Are we entering the third Weak Era or the second Seamless Transition?

Spencer Gore

Hall of Fame
There have been two previous weak eras in the Open Era of tennis and one relatively seamless transition.

The first weak era was in the early 70s when the Laver/Rosewall era was clearly over. It took three or four years of the titles being shared among numerous players before Connors and Borg (later joined by McEnroe) emerged to establish a golden age.

The second, longer, weak era was at the start of this millennium when the Sampras/Agassi era came to a close and the game entered the unfortunate period where a variety of players won slams before a single ATG, Federer, was far too strong for a poor field. However, Nadal and Djokovic eventually emerged to take us into another magnificent age for the game.

With two of the big 3 seemingly close to the end of their slam winning days, and Djokovic not getting any younger, are we entering a new weak era?

Or are we entering a period closer to the mid 80s when there was an almost seamless handover from the Connors/Borg/McEnroe era to Lendl/Becker/Edberg/Wilander etc?
 

Spencer Gore

Hall of Fame
Suddenly Djo loses and it's not about waiting for further results to decide it's weak era or not.
You seem to have a problem with the concept of predicting an outcome. If someone asks "will player X win today" they are asking for a prediction. Obviously, one has to wait till after the event to see if your prediction was correct. Similarly here, only the passage of time will tell us if we did, indeed, enter a weak era or a transition. It's not rocket science.
 

Omega_7000

Legend
You seem to have a problem with the concept of predicting an outcome. If someone asks "will player X win today" they are asking for a prediction. Obviously, one has to wait till after the event to see if your prediction was correct. Similarly here, only the passage of time will tell us if we did, indeed, enter a weak era or a transition. It's not rocket science.
Clearly for you it is much more than rocket science :-D
 

socallefty

Legend
For me, an era is weak if the quality of tennis is not as good as in previous years and it doesn’t have anything to do with who wins the Slams. When tennis transitioned from wood to metal/graphite racquets, grass/clay to hard/carpet surfaces etc, there was a drop in level as the players who had played their whole careers only with wood on grass couldn’t compete with the new gen who developed their game with the new technology on new surfaces and young guys could suddenly beat the established legends earlier. Similarly, the same thing happened when poly strings came of age as the champions who grew up playing with soft strings were pushed out of the game prematurely by young guns who knew how to take advantage of the extra spin/control of poly. The fact that courts were slowed down at the same time also led to a mass exodus of those older guys whose game fared better on fast surfaces.

I don’t see any such technology change happening right now. Every time I go to watch the pros live in person, the quality of tennis seems better (faster, harder, better defense, bigger serves) than a few years ago. The quality of tennis in Futures tournaments seems to rival what top level tournaments like Indian Wells and the LA Open were like 15 years ago and the top pros have elevated the game to a whole new level including the Big 3 in their thirties.

No technology change usually means no reason for a weak era.
 
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NatF

Bionic Poster
For me, an era is weak if the quality of tennis is not as good as in previous years and it doesn’t have anything to do with who wins the Slams. When tennis transitioned from wood to metal/graphite racquets, there was a drop in level as the players who had played their whole careers only with wood couldn’t compete with the new gen who developed their game with the new technology and young guys could suddenly beat the established legends. Similarly, the same thing happened when poly strings came of age as the champions who grew up playing with soft strings were pushed out of the game prematurely by young guns who knew how to take advantage of the extra spin/control of poly. The fact that courts were slowed down at the same time also led to a mass exodus of those older guys whose game fared better on fast surfaces.

I don’t see any such technology change happening right now. Every time I go to watch the pros live in person, the quality of tennis seems better (faster, harder, better defense, bigger serves) than a few years ago. The quality of tennis in Futures tournaments seems to what top level tournaments like Indian Wells and the LA Open were like 15 years ago and the top pros have elevated the game to a whole new level including the Big 3 in their thirties.

No technology change usually means no reason for a weak era.
What a ridiculous set of statements :laughing:
 
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tudwell

Legend
For me, an era is weak if the quality of tennis is not as good as in previous years and it doesn’t have anything to do with who wins the Slams. When tennis transitioned from wood to metal/graphite racquets, there was a drop in level as the players who had played their whole careers only with wood couldn’t compete with the new gen who developed their game with the new technology and young guys could suddenly beat the established legends. Similarly, the same thing happened when poly strings came of age as the champions who grew up playing with soft strings were pushed out of the game prematurely by young guns who knew how to take advantage of the extra spin/control of poly. The fact that courts were slowed down at the same time also led to a mass exodus of those older guys whose game fared better on fast surfaces.

I don’t see any such technology change happening right now. Every time I go to watch the pros live in person, the quality of tennis seems better (faster, harder, better defense, bigger serves) than a few years ago. The quality of tennis in Futures tournaments seems to what top level tournaments like Indian Wells and the LA Open were like 15 years ago and the top pros have elevated the game to a whole new level including the Big 3 in their thirties.

No technology change usually means no reason for a weak era.
So a sudden leap (thanks to changing technology) in players’ abilities to hit faster, harder, bigger, etc… is what makes an era weak? Then why is today so strong if people are hitting faster, harder, etc. than previously? Not following your logic here.
 

TennisLurker

Semi-Pro
There have been two previous weak eras in the Open Era of tennis and one relatively seamless transition.

The first weak era was in the early 70s when the Laver/Rosewall era was clearly over. It took three or four years of the titles being shared among numerous players before Connors and Borg (later joined by McEnroe) emerged to establish a golden age.

The second, longer, weak era was at the start of this millennium when the Sampras/Agassi era came to a close and the game entered the unfortunate period where a variety of players won slams before a single ATG, Federer, was far too strong for a poor field. However, Nadal and Djokovic eventually emerged to take us into another magnificent age for the game.

With two of the big 3 seemingly close to the end of their slam winning days, and Djokovic not getting any younger, are we entering a new weak era?

Or are we entering a period closer to the mid 80s when there was an almost seamless handover from the Connors/Borg/McEnroe era to Lendl/Becker/Edberg/Wilander etc?

the hewitt safin kuerten (+agassi) period was much stronger than the rios rafter moya kafelnikov number 1 late 90s period, with chang as number 2 much of 1996 and 1997, when Agassi was doing meth or coming back from that
I would even say it wasn't a weak era at all, the only freak result was a hungover Safin losing a slam final to Thomas Johansson

The last years have been a weak era because new young players should have appeared in the 2010s like Murray and Del Potro in 2008, who could really push the big 3, but those new players didn't appear. And both Murray and Del Potro had bad luck with injuries, Del Potro all his career, and Murray from 2017 on iirc, otherwise we may have gotten murray as year ending number 1 for a few seasons in the 2016-2018 period
 
For me, an era is weak if the quality of tennis is not as good as in previous years and it doesn’t have anything to do with who wins the Slams. When tennis transitioned from wood to metal/graphite racquets, there was a drop in level as the players who had played their whole careers only with wood couldn’t compete with the new gen who developed their game with the new technology and young guys could suddenly beat the established legends. Similarly, the same thing happened when poly strings came of age as the champions who grew up playing with soft strings were pushed out of the game prematurely by young guns who knew how to take advantage of the extra spin/control of poly. The fact that courts were slowed down at the same time also led to a mass exodus of those older guys whose game fared better on fast surfaces.

I don’t see any such technology change happening right now. Every time I go to watch the pros live in person, the quality of tennis seems better (faster, harder, better defense, bigger serves) than a few years ago. The quality of tennis in Futures tournaments seems to what top level tournaments like Indian Wells and the LA Open were like 15 years ago and the top pros have elevated the game to a whole new level including the Big 3 in their thirties.

No technology change usually means no reason for a weak era.
Supreme propaganda, bravo.
 

socallefty

Legend
So a sudden leap (thanks to changing technology) in players’ abilities to hit faster, harder, bigger, etc… is what makes an era weak? Then why is today so strong if people are hitting faster, harder, etc. than previously? Not following your logic here.
I feel like the style just changes when you have a change in technology and the established guys don’t cope well. So, teenagers brought up with the new tech rise up and displace the champions faster.

When there was no technology change like in the late Sixties/early Seventies or in the last decade, the established champions keep winning Slams and stay ranked at the top well into their thirties. They are mentally tougher and strategically more astute than the young kids and if the young kids are not aided by a technology change, it takes them much longer to mature and win against the older pros.
 

ibbi

Legend
I think these current dudes are too old, and too far along to think there's going to be some weak transitionary period. They dominate best of 3, they're finally getting there at best of 5, Wimbledon might have an issue, but I doubt that too. I think Zverev is near enough there, and the likes of Shapo, Felix and Berrettini all names of note enough to keep it from becoming an island of irrelevancy.
 
Yea I think we’re heading into a vacuum to where journeymen like Thomas Johansson win slams. Random slam winners for years. I’m not convince Zverev or med dominate. I only see injuries because they are large to be playing tennis. Most big guys get injury prone by 25-26
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru
For me, an era is weak if the quality of tennis is not as good as in previous years and it doesn’t have anything to do with who wins the Slams. When tennis transitioned from wood to metal/graphite racquets, grass/clay to hard/carpet surfaces etc, there was a drop in level as the players who had played their whole careers only with wood on grass couldn’t compete with the new gen who developed their game with the new technology on new surfaces and young guys could suddenly beat the established legends earlier. Similarly, the same thing happened when poly strings came of age as the champions who grew up playing with soft strings were pushed out of the game prematurely by young guns who knew how to take advantage of the extra spin/control of poly. The fact that courts were slowed down at the same time also led to a mass exodus of those older guys whose game fared better on fast surfaces.

I don’t see any such technology change happening right now. Every time I go to watch the pros live in person, the quality of tennis seems better (faster, harder, better defense, bigger serves) than a few years ago. The quality of tennis in Futures tournaments seems to rival what top level tournaments like Indian Wells and the LA Open were like 15 years ago and the top pros have elevated the game to a whole new level including the Big 3 in their thirties.

No technology change usually means no reason for a weak era.
Agreed. Great post.
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
The first weak era was in the early 70s when the Laver/Rosewall era was clearly over. It took three or four years of the titles being shared among numerous players . . .

The second, longer, weak era was at the start of this millennium when the Sampras/Agassi era came to a close and the game entered the unfortunate period where a variety of players won slams . . .
One man's weak era is another man's strong era.

When you have a variety of different players winning a few slams each is it because there are many great players or many weak players?

When most of the slams are won by very few players is it because the very few are great players and everyone else is weak, or because everyone is weak and the winners are just a little better than the rest?
 
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socallefty

Legend
There is an element of randomness to how many Slams you can win just like in life where new technology drives changes in society and in individual lives.

If you rise up during an era of technology change, you can displace established champions quicker and win Slams at a young age. If you are a multi-Slam champion during a stable era when there is no technology change, you can keep winning Slams into your thirties and keep away the younger contenders from your throne much longer.

The guys who are screwed are the ones who rise up during a stable time and then by the time they mature, a new technology change makes it tough to contend with the younger guns. If some new technology happens in the next 2-3 years, that might be the case with the Med/Zverev/Tsitsipas generation. On the other hand, if there is no technology change, they might be able to win a lot of Slams in the next 5-7 years.
 
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NatF

Bionic Poster
I feel like the style just changes when you have a change in technology and the established guys don’t cope well. So, teenagers brought up with the new tech rise up and displace the champions faster.

When there was no technology change like in the late Sixties/early Seventies or in the last decade, the established champions keep winning Slams and stay ranked at the top well into their thirties. They are mentally tougher and strategically more astute than the young kids and if the young kids are not aided by a technology change, it takes them much longer to mature and win against the older pros.
Do you even know when the "kids" changed to poly? What about Agassi?
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
What a ridiculous set of statements :laughing:
So a sudden leap (thanks to changing technology) in players’ abilities to hit faster, harder, bigger, etc… is what makes an era weak? Then why is today so strong if people are hitting faster, harder, etc. than previously? Not following your logic here.
Our resident dilettante is one of those weekend hackers that think their own recreational experience can be applied to these top pros who spent years honing their world-class skills.
 

Sunny014

Legend
No technology change usually means no reason for a weak era.


Change in Technology means old struggles vs new despite new not being too skilled, yes that is true.

But no Change in Technology also means oldies are set with whatever edge they have over youngsters increase even more as they can hone their skills more and more, plus the money they earned enables them to spend for better medicine + hire better coaches which the youngsters cannot, also kids who grew up in 80s/90s did not have the internet in their childhood days while kids who grew up in 00s/10s have grown on smartphones and have low attention spans, so the divide is much more than before.

Hence we are in a weak era since 2016, the fact that Fed/Sampras/Lendl/Connors and everyone else did not have more than 6 years gap between their 1st YE1 nd last YE1 while someone like NADAL ( who is know to struggle outside the clay season ) has a 12 years Gap between his 1st and last YE1, that shows, not only Novak, even Nadal has enjoyed the weak phase of Tennis as he can dominate the tour easily even in old age, a luxury which legends from previous generations did not have because ATGs regularly arrived every 4-5 years thanks to those so called technology changes you mentioned.
 

Jonas78

Legend
Weak era has been there for a long time, its just been hard to see because Big3 never retire ;). I would say it finally seems to get better, with the first u30 players sinse Djokovic showing some signs of consistency (Med & Zed)
 

Start da Game

Hall of Fame
presently it feels more like 80s to me than a transition era.......only time will tell if all of the next big four will end up with slams like in the 80s.......
 
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