Why does Wimbledon produce so many repeat titles?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by krosero, May 8, 2007.

  1. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    In the Open Era, Borg has 5 straight Wimbledons, while Federer and Sampras each have 4 titles in a row.

    The other Slams don't have these stretches of domination by one player. The longest streak at the U.S. Open is 3 titles, held by McEnroe, Lendl and Federer each. No one has won 3 straight Australians. Borg had 4 in a row at the French, but no one else has even 3 (and that goes for the entire history of the championships at Roland Garros).

    There seems to be a similar pattern on the women's side in the Open Era. Navratilova won 6 straight Wimbledons. The next-best streak at any of the Slams is Chris Evert with 4 at the U.S. Open (of which 3 were on clay).

    Any ideas on why this might be?
     
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  2. diegaa

    diegaa Hall of Fame

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    teh first thing that comes to mind is that there are vary few specialists on grass, while this doesnt happen on the other surfaces. And the reason to this is that there arent so much tournies on this surface.
     
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  3. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Exactly. It's easier to be a dominant grasscourter than a dominant claycourter. There aren't many tournaments on grass to play, and those who adapt the better, have a clear advantage. Once you lean to play on grass, it's harder for the rest of the field to catch up.

    Grass is even more of a Specialist-surface than clay. Currently, pure claycourters, there are many... but pure grasscourters? I could mention just a few.
     
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  4. fednad

    fednad Hall of Fame

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    Simple - To adapt on grass one needs to be a genius. Machines can easily adapt on clay. Genius is rare and machines abound.
     
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  5. Tchocky

    Tchocky Hall of Fame

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    I think it's easier to win on grass today as the courts have gotten much slower and most players are staying at the baseline. The fact the Roger has not loss on grass in about 5 years is more impressive considering the surface has become more neutral.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2007
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  6. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Makes a lot of sense. When 3 of the 4 Slams were played on grass, there were a lot of players who knew how play on it.

    Before Borg there was no three-peat at Wimbledon going all the way back to Fred Perry (an Englishman). The Australian has had no three-peats since Jack Crawford in the 30s, with the exception of Emerson's streak of 5 titles in the 60s when so many of the best players were playing the pro tour. (Both Emerson and Crawford were Aussies, so a pattern seems to be emerging). At the U.S. Championships before it switched to clay, Bill Tilden was the last man to three-peat (and he was an American).

    Borg's was probably a hybrid style (topspin combined with serve-and-volley) that was unfamiliar to players, which is why he could sweep through the 1976 title without losing a set. I'm not that familiar with that period but I think he probably took the field by surprise.

    And Navratilova just put together a muscular, left-handed grass-court style that the women couldn't figure out for a long time, until Graf was able to return the wide swinging serve in the ad court in the 1988 final.

    And then Graf became pretty dominant herself at Wimbledon, winning 7 out of 9 years.
     
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  7. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Anyone know when Wimbledon changed its surface?
     
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  8. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    2001-2002. 2001 was still fast fast grass, with Ivanisevic serving 30 aces a match on average.
    2002 was the the year with the grass change.
     
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  9. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    I don't. But I *do* remember AELTC claiming they hadn't changed a thing ... then a year or two later they did admit to having changed the grass....

    - KK
     
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  10. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    There's one other item to consider...

    ...which is that the people who have won lots of Wimbledons really wanted to win Wimbledon above all else, and really dedicated their careers to that objective. It's really hard to believe that Borg won so many, because he was such a clay court grinder before he won Wimbledon the first time. But he jacked up his serve, learned to volley, sort of, and played short-point tactics...because the tournament he always wanted to win was Wimbledon.

    Same for Pete...y'all know the story about how he switched early on from
    2HBH to 1HBH, and a lot of the reason for that was to excel on grass. He's probably one of the best servers on grass of all time, and that, too, was by design, and with being a Wimbledon champ in mind. He wasn't a great volleyer early in his career, but he figured out how to do that, too...result: 7 Wimbledons.

    Same for Roger, I believe. And as I said in another post in this forum, I'm convinced that there's some kid out there who's saying "Huh...everybody knows how to play on hardcourt, or clay, or both, but there aren't that many people, Roger excepted, who are great grass court players. Guess I'll become one..."
     
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  11. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    thanks. So this means that Federer beat Sampras when the court was still fast, and that Hewitt won the next year when he was the first to capitalize on the slower surface. Then Federer learned how to play on it, and we're at 4 titles running.

    Can't remember if I read it on this board, but anyone know if Federer was coming into the net more against Sampras than he typically has done at Wimbledon since the surface change?
     
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  12. Jonnyf

    Jonnyf Legend

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    Yeah, they change the composition of rye in the grass or something like that
     
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  13. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Absolutely. The prestige of Wimbledon has to be a factor. Combine that with its uniqueness as a grass-court tournament, it's like an ambitious player can fix his sights on it, with everyone else grinding away on other surfaces, and say to himself that he's going to do what it takes to give himself an advantage at Wimbledon and break through there, even make the place his own (as Becker came to regard it, too).

    A more basic point: players rarely miss Wimbledon. Some possible streaks at the other Slams are broken up because the dominant player didn't show up; Chris Evert's absence at the French from 1976-78 comes to mind. If she had won those 3 years she might have had 7 straight titles; as it stands she never even had a three-peat there.
     
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  14. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Hell yeah! He was a pure Serve and Volleyer that year. Last year, even Nadal went more to the net than Fed.

    Let me find some net stats for both Wimbys. Be right back.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2007
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  15. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Hmmm... the ATP match stats doesn't show any net points stats... let me see if Wimby's official website does.
     
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  16. rafan

    rafan Hall of Fame

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    There is something about the Wimbledon scene that is very overpowering and awesome. I mean even visiting the courts (when out of the tennis fortnight )and the museum you are aware that really great players and tournaments have taken place there. In this sense it can be very intimidating for players on the way up until they become familiar with the surroundings - this may have something to do with the repeat winners such as Borg and Sampras.
     
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  17. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    I found the 2006 stats, not the 2001:

    Federer - Net approaches:
    Vs. Nadal: 21 of 33 = 64 % - Nadal: 12 of 18 = 67 %
    Vs. Bjorkman: 13 of 19 = 68 % - Bjorkman: 15 of 30 = 50 %
    Vs. Ancic: 16 of 24 = 67 % - Ancic: 17 of 41 = 41 %
    Vs. Berdych: 8 of 14 = 57 % - Berdych: 12 of 24 = 50 %
    Vs. Mahut: 19 of 27 = 70 % - Mahut: 20 of 59 = 34 %
    Vs. Henman: 12 of 13 = 92 % - Henman: 12 of 29 = 41 %
    Vs. Gasquet: 21 of 25 = 84 % - Gasquet: 8 of 16 = 50 %

    Basically, EVERY player approached the net MORE than Fed, except Gasquet and Nadal. But Fed was more successful at the net than them.
     
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  18. keithchircop

    keithchircop Professional

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    were goran's 213 aces at wimbledon 2001 a record breaking number?
     
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  19. fednad

    fednad Hall of Fame

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    I wonder till when would AELTC stick to grass surface, now that grass courts are disappearing world over.
     
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  20. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    As far as I know, they changed the type of grass in 2001.
    It still had 3 serve and volleyers out of 4 semi-finalists.
    Further changes in 2002, finally they got Hewitt (right? I could be wrong).
    Then finally in 2003, they have hardened the layer underneath the grass
    which made it bounces like a hard court or clay court.
    By this time, most players started to stay baseline much more.
    Federer won it in 2003 and Wimbledon was satisfied with the surface.
    All of these changes initially denied by Wimbledon and later partially
    admitted.

    At the same time, the ball got a little bit bigger which Roddick complained
    as "watermelon" ball. They also pre-opened the ball way before the match
    which makes the ball a bit more lifeless, which was complained by
    Henman. Henman claimed they opened it 2 weeks prior. Wimbledon
    denied it but admitted they opened it earlier. They never disclosed how much
    in advance they opened the ball.

    These changes effectively ended the careers of handful of serve and volleyers....
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2007
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  21. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

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    This is misleading. The reason there were no three-peats between Perry and Borg is that before 1968 the grand slams were played by amateurs only. Many players turned proffessional after winning 2 consecutive Wimbledons. Laver, Hoad and Budge all turned professional after winning consecutive wimbledon titles and I would have expected that 2 or 3 of them would have retained their title a 3rd year had they been allowed to compete as professionals.
     
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  22. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    True, I completely overlooked this.

    I guess the question becomes this: if the Slams had always been open, and all those great grass-court champions had constantly played one another, would any one of them have dominated Wimbledon four or five years running?
     
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  23. armand

    armand Banned

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    I heard it a little differently. Henman complained that the balls were dead and was then informed(through the press, tourney official?) that the AELTC opens the balls 3 weeks before the tournament. "Well, that would do it then, wouldn't it?"

    AELTC should definitely turn back the clock and bring back serve+volley tennis. If one wants to see another baseline bashfest, there are a hundred other tournaments available! I'm more looking forward to Nottingham or Halle, I really am.
     
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  24. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Yup!! that's the record for most aces in a tourney in history.

    According to Atptennis.com, in this season, the people closer to 215 aces are Baghdatis with 215, and Fish with 201. Baghdatis served 215 aces in 26 matches, and Fish served 201 in 19.

    Goran served 213 in one tourney... 7 matches!!
     
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  25. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

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    Because (historicaly)a ginormous serve and good volley will get you to the semis 9 out of 10 times.
     
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  26. keithchircop

    keithchircop Professional

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    yeah goran was the f***** man!

    ten times more charismatic than any of today's pros too.
     
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  27. Tennis_Goodness

    Tennis_Goodness Semi-Pro

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    To play on grass, you have to have alot of different shots and techniques. Also, the best go after Wimbedlon. It's the biggest tournament, the superbowl of tennis and to win it is the ultimate victory. That's why it's usually controlled by alltime greats!
     
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  28. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

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    Big serving(Roddick, Goran, Sampras), and serving&vollying(Edberg and Rafter) was the reason years ago. How many people have either? That answers that. Right now, Federer has the most offensive game. The court being slower helps impose this.
     
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  29. Nextman916

    Nextman916 Professional

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    EXACTLY. Thats also why winning wimbledon is put so high up in achievments.
     
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  30. Kirko

    Kirko Hall of Fame

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    Exactly! 10 charcters.
     
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  31. tennis_hand

    tennis_hand Hall of Fame

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    The really good ones on grass will dominate. The average ones will never do it.
    It is not only about grass, but the speed, I think. e.g. USO also has a number of 3 consecutive title holders right? Wimbledon and USO are fast courts, and the best fast court players are just head and shoulders above the rest. It is very hard for average pros to improve over the years and suddenly become good on these fast courts. I believe it is NOT something you can train, such as the speed of response, etc, but it is more of a natural talent. All the fast courters such as Sampras, Monica and Federer share these talents.

    but on slow courts such as FO and AO, speed of response is taken out of question. On these surfaces most pros are on the same level in this aspect and they compete on other factors that they can train hard to improve. It has less to do with born gift, but with hard work and training.

    just my view.
     
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  32. Zaragoza

    Zaragoza Banned

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    It´s not about the Wimbledon status (which is not the same in every country). Grass requires a specialized game more than any other surface, so there are not many players who adapt well to grass. Once you got a big serve, you got a big serve forever and that makes things much easier on grass. On clay and hardcourts (at least not extremely fast hardcourts) you need to be a more complete player to be successful so if you get worse in any area of your game, you´re more vulnerable. However, you can stay in the elite of grass during more years if you got a big serve. Of course, the return of serve on grass is basic as well (that´s why Karlovic isn´t Federer).
    Also, the grass season is so short that many players don´t care about improving on grass (you play 1 or 2 tournaments and grass is gone until next year). Many players start playing in Wimbledon to see how it goes but they didn´t train on grass so much and they´re tired after the clay season. It´s not easy to get better on grass if you´re not a grass specialist (world class players like Nadal are the exception). The field isn´t so deep compared to other surfaces.
     
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  33. roysid

    roysid Professional

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    One reason is the some grass court specialists were much better than everyone else. They are Federer (since 2003), Sampras(since 1993 to 2000) and Borg (till 1980)

    Let's take them one by one:
    Sampras: In '92 Sampras got axed by Goran in semis. But once Sampras became little more better from '93 onwards, than means much more consistent with his game, he was pretty much unbeatable. So he won year after year. His only real competition was Goran.

    Federer: Federer is so fluid on grass now. He is like a artist. Most of the guys try attacking Fed coming to net and he simply passes them. Roddick gave him some fight in 2004, that's all.

    Borg: Borg was really consistent and better than others from 76 to 80.


    In the 80s, there were so many good players on grass. Becker was troubled by Edberg and Stich. Each could beat the other on their day. So basically they shared the trophies.

    Mcenroe was very good but somehow he lost '83 to Connors. Otherwise it would have been 4 in a row.
     
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  34. caulcano

    caulcano Hall of Fame

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    You miss out the crucial point that most of the players would win Wimbledon than any other tournament.
     
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  35. thu_huong

    thu_huong Rookie

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    I think just because not many players are good on grass:p
     
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  36. armand

    armand Banned

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  37. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Good fortune to be born at a time when there wasn't strong enough competition.
     
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  38. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Good point...


    ....so who is the next Federer?
     
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