Why Can't Tennis Be Played Like This Anymore?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by USS Tang, May 16, 2012.

  1. USS Tang

    USS Tang Rookie

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    Ilie Nastase versus Arthur Ashe in the 1972 U.S. Open final. Power, finesse, and athleticism. No mindless walloping of the ball from baseline to baseline (not to mention grunting and groaning) as we see too often today.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf4wrrpzdYc
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Takes years to learn net play, along with years for baseline play, then to integrate it takes a few more years.
    In the meantime, learning to put it together guarantees you a losing junior record, so you give up the sport before you get good.
     
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  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Good reasoning.But we had a bunch of great S&V´rs...who, fortunately, kept on going...
     
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  4. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    It's too hard to learn for today's players and notice the courts were a little slippery back then too. Nastase fell down at least twice in that video. Very scary.
     
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  5. forthegame

    forthegame Hall of Fame

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    Nice skills.

    It gets a bit boring though, knowing what will happen EVERY serve.
     
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  6. jmnk

    jmnk Professional

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    so which part you are missing now? The almost complete inability to hit a decent passing shot when returning the serve?:?:
     
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  7. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    They could. And it would still be very successful at Wimbledon and the few other grass courts still used on the tour, but, no where else. The fact is that style of play just won't succeed on slow, high bouncing courts against players with oversized graphite racquets and polyester string, just like staying back and bashing wouldn't succeed on fast low bouncing grass against a "genuine" grass court player.
     
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  8. jonnythan

    jonnythan Professional

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    Racquets and strings have come a long way. It's too easy to beat people who play that way by blasting shots by them.
     
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  9. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    It wouldn't be on that grass. Which is another reason that style of play disappeared at the pro level.
     
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  10. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Asking modern players to play like Nastase/Ashe in the 70s is like asking basketball or football to play like in the 70s. It's not possible because sports evolve. Athletes are bigger, stronger, faster than in those days, so of course there's a drastic difference. Watching that youtube it looks like they are playing in slow motion. Well, that's fine in those days, but any player who play at that snail pace in today's higher standard would get killed !
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Ashe was around 6'2".
    Nastase closer to 6'.
    So much for them being tiny short guys.
    Nobody moved slower than McEnroe. He had a better career than YOU.
    Blinding speed is great for video games.
    On court, only coverage matters, quick or slow.
     
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  12. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I met Nastase in 74'. Shook his hand. He was 5'10", max. And he was one of the quickest tennis players of all time. Ashe was 6'1".
     
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  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    If they used those racquets, sure!
     
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  14. norcal

    norcal Hall of Fame

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    That was awesome, such good volleys. Thanks for posting.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Strange.
    I met Nastase in '77. He was at least 3" taller than Okker. Easily 5" taller than Solomon. All 3 visited our booth at the same time.
    I thought I was 5'11" then, and Nastase was at least my height, but wearing flip flops, carrying a huge gear bag. I was wearing new Nikes, easily 7/8th " added to my height, and I was standing on the stringing platform. He had big hands, compared to the other two.
    You can figure out Ashe's height by watching his matches against Connors, who is 5'10", not shorter. He towers over Connors, maybe 3-4".
     
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  16. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    now i see why they wanted to make the courts more suitable for baseline bashing
     
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  17. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    That doesn't even resemble pro tennis.
     
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  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Funny you should say that.
    I thought when I first saw Agassi playing Connors..."that doesn't resemble pro tennis".......
    The idea of both guys staying back, hitting weak serves and strong groundstrokes, was a bewilderment to me.
    :):)
     
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  19. Swissv2

    Swissv2 Hall of Fame

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    Play like that now with all the new strings, spin, and technology, and you will get comments like: 'that person is 3.5 at best'
     
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  20. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You have to realize that the grass at Forest Hills was to be kind, just awful. Bad bounces, sometimes no bounces at all and they played with smaller racquets. If they tried to play the game they play today there would be mishits all over the place. The grass was much faster than the grass of today also.

    It's actually terrific play with nice variety.
     
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  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, MichaelLlodra, 3.5 at best.
     
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  22. zcarzach

    zcarzach Professional

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    Beautiful tennis, for sure. I'm sad I missed this era.
     
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  23. Delano

    Delano Rookie

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    It's pretty great, isn't it? I spend too much time watching old youtube videos. The Ashe vs Nastase is a good one. Rosewall and Laver are also pretty entertaining.

    One thing I miss is the viability of the slice backhand as a bread and butter stroke (particularly fun to watch Rosewall). I guess you still see a little bit of it with Feliciano Lopez and Llodra, but it's pretty rare. I also miss the style where one player clearly prefers to get into net but has to work the point to find that opportunity (this is different from a giant serve followed by a mop-up volley, which is also pretty rare at this point as well).

    That said, I still like tennis in the current era. It isn't all ball-bashing, there's a lot of maneuvering and athleticism in the points (the Nadal vs Fed wimbledon a while back was definitely one of the high points, that Nadal vs Verdasco Australian Open SF was pretty excellent as well). I just wish there were a little more variety.
     
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  24. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    I agree, this is maybe the most beautiful tennis I've ever seen.
    Keep back the wood racquets! :mrgreen:
     
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  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Early 70´s is the best era for finess and diversity of styles.Powerful S&V´s as Smith,Roche ,Ashe and Newcombe, sensational all round players like Laver,Rosewall,Nastase, Kodes,Okker.Solid backcourters with touch such as Franulovic,Orantes,Panatta,Santana and Gimeno.Counterpunchers such as drysdale or young Jimmy Connors.Variety is the name of the game.
     
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  26. Xavier G

    Xavier G Semi-Pro

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    I'm catching up on some old matches on You Tube and I must say I'm enjoying them.
     
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  27. ramos77

    ramos77 Semi-Pro

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    You have no idea. Have some respect
     
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  28. SLD76

    SLD76 Legend

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    the camera really captures the speed and power that the ball was being hit with.

    whoever said these guys were playing 'slow' was not paying attention, they are murdering the ball with spin and pace, with those lil wooden rackets. the slam volley ashe hits at the :45 second mark is like 'woah!'


    amazing. stuff.

    skills, baby.
     
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  29. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Skills is exactly right!
     
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  30. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    No, no, no! You don't understand: the power, the vast pool of talent, the technology.

    Today's players are simply the best of all time--statistics prove this (even if we never get to see it on the court).

    As for finesse, and athleticism, these are outmoded and obsolete today. Who needs them when you have so much power.
    "Baseline-bashing is power, and power is baseline-bashing. This is all ye need to know."








    :wink:
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
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  31. 6-2/6-4/6-0

    6-2/6-4/6-0 Semi-Pro

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    I love that sort of play, there is so much more excitement in each individual shot and point than there is now, I feel.

    Today you can wait for someone to hit their serve, go to the bathroom, grab a slice of pizza and a glass of wine and come back and all you will have missed is 86 cross-court forehands, 4 DTL forehands, 22 cross court backhands, 4 DTL backhands, and you'll be sitting down and comfy just in time to catch the unforced error that ends the point.

    Give me Laver-Newcombe, Borg-McEnroe, Rosewall-Anyone...

    So much of the artistry and tension have been beaten out of the game and replaced by topspin and attrition. Part of it is that the average hacker can understand running back and forth on the baseline pounding balls better than the spectacle of someone like Ashe or Nasty, part of it is that it's easier to learn the "modern game" than the real sport.

    Hopefully one day the ATP will realize what they've done to the game and take steps to bring it back. Maybe not. That would be a shame...
     
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  32. 6-2/6-4/6-0

    6-2/6-4/6-0 Semi-Pro

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    I believe that what you should have said is that the pro tennis you know doesn't even resemble that - keep in mind that there were more than 100 years of quality elite-level tennis before it devolved into what passes for tennis today among most pros using rackets and strings that cover a lot of the glaring holes in their games, and games that cover a lot of the glaring holes in their skills...
     
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  33. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Check out Nasty's forehand at 1:22.
     
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  34. t135

    t135 Semi-Pro

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    Well there is Michael Llodra. Fun to watch but you can see why that style is tough at the pro level. Best you can get now is Federer and Fish style all court players.
     
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  35. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    Give Nadal Nastase’s racquet and make him play on that surface and he’d look like a fish out of water. It would be pretty embarrassing watching him flop around trying to hit balls 1” off the ground with a 65sq” wood racquet with that stupid forehand of his.
     
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  36. 6-2/6-4/6-0

    6-2/6-4/6-0 Semi-Pro

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    As I said in another thread: "Personally, I'd like to see pro men required to use a racket that is 85" or smaller with a maximum 58 RA and women 95" or smaller with a 66 maximum RA. If you can't handle it join the pro racket ball tour, don't turn tennis into open court racket ball..."

    Really, I'd like to see men required to use a 72" head or smaller and women 90" and drop the stiffnesses to 50 and 60 - but that just isn't going to happen. Poly strings would have much less effect in that sort of racket, and the variety would come back into the game.

    Look back on the US Open final between Courier and Edberg - both using PS85s - Courier hit the stuffing out of the ball with that racket and Edberg guided it like it was on a string. Two dramatically differing styles with one racket. Again, I'm not saying we need to play serve and volley tennis, but we shouldn't be forced to play baseline bashing tennis either...
     
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  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I preached in the dessert many times.I agree with you.
     
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  38. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I think plastic rackets ruined the sport. now anyone in the top500 can hit 80 mph groundstrokes.

    fortunately MLB didn't go to metal bats. if they did anyone would now rave about how much better baseball is now because 30 players would hit 100 HRs.
     
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  39. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    False premise.

    There's nothing a defender can do when a hitter hit a home run. A non-standard bat(cork) gives the hitter the edge over the pitcher.


    However, in tennis no player has the edge because they both use the same racket....both players have to deal with the lethal groundstokes.
     
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  40. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Wait a second--I thought that was only possible with Rosewall's backhand.:wink:
     
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  41. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Against the serve and volley player a "non standard racket" does give the return player an advantage.
     
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  42. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    But the server can add more juice with a new racket.

    The return advantage is from the slower court, heavier ball. And higher bounce add more pressure for the s/v player.
     
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  43. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Actually, it's been shown that modern racquets only add a negligable amount of power on serve. That tells me that when hit dead in the sweet spot, there's very little difference in power between old wood and new graphite racquets, because it's much easier to consistently hit the sweet spot on serve than any other shot. On return, new racquets are a much bigger advantage because of the much bigger sweet spot allowing modern players to take bigger cuts at the ball and still consistently hit the sweet spot.

    That's why modern racquets benefit the return game more than the serve game.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
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  44. mental midget

    mental midget Professional

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    as much as i dislike nadal, i have a feeling he would be ripping forehands with a wooden racket no problemo. he's a . . . pretty good tennis player.
     
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  45. 6-2/6-4/6-0

    6-2/6-4/6-0 Semi-Pro

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    I would sincerely disagree. There is almost no possibility that Nadal could hit like he does with a woodie. If Nadal adapted his strokes to work with a wooden racket, the shot would be dramatically less effective than it is now. Take away the amazing amount of topspin that Nadal produces and make him hit commensurately less hard to keep the ball in the court, and his savvy at the baseline and inner drive might put him in the top 10 or 15, but no way is he #2 or 3...
     
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  46. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    *Yawn* .. Nadal was #1 for 102 weeks, BTW. Also, didn't Borg produce an incredible amount of TS from a 65 sq. in. frame?

    Just curious.. where would Federer rank if he played back then?
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
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  47. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    Service speeds on average are 10-15% higher for the men and almost double that for the women since the 1970's. That's a huge difference directly to the racquet materials. That is not negligible.
     
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  48. connico

    connico Rookie

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    Lol, I know right.... Not to mention that professional tennis requires mental strength, fitness and excellent hand-eye coordination.

    A professional tennis player in any era would adapt forward or backwards. It doesnt matter.

    The game is played today because the game evolves. For those that don't like it, go back to your little hole, play with wooden racquets and learn serving and volleying (which is actually very demanding on the body). For those that can't stand to watch tennis today, stop watching?
     
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  49. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    #49
  50. 1970CRBase

    1970CRBase Guest

    Entirely agreed. There should be a limit on racquet head size and stiffness at the pro level. FIRSTLY, Let ALL pro players WTA and ATP, use one standard professional racquet for tournament competition, say a clone of the Dunlop Max 200G with corresponding specs, natural gut ONLY, effectively freezing the racquet and string technology which because it continually advances, has been a constant distorting factor in the game. SECONDLY, it is no coincidence that when there were all the courts, there were true all courters, because people had to develop a complete game, both court and game diversity narrowed at the same time. Yes, I know the Nadal Girls want to talk him up as some kind of all time all courter, which might be true if you consider that all the courts in this era are Nadal Clay 1, Nadal Clay 1.1, Nadal Clay 1.2 - and he plays across all those courts ....... bring back FOUR polar opposite playing surfaces, one for each of the slams each leading 25% of the surfaces, so, Wimbledon super fast grass and 25% of all tournaments super fast grass, RG super slow clay and so on.

    Then we will see the next generation of players evolve into specialists and all rounders with contrasting and textured match-ups.
     
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