I Wonder, Could I Beat Myself?

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Quick background: I was a 3.5 until 2011; became a 4.0 in 2012; was bumped back down to 3.5 in 2017.

I am confident that my 2017 self would *destroy* my 2011 self if the two Cindys had a chance to play.

The 2011 version was one-dimensional and moonballed everyone and everything, which worked perfectly against 3.5s. The 2017 version doesn't moonball but instead comes to net.

The 2011 version had only flat or loopy topspin balls; the 2017 version has added FH and BH slice.

The 2011 version hit everything hard and missed a lot; the 2017 version has some touch, focuses on placement, tries to make smart choices.

Otherwise, the two Cindys have the same basic serve, fitness, etc., although it is impossible to deny that 2017 Cindy is older.

So why is it that 2011 Cindy (88% wins) has a better record than 2017 Cindy (71% wins)? The difference between 88% and 71% might not sound like much, but remember that one-third of the 2011 wins were in the post-season (92% wins at districts/sectionals/nationals) where the competition is presumably tougher.

If 2017 Cindy is a better and smarter all-around doubles players, how come she doesn't win more?

Is anyone else here able to compare their records and playing styles before and after bump?
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I'm guessing you are discounting the effect of age too much. As most people aging tend to do.

"I feel just a s good as when I was 20!!", exclaims the 70 year old businessman at my club. "No, you've forgotten what its like to be 20," mutters the curmudgeon physician in the corner.

2017 Cindy is 6 years older than 2011 Cindy. Wiser, yes. Bigger armamentarium, sure. Same hops in the legs, no way. Those half steps add up.

Or it could just be variance due to small sample size.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
Or it could just be variance due to small sample size.
This is a big part of it, but perhaps more so winning percentage is highly dependent on who you play and play with. Perhaps in 2011 @Cindysphinx played with stronger partners and against weaker opponents on average?

The other thing is that 2011 Cindy's style of moonballing can be extremely effective at the 3.5 level like she acknowledges. The style somewhat has a ceiling on how high a level it still works, but perhaps a little more moonballing would turn a loss or two into a win.
 
What about the quality of your partners and opponents? Those are a lot of variables to try and crunch [although @schmke could probably do it]. Tennisrecord allows you to view results by year and one stat is "average opponent rating", which might be revealing.

Also, didn't you say you had surgery of some sort [knee?] between 2011 & 2017? That could make quite a difference.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Quick background: I was a 3.5 until 2011; became a 4.0 in 2012; was bumped back down to 3.5 in 2017.

I am confident that my 2017 self would *destroy* my 2011 self if the two Cindys had a chance to play.

The 2011 version was one-dimensional and moonballed everyone and everything, which worked perfectly against 3.5s. The 2017 version doesn't moonball but instead comes to net.

The 2011 version had only flat or loopy topspin balls; the 2017 version has added FH and BH slice.

The 2011 version hit everything hard and missed a lot; the 2017 version has some touch, focuses on placement, tries to make smart choices.

Otherwise, the two Cindys have the same basic serve, fitness, etc., although it is impossible to deny that 2017 Cindy is older.

So why is it that 2011 Cindy (88% wins) has a better record than 2017 Cindy (71% wins)? The difference between 88% and 71% might not sound like much, but remember that one-third of the 2011 wins were in the post-season (92% wins at districts/sectionals/nationals) where the competition is presumably tougher.

If 2017 Cindy is a better and smarter all-around doubles players, how come she doesn't win more?

Is anyone else here able to compare their records and playing styles before and after bump?
Many new Cindys have since appeared on the scene. It is getting tough out there

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Wasn't there a movie called Kramer vs Kramer or something like that?

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
 
Quick background: I was a 3.5 until 2011; became a 4.0 in 2012; was bumped back down to 3.5 in 2017.

I am confident that my 2017 self would *destroy* my 2011 self if the two Cindys had a chance to play.

The 2011 version was one-dimensional and moonballed everyone and everything, which worked perfectly against 3.5s. The 2017 version doesn't moonball but instead comes to net.

The 2011 version had only flat or loopy topspin balls; the 2017 version has added FH and BH slice.

The 2011 version hit everything hard and missed a lot; the 2017 version has some touch, focuses on placement, tries to make smart choices.

Otherwise, the two Cindys have the same basic serve, fitness, etc., although it is impossible to deny that 2017 Cindy is older.

So why is it that 2011 Cindy (88% wins) has a better record than 2017 Cindy (71% wins)? The difference between 88% and 71% might not sound like much, but remember that one-third of the 2011 wins were in the post-season (92% wins at districts/sectionals/nationals) where the competition is presumably tougher.

If 2017 Cindy is a better and smarter all-around doubles players, how come she doesn't win more?

Is anyone else here able to compare their records and playing styles before and after bump?
The important question: can you still beat Becky?
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Yeah, I'm older, and yeah, I had a knee surgery between the two versions. But the knee is fine -- buttery, even.

It is possible that I simply had more durable partnerships in 2011, though. This is my second season back down at 3.5, and I still haven't found anyone who makes for a good pairing. In 2011, I had been a 3.5 for several years and had found some partnerships that worked well.

This disparity, too, could be a function of style. It is hard to play two-up well, and many 3.5s are not comfortable with it. It is not hard to just moonball the snot out of your opponents while your partner just stands there watching the chaos.
 

milk of amnesia

Professional
It is possible that I simply had more durable partnerships in 2011, though.
Probably this. The effectiveness of a good partnership definitely needs to be factored into your thought experiment. If you don't have confidence in the partnership then it's more difficult to win even if you have improved your strokes and tactics. Worse: if you don't have a good partnership but your opponents do. I'd take a good partnership over playing with someone who is a better player but doesn't have the positive attitude/playing style I'm looking for.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
It is an interesting question .... greatly complicated by the fact that you are thinking of doubles play ... that alone puts in a bunch of variables. Cindy1's partner vs Cindy2's partner

So could Cindy version 2019 beat Cindy version 2011 in singles?

I know that I would beat my 2016 version (when I came back to tennis) I am also fairly certain I would beat my 1993 version (when I left tennis and was A LOT younger) ... I am a much much better and smarter player and that would overcome youth, speed.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
So could Cindy version 2019 beat Cindy version 2011 in singles?
2011 Cindy would probably kill 2019 Cindy in singles.

All of the doubles skills that 2019 Cindy has developed would be useless against 2011 Cindy's (younger) legs. Then again, 2011 Cindy was helpless against slice. But how would 2019 Cindy possibly slice while fending off moonballs around her ears?

Both of them would be straight up awful in singles, though. The one thing they have in common is no shot tolerance at all.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
It is an interesting question .... greatly complicated by the fact that you are thinking of doubles play ... that alone puts in a bunch of variables. Cindy1's partner vs Cindy2's partner

So could Cindy version 2019 beat Cindy version 2011 in singles?

I know that I would beat my 2016 version (when I came back to tennis) I am also fairly certain I would beat my 1993 version (when I left tennis and was A LOT younger) ... I am a much much better and smarter player and that would overcome youth, speed.
See i think I would lose to my younger pusher version of myself in singles because I would just run around bunting stuff back. But I would kill my pusher version of myself in doubles. And if I pushed today like I did 15 years ago I would lose more than I do currently.

Pushing gets harder the slower you get.
 

Max G.

Legend
Another thing is how much consistency matters. If you've learned new shots... but overall, you miss just a bit more than you used to, that might cancel out.

I know over the last few years, I've been working on my shots. I definitely have a heavier forehand, backhand, and serve than I used to. But am I better? Not sure, because I used to be super-consistent, I'd never miss. Now - I miss sometimes. Not like I just spray the ball all the time, but even just a bit less consistency can cancel out a lot of variety and power.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Another thing is how much consistency matters. If you've learned new shots... but overall, you miss just a bit more than you used to, that might cancel out.

I know over the last few years, I've been working on my shots. I definitely have a heavier forehand, backhand, and serve than I used to. But am I better? Not sure, because I used to be super-consistent, I'd never miss. Now - I miss sometimes. Not like I just spray the ball all the time, but even just a bit less consistency can cancel out a lot of variety and power.
That's interesting. I've always thought most people have a built in missed shot tolerance and tune their game to that. As they go up in levels they miss the same amount but their variety and pace improves. Some people hate to miss and will never hit out because of it. They will always have a low UE count. Some people love to attack and don't mind the misses if they make some great shots, they will always have a high UE count.

I rarely see people who went from risk averse to risk seeking in their tennis. I think its just an inborn psychological proclivity.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
That's interesting. I've always thought most people have a built in missed shot tolerance and tune their game to that. As they go up in levels they miss the same amount but their variety and pace improves. Some people hate to miss and will never hit out because of it. They will always have a low UE count. Some people love to attack and don't mind the misses if they make some great shots, they will always have a high UE count.

I rarely see people who went from risk averse to risk seeking in their tennis. I think its just an inborn psychological proclivity.
Very interesting. Never thought about that but I think you may be right. I don't mind a good miss at all, if I was going for a smart shot. I do mind just a stupid UE (e.g. not under pressure, simple CC groundie and I plant it in the net).

But I have never had an interest in playing safe tennis. Just not appealing.

That said, I am leaps and bounds more consistent now than even 25 years ago.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I too went from risk seeking to risk averse.

But that is consistent with life in general. People often get more risk averse as they age.
I cannot say the same ... I guess I am what I am .... that said, best way to have me implode on a court ... have a partner who tells me to just play "safe" to close out a match. What got us to the point of closing out was what we had already been doing ... now if I play "safe" I am tight, bunty and a disaster.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
My younger self had a big serve that made holding serve a lot easier. Younger me served and volleyed on almost every serve, because that’s the best way to capitalize on an overpowering heavy kick serve. My overhead was better because I practiced it more from all the SnV.

My current self is much more consistent off the ground, and never makes unforced errors. Current self is much better at return games, with a block slice forehand that is good at neutralizing heavy serves.

I think I’d make younger me a slight betting favorite.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I too went from risk seeking to risk averse.

But that is consistent with life in general. People often get more risk averse as they age.
But how risk averse really. You can’t tell me you’ve stopped poaching or getting to the net in doubles.

Does the baseline basher ever become the moonballing grinder? Does the 2 up doubles player become a baseline lobber? Does a lob queen ever become an attacking serve and volleyer? I just never seem to see that evolution.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I went from 100% serve-and-volley on both first and second to nearly zero percent.

The transformation had mostly to do with my serve deteriorating from lack of reps beyond the threshold to make it the smart option. And once you stop serving-and-volleying, it creates a death spiral feedback loop:

There is much less payoff to serving big, so I serve softer to conserve energy and stress the body less. By serving softer most of the time, I no longer get reps for serving big. So serving big becomes even less of an option because my chances of getting the serve in are much lower. Eventually the soft serve becomes my new regular serve. I’ve come to terms with that.
 
This one is interesting to me. I've been the same USTA level for several years. I know if you rank all of the aspects of my game from say 2013 to now, almost all of them are better now and some of them are better by leaps and bounds. So, why am I the same level? Maybe everyone else is improving too. They say the pro game keeps getting better, so couldn't that happen with the rec game too?

Same could be said for those of us who played junior tournaments, but stopped playing during college (I think college training changes things way too much for me to quantify). Once I came back to the game a decade later and worked off the rust, I was able to solidify my junior weaknesses, and benefit from some mental and emotional maturity. Even my junior coach mentioned to me a that I'm much better now than I was back then. My guess is that I can now beat my 17 year-old self. However, I'm not so sure I could beat a current player with the same junior ranking as my 17 year-old self.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I went from 100% serve-and-volley on both first and second to nearly zero percent.

The transformation had mostly to do with my serve deteriorating from lack of reps beyond the threshold to make it the smart option. And once you stop serving-and-volleying, it creates a death spiral feedback loop:

There is much less payoff to serving big, so I serve softer to conserve energy and stress the body less. By serving softer most of the time, I no longer get reps for serving big. So serving big becomes even less of an option because my chances of getting the serve in are much lower. Eventually the soft serve becomes my new regular serve. I’ve come to terms with that.
But did you go from being a S&Ver to a baseline grinder never moving forward? Or did you just transition to the all court game waiting for a better opportunity to move forward than off the serve? I can definitely see S&Ver's moving to a more conservative strategy with age, but I think they tend to still be aggressive players. They don't just suddenly start patting the ball back deep down the middle. They just work the corners, get the short ball, approach and finish at the net.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
But did you go from being a S&Ver to a baseline grinder never moving forward? Or did you just transition to the all court game waiting for a better opportunity to move forward than off the serve? I can definitely see S&Ver's moving to a more conservative strategy with age, but I think they tend to still be aggressive players. They don't just suddenly start patting the ball back deep down the middle. They just work the corners, get the short ball, approach and finish at the net.
I enjoy coming forward and playing the net, as long as I'm in a favorable position when I get there. I've found that my younger self's overwhelming powerful spin serve that usually results in a weak sitter reply is a much better way to approach the net than attempting a high-risk, iffy-reward approach shot, that even if I keep the shot in the court, gives my opponent an opportunity to hit a passing shot winner. These days, I find my best success in singles playing a more reactive game, taking very few risks. However, moving back to pro-blend style stringbeds recently (after a 10-year fling with spinnier poly-type snapback setups) has rekindled my net game by making my volleys more confident once again, and my results in usta doubles seem to confirm a boost in my level since the start of the year. Most of my net approaches in singles are done using the moonball-and-charge tactic, which is rarely used but certainly underutilized in rec level tennis. It's low risk and highly effective against most players.
 

StringGuruMRT

Semi-Pro
I don't know about comparing play styles to past vs present, but I do know that if I were to play myself at any level I've ever been at all I would ever do is play to the backhand! Every. Single. Shot. :-D:cry::cautious:
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Most of my net approaches in singles are done using the moonball-and-charge tactic, which is rarely used but certainly underutilized in rec level tennis. It's low risk and highly effective against most players
I once played a guy that destroyed me with that tactic. Hit moonballs to my BH and came in. Was tall with great net coverage and I couldn't get it past him with anything but a great lob. I didn't make enough great lobs.
 
Most of my net approaches in singles are done using the moonball-and-charge tactic, which is rarely used but certainly underutilized in rec level tennis. It's low risk and highly effective against most players.
Is it effective because your opponent backs up and lets the ball drop after reaching its apex?
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Is it effective because your opponent backs up and lets the ball drop after reaching its apex?
As soon as I see my opponent take that first step backward, that is the cue to move in.

Opponents can counter the tactic by taking the moonball on the rise, but that can be difficult to do without error, and is not a realistic option on clay.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
As soon as I see my opponent take that first step backward, that is the cue to move in.

Opponents can counter the tactic by taking the moonball on the rise, but that can be difficult to do without error, and is not a realistic option on clay.
I have been changing my focus to taking these moonballs out of the air by stepping in and taking it as a volley of sort .... seems to be my best choice and if I hit it even decently has good results.
 

MisterP

Hall of Fame
I have been changing my focus to taking these moonballs out of the air by stepping in and taking it as a volley of sort .... seems to be my best choice and if I hit it even decently has good results.
Depends on how deep the moonball is. If it’s deep, hitting it out of the air is ludicrous.

Top lob that mofo to the backhand corner.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Depends on how deep the moonball is. If it’s deep, hitting it out of the air is ludicrous.

Top lob that mofo to the backhand corner.
It doesn't seem to be ludicrous when it is deep if you are already at baseline .... step in, take it as a volley or semi-overhead ... seems to let me control the point in either singles or doubles.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
It doesn't seem to be ludicrous when it is deep if you are already at baseline .... step in, take it as a volley or semi-overhead ... seems to let me control the point in either singles or doubles.
Some moon balls are easier to take out of the air than others. Trying to take a 4.0 men's heavy topspin Moonball out fo the air as it dips fast and steep is a recipe for disaster. A no spin ladies' 3.5 moon ball that's merely using gravity is far easier to take out of the air. There are different moon balls out there.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Some moon balls are easier to take out of the air than others. Trying to take a 4.0 men's heavy topspin Moonball out fo the air as it dips fast and steep is a recipe for disaster. A no spin ladies' 3.5 moon ball that's merely using gravity is far easier to take out of the air. There are different moon balls out there.
The heavy spin moonballs I see in mixed from the 4.0 guys .... just need better footwork and quick recognition ... I find it much better out of the air than trying to take it on the rise or cursing when it just bounced over my head in an instant
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
The heavy spin moonballs I see in mixed from the 4.0 guys .... just need better footwork and quick recognition ... I find it much better out of the air than trying to take it on the rise or cursing when it just bounced over my head in an instant
Got to get to them before they start dipping though or they'll be under your racket in an instant. My strategy is to never hang back on those guys and get into the service line or closer ASAP.
 
I have been changing my focus to taking these moonballs out of the air by stepping in and taking it as a volley of sort .... seems to be my best choice and if I hit it even decently has good results.
I try to take it on the rise. One guy specifically said it gave him problems because he was accustomed to opponents stepping back and I took time away from him so he didn't have a chance to recover. I didn't do it specifically to take time away from him; I just wanted not to cede court position.
 
Depends on how deep the moonball is. If it’s deep, hitting it out of the air is ludicrous.
It would seem to me that the deeper the moonball, the easier it would be to take it out of the air. If the moonball would have landed short [say, around the SL], I'd have to be extremely quick to move forward around 18' to take it out of the air. A deep moonball might only require me to move a few feet.
 

MisterP

Hall of Fame
If the moonball would have landed short [say, around the SL], I'd have to be extremely quick to move forward around 18' to take it out of the air. A deep moonball might only require me to move a few feet.
Get on your giddyup, partner. It’s a slow ball.
 
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Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
It would seem to me that the deeper the moonball, the easier it would be to take it out of the air. If the moonball would have landed short [say, around the SL], I'd have to be extremely quick to move forward around 18' to take it out of the air. A deep moonball might only require me to move a few feet.
Can a Moonball land near the service line and still be considered a moonball? I thought there were two conditions for a Moonball, height and depth. A ball that goes high over the net and lands at the service line is a sitter in my world. Unless I'm playing someone with Nadal level topspin.
 
Can a Moonball land near the service line and still be considered a moonball? I thought there were two conditions for a Moonball, height and depth. A ball that goes high over the net and lands at the service line is a sitter in my world. Unless I'm playing someone with Nadal level topspin.
Fair enough. I'm thinking of a ball that has enough TS on it that you can't just move forward and hit an OH.

But now that you bring it up, most people who moonball aren't putting a lot of TS on them. And I've only considered the height variable, not the depth.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
As someone who is guilty of resorting to moonballs often, I can say that opponents with the skills to attack the net by sneaking in under a moonball are more dangerous. Against these players, I have to be careful not to put too much air under the ball, or else it becomes too easy to take out of the air. The risk in hitting the moonball against these players is the risk of getting intercepted by a net attack. Against players who are uncomfortable coming forward, the moonball doesn’t really have a downside. Then the only risk is hitting it too short.
 
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