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Old 07-26-2013, 07:47 AM   #3210
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Originally Posted by NonP View Post
Well, I thought it was obvious that I disagreed. I do agree that one shouldn't put too much stock in individual H2Hs, but when you're comparing 2 players with comparable achievements I definitely think the H2H is a valid metric to consider, especially when one is so dominant against the other (which, again, doesn't always show up in the ranking points).

I'd like to elaborate on this more because it's not too different from the oft-misunderstood Fedal H2H, but for time constraints I'll save that discussion for another time.
I'm not saying h2h should not be considered, I'm only saying h2h is double-counting when the two players involved are the most likely to win the event, since the loser is anyways deprived of the title by the winner.

Originally Posted by NonP View Post
I brought up the net %s simply because that's the best way to measure success at the net.
no, net% may be the best way to measure success at the net , but not the quality of net play ..see below

Originally Posted by NonP View Post
And I can buy that the big game is tougher today, but not by that much.
again disagree

Originally Posted by NonP View Post
Again let's return to the Fedal example. I focus on this one because it's generally and (rightly) agreed that Nadal is one of the best passers ever, and also because it's often claimed that this makes it a virtual suicide strategy, especially for Fed, to attack the net against him.

But that second claim simply doesn't hold up to scrutiny. As you know Nadal has often struggled precisely against players who like to attack, and more on point Fed's success rate at the net against Rafa is actually quite good (hat tip to krosero):

As you can see Fed generally wins over 50% of his net points against Rafa, and even 60+% isn't rare. That's a pretty darn good % by any historical standards! (Not sure if this was a sign of the times, but in a recent discussion this poster tried to tell me that those %s in the 50s were actually poor, when a Mac or Edberg wouldn't be much worse off with such numbers. In fact my guess is that their averages were about the same.)

OK, but the comparison doesn't hold because Fed comes in off easy approaches, right? Fair enough, so let's throw out extreme cases like '06 Rome (arguably Fed's best match ever on clay) and '12 IW with only 13 approaches. But then how do you explain such "normal" performances like his winning 36 out of 59 approaches at '05 RG--61% on clay(!)--or 42/75 for 56% at '08 Wim, or 43/60 for a whopping 72% at the '09 AO? The # of approaches here isn't too far off what a Becker or Pete used to average off clay, and again the %s are good by anyone's standard.

Granted this doesn't prove that Fed came in with similarly difficult approaches, but does that really matter? I mean, how can one argue that the likes of Mac, Edberg, Becker, Pete and Rafter, generally considered more natural net players than Fed, cannot at least match this and more? Maybe they'd do even better than Fed himself managed with easier forays to the net!

1. again, you are placing too much stock on the net success %s. jmac was in mid-50s % at the net in the USO 84 SF vs connors and he was volleying as well as anyone possibly has , in that match ( that is including a serve % of more than 60%, which wasn't that common for mac , even more so over a long match )

2. coming back to the fedal example, forget the %s for a second, you know when you watched the RG 2008 final that fed's approaches and net play burnt him *completely* in that match. I don't need a 18/42 at the net stat to tell me that , do I ?

3. coming to 08 wimbledon, do you really recall that match well ? Well, I do ... federer came in on quite a few poor approaches and got burnt on many occasions, flubbed some easy volleys as well . He did get some free points off strong/powerful serves/FHs, but that's it.

pity for fed though that a pretty good approach shot at one of the most crucial moments resulted in that amazing passing shot from nadal to give nadal a MP ( 4th set TB )

4. one more thing, atleast at Wimbledon, the errors forced by the serve when the SnVer came to the net were not being counted as net approaches, which IMO is not correct. Part of the reason for the error being forced is the SnVer being at the net. I'm not talking about aces or service winners here . I'm talking about when the returner got a fair chunk of the racquet at the ball.

This obviously impacts the success of the former generations at the net far more since they SnVed far more.

see examples of the net stats of the fed-sampras match in wimbledon 2001, sampras-agassi match in wimbledon 99 etc etc.

I could link to this if you don't have those stats.

5. the # of net approaches isn't far off from sampras'/becker's off clay ? well, how about that those matches you were mentioning were the lengthier ones ? Taking no of net approaches/total no of points in the match would give a better measure

6. attacking at the net vs rafa is suicidal strategy ? well, I wouldn't say so.

I'd put it as unless you come in behind good approach shots and or playing very well at the net, it is suicide. same vs agassi , hewitt, connors, borg, lendl ( off grass ) , even federer himself.

Originally Posted by NonP View Post
I don't know if I've told you this before, but the more I learn and study tennis history the more I'm convinced that the game has changed remarkably little, as shown by these S&V/net/attacking/big game examples.
remarkably little ? bad choice of words I'd say. There will always be similarities. Top players of every generation will always have those x-factors that would make them stand out in any generation , yes. But many things change over time.

Would you see players outside the top 20 pass from way behind the baseline with ease as they do now ? This is a point you are completely ignoring. Its not just the elite ones I'm talking about. Of course the top 20 players of today on an average are capable of passing significantly better on an average than in the previous generations .

Just to throw out another example, the I/O FH was considered low% play up until the early 80s and now it is an essential part of the weaponry of most players.

Last edited by abmk; 07-26-2013 at 08:29 AM.
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