The Best Tennis & a level of technology?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Frankc, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

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    I admit this is really up for grabs depending on definitions, but at what technology stage (frames and strings together - same era) was/is the pro game most enjoyable for you to watch? Not the personalities, the game as the technology defines it. For me, I enjoy watching varied, skillful shots; athletic ability on display; and a speed of game where serve&volley as well as baseline can flourish. In my mind, with too little or too much power, the balance is gone.

    For my mind's eye, the Original Kevlar Pro Staff/ Prince Graphite (with nylon /natural gut) era seems about right. I most enjoy the game with phenomenal talents, speed a foot, and varied shots. The power wasn't oppressive yet (no poly, thank goodness)- and cancelling out many aspects of athleticism. I was reminded of this recently when viewing (actually totally enjoying - in awe) Fed/Sampras ('W" - 5 sets) and Edberg/Chang (US Open semi - 5 sets).

    I would also (as a second position) take the modern wood era - a little extra stiffness went a long way...

    What was/is the technology era(frames and strings)where tennis at its "best" and suits "your view of the game?"
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
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  2. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    The current technology makes the game more enjoyable for me to play. To watch, it's hard to say. I do miss the more well rounded, diverse styles of play of the wood racquet era. But, I'd say the first iteration of graphite racquets with 85si heads and more diverse court speeds resulted in more varying styles of play among the players, and more of an ability for any one player to vary his tactics as the circumstances warrant to win a match. That was probably the most enjoyable era of tennis to watch.
     
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  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I second this. My BH has never looked so good.

    (The things one can do with a graphite frame and some shaped poly strings in terms of topspin are amazing.)
     
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  4. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    I enjoyed the tech/play of the early/mid 80's to the mid/late 90's where you still had different styles of play. The S&V'er, the all court attacker and the counterpuncher and it varied with the court surface as to the style of play. Unfortunately today the play is so homogenized and doesn't really change from surface to surface.
     
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  5. Merger5

    Merger5 New User

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    The wood era was a little boring to me, albeit not at the time- at the time it seemed great. But now to go back and watch the old matches from the 60's and 70's even early 80's is a little bit hard. Perhaps, it's partly due to the poor quality of the video technology of the time. I love S&V mixed in with in all court style but in the 60's and 70's some guys could only S&V; or at least that's all they choose to do.

    The rallies back then were either extremely short or extremely long pusher-type rallies (think Solomon v Dibbs or even Borg v. Vilas at FG). Please note I am not calling Borg or Vilas pushers- Its just that it was almost impossible to be an aggressive baseliner. Perhaps Connors, Laver, Rosewall, Nastase were the only ones in that time that could really dictate from the baseline and all of those guys finished a ton of points at net and Laver, Rosewall, Nastase were top (or near top) notch volleyers. So while I appreciate the artistry and athleticism that it took to play in that era and while I think almost all of those qualities are missing from the modern game- the wood/metal era was a little too lacking in exciting back and forth baseline rallies for my taste.

    The modern era of course can be extremely boring with super long, hyper top spin rallies, lack of attacking tactics, lack of artistry, lack of individuality in terms of styles. In this era I only want to watch a match if there is a really compelling match-up; which will have include one of the few "different" or "unique" players of the modern era- like if the match contains one of following players: Federer (not that he's necessarily all-courter just that he has a lot a variety off of the ground, not just top spin all the time off both wings), Dolgopolov, Roanic (i know he's pretty modern player but he does mix it up once in a while with all-court tennis), Tomic. So if Federer plays Djokovic, or Dolgo plays Djokovic I enjoy the match but if say Ferrer plays Djokovic I find the match unwatchable for long periods of time.

    That being said I pretty much agree with OP on the best era to watch, with some caveats-

    I would say about 2 years into the intro of graphite or in other words at time time of widespread graphite adoption- so somewhere around 1986 and into the 90's was the best technology era to watch.

    There were many compelling stylistic match-ups possible then between the

    - the first aggressive baselines like Lendl, Agassi, Connors, Arias, Krickstien,later Courier
    - Defensive baselines like Wilander, Mecir, later Chang, a host of clay courters
    - All courters like Becker, later Sampras, later Goran, later Stich, later krajicek
    -S&V'ers Mac, Edberg, Cash, Noah later Rafter, Curren.

    I think this was a great era- perhaps it was just after the vaunted "golden era" but I think it was a little more fun to watch.

    I also was good with the Mid-90's and the more powerful graphites combined with the still fast surfaces. Sure some matches became almost pure serving contests but there was still a lot of high quality match ups and differing styles.

    I also think the time period from say 1999 to 2003 was very watchable. Many may disagree with me on this one because they will argue that this era is too similar to the current one but I beg to differ. I think that the surfaces were much faster, I don't think poly was yet omnipresent, and there were still stylistic differences with people like Rafter, Goran, Sampras winning or coming close to winning GS finals.

    Also, this was a time when some of the greatest aggressive baseliners were around playing great tennis. I think the Agassi v Federer matches of this time (even 2004 and 2005) is the greatest ball striking I have ever seen; I would also include Agassi v. Safin, and matches involving Nalbandian, Baggy, maybe Hewitt.

    So in summary I would rank the era's in this order:
    1) graphite/oversize mass adoption era (1985/1986 to early 1990's)
    2) mature graphite/oversize, early poly, but still surface variety era (1999 to 2003/2004)
    3) early graphite/oversize, end of wood/metal (1978 to 1984/1985) era "Golden Era"
    4) "serving contests" era, (Mid 1990's)
    ^) Tie- Wood/Metal era (1968 to 1977)
    6) Tie- Modern/Poly/Automaton/Drone with a few unique cats era (present day)
     
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  6. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I agree that many old videos fail to capture the greatness of some truly gifted athletes. But, there are some that do. Do you think these videos are hard to watch? To me, what these players were able to do with those racquets was astonishing.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDFd4q3CycU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf4wrrpzdYc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUvK-1tUvQM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8IJ0F01IiU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHaN2h21ANs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oxOHvjAjzw
     
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  7. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    People rag about old matches. Yes they’re tough to watch because the camera angle sucks, the quality sucks and the colors of the courts / balls are not conducive to good TV viewership. If you had the cameras lower, blue courts like now adays plus 1080p it would look downright amazing. A lot of tennis now is more enjoyable to watch just because of the quality of the feed. A lot of matches even in the 90s are terrible viewing quality and it’s too bad because there were some real barn burners that deserve better.
     
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  8. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    IMO, the camera angles still suck. It's so much more enjoyable to watch tennis from court level than from the equivalent of nosebleed seats. I don't understand what the thinking is on that. Check out this video taken by our own Aimr75 at the 2012 Australian Open of Wawrinka vs Dimitrov, and see what you think.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6SGZsfLztY
     
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  9. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    that's old news. And it's from 2011 not 2012. That's not Aimr's channel. It's obviously the best angle but look at this match. Looks like it's filmed from a spy satellite in space. Looks terrible. Imagine how awesome this match would have looked at court level in HD
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDaC5PgsnC0

    btw this is the original video and Aimr's channel
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6p5ZdGR4hU
     
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  10. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    I love the tennis of the late 1980's early 1990's at the US Open. That was a very fair surface and you saw all types of styles competing for supremacy.
     
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