Guga says that Federer and Nadal have an unfair longevity advantage due to advancement in "medicine and sports science"

"Tennis great Gustavo Kuerten says the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have an unfair advantage over players from previous generations.

However, Kuerten says Federer and Nadal owe as much to scientific advancement as they do to their undisputed talent, when not comes to measuring their trophy hauls. “The fact is that life is going to change a lot over the next 50 years, and this is a reflection of what is to come,” Kuerten said.

“Nadal and Federer have five or eight years of extra tennis life compared to previous generations. Kuerten points to the fact that the 39-year-old Federer is still competing for grand slam titles and 34-year-old Nadal has just won his 20th.

The 44-year-old Brazilian - a three-time French Open singles champion - suggests that the advancement in areas like medicine and sports science gives the current stars an advantage over the former greats of the game. “They are from a generation that has science at its disposal, they have the physical capacity to do things much better for much longer. And their time is decisive. “If you think about a 15-year career, it’s 50 percent more than a ten-year career. They started before us and will finish later. “Tennis players will play for 20 years and will still be competitive at 40. And that’s when they have to try to play well at 35, at 38."


Link: https://au.sports.yahoo.com/tennis-gustavo-kuerten-says-science-explains-roger-federer-rafael-nadal-records-043034010.html

I suppose, longevity is going to improve with time. Lendl similarly noted recently that "33 is the new 27". Imagine, Shapovalov and Tsitsipas playing 20 years from now. But even if advancement in medicine is considered, Federer is still the oldest man in the top 130, which is nothing short of extraordinary.

Edit: Noticed another thread that was just posted at: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/keurten-weighs-in-on-the-debate.682167/
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
It's interesting that Kuerten considers himself from a different generation. Kuerten is 5 years older than Federer, who's 5 years older than Nadal. I guess that technically, he's correct.

Players 30 or over in the ATP Top 100 rankings.

Total: 39

Congrats to Feliciano Lopez for being one of two guys born before 1983 to still be in the top 100.
 

Thriller

Professional
Time will tell. If the Medvedevs and Tstitsipases can surpass Borg, Laver and Sampras let alone the records of the Big 3 then Guga will have a point. If the big 3's records are still standing in 30 - 40 years time (as I suspect will happen) it will become obvious that it wasn't as simple as advances in physical therapy.
 
Time will tell. If the Medvedevs and Tstitsipases can surpass Borg, Laver and Sampras let alone the records of the Big 3 then Guga will have a point. If the big 3's records are still standing in 30 - 40 years time (as I suspect will happen) it will become obvious that it wasn't as simple as advances in physical therapy.
Also homogenisation, factorised junior tennis education...

As for longevity specifically, this one is easy: up to now, in the Open era only all-time greats (5+ slams) could spend double digit years in the top 10. If this doesn't hold true, longevity has advanced for all.
 
Wool pant tennis is a leisurly activity that i think many senior citizens would find enjoyable and achievable.

Gentle bunts back and forth, relaxed tempo, and you can just walk briskly up to the net for the put-away volley whenever you feel like ending a point.
You could probably beat current Rosewall, he's what, 85. Emphasis on probably.
 

Lew II

G.O.A.T.
Their opponents have the same advantage.

Big3 have such a longevity because they brought the game to a level that is hard to be surpassed.
 

Xemi666

Professional
We'll see if his argument holds any merit in a few decades, if top players staying on top in their 30s and winning 15+ slams become the norm, which personally I doubt will happen.
 

Sysyphus

Talk Tennis Guru
Injury prevention/treatment stuff is clearly better now, which is crucial in tennis.
Legal dope is dope too btw.
Yes, the injury treatment and prevention is better now.

The performance enhancing aspects of doping have generally regressed, however.

But Guga is surely right that today's athletes can stay competitive for longer.
 
Yes, the injury treatment and prevention is better now.

The performance enhancing aspects of doping have generally regressed, however.

But Guga is surely right that today's athletes can stay competitive for longer.
When everyone uses them it's still an even field lol. But not across eras.
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
He's probably right. It would certainly account for how both Nadal and Federer were able to return to the tour after a 6 month injury layoff and almost immediately start winning big titles again. Doubt that would ever have been possible for Kuerten and other past greats.
I see it even more in other sports too. Injuries that would be career enders only cost players a single season now. And injuries that could take a year+ to recover and the athlete was never the same are now coming back in like 9 months and stronger than they were before the injury.
 

Pmasterfunk

Hall of Fame
Time will tell. If the Medvedevs and Tstitsipases can surpass Borg, Laver and Sampras let alone the records of the Big 3 then Guga will have a point. If the big 3's records are still standing in 30 - 40 years time (as I suspect will happen) it will become obvious that it wasn't as simple as advances in physical therapy.
I'm not sure that's a fair analogy, even players of Fed's generation were mostly done by the age of 30. Fed, Nadal, and Djokovic didn't deal with over-30 players who were competitive (apart from Agassi), so their paths were a bit clear earlier in their careers. Assuming older players sticking around is now normal, every subsequent generation is going to have to deal with over-30 players who are still competent, so they're less likely to win a bunch of slams in their youth.

And the Big 3 over-30 success doesn't only have to do with better conditioning and sports science. The lack of ATGs born in 1988-1997 (I don't think Thiem and Medvedev are going to be ATGs), the change from 16 to 32 seeds, the disparity in income between the top players and lower and up-and-coming players which makes it harder for talent to break through, the slowing of surfaces demanding more fitness and endurance, preferential treatment for popular (aka Fed and Nadal) players...

That's not to say the Big 3 are some of the greatest players ever, but a lot of factors have lined up to help them win so many slams.
 

Devtennis01

Legend
Federer and Nadal are not of the same generation, right?
Federer was a late bloomer really. Back then, players were still coming through at 18 and 19. He could have been winning slams earlier, say 2001. It was natural that after four years, a guy from the next gen would come along. Nadal was a phenom and caught up quickly.
 

Thriller

Professional
He's probably right. It would certainly account for how both Nadal and Federer were able to return to the tour after a 6 month injury layoff and almost immediately start winning big titles again. Doubt that would ever have been possible for Kuerten and other past greats.
It hasn't been possible for Murray, Del Potro, Wawrinka, Azarenka, Sharapova in this era either to rebound immediately. Seemingly only the greatest talents can do that Nadal, Federer and Williams.
 

Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.
It's interesting that Kuerten considers himself from a different generation. Kuerten is 5 years older than Federer, who's 5 years older than Nadal. I guess that technically, he's correct.

Players 30 or over in the ATP Top 100 rankings.

Total: 39

Congrats to Feliciano Lopez for being one of two guys born before 1983 to still be in the top 100.
I think there were 4 players over 30 in the top 100 in 1990(when Gomez won RG that year, he was considered ancient at 30. This year's RG was the oldest RG final since 1969).
Not many 30 year olds in 2000's top 100 either. This era has more over 30 players in the top 100 since the mid 70s(when there were still a lot of old dudes from pre Open Era still on tour)

Guga isn't talking about just the big 3. Nadal and Djokovic are mostly beating up on players around their own age(Tsitispas etc are outliers. Most players on tour 20 years ago were closer to his age than they were to Nadal/Djokovic's age)
 
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Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.
We'll see if his argument holds any merit in a few decades, if top players staying on top in their 30s and winning 15+ slams become the norm, which personally I doubt will happen.
Considering almost half the top 100 are over 30(and its been this way for the last 5-6 years) I have trouble seeing that changing in the next 10 years are so. Maybe no one will win 15 majors, but I expect players aged 28-33 to keep winning majority of majors for a while.
 

Thriller

Professional
I think there were 4 players over 30 in the top 100 in 1990(when Gomez won RG that year, he was considered ancient at 30. This year's RG was the oldest RG final since 1969).
Not many 30 year olds in 2000's top 100 either. This era has more over 30 players in the top 100 since the mid 70s(when there were still a lot of old dudes from pre Open Era still on tour)

Guga isn't talking about just the big 3. Nadal and Djokovic are mostly beating up on players around their own age(Tsitispas etc are outliers. Most players on tour 20 years ago were closer to his age than Nadal/Djokovic are today)
Well the decline in popularity of the game with the young was clearly going to start to hurt tennis at some point. If at club level, county level, national level all over the world is less competitive (it is), the quality of juniors coming through is going to get worse and they will find it harder to breakthrough. I am seeing lots of good ball strikers but not many very good athletes entering the tour. Certainly not good enough to compete with the older generations.
 

duaneeo

Legend
It's not the advancement in medicine and sports science, but the non-advancement in competition. All past ATGs would've thrived in their later years if the newer generation of players they faced were the likes of Dimitrov, Raonic, Nishikori, Janowicz, Tomic, Goffin, Busta, Sock, Pospisil, Cecchinato, Schwartzman, Kyrgios, and Thiem...players who all fall in one or several categories: mentally deficient, motivational deficient, health deficient, stamina deficient, or height deficient.
 

AceSalvo

Legend
Lol, bad way to cover for lack of valid competition. You can't put all the blame on Fedal. The Next Gen since 2015 just sucked Big Time.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Literally no one currently is playing great tennis in his 30's other than Djokodal.
Literally no one in their 20's is playing great tennis with no exceptions. Look at the sh-t show at the USO between a choking 22 year and a choking 27 year old. The quality of tennis in that final was horrendous from both, aside from Zverev's first set, which was a clean, nice set of tennis.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
It's not the advancement in medicine and sports science, but the non-advancement in competition. All past ATGs would've thrived in their later years if the newer generation of players they faced were the likes of Dimitrov, Raonic, Nishikori, Janowicz, Tomic, Goffin, Busta, Sock, Pospisil, Cecchinato, Schwartzman, Kyrgios, and Thiem...players who all fall in one or several categories: mentally deficient, motivational deficient, health deficient, stamina deficient, or height deficient.
Exactly! Connors had just turned 31 when he beat Lendl at the USO 1983. At that time, 31 was *ancient* for a tennis player. But Jimbo had to go forward facing ATG's in their peak years like Mac and Lendl. Then when he was 34-37, he had to face ATG's like Becker, Edberg and Wilander. In his twilight years he had to face ATG Agassi and Pete. Imagine if Jimmy instead were facing the mugs of today that you list. He would easily have walked away with 15 majors, no problem, and been competitive at 40.
 

FrontHeadlock

Hall of Fame
Exactly! Connors had just turned 31 when he beat Lendl at the USO 1983. At that time, 31 was *ancient* for a tennis player. But Jimbo had to go forward facing ATG's in their peak years like Mac and Lendl. Then when he was 34-37, he had to face ATG's like Becker, Edberg and Wilander. In his twilight years he had to face ATG Agassi and Pete. Imagine if Jimmy instead were facing the mugs of today that you list. He would easily have walked away with 15 majors, no problem, and been competitive at 40.
Exactly. Look at Djoker, he had 6 majors thru 2014 RG. At that point Fed was 2 months from his 33rd birthday and had won 17 majors and Nadal had just turned 28 and had won 14 majors. In tennis history this is exactly the point where new players would have come up and you'd probably end up with something like 18 majors for Fed, 16 for Nadal and 9-10 for Djokovic, but the immense void of new talent, coupled with the money available to the guys at the top, meant that no one could move up. Djokovic was basically Lendl if Becker/Edberg/Sampras/Agassi never arrived.

And it wasn't just the Big 3 either. Guys like Berdych, Ferrer, Tsonga, Gasquet, Murray, etc all hung around in the top 10 for a VERY long time because of this.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
While this is to some extent true it is not the only reason. The historical bad competition also plays a big role here. If a 19 year old Nadal or a 21 year old Federer had appeared in 2017 the big three also would not have won so many slams in the last three years. This year USO was symbolic, it took a worldwide pandemic and Djokovic being disqualified (first time that something like this EVER happened to any of the big three) to get a final between two next genners, and even then it was a complete choke fest and embarrassingly low quality match where you got the impression that instead of the better the less-bad of both won it in the end.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
And it wasn't just the Big 3 either. Guys like Berdych, Ferrer, Tsonga, Gasquet, Murray, etc all hung around in the top 10 for a VERY long time because of this.
Even Isner and Anderson all of a sudden appeared in the later stages of slams. Also Del Potro if not injured still had some pretty good results despite playing basically without a backhand.
 

California

Semi-Pro
Exactly. Look at Djoker, he had 6 majors thru 2014 RG. At that point Fed was 2 months from his 33rd birthday and had won 17 majors and Nadal had just turned 28 and had won 14 majors. In tennis history this is exactly the point where new players would have come up and you'd probably end up with something like 18 majors for Fed, 16 for Nadal and 9-10 for Djokovic, but the immense void of new talent, coupled with the money available to the guys at the top, meant that no one could move up. Djokovic was basically Lendl if Becker/Edberg/Sampras/Agassi never arrived.

And it wasn't just the Big 3 either. Guys like Berdych, Ferrer, Tsonga, Gasquet, Murray, etc all hung around in the top 10 for a VERY long time because of this.
Sssshhhhhh. Don't say this too loud! The fanboys and fangirls of the Big 3 will be coming after you! Don't you know that it isn't because of the weak competition that they have so many slams? It is because they are the best, most complete, hardest hitting, best athletes of all time. They have raised the game to never before seen heights!

Slightly joking, but yes, the lack of true younger competition, homogenized surfaces, best of 32 seeds, etc... have led to their inflated numbers. I can't believe that some people don't see that? Well, actually don't WANT to see that....
 

GhostOfNKDM

Hall of Fame
Wool pant tennis is a leisurly activity that i think many senior citizens would find enjoyable and achievable.

Gentle bunts back and forth, relaxed tempo, and you can just walk briskly up to the net for the put-away volley whenever you feel like ending a point.
This internet warrior (i.e me) wishes he was as athletic at any age as Rosewall was in that pic

One doesn't build quads and forearms like that twirling a baton and walking briskly up to the net
 

DSH

G.O.A.T.
Rosewall at age of 39, 40 and 41 was still in the top ten.
In 1976 and 1977 (age 42 and 43) he was still in the top 20.

Was Rosewall a phenomenon or was it a "weak era" then?
:sneaky:
 

clout

Hall of Fame
Federer and Nadal are not of the same generation, right?
Federer was a late bloomer really. Back then, players were still coming through at 18 and 19. He could have been winning slams earlier, say 2001. It was natural that after four years, a guy from the next gen would come along. Nadal was a phenom and caught up quickly.
Technically yes they are from different generation’s although they still managed to form one of the greatest rivalries.

Federer’s peers are actually players like Roddick, Hewitt, Safin, Ferrero, Nalbandian, Gonzalez, and Ferrer (yeah all blasts from the past besides Ferrer who only retired a year ago)

Nadal’s peers are Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka, Del Porto, Cilic, Berdych, Tsonga, Monfils, Isner, Soderling, Anderson, Gasquet, etc.
 

clout

Hall of Fame
It's not the advancement in medicine and sports science, but the non-advancement in competition. All past ATGs would've thrived in their later years if the newer generation of players they faced were the likes of Dimitrov, Raonic, Nishikori, Janowicz, Tomic, Goffin, Busta, Sock, Pospisil, Cecchinato, Schwartzman, Kyrgios, and Thiem...players who all fall in one or several categories: mentally deficient, motivational deficient, health deficient, stamina deficient, or height deficient.
Yeah the lost gen turning into whipping boys from 2014-2017 certainly helped the big 3/4. Next gen have progressively gotten better since 2017 but they still don’t seem to have “it” to dethrone the big 3.
 

DSH

G.O.A.T.
Technically yes they are from different generation’s although they still managed to form one of the greatest rivalries.

Federer’s peers are actually players like Roddick, Hewitt, Safin, Ferrero, Nalbandian, Gonzalez, and Ferrer (yeah all blasts from the past besides Ferrer who only retired a year ago)

Nadal’s peers are Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka, Del Porto, Cilic, Berdych, Tsonga, Monfils, Isner, Soderling, Anderson, Gasquet, etc.
What about Verdasco, to which generation does the Madrilenian belong?
:D
 

Chanwan

G.O.A.T.
Guga' gotta point. Doubt Rafa would be on tour without stem cell treatment. Roger would possibly have retired as well
 
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