Originally Posted by World Beater
It seems that you clutching at straws. the players certainly max out near 140 mph, but on average roddick serves for example 130, and 20-30% of the time beyond 130 mph. Isner, karlovic and others are certainly within the same range.
The point is that it is considerably faster than 1930s or 1940s.
Federer, murray, djokovic, hewitt, safin, nalbandian have all demonstrated the ability to return 130 mphs serves. Enough so that sets arent inevitably decided in TBs.
The return game has improved tremendously and this is well documented by this generation of players. But serve speeds have increased as well. Roddick, isner , karlovic all serve consistently harder than players of past eras. not to mention sampras, krajicek, rusedski etc.
I dont quite understand the obsession with wood racquets, and why players of today need to play with wood in order to demonstrate superior skill. Why stop at wood? Why not play with frying pans or just your bare hands?
THere is a reason for this. Mastering a piece of equipment that has a broad spectrum of power, spins, strokes is more difficult than equipment that is very limited in what it can offer its owner.
This principle is the same one as to why we all care so much more about F1 Racing, than racing in toyota, honda, bmw sedans. F1 racing has a much bigger gear range, more brake power that allows its driver to display a level of technical talent that is not physically possible in a mid-size sedan.
Originally Posted by pc1
I'm not clutching at anything. You're misinterpreting what I"m writing. With the equipment the game is of course better but I'm just talking about the player. Are the players themselves necessarily better? Serena with her equipment today may beat many males players of the past but is she a better player? I don't think she's better than Jack Kramer for example or Bobby Riggs in their primes. Would she beat Riggs with her equipment today versus Riggs' wood in the past. Perhaps. But give Serena a wood racquet versus Riggs with wood and I don't think Serena gets a game. I frankly prefer hitting with today's racquets than wood racquets. Who wouldn't except for a few? ]But the point is that it's a different game. I don't like playing with wood racquets. And what's wrong with playing with a frying pan?? lol.
Major League Baseball has wood bats. Colleges usually allow aluminum bats. Often the aluminum bats users can't make it in the majors leagues because they can't play with wood bats. It's a different game.
In most sports the game hasn't changed that much but tennis has changed a lot so I find a comparison tougher. If you don't than perhaps you're better in analysis than me and that's very possible.
Originally Posted by pc1
Not necessarily because tennis has had some many changes in the sports that it is hard to see skills differences for example. I've noticed you don't acknowledge that. And we are talking often about the top levels and greats are often greats in any era. The other thing you don't acknowledge is the possibility of a past great doing well (given time to adapt) in today's game and yet you assume current greats would automatically do well if transported into let's say 1969.
Originally Posted by World Beater
I am misinterpreting what you are writing??
This is what you said...
Hard to see skill differences? Really???
Again. returning a 120-130 mph serve...timing a ball coming at you at 3000 rpm. Split second decisions.
Movement and court coverage when the balls are flying over the net at 90mph.
This is not all due to equipment and fancy racquets/ strings.
I think you are misinterpreting what you see on the tv screen.
Its easy to see skill differences. Players of today have demonstrated it. Players of past eras have not - we speculate that they MIGHT have if they grew up today...but we dont know.
Serena williams hits the ball hard, and power is part of the game. She may not have the finesse skills of those players you mention, but power is a huge part of the game. She also happens to have great technique on her groundstrokes that are able to generate her that power. There are bigger girls on tour who cannot generate tha same pace because their technique isn't as good or as robust in terms of racquet head speed.
To me serena williams stroke production is far different to those players you mention. Her racquet swings are far more violent and cut through the air faster. The racquets surely help the control, but the power can be generated even from wooden / heavier racquets.
Actually what I'm writing is that wood racquets force skill differences and that if Federer or Nadal used them they would play differently and if Laver or Rosewall used today's racquets they would play differently. There are skill differences, BOTH WAYS. So what I mean is that you can't tell EASILY the differences in play because the equipment is different and perhaps I forgot to mention, the surfaces are different.
For example I have changed my own forehand swing so it takes advantage of today's equipment so I can hit more topspin.
If if this is a contradiction to you that is okay but I don't see it.
Would you change you style if you used different equipment like a smaller wood racquet? I know that I do. Perhaps Serena would not.
Here's the thing, maybe you can tell the differences easily. If you can that's great but I do NOT think I can. The reason is that I believe the racquet and equipment differences would cause coaches to teach a different style of play so we don't know what would happen if they all operated under the same system or if the roles were reversed.
Would Federer or Nadal serve and volley more if they learned to play the old way? Would Rosewall use a semi-western grip? Would Laver use a two handed backhand? Would Rosewall play left handed because he's a natural lefty? We don't know the answers to this.
Here's a hypothetical example-Let's say Serena is playing Martina Navratilova at the 1969 US Open a wood racquet. The US Open is played on awful worn grass that takes terrible bounces and often doesn't bounce. So you're telling me that Serena can take the same swing as she does today? I don't think so. I think she would have to flatten out her swing to compensate for the bad bounces. She may have to volley more. And the racquets are a lot smaller so she probably would have a lot more mishits. I also doubt if she can get the heavy topspin she gets today with the better larger racquets and strings.
Here's a video of the 1969 US Open so you can check out the surface. Notice how awful the court is.
To put it simply I think the comparisons in tennis of the past and present often are an apples to oranges comparison. Yes we can compare but to me it's not that easy.
By the way notice that I also wrote greats will be greats in any era. That also means that a player like Nadal in my opinion would be great in the past because I think he would adapt. Not just the other way around.