Originally Posted by TomT
I played in the mid 70's with a wood racket and just recently (a few months ago) took up playing again. The improvements in rackets and balls do make a difference. More power of course, but I think that stroking technique has improved also. How much of the improvement in stroking technique is due solely to the equipment changes is hard, maybe impossible, to say.
Anyway, I think that there are some significant differences in the proficiency of the games of the top players of the 2000's (Federer, Nadal, etc.) and the top players of, say, the 60's (Laver, Rosewall, etc.) and the 70's (Connors, Borg, etc.), and that it's not entirely a matter of equipment. That is, if all external factors could be more or less equalized, then my guess is that the players of the 2000's would be favored over the players of the 70's and 60's.
The dominant players (since the 1940's) have been:
1950's -- Gonzalez
1960's -- Laver and Rosewall
1970's -- Connors and Borg
1980's -- McEnroe and Lendl
1990's -- Sampras
2000's -- Federer and Nadal
This is a group of fantastic players by any standard. People who have never seen, up close, world class players competing with wooden tennis rackets would be amazed I think. Would the likes of Federer and Nadal have prevailed had they been in their primes in one of those past eras? I think they would, but that's just my opinion.
I agree with everything you say except I think the great players of yesteryear would have evolved with the game, the technology, racquets, balls, training and courts etc and be the same level as the top players are now with all the benefit's they have, I really do!
I found a guy online who has the most amazing collection of DVD matches dating back until the 1950's and i've spent a lot of money on buying a fair few of them.
I really think Federer, Nadal & Djokovic would not play a higher level than Laver, Connors, Borg & Mcenroe if they had all the conditions the older players had all those years back.
The other way round is hard to imagine how Laver, Connors et al would have done with today's conditions.
I can't quite picture it, yet I find it easy to picture the other way round.
Last week I went with some friends to play at my club and we took along the old Dunlop Maxply and the Wilson T2000 racquets to compare them with our racquets of today, Babolat Pure Drive and the Babolat Nadal racquet.
We all play to a good level (national level) so were able to judge pretty well.
The difference is massive! For a start if you don't centre the ball you miss it, hardly no sweetspot.
The racquets are all a minimum of 400 grams-that is heavy on your playing arm believe me.
We all agreed at the end of playing that anyone of us playing with a new Babolat would have beaten anyone of us playing with one of the old racquets.
So my conclusion is... Roger, Raffa & Novak would not have be better than Rod, Jimmy & Bjorn were with the old racquets.
The other way round is too hard to judge.
Comments welcome please...........