The Pros don't play with "control" rackets

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by Attila_the_gorilla, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    There's this popular myth out there that the better player you are, the more under-powered racket you'll play with. This is of course very far from the truth.

    In fact they play with very powerful rackets but they know how to control all that power.

    Now in the case of the pros, most of this power comes from the racket's swingweight, as opposed to a stiff, oversize tweener that most people would refer to as a power frame.

    The higher swingweight allows them to have power and stability when having to defend, as well as power and spin when attacking.

    Of course the higher the racket's power, the smaller the margin for error in its application. That ability to control power is what separates the contenders from the pretenders

    So my suggestion to players who want to be the best they can be, is not to get caught up in the "control" craze, certainly not at the cost of your arm health. Have a comfortable setup that provides good stability, spin and power on tap when needed. Practice to tame that power.
     
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  2. HRB

    HRB Professional

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    "get caught up in the "control" craze, certainly not at the cost of your arm health".

    For the most part I agree with your post, minus the statement above...a "control racquet" is usually on the "hefty" side, but extremely headlight (so lighter SW), more flexible, and has a manageable headsize (at or below 98 sq in)...all of which have been proven to equal ARM FRIENDLY, with volumes of research to back that up. The Pros simply take the base specs and distort it to their taste and TALENTS with extreme modifications (i.e. making a headlight racquet head heavy), choices I wouldn't recommend to any sub pro player.

    I've taken many a beginner, or players returning after layoff's who gravitated to large, stiff, power racquets and had develop wrist and elbow problems, switched them to a "players stick/control stick" only to have their arm pains disappear. It's 50% the equipment and 50% the improved technique those sticks demand to get deep power out of them, that saved the arm.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
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  3. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    I was referring to stiff string setups. String pattern, string type and tension are what are commonly used to create control.

    But that is just a side issue. My main point is that to maximize your potential and achieve the best results, you must learn to play with a powerful racket and control it. As opposed to the popular focus being on "generating your own power".
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
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  4. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    I disagree. I've used tweeners. I'm currently using a control stick. Night and day difference using the exact same strokes. I have to actually slow down my strokes with a tweener. The trajectory of balls coming off of the stringbed is higher and balls constantly go long for me because of it. Not by much but a foot out is still out. This is opposite my current stick where if you're not setup and in position to strike the ball well the result is a weak shot.

    To maximize your potential and achieve the best results one needs to put in the practice time to develop one's timing and technique and then develop those attributes even further while being pushed.
     
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  5. coolschreiber

    coolschreiber Semi-Pro

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    Pros can control that power because they can generate high racket head speed throughout the duration of the match. A lot of unfit TW GOATs like us cannot. I guess thats the reason why I lean towards control rackets. To each their own I guess.
    On a separate note, A whole bunch of pros use babolats but a lot of pros still use 18x20 patterns - Prestige or Radical MP molds... or wilson 95 18x20 right?
     
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  6. 10sGrinder

    10sGrinder New User

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    I think there are some basic physics to be considered. You can only hit the ball so hard before it goes out. So whether you hold back with a powerful racquet, or use your whole body to swing with a "control" racquet, you are going to get used to hitting your strokes a certain way. Which one is best depends on personal preference.

    I am getting tired of the 4.5 players around here who have no concept of the game other than to hit it hard and harder. It gets a little boring, really. Give me a well structured point any day.
     
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  7. smalahove

    smalahove Semi-Pro

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    ^this^

    I don't play heavy, light headed rackets because Fed does it, or because "it is what hard hitters do". I'm def not a hard hitter, and I don't break strings often, but I find it easier to hit the ball solidly with a heavy and headlight stick.

    A light racket def. makes my swing slower, decelerating my natural movement.
     
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  8. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    I can't agree with you more.

    For some reason most people associate hitting harder with being "better". Nothing could be further from the truth. Being "better" means controlling the ball, whether you hit the ball hard or not. McEnroe never hit the ball hard in his entire life yet he won a higher percentage of his matches than even the GOAT Federer.
     
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  9. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    A tweener is NOT a powerful racket, and that's one of my points. Sure, when you're on the attack against weak balls, you can generate power with it. But when you're on the defence or volleying, it will be pushed around because it has no mass and stability.

    You need power through weight (swingweight), to maximize your potential. This also allows you to use a somewhat tighter string pattern, to achieve a more predictable response. Of course it will only work if you can wield that higher swingweight, and have the skills/timing to control its power.
    At the highest levels of the game, with their extremely powerful rackets, the pros can still swing fast without the ball going long, because of the amount of spin they put on the ball. Power and spin is the ultimate combination.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
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  10. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    I'm sure there's some statistically insignificant data cherry you've picked that makes yours a technically correct statement within a tightly defined domain, but otherwise that doesn't seem to be what the record shows:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_records#Match_winning_percentage
     
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  11. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Huh? I think you looked at only Slams and only for a single year. I looked at ALL ATP/GS singles matches they played over their ENTIRE careers. I guess if I had included all doubles matches as well, McEnroe would have an even higher winning percentage than Federer. Just go look it up.

    So I guess it was you who "cherry picked" and looked at only "a tightly defined domain".
     
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  12. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    By and large pros play with heavier rackets as well (ie static weight).

    In a nutshell, F=ma

    The trend to lighter rackets (that are stiffer as well) helps people to increase a in order to increase f, but comes at the cost of control, which unfortunately can't be compensated for.

    Heavier rackets help people (not just pros) increase m in order to increase f, but comes at the cost of a, which can be compensted by decreasing string tension.

    The other advantage of heavier rackets is that they absorb more vibrations from impact shock, and so are "healthier" for your arm.

    Of course, the heavier they are, the less they'll indulge bad habits or improper form, so that might be a barrier for some! :)

    The other thing to note regarding the swingweight, is the location of mass in the racket. This is where transfer of momentum comes into play, as well as pendulum and double pendulum theory, and things get a lot more complicated.

    The important things to keep in mind are swingweight and balance.

    In a nutshell, tweeners have a lot of weight at 12:00, which gives them a slightly HL, even, or HH balance. In combination with the a that the lower static weight allows, the swingweight of a tweener (in combination with its stiffness) will give a player considerable "power".

    But in practice as an instructor I've found that it's much more difficult for players with these rackets to feel where their racket is pointing or travelling, which leads to problems with control and technique.

    So if someone is looking for quick fixes for occasional recreational tennis, the tweener exists for them. But if they want to improve, imo a heavier racket will take them much farther.

    "Control rackets" or "players frames" all have good static weight and a good HL balance. In my experience, the heavier the stick, the more HL it needs to be in order to remain maneuverable. Pros then take these frames and increase their swingweight in order to obtain the powerful sticks we see on tour, so that they're both very forceful shots that can be placed on a dime.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
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  13. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    Definitely from what I see. I coordinate a league of approx 50 players in 3 different divisions and I think only 1 player in the top league uses a Midsize racquet. Another player in the middle division uses a midsize and then in the lower league there are a bunch[5 or 6] of players using mids.
     
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  14. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    Wrong.

    The stat is "Matches Played vs Matches Won"

    Player Played Rank Won Rank Ratio
    Federer 1144 #4 963 #3 84.1783%
    McEnroe 1073 #7 875 #5 81.5470%

    I've got no interest at all in entering the BP Reality Distortion Field.

    I've cited my source. You, as per usual, have not.

    I'll happily concede your point if you can show your source and it's better than the above. Specifically, if the Federer data is absolutely current and shows him with a ratio of 0.815469 or lower.
     
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  15. OnyxZ28

    OnyxZ28 Hall of Fame

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    #15
  16. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    It makes up for being pushed around by still allowing a player to get the ball back in play with minimal setup. I agree that it's not more "powerful" by adding MPH or spin to a ball. It's more of a misnomer to say tweeners are more powerful but it is correct to say that they allow players of lesser ability to stay in a match better ("better" being a relative term to the lesser ability). As I said before, it's offers the trampoline effect which changes the outgoing trajectory of a ball to one that is higher. This keeps the ball in play.

    After leading up my tweener to what I currently use....forget it. I couldn't keep a ball in to save my life no matter how much spin I put on the ball. I had to hit so slowly....well let's just say that it was quickly replaced.

    But not every pro hits with the same spin and their shots still go in and not every shot that hits your 90+ has increasingly higher spin to "compensate" for that speed. The pros hit the shots they do because of their timing and trained/innate sense of how a shot can be hit on a return ball. In their case, taking the racquet out of the equation is actually better because it is one less thing to worry about as a cause of bad play.

    Now, in practical terms, is it quite like this? Of course it isn't but it is fairer to say that a racquet is more a fine tuning of one's own body, or extension of the self, similar to how the weapon doesn't make the martial arts 10 deg. blackbelt but rather how the martial arts experts makes the weapon "sing", "dance", "flow"....however you want to explain it.

    When I went to my current racquet, I didn't add weight and essentially create a "pro" racquet spec because it was more stable or it didn't get pushed around as much. Rather, I found that a heavier racquet simply works with my innate natural timing and because of this fluidity, I CAN hit more powerfully and thus I DO hit more powerfully and it's precisely because the racquet doesn't "add" anything to my swing but rather allows me to swing as I feel will be necessary before I even start swinging to hit the ball. The tweener added to my strokes and what I wanted to do, often somewhat unpredictably, and that's why it becomes a problem to use as you get better and better.
     
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  17. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    What source are you referring to? I didn't see you cite a source that provided the above stats. Where did you get those numbers from?

    So far in his career, Federer has played 1,186 singles matches and won 963 of them. 963/1186 = 81.20% winning percentage.
    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Top-Players/Roger-Federer.aspx

    For his career, McEnroe has played 1,073 singles matches and won 875 of them. 875/1073 = 81.55% winning percentage.
    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Mc/J/John-Mcenroe.aspx

    81.55% > 81.20%

    If you also include doubles matches in total matches, then McEnroe is way ahead at a 82.36% winning percentage versus Federer at 77.93%.

    You can apologize any time now.
     
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  18. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Thank you for corroborating what I stated earlier.

    McEnroe is ranked above Federer in the total winning percentage list.


    All surfaces % * W–L

    1. Rafael Nadal 83.67 702–137
    2. Björn Borg 82.74 609–127
    3. Jimmy Connors 81.84 1253–278
    4. Ivan Lendl 81.76 1071–239
    5. John McEnroe 81.55 875–198
    6. Roger Federer 81.20 963–223
    7. Novak Djokovic 81.01 580–136
    8. Pete Sampras 77.44 762–222
    9. Boris Becker 76.91 713–214
    10. Guillermo Vilas 76.46 929–286
    *minimum 500 wins
     
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  19. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    Yep, my bad -- I read Agassi's matches-played count (1144, #5) instead of Federer's (1186, #4), and used an incorrect divisor for Federer's ratio.

    OK, so you said that McEnroe never hit a ball hard in his life, and has a greater winning percentage than Federer. If you think you've made some sort of valid point there about power, I think it's pretty well negated by Nadal, Borg, Connors, and Lendl -- not a one of them dinkers like McEnroe -- all having a higher winning percentage than McEnroe.
     
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  20. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    Wow, what a trashy person you are. You've been wrong countless times before over the years yet I've never seen you have the strength of character to apologize but the moment you think somebody else is wrong, you're on them like flies on feces.
     
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  21. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Another thread by an OP painting with the broad brush. Like the guy ranting about arm friendly racquets a few months back.

    And flat wrong. Many pros do in fact play with control racquets, then add enough weight to further enhance the control aspects.

    By the same (flawed) logic we should all string at 30 lbs and just 'adjust to' the trampoline effect.

    If you came out and said 'everyone who currently uses a 90-93 sq in head should at least test a 98-100' I could buy in. Some may find benefits and make the change. But for many (most?) trying to shorten your swings - especially if you've been playing for 20+ yrs - may prove to be difficult.
     
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  22. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    Well, I was wrong. I did my own math, and pulled the "matches played" figure for Agassi, not Federer, and used the wrong divisor.

    Interestingly, three players who were contemporaries of McEnroe and who were no stranger to power, all had winning percentages higher than JMac.

    So extracting a single variable -- in this case, power -- and using it to "prove" something that the variable does not isolate (e.g., a correspondence between power and match-win percentage) is badly flawed.

    I was wrong and I regret my error.

    I am not holding my breath waiting for BP to admit his logic was wrong.
     
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  23. HRB

    HRB Professional

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    WINNER!!!!!!!!:twisted:
     
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  24. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    There's been many threads about the swingweights pros use.

    I use the lowest powered modern racket on the market. In its stock form, it is the ultimate control racket. And I guarantee you that nobody in the world could win an ATP 500 tournament with it.

    But add some weight here and there to subsantially bump up the swingweight and stability, and its not a low-powered control racket anymore. And that's when it can become a weapon in capable hands. That's the point I'm trying to make.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
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  25. JonC

    JonC Banned

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    So true - watch MacEnroe today and he's definitely not hitting hard but he holds his own with much younger hard hitters. He hits deep but not hard.
     
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  26. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    This is who breakpoint is.
     
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  27. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    No one would dispute that placement is extremely important.

    The flaw is in extracting one variable (power) and arguing that the match-win ratio is isolated by it. Particularly when three of McEnroe's contemporaries, which were not Tier 1 dinkers like he was, had better match-win ratios.
     
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  28. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I really don't have a dog in this fight, but there is much more to consider than how hard a player hits the ball. For instance, McEnroe's game was built on touch and pretty much a foil to everyone who hit hard.

    Connors hit the ball much harder in his early career than he did later in his career. Connors also remarked late in his career after playing Lendl that Lendl only "bunted" the ball now and didn't hit it. If I remember correctly, he made that comment after losing to Lendl in the 92 Open.

    Agassi started off all flash. Gilbert got him to reign in his power and he became successful. So Agassi didn't hit the ball as hard as he did when he was pre-20.

    With respect to McEnroe, and any player, their physical state, age, where they are in their career and who they're playing dictate how they play. I seriously doubt any player hit the ball as hard when the last year their career as they did the first year of their career.

    Mats Wilander probably never hit a ball as hard as Boris Becker. He told me that Becker hit the hardest ball (even harder than Lendl). And before anyone replies he was 3 & 7 with Becker, he was also older than Becker and been on tour longer than Becker. If you disregard those variables, then I'd reply that he's also 5 - 0 with Connors.

    It's also about matchups.
     
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  29. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    BP is obvioulsy a very frustrated person who lives to be right on the internet since it is clear this makes up for some real life inadequacies. He will argue like a maniac over the most meaningless of details in order to self-validate.

    Back to the OP - I would agree that pros do use very powerful racquets. I believe the higher SW also allows them to swing easier and not lose control of their stroke by over swinging. The problem is that serving with a high SW racquet can be difficult, and having the tip speed to generate enough spin and control the power is not easy.
     
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  30. JonC

    JonC Banned

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    The point is that you can win multiple grand slams without massive power.
     
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  31. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    In McEnroe's day, without a doubt. Is that true for the past 10+ years? How many grand slams has Santoro won, again?

    Today, even those who play defensively often end points with a powerful placement.

    And again, let's not get ourselves tricked into arguing from the extremes. It's plain, and there is no argument, that there is more to winning tennis matches than undisciplined power.
     
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  32. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    But then that wasn't my point. My point is that you don't have to hit hard but can just hit with control and massage the ball and still have a higher winning percentage than even Federer. And I think I made my point.

    There are also plenty of other players that hit the ball harder than any of the guys on that list but still have a lower winning percentage than Federer. For example: Agassi, Blake, Tursunov, Safin, Soderling, Berdych, Del Potro, Roddick, etc. - the list is endless.

    BTW, in his book, Brad Gilbert said that McEnroe was the best player that he ever played against, and not any of the hard hitters like Connors, Lendl, Becker, etc.
     
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  33. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    How many times have I ever totally trashed someone for being wrong when in fact I was the one who was wrong? I'm the one who's usually right. And I rarely accuse anyone of being wrong before I have my facts.
     
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  34. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Well, even today, McEnroe at his ripe old age of 55, is still holding his own on the Champion's Tour against guys that are 10-25 years younger than he is and who were still on the ATP Tour not too long ago, such as Roddick, Blake, Agassi, Sampras, Philippoussis, etc.
     
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  35. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    Your point is vacuously true.

    The fact that JM's winning percentage is lower than people he actually played against, who hit with more power, pretty much blows your point completely out of water.

    Yeah, and that dinker Nadal is at the top of the list. I guess you have a point after all.

    Oh, wait.

    I don't care what Brad Gilbert says. About anything.
     
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  36. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    Oh please. If you've watched any of those matches, they're trying extra hard not to bagel him, out of respect.
     
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  37. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    I chose Federer as the reference point because he is commonly considered the GOAT. The other playesr ranked above McEnroe in winning percentage are not. I never said that McEnroe had a higher winning percentage than EVERYONE! I specifically said that McEnroe had a higher winning percentage than Federer ONLY. Understand my point now? That you don't have to hit hard to have a higher winning % than even the GOAT?
     
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  38. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Sure they are. So they have no respect for Sampras? And you could read their minds?

    Just a couple of years ago, McEnroe was a point away from beating Roddick in a WTT match, and Roddick was still on the ATP Tour. :shock:

    McEnroe also won an ATP doubles title just a few years ago.
     
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  39. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Professional

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    I think a player like McEnroe is a good example for how you need very powerful rackets to do well at the highest levels. This is even more true for someone that doesn't swing fast. If McEnroe used a low-swingweight control racket, he'd be blown off the court by any power player.
     
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  40. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    I understand your point just fine. It's just so meaningless, I wonder why you bother.

    You are making a comparison, to wit: McEnroe the Softballer has a higher win ratio than Federer the GOAT. That can only be meaningful if they played in the same era.

    You might as well say that since Renshaw has the same number of Wimbledon titles as Federer, that shows you can win as many Wimbledon titles as the GOAT with a wooden racquet. That is, at best, only vacuously true, because (1) the number of players in Renshaw's era playing with modern frames was ZERO, and (2) the number of ATP tour players at Wimbledon using a wooden racquet is ZERO.

    No more remedial logic for you. Have a nice life.
     
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  41. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    Google yourself up some "non sequitur," homes. And do have a nice life.
     
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  42. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Why is it meaningless? :confused:

    If YOU had a better winning percentage than the greatest tennis player who ever lived, would you consider it "meaningless"? :???:

    And people compare Laver with Sampras and Federer all the time although he's never played either of them. Why do they have to play each other to compare them? That's why they keep historical records. People compared Hank Aaron with Babe Ruth. Did they ever play each other? People compare Nadal to Vilas and Muster. Did they ever play each other? People compare Peyton Manning to Johnny Unitas. Did they ever play each other?
     
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  43. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    pretty accurate description of the ttw break point. Total loser troll.
     
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  44. HRB

    HRB Professional

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    The guy is a World Champion at the dubious achievement of taking every thread, and getting off topic, and making it a ******* match with a bunch of posters who haven't learned their lesson to STOP ARGUING WITH HIS NONSENSE!

    There is practically a 50-1 ratio of those who loathe him vs those who agree with him...oh *****...now he'll go back through all the thousands of post he's made and try to challenge my "stat's"..LOL!!!:twisted:

    Please...BP..we get it...you like tiny heads and a old outdated game style that allowed a fat/skinny kid from Queens to be #1.
     
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  45. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Congrats! Breakpoint, you're close to 40,000 !!
     
    #45
  46. harryz

    harryz Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Messages:
    771
    Thank you for bringing sanity to this thread

    All well stated and well informed:)
     
    #46
  47. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2008
    Messages:
    2,797
    I doubt respect has much to do with it. I suspect the winner is determined beforehand and providing entertainment is the number one job of each player in the hopes of drawing corporate sponsorship to keep it all going.
     
    #47
  48. Richie Rich

    Richie Rich Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Messages:
    5,274
    very strong facts such as "i hear sounds from my tv = fact"? (or something along those lines, i can't remember the exact quote :mrgreen:
     
    #48
  49. rh310

    rh310 Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,081
    Location:
    NY USA
    Much like pro wrestling? Maybe! although I couldn't see Sampras being bothered to participate, if that were the case. Unless they're all business partners in the venture, or something.
     
    #49
  50. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
    Messages:
    13,070
    Location:
    In the future
    all those Pure drives, you are right.........LOL. PUre drives are one of the MOST powerful rackets out there. it is almost as powerful as those 115 sq inch widebodies
     
    #50

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