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Old 06-21-2013, 01:43 PM   #3074
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,071

Originally Posted by abmk View Post
djoker's problems at the AO in 09, 10 were heat/health related, not to do with the slowness/speed of the surface.
Yes, but this supports my earlier point about the AO's unpredictable conditions. As you just noted Djoko's problems Down Under probably had more to do with the heat than with the court speeds per se. And though New York isn't exactly a paradise in the summer (I say this as a former resident) the weather at the USO isn't quite as unforgiving.

I don't recall exactly where I saw it, but till the last year, the trend was that break % at USO was clearly lesser than at the AO , only last year, they came pretty close.
I don't have all the stats handy, but here are a few pertinent ones I was able to dig up:

A couple points:

- As you can see the break %s at the '09 USO and the '10 AO were virtually identical, 22.6 vs. 22.8. The '08 USO did have a low 19.4% on average, but that seems to be an outlier. Overall the USO break %s seem to hover around 22%, give or take a few depending on the conditions, and probably not too far off the AO's own %s.

- Notice how Wimbledon, despite all the moaning about the "green clay," is still by far the most serve-friendly of the four majors.

- By a similar token, though the USO DecoTurf courts were supposedly slowed down in the early '00s and, according to a few self-anointed online experts, even more so throughout the rest of the decade, the break % in '98 (21.53%) was merely 0.34% lower than in '07 (21.87%).

- The same wannabe experts love to drone on and on about how Miami or IW is the slowest court out there, but if we're to go by the break %s per game (granted they're only from one year) there's hardly any difference at all between the major HC events! Cincy is the only exception here (1 break every 5.2 games vs. 4.3-4.7 for the other events), and maybe Paris if we're including indoors.

Now there's a possible problem with my contention that major differences exist between different types of surface rather than different courts of the same type, namely that the break %s on clay don't seem all that different from those on HCs. But this problem disappears when you look at the %s of points won by aces:

- Wimbledon 06-08, 8.9%
- U.S. Open 06-08, 7.8%
- Australian Open 06-09, 7.3%
- French Open 06-09, 5.5%

So the USO seems to produce more free points on serve than the AO by a small margin (the missing data for the '09 USO notwithstanding), but still nowhere near to the same degree compared to Wimby or the FO.

And there are plenty of counterexamples of players expected to thrive more on supposedly faster courts but doing the opposite in reality. Long story short I just don't think there's much evidence to suggest that the seeming discrepancy between the USO and the AO is due to their different court speeds. I say it's got more to do with the AO's timing and conditions.

I don't see hewitt performance at the AO actually being lesser because it was it his home tournament. Au contraire, he was fired up more in places/circumstances like those ; Davis Cup performances show that as well. I'm sure you've read his multiple list of complaints regarding the AO surface being pretty slow ?
It's possible Hewitt was simply providing a facile excuse for his failures at the AO, but if we're going to take his words at face value he was also quite enthusiastic about Plexicushion, which is often considered slower than Rebound Ace.

you could add examples of roddick, rafter being clearly more threatening at the USO than at the AO.
Rafter I see, but I'm not sure Roddick did all that much worse at the AO. Yes, he made more QFs or better at the USO, but if we're talking SFs and up he actually did better at the AO, 4 times vs. 2 at the USO, and in two of them he ran into Fed and once to in-form Hewitt. (Even the '03 loss to Schuttler wasn't so bad, considering his famous marathon match against El Aynaoui in the previous round).

for sampras, I recall you mentioning some amount of bad luck and heat/stamina problems, but I did reply to the 'bad luck' part showing he was no luckier at the USO.
Yes, I remember. But I still think Pete was less fortunate at the AO. For one thing he missed it more often, and another thing is the external factors I've talked about. My reasoning is, if only the courts were swapped between the AO and the USO we'd probably be singing a different tune about Pete w/respect to the court speeds.

too subjective IMO. In any objective system, considering the context of the era, sampras wouldn't be #1, wouldn't be close either.
We'll have to disagree then. Let me just add that I think the usual distinction between "best" and "most accomplished" is a false dichotomy. After all what's the point of trying to decide the year-end No. 1 if not to see who was the best for the year? IMO Pete's dominance in '99 was enough to challenge Agassi's edge in consistency and perhaps surface versatility. In fact I'd argue that Pete was better on both grass & HCs, and Agassi obviously on clay.

maybe it deserves a second thought/consideration, but the context of the era tilts it more in favour of gonzales vs rosewall ( relatively ) when compared to sampras vs agassi
I agree, but I'd say Pete's summer run makes for a fair comparison with Gonzales' own in the championship.

Originally Posted by BobbyOne View Post
NonP, Thanks. But I have the right to claim that you underrate Schubert. Every person has his or her opinion. You are not forced to agree.
You're certainly free to make that claim. What I objected to was your hyperbole, as in this case saying I "totally" underrate Schubert even though I've ranked him 5th or 6th all time and called him the greatest tunesmith ever. Disagreeing is fine, making a caricature or misrepresentation of the other side's position is not. Something tells me you hear that a lot.

Listening alone is no proof for your thesis. The accompaniment is hardly a melody or a folk song.
I meant you should listen to the folk song itself if you were skeptical. Since you live in Europe it shouldn't be too hard to get your hands on a recording.
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