Question about surface speed/bounce

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Warmaster, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Warmaster

    Warmaster Hall of Fame

    Jan 20, 2012
    As a fellow tennis fan born way too late, I was unfortunate to miss out on a lot on good tennis rivalries.

    With the recent defeat of Federer against Nadal and threads about whether or not Sampras would be able to defeat Nadal, I was wondering how much the surfaces have really changed the past decade (the only one I have watched).

    My questions to those who have seen tennis evolve throughout the years: have the surfaces really slowed down that much? What about the ball bounce, is it true that, in general, the balls bounce up a lot higher than they used to?

    If so, do you think this evolution will stop and fast, low bouncing courts will return? (Basically, has this ever happened before?)

    Having seen highlights of edberg matches, I just wish I could be a spectator in a serve and volley era!
  2. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Jun 18, 2004
    Depends what era you are talking about. Generally, the courts are slower now.
    The US Open is probably about the same speed of bounce for the last 20 or 30 years. However, now it has close to the fastest courts on tour, while back then it was pretty average for hard courts. Indoor carpet was often much faster, and with the favorable conditions, was great for serve and volley. McEnroe's records on carpet will probably never be broken. Injuries caused by poorly-laid carpet and the general desire to slow down the game ended the indoor carpet segment of the tour.
    If you go back to the 70's there was a push to go to more clay and the US segment of the tour went primarily to har-tru. There was a lot of moonballing in those days, but fortunately that was only for a few years. It was said to be a bad sign when the soccer games among the players got to be more popular than the baseball games (back when no one in the US played soccer). Almost no one who got more than a round or two into the tournament was from the US - thus less fan interest and less money for the promoters. At that point, the US Open went to the hard courts they have now and the US summer tour went to all hard courts.
    Prior to that since the days of Jack Kramer and Percentage Tennis, when the US Open and the Australian Open were on grass, serve and volley were pretty much all that were played, often even on clay - though there were still some European players who were primarily baseliners.
    Connors broke that trend up as a hard-hitting baseliner - with Nastase, who could do anything - on the Riorden tour while all the other good players played mostly serve and volley on the WCT tour. Borg followed, and baseline tennis became more popular.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012

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