Originally Posted by Benhur
I don’t know what you mean by isolated examples, when it is clear we are talking about the very top players in each period, the great ones, because they are the only ones whose game was great enough that when they are able to recall it at a later age, they can still beat anyone with it. If a 30 year old player who never made it to the top 10 happens to play some matches as well as he did in his prime, that's unlikely to draw much notice.
You pick 1969 as the last time these things happened. Well, the big dominant names in tennis since 1969 up until the arrival of Federer -- the great ones -- could be listed as: Laver, Connors, Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, Sampras, Agassi, Federer.
Borg and Mac burned out for various reasons around the age of 25. Fine. How about the others?
If you are going to argue that today’s appallingly slow conditions create an endurance problem for 30 year old players, you must not dismiss as “crap” indications that stamina/endurance is not a problem at that age, even if they come from outside of tennis.
Sometimes player’s comments also help. Lendl retired at 34 with back problems. In an interview a few years ago, he explained the aging process in tennis, and what he says makes a lot of sense:
Now, basic common sense suggests that agility becomes more important on faster surfaces. And stamina becomes more important on slower surfaces. But maybe for you it is the opposite.
So the Big Modern Slow Down, if true, should favor stamina over agility. Therefore, the Big Modern Slow Down should not be invoked as a recent physical impediment to players in their late 20s early 30s.
I repeat, there is no significant decrease in stamina at 30, and there is evidence it may be higher than in the early 20s.
I didn't mention stamina specifically, I said they(all time tennis greats) have a hard time sustaining their highest level of play which is why they cease to be a dominant force in the first place, of course the field catches up but I was never the one to buy the constant evolution of the game, when they reach a certain age tennis greats begin to decline in various areas of their game and no amount of "experience" (which has grossly exaggarted importance when it comes to tennis) can make up for a decline of phyiscal skills.
It's not about stamina, or fitness or just about being 30(although I do think a 30 year old player is gonna have a harder time recovering from a tough match than a 25 year old) but rather what it's really about is mileage.
Most tennis greats start to have their success relatively early and by the time they're 30 the wear and tear is very significant and more so than ever before in the modern slow era as you have to engage in gruelling rallies on every surface there is, even with advances in modern nutrition and medicine I predict that if they continue with this slowing down and homogenization of the game we'll see fewer and fewer 27-28 year old slam winners let alone 30 year old ones.
Originally Posted by Benhur
Definitely, if someone did say that, it is indeed far beyond stupid; in fact I would consider it obvious trolling not even worth responding to. (For the record, I think 24 year old Federer would win at least 60% of his matches against 24 year old Djokovic.)
But what prompted me to respond to you earlier was the pretty sweeping claim you yourself made that 2005 Federer would "clean the court", or some such words, with his current version, which is in fact the same as saying that current Federer wouldn't stand a chance against his old self. That statement I strongly disagree with. In my mind, current Federer still stands a clear, realistic chance against any player who ever played the game, including any older version of himself. He is still a threat in every major, not only because he is Federer but also because he is only 30, and I don't mean the only sarcastically at all. I mean it seriously. He is not a grandpa in any sense as you call him. Maybe by the time he is 35 or 40 I would agree with your statement. But not quite yet.
I can agree that I over-exaggerated on that one, however Fed is reduced from being a dominant force in tennis to having a slamless year and being merely a "threat" and "outside contender", a number of people on this forum want to contribute that entirely
to the current field and act like 24-25 year old Fed wouldn't have his chances against 24 year old Novak and 24-25 year old Nadal(aside from FO obviously), I happen to have a much higher opinion on Fed playing at the peak of his powers.