Originally Posted by Carsomyr
Really? Didn't Nadal just get taken to five sets in the first round at the French? Federer taken to five sets in the first round of Wimbledon the previous year? Nadal taken to five in both the second and third rounds of the same tournament? And as the OP pointed out, Federer's five-setter in the third of the 2008 Australian Open? His five-setter in the fourth round during his 2009 French title run? Even in his peak year of 2006, getting taken to five by Haas again in the fourth round?
I said rarely a challenge, there are exceptions. (Fourth round would be round of 16 however - so wouldn't apply as an early round, even 3rd round, you would expect a player ranked 32 to 17, so the same situation as now) However, on those days when the top player was playing at a level where they were challenged by a lower ranked player, what if they were playing the 17th best player instead of someone ranked far lower? Also, expecially on faster courts there were a lot more guys like Kendrick and Isner who on a good day could beat anyone with their serve, so there would be a lot more of that type of matches that could be upsets.
Of course one reason for not as many upsets is that the guys take it much more seriously and aren't likely to be partying hard the night before. (Yeah, Lendl took all the fun out of the game.)