Past to Present or Present to Past?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by egn, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

    Dec 15, 2008
    Which do you think would be harder bring a player from the past to the present or sending a present player back. A few things to keep in mind. Present being 1990-now
    Past being prior to 1975 time period

    Past to Present
    - The balls will be moving at faster speeds.
    - Booming first serves and forehands.
    - Slower courts and hard courts.
    - Different style of play with heavy emphasis on baseline game.
    - Longer more grueling rallies at the baseline instead of long intricate net exchanges.
    - New technology creating heavy spin.
    - Size and physique of athletes.

    Present to Past
    - Faster courts.
    - Smaller rackets
    - Wood compared to graphite causing for different game.
    - Weaker serves due to old technology
    - Less baseline bashing more net game needed
    - More about technical skills than power
    - etc.

    So now here are a couple of questions.

    Which situation would work better?
    Which players from each era would adapt better and who would have it worst?

    I think Pancho Gonzales would fair the best from past to present. His serve would be strengthened by the new technology and he had tons of weapons at his disposal. I think with his heightened serve he could be a strong force in the game..would he share the same success I am not sure but I think he would grab a couple slams and be between 8-12 range. Of course I think he would do even worse on clay than he did back in his time frame, but he would probably be the king of indoors and grass.

    Worst from that period not sure...

    I think going back honestly Federer or Sampras would fair the best. Not sure who would do better, want to say Federer just because he has a little more all court game, but the two of them have a more traditional style game and it would probably pan out better. Though I would be interested to see Guga as he always had an interesting style for a clay court specialist as he could construct good points at the net.

    I think the one who would fair the worst would be Roddick, his serve is his best weapon and his fallback. He has decent all court game, but it is emphasized by his ability to control his service games and I think it would fail him with the old technology. He would still have his 'big serve' but he would not be able to do much about it, because he is poor at the net and his serve would go useless as he would not jump on it at the net.

    As in for which is is a toss up but I honestly think it depends on the player, though I imagine most of the old would find it easier going to the current generation as they have better developed well rounded games.
  2. Deuce

    Deuce Banned

    Feb 13, 2004
    A not so parallel universe...
    I am not a fan of hypothetical questions in general - I find the practice rather foolish.
    That said, this is an interesting premise...

    I don't have an answer - or even a perspective - on which would be more difficult.

    One thing, though, that you did not directly mention is the aspect of creativity on the court. Players of the past were far more creative on the court than are today's players. That being the case, the vast majority of the players of today would be lost if they were put in the context of having to actually construct points with creativity and vision, rather than merely rely on power and physical strength - especially if they had to construct creatively against players of yesterday who are masters of this particular art.
  3. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

    Mar 5, 2007
    NJ, USA
    An excellent point - most players today would be lost if they had to construct a point rather than just using pure power. It's sadly become a lost art for most all players these days, especially the women.

    The other main thing is that playing with a wood racquet is a whole different ball game and most modern players would find it extremely difficult if they had to use one.
  4. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

    Jul 18, 2008
    Space/Time continuum alternative reality
    I think that a player of the past would generally do better today than a player of today going back to the past. Players with wood rackets had to learn various skills like setting up a point, lobbing and a lost art today----VOLLEYING.

    Players today, with the big racket heads and great racket technology can just drive the ball safety with a ton of topspin all day. It often drives me crazy to see a serve and the returner returns the ball high over the net and the server allows the ball to bounce deep and he just drives the ball with great pace from the baseline. I think to myself, "Can't he move up and volley the ball away!"

    A player like Sampras would do quite well in the past but I understand he used to practice with wood.

    I think a number of past players would do well today. Laver is pretty obvious. He had a huge wrist and left arm and with the rackets today, I cringe at how powerfully Laver might be able to drive the ball.

    Gonzalez would do well also.
  5. CCNM

    CCNM Hall of Fame

    Mar 31, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM USA
    I think one year some current players tried to play an exhibition game with wood racquets-they didn't like it.:)
  6. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

    Jul 18, 2008
    Space/Time continuum alternative reality
    I think Mark Philippoussis served a few years ago with a wood racket and while he served very hard, just a few miles less than he normally would. I think he complained his arm was hurting. Not 100% certain about the last sentence but I'm reasonably certain.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2009

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

    Jul 27, 2007
    Assuming they did some exibition type events with wood rackets, would you as a coach reccomend your player play to get confidence in some the skills and shots it emphasizes, or would you tell your player that it would just screw up your game and timing. I think it would be loads of fun to see such matches, but I can see coaches discouraging it big time! there is also that risk of arm/wist injury trying to get that power/spin with that wood. .
  8. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

    Jul 18, 2008
    Space/Time continuum alternative reality
    I would enjoy watching some sort of tournament with small sized wood rackets. That would be very interesting.

    BTURNER, you're probably right that coaches may discourage because not only would they be afraid of injury but I'm sure they would be afraid it would mess their regular swings.

    It would be interesting to see like a guy like Nadal would do with a wood racket. As talented as he is I think he would adjust and find a way to still put tremendous topspin on the ball and do well.
  9. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

    Aug 15, 2008
    Harder I'd say present to past. Take away graphite, strings and players have to hone their game. A lot would have to destroy and rebuild, completely start from scratch. Easier going forward as you'd have to adapt to your surroudings. Connors, Laver and McEnroe all played with wood and the to graphite. Sampras and Agassi, both adapted when the newer strings and frames were introduced.

    Like you said more technical skills than power in the past. Technology, natural power, and training would give power to past players. What is going to give more technical skills to current player?? Revamping their whole game??

    Sampras would do better than Federer going backwards. Better volleyer, more natural poewr and plays with classical grips. he grew up with wood. Enough said. I do see Roddick struggling. And yes Pancho would like fair the best going from past to present. But I can see Laver, Hoad and Budge holding their own as well.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009

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