Magnus Norman : Rafa and Roger are playing better now than 10 years ago

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by tennisaddict, Jun 19, 2017 at 7:09 AM.

  1. tennisaddict

    tennisaddict Talk Tennis Guru

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    Excerpts from article:

    What I learned from a session with Stan Wawrinka's elite super-coach Magnus Norman

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/tennis/2...an-wawrinkas-elite-super-coach-magnus-norman/

    “For sure Rafa is playing better now than 10 years ago. And the same with Roger. You look at pictures from then and they play further back, they play slower. When I played, five years before that, we were also hitting the ball quite hard, but now they’re moving better, taking the ball early, taking time away from the opponent. That’s the evolution of the game.


    An evolution that Norman himself, as much as any of the higher-profile “supercoaches”, has done a great deal to enable.

    “Wake Rafa up in the middle of the night and he can hit a forehand because he has done it so many times. It’s different with Roger [Federer]: he just has magic in his hands, so he practises in a less structured way. As a coach, you have to adapt to your player.”

    “I think Stan said it best himself,” Norman added, allowing himself one small moment of pride. “When he was asked what I brought to his tennis, he said, ‘Magnus made me a winner’. But it was a lot of luck as well, of course. He had put in many years of hard work and then maybe I came in and said a few things that worked.”



    I think @PeterHo @RF-18 may be on the mark with this.
     
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  2. TheAssassin

    TheAssassin Semi-Pro

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    Now they're moving better is the best part.
     
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  3. NatF

    NatF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Excuses Stan's performance no?
     
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  4. tennisaddict

    tennisaddict Talk Tennis Guru

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    He has also said Rafa's BH now is better than ever in the article
     
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  5. NoleFam

    NoleFam Hall of Fame

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    I believe your tennis IQ goes up as you age and gain more and more experience, but that does not mean your body is going to be as agile and explosive when you're past 30. That part was a bit of a stretch for me. There's no way Rafa and Roger move better than they did 10 years ago.
     
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  6. tennisaddict

    tennisaddict Talk Tennis Guru

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    When I read it first I interpreted as the 'new generation ' moving better and not in relation to Rafa and Roger
     
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  7. NoleFam

    NoleFam Hall of Fame

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    Ok maybe I misinterpreted. I would agree with him that the game has evolved and is more athletic, so I could see where he was going with that. But I kind of agree with @NatF. Maybe he's trying to ease the pain of that drubbing Rafa just gave Stan.
     
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  8. RF-18

    RF-18 G.O.A.T.

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    As I've said countless of times, the sport evolves, players get better. Anyone who can't see this is somewhere up in the clouds. Tennis is, quality wise, at the pinnacle - for Federer to be able to reach slam finals beating elite competition, to win masters, also to win slams, you can't be stuck in 2005. Nadal was stuck in that circle with his uncle and their results failed, until Moya came and now Toni will be gone.

    You need to evolve. It is up to the players who get older, to decide if they want to follow the evolution, or get stuck in the old. Clearly federer decided he wanted to keep on going and follow the evolution. Nadal seems to have taken that decision aswell with Moya. And they are bringing results now. Regarding Djokovic we have to wait and see. But important to remember is they are not 24 anymore, where they could play 100 matches a season - now they have to time their best tennis for the tournaments they schedule pre-season.

    Wawrinka has played for the past three years, the best tennis of his life, something he never showed when he was younger. There are countless of other examples where today you peak late.

    Tennis for the past years and years to come is tougher and better than ever, the sport has never, quality and considering toughness wise, been better than this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017 at 7:41 AM
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  9. tennisaddict

    tennisaddict Talk Tennis Guru

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    Magnus on FO Final : Rafa had an aura around him. I’ve never seen him hit his backhand as well as he did in the final, moving it cross-court to down-the-line, and also with a lot of speed. And then he had the looping forehand to high on Stan’s backhand.
     
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  10. heninfan99

    heninfan99 G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, that was subtle.
     
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  11. Surion

    Surion Hall of Fame

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    Which is true.
     
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  12. NoleFam

    NoleFam Hall of Fame

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    There is truth in this. The game now has the best trainers to avoid career threatening injuries as well as modern medicine. The sport has evolved and what a player may lack in athleticism as they age, they make up for with their supreme tennis skills and tennis IQ. Players are able to play a high level much longer than before and this is more than apparent this year. And in this situation where you have greats like Nadal and Federer who are 31 and 35, still in good shape and playing very well, they are able to maintain their hold on the game for longer and the younger ones will find it harder to break through.
     
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  13. tennisaddict

    tennisaddict Talk Tennis Guru

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    Does this mean peak Roddick loses to peak Raonic ?

    Does this mean Delpo of 2009 loses to Delpo of today ?

    Does this mean Fed of 2004-07 loses to Fed of today ?
     
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  14. Gazelle

    Gazelle Legend

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    That's why Federer lost to Donskoy and Haas.
     
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  15. NoleFam

    NoleFam Hall of Fame

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    Well Raonic is not a better athlete than Roddick at any age. Delpo is not a better athlete today than he was in 2009, and not exactly playing at that peak level. Federer is more of anomaly because he is not as good of an athlete but he compensates for it with his tennis IQ, overall knowledge of the game and different strategies. It would be better to compare Delpo of 2009 to Wawrinka of today, and Roddick of 2004 to Kyrgios of today, etc.
     
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  16. TheAssassin

    TheAssassin Semi-Pro

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    I'd give Delpo the edge on faster surfaces and Wawrinka on slower ones.

    Even if we assume Kyrgios plays a full match without tanking, A-Rod would teach him a harsh lesson.
     
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  17. NoleFam

    NoleFam Hall of Fame

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    I agree about Delpo and Wawrinka. With Kyrgios, I think he is more talented than Roddick but nowhere near as disciplined and willing to put in the hard work. I could see Roddick beating him but I also could Kyrgios winning if he gave it his best.
     
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  18. BeatlesFan

    BeatlesFan Legend

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    Exactly. I respect Magnus and he's done a great job with Stan, but Fed moved MUCH better in 2003-2007, there's no comparison. And Rafa was simply insanely explosive in his peak. That explosive first step is no longer there for either of them. Both are still great enough to compensate.

    Another huge point is this: both Fed and Nadal have lost a full step going to their respective FH's. This was very noticeable (and exploited by Roger) at the AO this year. Fed has been declining moving to his FH for years.
     
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  19. NoleFam

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    Yes. They're not as good athletically as it is noticebale at times. I feel like Federer's movement to the forehand was exploited by Djokvovic more than anyone. Rafa and other players weren't able to expose that flaw in his game as well. Federer also exploited Rafa's less explosive movement in all their hardcourt matches this year. On clay, that didn't happen to Rafa because it's a slower surface and his movement is not as big of a factor than on a faster hardcourt surface and he can slide. However, there are things in their game that they do exceptionally well. They have compensated for one strength with another or other strengths.
     
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  20. clayqueen

    clayqueen Legend

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    Too much second guessing and generalisation going on in posts above. If we go back to 2015 when Rafa lost to Djokovic at RG, I'm sure many posters drew a lot of wrong conclusions from that match, which have been completely dispelled by Rafa's performance on clay this year. It is quite simple, the reason Rafa lost to Djokovic in 2015 is because Djokovic played better on that day. Nothing to do with Rafa losing a step to hit his fh or not being as athletic as in the past.
     
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  21. mike danny

    mike danny G.O.A.T.

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    I see no rvidence of Nick being more talented. What does he do better than Roddick?
     
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  22. tennis_pro

    tennis_pro Talk Tennis Guru

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    Not you too, Magnus :/
     
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  23. Nadalgaenger

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    Yep, by Norman's logic Stan would have owned these mugs a decade ago!
     
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  24. NoleFam

    NoleFam Hall of Fame

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    Both serve exceptionally well, great forehands but Kyrgios' backhand is much better than Roddick's. He also can hit insane shots from out of position out of nowhere. I would definitely say that Kygrios is more talented than Roddick.
     
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  25. Newcomer

    Newcomer Rookie

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    Lmao, found excuses for Wawrinka.
     
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  26. Sysyphus

    Sysyphus G.O.A.T.

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    Tennis doesn't have 10-year periods where it doesn't progress with some degree of significance. It evolved from 1967 to 77, more still from 77 to 87, again from 87 to 97, from 97 to 07. Yet many nostalgics in here seem to think that it completely stopped or regressed in the 10-year span after that.

    But it's hard to judge the present when one is standing in the middle of it. In, say, 15 years' time it will be more visible.
     
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  27. mike danny

    mike danny G.O.A.T.

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    When Nick played Fed in Miami, he wasn't playing any better than even Roddick post 2005. He was just pushing an throwjng junkballs. He didn't do anything special.
     
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  28. Doctor/Lawyer Red Devil

    Doctor/Lawyer Red Devil G.O.A.T.

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    A-Rod? Teaching?!

    He would win but seeing him play would remind us that there are things uglier to watch even than Kyrgios' tanking. :rolleyes:
     
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  29. FedFosterWallace

    FedFosterWallace Legend

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    And by that time, the greatest #2 will possibly be consigned to the margins, the footnotes. Perhaps the present offers us little more than a hazy glimpse into a frosted crystal ball. The clarity will come only in the distancing.
     
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  30. NoleFam

    NoleFam Hall of Fame

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    Well I thought that Miami match was one of the best matches I have seen this year and he almost won that match so he couldn't have been too bad.
     
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  31. TheAssassin

    TheAssassin Semi-Pro

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    Let me guess, you cried tears of joy during Roddick's retirement speech? :D
     
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  32. tennis_pro

    tennis_pro Talk Tennis Guru

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    The changes have been smaller and smaller, though. There's a big difference between 1960 and 1970 but not nearly as big between 2007 and 2017.
     
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  33. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    And @Alien too.
     
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  34. donquijote

    donquijote Legend

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    It seems like once again these top coaches are missing things that only TT posters can see.
     
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  35. clayqueen

    clayqueen Legend

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    I've always thought some posters are wasted here. ;)
     
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  36. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Personally, I think those are some of the most overrated Fed's attributes and his athleticism one of the most underrated. Early-mid 20s Fed running like a gazelle all day long and blasted FH winners all over the court. The reason he had so much success just chipping the ball back on the return wan't just because guys weren't coming in anymore but because of his often underrated defence, his anticipation and slick transition from defense to offense. He was often more than content to rally and use that slice until he got a semi-attackable ball with his FH at which point it was lights out, or draw an opponent with a short slice to the net because he had such trust in his speed and passing shots.

    I think perception of players change over time as they adapt and modify their game to make up for their reduced physicality that people over time seem to remember only the latest incarnation. Fed is now considered a strategic fast court specialist he became around 2012 while Sampras is considered a served and volleyer even though 1993-1999 Pete played a lot of rallies on HC and held his own against anyone (from 2000-2002 he became an almost pure serve and volleyer).

    What Norman says is nothing new but I personally disagree. I think while there are always some general trends and shifts in tennis in any given period and the field eventually adjust to a dominant champion (which is why no one is #1 for 10 years straight) the standard of play doesn't increase drastically barring a game-changer like switch to graphite and introduction of poly. I think current versions of Fedal would be in a world of hurt against their younger selves and I don't think say 1995 version of Agassi would feel out of place in the game today at all despite that more than two decades past since then.
     
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  37. NoleFam

    NoleFam Hall of Fame

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    No I'm saying Federer is not as good of an athlete today. No way am I saying he is not a good athlete in general because that would be crazy. He is an exceptional athlete, especially in his prime. I'm saying he makes up for losing some of that athletic prowess with the above mentioned attributes. You have to realize that the game has evolved. Better equipment, more rigorous training, etc. Agassi would have to adapt his training to compete with, let's say Nadal, who is a supreme athletic specimen, on the court. He couldn't just walk out there and think he would be able to blast him off the court. I feel like every era of tennis has upped the ante so to speak.
     
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  38. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Ok then, next time Brad Gilbert makes a tennis prediction go bet a pile of money on it. He's a top coach, tennis analyst, expert etc. you name it. Do the same with Wilander, just make sure he didn't powder his nose beforehand.
     
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  39. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    OK, I agree with that.

    It evolves but my point is that I don't consider the difference to be as drastic as people make it out to be, there's an upper limit for everything. Also, conditionds dictate a lot regarding what tactics the players will emply, what parts of game will they work on etc. most of the tennis on display today is very much suited to slower, higher bouncing surfaces (because those are the most common conditions).
     
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  40. tennisaddict

    tennisaddict Talk Tennis Guru

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    I think when they say game has evolved it is more for the average tennis player.

    The NO 30-50 ranked player of 1990 is perhaps a weaker version of the 30-50 ranked player today.

    When comparing top players of the 90's and beyond with current top 10, I really don't see the evolution

    My take is that the best have always pushed the envelope over the last 25 years
     
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  41. NatF

    NatF Talk Tennis Guru

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    I do agree the game improves incrementally, training, nutrition etc...but the situation right now is strange. Normally after 10 years there would be a new generation standing on top of the pile. Seems likely to me that top guys of the last decade are such large outliers that the field simply hasn't caught up. Of course training etc...might have just reached the point where they can still play their best tennis at this age, but I'm relatively unconvinced. I also think it's clear that something is amiss with the Dimi-Raonic-Nish generation and that we can't just blame the Big 3/4 for their failures.
     
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  42. BeatlesFan

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    Djoker really did exploit this weakness in Fed's game, especially in the 2015 USO final. He also was able to do it on grass as well. Another player who exploited Fed's movement to his FH is... incredibly... (can't believe I'm typing this)... Raonic. That mug has done it several times and beaten Roger in the process. Hell, if Raonic can do it, anybody can!
     
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  43. Sysyphus

    Sysyphus G.O.A.T.

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    I absolutely do agree that in terms of absolute top talents, the Raonic–Dimi–Nishi gen has been a bit of an anomaly and that the pre-1988 gen has been solid. Although I don't think that the whole aging trend in tennis can be written of to that, or that this would mean that the game has stopped evolving at the top and there just haven't been good enough players to take advantage.

    As @helterskelter and I have discussed earlier, the aging trend in tennis has actually been seen across the whole board on tour, not just the top, and it was first visible outside of the top 30. So there's every reason to think that something fundamental about the game itself has changed. Sports scientists typically estimate the average age of peak performance in endurance sports to 28–30. This is similar to the age that seems to have become the "new ideal" across the board in tennis. In the 2014–2017 period, most of the guys winning slams have been very close to or in that age range (Djovak, Nads, Murray, Stan). I don't think it's very far-fetched to suggest that tennis has increasingly become a physical sport with greater demands on endurance. In the coming years I suspect we might see a more varied age of slam winners, with both some old and younger ones winning. But I think the average age in the game has increased for good.

    So while there's been a void in terms og big talents in the lost generation, I think it's still the case that the game has kept moving on since 2007 also at the top 20 or top 10 levels of the game.
     
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  44. helterskelter

    helterskelter Hall of Fame

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    As one piece of evidence about the general aging of the tour, the post-Roland Garros top 100 contained 78 men aged 25 or more and only 22 men aged 24 or less. I haven't checked this week's rankings, so perhaps there's been a slight change.

    I agree that we are likely to see more variety of age for Slam winners. There was to a lesser degree an aging of the tour in the late 1990s, too. That was followed by a young generation dominating in the early 2000s, as almost had to happen. So, while there may well be a 30-something Slam in 2017, and the major winners may well be relatively old in 2018, too, eventually they will have to get too old. At that point, it wouldn't be a surprise at all to see a generation being skipped.

    But if we want to consider the question of age more systematically, we'll have to look at the rankings, not the winners of major titles. And if we do that, I don't think we will see a large shift back towards youth in the near future.

    One big shot in the arm for younger players just now: Denis Shapovalov (18) beat Kyle Edmund (who is only 22 himself, but clearly not likely to be a very top player) in Queen's.

     
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  45. Roddick85

    Roddick85 Hall of Fame

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    I'm looking forward to Federer & Nadal reaching 60 years of age, their game will be nothing short of magnificent at that age, probably moving even better than 35 years ago....

    Seriously Magnus, are you delusional ? The top guys might be wiser now than what they were 10 years ago, wisdom usually comes with age so in that particular aspect, yes they are better players now. But from a purely physical stand point, at a level where the edge is paper thin, there's no way you can tell me with a straight face that Federer or Nadal are physically superior now in their 30's compares to their physical peak around 25 years of age. Federer is a lot slower on his feet now than he was 10 years ago, heck he's even slower now than he was 2-3 years ago. Nadal is nowhere near the physical beast he once was back when he was chasing every balls. I would take 2005 Federer over current Federer, and 2007-8 Nadal over his current self as well.

    I hate to break it to you Magnus, but one of the main reason why all these old players are still able to hang on to the top spot is because you have a massive failure of a generation right after them that can barely win 250 events. That 10 year gap won't be filled anytime soon, so the field is wide open for players to extend they're careers and still have success. Don't believe me, just look at the average age of the current top 20...
     
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  46. NatF

    NatF Talk Tennis Guru

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    I don't think our positions are completely incompatible. We agree that the Lost Boys have been a let down, we also agree that players are at least maintaining a very strong playing level for longer, from what I've seen you think Fedal might be peaking - I'm sceptical. There's room for the overall field to have improved, clearly players are hitting the ball bigger on average from example, but for their to be a similar level at the very top.

    IMO Federer was that much of an outlier at the time. I'l reserve judgement until I see more of Federer at Wimbledon but it's clear that in recent years his return on grass is not what it was in say 03-06, it certainly wasn't at that level in 2015 (the last time Federer was playing his best ever tennis). Perhaps Fedr's game is more optimised for HC now, but even there I could only agree that his average level against the field is arguably as good or better than ever. For individual matches and individual sets I would still go back to 2004-2006 to find the best examples of Federer in full flight personally.
     
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  47. Nadalgaenger

    Nadalgaenger Hall of Fame

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    Is Borg the only former Swedish player not trolling TTW?

    First Wilander. Now this
     
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  48. helterskelter

    helterskelter Hall of Fame

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    Federer's return of serve on grass was one of the first things to drop off, if I recall correctly. As early as 2007, he had some difficulty with it, and in three finals in a row from 2007 to 2009, he barely broke serve. In general, it would make sense to me for return of serve to go soon, especially for an aggressive returner, because it relies a lot on quick reflexes. Players like Agassi, who read the serve very well, might be able to delay that, as might players like Murray, who have very good defensive returns. But that's likely exceptional. By contrast, I think many players get better on serve deep into their career, as they improve their variety, deception, placement, and control.
     
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  49. helterskelter

    helterskelter Hall of Fame

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    Don't forget Edberg.
     
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  50. NatF

    NatF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yup, exactly why I wrote 04-06. From 2007 there was a marked difference in his return numbers across the board. His HC numbers bounced back in 2015 but not on grass. I would say that Federer had a very good defensive return and still does, but what he lost was the offensive return (some of that might be mindset). On grass against a strong opponent if you don't create pressure with the return you're likely on the back foot in the rally - more so than other surfaces.
     
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