Boris Becker: We should question the quality and attitude everybody under 28

BeatlesFan

Talk Tennis Guru
We hyped up Gulbis, a mindless ballbasher with no ambition or passion for tennis
George, I have to correct you here. Ernie is a headcase for sure, but he plays challengers every month and has a great passion for the sport. He comes from a family of extreme wealth and privilege, yet constantly plays qualies and challengers. He's out there giving it his best and just doesn't have many results.
 

Luka888

Professional
He has a point, no one is stepping up, it's painfully obvious. I don't know if quality and attitude are the problems, well maybe quality, but that's kind of a sweeping statement. If quality means not winning the big matches, then yes, guilty.
I agree with you. Boris has a very good point. They just can't step up. It is unfortunate but it is what it is.

Djokovic, won the AO. Nadal RG and I wouldn't be surprised if Djokovic wins both W and the USO or Fed might show his old 'tricks' and win the USO. So, the question is 'are the Big 3 so good or the rest of the field sucks?'

I, honestly, do not now any more.
 
Perhaps he did play well. Or perhaps literally no one under 30 can really compete in a freaking slam. I mean we are at the point where if there is a darkhorse run we expect it from Stan or some other older guy. Heck if Murray comes back we will think hey yea he's had 32 surgeries but maybe he can give these dudes a match. I mean seriously. These last 12 years or whatever have been something to see. Its incredible. Most of these people are beat on most days in slams before they even walk out on the courts.
There's no question the players aged 23-29 are the weakest group in tennis history. I do think there are positive signs. Tsitsipas was the better player against Wawrinka but just failed to get a break in the 5th. He might well have beaten Fed in the 1/4's. I think Zverev can bounce back. He can scarcely play worse than he did but matched his best result by making the 1/4's. He becomes dangerous when he fixes his serve which was truly diabolical. He's also clearly got a way to go mentally. FAA is the other guy who didn't play, but has gone from 100 to 20 in the rankings in 3 months. The tour is very thin on depth because of the weakness of mid career players but the young guys aren't far away from genuinely competing.
 
I think Boris is a Federer fan.

I remember when Fed took down Djoko in the Wimby 2012 semifinal and Boris was commentating for the BBC. He said something along the lines of we are not meant to be biased but I guess it’s good that Fed won as he plays the game how it’s meant to be played.
You know what, i think deep down that sentiment isn't even to do with federer, it is feeling of anyone who truly appreciates tennis for the game that it is. It part of what makes me despise nadal so much, the way he plays is like an exploitation of the weaknesses created in the game by modern technology and manipulation of surface speeds (along with the gamesmanship, PED use, etc) Like watching a fat nerd clock mario karts because he's given himself unlimited lives. Who cares. I actually like djokovic as a person, but his gamestyle...Yeah nah.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
It's quite staggering, really. Beginning with 2003 Wimbledon when Federer won his first major, we have had 64 majors take place up to the 2019 French Open. The Big 4 of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray have won 56 of those 64 majors. Of the other 8, Wawrinka has won 3 like Murray, and then we have Roddick, Gaudio, Safin, del Potro and Cilic.

It gets even more ridiculous if we start with the 2005 French Open when Nadal won his first major. Out of 57 majors that have taken place, the Big 4 have won 52 of them, with Wawrinka taking 3 others, leaving del Potro and Cilic to take the other 2.
 
Overall agree with BB's sentiment. But in fairness to the other generations, to get to a Slam Final you had 3 legends to defeat and one or two big contender's if you consider Stan and Murray. If you are in Murray's quarter of a draw, you face him in the quarterfinal then go on to beat the #1 seed, so if in France, take out Nadal only to face the loser of Fed vs. Djoker on the other side of the draw. Not easy to do. Seems near impossible.

I wonder if one of these guys beats one of the Big 3 in a slam final, not a semi or quarter, but a final, will that turn the tide and give others confidence? Maybe that is why Kyrgios had beaten the he had belief, which has now gone away.
 
Exactly. I wonder if someone is waiting for Nishikori, Raonic and Dimitrov to start winning slams at 32-33 when Big3 retire:-D.
Waiting or not, certain ATP defenders have made every ridiculous excuse for 2 1/2 generations of utter failure to win majors / "have the number" of the Granddaddies of the ATP. There is no excuse for years of half-assed, underwhelming performances.

The fact that it is soon no slam winner younger than 31y cant possibly be seen as anything else than a very weak field of younger players. Thiem on clay is the closest you get, but i think he gets way too much attention, probably because he is the only one apart from Big3 at the moment. Imo players like Ferrer and Soderling at their best was better on clay than current Thiem.
Yes, they were. But around here, the loser Theim is more supported for off-court flights of idiocy, becaue they sure as hell know they cannot support his tennis game at this point.
 

Azure

Hall of Fame
I don't think they are that weak....I have two points to counter this argument

1. The masters were made 3 sets. Consequently the players are not trained to play long grueling matches that are a prerequisite for 5 set matches in slams. Thiem lost steam in sets 3 and 4. Rafa would not have lost steam if he were 25. He was used to 5 set matches in Rome by then. Endurance physically is different from the mental tenacity that is required for 5 set matches, which is where Zverev fails big time.

2. The sport in terms of technology has not changed in two decades. When the likes of Borg, Mc Enroe etc learnt to play with wooden rackets growing up, it was easy to be displaced by the next gen players who grew up playing with metal ones. Fed, Rafa etc learnt to play with poly strings, exactly how Raonic, Cilic grew up and how Tsitsipas, FAA have grown up. Besides the increased affordability of the uber rich players to get the best medical treatment, technology in tennis has stagnated the past couple of decades.

Thoughts? @Gary Duane
 
How old was Becker when he won his first slam. teenager

He must feel special. Surprised he didn't say. well I did it as a teenager. How can't a 28 year old break through
 
I don't think they are that weak....I have two points to counter this argument

1. The masters were made 3 sets. Consequently the players are not trained to play long grueling matches that are a prerequisite for 5 set matches in slams. Thiem lost steam in sets 3 and 4. Rafa would not have lost steam if he were 25. He was used to 5 set matches in Rome by then. Endurance physically is different from the mental tenacity that is required for 5 set matches, which is where Zverev fails big time.
Well, we could count up the number of 5 set matches that the Big Three played outside of majors. I've never done that.

Checking:

Well, they all played 5 set in DC. Fed played a lot of DC and as early as 1999, and there were matches on carpet. He actually play 9 DC matches on carpet up to 2003. That's good prep for long, grueling matches.

I also have never understood why some Masters used to have 5 set finals and others not. An unusual number of clay masters seemed to have ended with 5 sets, with some brutal ones between Fed and Nadal. Miami used to have 5 set finals. And Madrid. My memory is absolutely amazing, as in amazingly awful. I have trouble remembering what I ate for dinner yesterday. But certainly 5 set finals would be good prep for the end of majors.
2. The sport in terms of technology has not changed in two decades. When the likes of Borg, Mc Enroe etc learnt to play with wooden rackets growing up, it was easy to be displaced by the next gen players who grew up playing with metal ones.
Actually, I don't remember anyone playing with metal but Connors, and that racket was so hard to control that on one used it but him. As I remember the next change was graphite, and that was already huge. I don't know much about the evolution of rackets at that time. I just know they kept changing and no one used wood anymore.
Fed, Rafa etc learnt to play with poly strings, exactly how Raonic, Cilic grew up and how Tsitsipas, FAA have grown up. Besides the increased affordability of the uber rich players to get the best medical treatment, technology in tennis has stagnated the past couple of decades.
This is an unknown area for me. I've never played with any of these rackets, and I don't know if a racket you buy in 2019 would be way better than one bought in 2009. But I do suspect there are a lot of things done with strings that we don't fully know about. Most likely top players continue to tweak and experiment. It does seem logical that the top players are using just about the same things they grew up with, so younger players are not going to have a technological advantage. But the biggest change I think is the extreme wealth of the top players along with all the privileges they now have. People don't think about how lonely it used to be at the top. It makes a huge difference to be traveling at all time with a team, and when you have a super coach who you like and who is not much older, I think the social aspect can hugely extend a career.

Borg didn't have that. Connors didn't have that. None of the old players had that. It was lonely.

Thoughts? @Gary Duane
 

mxmx

Professional
I will tell you why. Tennis has drawn in the great athletes. They have went to other sports. You mostly have players who parents could afford for them to play. Tennis associations across the world has failed in providing programs and financial aid for young tennis player. You have a limited pool of talent. The players that would have dethroned the top 3 are playing other sports. That is the unspoken truth about the Tennis.
Very true. Tennis needs a new 17 year old to really scare the old guard. But he is nowhere to be found. I don't even see the current gen as good enough.
 

Azure

Hall of Fame
@Gary Duane

Thank you, Gary. For all the talk of technology, I feel that the racket head size has increased but the poly strings have not created as much a contrast between say 2005-2020, as the racket technology change from say 1975-1990. Players growing up with a new technology automatically have the advantage, which is lacking today. I am no expert in rackets but it will be useful if someone can provide some useful comparisons that can explain some differences.

Yes, the uneven distribution of wealth does impact a lot. That would still not explain why they have been unable to break through. By no means is Nishikori 'poor' for instance. Lack of talent? I really don't think so either. We are talking about supremely fit and talented athletes with excellent hand-eye coordination when you take the top 30 in any sport. To me, it just is technology - technological changes that were made up until 2000-ish in tennis and has seen a relatively slow change and medical technology that allows for prolonged careers not just in tennis but other sports for those who can afford.
 

mxmx

Professional
if Becker was playing in the past decade he'd be lucky to get a slam or two

the 3 ATGs are just insane, everyone else is "below average" compared to their godlike standards

nothing to do with smartphone generation, useless millennials meme, lazy generation etc.

old schoolers would get put in the trash just as much against a zoning Fedalovic in slams

it's easy to sit back and talk smack
One of the most ridiculous things I have ever read on this forum since I have been here. You are in complete denial.
 

mxmx

Professional
Overall agree with BB's sentiment. But in fairness to the other generations, to get to a Slam Final you had 3 legends to defeat and one or two big contender's if you consider Stan and Murray. If you are in Murray's quarter of a draw, you face him in the quarterfinal then go on to beat the #1 seed, so if in France, take out Nadal only to face the loser of Fed vs. Djoker on the other side of the draw. Not easy to do. Seems near impossible.

I wonder if one of these guys beats one of the Big 3 in a slam final, not a semi or quarter, but a final, will that turn the tide and give others confidence? Maybe that is why Kyrgios had beaten the he had belief, which has now gone away.
Perhaps Sampras and Agassi and perhaps two or three more, would have dominated just as much if their careers bloomed 2003 onwards. The big 3/4 is great, but mainly because they had no one great to stop them. Not to mention the utter crap field they would face in 90% of their smaller matches. They're like this sorority club which only they were allowed to belong to for all this years. At least Sampras and Agassi saw Federer coming. Federer saw no one is coming and knows he need not retire.
 
The interesting question is: exactly when will a player born after 1988 win a men's singles Grand Slam? Djokovic, Nadal and Federer (Fed was winning slams until last year) are well into their 30s and still winning all the slams. How long will it continue? Because as each year passes, it shows up the younger generation more and more. I have no doubt that one of these younger players will win a slam eventually, but it may be that they win slams after Nadal and Djokovic retire or are too old and injured to win them anymore.
 
if Becker was playing in the past decade he'd be lucky to get a slam or two
old schoolers would get put in the trash just as much against a zoning Fedalovic in slams
Ridiculous beyond belief--elevating the current Granddaddies to a level most only have thanks to 2 1/5 generations of inferior players.

One of the most ridiculous things I have ever read on this forum since I have been here. You are in complete denial.
Of course it is. Its living in the moment, instead of truly understanding the how and why of player abilities, and trying to claim that a few guys in a sea of inferior players are "godlike" when in the full view of history, these false "gods" would risk a number of their majors to older generations at the height of their legendary games.
 
I don't think they are that weak....I have two points to counter this argument

1. The masters were made 3 sets. Consequently the players are not trained to play long grueling matches that are a prerequisite for 5 set matches in slams. Thiem lost steam in sets 3 and 4. Rafa would not have lost steam if he were 25. He was used to 5 set matches in Rome by then. Endurance physically is different from the mental tenacity that is required for 5 set matches, which is where Zverev fails big time.

2. The sport in terms of technology has not changed in two decades. When the likes of Borg, Mc Enroe etc learnt to play with wooden rackets growing up, it was easy to be displaced by the next gen players who grew up playing with metal ones. Fed, Rafa etc learnt to play with poly strings, exactly how Raonic, Cilic grew up and how Tsitsipas, FAA have grown up. Besides the increased affordability of the uber rich players to get the best medical treatment, technology in tennis has stagnated the past couple of decades.

Thoughts? @Gary Duane
I think point 2 is very well made and is definitely relevant. It doesn’t excuse the inability of these young players to replace the old but it’s certainly a factor.
 
One of the most ridiculous things I have ever read on this forum since I have been here. You are in complete denial.
alright, im sure Thiem just needs to read some more motivational quotes and get off his smartphone, that'll help him not get destroyed by Nadal at RG every single year

maybe Coric and Zverev just need a pep talk about the good ole days and viola, slam winners
 
Just to support BB. Basically Djoker, Fed and Nadal made it to the quarterfinals without any real challenges. Fed had a little battle with Stan. IN reality, Nadal wasn't even tested that much by Fed and Thiem. So what does that say about the rest of the field?
 
I think we all have to keep in mind that not only are the under 30 club not winning slams. In most cases they are barely competing against the big 3 in slams. Like if they meet Fed or Rafa or NoLe in the quarters or semis they pretty much get destroyed. I mean who gave Fed a match in this French open. Stan another old guy. I mean I guess we have to give Dominic credit for taking out the joker ok. Over two days in some rain convoluted match, on his best surface. Wow thank goodness for small miracles. I mean this is seen as something great by the under 30 club. They beat one of the big three. Some dude will probably beat Rafa in wimby to. But we know that dude won't win the tournament. We know this.
 

mxmx

Professional
alright, im sure Thiem just needs to read some more motivational quotes and get off his smartphone, that'll help him not get destroyed by Nadal at RG every single year

maybe Coric and Zverev just need a pep talk about the good ole days and viola, slam winners
It's not about Thiem. It's about millions of people going lost with no real talent pool developing. It's not Thiem's fault he is on top of the weak talent pool. But we cannot deny that the talent pool is not that deep anymore. Back in the day everyone outside of tennis knew the names of Becker, Agassi, Edberg, Lendl or McEnroe. These days people will never have heard of Thiem, Zverev or Tsistsipas. The older generations inspired kids to start playing tennis. Kids today wouldn't care less. Or fewer would.

Many of the current gen tennis players are less talented, but they're still the best there is. The amount of Ace cards dealt is just far less. In fact, no one is playing "poker" anymore. They are playing "go fish" instead.

Tennis was on a high and there were better goals to achieve. Records were something to aim for and they're inflated now and impossible to reach, even if they are watered down. I think, in a way the current gen knows this. No one has the confidence, skill or almost arrogance to take on the big 3 or their legacy. No, they're all submitting.
 
Sure they were. I think you forget how extremely competitive some of this years was. Back 2011-2012 Ferrer won over 60% of games played on clay, thats almost ATG level, seriously. But he was up against peak-Nadal and peak-Nole, and other strong players. The last years Thiem has been around 55%-58% games won on clay vs a weaker field. Still hasnt won a Masters on clay.
I'm a big fan of Ferrer and saw both him and Soderling play live many times. I recall then both well.

Thiem is an exceptional clay courter with a way more happening for him than either player. He has endurance like Ferrer and more spin and consistent power than perhaps anyone who has ever played the game.
 
But we cannot deny that the talent pool is not that deep anymore. Back in the day everyone outside of tennis knew the names of Becker, Agassi, Edberg, Lendl or McEnroe. These days people will never have heard of Thiem, Zverev or Tsistsipas. The older generations inspired kids to start playing tennis. Kids today wouldn't care less. Or fewer would.
Spot on analysis; some defenders of today's men's game (and by "today" I mean the past 15+ years) have repeatedly make contradictory arguments:

1. People don't know today's players because they have other entertainment distractions that older generations did not. That's a false, misleading claim. In the 80s, Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Becker, Lendl, Edberg and others were part of the larger popular culture awareness, this occurred at a time when "other entertainment distractions" were among the biggest in history, For example, some of the NBA & NFL's biggest championship match-ups and pro boxing's greatest matches happened in that decade. Similarly, many of the biggest, media event/industry-changing films up to that time were released in in the same period, along with music acts that were constantly breaking new ground and records. Moreover, since the late 70s, the introduction of home video--and video games/cable TV into the homes of millions, were major entertainment "distractions" in the 80s (I was there to see it all), yet those tennis players were on the world stage / public awareness, with their journeys serving as compelling drama from one major to the next.

That is not the past 2 1/2 generations of male tennis players with the glaring exception of 3--four if one wishes to be generous. That's not due to other entertainment "distractions", but thanks to the aforementioned generations coming out of the gates as inferior, talentless hacks apparently only there because they cannot do anything else...and its clear the majority are not doing well at tennis, either.

2. You've witnessed many of the ATP's defenders trying to give cutesy nicknames to some of the past 2 1/2 generations of players, as if they were going to (artificially) create that same kind of once-organic pop-cultural attraction to character/identity of players of decades past. This is an attempt to force the losers appear as thought they are household names, or colorful characters, when these space-occupiers were not--and never going to be fantastic players with some degree of magnetism or interest to make the fans give them nicknames. If these players were everything in ability and character / appeal the defenders claim they are, there would be no need to try to force cutesy names on players no one knows, and do not care to know.


No one has the confidence, skill or almost arrogance to take on the big 3 or their legacy. No, they're all submitting.
Submitting, or hoping someone becomes too old and just begins the career downslide, so they can pretend to rise to the occasion and defeat an aging player. But in the ATP, that's not happening anytime soon.
 
I'm a big fan of Ferrer and saw both him and Soderling play live many times. I recall then both well.

Thiem is an exceptional clay courter with a way more happening for him than either player. He has endurance like Ferrer and more spin and consistent power than perhaps anyone who has ever played the game.
Thiem atm has to be the most overrated player of the decade. Right now the tour has no depth with the Berdych generation retiring and the young gen still too young and he still can't do anything at the absolute peak age (25.75) for a tennis player.

Ferrer beat Nadal at the USO in 2007 and again at the AO in 2010 when Nadal was defending champion. He had a winning record against Nadal on HC for most of their careers.
 
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mike danny

Talk Tennis Guru
A 33 years old Federer did not stop Djokovic in the Wimbledon 2014 final. A 33 years old Nadal stopped Thiem in the RG final. It basically refutes the age argument: if you are clearly better than another player, you should still defeat him at age 33.

Thiem is extremelly good on clay, he would have already won 3 RG titles and become an all-time great on clay if not for Nadal. In effect, Thiem would have won RG 2017, 2018 and 2019 if not for Nadal and would be in the Kuerten/Lendl tier on clay. If Nadal keeps stopping Thiem the next 3-4 years at RG, Thiem would have won 6 RG without Nadal, and would be disputing Borg the second place in the clay GOAT list if not for Nadal.
If Thiem were meant to become an ATG, he would have defeated Nadal in a slam by now, just saying.

33 year old Fed would have also won a slam, but unfortunately he didn't have Thiem in his only slam final.
 
It's quite staggering, really. Beginning with 2003 Wimbledon when Federer won his first major, we have had 64 majors take place up to the 2019 French Open. The Big 4 of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray have won 56 of those 64 majors. Of the other 8, Wawrinka has won 3 like Murray, and then we have Roddick, Gaudio, Safin, del Potro and Cilic.

It gets even more ridiculous if we start with the 2005 French Open when Nadal won his first major. Out of 57 majors that have taken place, the Big 4 have won 52 of them, with Wawrinka taking 3 others, leaving del Potro and Cilic to take the other 2.
But I think it's a bit unfair to talk about Big Four when discussing majors when Wawrinka has as many as Murray.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
A 33 years old Federer did not stop Djokovic in the Wimbledon 2014 final. A 33 years old Nadal stopped Thiem in the RG final. It basically refutes the age argument: if you are clearly better than another player, you should still defeat him at age 33.

Thiem is extremelly good on clay, he would have already won 3 RG titles and become an all-time great on clay if not for Nadal. In effect, Thiem would have won RG 2017, 2018 and 2019 if not for Nadal and would be in the Kuerten/Lendl tier on clay. If Nadal keeps stopping Thiem the next 3-4 years at RG, Thiem would have won 6 RG without Nadal, and would be disputing Borg the second place in the clay GOAT list if not for Nadal.
LOL, djokovic at Wimbledon >> Thiem at RG
secondly, Wawrinka would've beaten Thiem in RG 2017.

and finally Thiem in Kuerten/Lendl tier on clay ?
 
As cliched as it sounds - this is a social media / PS4 / Xbox generation. Everything is treated as short, instant, hard and fast with no sense of patience or substance. Tennis today is approached like the person who mindlessly button bashes on a fighting game. Some success is gained but the more experienced, skilled player will take their time an find the eventual weakness.

Sad to say but the low attention span, and small attention to detail - a cultural trait yes - are two more reasons why the younger players don't have what it takes.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
I'm sure he did. But my POV is that it's either the Big Three or the Big Five. ;)
Now let's not go down that well-worn road, Gary. You know full well why there is a Big 4 (set of all players who have won multiple Slams, multiple other big titles and been ranked #1). We can speak of a Big 3, a Big 4 or a Big 5. Stan fully deserves to be part of a Big 5 of course but not a Big 4.
 
Now let's not go down that well-worn road, Gary. You know full well why there is a Big 4 (set of all players who have won multiple Slams, multiple other big titles and been ranked #1). We can speak of a Big 3, a Big 4 or a Big 5. Stan fully deserves to be part of a Big 5 of course but not a Big 4.
What I'm saying is that if we look at the Big Three and then put Murray 4, which I don't disagree with, Stan has to be next.

Murray is for sure way ahead in everything else but majors, but if Wawrinka wins a 4th major - which I don't think is likely at this point - people will rethink the whole thing, Stan makes no sense to me. Where his top level comes from I do not understand. Stats don't explain his top gear, and damned if he didn't get close again this RG to taking out Fed. I think he had a good chance if he had not been so exhausted.
 
NextGen responds!

Daniil Medvedev commented on Boris Becker pushing the next generation to breakthrough: "Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong. I don’t want to argue with this. After I need to say every generation is different so if it’s like this, it is like this.
You just have to take it. Maybe he’s right. If so, bad luck for us. I think the biggest reason is that the medicine, physios… everything goes forwards so before everybody was finishing their careers when they were 30, they couldn’t move anymore.
Now, Federer at 37 he can hold five sets on clay and be ready in two days. Before it was not possible, not it’s possible and with their experience they’re still ahead of us. But in one moment they’ll have to go and that’s when the next generation will start winning these titles and that’s just how life is. I can’t really answer anything to that."

Tennis World link won't work, sorry.
 
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