Originally Posted by krosero
Watching the match this way I found the players more athletic than I had remembered from the last time I watched it, which was a couple of years ago. Their bursts of speed in particular, I had largely forgotten.
A small amount of this will be due to the unnatural aspect ratio which will give a slightly greater impression of speed. However, I do not disagree with you.
I've been saying that the movement of players from older times isn't really inferior to now. Nowadays players recover their position with more urgency probably because they know they actually have a realistic chance of getting the next ball which has a much, much higher chance of sitting up. Also, they would know that their technology would give them good chances to do something useful with the ball by the time they get there.
It would be interesting if somebody could conduct a study on distances covered on court and time taken to get there, because unless my eyes deceive me, these players move just as fast as todays. They are less bulky as well, which at times makes them look actually more
nimble and 'quick
' than today's players.
It should also be noted that both Borg and McEnroe have a much greater technique and willingness to transfer their weight forward through the serve in order to potentially get to the net, so their speed and explosion used in order to arrive to an advanced and correct net position is clearly superior to today.
Strength, power, fitness perhaps have all been forcibly improved, because they are required more given the current circumstances of the game; nutrition and training regimes have improved across the board (note that this isn't talking about tennis specific talent, just generic athletic capacity). But, the increased bulk of the players might equalise the speed factor. I seriously see no difference at all in the speed and explosiveness of the players between now and the 00's or 90's or 80's or 70's or perhaps even really 60's.
Does anybody else have these same impressions regarding the speed of tennis players at least at the top of the game? I would be interested to hear, seeing as speed is something that can be measured quite independently from technological changes, with the only factor being somewhat improved footwear and having to hold slightly lighter rackets now.