watching older clips

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by TBS, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. TBS

    TBS New User

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    After watching a number of older clips of top players, such as Gonzales, Laver, Rosewall, Newcombe, Conners, and Ashe, I have noticed something interesting, and wonder if anyone else has the same impression.

    Obviously today's players can hit the ball harder than those past champions listed above. The hardest shots from a Federer, or Del Potro, or Nadal, or pretty much anyone you care to name, using today's equipment, are more powerful than the hardest shots from, say, Laver in his prime, using a wood raquet. I don't think anyone would seriously question that fact.

    What I noticed watching the old clips, however, is how often those older players did NOT hit their hardest possible shot. My impression is that they typically hit groundstrokes at perhaps 75-80% of their maximum power (the maximum power they could generate with the equipment of the time), waiting for a chance to attack and THEN hit the full-power shot (or simply attack the net for a volley). In other words they seem to be "saving" their best stuff for the right opportunity.

    By contrast, today's players mostly (mostly, I say, I know their are exceptions) seem to hit all out, all the time, putting maximum effort into nearly every shot. Not only can they hit harder than the players of the past, but they spend more time using maximum power.

    I'm not saying here that either way is "better" than the other, or "the right way to play", or anything like that. Both styles simply reflect the practices and strategies of the respective eras.

    I'm just wondering if anyone else finds this to be true.
     
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  2. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Absolutely... when I stepped away from tennis in '95 I was asked to hit with a few juniors... and noticed a trend towards this all out power game. I asked them after several of them (which I always seemed to win) why they tried to hit winners off every shot, I was told their coach wanted them to play that way. The mindset was that if they could hit 2 winner off every 3 shots they would win. I was awestruck... They were 16 and 17 at the time and went to universities on scholarships and when I last saw them become very good players. But with the current equipment I guess the idea is I better hit a winner before my opponent does.

    I still think the best players in the world are tremendous defensive players... ie. Federer, Nadal and Murray

    On a side note... I miss the 70's and 80's I still feel it was the Golden Age of tennis... incredible and talented players. Not the best athletes for sure... but highly skilled thoughtful players. Points in those days were played out like a chess game... power was part of the game but could be blunted, you could defend or attack from the baseline and win. You could attack from the air exclusively and win... it was a great time to watch tennis. Perhaps the best battles would be a S&V player versus a baseliner... ie. McEnroe vs Connors or a Borg.
     
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  3. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Certainly it's true that the trend has been to swing all-out much more on groundstrokes. Difficult to say if this is better or not. It's likely much less efficient as the it will not result in winners against the other pro players unless an opening is there. Borg for example, was often criticized due to this. There are players who will hit with less spin and more control and as result are probably more efficient, relying more on depth and placement. eg. a Nalbandian

    Also bear in mind that you are quite incorrect. The hardest shots have always been serves and the maximum power on those has not changed much.
     
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  4. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I am not sure if I totally agree with your statement... though the top speed may not have changed (I believe Roscoe Tanner had a serve at 150mph and a freak of nature), but the average top speed of pro's I am sure is up. Becker I believed served somewhere between the 120's and 130's and that was considered over the top... most current pro's serve in that range now. Connors... was no faster than 105 and McEnroe and gang were probably not much more than 110mph... I don't have hard data on this but just, going by my poor memory.

    I think the equipment has increased the speed of the game across the board.
     
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  5. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    He says maximum speed; you say average speed. You guys are not on the same page.
     
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  6. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Hench why I said I don't totally agree... I acknowledge that the top speed of serves have not changed... but that the average serve of the players have. My point is the maximum speed for the average player has gone way up.
     
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  7. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Although a lot of "average" players in eras past were massive servers (eg. Dibley), this is I'm sure entirely correct. Just considering the fact that there were so many more smaller finesse players in the game than there are now.
     
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  8. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    You wrote:

    "Obviously today's players can hit the ball harder than those past champions listed above. The hardest shots from a Federer, or Del Potro, or Nadal, or pretty much anyone you care to name, using today's equipment, are more powerful than the hardest shots from, say, Laver in his prime, using a wood raquet. I don't think anyone would seriously question that fact."

    "Not only can they hit harder than the players of the past..."

    PS. Your speed numbers are way off. There is no standardized rubric to measure them and the figures you're using are almost certainly off, unless we buy into several unlikely premises. I've posted over and over and over about it in the past, do a search if you're interested.

    It's an interesting scenario you've painted though. Tanner going 150mph....then, Becker being over the top with 120mph.....Tanner played until around 1984, Becker burst on to the scene around 1985....HMMMMMM....
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
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  9. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Radar guns change

    Basically Sampras top serve in the mid-90's was being rated at around 128 mph. By the time he retired in 2002 he was clocking 139.

    Becker's top speed was 131 (timed in the 90's).

    Basically if these guys were being times with the radar guys of today - they would both be around low 140's.

    By the way - I fully believe that Roscoe Tanner had legitimate times in the 150's. When he was being timed in his early 40's in the early 1990's he was being timed in the mid to high 130's. Hence, it is not hard to imagine he was capable of the 150's at his peak.
     
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  10. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    I've posted about it many times before, but Tanner had legitimate times in the 130-140mph range FOR SURE (based on what Vic Braden told me personally), beyond that, I am aware of some measurements, but cannot absolutely confirm them. I doubt very much he hit 150mph with any regularity, but on a great day, a blast at 150mph would not shock me given his motion. Actually, Roddick, who is in my mind, likely the fastest server on average, only hits 150 mph once in a very long while. He also, tends to be in the 130's and 140's for his fastest heaters. Rusedski was as well.


    It's rather funny when you look at say the 1990 uso, and realize that Sampras hit the fastest serve of the tourney up until the finals at 124mph. Becker had gone 122mph, if memory serves. 50 year old Mcenroe has clocked 128mph in the last 5 years. Bet he wishes he could have served significantly faster than Sampras and Becker back in his last years on the tour eh? I know...I know...it's the poly strings... ;-)
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
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  11. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    According to the wiki... Tanner had the fastest recorded serve of 153mph until Roddick beat it with a serve of 155mph.
     
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  12. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    LOL. I'm not sure what your point it?

    This is one of those cases where one must be careful with what one reads on the internet. ESPECIALLY with the wikipedia. That database can in fact be edited by ANYONE. As a result, myths and legends often get propagated on it. However, if you have more info about the recording, please share. I know Tanner has said that he has been recorded over 150mph, and I know George Plimpton claimed 153mph. However, I have no details on where, how, why etc.

    Regardless of the details, that entry in particular is absolutely asinine. Inplying that there is any "record" or that Roddick and Tanner's serve can be compared in some way....well.....very poor. Statements like that guarantee another generation of misinformation.
     
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