know something is wrong.
     
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  8. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    Actually something already went wrong from 2001 and
    Federer won it 3 times frm the baseline. (surface got slowed
    from 2001.)

    Federer is getting taste of his own medicine from Nadal,
    basically: strong baseline game on slowed surface.

    When Federer was doing very well on all surfaces,
    people just said "oh well, he is a genius".
    Now that Nadal shows his potential on all surfaces,
    "something is wrong" ???

    I've been saying this at least for 2 years at TW borad here.
     
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  9. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    she's right, they slowed down the game too much...
     
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  10. Marius_Hancu

    Marius_Hancu G.O.A.T.

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    No one has posted stats on the weight of ball and its pressure 20 years ago and now, and between RG, W, and USO.

    And the ball companies are lying through their teeth: balls aren't the same. Of course the racquets aren't either, but that isn't the main factor, just one of them.
     
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  11. skip1969

    skip1969 Legend

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    "you hit a great volley and, you know, the person's got five minutes to run it down and hit it by you." that martina, she cracks me up!

    well, i suppose i can take her word for it. girl's been playing the same way for how many years?? she ought to know.
     
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  12. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    If I'm not mistaken, the balls at RG were pressureless back then. That means they were rocks.

    At Wimbledon, I believe I'm right in saying that they open the balls a week ahead of time to let them lose a little of their spring.

    The US Open allegedly uses the Wilson ball which we can all buy. I don't know that it's any different than many moons ago.

    I agree with MN that they have slowed the game down way too much. But, then again, I really enjoyed watching a player like Richard Krajicek tear a baseliner apart.
     
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  13. ED_4.6HSE

    ED_4.6HSE New User

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    I agree

    You cant argue with someone who's won 20 wimbledon titles, 58 grand slams and played pro for over 20 years at the end of the day. If anyone knows about changes in conditions its her
     
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  14. BiGGieStuFF

    BiGGieStuFF Hall of Fame

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    I like the S&V game at the wimbledons of old. It was a "attack or be attacked" mentality.
     
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  15. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Hall of Fame

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    I agree with her. I have a couple of Borg matches on video tape and he played S&V tennis at Wimbledon. If the surface is the same now as it was back then, he could have stayed back and won 10 in a row.
     
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  16. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Who cares if the Spaniards and South Americans boycott? Bring back real grass court tennis at Wimbledon!

    (I *do* wish we had more tournaments on Har-Tru (the green American clay). It's a happy medium on speed and it's easier on their bodies....)

    - KK
     
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  17. The tennis guy

    The tennis guy Hall of Fame

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    I think you miss the point. She is not just talking about Wimbledon, she is talking about slowness of all surfaces except clay.

    2001 started to use rye grass, but the court was not as firm, and the balls were not as heavy. The combination of slow grass, firm ground, and heavy balls make Wimbledon slower each year. It doesn't show on women's side as much because they use regular balls.

    I have no problem if they want to slow down Wimbledon, I actually agree they should. However, I have been here talking about overall slowness of all surfaces that make all players the same. It eventually gets boring. This is beyond one player Federer or Nadal.

    If they speed up the courts, it definely favors Federer more over Nadal because Federer can serve and volley, and had served and volleyed. However, that is not the point of discussion.
     
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  18. mowcopian

    mowcopian Banned

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    she has just retired hasn't she at the age of 49.ok then she will retire this year is what i meant.
     
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  19. ED_4.6HSE

    ED_4.6HSE New User

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    well i watched her play doubles on saturday so i dont think so!

    she is retiring very soon i think though
     
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  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The chief guy in charge of the lawns claims that the ball bounces exactly as it always did at Wimbledon.

    Before we bindly accept what players say, let us remember that the success rate on player's challenges with Hawk Eye is below 30%.
     
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  21. ED_4.6HSE

    ED_4.6HSE New User

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    An easy way of ending any questions. I saw an interview the other day with a groundsman and he said they're bouncing "a fair bit higher than they did a few years back". Its blatantly obvious
     
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  22. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Exactomundo.

    If the players say it's slower, then it's probably slower. A groundskeeper may be able to claim the ball when dropped from a particular height rebounds to the same height, but that has little to do with how a court plays. One could do the same at the US Open and say the balls bounce just as high as they did when hartru was used...
     
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  23. skip1969

    skip1969 Legend

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    line calls are a totally different matter altogether. and while i don't think the players call the lines better than the linespeople, i will put more stock in their observations about surfaces moreso than the groundscrew at wimbledon.

    plus, like someone else said, she is talking about surfaces in general, not just grass. the so-called "faster" surfaces.
     
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  24. RiosTheGenius

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    I agree with everything said in this thread, but unfortunately , I knew this is where this was going eventually... so now if Nadal goes away with the title or makes the final people will start saying that it is only because of the courts.
    I think the people who run this tournaments should be able to do whatever they want with the surfaces, and if any player doesn't like it, THEY DON'T HAVE TO PLAY IT. so if the wimbledon people want to slow things down they are entitled to do so , IMO
     
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  25. Roforot

    Roforot Professional

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    Agree on both accounts, especially that if there were more Har-tru tournaments here for junniors, I think we'd have better luck in Davis Cup and clay-court seasons.
     
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  26. araghava

    araghava Rookie

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    People on this forum keep talking about how S&V is boring. And i agree that it would be if every player S&V'd on every serve. However even S&V'rs only S&V on 1st serves. So a S&V'r would be playing from the backcourt about 50% of the time on his serve and 100% of the time on the opponents serve.

    Seems like an ideal blend of tennis when 50% of the points are played S&V and the other 50% from the baseline.

    Courts should be speeded up and made lower bouncing to achieve this.
     
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  27. dh003i

    dh003i Legend

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    RiosTheGenius,

    Except, Wimbledon isn't doing this because they "want to". They're doing it because of whiney clay-court specialists who are *****ing because the Wimbledon grass was too fast for them to have a chance on.

    And sure, they have the absolute right to make the grass however they want to. However, it isn't good for tennis, and it sucks.
     
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  28. chess9

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    Do you really think they are going to tell us they have purposely slowed the game? I suspect not.

    -Robert
     
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  29. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    Of course, I agree with Navratilova. I've been saying same thing on this TW board
    for more than 2 years. We already knew somehting was heavily
    manipulated to slow down the game. I was just replying to supermans
    comments.

    But I'm not sure if faster condition favors Federer.
    It won't favor Nadal, obviosuly. Until 2002, Federer
    was considered to have big potential but lacks fire power to hurt
    top players. Slowed conditions made everything ideal for him.
    If condition gets fatser, he'll get attacked by some attacking players.

    Federer, Nadal, Hewitt and Nalbandian.
    They are all same kind in macro scale.
    Consistent baseline game with some counter punching.
    Current condition favors them. If surfaces get quicker,
    I don';t think these players will dominate like now....
     
    #29
  30. The tennis guy

    The tennis guy Hall of Fame

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    Lightning fast court doesn't favor Federer. ATP will not go there for sure like in 90s, they would just speed them up a little bit to US Open level on hardcourt if they do at all.

    I never heard anyone said Federer lacked fire power. 4 years ago, he was not strong enough physically and mentally.

    Of the 4 you mentioned, faster courts will bother only Nadal. Federer, Hewitt, Nalbandian all love faster court with lower bounce. If they do super fast court, then they would be hurt a little bit. Federer is the only one that can adapt to super fast court better. As I said many times, Federer was serving and volleying a lot and with success 4 or 5 years ago when condition was quicker. He was just not consistent enough, mentally more than physically.
     
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  31. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    Go read Tennis magazine's 40 best in history.
    That's what people said in Federer's early days.
    Consider 90's standard. then You'll understand what they mean.

    Federer's attacking game is based on accuracy.
    Not exactly type of explosiveness like Safin or Blake or even Baghdatis.

    Federer would not like any changes in current tour conditions.
    He happens to have ideal game for current condition.
     
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  32. The tennis guy

    The tennis guy Hall of Fame

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    I just don't agree. Federer to me is as explosive as anyone on tour right now. He might not be able to hit every shot as hard as Safin or Blake, but he is as explosive.

    US Open in 90s was still quite fast - hasn't changed much since 97. Federer defintely does quite well there. Federer would like the hardcourts speed up a little bit, not bouncing as high as they are now - that gives him more trouble than speed itself. I agree with you he doesn't want the supreme carpet back. It is difficult to adjust that much when you are in your mid 20s because he DOES need to change his game a little bit for supreme carpet. For US Open type of hardcourt, he doesn't need adjust his game at all.
     
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  33. arosen

    arosen Hall of Fame

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    It's ironic really, the slower grass at Wimby favors Fed because he gets more time to set up his wind-up backhand. At the same time it allows Nadal to play his game and perhaps get to the final to play Fed, and we all know how well that worked for Fed so far.
     
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  34. The tennis guy

    The tennis guy Hall of Fame

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    Don't agree slow grass favors Fed backhand. Federer's backhand is quite good on low bouncing court. His strokes are quite compact.
     
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  35. ED_4.6HSE

    ED_4.6HSE New User

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    I'm really not sure about this. I would have said fed would be just as good in faster conditions, he can volley great, amazing movement etc etc but watching ancic playing him today gave me second thoughts. Many of Mario's shots today would simply have been unreturnable a few years back. His serve would be even more potent, groundstokes would be even heavier, and volleys wouldnt sit up half as much. Fed passed him or hit winners loads of times on shots that i think wouldnt have sat up as much. Would he have found it so easy?

    Im not saying federer wouldnt still have won just that it would be a bit more interesting

    Just my thoughts today, anyone else notice something similar?
     
    #35
  36. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    I repeat people assessed his game in his early days compared
    to top pro's of 90's. You would still disagree with it ?

    About Blake and Safin, I disagree. There are actual numbers
    we can compare like serve speed. That's why Blake or Safin can
    take out Nadal on hard courts. Federer's game is based on accuracy
    and not power which is pretty corrct statement, insn't it ?
     
    #36
  37. dmastous

    dmastous Professional

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    There is another reason for the rye grass being used at Wimbledon since 2001. It's not just to slow down the courts so that the serve/volleyers aren't so dominat. It's also due to some of the newer shoes players have been using to get better footing. The grass was getting chewed up too fast so they went to a more robust grass to make it last longer. The result was an overall slower court.
    I'm in the same camp as those who think it's now too slow. What does serve/volley tennis get you these days? The racquet technology has made it so easy to hit hard with tremendous spin, and made passing much easier for even the journeymen players. There's been nothing to make the volley more effective in turn. I think Wimbledon's been pretty much been the last bastion of serve/volley tennis, and since they've slowed down the courts, there's just no reason to play that style anymore.
    At the same time, I find it interesting that so many have commented on how boring Wimbledon was with such short points, and overpowering serves. Now that that has been negated we are complaining that it's too slow, where's the overpowering serves and net points? :rolleyes:
     
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  38. The tennis guy

    The tennis guy Hall of Fame

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    I agree Federer was not strong enough in his late teens relative to pros of 90s. I don't agree he is not strong or explosive enough now.

    Safin and Blake hits the ball flatter that give Nadal more trouble. Federer's game, to me, is based on the combination of power, accuracy, and variety. Average first serve speed wise, Safin, Blake and Federer are quite similar in low 120s.

    I'd like to see Federer plays Nadal on US Open type of hardcourt before I can say Blake and Safin can take out Nadal on hard courts better than Federer. Federer and Nadal have played on very limited surfaces so far.
     
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  39. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    yeah you are right. many commentators/writers weren't sure about federer's long term potential around 2001 due to lack of consistent power/weapons, not just his fragile mental game. he was thought of as less likely to dominate the tour compared to safin. then the atp slowed the tour down & federer achieved his potential.

    even peter bodo in recent blog, said that federer doesn't have the physically imposing game at w that sampras & becker did.

    if you compare federer's body now to sampras, becker, krajicek he does look very skinny.
     
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  40. The tennis guy

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    If they don't intend to slow down the court, then use the same balls they used to use, and don't open those balls a week ahead before the match. I am afaid they are just trying to defend themselves against chorus of criticism of too slow.

    I don't think anyone just wants short rally. People are complaining more about the 4 slams are being played the same way now. I for one love to see each slam played a little bit differently.
     
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  41. The tennis guy

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    He looks skinny relative to becker for sure, not sampras and krajicek. Federer lists heavier now than Sampras around same age ( Sampras was 6'1, 170 when he was 24, 25). Krajicek is just taller. Federer just doesn't hit flat ball like those 3.
     
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  42. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That has been fixed after Henman complained last year.
     
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  43. The tennis guy

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    It doesn't matter whether they fix it or not. It just shows their intention was to slow down the game. So don't give the bull that we didn't intend to slow down the grass, it was because players' shoes wore out our old grass.
     
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  44. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    I disagree. The forearms/biceps & shoulder of Sampras/Krajicek were noticably bigger than Feds.
    And Sampras' calves/legs were bigger as well(thats why his vertical leap is so much higher than Fed)

    I wouldn't read too much into listed weights of players, who knows if many players actually are truthful or even care what they are listed as. This isn't the NBA/NFL where someone actually weighs them.
     
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  45. dmastous

    dmastous Professional

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    Sampras flat????
    They did a study back in the mid 90's, in San Jose, of the amount of rotation on the ball and found that Sampras & Agassi had two heaviest balls of the tournament.
    Federer has spindly arms and legs, but his trunk is solid. That's where he gets his power and spin. He looks like a Spongebob.
     
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  46. The tennis guy

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    Not sure about krajicek's shoulder, Sampras has really wide shoulder. Look at Sampras in 94-96, except shoulder, he looked similar to Federer now. Federer has different body type. His legs are skinny like Hewitt, but moves as fast as Sampras. Federer's movement makes up any power "deficiency" he has relative to Becker and Krajicek.
     
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  47. Simon Cowell

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    Federer does not have skinny legs.
     
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  48. The tennis guy

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    Relative to Sampras and Becker we were talking about.
     
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  49. The tennis guy

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    I just don't agree with that causality analysis. They didn't slow down US Open, he is doing quite well there.

    Except indoor supreme courts where Federer does have to adjust his game a little bit in my opinion, Federer would do as well on fast hardcourt and grass.
     
    #49
  50. ohplease

    ohplease Professional

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    I agree. Grass might have changed. It might be slower, but it still ain't slow.

    Personally, I'm tired of the constant complaining from tennis fans. In Becker's prime, the courts were too fast, the serve too dominant. Now the courts are too slow? Wimbledon is too slow? If anything, Wimbledon has done a great job in making its surface more fair - preventing the equivalent of clay-court specialist phenomenon - only on grass.

    The best players in the world are going deep. Good for them. Players like Puerta, Gaudio, Coria, et al. go deep at the clay events and no where else - so what? That's not a good thing. Would Wimbledon be better if it continued to be dominated by the likes of Philippoussis, Mirnyi, Ancic? No.

    Wimbledon did its job in making the surface less of a factor. No more one trick pony champions or finalists like Krajicek or Ivanisevic. Roland Garros and the clay court circuit should follow Wimbledon's lead in this regard. In fact, it's easy to argue that the high incidence of fluke second week participants at the French is precisely why the tennis world outside of Spain or South America thinks so little of the tournament or its champions.
     
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