Why is tennis the ONLY sport that...

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by JohnnySpot, Aug 19, 2009.

  1. JohnnySpot

    JohnnySpot New User

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    Have "better" players in the past than in the present????

    For example:

    * NFL: Everyone agrees that football players get faster, stronger, tougher, etc
    * MLB: Minus the steriods, it is generally accepted that modern players are better conditioned than past players
    * NBA: Better dunkers, faster paced game, the list goes on.
    * Cycling: records get broken all the time
    * Soccer: conditioning has increased quite a bit.
    * Hockey: Even the greats agree that the modern game is an improvement over the old game.
    * Golf: Further drives, better equipment, stronger players (for the most part)
    * MMA: Bigger, badder, more tuned guys fighting in the ring.

    BUT for tennis players...

    * Tennis: The ONE sport in the WORLD where past players can
    - Serve as fast, if not faster than Andy Roddick
    - Hit as fast, if not faster than Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer.
    - Consistently beat, outlast, outplay, outtouch, outvolley, outmove any current player.

    Why do many people SERIOUSLY think this way? dumb dumb dumb. :evil:
     
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  2. albino smurf

    albino smurf Professional

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    People remember the boom years and swear it was better than it is now. I watch those classic matches and can't help but think that Nadal at 100% destroys any old pro, sorry.
     
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  3. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    Equipment plain and simple. Just think of the arguments you'd have if baseball players used aluminum bats today.
     
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  4. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    Though athletes in baseball and basketball are considering more fit etc. they aren't considered better than those who came before. Tennis is often seen the way it is because of how much of the game has to do with skill versus raw athleticism. Muscle power and fitness aren't required for skills. Intangibles like hand eye coordination, the ability to anticipate what a player will do or having great feel for the courts gets you further in tennis than "being strong" or "being fit" ever will, even though both are still important in the game.
     
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  5. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Don't know about that. Fed and Nadal are probably two of the fittest players to every play tennis. Fed rarely even sweats - LOL. I also think that you would be hard press to say that players like Nadal or even Sampras aren't powerful.

    Wasn't Laver pretty fit for his day? Wasn't Tilden powerful? What about Borg - a bit of both?

    People confuse power and fitness with being a bulky, body builder- not the same thing.

    Tennis requires a unique mix of fitness and skill. A player who is skilled but isn't fit isn't going to win a 5-setter in a grand slam. They sure won't win anything on clay.

    I think the game has changed to place a higher premium on fitness than the past, and I think that's where tennis fans get hung up. People think that because you have to be extremely fit in today's game that the players lack the skill of players in the past. I
     
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  6. nfor304

    nfor304 Banned

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    Most of your post seems to equate being fit to being better, and thats a pretty selective list of sports you have there. How about Cricket, squash or boxing? And many would argue that the NBA is past its glory years despite there being better 'dunkers'.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2009
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  7. Wakenslam

    Wakenslam Rookie

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    Good point, however it's much more than equipment. Put Roddick on the court against Jimmy Connors, both using wood rackets. Roddick would destroy him. Today's players are fitter, stronger (mentally and physically,) and better trained in technique. I recently got the Tennis Channel and I was surprised to see how terrible those old matches look compared to modern tennis.
     
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  8. mtr1

    mtr1 Professional

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    Have you seen Roddick hit a forehand? He would struggle to get the ball over the net with a wooden racket. Connors would be the one doing the destroying.
     
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  9. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    As for the "equipment argument', I tend to disagree because of the following:

    Historians, who hold on to past greats speak out of both sides of their mouth to benefit their side of the argument.

    For example, they claim Tilden could serve 163 mph. Something that no modern player, with modern equipment has come close to. They also claim many players back in the day were easily and consistently serving at over 120. Again, something players today are now starting to catch up to. Lastly, they claim these same players were routinely hitting groundies well over 100 mph. Again, something todays players have yet to reach.

    Yet, these same historians claim that modern equipment has assisted todays players, hit the "powerful strokes" they do. :roll:

    All it really takes is seeing players from the 70's and before swing at the ball, and one could easily see that they simply didn't have the swing speed today players have. has nothing to do with equipment, rather the technique used. The game has changed, and players today are simply better.

    oh, and to close, there is no way Tilden came remotely close to 163. I would veture to say he rarely eclipsed the 100 mark.
     
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  10. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    drakulie - I know that you like to harp on the Tilden 163 mph serve....

    I still haven't read the methodology by which his serve speed was calculated.
     
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  11. Eviscerator

    Eviscerator Banned

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    I think that is a primary reason. The technology has changed so much compared to the past eras. It is not only the racquet's, but also the strings, not to mention rule changes.
    Having said that, people should not assume that all players from past eras were not strong or in great physical shape. Todays athletes have better training and nutrition as a whole, but there were some great athletes in past eras as well.
     
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  12. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Quite frankly, who the heck knows what they used. Perhaps a sundial?

    fact is, there is no way this guy, serving this way, hit a serve anywhere near 163 mph, nor was hitting 100+ mph groundies.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izEbU5u5J-I
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2009
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  13. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    It is interesting watching the old matches on the Tennis Channel. I was amazed at the ability of the players to serve and volley with the old wooden racquets. I think that the current pro's may go after the lines more consistently than what I saw the older players try for.

    Also the pace on most shots today looks to be much harder than the pace on the routine rally's from the older players. I think the technology may have a lot to do with that.
     
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  14. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Just look at the brute force todays players swing, compared to the old days. The speed in which you swing a racquet has nothing to do with old vs new equipment.
     
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  15. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    drakulie - it makes a big difference on the methodology.

    Perhaps if they apply the same method to Roddick's serve it would come out to be 185 mph.....

    Use the same method and maybe we'd have a better idea.

    I need to post the question to Mythbusters.

    Plus, I've been wondering if radar guns or their positioning have changed over the years......

    McEnroe and Edberg have recently been clocked at serving 127 and 121 mph, respectively. I can't see that even with equipment changes and their ages that they've gained 20 mph since their primes.....
     
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  16. cucio

    cucio Legend

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    Wut? Know any soccer? Still nowadays people talk about DiStefano, Pele or Maradona.

    Heck, I still recall how Maradona single-handedly won two Italian Serie A championships and a UEFA cup for otherwise mediocre Napoli. There's no player these days that can pull that off.
     
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  17. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    You make some good points. yes, contact mythbusters. That would be really cool if they actually did a show about this myth.

    As for your comments about Mc/Edberg, I actually disagree. I'm serving consistently faster today, than 20 years ago, and with about the same equipment (ps85 to kps88).
     
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  18. fps

    fps Legend

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    the equipment changes shield the players of yesteryear from accusations that today's players are fitter and faster than ever, which they are, no doubt, and have better technique, which given the much, much faster nature of the modern game, i think is definitely true. the shotmaking now is incredible compared with 30 years ago, even though the ball is moving so much faster.

    a game like cricket is an interesting one. there the equipment hasn't changed and the pace of the bowlers hasn't moved on.
     
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  19. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    We're essentially saying the same thing though I think you were more clear than I was. Of course fitness is important but without the skill the fitness won't even get you in a match much less a final.
    ---------------------------------------

    This is the question I ask when looking at new vs. old. If we take yesteryear's players (assume we take them a bit before their prime) and give them a couple of years to adjust, would they be able to compete in today's game? I think the answer for most of the greats is a resounding yes. They could get themselves more fit. They could get themselves the newer strokes with only a bit of adjustment time. This results in those players competing just fine in today's game. If they can do so, then to say that today's players are better is a stretch. If Conners, MacEnroe, Lendl, Ashe, Rosewall, Tilden, Perry, Laver, etc. were juniors today they would be on the pro circuit tomorrow, so to speak.

    I like to think of it in a different way too. How many of the "old" guys would be blown out of the water by today's juniors? I doubt any of them would be. If the pros are so markedly better then so are the juniors on down. Yet I don't see anyone arguing that today's juniors are better than pros used to be.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2009
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  20. fps

    fps Legend

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    someone starting the argument that the juniors would beat yesteryear's pros wouldn't prove anything either way though?
     
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  21. Terr

    Terr Semi-Pro

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    I think it has a lot to do with the fact that tennis doesn't involve team crutching.

    In team sports you can learn and try to outlast, outrun, outlift, outbat your teammates. But in tennis, you're alone (not including doubles) and there's a diversity to the game that isn't really seen in other sports.

    Think of all the different shots and movement, mechanics of the sport. Footwork. Different strokes. Different ways to execute strokes. It's not as simple as running or cycling. A serve for Sampras with his technique won't necessarily work for another player. There's all kind of things that come into play. So it's not certain that the level of play increases as time goes on.

    Is logical, no? LOL
     
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  22. EtePras

    EtePras Banned

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    Simple, a bunch of Sampras fanboys who refuse to admit that Sampras in his prime would get owned by Donald Young today. Let's not even begin about Bill Tilden.
     
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  23. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    It doesn't matter that today's tennis players are better than the past. I have no doubt in my mind if you gave Rod Laver from his prime a 95" graphite racquet and put him against Federer, Federer would whip his butt.

    However if Rod Laver was born in 1985 and went through the same fitness and modern tennis training regimen that today's players went through, there's no doubt he would be a top ranked tennis player today because he was obviously talented enough to dominate during his time. Its all relative to what is available at the time you play. He maximized what was available to him just like he would do if he played right now.
     
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  24. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Better dunkers, worse shooters. Better players? That sound like worse players to me.

    I'll take Jordan & Pippen or Bird & Magic over any current duo. Wade/James, James/Bryant, I don't care, you name it.
     
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  25. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    Nobody can serve as fast/faster than Roddick.

    I can't tell if you're disagreeing with these statements or agreeing with them...

    But Jordan would own any current NBA player.

    You forgot swimming.
     
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  26. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    The OP is completely sarcastic. Tennis is the only sport where the current field of players is consistently dismissed as being inferior to the players of the past.
     
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  27. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Tennis's dependance on equipment for strokes fools many into trying to compare eras and playing the "what if" game. This is less interesting in sports that don't have technology changes over time, all they can argue about is records and numbers are numbers, pretty boring.
     
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  28. Flyingpanda

    Flyingpanda Rookie

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    Um.... Sampras' prime wasn't that long ago. That's like saying Michael Jordan in his prime would get owned by an NBA D-Leaguer of today.
     
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  29. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I think the people who say today's athletes are better tend to exagerate. I would say there would be very little difference between now and 10-15 years ago. Its across multiple generations where things start to add up.
     
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  30. Flyingpanda

    Flyingpanda Rookie

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    Exactly. There is no doubt in my mind that even counting for equipment, today's players would dominate the players of the early 1900's. But I definitely wouldn't go so far as to say that a low ranked pro of today would dominate a candidate for GOAT of 10 years ago.
     
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  31. LanEvo

    LanEvo Hall of Fame

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    yep u better cork that bat
     
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  32. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    Unlike other sports, in tennis, once you become a fanboy, that player will eventually retire.

    I.e., I could become a Patriots fanboy. I would never have to debate that they would destroy the people of today just to make them look better. If they can, they will. We agree that everyone gets better, and there is still hope that they can win another Superbowl, whether it's next year or in ten years.

    In tennis, if i'm a Sampras/Laver/*******, I can't keep rooting for them and expect them to keep winning ten years from now. Unlike team sports, once that player retires, he's done. The "team" doens't go on. Therefore, to make his team look better, a fanboy will destroy current players.

    I personally believe that too many players of today are underrated in comparison with those of yesteryear. IMO, Laver is way overrated on this forum.
     
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  33. dantesinferno18

    dantesinferno18 Semi-Pro

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    i think part of it is that tennis is alot more about technique than how big you can get
     
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  34. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    You're right, strings have to come into the equation, but put those past greats in this era with the training etc & they wouldn't miss a beat.
     
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  35. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Yeah.....

    Lew Hoad would be the greatest. His skill and athleticism would have only been helped by modern coaching and equipment. Modern medical methods would have helped him prevent his back injury......
     
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  36. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    Most people agree that you can't compare generations. I'm sure no one actually believes Johnny Mac could beat Federer. Though they might both be equal in natural talent, tech, nutrition, and fitness would make it basically impossible for Mac to win.
     
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  37. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    There should be a period after talent and not a comma.
    Otherwise my sentence makes no sense.
    Why can't we just be allowed to edit our posts.
     
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  38. crash1929

    crash1929 Hall of Fame

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    you make a good argument.
     
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