Eras? What makes them strong?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by egn, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

    Dec 15, 2008
    So we have all these threads where everyone calls one era stronger than another. So what actually makes one era better than another? Second where does an era break off and start. There are a lot of discrepancies. Like I guess if you want to do open era you start around 70 since 69 was probably the end of an era. So how does it go..

    I figure roughly 70-75 is one era..but it was still to sparatic

    Then I guess you have 76-81 roughly

    The rest of the eigthies are alone their own era you could say

    However I run into problems as we get closer 90-92 seems to short to be an era but 90-99 seems way too long and things get worse as 00-03 just had nobody defining and then you get 04-now...which can be its own era. So out of curiousity what are the eras for all of you?

    What is a strong era? Is an era strong if it has two men dominating..or is it strong if it has multiple threats? What makes an era stronger.

    Like was 76-81 stronger than 82-89? How does on consider the strength of an era. I noticed alot like to point out overall career performace, but courier 92 was dominating but his overall career came up with 4 slams, but that is as a factor. So is strength of an era determined by simply who played hot in a period of time. Like is a stable top 10 or a changing top 10 stronger? Which shows better players? I noticed this to be a hueg factor and I want everyones opinion.

    Like you take the 5 finals opponents of Federer and Borg of their wimbledon streak. Borg had Nastase, Connors (2x), Tanner and McEnroe. Federer had Philiopous, Roddick (2x), Nadal (2x).

    Tanner and Philipous line up evenly, career was but here is the thing should a player be judged on overall career or how they were doing in a specific year. Nadal and McEnroe career wise are probably giong to line up. But what is your overall factor in strength? I personally prefer to look at the years more than career and how well they were playing that specific year. Even if they are a one year wonder it does play into fact in an era. Say in 2006 Fed tanked it and never had another slam ever..(don't kill me Fed fans.) He would not be up for GOAT but his 2004 and 2005 seasons would be defining for the era. So should an era be looked into more than overall achievements and looked at as who had a good year.
  2. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

    Jan 27, 2008
    New York
    The strength of an era is measured by its competitiveness, how many players at the top are competitive among one another? To me, we're now in a strong era when at least 4 players are capable of beating the 3 others and grabbing a major (at least on hard court). That's a lot of talent at the top compared to some former eras.
  3. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

    Nov 26, 2005
    In an in between place.
    You can't say that one era is weak based on competitiveness. By that rational we could say that we are in one of the weakest clay court eras ever because Nadal wins everything. You'd be faulting a dominant player FOR being dominant. The measure of an era can be judged by one thing and one thing only, money. Level of popularity = amount of money = size of talent pool = strength of era.
  4. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

    Feb 18, 2005
    Another huge factor is generational overlap.

    How many guys who have proven themselves by winning majors and remaining at the top of the rankings for periods of time, remain relatively injury-free and, more importantly, motivated enough to seriously contend into the next generation. Even within a generation those same rules apply.

    For instance, at the dawn of Open tennis, a ton of quality players who were in their physical primes during the last years of the pro/amateur split, were motivated by the relatively large amounts of money which became available and grew as the "tennis boom" occurred. Guys like Rosewall, Emerson, Laver, etc. remained very real threats to the next generation of great players, i.e. Newcombe, Ashe, Smith, Nastase and Roche. Most of that crop remained viable against the next group headlined by Connors, Vilas and Orantes. Even Laver and Rosewall remained viable into '74. Connors and Vilas were followed closely by Borg and Gerulaitis who were then followed by McEnroe and Lendl, then came Wilander, Edberg, Cash and Becker but Connors, Gerulaitis, Mc and Lendl hung around to mix it up with them. Stich and Korda are harder to place, then came Chang, Courier, Sampras, Agassi, Ivanisevic, and Krajicek, with right behind them, Lendl and to a lesser degree Mc touched on their generation as did Edberg and much more significantly Becker.

    Following the "Sampras/Agassi" generation is where the string gets broken.

    While there had been constant, and significant generational overlaps since the late sixties until about 2000/2001, with top level guys hanging with guys one and two tennis generations younger that trend seemed to stop at the end of both Sampras and Agassi's period of dominance.

    You always had a guy or two who lost motivation or had questions of the heart or head, Borg, Wilander even Mc at one point, are examples. And another guy or two taken out or severely hampered by injury, i.e. Roche, Cash and Krajicek.

    But the generation between Sampras/Agassi and the Fed/Hewitt generation was decimated, by both, so much so, that few acknowledge it existed. The #1 in the world following Agassi and a member of that next generation was Kuerten. Kuerten's generation included Magnus Norman, Philippoussis, Kafelnikov, Moya and Rios at the top of their class. While harder to place, I would even put Rafter and Henman in this group for when they "came of age" in tennis terms.

    These guys the Kuerten generation made an impact of greater and lesser degrees in the second half of the Sampras/Agassi generation and were, with the exception of Rafter, 4-6 years younger, and reaching their peaks by around 2000. What happened after that, for myriad reasons, in unprecedented numbers during the Open Era, was unbelievable. All of them suffered significant to catostrophic injuries. Some had that and severe questions of the heart/head, i.e. Kafelnikov, Rios and Moya. Most were non factors by 2001 or 2002.

    Coupled with the aging of the prior generation it had a big impact on the depth of the first half of the Fed/Hewitt/Safin generation.

    By 2001 Norman a viable threat to Kuerten on clay who had SF'd at the AO, reached the Final of RG and won Rome in 2000 had his career all but ended by a hip injury.

    Later in 2001 Kuerten suffered a similar fate after reaching the year end and very worthy #1 ranking at the end of 2000.

    By the end of 2001, Ivanisevic, Krajicek and Rafter had retired. Yes they were all nearing the end, but Rafter's retirement in everyone's eyes was premature.

    But in the span of about seven months, the runner-up of RG 2000, the two time defending RG champ/2000 #1, the 2001 Wimbledon champion and the two time runner up were suddenly gone. IMO the loss of Kuerten, Norman and Rafter created a huge vacuum.

    2001 was also Kafelnikov's last "competitive" year on tour. Flipper and Rios suffered injuries, questions of the heart/head and never lived up to their early promise. Moya did suffer injury but appeared to spit the bit when the realities of reaching #1, however briefly, hit him.

    Sampras was clearly not what he had been during his prime yet won Wimbledon in 2000, and reached three straight US Open finals from 2000 on, winning the last. Even his retirement can be viewed as slightly premature. No he was never going to be #1 again, but it would be ill-advised to count him out from late round appearances in big spots, had he found the motivation to press on. And I think that will be affirmed by Fed over the next couple to few years. But AA was the "last man standing" from that generation.

    Then came the Fed/Hewitt generation. Hewitt was legit. Ferrero, suffered injury and loss of faith. Nalbandian while talented had never appeared to want to put in the amount of work to vie for the top spot. Safin said he didn't want the pressure of being #1, and spit the bit. Roddick is who he is which is in my opinion a 4-8 type guy who benefitted the most from that vacuum.

    It's my opinion that you only get so many truly great players per generation. The guys who "inherit" higher ranking spots are not as good as the guys who came before or during a generation who actually demonstrated all the qualities to vie for and win Majors and in other big spots with a degree of consistency, and the first half of the Fed/Hewitt generation benefitted/suffered from it.

    It's not a knock on Federer or even Nadal. You play who's there, and they would be great players in any generation. But I do question whether Fed's complete domination of the sport from '04 to '07 would have been as complete if more guys from his own generation and from one or two generations prior had found the motivation to push longer and/or harder, as history had shown earlier in the Open era.

    That being said, the generation following Fed/Hewitt are all there, Nadal/Murray and to a lesser degree Djoker and Tsonga. Should Djoker follow Murray's example of re-commitment and Tsonga stay relatively injury free from now on it should be a very interesting time, especially with the newer young guns beginning to make an impact. But again that will be impacted by how long Fed, Hewitt and Roddick maintain that elite level of motivation.

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009
  5. coloskier

    coloskier Legend

    Jul 24, 2007
    Having a good curve ball helps.
  6. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

    Jun 26, 2007
    Silvis, IL
    great post!

    i especially found your comments on the time between the Sampras Generation and Federer generation well thought out, and i have to agree; there was a massive power vacuum for several years that federer was able to stop, but was not truly challenged for the top spot for 3 years, and when that challenge came, he seemed unready for it.

    this next year definitely is promising to be fun to experience.

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