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Old 06-21-2013, 11:06 PM   #3075
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Originally Posted by NonP View Post
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.
yeah, so overall one can say that the surface at the AO clearly suits djokovic more than the one at the USO, right ?

also you have windy conditions at the USO many a times, leading to more breaks.

Originally Posted by NonP View Post
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.
the break %s at the USO are still 0.5 to 1% lesser than that at the AO

as far as wimbledon is concerned, its still the fastest slam, also the return games won % has quite with footing on the surface, movement etc etc.

I will also say that the mentality of SnVing on grass on most of the 2nd serves , even those who didn't have strong 2nd serves was a distinct factor in the breaks in the 80s and 90s.

Though its nowhere as close to 'green clay', the speed has slowed down and the bounce is more consistent.
they had begun making the balls heavier since the 94 final .

and obviously IW/miami are faster than clay. can't imagine roddick/ljubicic beating rafa on clay for instance ... ( of course movement is also a major factor )

the miami match in 2010 was hilarious in some ways, rafa looked totally lost when roddick changed from full passive mode to hitting fh and volley winners everywhere

coming back to the AO and USO, there are differences within the years as well, AO was sped up in 2000 to help mark/rafter. was visibly faster this year compared to the previous few years.

was faster in 2008 compared to 11 for example. see the W/UE ratio and the AMs for federer/djokovic SFs in both those years. significantly lesser in the 11 . overall tournament, the break %s were higher in 11 when compared to 08 as well IIRC.

generally speaking, aces % is one indicator. But tbh, the total no of unreturned serves is a better indicator and that is a rarely tracked stat, which is downright stupid IMO. would be nice to have return winners+errors directly forced by the return as well.

Originally Posted by NonP View Post
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.
yeah, that was initially, I don't think he was actually that happy with plexicushion either , was he ?

Originally Posted by NonP View Post
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).
look at who he beat in the QF at the USO to get to the semis though : el ayanoui in AO 03 - a very good one, but davydenko in AO 05 who retired, mardy fish in AO 07, djokovic in AO 09 who retired.

on the contrary, he was stopped twice in the quarters in 07, 08 by federer and djokovic , the best and the 2nd best players in those tournaments respectively.

tbf, he was stopped by safin in AO 04 QF, the 2nd best player in that tourney.

Can you imagine roddick holding for 2 full sets vs federer without facing a single breakpoint at the AO like he did in the USO 07 QF ? just don't see it.

he was beaten convincingly in the AO 09 SF and of course no one who's seen that match will forget the carnage that was the AO 07 semi.

of course he made 2 finals at the USO, winning one
no final at the AO in comparision.

quite clearly better at the USO, though he does get under-rated at the AO . I've seen posts proclaiming ferrer as better than him at the AO. heh !

Originally Posted by NonP View Post
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.
sorry, I don't see this at all.

look at his records at those respective places :

AO : 45-9
USO : 71-9

8 finals at the USO, winning 5 of them
3 finals at the AO, winning 2 of them ( make it 4 'finals' if you want to consider the AO 2000 SF as the de facto final )

Lets also check the records vs the top 10 , top 15 players .

at the AO, vs top 10 players : 3-3
at the USO, vs top 10 players : 16-5

at the AO , vs top 15 players : 9-5
at the USO, vs top 15 players : 21-6

which is in line with his success at those places

as far as skipping is concerned,

he skipped the AO thrice : AO 91, AO 92, AO 99
USO once : 99

but realistically, he wasn't going to win AO in 91,92

that leaves with us with realistically AO 99 and USO 99, he'd have a good shot at both.

as far as the 'bad luck' is concerned , lets revisit :

AO : coach diagnosed with cancer in AO 95, missed AO 99 because of overplay in the end of 98, injured in AO 2000 SF

USO : almost no practice before USO 94, injured vs rafter in USO 98 SF, injured before USO 99 when he was on a hot run that summer, brutal draw in USO 2001 - rafter, agassi, safin ( the three previous USO winners ) and hewitt

eh, I don't see it at all.

Originally Posted by NonP View Post
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.
would say agassi was the more accomplished player on clay, HC (given he won the USO, while pete didn't play both HC slams ) ; pete on grass, indoors ( given he won the YEC )

the distinction between best and most accomplished becomes blurred if they've played similar amount/set of conditions , but that's not the case here. see borg/vilas in 77 for another example where there is quite a bit of difference. I don't see vilas beating borg at RG had they met there, whereas I'd give agassi a much better shot vs pete at the USO in 99 in comparison.

the point of #1 is to decide who has accomplished the most in the year, not necessarily 'level wise' the best player

Originally Posted by NonP View Post
I agree, but I'd say Pete's summer run makes for a fair comparison with Gonzales' own in the championship.
fair enough.

Last edited by abmk; 06-22-2013 at 12:22 AM.
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