Are setting racquet limits the best way to bring back variety in tennis?

Robert F

Professional
Watching all these old matches on Youtube and some of the replays on Tennis Channel has me feeling nostalgic for the 90's and to some extent early 2000s.

I miss a lot of the contrasts in the sport. I feel the Serve and Volleyer is almost extinct, we have less all court players and most are either power baseliners or aggressive counterpunchers (you'd don't really see any defensive counterpunchers). The guys today seem to have very similar games (and to some extent this makes sense because with the current style you can get a good level of success), no major weaknesses and don't need to be as creative as in the past.

I think several factors play into the variety of the past.
1.) When you had a major weakness, you had to play your strength and not wait to be attacked. Guys like Becker and Edberg would be looking for the earliest opportunity to come in, knowing they wouldn't be winning long rallies. Guys of today seem to have minor weaknesses, so they can wait out longer to hit their big forehand. Guys like Lendl and Agassi set up the blueprint for today.
2.) I'm guessing many of the pros of the past were taught how to play the net. I'm certain players of today are trained at the net too, but not as a key focus or primary strategy. I wonder what would happen if some guys trained the net game twice as much as their ground game?
3.) Less distinction between surface speeds.
4.) Guys of today are more explosive/faster in general compared to the generations before. So this makes an offensive game more difficult, when the court is covered so well.
and
5.) Changes in equipment--more and more pros play with 98" or above and obviously poly.

Obviously, changing #1 and #4 would be a step backwards, kudos for the current generation to be pretty solid in technique (I might argue some might learn to hit a little flatter) and be up to speed on physical training.
Changing #2 is possible, but carries risk. With current tech and current competition, it seems going to the net would a be a high risk opition. But maybe if more were trained, we'd have enough numbers that someone would rise to the top to be competitive in the top 20.
Changing #3 to faster surfaces might help the all court player and SERVBOTs, but I still don't think it would bring back S and V.

So could changing #5 create more variety?
They've had oversized racquets for years, but still many pros stuck to 95 or below. Is this due to strings or just game evolution?
I'd love it if they limited racquet size to 95" and would be curious to see what would happen if they eliminated poly or allowed only hybrids?

If everything else was equal, would the Big 3 have captured as many titles if they could only play with 95" and gut?
Would Nadal be able to drive exploding forehands bounding above his opponents all day at Roland Garros or would it's bounce be diminished by smaller racquets and gut string?
Would Djoker find it difficulty to bash the ball for hours and have the same level of consistency without poly?
Would Fed's career have ended 2012ish without the aid of a bigger racquet and continued support of poly?

In general would we see success from more untraditional players with racuqet changes? Would Lopez have found more success if the rest of the field had less margin with their groundies? Could returners handle Isner, Roddick and Karlovic's serves so well without the bigger racquet and polys? If they could only bunt those big serves back, maybe the server would have time to come in?

If some guys can't bash their way from the baseline anymore, and start hitting more short balls, will more players have to become all court players to avoid losing from the baseline?
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
There was a similar thread to this last spring

I think tennis governing bodies needs to look at string and racquet material and racquet sizing. Players are going to continue to get taller, stronger, and more fit. The game is already becoming a sport dominated by by taller players. Change the racquet head size, string, and even the weighting of the racquets (more heavy) and watch how these big guys hit the ball with a sweet spot the size of dime and having to move and make clean contact with the ball. I think the game will return to a more rambling scrambling kind of tennis which is fun to watch and there will be more variety in the style of play (i.e. serve and volley.).

I don't think today's players realize how big a racquet is now compared to the past. About 12 years ago I was at a club playing and looked to my left at the other court and thought to myself "That guy is playing with a badminton racquet". I looked again. It was a Borg Pro. The thing looked tiny.
 

beard

Hall of Fame
Tennis authorities won't do anything because tennis game is much more interesting then it was during s and v times. They changed it to avoid s and v festivals... ;)
Even those who are nostalgic in few months of s and v game would notice it's not as good as they remember... It's human psychology, same as we remember good things from the past as more good then they were...
Tennis authorities won't shoot in their own foot...
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
If they don't change I am afraid the game is going to move to more of 1,2 tennis. Bigger guys hitting bigger servers followed by weak replies from their opponents (if they can) and then a winner to end the point.

I do not find that more interesting to watch. I find that very boring tennis to watch as a fan.

Just like the the thread from May, golf set limits to clubs and the ball to protect their sport and the old courses it is played on. There has been no talk about how guys aren't crushing their drives or hitting balls out of the rough and having the ball spin 10 feet back to the pin. There is no reason tennis cannot do it.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
Whatever they change it won't be the racquet. They need to play with court surface as that is an easily adjustable parameter.

Golf is different because it was a simple question of how long you could hit the ball. Adjust the club and the course plays long again.
 
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LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
I am skeptical they will change anything but I think they should limit all of it. Limit the size of the racquet face, the power/stiffness, and set a minimum swing weight (slow the swing).
 
I would agree with this but limit the racket size no bigger than 90. Nowadays, players use 98 and I feel that maybe giving players some options with 90's technology with no poly string. It is a happy medium between the traditional wooden racket or 90's technology with poly being banned. It would be nice if Rafa and Federer agree to play an exhibition match only using the wooden racket and see what the tennis would look like. Will Rafa be able to use his topspin to his advantage? Probably not.
 

Start da Game

Hall of Fame
agassi would not be agassi without that massive 105+ sq inch head on his racket........large racket heads existed in the 90s too........the only concern is the speed of courts, they are ridiculously slow these days in most parts of the world.........fast courts with slightly lighter balls will make for a great show........
 

DMP

Professional
The simple answer is No, it won't. It will for a short period, then everything will revert to a new normal where everyone plays basically the same style. It might be different from now, but there will not be a huge variety of playing styles.

I have been watching for 60 years (scary!) and what happens is that when everything is stable, as it is right now, everything in tennis gravitates towards what is seen as the best way to play, and everyone ends up playing the same way. A player or coach has a lot of success, and everyone starts copying what they do, and of course every successful player then plays the same way, so that is seen as the best way to coach, and so it self perpetuates.

The way to get variety is to keep changing. That might be changing surfaces (eg have a variety of hard court speeds), balls, racket technology, organisation, or formats. Whatever, it is important that they keep changing.

The period 1968-2000 saw lots of continual change, hence a variety of styles. Basically since 1990, and particularly since 2000 when Wimbledon changed its grass and racket string technology basically settled around what we have now, there has been a very stable environment.

Perpetual change, or indeed any significant change, will be very hard to achieve now that tennis is so corporate. The authorities like the way it is now, as do the broadcasters. The repetitive pattern of play allows plenty of time for advertising breaks.

The only way significant change will happen is if the audience/money starts to drift away significantly.
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
Yeah lot of sports that have said 'nah let's make it better by just setting it back 20 years'
Let's list a few sports that were set back 20 years:

Soccer: Allowed player substitutions, that set the sport back 20 years. Before if a player was hurt tough. If a player was "tired" get in shape.
Basketball: No goaltending (That was allowed for a long time), 3 Point Line (This was added to spread out defenses), Shot Clock (Teams played keep away and won 10-7)
Cricket: Limits on material cricket bats are made of
Golf: Limits on club head size, trampoline effect, grooves. That set golf back 20 years.
Formula 1: Limits on horsepower, number of engines. "Why not let cars go faster and faster? They are setting the sport back 20 years"
Baseball: No aluminum bats, no corked bats, lowered the pitchers mound
Rugby: No plastic shoulder pads, helmets. These are new material, why not let the guys wear them so what if they bash into each other without fear?

And... Tennis: Limits on spaghetti strings, string spacing, string orientation, weaving....
 

Red Rick

Bionic Poster
Let's list a few sports that were set back 20 years:

Soccer: Allowed player substitutions, that set the sport back 20 years. Before if a player was hurt tough. If a player was "tired" get in shape.
Basketball: No goaltending (That was allowed for a long time), 3 Point Line (This was added to spread out defenses), Shot Clock (Teams played keep away and won 10-7)
Cricket: Limits on material cricket bats are made of
Golf: Limits on club head size, trampoline effect, grooves. That set golf back 20 years.
Formula 1: Limits on horsepower, number of engines. "Why not let cars go faster and faster? They are setting the sport back 20 years"
Baseball: No aluminum bats, no corked bats, lowered the pitchers mound
Rugby: No plastic shoulder pads, helmets. These are new material, why not let the guys wear them so what if they bash into each other without fear?

And... Tennis: Limits on spaghetti strings, string spacing, string orientation, weaving....
Those rules actually did something rather than hurr durr I don't like higher quality tennis. Most of these are unbreaking the sport. There's nothing broken in tennis, apart from 5th set tiebreaks and boomer fans.
 

Arak

Hall of Fame
I think any changes to the pro game should also benefit the amateur side. I can only think about one aspect that could be beneficial to amateurs, and that would be arm health. If stiff strings and light stiff rackets are banned, I’m sure it would make tennis more interesting as well as reduce injuries.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
Yeah lot of sports that have said 'nah let's make it better by just setting it back 20 years'
That's really it right there. Whether or not you like tennis as it is right now, no one is going to retroactively change the rules. There have always been trends in tennis, and a lot of things come and go. It also happens with age. If you look at some of the fast tennis in the 50s and 60s, imagine trying to predict matches between Borg and Connors.. Or think about Laver and Rosewall, with old Pancho Gonzalez still winning important matches at age 40. No one saw Connors coming. Things can change in only a couple years, and you never see it coming.

All it would take is one dominant player winning by coming to the net and winning a bunch of slams. That would instantly reset tennis. Can It happen? I don't know.
 

Red Rick

Bionic Poster
That's really it right there. Whether or not you like tennis as it is right now, no one is going to retroactively change the rules. There have always been trends in tennis, and a lot of things come and go. It also happens with age. If you look at some of the fast tennis in the 50s and 60s, imagine trying to predict matches between Borg and Connors.. Or think about Laver and Rosewall, with old Pancho Gonzalez still winning important matches at age 40. No one saw Connors coming. Things can change in only a couple years, and you never see it coming.

All it would take is one dominant player winning by coming to the net and winning a bunch of slams. That would instantly reset tennis. Can It happen? I don't know.
I think s&v is an ideal counter for the very deep returning positions we're seeing a lot of the times, but so many players are just dire volleyers you don't see it executed well.

In my opinion we've already seen some major adaptions to the heavy spin gamestyle with players like Medvedev and their dead flat shoveling backhands.
 

cortado

Semi-Pro
I am skeptical they will change anything but I think they should limit all of it. Limit the size of the racquet face, the power/stiffness, and set a minimum swing weight (slow the swing).
But pros are already playing with a much higher swing-weight than most of us?
 

Robert F

Professional
My concern is just the lack of variety. I'm not in the bring back S and V at all costs camp because watching two S and V players against each other did become quickly boring. But it would be nice to see that tactic come back to some extent. Watching contrasting styles seems to bring on the best match ups.

The current crop of guys are very talented and physically capable. The pro game has almost reached a point where their games are too big for the courts and racquets. They don't let MLB play with aluminum bats, maybe tennis needs the same. Scrubs like me can keep their poly and oversized racquets to feel good.

Without changes to equipment or surfaces, I hope the game will evolve to more variety, but I think the current tennis infrastructure is not as supportive as change as in the past. With all the academies, corporate drive and money in tennis, the best bet is to play the current game. So it might take an outlier player trained locally by some whacky coach that could mix up the game or maybe some other advance in technology? But then those types of changes don't happen that often.
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
But pros are already playing with a much higher swing-weight than most of us?
They are but can they swing that weight with any consistency with a 95 sq inch or smaller racquet with natural gut or synthetic gut. Some may but not all.

I am sure there are much smarter people than me on this and again I doubt we will see a change like this soon but at some point it will come if trends continue.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I think s&v is an ideal counter for the very deep returning positions we're seeing a lot of the times, but so many players are just dire volleyers you don't see it executed well.

In my opinion we've already seen some major adaptions to the heavy spin gamestyle with players like Medvedev and their dead flat shoveling backhands.
If a 19-year-old with the S&V skills of Sampras was around to survey the current competition, he’d be licking his chops at the clear opportunity ahead.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Think pure s&v is dead and its main value is a variation for like 50/50 strategy.
It’s only dead because coaches in recent years have missed opportunities when the right talent came along. If serving freaks like Raonic or athletic tall guys like Kevin Anderson had trained to be pure serve and volleyers when they were 14 years old, those dudes would be Wimbledon champs today.
 
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Deleted member 777746

Guest
Tennis authorities won't do anything because tennis game is much more interesting then it was during s and v times. They changed it to avoid s and v festivals... ;)
Even those who are nostalgic in few months of s and v game would notice it's not as good as they remember... It's human psychology, same as we remember good things from the past as more good then they were...
Tennis authorities won't shoot in their own foot...
People take ONE MATCH - 1994 Final between Goran and Pete - as some barometer for the public not liking serve and volley, when that entire decade of Sampras-Agassi, Sampras-Courier, Sampras-Chang, Agassi-Becker, Agassi-Rafter and so on showed the public loved diversity of playing styles, not to mention the decades of tennis beforehand - Connors/McEnroe, Lendl/McEnroe, Mac/Borg, hell even Laver/Borg and so on.

In addition to 40-15s, Fed/Nole is so fun to watch because you have an aggressive serve and forehand baseliner attacking and moving a counterpuncher around the court which brings out each man's strengths in a way that counterpuncher v counterpuncher or aggressive baseliner v aggressive baseliner doesn't.

Also, you know that Nole was inspired to greatness by Pete, right?
 
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Red Rick

Bionic Poster
It’s only dead because coaches in recent years have missed opportunities when the right talent came along. If serving freaks like Raonic or athletic tall guys like Kevin Anderson had trained to be pure serve and volleyers when they were 14 years old, those dudes would be Wimbledon champs today.
Nah.

They'd be even more sh*te from the baseline. These guys aren't mega talented volleyers, and the quality of returns has gotten better when they do come back. They sure as hell wouldn't do better at 2nd serve with a worse ground game, + they're so tall they'll never have the athleticism or reflexes to be an elite volleyer.

Raonic already holds serve more than Sampras at Wimbledon, despite playing a lot of better returners. There's literally nothing to gain there.
 

beard

Hall of Fame
People take ONE MATCH - 1994 Final between Goran and Pete - as some barometer for the public not liking serve and volley, when that entire decade of Sampras-Agassi, Sampras-Courier, Sampras-Chang, Agassi-Becker, Agassi-Rafter and so on showed the public loved diversity of playing styles, not to mention the decades of tennis beforehand - Connors/McEnroe, Lendl/McEnroe, Mac/Borg, hell even Laver/Borg and so on.

In addition to 40-15s, Fed/Nole is so fun to watch because you have an aggressive serve and forehand baseliner attacking and moving a counterpuncher around the court which brings out each man's strengths in a way that counterpuncher v counterpuncher or aggressive baseliner v aggressive baseliner doesn't.

Also, you know that Nole was inspired to greatness by Pete, right?
I guess all tennis authorities are idiots and you know better? Don't think so, I believe they know better than you, so s and v is finished....
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Nah.

They'd be even more sh*te from the baseline. These guys aren't mega talented volleyers, and the quality of returns has gotten better when they do come back.

Raonic already holds serve more than Sampras at Wimbledon, despite playing a lot of better returners. There's literally nothing to gain there.
I would argue that Alt-universe Raonic (who learned to play Edberg style) would be better at breaking serve than IRL oafish basher Raonic, because he could be a threat to chip and charge on any high neutral ball. Edberg gets a lot of flack for having weak groundies, but he broke serve at a higher rate than just about any current next gen player.
 

tonylg

Legend
It’s only dead because coaches in recent years have missed opportunities when the right talent came along. If serving freaks like Raonic or athletic tall guys like Kevin Anderson had trained to be pure serve and volleyers when they were 14 years old, those dudes would be Wimbledon champs today.
That clearly highlights the problem and why court speed alone can't fix it.

Today a baseline bot with an average serve and be consistent top 20, but an exceptional net player with less than servebot level cannon can't break the top 50.

Poly simply makes groundstrokes too easy.
 
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Deleted member 777746

Guest
I guess all tennis authorities are idiots and you know better? Don't think so, I believe they know better than you, so s and v is finished....
You think citing authorities is a way to support your argument? I guess the earth is flat, was formed in six days, and is the center of the Universe too
 
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socallefty

Hall of Fame
Baseline tennis before poly was not very interesting because the lesser topspin made it hard to hit angles and the pace of shots had to be less to have some margin for error. So, it was interesting to see the duel between a S/V player and a baseliner in those days.

Poly has led to extreme topspin, extreme angles, higher speed shots, longer fast-paced rallies from the baseline. Now, I find it highly entertaining to watch the best baseliners play particularly on slower surfaces. I would much rather watch two good baseliners play than watch one of the few S/Vrs left like Feli Lopez or Mischa Zverev.

So, everyone is entertained by different things and tastes evolve - I’m a big fan of heavy topspin and don’t like watching flat hitters or net players anymore even though I grew up as a fan of McEnroe and Sampras. I’ve been watching tennis since the late Seventies and have never enjoyed tennis more than since the advent of poly. I’m starting to enjoy the WTA more recently because there are starting to emerge some players like Swiatek who hit with much more topspin than previous generations. For this fan, there is absolutely no reason to tweak tennis in any way in terms of the preponderance of baseline play. The parts of the ATP seasons I watch the least are grass and indoors because the points are short and lack the intricate point construction I see on clay and slow hard courts.

I don’t look down on fans who still like grass court and S/V tennis - but, I bet they will say that I don’t know anything about tennis even though I’ve played and watched it for forty years. They are likely the same guys who complain that there is too much passing in the NFL, too much outside shooting and not enough defensive wrestling near the hoop in the NBA, too many strikeouts and home runs in MLB etc. The games keep evolving and some fans like it while those who don’t like change don’t. The organizers of all these sports will change the rules if they feel that they can make more money and attract more fans - so far, they have opted to slow down tennis rather than speed it up. So, I guess they are betting on more fans like me watching more tennis than those who don’t like what poly has done to tennis.
 

tonylg

Legend
Baseline tennis before poly was not very interesting because the lesser topspin made it hard to hit angles and the pace of shots had to be less to have some margin for error. So, it was interesting to see the duel between a S/V player and a baseliner in those days.

Poly has led to extreme topspin, extreme angles, higher speed shots, longer fast-paced rallies from the baseline. Now, I find it highly entertaining to watch the best baseliners play particularly on slower surfaces. I would much rather watch two good baseliners play than watch one of the few S/Vrs left like Feli Lopez or Mischa Zverev.

So, everyone is entertained by different things and tastes evolve - I’m a big fan of heavy topspin and don’t like watching flat hitters or net players anymore even though I grew up as a fan of McEnroe and Sampras. I’ve been watching tennis since the late Seventies and have never enjoyed tennis more than since the advent of poly. I’m starting to enjoy the WTA more recently because there are starting to emerge some players like Swiatek who hit with much more topspin than previous generations. For this fan, there is absolutely no reason to tweak tennis in any way in terms of the preponderance of baseline play. The parts of the ATP seasons I watch the least are grass and indoors because the points are short and lack the intricate point construction I see on clay and slow hard courts.

I don’t look down on fans who still like grass court and S/V tennis - but, I bet they will say that I don’t know anything about tennis even though I’ve played and watched it for forty years. They are likely the same guys who complain that there is too much passing in the NFL, too much outside shooting and not enough defensive wrestling near the hoop in the NBA, too many strikeouts and home runs in MLB etc. The games keep evolving and some fans like it while those who don’t like change don’t. The organizers of all these sports will change the rules if they feel that they can make more money and attract more fans - so far, they have opted to slow down tennis rather than speed it up. So, I guess they are betting on more fans like me watching more tennis than those who don’t like what poly has done to tennis.
I don't think I've ever seen anyone on this forum suggest getting rid of the boring baseline botting tennis that you enjoy. No-one is suggesting making the french open fast and low bouncing. This thread is about bringing back some variety. Of course you love it now, tennis is a baseliner's paradise. The discussion is just about resoring a little balance, yet the baseline bot fan club arc up like we've suggested gun control at an NRA convention.

It was very possible to play with spin before poly. Borg played with incredible spin using a 68 square inch racquet strung uber-tight with gut. You probably don't remember that, but Becker was hitting banana forehands while Nadal was still in nappies. Agassi won Wimbledon, predominantly from the baseline is 1992. Courier made it number 1 with not much more than a big spinny forehand. None of those things were problems, because those players weren't completely reliant on undue spin, like most of the current ones.
 

SinneGOAT

Hall of Fame
Take poly away on the pro tour and these huge guys are not going to do well. The big topspin jumps right into their strike zone. I think the top guys would stay the same but we would get some variety back.
Give Isner full bed gut and it goes both ways, the extra mph on serve and just foot speed to net will be his biggest tactic however he will have worse troubles at baseline getting low balls. He will hold many more serves, not that he doesn’t.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
Give Isner full bed gut and it goes both ways, the extra mph on serve and just foot speed to net will be his biggest tactic however he will have worse troubles at baseline getting low balls. He will hold many more serves, not that he doesn’t.
I don’t know the science behind whether servers serve at higher speed with fullbed gut or poly. The service hold rate has not come down in pro tennis since the advent of poly and there seems to be even more big servers - but, could be because players are getting taller and taller also.

In my own experience, I serve higher speed with poly or poly hybrids than the full bed gut that I played with for many years. With poly, I put much more topspin on the ball and so, I can swing harder and still have a high 1st serve % - my serve is probably slightly faster compared to fullbed gut, but the added topspin makes it a much heavier ball.

Sampras and Herman both served at 120mph, but Sampras averaged more than 2,700 rpm on his 1st serve while Henman had half the rpm. If Henman had served with poly or a poly hybrid, he would have added a lot of topspin, likely not lost much speed and his serve would have become more heavier and effective. Isner plays with stiff poly (Red Code?) and is supposed to hit a very heavy serve with a lot of spin which is not only high pace - so, I am not sure if he would prefer to serve with fullbed gut.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
It was very possible to play with spin before poly. Borg played with incredible spin using a 68 square inch racquet strung uber-tight with gut. You probably don't remember that, but Becker was hitting banana forehands while Nadal was still in nappies. Agassi won Wimbledon, predominantly from the baseline is 1992. Courier made it number 1 with not much more than a big spinny forehand. None of those things were problems, because those players weren't completely reliant on undue spin, like most of the current ones.
I am in my fifties and watched all the players you mention. No one has a measurement of Borg’s RPM that I know of, although I agree that he was amongst the highest with wooden racquets. However, players of the Nineties like Sampras and Agassi have been measured and had average RPM between 1500-2000 rpm on their FHs and even less (1000?) on the BH. In today’s age of poly, they would be amongst the flattest hitters on the tour as most of the top players average more than 2700 rpm on FHs and 1800 rpm on BHs. So, poly has introduced a whole new dimension to topspin and angles.

If you watch replays of classics duels like Borg-McEnroe, Sampras-Agassi etc. between net players/baseliners from the last century, you will see that even when Agassi and Borg had time on their passes, they mostly made McEnroe and Sampras miss stretch volleys, but found it difficult to curl the ball past them for clear winners with short angles - especially with BH passes. Now, when a good ATP player has time to set up for a pass, it is a foregone conclusion that it will be a clean winner well past the reach of even good volleyers like Federer because of poly. While I was a big fan of those vintage matches when they were played live, they don’t entertain me at all anymore when tennisChannel replays them during the offseason and quarantine shutdown. I keep craving modern tennis and am eagerly waiting for the season to start again in a few weeks.

I do like the more aggressive baseliners rather than defensive counterpunchers and will invariably root for the more offensive baseliner in a match whether they are hitting many winners or finishing with easy volleys at the net.
 

Robert F

Professional
I am a bigger fan of aggressive baseliners than S and V. As a fan of variety, probably the all court player is my favorite style followed by the aggressive baseliner. There is lots of stuff I'm impressed and like about the current game. But it is becoming homogenized. I'm probably waxing nostalgic, but seemed late 90's from the baseline you had a little more balance--guys could blast winners but had to earn it via positioning or getting their opponent off balance. Sure once in a while they hit an almost impossible shot when out of position and off balance. Now it seems guys can do this routinely with a high rate of success. Maybe with time the game will take a new amazing level...certainly hope so.

I think many of us, even those who aren't Fed Fans, are hoping Federer can play another great year to bring back aggressive/creative tennis. I was happy Murray has come back, for him, not for the game. He really doesn't bring anything different to the current game then most in the top 50. Yes, the current baseline heavy style has some subtle strategy--slowly out positioning your opponent by getting the edge in a rally. I've watched some matches with Murray/Djoker that felt like replay for 3 hours. Amazing stuff in what they can do, but not as inspiring when you have contrasting styles or even contrasting personalities (probably one of the reasons Kyrgios is so popular--aggressive style and aggressive personality, compared to Zverev aggressive baseliner/flat personality).

And when I summarize their personality, I mean only the way in which they come off on TV and through how they play their game. I have no idea how these guys really are. Fed might be the biggest jerk in the world and Zverev might be the next saint.
.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
I think s&v is an ideal counter for the very deep returning positions we're seeing a lot of the times, but so many players are just dire volleyers you don't see it executed well.

In my opinion we've already seen some major adaptions to the heavy spin gamestyle with players like Medvedev and their dead flat shoveling backhands.
There's also the matter of these tall guys with mobility. That's something no one predicted a few years ago. I was watching prime Sampras today, and how he exploded into the net. He should not be the last guy with that kind of serve who also has return skills and a net game.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
I have no idea how these guys really are. Fed might be the biggest jerk in the world and Zverev might be the next saint.
I agree totally. The only people who know what a man is really like are his close friends and family. Everyone else is just projecting or reacting to an image.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
There's also the matter of these tall guys with mobility. That's something no one predicted a few years ago. I was watching prime Sampras today, and how he exploded into the net. He should not be the last guy with that kind of serve who also has return skills and a net game.
Guys like Sampras and the Big 3 spoil us in terms of the level of their talent and their game including mental strength. We expect the sport to keep improving and are surprised when their successors don’t match their skill set or track record. Those are players with truly GOAT-level talent.
 

tonylg

Legend
I was watching prime Sampras today, and how he exploded into the net. He should not be the last guy with that kind of serve who also has return skills and a net game.
Maybe he wasn't, but we'd never know. What's for sure is that he'll be the last successful one. In a knee jerk reaction to the goat serve and volleyer, the atp and itf refused to do anything about undue spin (from what Sampras called Cheatilon) and let this happen:

Now, when a good ATP player has time to set up for a pass, it is a foregone conclusion that it will be a clean winner well past the reach of even good volleyers like Federer because of poly.
These days you can have a goat level net game and any mug with 100 square inches of poly will still pass you at will.

The current players are not goats; just right place, right time baseline bots.
 
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Deleted member 777746

Guest
There's also the matter of these tall guys with mobility. That's something no one predicted a few years ago. I was watching prime Sampras today, and how he exploded into the net. He should not be the last guy with that kind of serve who also has return skills and a net game.
His forehand was pretty monster too. Let him basically camp out on his backhand and cover that side without fear because when you'd hit to the open court he'd just crush you with his running forehand.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
His forehand was pretty monster too. Let him basically camp out on his backhand and cover that side without fear because when you'd hit to the open court he'd just crush you with his running forehand.
I think prime Sampras played as well as any player I've ever seen except for on clay, where he just seemed not to have enough patience. I don't like rating players by longevity and ignoring their peak play.
 
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Deleted member 777746

Guest
I think prime Sampras played as well as any player I've ever seen except for on clay, where he just seemed not to have enough patience. I don't like rating players by longevity and ignoring their peak play.
'greed mostly. I think a lot of his game was tailored around his stamina issues b/of thalassemia. This helped him on the fast and medium surfaces, but he couldn't find a "run-around" for the stamina issue on clay where that is one of the more important qualities for success. Unlike most, I think Pete had the game to win a French and be a consistent presence there. It was his stamina, and need to compensate for it, and inability to do so on clay that made him relatively unsuccessful there.
 
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