Tennis players are the best athletes, says Sampras

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by diggler, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. Falloutjr

    Falloutjr Banned

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    I didn't compare myself to a professional tennis player. I meant as a populus, us tennis players are generally better athletes than those who play other sports at an equal level (high school tennis vs high school basketball, etc.). Now there are exceptions, but generally, I hold this true.
     
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  2. Ultra2HolyGrail

    Ultra2HolyGrail Hall of Fame

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    Long distance running is alot tougher than playing tennis. That's the toughest imo. Soccer is also harder. Basketball is even harder than tennis.

    MMA is not because of very out of shape guys who can beat guys who looks like they are in incredible shape. Seen it done many times. George foreman also proved it in boxing, along with butterbean.
     
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  3. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    This kid apparently thinks the above is a good argument. Comedy doesn't get much better than this.
     
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  4. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    ^^^ Agreed. Fallout is assuming that all shots are equivalent across sports. Too bad for him that a 100mph serve reaches the player at like half speed unlike the 100mph pitch in baseball. Not only are his comparisons not apples to apples, they are more like apples to watermelons.
     
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  5. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    Yes, and I think we understand whether tennis balls are apples or watermelons.
     
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  6. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

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    Even more false. High school tennis generally sucks, in high school basketball you don't get kids making varsity that don't even have the fundamentals. I don't think you can compare Lebron in highschool to any highschool tennis athlete.

    THank you glad i'm not the only one who realized this.
     
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  7. NonP

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    It behooves them first to define what athleticism is, instead of assuming that we already accept their definition. Of course they don't get this, otherwise they would've seen how absurd and difficult it is to compare athletes from different sports.
     
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  8. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    Butterbean would got rocked by any true legitimate heavy weight boxer, and George Foreman was underestimated by his opponent, who in turn showed up unfit and untrained. That's why Foreman won.
     
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  9. Falloutjr

    Falloutjr Banned

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    I wasn't comparing talent; many high school tennis teams outside of Texas, SoCal, and Florida are jokes, whereas you can find huge pools of basketball players just about anywhere, especially in inner cities. I mean athletically, from a pure physical standpoint.
     
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  10. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    Tennis players are not the best athletes, but they are very underestimated in terms of athleticism
     
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  11. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    Too much nonsense on this thread. Again, define athleticism before you begin to argue for or against tennis players (or other athletes in a different sport). Don’t assume your definition is universally accepted when it’s obviously not.

    Also it’s one thing to argue tennis players are the best athletes in the world, but another to argue tennis is the most athletic of sports. Some of you folks are conflating the two.

    Let’s take one of the most idiotic claims put forth so far, that tennis players are great athletes because their chosen sport requires a high level of hand-eye coordination that’s missing in many other sports. This is like saying your local club player is a better athlete than Carl Lewis because the track-and-field great never had to worry about returning tennis balls that are coming from his opponent at 100+ mph. Which is absurd on its face, of course. And note how the dunce conflated the player’s athleticism with the requirements of the sport itself.
     
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  12. IvanAndreevich

    IvanAndreevich Legend

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    This argument is flawed. I've highlighted one part I will debunk.

    Tennis allows a BOUNCE. In volleyball you have to dig the ball before it bounces. In baseball you have to hit the ball on the fly with a bat which has a small surface area (compared to a tennis racquet). Etc etc etc.

    These kinds of arguments don't lead anywhere. To excel in any popular pro sport is pretty much equally demanding.
     
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  13. McBrat

    McBrat New User

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    Football players are successful because of their skills and tactics as much as their athleticism.

    Traditionally, the title's been given to decathlon winners. Most professional sports reward selected athletic abilities more so players don't develop the rest.
     
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  14. EndLy

    EndLy Rookie

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    Actually Ryan Howard of the Phillies made this comment also when he was on the Dan Patrick radio show a little while ago. I think this was sometime in May or so. Dan Patrick asked what sport has the best athletes and Howard said tennis and soccer due to the amount of endurance one must have and talent also to play the sport
     
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  15. McBrat

    McBrat New User

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    ^^ But it's the footballer's and tennis player's athleticism which brings out the talent. The talent itself won't be useful w/o the athletic ability to execute it.
     
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  16. Baikalic

    Baikalic Semi-Pro

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    Absolutely correct, although this is not a result of tennis players being less talented or athletic; the more cultural exposure a sport has, the larger the pool of talent exists to draw players into high school varsity teams. That is why American high school varsity tennis teams can often be sparsely talented because it's not a popular sport in the US among younger demographics compared to basketball.

    I was on a high school varsity tennis team whose local community fostered tennis and had a lot of tennis programs for kids (many kids played tennis recreationally even in middle school) and our team shut out most other high school teams besides other HSs in or near the same community.

    just to illustrate this there were over 100 students at our tryouts for 10 spaces on varsity and 20 spots for JV, while I heard from a friend from another school who had students walking onto the varsity team because not enough kids joined to form complete varsity and JV teams.

    What this tells me is that there's no point in comparing sports' athleticism too seriously because the pools of talent are unequal, at least in the US.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2009
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  17. Darth_Timmaayyy!!

    Darth_Timmaayyy!! Banned

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    Sampras is pulling himself....
     
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  18. sh@de

    sh@de Hall of Fame

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    This is a stupid argument. It's like the GOAT debates. No one sport is better than the other or requires more, just like how there is no one true GOAT.
     
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  19. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    As far as comparing tennis with other sports, remember that in tennis, you can't depend on your teammates to grab a "breather". So, I think tennis is one of the most physically demanding sports there is. It combines so many challenging physical skills, sometimes all in just one point.

    I doubt that the vast majority of hockey, basketball, baseball, or football players could run the same "sprints" and in effect "points" the tennis players have to run while playing. Soccer players could run that way, but then they aren't having to engage in the eye-hand coordination that tennis players have to engage in.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
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  20. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    LiveForever, I agree that Nadal is close to Borg in terms of pure athletic ability. In addition, both Federer and Sampras are near the top as well.

    If you consider that Borg and Nadal may be the top two tennis players in terms of pure athleticism, and compare the two, I think they are roughly equal in terms of stamina, with Borg having an edge in quickness and foot speed, and Nadal having the advantage in terms of pure strength. Watch Borg get this drop shot as an example of his foot speed:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL__OcegrbY

    Plus, if you don't think Borg and "those old guys" "hit the ball that hard", check this out indoor clip with some very old frames. Borg was a LOT STRONGER than he looked. He could generate considerable power and "torque" with his groundstrokes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jZmFMUGTTU

    In terms of pure "athleticism", 2 tournaments test it the most in Tennis: Wimbledon and the French Open. Wimbledon tests your eye hand coordination and "quickness" the most due to it requiring players to play on the fastest surface around. Meanwhile, the French Open is the toughest test in terms of mental and physical endurance and foot speed. I am talking more about foot speed, and not just QUICKNESS. You must be able to hit a high "top speed" to literally run down balls, and not just have a quick "initial step". Guess what, at the 2 tournaments that demand the most physicality, Borg dominated. He won 6 French Open titles and 5 wimbledon titles in a row, while winning that "double" together in three different years, during a time when there were clay court AND grass court specialists galore.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
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  21. BallzofSkill

    BallzofSkill Professional

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    tennis players are not the fastest, fittest, strongest, jump the highest or furthest.

    while i like to watch and play tennis, nothing done athletically in tennis makes me go 'wow' like watching a running back evade 5 defense men or kobe bryant go above the rim or a marathoner finish a 3 hour race.
     
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  22. TheFifthSet

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    You do realize that you're not even making a direct comparison? You're comparing technical ability in one sport vs. results in another.

    In reality, ALL professional athletes are pretty much 100% technically polished. Mistakes are made on an insanely small scale. Using your logic, we can compare shooting a free throw or throwing a strike with hitting a first serve. The success rate of the first one is generally (on a pro level) like 70-75%. The next two are basically 60%. However, on a technical level, with a small margin of error, it is basically always executed to perfection. How often do you see a shooter air mail a free throw? Or a pitcher hit the ball in the dirt? Or for that matter, a server miss by 5-10 feet?


    For a professional Tennis player, it is much easier to hit the ball cleanly CONSISTENTLY than it is for a Basketball player to sink a shot, or a baseball player to connect on a hanging breaking ball, because the margin of error is much different. There is no reason to think it is INHERENTLY more impressive just because the success rate is higher.

    That's like saying the success rate for scoring on an empty-net in hockey is higher than scoring with a hand in the face in basketball, therefore it takes a better athlete to score on an empty-net, which is bizzarre reasoning. Sure it's not a perfect comparison, but you get my point.

    Another strange comparison:


    1. You're not taking bounce into consideration. A 100 MPH serve (in terms of reaction time) is basically a slow curveball because of how it slows down when it bounces. Imagine having to put a serve back in play before it hit the ground.

    2. The distance between a pitcher and the plate is like 15% smaller than that of a server-returner. Imagine playing on a court where the backcourt was 15% smaller. Would the serve be harder to read? It would be like stepping into the service box to return a Roddick body serve.

    3. A bat is much thinner than a Tennis racket, and heavier.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
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  23. big bang

    big bang Hall of Fame

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    if you dont know anything about this, then stop talking BS.
    soccerplayers are nowhere near the conditioned athletes, lots of tests have been made to proof that.. basketball?? good joke:)
    if we talk pure conditioning then cycling tops the list, but I dont see you a great athlete because you can ride a bike 200 km.

    boxing and MMA is pathetic you say?? well you cant find any other sport where you have to work as hard as these guys, you cant tank a match and there is no substitute waiting on the sideline if you get tired as in soccer. if you have not done your homework you get your face smashed in and your carreer ruined its as simple as that.
    tennisplayers can play a bad match and lose, but there is another tournament next week.. a boxer need to win all his fights to be considered as a top-fighter and get the big fights. thats much tougher mentally and makes you train harder of course.
    just because you dont understand a certain type of sport dont say its pathetic, it makes you seem ignorant..

    once again you cant say that one sport produces greater athletes than an other, some of the factors that define a great athlete is genetic..
    but you can find more great athletes in sports like MMA and boxing than any ball-sport. you are either talented with a ball or you are not, that has nothing to do about how great an athlete you are..
     
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  24. Noveson

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    Man what great logic you have there....

    MMAers and Boxers are super tough, no doubt about it, they are strong and quick and have a lot of stamina. However saying they are the greatest athletes because of the risks they take is ridiculous. Taking risks has nothing to do with how great of an athlete you are. How does being talented with a ball not mean you're athletic? Ever heard of hand eye coordination? Body control has a higher importance than anything else in almost every sport, there are no top athletes that don't have it. People that can hit an MLB curve ball, go around defenders in mid-air, and run down 60-yard throws are great athletes.
     
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  25. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    I see you missed the point. you don't actually know the difference between an athlete and a physical sport. Logging is physical..are these guys athletes? Pete was not talking about the PHYSICAL (hitting each other and rough play). While I don't think tennis pros are the best athletes (I think basketball and soccer players are), they are pretty darn close. But to compare a football player (like a 350 lb lineman) to Federer is absurd.
     
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  26. big bang

    big bang Hall of Fame

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    please read my post again.. I did not say boxers and MMA-fighters are the greatest athletes, I sayd there are more great athletes by definition in these sports that probably any other.
    I did not say you are athletic if you are talented with a ball, I sayd the opposit. but you can be a very great athlete and still stink at any ball-sport if you have no talent!
    my last post was a reply to this guy saying that soccerplayers are the greatest athletes because of their training and because of the competition they face. thats why I replied as I did.

    again you cant say one sport makes greater athletes, but in some sports you see more great athletes than other..
     
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  27. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/sportSkills



    Tennis is ranked 7th according to this list, which is very high actually. Only hockey, boxing, martial arts, basketball, and a few others are higher on the list.



    Also, I would dare say MMA is higher up on the list IMO. The interesting is that tennis is the highest non-contact sport (basketball still has lots of contact in it really, although it's considered technically a non-contact sport) on that list from what I can tell.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
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  28. DarthMaul

    DarthMaul Professional

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    You forgot about marathonists!
     
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  29. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

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    In comparison to sports like Rugby and Soccer, I think tennis is nowhere near physically.
     
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  30. 35ft6

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    Depending on the context he's using athletes, I might sort of see his point. I do think tennis players are probably among the most highly trained and skilled athletes. But not the "best" athletes, as in the people with the most raw athletic ability.

    But in terms of being highly skilled, tennis players are way up there along with figure skaters and gymnasts. No other sport requires it's professionals to start at age 5 or 7 and practice every day for 10 years to become world class. In a lot of other sports, if you're a naturally gifted athletes, you can beat guys who've been doing it for years. Not in tennis.
     
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  31. big bang

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    not many athletes can keep up with the schedule boxers do.. MMA fighters train a lot of boxing and thai-boxing which is just as hard if not even harder.
    of course that doesnt make them greater athletes, but they are simply in better shape..
    you have to be a great athlete to keep up with their schedule and thats why you see many superior athletes in these sports.. the rest fail!
     
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  32. big bang

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    I totally agree, tennis is more about skills than pure athletesismn.
    in boxing you see a lot of pros who started out early in their teens, you have to have some talent, the rest is hard work..
     
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  33. kOaMaster

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    yeah right, guys like ronaldo just came along with 15, thought "oh, that's funny with that ball, I'll try that" and turned into the best players on the world.
     
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  34. big bang

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    did anyone say that?? Ronaldo is a great athlete and happens to be giftet with a great talent for soccer..
     
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  35. kOaMaster

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    I was relating to 35ft6's sentence:
    just not true. many many sports need this. football in particular too
     
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  36. some6uy008

    some6uy008 Semi-Pro

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    I don't know, unless Fed can move pretty well in the ring, I think even a block shot would put Fed down for the count
     
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  37. nfor304

    nfor304 Banned

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    Nadal was better at tennis when he was 18 than LeBron was at basketball when he was 18. Same with McEnroe, Wilander, Borg, Chang, arguably Lleyton Hewitt
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
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  38. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

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    we sure are the best lovers
     
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  39. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Maybe you're right. I have no idea what the average starting age for pro soccer players are or if they practice systematically 2 to 6 hours a day for 10 years to develop.
     
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  40. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    OMG! MMA fighters....wow. What a delusion...and it's sad to see kids being tricked this way. MMA is the one sport that gets a lot of attention these days that isn't anywhere near world-class athleticism yet. If they can keep the money going up, then perhaps, in a few generations, you'll see real prodigies in there....they'll make today's fighters look like the shmucks they are. You'll have to be an Anderson Silva or Lesnar JUST to have a chance to get in the door.

    But maybe you're refererring to DEMANDS of the sport, vs the actual athleticism of the current competitors, in which case, yes, MMA has a lot of all-around demands, but then again, I'm not at all sure, it's higher than many other sports. Tennis included.
     
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  41. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yep. The level just isn't there yet. I like MMA but sometimes, the athleticism is well.....PATHETIC....it makes me cringe...to see a Chuck Lidell or Forest Griffin out there. They are SLOW as mud! They would have gotten SLAUGHTERED in high level amateur boxing. Punching bags only....to their credit, they have become wealthy and famous and worshiped, and they would never have made pros in any other sport!
     
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  42. Azzurri

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    the guy has no clue what an athlete is.
     
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  43. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    You're kidding me right. Fedor would destroy any boxer in the ring without even trying. Same with Crocop and other top level MMA fighters.



    BTW :


    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/sportSkills


    Martial Arts and Boxing are above tennis, and considering MMA is fairly intense (requires much more athleticism than professional boxing IMO), I would say MMA would easily be at the top of this list or very close to it. And don't say those people do not know what they are talking about, because they do.
     
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  44. Azzurri

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    its their OPINION. but I do agree boxing is a tough sport and a difficult skill to master. I just think of "athlete" as a soccer, basketball player, etc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
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  45. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    That panel happens to have Ph.D's, professional athletes, and professional athlete developers. I think they know what they are talking about. It's an opinion, but one with credentials unlike all the one's posted here.
     
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  46. edmondsm

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    There a lot of illogical comments, like the bolded one, in this thread. How can you say that? That's absurd. You don't think every kid in Brazil is kicking a soccer ball daily from the time they can walk?

    This comment is just like Sampras's. Some people love one sport so much, that they get delusions of grander about it.

    I'll say it again. We can argue what defines athleticism until we're blue in the face. But it's a plain and simple fact that no other sport on the planet has a player pool like soccer. Therefore it demands the highest level of ability from its athletes.

    On a side note; as much as I love MMA, I will never say that the best athletes in the world are in the sport. Combat sports will always be a niche', and therefore they will attract athletes that couldn't make it in other sports. This is why, now that there is some cash in the sport, truly good pure athletes like Anderson Silva and GSP are dominating.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
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  47. edmondsm

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    Credentials or not, they have a pretty flawed chart there. They don't put any weight on the competition level. Example: Sport A has 1,000 practitioners, sport B has 100,000 practitioners. Doesn't sport B require a higher level of ability from its participants?

    Also, on the chart each of the track & field events are ranked separately, but where does a decathlete fit in then? They aren't even mentioned. If all of those track & field events rank that high, then an athlete who competes in all of them would rank very high, probably highest, if we go by that chart.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
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  48. big bang

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    not true, soccer is the most popular sport in the world, you dont have to be one of the best to make it. every national league got 10-20 teams, thats 150-400 players per legue including substitutes, how many is that worldwide then??. even if you take the best leagues you will still find players who is not great athletes. if you talk about the top teams in the world its another thing, but sometimes even they find it difficult to find players who is good enough..

    combat sports do not attract athletes who couldnt make in in other sports, not even close, maybe if you mean karate, tae-kwon do and other sissy-like sports that doesnt allow full contact.
    full contact sports like boxing, muay-thai and MMA attract a different kind of athlete than sports like soccer. many of these fighters could have done pretty well in other sports because of their athleticism and incredibly strong mind, they just dont feel its a challenge playing soccer and other team sports. If we look at tennis I can only name 1 player who could have been a great fighter.. Nadal got all the carecteristiks (spelled?) of a a great fighter..
     
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  49. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    If you think Fedor would have any chance at ALL in pro boxing...you're so sadly foolish...I just don't know what to say. Frankly, the guy might not even be able to outbox an Orlovsky, let alone a world-class heavyweight. Yikes....they know not what they see!
     
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  50. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Is this an attempt to define athleticism as something other than physical ability? If so, sure, that could be argued. Just as a special olympian is a competitor/athlete, in his own way. MMA fighters certainly compete, and have mental toughness....they just dont' have world-class athletic ability in general....YET.

    So tough competitors. Check
    Mental toughness. Check (though this opens up the door for chess players, golfers etc)

    But I was referring to raw physical ability. Reflexes, hand speed, foot speed, balance, power etc. MMA? FAIL. BUT, again, if the money goes up, in 2 or 3 generations, it will get there. Just needs to develop and evolve. That's not really a knock against MMA, it's just too early at this point. What you need, is millions of kids, starting at age 5, dedicating their lives to the sport. Then the top .001 percent rises to the top, and then you'll really see something.

    If you weren't referring to the things i mentioned above, and simply think today's fighters are the best athletes....ugh....well....there's no real hope I think in even discussing it then.
     

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