Today's Club Players vs. Yesterday's Pros

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by kgy_ph, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. kgy_ph

    kgy_ph New User

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    Just for fun, here's one for argument and speculation: :D

    Can today's club player, around 4.5 or higher and armed with today's equipment, training, gear, shoes, coaching, technique, workout regimen, etc. be competitive with one of yesterday's pros in their prime?

    Note: I'm assuming yesterday's pros will be still using their equipment from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and will have no benefit of being able to use the gear from the 90's and 2000's.

    The fun in this is there's no way to prove this one way or another, and it's all just for speculative fun, sorta like arguing who is the best player ever -- you come up with great champs from different eras but it's hard to say who's better since they never will meet each other in their primes for us to see and since the conditions of the sport were varied for all the different eras.

    Still, imagine if you at your best and in your prime could find yourself suddenly on a court armed with today's best in equipment, training, etc. and on the other side is, say, Stan Smith when he was still in his prime, in his old white Adidas shoes carrying his trusty wooden racquet waiting for you to serve and start a best of five sets! Fun to think about!
     
  2. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    The top pro's from the 70's would kill todays 4.5. I sometimes play against a 69YO who when he hits 70 will be i think about 2nd rated in the Australian 70-75 bracket. He was one of the better players in the state in his prime but never went anywhere really. He has more done ok in the seniors. I am a high level ITN4 in Australian terms which we have worked out to be a solid 4.5 by your standards (We might be wrong) I have life or death battles with the guy now, he is incredible for his age. Admittedly he uses a moderately powered graphite stick now, but I would have been blown away by him in his better years with wood. My father was a good state junior and i played him and his wood many times while learning the game. Tho 40 and picking up a racquet 3 times or so a year he would be one of the top ITN4's here going by his form then.
     
  3. Type40

    Type40 Semi-Pro

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    I like the question but I don't know why yesterday's pros should be denied todays racquets to compete. What is your reasoning on that?

    I am pretty sure yesterdays pros would beat many of todays pros, so they would absolutely murder club players. No contest.
     
  4. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Oh...man...have we reached new lows.

    Can you believe this stuff John?

    Stan Smith?!! Stan Smith can come to your club RIGHT NOW with a wooden racquet and beat any 4.5! I am not kidding. I am not exagerating.

    70's and 80's! You seriously don't think that Connors, Mcenroe, Cash or any of the players on the seniors tour right now could come to your club with a good wood racquet and beat the crap out of anyone below 5.5 Even at their age right now it would take a good open tournament player to even start to be competitive.

    Aww...man I can't even write anymore....reality circuits shorting....

    Oh, by the way John it's funny you talk about that senior player, there is a guy around here who was never a pro, but now is ranked in the world in the....I'm guessing it must be 70's now? He was ranked all through the 60's. Plays on Canada's national team (has been ranked as high as #1 nationally) and played senior Wimbledon a few times. Most of the 4.5 players fear him greatly, when he enters local tourneys. Only the club pros and open players can beat him. He's wily, in good shape, with great touch and at his age can still pop a pretty good serve(approaching 100mph) which he based on Pancho Gonzales' serve. Against most of the 4.5's he completely outclasses them, stroke, strategy and experience wise. His strokes are smooth, fluid and he get's solid power. Usually, their only chance is to take advantage of his age and outrun him, but he knows how to minimize this and it's funny to see him work them over. He's also damn competitive and is known to have a very bad temper....a local stringer and former open player who taught me to string racquets once told me this guy threatened to kill him at a changeover....and he seriously meant it! lol.
     
  5. tyro

    tyro New User

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    Interesting article

    In the latest Tennis magazine, James Kaplan, the co-author of John McEnroe's biography, writes about playing a match with Mac. The author judges himself a solid 4.0, 4.5 on his best days, and naively believed that he could stay in a point with McEnroe, mainly because Mac's power is not overwhelming. He was sadly mistaken. He did ace McEnroe, however, when his serve hit the clay court tape.
     
  6. Trey

    Trey Rookie

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    I remember reading a story awhile ago about some hotshot club player challenging Jimmy connors to a match. The rules were Connors started every game down 40-0. So the club guy only had to win won point to win the game. Connors beat him something like 6-0, 6-1.

    My brother who is around 4-4.5 played once with this former tour player in his late 50's and was never ranked that high maybe 100-200. My bro got whipped needless to say by a large margin.
     
  7. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Remember, the NTRP system is to handicap those who otherwise couldn't compete. This means, that pros don't need the NTRP system at all. The NTRP system doesn't apply to pros.

    Bobby Riggs made his living doing this very thing, except he played with a frying pan, or broom, or holding an umbrella against club champions. If Bobby Riggs, who won the triple at Wimbledon in 39(?), were in his prime today with a wood racket, could beat any 4.5 or 5.0 on the planet.
     
  8. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

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    I might have the player wrong, but didn't Goran lose to Gene Mayer (ready the time machine!) a year or two before he won Wimby?
     
  9. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, you do have the wrong player. The player Mayer beat was Cedric Kauffman, who later that year took Pete Sampras to 5 sets at the French. I got a chance to ask Mayer about this, and later play a set against him in doubles (I aced him BTW - Jings eat your heart out :) ).

    It was a satellite in Hawaii and Mayer was on vacation with his daughter. He said the Tournament Director needed another player and basically begged him to play, this was in 2001 when Mayer was 45. Mayer said he would and drew Kauffman in the first round. Mayer said that he knew he was going to win the match because Kauffman acted like an idiot, according to Mayer far worse than J. McEnroe ever acted. He said Kauffman was cussing and throwing his racket and finally Mayer appealed to the chair saying that "Even on the old guys tour we have a code of conduct."

    Anyway, Mayer won the match 6-4, 6-4, and then played Mike Bryan in the second round. The scores there were 3-6, 6-7. Mayer said he realized in the second set that if he won it, he'd have to play a 3rd and there was no way he was going to play a 3rd set so he basically folded in the tiebreak. The story was really funny as he told it and pointed to the fact that if a 45-year old can compete with world class pros, the game may not have come as far as some think it has. Of course, the 45-year old could only do it on a two match basis, but still.....
     
  10. jaap deboeck

    jaap deboeck Rookie

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    BUT the pro players of the 60's would be soundly beaten by today's top pros just as in every other sport we can name! Example 1967 Green Bay Packers vs. 2004 Indianapolis Colts; track and field stars then and now. Sports have evolved with bigger stronger wel trained athletes, even in tennis. Rosewall and Laver would not too often win sets off of Federer and Roddick, and King and Evert would not fare too well against a healthy Serena.
     
  11. jaap deboeck

    jaap deboeck Rookie

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    BUT the pro players of the 60's would be soundly beaten by today's top pros just as in every other sport we can name! Example 1967 Green Bay Packers vs. 2004 Indianapolis Colts; track and field stars then and now. Sports have evolved with bigger stronger well trained athletes, even in tennis. Rosewall and Laver would not too often win sets off of Federer and Roddick, and King and Evert would not fare too well against a healthy Serena.
     
  12. !Tym

    !Tym Hall of Fame

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    This is NO surprise to me. As I've said many times, after you play awhile, there's only so much you can do technique wise. Yes, some new techniques generate power; but what people forget is that old techniques IF properly executed can stand use that power against you in a most cunning and efficient way. McEnroe can still hang with current pros. His technique isn't meant for power, but it sure can blunt power and turn it against you, he's like a volley machine from the baseline...that would be the equivalent.

    Look, you've played a game for soooo long, and there is only so much you can improve...particularly in a game like tennis which is SO mental.

    Player's always subconsciously think they are improving, but it's just not true after you've been playing a certain amount of time. You practice something practically your whole life and there's only so much you can improve.

    I mean really, technique wise these guys are all maxed out.

    Like I said, player's have a PEAK level, but what changes is the ability to MAINTAIN that peak level. I honestly believe that the so-called pinnacle of the sport has been reached many times. The highest level of the game has not changed, sure the raw speed may have; but raw numbers don't mean nearly as much in a tennis match as they do a swim meet. This is a mental sport more than anything. You got hand-eye coordination, you can compete.

    A player is much more likely to dip from a peak than to sustain it throughout a career. The reason they decline is not because they're unable to compete anymore on a talent level, it's because what goes on in their head is no longer able to compete. Years and years of travel and burnout and injuries take their toll, which is why it is NOT surprising when a seemingly dead and buried former top pro like Magnus Larson can come from the grave and suddenly take Hewitt at his peak to the brink of defeat at the Australian Open.

    This is why it's not surprising for a Thomas Enqvist to have an upset here or there...OR how about Ronald Agenor who was *never* a TOP pro taking Kuerten in his prime to the brink of defeat at a Tennis Masters Series event in OLD AGE?

    I always hear about how the game has passed someone by, yet how does Edberg beat Bjorkman in an exhibition match in old age? Heck, Bjorkman's getting pretty old himself, yet he's STILL capable of hanging with and occasionally beating the top guys.

    Do you honestly think Bjorkman wanted to lose to Edberg, who's been retired for like a decade? Of course not, that's embarrassing.

    What mainly changes in tennis is mentality, not the actual level of the game.

    The OBJECTIVE analysis brings this to light...you can't just ignore the Gene Mayer examples.

    How about Chang? People always talk about how Hewitt is clearly the superior newer version...YET how does a WAY past his prime Chang take Hewitt to two tie-breakers on grass, Srichiphan to the brink of defeat twice, take a set off Gonzales?

    The game hasn't changed, what changed is Chang's mental ability.

    He used to be unmatched but once he lost his confidence and a little speed, he lost his self-belief...which before was what unearned virtually ALL of his MANY wins.

    I remember seeing Chang start off playing scintilating tennis against Arazi right before he retired. He had Arazi beat, but when it came to close the match out, he had NO BELIEF and played unsure of himself and just LET Arazi take the second set. After that? Chang completely gave up and basically tanked, it was completely obvious in his body language and how he was just going for broke petulantly and spraying balls. He went down in flames in the third...and this to ARAZI of all people, one of the mentally weakest players on tour. What changed in Chang more than anything was that he was no longer mentally in tact, no longer able to gut out matches, no longer a fighter from beginning to end, and most importantly...that opponents now KNEW that Chang's will...heart, spirit, soul, and mind...could be broken...and quite easily at that. Had Chang's opponents know it was this easy to break Chang's will; they would have done it and done it often in his prime. Then we never would have heard of Chang, because Chang without his unshakable WILL to win was imminently beatable by virtually everyone...even since way back when.

    A few months later, by the way, Arazi went onto the quarters of the Australian Open equalling his previous best grand slam result of MANY years ago. In this match, he lost to Ferrero but each set was very tight and he really stuck it to Philipoussis the reigning Wimbledon finalist the round before.

    What does all this tell you?

    It tells you that ALL of these guys have trained long and hard enough and have enough talent to compete on even terms...IF they're MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY still in tact. It's called being "all there," which becomes harder and harder to maintain as you age. Still doesn't mean you can't be there some of the time.

    Heck, in my case, I'm so stressed right now that I hardly care about playing tennis at all anymore...and it REALLY shows when I play as I just can't get all that excited for it, just go through the motions, etc. BUT, every now and then, I find that spark...and suddenly it's like I never left my personal "peak" level.

    Peak levels come and go...mostly based on how badly you want it.

    But that's just my experience. By the way, I can hit with former satellite pros from the 90s and hold my own WHEN I feel like it. Which just goes to show how important, MENTAL energy is.

    Tennis you can't be under activated mentally at all if you want to COMPETE.

    You don't feel like playing? Fine, I've seen the very best pros in the world go down with a wimper. They can be as 'bad' as they want...using BOTH meanings of the word.

    That's why Agassi distracted by the illnesseses of his mother and sister looked so BAD in his loss to Clement at the U.S. Open, yet so BAD TO THE BONE good in his victory over Clement in the Australian Open finals. It's not that he didn't try in that bad loss, but cleary he was distracted. When you're not all there mentally in tennis, particularly, at the highest level of the game...you are toast.

    And for the record, depth is nothing new...the 90s from beginning to end have been ALL about depth. The year Guga won his first French, the ONLY seed left was the DEAD LAST seed who was in the midst of a major clay court slump, none other than the #16 seed, Sergi Bruguera.

    What does that tell you? If only ONE seed is left from a total of 16 by the quarters? And, people act like depth is something new.

    Please, I still remember when Byron Shelton with the canon serve and nothing else clonked Stich right out Wimbledon in straights. Of course, I believe Stich had a fairly remarkable Wimbledon semi the next year with Cedric Pioline. Btw, if you re-watch that match, the level of play was simply astonishing. It's hard for me to believe that it can be done any better, not even by Federer.

    There is a peak level of play in tennis and I've seen it many times over the years from many top players but only on a limited basis. What separates Federer is that he plays peak level tennis more often than not, whereas the other top players played peak tennis only once in a blue moon and the rest of the time 'pretty good.'
     
  13. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I disagree. Greatness is greatness regardless of era. I do agree that there is more depth in the modern game, but less top talent at the very top. I also don't know that the 67 Packers would lose to the 04 Colts. The Yankee team that included Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford would still win their share against today. Sandy Kofax was a pitching coach in his late 40s when the Dodgers went back to the World Series in the 70s. He pitched batting practice before one of the World Series games and was striking out the heart of the Dodger order. He had to be told to take it easy on them, such was his competitive nature. One of the ones he struck out (more than once) was Steve Garvey in his prime.

    For instance, John McEnroe and Peter Fleming were the #1 rated doubles team for a long period of time. They were taken to 5 sets by the team of Fred Stolle and John Newcombe at the US Open in the 80s. Stolle and Newcombe were clearly past their prime, but still hung around. It has been said by today's pros that McEnroe could play competitive tennis on the doubles tour today!

    Rod Laver/Ken Rosewall would win their share of matches against the top guys of today.

    While pointless, the discussion is still intriguing. What really clouds the issue is the way the administration of tennis has let equipment overshadow the athlete. I also agree that training has improved and the age at which athletes are dedicated to a sport has lowered to the point of being ridiculous, but still....the great ones will always be timeless. Just ask Ali.
     
  14. Type40

    Type40 Semi-Pro

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    I think it would be interesting if they held one tourament where
    the seniors could play the currenbt pros, but each match was just one set. McEnroe played a set against henman in 2002 and only lost 7-5
     
  15. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    This sparked a debate! I'll keep it short: A 70's pro would kill todays 4.5. Even playing with a frying pan.
     
  16. ma2t

    ma2t Rookie

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    It's true that there's a huge mental component to tennis but let's not underestimate the physical component. Current pros as opposed to former pros are much more fit in general and would be more likely to win a 5-setter and consistently over the course of two weeks (like at a grand slam) purely because of physical fitness. Find me a person who isn't slower and less able to recover after a long match now that he or she is older. This is why Agassi trains so hard now.
     
  17. Type40

    Type40 Semi-Pro

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    I think it would be great if they made a movie about Bobby Riggs and his tennis hustling.

    Which reminds me, anyone know why Billy Jean King didn't try her luck against Stan Smith or Joh Newcombe?
    No wait, I already know the answer, LOL.
     
  18. !Tym

    !Tym Hall of Fame

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    Actually, that is true...it's both physical and mental. I think both are important. In a one match gig, I think old pros are competitive. Heck, a recent poster said that Patrick McEnroe bum knees and all could still hold his own against Fish in practice.

    I'm not surprised. Patrick McEnroe at his peak was a very tough customer, he gave Becker all he could handle and MORE.

    But anyone remember PMac's sorry last few years on tour? I do...injury riddled and no longer able to pull out matches. Put up games? Sure, but any number of pros can do that. It's winning those extra one or two games a set consistently however that makes all the difference. What this should tell you is that even at their worst, they are still competitive.

    IF alotted some rest, and in a one match situation, I think many older pros would stand a chance a la Edberg over Bjorkman.

    Arazi explained his resurgence at the Australian Open this year by saying that he was burned out the past few years, and lost his drive to practice and got sick of all the traveling. Well, certainly does explain it. This happens to MANY aging pros, we just don't hear about it because we don't really have access to their interviews and they don't get much press here in the States.

    In Arazi's case it was mental, no longer as motivated...not necessarily that physically he was no longer capable of his previous best finish of a quarterfinal in a slam many years prior.

    In Patrick McEnroe's case, his knees were just shot if I recall, knee surgery I believe is what did him in, and he just wasn't able to ever fully recover after...at least, not to the point that his knees could take full on training and a full tour schedule. Broken down older players play in spurts, because physically AND mentally they're no longer capable of lasting a grinding season traveling the world over. However, in a one match situation, I'm sure they would be able to last. I honestly think the physical expenditure required in tennis is overestimated. It's not THAT difficult to cover the court in a one match type gig, piles those matches up in a row and on top jet lag however? Then, yeah, then you're probably gonna pull a Gene Mayer in the second set against the monster serving Mike Bryan.

    Malivai Washington is a perfect example of this. He went from the highest point of his career, the Wimbledon finals and a thrilling victory over Gustavo Kuerten in Davis Cup IN Brazil on clay...just months prior to Kuerten's French Open victory...to blowing his knee out.

    Suddenly, now he's out with knee surgery. He tries to come back multiple times, and can put up games but really can't quite win matches anymore and his knees can't hold up...so he has I believe a total of three surgeries with this on and off regimine, before finally giving up and retiring like PMac did.

    So many former established pros go out like this...on again, off again injured, never really able to train full out to maintain their peak physical condition to survive the grind of the tour, etc., etc. HOWEVER, in a one match situation? I think they could hold their own, say in a practice set or whatever. McEnroe, for example, can still hold his own in World Team Tennis with current pros...lest you say those guys can't play, don't forget that Kevin Kim just beat Ferrero in straight sets.

    Bruguera and Muster went down similar paths to PMac and Washington, one day in the Masters Cup finals or winning the Lipton or whatever, then the next day on the way out. These changes occur seemingly overnight which is what makes them so hard to fathom. But if either physically or mentally you drop just a little, you will fold in TOURNAMENT play...where there is always someone hungrier. Tournament play, however, is a COMPLETELY different animal. Anyone who's played in one knows that. The pressure is ten fold, if you're mentally or physically burned out that's the difference between routinely winning matches by one break, say 6-3 or 4 and losing matches routine 3 or 4 to HUNGRIER opponents. I mean in Muster's last days on tour, he was practically getting bageled by nobodies...with his effort level in his peak? There is NO WAY that would ever happen. That should tell you just how far his light had burned out.

    Even Muster managed to burn out from the grind that is the ATP Tour. I've heard many older pros say that if it were just a one match type deal, they would be fine...

    Look at what Wayne Ferreira said after retiring this year. He said, he just doesn't feel like training anymore, putting the hours in anymore. That wreaks of burnout. Physically he's still fine and able. Heck, only last year he made the semis of the Australian Open, which equalled his previous best of his blazing fast cheetah years of 91 or 92.

    The thing is, even though he had slacked off on the training and all this year, he still gave Hewitt in fairly top form a decent enough battle. Just imagine if he were phsyically and mentally as CHARGED up as in his peak? Then, it's not inconceivable that that routine but competitive win for Hewitt might have been either a nail biting win or a nail biting loss.

    In fact, it's entirely possible. That's the only difference it takes.

    Now, in a low pressure practice, NON-tournament match, the HUNGER factor wouldn't have made nearly as much difference. In a case such as that, I could definitely see Ferreira splitting sets with Hewitt; simply because when hunger doesn't factor in, you end up seeing many pros for what they are...very, very equal. Go to any pro tournament, and up close you'll notice very little difference between the top pros and the nobodies. In fact, the non tennis playing fan wouldn't even be able to tell. It's not until tournament matches actually begin, that the men separate from the boys and the hungriest eat up the only moderately hungry...i.e. Muster in his prime, Mr. Lion Heart, hear him roar then eat you up and spit you out in short order.

    The thing is, Krajicek was out for one and a half years with injuries, and when he came back he was an old fogey by tour age standards. Nevertheless, he gave Federer a competitive match and nearly made the semis of Wimbledon before running out of gas. Had he been in peak condition, he could very well have gone all the way. Obviously he didn't, but what this should tell you is the game does NOT progress at light speed as is always assumed. There are always examples of guys like Gianluco Pozzi, Richard Krajicek, Ronald Agenor, etc. who interfere with that logic. These guys, their skills are so good that IF mentally all there they should be able to hang with just about anybody.

    Bruguera wasn't doing any training, picked up a racket only three times in several months, yet months after retiring was asked to come out of retirement as a favor to a clay court challenger tournament. This should soun familiar to Gene Mayer. Bruguera accepted, and made the quarters or semis before he said his legs just felt dead.

    Well, that much would be expected. But what wouldn't is that a guy who's basically been semi-retired and hobbled and mentally burned out for three or four years now, finally retires then comes back months later with no pressure, no physical conditioning, and no practice time of any kind, and just for fun so to speak...then comes within striking distance of winning a clay court challenger. Now, yes, it's just a challenger...but shouldn't the recent example of Kevin Kim tell us something? Ferrero actually said he outplayed him the whole match. So while I guess you could say he tanked, you could also say that Ferrero also thumped Gimelstob the round before. The challenger tour is pretty much the same level of play as the main tour, without the names...i.e. Hannel and Mutis ring a bell anbody...heck do Bastl and Kaufman...heck Kevin Kim beat an old and broken down Larson recently before Larson took Hewitt to the brink at the Australian Open. The challenger tour is definitely high level stuff. Heck, Squillari is basically at that level now yet he gave Kuerten a *very* close match earlier this year on clay...and what did Kuerten do to Federer at this year's French? Yup, that's right, took him out in straight sets. And who did Kevin Kim take out in the final round of qualifying at the French? Yup, that's right Kristoff Vliegen. And what did Kristoff Vliegen do just prior to the French? Yup, that's right only made the semis of a tennis masters series clay event where he only happened to take out Robredo...who took out who the year before? Yup, that's right Hewitt. And Robredo only came so close to making the semis of what small tournament? Yup, the French Open...THAT should tell you just how competitive player's get WHEN playing a largely MENTAL sport that they have honed their whole life for. It's different in a sport like swimming, where upsets rarely happen. You don't see a Kenyan swimmer, for example, taking out Michael Phelps. That's because time based sports are more objective. Who can run the fastest, sprint the fastest, etc. I should know, I used to sprint on the side. I was pretty darn good too, but I HATED it. Hated the pressure of always being expected to be the fastest in the school. But the thing was, it's not the same as feeling the same kind of pressure in tennis. In tennis, I could be expected to win, yet still lose. In sprinting? Didn't really matter how much pressure I felt, once the gun started, not much to think about, just run like Forrest Gump and in the end if you truly are more "gifted" or whatever, you'll win 19 out 20 times. I mean seriously who expects Michael Phelps to lose a race he's expected to win? Or GASP lose in the first round of qualifying like say Sampras to Bastl at Wimbledon?

    But anyway, point is the challenger circuit is tough, particularly on clay where groundies are the name of the game and that's all anyone ever practices these days anyway. Add this up, PLUS clay in Spain? Isn't clay supposed to be like really tiring or something? Or, is that just a rumor? One would think that it would take A LOT shorter for Bruguera's legs to give on him than the quarters or semis. It's not surpring that he did eventually lose his legs, it's surprising that he didn't lose them immdiately.

    This should tell you how mental this sport is. A guy who was truly stuggling with burn out and health for years, can suddenly come back after having only touched a racket three times in many months...come back for FUN, and still pick up with about the same results he did before when he was burned out.

    THAT is what makes tennis so challenging. The skills to compete do not dissapear, what dissapears is everything else.

    My friend used to be a top fifty east coast junior, burned out and quit tennis for six years. Never picked up a racket during that time or thought about the sport at all. I convince him to try it again, and after a few minutes of whiffing, say 15...he's suddenly and magically playing like a top fifty east coast junior again. THAT told me everything I need to know about how UN-difficult tennis really is on a physical level. Seriously, once you've reached your personal best level; you'll find that even years after not playing you can pick it up where you once were in a fairly equivalent form skill and stroke wise.

    The difficult of tennis from a physical perspective is VASTLY overrated in my opinion. From a mental perspective, however, it's vastly underrated.

    Heck, I can remember not playing tennis for months at a time due to injury and coming back on the first day maybe just a little winded, but surprisingly going TOE to TOE with the same guys i had left off playing with, the same guys who had been training like mad men during that time, supposedly improving by leaps and bounds, by many inverse eons and such. Haha, yet there I was going toe to toe after just a few minutes of whiffing.

    It's no different for the pros, Bruguera and Krajicek...heck even Larson. And if Norman scalps a big name in his comeback attempt, I wouldn't be the least surprised. PROVIDED you are not mentally burned out, you should have no problems to "hold your own" (PMac against Fish in practice) in a one match or one set type situation, even if you're not in the best of shape. Even if you're not in the best of shape, for example, you should still probably be able to *survive* a set.

    Remember that study? The reality is that tennis is actually a rather stand still sport. One minute of play for 10 minutes of dead time basically. The reality is that the vast majority of the time in tennis matches is spent on thinking too much about that error, or patting yourself on the back too much for that ace, or thinking about Hawaii...in the case of the burned out player, who's head's somewhere else on cloud nine thinking about an early retirement.

    That to me is definitive proof of how mental tennis is. Cover the court itself really isn't that difficult, it's actually quite small. Even slow players like Todd Martin can cover it very well highly motivated, a lot of it is simply effort and drive.

    And the thing is, when you're feeling slightly burned out you're much more likely to bail out on points. The perfect example is Chang. NEVER EVER bailed out in the middle of a point in his prime. In his sad older years, he bailed out on points and out of sets constantly. He would literally just go for an absolutely idiotic rash winner for no reason at inopportune times hail mary style and miss by ten feet many, many times in his last days. It's no wonder he lost playing like that.

    When players feel burned out, they bail out of points. Heck, that's how Olivier Delaitre explained Courier's sudden demise from his champion years on clay. He said that everyone knows that it's not the same Courier anymore, that he doesn't have the same patience, that he bails out of points after two-three shots now going for the winner, whereas before he contrstucted points 4-5 shots or more before pulling the trigger. That little difference makes ALL the difference at the highest level. You bail out a little early? Fine, that just leaves room for a guy like Thomas Muster to parachute in, and take over where you left off. Re-watching the highlights from the Kuerten-Bruguera French finals, the difference between then and now was that Kuerten was MENTALLY indefatiguiablle. Even if the point was long, he would pound the ball one after another with PERFECT concentration. The key word is concentration, it was like the ONLY thing on his mind was the ball at all times. It was the perfect state as Tim Gallway would describe it in the Inner Game of Tennis. He was like a dog chasing after a ball. A dog can chase after a ball all day long like it's the only thing in the world that matters to him and it's the only thing in the world that give hims joy.

    THAT is what separates player's in their peak vs. players in their sad shell of themselves years. You can see it in their eyes. Players in their peak have the feel of a dog chasing a ball during a point. Players thinking about retirement or thinking about the wife and home life they so miss seem their in body only, not in spirit. It's not something you can quantify, but it's a mood that's in the air, you can feel it and it's unmistakable.
     
  19. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Probably the same reason why people don't like to mention how odd it is, that Rigg's DESTROYED Court the world's number 1, right before he played lower ranked King....
     
  20. tennisboy87

    tennisboy87 Guest

    !Tym,

    You have some of the longest but most informing posts of anyone on this board lol. Keep it up.
     
  21. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    A 4.5 player cannot win a round in our local open city tournament against club pros rated NTRP 5.0 and above, many 35 and over. Connors, Vilas, Borg, Smith, Nastase would dbl-bagel these guys just to see the look on their faces. And make these suckers use a wooden racquet for laughs. Pay to see that one.
     
  22. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    !Tym=Special K me thinks. remember that person?
     
  23. ma2t

    ma2t Rookie

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    What about the idea that being physically fit can make you mentally tougher? If you feel like you could play for five hours and continue to hit out without fatigue, this give you confidence. If you feel a step slower or winded or your legs feel rubbery, you lose concentration. You might also get impatient and go for a winner "too early."
     
  24. second set

    second set New User

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    In fact just this last weekend PMac was giving Mike Bryan all he could handle playing points.

    Funny exchange...

    PMac (serving): Mike, how fast was that.
    MBryan: I dunno.
    PMac: 87?
    MBryan: Uh, no. maybe 82..
    PMac: Only 82?
    Mbryan: Maybe less, maybe like Dementieva.

    Its hell to get old, but it beats the alternative...
     
  25. kgy_ph

    kgy_ph New User

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    Hey !Tym! Long posts, but very informative. Type40, I thought that yesterday's pros should only be using their wooden racquets 'coz letting them use today's gear would simply lead to them steamrolling the club player.

    I too am of the opinion that yesterday's pros would win versus a club player, but by handicapping them a bit also with yesterday's gear, maybe, just maybe, the club player can stay competitive (make the point last longer). More often than not, the talent of yesterday's pro would lead him to victory, but maybe there'd be a little bit more competition.

    I guess 4.5 may be too low. How about 5.0 and above?

    I played once with a guy in his late 40's who tried to make it to the pro tour and didn't do too well. At the club level though, he was the MAN. Nobody could take him. He was a nice guy, so on a whim I jokingly asked to play him BUT he had to use an old wooden racquet, the kind he learned to play tennis with. He agreed, also in fun, the loser paying for drinks afterwards. Where I have lost to him 6-1,6-1 when he had been using his regular graphite racquet, I ended up losing 6-3,6-3, and I humbly admit that I am not even a 4.5. He made a lot of errors on many shots, but he still won. I gladly paid for the drinks afterwards 'coz we both had fun laughing through the match, even though we were playing competitively.

    So maybe 4.5 is too low. Maybe 5.0 can be competitive with a pro from yesterday using the old racquets?

    But I am with the majority of you that yesterday's pros would still win the match. It's just a matter of modern equipment, technique, etc. being able to give us regular mortals a chance to perhaps "hang" with the greats even for just a game, or even a few points. I respect the view of others though who believe (and they have a point) that no matter what equipment yesterday's pro is using, he'd beat today's club player even if the club player was using the most high-tech gear and had been taught the latest techniques.
     
  26. intense2b

    intense2b Banned

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    Is there a question here? They would wipe the floor with a 4.5. Just think of what good old brad Gilbert would do to you.
     
  27. PureCarlosMoyaDrive

    PureCarlosMoyaDrive Professional

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    If you want to give the club player a chance he has to be a strong 4.5 or 5.0, and he has to be flashed back in time to the 1950's, and somehow they have to give him some medium paced high bouncing hard court. Then he would have a chance, I think he'd do best with a western grip because the topspin would probably be crazy to those guys and their eastern forehands. I think he'd have a good chance. If he didn't hit with immense topspin and pace, he would just be playing into the other guys game
     
  28. callitout

    callitout Professional

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    At the Open I had the pleasure of watching 2 old style players ranked in the top 50 on small courts: Karol Kucera and Fabrice Santoro. Everyone knows about Santoro so I'll spare you the details, but Kucera seems like he never fully follows through on his stroke and never swings too hard, but somehow comes through for a couple of rounds against the youngsters. He beat X. Malisse in 5 and never looked like he was trying too hard. All closed stance follow through in which he catches the racquet with his nondominant hand just like many of us were taught 40 yrs ago. Obviously there are many ways to win a match and the big loopy strokes which look so beautiful and modern which Nadal and all the young guys use are no more effective than the conventional strokes were...I'm ignoring the point about modern equipment here. A 4.5 at a club would have trouble getting to 30 in a game against any former top pro under 50.
     
  29. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    He still wouldn't stand a chance. A world class player from any era, Tilden on, would demolish any player who relies on the NTRP system.
    See the previous discussion on Bobby Riggs who won at Wimbledon in 39 and made a living off hustling club players through the 80s.
     
  30. Trey

    Trey Rookie

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    Ok it is time to put an end to this mental masturbation 8)


    :lol:
     
  31. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    Yeah Data tis an interesting one. God your oldie sounds mean to play too lol! My guy has simply classical strokes, a strong but steady flat forehand and one of the finest slice backhands you would ever see. He can hit winners off short balls with it! His serve is steady and his volleys solid. His strength is baseline rallying, he works you around strongly and can put away the short ball. Like all good old style exponents he never hits short and you are constantly on your heels. His fitness and speed for a guy 69 is astonishing. I would have to say he is like a fit 45 year old. I'd love to get our two together in a set!
     
  32. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

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    Give me a three point lead in every game llike that guy who played Connors...

    I'd back myself to take Suzanne Lenglen!
     
  33. @wright

    @wright Hall of Fame

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    Suzanne Lenglen would seduce you to prevent the defeat, she was quite the lady's man, you know.
     
  34. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    galain, the equalizer is that you not only must use one of those old wooden bats but also wear one of those tennis dresses.
     
  35. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    Bump for the Data man.
     

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