Surfaces are all the same

oldmanfan

Hall of Fame
Of course the surfaces are not all the same, or what would be the point of calling them hc/clay/grass? The problem is that their speeds are too similar INSPITE of them being different surfaces, like what @Hitman said.

@Lew II , you do realize that there are no 'fast' rated surface/court anymore? The fastest is actually only 'medium-fast'. That's still just medium speed, and the 'xxxx-fast' moniker is added to hoodwink the world, bc if there were truly fast courts on tour, the ratings would simply be slow/medium/fast instead of ratings like the medium-slow/medium/medium-fast shenanigans we have now.

edit:
to illustrate, Dustin Brown is easily a top20 grass player, yet he can barely ever get into the top100 bc 1) there are almost no opportunities that reward his skill set, 2) of the few grass tournies, he won't get direct entry bc of said lack of tourney opportunities to get his rankings up, and 3) all surfaces play too slow which blunts his skills.
You don't think it's a wonder that Sampras, the previous GOAT, couldn't even make a RG finals, while clayGOAT makes 5, winning 2, and Djokr wins 5/6 WBs (both are primarily baseliners not much different from Agassi)?
 
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beard

Professional
Of course the surfaces are not all the same, or what would be the point of calling them hc/clay/grass? The problem is that their speeds are too similar INSPITE of them being different surfaces, like what @Hitman said.

@Lew II , you do realize that there are no 'fast' rated surface/court anymore? The fastest is actually only 'medium-fast'. That's still just medium speed, and the 'xxxx-fast' moniker is added to hoodwink the world, bc if there were truly fast courts on tour, the ratings would simply be slow/medium/fast instead of ratings like the medium-slow/medium/medium-fast shenanigans we have now.

edit:
to illustrate, Dustin Brown is easily a top20 grass player, yet he can barely ever get into the top100 bc 1) there are almost no opportunities that reward his skill set, 2) of the few grass tournies, he won't get direct entry bc of said lack of tourney opportunities to get his rankings up, and 3) all surfaces play too slow which blunts his skills.
You don't think it's a wonder that Sampras, the previous GOAT, couldn't even make a RG finals, while clayGOAT makes 5, winning 2, and Djokr wins 5/6 WBs (both are primarily baseliners not much different from Agassi)?
All sense people know that, but I think Lew is sarcastic toward some people here, numerous unfortunately, who often says there is literally no difference between courts...
Sample I remember is W19, where was even few threads about wimbledon grass equals rg clay...

About diversity of hard courts... There is obviously difference, although people some says is all the same... Cincy and Shanghai vs Miami and IW, for example... But this forum is and was often all about exaggerating...

Differences are smaller than used to be, but tennis is evolving, and tournament directors give people what that like, and its not serve/aces but mire rallies...
If most people would like to watch 90's serveboting, wimbledon would please them, but people generally want more rallies and they got it...
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
Surfaces are not all the same, and they never will be, but surfaces nowadays are not as polarized as they were in the past. Just look at the 90s as the prime example.
The difference is in the players, not in the surface. Players are more complete so they tend to adapt to all surfaces.

Talking about Big3 specifically, they are so above the rest that surfaces have little relevance against the rest of the field, but between them the difference is small and the surface makes the difference.
 

Hitman

Hall of Fame
The difference is in the players, not in the surface. Players are more complete so they tend to adapt to all surfaces.

Talking about Big3 specifically, they are so above the rest that surfaces have little relevance against the rest of the field, but between them the difference is small and the surface makes the difference.
When you can win Wimbledon from the baseline nowadays, it doesn't look like the players need to adapt to the surfaces...the surfaces have already adapted to them.
 

Raphael Nadal

Hall of Fame
Rafa leads Federer 3-1 at the Australian Open, and Federer's only win was 2017 when Rafa was up a break in the 5th Set.
Rafa leads Djokovic 2-1 at the US Open, and Djokovic's only win was 2011 when Rafa's confidence was extremely low and was not confident enough to hit down-the-line on big points.
Its amazing that Federer and Djokovic are supposed to be the 2 best hardcourters ever, but they have losing h2hs vs. Rafa at those hardcourt slam events, and Djokovic hasn't even won as many US Opens as Rafa :)
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
When you can win Wimbledon from the baseline nowadays, it doesn't look like the players need to adapt to the surfaces...the surfaces have already adapted to them.
They have a game that suits all surfaces. When players run fast and hit hard from the baseline, it's over for the serve and volley.
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
Of course, that is what happens when the surfaces all start to converge. You are right.
Where is proof of surface converging?

If your argument are only results, I will keep saying that results changed because the players changed, not the surface.
 

Hitman

Hall of Fame
Where is proof of surface converging?

If your argument are only results, I will keep saying that results changed because the players changed, not the surface.
I am not looking at results, I am looking at how they are playing. Compare how Borg had to adapt to grass after winning RG to how these players do. Take a look at where the wear and tear is seen on those grass courts then and now, and you will have an idea where the points were won from back then to where they are won from today.
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
I am not looking at results, I am looking at how they are playing. Compare how Borg had to adapt to grass after winning RG to how these players do. Take a look at where the wear and tear is seen on those grass courts then and now, and you will have an idea where the points were won from back then to where they are won from today.
Players play different because the game changed, not the surface.

I want data about the ball bounce from you.
 

Hitman

Hall of Fame
Players play different because the game changed, not the surface.

I want data about the ball bounce from you.
Why do you think the game has changed? And what exactly do you mean by change?

And as I said, the surfaces will still be grass, clay and hard, just they are not as polarizing as they were before.
 

Lew II

Hall of Fame
Why do you think the game has changed? And what exactly do you mean by change?

And as I said, the surfaces will still be grass, clay and hard, just they are not as polarizing as they were before.
Players are different now. They have a different talent, they train different...

I think here lies the reason for the difference in the game. Serve and volley becomes obsolete when players are 6'3 tall big hitters and run like rabbits for hours...

The rackets are different too.
 

ibbi

Legend
Hey, Lew. When someone tells you their mouth is on fire do you blast them in the face with a fire extinguisher?
 

Third Serve

Hall of Fame
Stats:

TournamentCPI 2017CPI 2018Year on Year Difference
Indian Wells27.427.9+0.5
Miami30.330.4+0.1
Monte Carlo24.922.1-2.8
Madrid20.921.6+0.7
Rome2218.9-3.1
Toronto*36.328.8-7.5
Cincinnati33.631.6-2
Shanghai42.939.9-3
Paris37.534.6-2.9
London41.440.3-1.1

For reference, < 30 is slow, 31 - 35 is medium slow, 36 - 40 is medium, 41 - 45 is medium-fast, and anything above that is fast, although we don't see any examples here.

Six of these big tournaments are slow (using 2018 data), two are medium-slow, and two are medium. Using these statistics, I think the court speeds have been consistently hovering around the slow-to-medium-slow spots. Some similarities there.
 

KINGROGER

G.O.A.T.
They have a game that suits all surfaces. When players run fast and hit hard from the baseline, it's over for the serve and volley.
What on earth are you talking about?

there are 0 fast surfaces on the tour. There is 1, maybe 2 medium-fast HCs, that’s it.

most next gen players are scared of approaching the net, and prefer to baseline bash.
 
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tonylg

Hall of Fame
Stats:

TournamentCPI 2017CPI 2018Year on Year Difference
Indian Wells27.427.9+0.5
Miami30.330.4+0.1
Monte Carlo24.922.1-2.8
Madrid20.921.6+0.7
Rome2218.9-3.1
Toronto*36.328.8-7.5
Cincinnati33.631.6-2
Shanghai42.939.9-3
Paris37.534.6-2.9
London41.440.3-1.1

For reference, < 30 is slow, 31 - 35 is medium slow, 36 - 40 is medium, 41 - 45 is medium-fast, and anything above that is fast, although we don't see any examples here.

Six of these big tournaments are slow (using 2018 data), two are medium-slow, and two are medium. Using these statistics, I think the court speeds have been consistently hovering around the slow-to-medium-slow spots. Some similarities there.
What's even more depressing about that is that as someone else said, what is now considered "medium" was actually slow when there were fast courts to compare it to.
 

EdSWright

Professional
Why do you think the game has changed? And what exactly do you mean by change?

And as I said, the surfaces will still be grass, clay and hard, just they are not as polarizing as they were before.
Why is this even a debate, as it seems a pretty settled science...oh wait, forgot which decade this was.
 

ChrisRF

Hall of Fame
I would say it is essential to recognize some facts before trying to create a full picture here.

- The surfaces as such are slower than in the 90s, there should be no doubt about that.

- But this is compensated by the new racquet technology, and this is the decisive factor for how the game looks like now (or to say it the other way around: The surfaces were changed to compensate the racquet factor a bit).

- So going back to 90s surfaces while keeping the new racquets wouldn’t lead to what we know as “90s tennis” again.

- Service games are still won at a higher percentage now than in the 90s.

- So serve&volley is very much confirmed as an inferior style to aggressive baseline tennis, which is also quite logical: S&V is gambling, basically hoping for a serve that has enough impact to have a volley that is easy enough. When staying back the first forehand after a good serve is just as crushing as S&V after a good serve with the advantage that you won’t get passed after a worse serve but still have a chance to construct the point otherwise.

- But as I said, the decisive factor is the racquet and the possibility to hit that great returns often enough. So put Djokovic against Sampras with modern racquets, and he’ll win with his style, most likely even on 90s grass. Give them the racquets of the old days, and Sampras has a good chance.

- I agree with Lew though that the surfaces are not that equal as some people think, but the Big 3 are better than of the rest of the field everywhere because they are maybe the 3 best players ever. And as he said, between those 3 the surface matters very well.
 
Just look at W01 followed by W02. S&V became obsolete overnight to supposedly weak era mugs like Hewitt and Nalby? There’s no way surface homogenization deniers watch or play tennis. No doubt poly and bigger racquet head sizes play a role too, but that’s not all it is.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Just look at W01 followed by W02. S&V became obsolete overnight to supposedly weak era mugs like Hewitt and Nalby? There’s no way surface homogenization deniers watch or play tennis. No doubt poly and bigger racquet head sizes play a role too, but that’s not all it is.
That's the proof. It was like flicking a switch.
 
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