Should tennis have done it like MLB and stayed with wood?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by dominikk1985, Feb 23, 2011.

?

Should tennis have stayed with wood=

  1. Yes

    33 vote(s)
    36.3%
  2. No

    58 vote(s)
    63.7%
  1. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,410
    What do you guys think? In baseball there are metal bats who are much more powerfull than the old wood bats. still the MLB didn't allow metal to limit the players power (imagine bonds or pujols with a metal bat:D). Among fans it's widely accepted that this is good (because those athletes would hit HRs too easy) and even think that metal bat baseball is for inferior players because wood needs better technique (could be argued for tennis also).

    For tennis you could make a similar argument. It's much easier with today's 90+ sq. ínch blades to hit a ball cleanly. now any HS player can hit hard topspin of both wings which very few players could do with wood. also the rackets are very light and thus easy to maneuver and create a lot of power.

    you could argue that those easy strokes compared to wood have shifted the balance more to athletes rather than players.

    This has changed the game in a way that players an hit winners easily instead of having to construct points. they are also able to hit passing shots just from the wrist like a table tennis player thus killing the s&v game.

    Of course you could also argue that plastic rackets improved the quality of the game and anything that does this is good for tennis.

    So what's your opinion on that? do you think the new rackets are good or bad for tennis(I'm talking here about top players amateurs of course benefit a lot from plastic sine the game is so easy now)? And why did baseball stay with wood and tennis not?

    I realize racket sellings play a roll, but baseball is also a billion dollar industry. And baseball did stay with wood (MLB of course-college and HS play with metal).
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011
    #1
  2. li0scc0

    li0scc0 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Messages:
    2,173
    Baseball at the professional level stayed with wood for safety reasons. With the metal/composite bats, the ball launches off the bat at an unsafe velocity. Numerous college pitchers have sustained facial fractures due to inability to react to a batted ball in time. YES, this does happen at the Major League level, but not with the same propensity as we see in college.
    With tennis, safety is not the issue. The issue is more performance.

    I vote no. I love the serve and volley game, yet some of the best serve and volleyers played with composite racquets. I remember the wood racquet days fondly, but when I watch a wood racquet match, I don't find it as exciting as a match between Edberg, Becker, Lendl, etc. And, frankly, I find modern tennis enjoyable.

    I also think that composite racquets (non-wood) has improved the women's game more than the men's. Women now are hitting with noticeably more power vs. women of yore. Let's not argue IF you can hit harder top end velocity with composite vs. wood, one thing you cannot argue is that you can consistently hit harder with composite vs. wood. I.e. the rallies now are at a much greater ball velocity vs. rallies in the 70's.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011
    #2
  3. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,410
    that is not quite true.

    Now wood comes up because of safety (see the BBCOR debate) but back in the 70s when metal came up nobody cared for safety.those studies are quite new.

    the official reason was "respect for the old records". people would have been angry if some metal guy would have smashed babe ruths record.
    the reason was definitely because of performance.

    actually many baseball traditionalists want wood now because of safety in the HS. but even them basically use as a reason for shifting to wood, since you can make metal bats that perform like wood (the bbcor bats). safety is a good arguement, but it was not the reason why baseball originally stayed with wood.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011
    #3
  4. li0scc0

    li0scc0 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Messages:
    2,173
    You are correct. Safety is a current great reason to stay with or move back to wood, but not the original reason for MLB. I spoke (typed) incorrectly.
     
    #4
  5. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    4,264
    I say yes to having some sort of standard where talent skill and strategy come back into tennis on a level that is now lost. I’d love to go back to wood with a maximum head size of 70. I think it would bring the variety back into the game. Serve and volley, baseline, surface specialists, finesse players, power players, 2hbh, 1hbh etc. Less variety in the racquet technology would lend itself to more variety in the game
     
    #5
  6. li0scc0

    li0scc0 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Messages:
    2,173
    That said, I would argue that all of this was true even in the late 80's, when all players were using composite (non-wood) racquets.
     
    #6
  7. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    3,076
    No. It is fair because both players are allowed to use newer technology. Baseball is different because the ball really hasn't changed in almost a century(whereas metal bats would give the batter an advantage over the pitcher).
     
    #7
  8. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,889
    just an fyi, many players used aluminum(or something definitely not wood) in the 70s. See Ashe, Rosewall, Tanner, Connors, Court, Roche.

    I realize a few famous old matches(Borg-Mac, etc) make one think that the 70s was a time when everyone played with the same racquet specs, but that was hardly the case, there was probably a wider range of materials & racquet size back then compared to now(Pam Shriver used an OS graphite to reach the 1978 USO Final. I have a match with John Alexander from 1979 on tape, it really is a strange looking racquet, looks graphite, but certainly not shaped like any graphite racquet I've seen)

    So I'm not sure how tennis could have ever 'stayed with wood' since it has never been 'all wood' (at least in the open era)

    here are some non wood matches, 1972 USO Final, 1974 USO Final, 1970 USO Final:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7jkeZ0kNq8&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf4wrrpzdYc&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

    http://www.youtube.com/user/krosero#p/u/5/lJubuKDN7Fk


    the reason every one plays the same today isn't racquets, but coaching. you can't really overstate the influence academy style tennis has had on the game(Borg clones, Bollettieri, etc)
    Juniors today could be playing with toothpicks & would still just try to blast away from the baseline 99% of the time. Don't forget Pete Sampras was one of the best juniors in the country in the mid 80s by playing a standard baseline game with 2 handed backhand. He said virtually every coach thought he was insane/and or throwing away all pro prospects when he decided to go to a 1 handed backhand & develop an all court game.
    Playing safe is the way to go, even in juniors no one wants to risk taking a step back in order to take a few steps forward in the future. and there's the agent factor - losses in the juniors would deter them from signing young prospects.

    I recall reading an article a few years ago where a player said that most pro coaches on tour today don't really do much coaching, just cheerleading. They are so scared of losing their jobs, they just tell the player what they want to hear, so the player in essence will never change, or try anything different. I think its amusing how often fans on the board criticize a player's coach for a player's strategy, etc. In any field, its probably not a good idea to criticize your boss.
     
    #8
  9. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,854
    Location:
    Jersey
    The fairness of a woodie is far greater than the fairness of a non-woodie...

    yes, more variety
     
    #9
  10. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,410
    I agree that academy tennis has some role.

    They academies want quick sucess. most parents that pay ridicolous money to those academies don't want to wait. they want their children to be at the top of the juniors with 16 and in the top100 with 18.

    especially with the women this is true.

    If you want quick sucess those robotic ground strokes are the fastest way to the top. why waste time on developing variety, when you get faster sucess by building up some simple groundstrokes (only one height, depth and spin-and of course every ball with maximum power) and then grind them in all day long.

    repetition is key to mastery and when you only have 3 strokes like many women (hard FH, hard 2-hander, serve) you get much more repetitions on those than a guy who plays a spinny FH, an angle FH a flat FH, a BH topspin, a BH slice, drop shots and 3 different serves.

    thus those acedemies teach that kind of game. they don't care for your peak capability at 24 (when you have long left the academy) but they want to bring you in the top100 as quickly as possible (because those parents don't want to hear "he needs time" when their daughter doesn't win in the 16s).

    However I still think the racket technology also plays a role in this.
     
    #10
  11. DrBHarper

    DrBHarper New User

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    So this might seem off the wall, but what if certain tournaments went with wood and others allowed modern racquets. For example Wimbledon allows only wood but the Aussie Open lets players use any type of racquet they want. I think this could add some intrigue and possibly lead to some new blood making its way up, especially on the mens side.

    I've always wondered why some small tournament (a non-major) hasn't tried this as at least a publicity stunt. If some small tournament in say Cincinnati decided to go all wood racquets wouldn't that make headlines and at least get a mention on a show like PTI that rarely talks about mens tennis outside of the major tournaments.

    Doc Harper
    I got the bill for my surgery. Now I know what those doctors were wearing masks for. ~James H. Boren
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2011
    #11
  12. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,410
    It's of course unrealistic that tournaments go bac to wood, but I would love some show matches being played with wood.

    How about sampras-federer or sampras-agassi with wood rackets? that would be a nice show.

    or a player like borg that actually played with wood against some player from the 90s.

    Would you watch that?
     
    #12
  13. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Messages:
    21,212
    Given that every surfaces, racquet technology, food, medicine, etc. has not change a bit for the past 100 yrs, I still believe the current era still produce the highest quality tennis than any era in the past.
     
    #13
  14. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,395
    The average weekend player wants to play better and the current racquet and string technology helps tremendously. While tennis may be a better strategic game and you probably learn better skills with a wood racquet, the regular player (as well as the World Class Player) wouldn't want to take a step back and play with wood. Let's face it, who wants to hit with less power, have more mishits and hit with less spin? Very few if any.

    That's being said I still would love to see some major wood tournaments.
     
    #14
  15. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,682
    IMHO, pros should use wood. It's just a much more challenging game.

    Having a poll really doesn't tell you much, since one presumes some of the poll-takers really have no experience with the difference wood brings.
     
    #15
  16. Raphael

    Raphael Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    413
    I have thought for a long time that professional tennis missed the chance to prevent the game to become a race of technology. The America's Cup yacht race is no longer about who has the best crew, its all about the super-secret keel design. Tennis has moved in that direction too.

    Give the modern racquets to amateur players, but keep the pros using wood.
     
    #16
  17. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,063
    The metal rackets in the 1970s were no better than wood. Pros used them because they were paid to use them. We should have stayed with wood, because the new rackets give an advantage to players who have incorrect technique.
     
    #17
  18. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,854
    Location:
    Jersey
    Not only that, it is alot harder to get to the net and volley. With wood rackets, all styles of play exist and are super successful
     
    #18
  19. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    4,091
    nah, silly ideas all round. The modern pro isn't in a 'race of technology', all the various racquets are available to anyone.
    If someone wanted to play with a woodie, they could.

    Except nobody would want to. I learnt with a wooden racquet on a grass court, but my game has changed with the times and I have no interest in switching back. I posted in a different thread about playing with my dad's old Slazenger Challenge the other night and how it was fun, I had no problem at all making shots, despite my 'modern game', but it was like driving a vintage car: a bit of fun, but completely outclassed in every respect by current equipment.
     
    #19
  20. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,746
    Location:
    Hotel CA
    The technology transition has made for a very interesting history. The metals, composites, and early graphite all had an part on the changes in the game. Ofcourse there are other factors like the academies and the string improvements.

    It would still be a very good idea to have some tournaments that require using wood rackets. Just like the changes in court surfaces, the changes in allowed rackets for tournaments would provide more variety, excitement, and a different subset of players providing different entertainment and tournament winners. I would love to see some wood racket tournaments even if it was just on the senior tour ! Wood is Good ... bring back the wood :)
     
    #20
  21. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,260
    Personally I believe the better alternative may simply be limiting head size and not necessarily material.

    I believe that would be more practical, in a sense, in that manufacturers could still market the next, "newer/better" stick to the masses but just limit the use of the "game improvement" sticks to the ladders and rating group hacks. As a player's ability rises the equipent requirements would become more strict.

    Much the GLM (Graduated Length Method) of learning to ski.

    IMO if one limits the pro level to 70" heads or under the playing field becomes more level and the variety would return.

    I also think that the "some wood" event idea would actually be dangerous to the players. A back and forth with the changes in overall weight, swing weight and impact forces will hazard injury at the elite level.

    5
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
    #21
  22. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,746
    Location:
    Hotel CA
    Did you mean 90si heads ? Never were many ~70 graphites made.
     
    #22
  23. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    3,260
    No, I meant 70's. Wood head size+ to allow for slightly different shape, but allow the manufacturers to use varied materials. I'd also limit string tech like golf limits grooves on club faces.

    5
     
    #23
  24. cmb

    cmb Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Messages:
    790


    Plastic rackets?
     
    #24
  25. Cuculain

    Cuculain New User

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    Dublin Ireland.
    Holey moley! there is not one part of this statement that is correct! The opposite is correct for everything you have said! Including about the quality of the tennis!
     
    #25
  26. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,738
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    I like playing with current tech racquets and strings. They make me "feel" more powerful (and thus better about myself) than I was when I was in my teens.

    At the highest levels, I do much prefer finesse, precision, and all-court tactics versus power-baseline-bashing.
     
    #26
  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,395
    I agree. I do get sick at times of players playing each other and it's always the same thing every time with no change in style or tactics. While I may enjoy the play I often think to myself that he's doing the same thing to you every time and you're losing playing that way every time, why don't you do something different?

    I guess it depends on my mood. I have mentioned in the past that one of my favorite all time matches is the 1984 US Open semi between McEnroe and Connors. The reason for that is besides the high quality of play was the great variety of shotmaking and styles. McEnroe was the serve and volleyer but he often stayed back with different spins, speeds and angles. Connors was more of a baseliner but he approached quite often, lobbed way, hit great angles. It wasn't just power with Connors.

    Yet sometimes I'll enjoy the baseline rallies of Federer and Nadal at the 2009 Australian or the 2008 Wimbledon. Not nearly as much variety as McEnroe/Connors but great play nevertheless.

    Of the great players in the last 20 years I would think that Sampras would have done the best with wood, Edberg and Becker also. I think Agassi, because he hits the ball so purely would do well with a small wood racquet.
     
    #27
  28. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    4,264
    There is a scale in tennis that balances physicality with skill and talent. Racquet and string tech moves the needle towards the physicality side. The spin and depth of shots make it impossible to play a varied game like when the majority of pros were using wood. Frankly, I’d rather watch a no-so-fit virtuoso perform magic with a wood racquet than a buffed out shredded physical specimen baseline bash for 30 strokes until someone dies on court due to exhaustion. When I look at guys like Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Monfils, I see Speed, stamina, strength, aggression. I don’t see anything that makes me marvel at their games in the way as watching someone like McEnroe. I say go back to wood. Sure there will be a transition period that will shake up tennis for a season but everything will eventually settle back down. People that keep talking about steel and graphite in the 80s are just confusing the issue. Who cares. Make it one simple rule. “wood only”.
     
    #28
  29. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Messages:
    21,212
    Holy moly, holy cow, holy smoke, holy s**t.

    Every sports progress over time except for tennis.:roll::roll:

    hahahahahahaha

    Oh wait...

    hahahahahahaha
     
    #29
  30. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,854
    Location:
    Jersey
    Good point, smaller head size means more room for error meaning you can't ALWAYS go for winners and super-power past your opponent, you have to use tactics. So while it might be faster play all-around, it wouldn't sacrifice tactical play, right?

    agreed on the list, but I don't think any would be overly hindered by wooden rackets. Agassi could play with a baseball bat and still hit it cleanly. well, maybe not, but you still get my point lol
     
    #30
  31. Stuart S

    Stuart S New User

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Messages:
    71
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Agree completely. The old 'touch' skill of tennis is now pretty much consigned to history. Now it's all BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.... yawn.

    Didn't John McEnroe, lamenting at how much the power game had taken over, seriously suggest that all players should be FORCED back to wood? It's a few years ago now. Can anyone confirm this?
     
    #31
  32. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    I know this is 6 months after your post, but, agreed! Regulation of racquet dimensions and string composition would have been a great way to keep the game from becoming the large scale version of ping pong that it is now. IMO, the benefit of graphite is the ability to make a larger, lighter weight, more rigid racquet. With the size limitations as you suggest, that benefit largely evaporates.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
    #32
  33. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    Yep. I've written exactly this so so man times. But no...all I hear is...it's the racquets...it's the courts...it's the balls...it's the strings....it would be impossible to play that way now....BS!!! Sure, all those thing played small parts, but in the end it's the coachings/models/trends.

    As soon as I read the OP....I was thinking about it...and then immediately thought....can I ban tennis academies and the internet instead?? ;-)
     
    #33
  34. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    It's sometimes very difficult to go away from what you've been trained to do your whole life...especially for a strategy in which you will face the humiliation of being passed outright many times. To make SV work, you not only must have great tools (athletic and learned skills), you must have....Wilander's "big balls"....Remember when WIlander candidly told the world what he really thought of Federer's tactics??

    Vic Braden told me how frustated he somtimes was with pros unwillingness to change...not even game style, but stroke mechanics...even when he'd shown them, and they'd agreed, that it was yielding better results!! One young journeyman pro came to Braden and told him, that the fastest he had ever served was something like 108mph....a couple hours later, Braden had him using 'his" motion, with minimal knee bend, total relaxation, no crazy contortions, and he was now clocked at close to 120mph. Braden was thrilled, as was the pro...until finally the pro asked...but how should I serve during a match? Braden said "like you are now!", the pro replied "I can't serve like THIS! There's no effort at all...it's too easy...!!! Braden was like "OK...well you can throw your body into all kinds of exaggerated motions and hit it 108mph...or hit it with so little effort at 118mph...I know what I'd rather do!!!" LOL

    Anyways, remember Tauziat PC? Changed herself mid career too SV from mediocre WOMAN (not supposed to be able to SV at all right? ;-), to career high 30 something.....I remember she openly wondered why other younger, stronger, more athletic women didn't follow her lead, when she felt she'd clearly provided a proof-of-concept!
     
    #34
  35. InspectorRacquet

    InspectorRacquet Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    427
    Interesting poll.

    I think tennis is fine the way it is. If wood was still required, there would be very little recreational players, in my opinion (seeing as we all want to use what the pros use). Today's technology allows any person of any physical ability to play tennis at a recreational and competitive level.

    After watching numerous matches of today's players and players using the wooden racquets (on YouTube), I sincerely believe that today's matches are more intriguing. The wooden racquet matches seemed pretty predictable while today's matches are a bit more spontaneous. It also seemed that wooden racquet users didn't have a very good baseline game, so serve and volley dominated. I just feel that modern racquet players trump the wooden racquet players and would be devastated if the pros had to switch to wood again.

    And let the bashing begin.
     
    #35
  36. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,395
    Great post Datacipher. I really like your examples of the journeyman pro and Tauziat.

    I suppose I can understand why a player who may be losing to someone 6-4 6-4 doesn't want to change tactics and lose 6-1 6-1. Nevertheless you figure these guys are professionals and you would tend to think they can devise some different tactics to defeat an opponent. My guess is that some of them may just think that if they play better that they will win but frankly I don't get the logic if the same tactics almost NEVER work.

    Bill Tilden took months off to work on his backhand drive and he became almost invincible.

    Didn't Peter McNamara change from a one hander to a two hander and improved his ranking to a top ten player? That's a huge change and it certainly paid off for him.

    Pete Sampras was a two handed baseliner and he switched as junior to a one handed serve and volleyer. It almost paid off for him but I often wonder what would have happened if Pete stayed a two hander. I have a hunch he would have done well anyway but it's debatable if he would have matched his actual success.

    Maria Sharapova, while I like her overall really has no variety or versatility to her game at all. It's power first strike tennis or nothing at all. Impressive when it works but she has no plan B.
     
    #36
  37. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    Hahaha! Some loaded comments there about modern racquets allowing any person of any physical ability to play tennis at a recreational and competitive level. Not that I disagree with that. But, I do disagree that modern technology did anything to advance interest in recreational tennis. The golden era of recreational tennis, when tennis was the biggest and fastest growing recreational sport in America, and probably the world, was the 70's, when 66si wood racquets were the gold standard and every garage in America had at least one or more T2000's in it! The stainless steel standard!
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
    #37
  38. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    12,716
    Location:
    Carrboro, NC
    Baseball has died in popuarity, I dont see any reason to look to this sport
     
    #38
  39. Netzroller

    Netzroller Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    535
    No, I think the change was a good idea.

    Personally I think modern rackets make the game more variable and interesting. There is not doubt rec players pretty much all prefer graphite, I don't see a point in making the game more difficult for no benefit.
    I think it's similar to the change to carving skies in wintersports. As opposed to the older models or even the wooden skies, they have allowed people to learn skiing in a much shorter time, have a lot more options and enjoy the sport more.
    And having only the pro's play with wood would be totally weird. It's a completely different game, we don't need 2 different kinds of tennis, one to watch and one to play yourself.

    Secondly, I think the MLB is an exception. And don't forget that other than the US hardly any country on the planet cares about baseball. If you look at pretty much any other sport, it's just the same as in tennis.
    Take for example Soccer - in spite of being rather sceptical towards new technoligies, it has long ago abandoned leather balls for constantly improving synthetic balls etc.
     
    #39
  40. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Messages:
    13,476
    Location:
    So Cal
    ^^^ +1.

    There are two reasons MLB never replaced wood rackets: a) because they have the $$$$ to spend replacing broken wooden ones; b) baseball is INCREDIBLY interested in stats (ok, they turned their back on 'roids and let a generation rack up huge numbers - most think that was because of the strike and they knew homers were exciting) and if they allowed AL bats then record book would be totally rewritten.

    There is still quite a bit of feel in the men's game. Just because no one can effectively S&V 100% doesn't mean the players don't have touch. They just have to be more careful and pick the right time to go to the net.
     
    #40
  41. Clay lover

    Clay lover Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,911
    Dunno about tennis, but table tennis is much more fun with new technology. I don't agree also about how playing the modern game with modern equipment requires less technique. To generate heavy spin efficiently the last thing you want is bad technique.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
    #41
  42. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    10,029
    Yes. BUt you cannot stop technology and commerce.

    Well, you can privately in your own bubble.
    I ride a steel-framed bike. I sometimes hit with a Maxply, and I love it.
    I use a landline when I'm at my house, LOL!
    I don't really feel attached to my cellular telephone or my computer.
    I wear cotton shirts a lot.
    I often make my own food....without a microwave oven.
    I build a fire in my fireplace or firepit.
    I am in my 40s and I still go camping sometimes.
    I read books with pages.
    I pray in the mornings and at night.
    I like to have an ice cream sometimes with my kids.

    For me, it's 1975 whenever I want it to be, and tennis is still cool.
     
    #42
  43. spazz

    spazz New User

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    2nd Foundation
    i grew up with wood, and made the changeover to midsize aluminum before i was 30. but i hated to do it. i much preferred the movement and placement of the wood game to the top spin ping pong power game that today's equipment dictates.

    i know that learning on the wood racquets was a lot more difficult/frustrating than what we got now, and can definitely see an advantage to let nonpros use them, just like the aluminum bat. but the aluminum bat would change mlb to slow-pitch softball, with double-digit scores and lineups loaded up with guys that now are relegated to 1st base.

    i understand some folks find today's pro game more viewer friendly, but i've never witnessed anything as fascinating as the borg-mcenroe-connors rivalry. (yeah the 2000 trampolined the ball, but it's small head still kept it from fundamentally changing the game.) navratilova says that at wimbledon '83 she would rush from her own matches to catch mcenroe on court, saying it was the most wondrous tennis she's ever witnessed.
     
    #43
  44. the green god

    the green god Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Messages:
    450
    As far as people not wanting to go back and play with wood, which I agree with(genie already out of the bottle), 30 to 40 years ago on a nice day/night you could hardly find a court not being used in my town. Now, courts are like a ghost town, makes ya think.
     
    #44
  45. Diagoras

    Diagoras New User

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    73
    Location:
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I don't think that it makes sense to allow the change to modern materials without changing the dimensions of the court to compensate.

    The tennis court was designed around the traditional wooden capabilities and velocities. If modern materials make the speed and spin so tremendous that even some of the most incredible athletes can't cover the court fast enough, then the court should simply be smaller. I want to see points won not only with athleticism, but with smart tactics, and it seems that we see FAR less of that these days than we did in the wooden era.

    And nothing is more boring than watching a match where the serves are so insane that the other guy doesn't even bother trying to return them. It just seems ridiculous, and I really don't think that's what the inventors of the game had in mind.
     
    #45
  46. spazz

    spazz New User

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    2nd Foundation
    a lot of aging boomers moved to golf. but that still doesn't explain how a sport that was so intrinsic to community activity faded so much. seemed like everybody played tennis, or wanted to. (at least a sizable percent of young adults.) ????????????
     
    #46
  47. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,063
    Depends on how you define "good technique." If you define "good technique" by what the tennis teaching pros in 1960 said was good technique, then to generate heavy spin efficiently the last thing you want is good technique.

    I really liked Rod Laver's top spin ping pong power game. Back then topspin generation required the epitome of skill. Nowadays people get cheap topspin using grips that don't allow anything else. In the old days, you could punish people who took shortcuts like that by slicing the ball low to them. Their racket was too heavy to get enough racket speed to lift the ball significantly unless they could also open the racket face (and even if they _could_ generate the racket speed, they'd miss the sweetspot and maybe even frame the ball).

    Back then, I read every instructional tennis book and magazine article I could get my hands on. I am not happy to see my knowledge become obsolete. I get enough of that on the job.

    Believe me, it is more difficult to become a 4.0 player today than it was thirty years ago. Back then, if you could topspin your second serve and occasionally put even a tiny amount of topspin on a cross-court backhand -- you were a 4.0 player!
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
    #47
  48. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    Frank, you're a hoot! But, I don't think those ratings existed in the 70's.
     
    #48
  49. spazz

    spazz New User

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    2nd Foundation
    I really liked Rod Laver's top spin ping pong power game. Back then topspin generation required the epitome of skill. Nowadays people get cheap topspin using grips that don't allow anything else. In the old days, you could punish people who took shortcuts like that by slicing the ball low to them. Their racket was too heavy to get enough racket speed to lift the ball significantly unless they could also open the racket face (and even if they _could_ generate the racket speed, they'd miss the sweetspot and maybe even frame the ball).

    Borg put a lot of top spin on those heavy shots up the middle. And the size of Vilas' arm showed how much spin he played with.

    But...back then when you placed the ball somewhere out of reach, when your opponent ran it down, the tiny sweet spot of their racquet greatly reduced the odds of them pulling off a last second spinny passing shot or top spin lob. More likely, they just managed to push it back over the net, so that you could move up and angle it off. That was probably my favorite part of the game, and the first thing to go with the change in racquet tech.
     
    #49
  50. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Messages:
    3,166
    The strings have had a huge impact on the game, not only the frames.

    I keep going back to wooden frames as I love everything about them, and then when I pick up a modern frame, it just feels like a club. Playing against anyone other than a pretty much full time player, a wooded frame does not inconvenience me much. However, if I had to use a string from the 80s, I might struggle.
     
    #50

Share This Page