What if there was a seven foot 6 player?

metsman

G.O.A.T.
I'll give you that Isner could make a mid-major D1 team. But I sure he could not make the team at University of Georgia and that school has not be a major power in basketball for a long time.
hard to tell. If a guy like Thomas Welsh can play big minutes for UCLA I don't think you can rule it out. Isner isn't as big, but he's probably a better athlete and if he could get his shooting to a high level he'd be similar.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
You can't assume Schwartzman and Karlovic are equally talented.
I didn't say that. I'm pointing out they are both outliers.
For starters I assume that the population of kids that picks up a racket and grows to Schwartzman's size is larger (pun intended) than the population of kids that grows to be Karlovic size. Also, height keeps giving more serving advantage, whereas being short basically has no benefit under 175.
Probably correct, and I think that poly has skewed tennis more towards the tall side, also more modern rackets.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
Please. Did you not watch the playoffs? While there was a bit of help from refs, Cleveland was only in the finals because of James. The solo aspect of tennis would not be the problem.
No, but I've watched enough basketball and tennis to know that the associations between them movement-wise are vastly overstated - mostly by people promoting the idea that James could have been an amazing tennis player.

I keep hearing tennis is all this specialized skill, athletics have little to do with it.... Hand-eye coordination is hand-eye coordination. If you can put a ball through a hoop while on the move from more than a foot away, you can learn to hit a tennis ball with a racquet.

Some of the rationalization is just... wow.
I disagree and empirical evidence shows virtually no correlation between the comparatively child's play actions of throwing/catching to the vastly more technical and fine-tuned skills/movement required to hit forehands, backhands and serves. And once you add that level of additional complexity in you find that tennis is self-governing in respect to who can excel at it. Most people don't have the potential no matter what and most great athletes from other sports don't either - even some legendary athletes who people repeatedly make the simplistic mistake of thinking are somehow suited to any other sport they want to argue about. It just does not work that way.

People also often say stuff like the reason there aren't any legendary 6'10'' tennis players is because the athletes of that height all went to other, more lucrative sports. But an opposite scenario is just as likely: those 6'8'' and taller athletes lean towards team sports because they perhaps never possessed the mental aptitude to excel at individual sports. We can test this theory by looking at other individual sports such as sprinting or decathlon or swimming... Lo and behold in all of them there are no competitive athletes over about 6'5'' and the bulk of the best are usually closer to about 6'1''/6'2''. So, is it because those sports also have height-related performance decline past a certain point like tennis, or maybe the people who you and others want to believe would rule tennis or any of those sports are simply not cut out for the quite different mental rigors that individual sports demand. Evidence of people who have tried is that crossover between team to individual sports is very rare when you look at the ability level they attain.
 

RVAtennisaddict

Professional
Jordon retired from Basketball to play Baseball, before coming back. And is reported to be a scratch golfer.

my experience with D1 Baseball pitcher. He was right handed but blew his shoulder out and after 3 surgeries had to quit baseball. His daughter starts playing tennis, so he picks it up (6-2 height). Plays at a 3.5 level - self rated. He played right handed, but served left handed better than most of the 4-0's I played. He went 4-0 but got bored with tennis.

My experience with D1 lacross middie- started playing tennis 1 year ago, his father-in-law is a 60-65 yo 4.5 right handed tennis player (and was a 4.5 playing left handed while recovering from rotator cuff surgery). He was bumped after one year at 3.5 to 4.0. He serve is weak but he runs everything down and gets it all back (mid 20's), no tennis experience prior to a year ago.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
http://www.vidamind.com.au/actual-playing-time-in-tennis/When numbers speak …

Most people have the impression that a tennis match takes a long time. That idea in your mind greatly affects the way you practice, train and condition. And it also affects your attitude when you go out to play a match.
It's less about the time and more about the distance and type movement you do in tennis and what you have to be able to do well at the end of each of those movements (i.e. hitting the ball.) The decision-making pressure happens vastly more often and the penalties for getting it wrong higher than in basketball which is why the mental aspect of tennis immediately rules out most people from ever potentially being any good - including most athletes from other sports.

Aside from the harder, peak moments basketball also entails a whole heap of sauntering around at half pace waiting for something to happen. It's not a 48 minute long beep test by any stretch. The average distance a basketball player runs in a game is not much more than 2 miles. The highest distance for a player in 2012 was Luol Deng (Bulls) who averaged 2.72 miles a game across the season. Compared to tennis that doesn't look any more impressive at all when you compare the type of movement of each sport
 
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Deleted member 716271

Guest
Disagree guys over 6'2 or 6'3 can move as well, regardless of how great athletes they are. Pure speed, vertical, insane overall athleticism like Lebron, and MJ etc is not the same as agility on a tennis court. The basketball player with the best shot would be the athletic PG prototypes who are listed at 6'3 and really around 6'2 barefoot. Guys like Kyrie, Steph, Westbrook etc.
 

TheFifthSet

Legend
Please. Did you not watch the playoffs? While there was a bit of help from refs, Cleveland was only in the finals because of James. The solo aspect of tennis would not be the problem.
Helps that they play in the East, a conference that has been weaker for the past 20 years. It also helps that the team they placed in the ECF was missing its two best players and still took them to 7.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
I appreciate your well thought out and supported reply. My thought about a Lebron type player in the tennis world has more to do with his freakish athletic abilites than how well basketball skills translate to tennis skills. For the most part, the world's best athletes didn't choose tennis or never had an opportunity to play tennis.
I have no doubt he is a freak athlete, but it is always within a realm that must have some consideration for how he/they ended up in the sport they did. Even factoring out regional sports biases there is no doubt that at some point these guys who are obviously going to be tall are lazily shepherded towards basketball because it's the easiest choice for parents and high school coaches to make. Whereas to chose tennis requires a lot more thought and consideration from the kid, parent and whoever at their school is pushing things. There absolutely must be significant in-built biases within schools/cities/regions/countries as to what group of sports their kids invariably end up being coaxed into. Without knowing that tennis was given as a reasonable option it's perverse logic to suggest the best athletes avoided tennis because basketball hoovered them up. The coach, school, cultural biases play a much larger role - a fact completely obvious in the racial make-up of top basketballers.

Also, I highly disagree with you regarding hand quickness, throwing/catching, and jumping. We never even got into foot speed, fast twitch muscles movement, and overall quickness and reaction times. Hand speed and wrist movement have huge impact on spin production in tennis, serve speed, and volleying.
We can vaguely agree here but disagree on details. The type of footwork required in tennis is non-existent in basketball. Watch John Isner and Ivo Karlovic play and what is the key thing missing that hinders their game? It's not the pure speed, it's the finer footwork. This provides a good example of the limitations that extreme height starts having on your ability at the top levels of tennis. And to assume with no supporting evidence at all that LeBron would somehow be the first man of his height in history to be different is just pie-in-the-sky silliness imo. You may as well be claiming Monfils would be a NBA basketballer "for sure" if he'd chosen that path. We don't know that and we can't know it based on what we've seen from him. He would more than likely be more suited than Federer or Djokovic but other than that it's just silliness to guess.

Throwing a football/baseball is strikingly similar to serving. catching a ball is equally revelvant in the aspects of touch and feel, especially at the net. Jumping isn't a huge priority in tennis but it certainly doesn't hurt. Just look at the incredible shots Monfils is able to pull off because of his leaping abilities.
Throwing a football/baseball is about 80% physiology/physique and 20% technique. Serving is about 80% technique and 20% physiology/physique (height ignored - just talking about arms/shoulders/back/angles/flexibility etc). Vaguely similar, but you've segued from basketball to other sports - are we expanding the circle to create a single tennis player out of the attributes seen in three other sports now? Fwiw, catching a basketball is pretty clearly laughably more simple and less technique-demanding than hitting a tennis ball. So is throwing, however precise they might be.

We will have to disagree as tennis still is not in any position to draw the world's best athletes into the sport. It will merely have to be speculative for a long time.
I'm not disagreeing with you on that last point. But I also disagree completely that basketball somehow ended up with the best either when you consider all aspects of athleticism. And if you go further and factor in aptitude basketball must necessarily fall even further behind by virtue of there being no empirical evidence supporting the notion that any top basketballer has shown they would be suited to tennis given the vast gap in technical and mental demands of each. Being tall, fast, strong simply isn't good enough even if you add in the ability to pass/catch a ball at the highest levels. As I said earlier, learning how to hit each stroke in tennis is in the order of dozens of times more difficult than learning how to pass/catch. And then the type of movement tennis demands is specific to being able to do those strokes in dozens of different situations of balance/height etc.
 
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Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
You are mixing up everything.

...James would be good to any sports he would have decided to play because of that massive physical advantage he has over many athletes and that some still struggle to get in a lifetime (Berdych, Raonic...)
How many sports Lebron could never be legitimately good* at do you want me to list?

Squash, decathlon, middle or long distance running, high jump...

(*when I say good I mean as-in world class, not good compared to his mates from work)
 

oldmanfan

Legend
That's not true because tall athletes do not consider tennis as an opportunity. I know this is a tennis forum but people really overrate the sport. It's not a global sport like volleyball or basketball that draw massive audience and if you are 6'4" + like talent, chances are you are either playing football, basketball... which draws lot of tall athletic people.

Tennis is a euro-centered middle-class sport. The best athletes generally do not have the means to engage in a tennis career contrarily to soccer or basketball where you can basically have a hoop anywhere.

Lebron is a physical genius. The dude is 33, never gets hurt and is not even in any kind of decline at that age. He even played football that is way rougher than tennis.

Durant is the greatest 6'9" athlete you'll ever see in sports. Footwork, agility, speed, vertical, stop & go, change of direction... you need to watch this guy carefully to understand that a person this tall should not be so good at these kinds of things at all.

These people are all time greats and there's no doubt they'd very good at tennis because of how they have the characteristics of short and tall people.

Yeah, for sure if you take the regular 6'9"er then you get the boring Isner's of this world...

But, a dude like Kobe Bryant trumps Berdych or Raonic in terms of athleticism anytime anywhere. Bryant was good in many other sports too when he was in Europe. And, no one will make me believe that Isner or Karlovic are more athletic than people like Anthony Davis despite being way taller.
Lebron and Durant may be all that you've stated. But have you considered 'racquet-skills' if they transition to a tennis player?

All top-1000 tennis players, especially recent generations, have decent-to-great FH, BH, serve; meaning good 'racquet-skills'. But how many have Federer/Nadal/Djokovic level of racquet-skills? Obviously not many, or they would've dominate alongside/similar-to Fedalovic. In all the years since John McEnroe joined tennis, how many have JMac's racquet-skills? Federer might be the closest one, but he's GOAT-level.

Sure, Lebron and Durant are amazing athletes in basketball, and they might be able to translate their athletic attributes into tennis, with varying successes.

But to contend as an ATG or GOAT-level tennis player, is it 'realistic' to think that Lebron and Druant can also develop Federer/Nadal/Djokovic/McEnroe-levels of racquet-skills? Even though there was almost nobody out of the whole populace of tennis, of all heights, in the last few decades who could do it?
 

RVAtennisaddict

Professional
He never made it to the major leagues playing baseball so I'm not sure what this is supposed to prove.
No, he made it to the minor leagues for one season (immediately after retiring), hit 0.252 in the fall against the top prospects for that year and then stopped baseball and returned to basketball during the MLB Strike (so he wouldn't make it to the majors as a scrub.

I would venture that there are few other athletes who could retire and within 2-3 months be playing competitively in another sport (significantly different too) at the "minor league" level.

The point is that true athletes skills sets/mental game transfer. But height is not a big deal in tennis (I believe the magic height in tennis to be 6'1" to 3" - tall enough to hit down on a serve and get it over the net but not so big to encumber movement.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
Because I am curious I try to check things out statistically that other people just talk about.

This is why I carefully looked at every player who is on the list for a lot of aces, and every player who is on the list for winning a lot of service games. I did the most complete collection for grass, but I'll round out the other surfaces later.

The results were really not surprising.

1. Tall guys serve the most aces. No surprise there. But none of them win enough return games to be competitive at the top in big events, at least for winning them.

2. Short guys serve the least aces. No surprise there either. None of them win enough service games to be competitive at the top, although this is far more true today than in the past.

3. Guys like Fed and Sampras hit a lot of aces, but they aren't even close to the top of the list. You can't go by total aces because this is linked to longevity. You have to look at aces per games.

4. For aces per game, Karlovic is king, with about 1.5 per game. Isner is #2 at 1.4. It can't be coincidence that the two giants lead all players in the last 25 years or so.

5. The third guy on the list, serving a bit over 1.3 aces per game, is Ivanisevic, and this height is important because this is where we start seeing guys with crushing serves who also move better. The good movement is not common at this height, but think of Kyrgios and others from earlier eras who were around 6'4".

6. At around 6'3" it gets better for movement, though the height of some players is probably exaggerated. Murray is listed at that height, also Boris Becker. We're starting to move towards ATGs. Aces are a bit lower for the best servers at this height, but the gain in movement easily overcompensates for any loss in serving angle.

It's pretty obvious where the "sweet spot" lays in modern tennis, and it's around 6 feet tall and a bit more. In the time of Kramer and Pancho Gonazlez it was around the same,

But here's an interesting question: What changed in the 60s and 70s. Not one of the top players, the guys who were #1 year after year, were taller than 6 feet. Besides Laver and Rosewall, who by today's standards were almost midgets, you also had Borg, Connors, McEnroe, all shorter. What was it about tennis of that time that gave an edge to slightly shorter players?

Regardless, it's pretty clear what the best height is for tennis, and it's not over 6'5". In fact, that's where problems start.

Finally, aces per game is not going up in general except for the giants, none of whom are dominating. What is going down: DFs per game. This has reached an all time low, and poly is the reason. More spin, more safety. Both Fed and Nadal DF a bit less than 12% of the time in each game, the lowest I've seen. Nadal only gets an ace about 40% of the time, just about the lowest of any top player, but he gives almost nothing away. What most people miss is that he wins a lot of games on serve, almost as much as some of the much stronger servers, because of his return skills. This is where shorter players dominate. The return skills assist the serve so much that they win a lot of games, and Fed is a perfect example of a shorter guy - obvious 6'1" being short is relative - and so has number on games that are like very talented servers who are much taller.
 
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travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Disagree guys over 6'2 or 6'3 can move as well, regardless of how great athletes they are. Pure speed, vertical, insane overall athleticism like Lebron, and MJ etc is not the same as agility on a tennis court. The basketball player with the best shot would be the athletic PG prototypes who are listed at 6'3 and really around 6'2 barefoot. Guys like Kyrie, Steph, Westbrook etc.
I think Lebron would have been pretty good at tennis had he started playing at age 5. He'd serve like Ivanisevic, cover the net on S&V like Rafter, crush returns like Safin, and retrieve on D like Monfils. Scary.
 
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Deleted member 716271

Guest
I think Lebron would have been pretty good at tennis had he started playing at age 5. He'd serve like Ivanisevic, cover the net on S&V like Rafter, crush returns like Safin, and retrieve on D like Monfils. Scary.
Don't think he could move as well as a Djokovic/Nadal etc side to side back and forth with good, precise tennis footwork (Small steps etc). Would pick a Curry or Westbrook over him as a tennis prodigy.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Don't think he could move as well as a Djokovic/Nadal etc side to side back and forth with good, precise tennis footwork (Small steps etc). Would pick a Curry or Westbrook over him as a tennis prodigy.
Don't underestimate Lebron, or he'll posterize you with a dunk overhead. Also, the advantage of broad shoulders for serving is underappreciated (helps guys like Becker, Sampras, and Roddick serve taller than their height). Curry's serve would look like Simon's, but Lebron's kicker would just explode.
 
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Deleted member 716271

Guest
Don't underestimate Lebron, or he'll posterize you with a dunk overhead. Also, the advantage of broad shoulders for serving is underappreciated (helps guys like Becker, Sampras, and Roddick serve taller than their height). Curry's serve would look like Simon's, but Lebron's kicker would just explode.
I think it's long arms more than broad shoulders, although obviously Lebron would have both. Don't like the movement for guys over 6'3 or so for modern tennis no matter how good of an athlete but I Could be wrong
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I think it's long arms more than broad shoulders, although obviously Lebron would have both. Don't like the movement for guys over 6'3 or so for modern tennis no matter how good of an athlete but I Could be wrong
Rajon Rondo’s arms dangle down to his ankles. He’d probably be able to cover the court while serving pretty big.
 
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Deleted member 742196

Guest
I just don't buy it. The myth, the legend the *whatever*.... Basketball isn't that similar to tennis and the type of movement tennis players absolutely must be good at starts diminishing from about 6'2''.

As for super fast hands and leaping ability... you know - crossover skills which have pretty much zero actual relevance to tennis. Tennis is not about fast hands, it's about fantastic, consistently produced technique and requires a stable torso and head which few people can manage. The tennis-specific traits are virtually non-existent in basketball. There is so much difference between throwing/catching a ball and holding an implement and using it as a tool like in tennis (or golf) across a range of completely different motions (strokes). Most of those finer details are basically non-existent in the passing/catching of balls which, beyond minor tweaks, requires next to no coaching on once you're already established as good at it. Basketball is more about how you shine within the team dynamic and understanding the plays. Tennis is the opposite, it's all you. Tons of people who are amazing team sports athletes are truly horrendous when the mental duress of any task is entirely on them.

This isn't to say that a guy like James couldn't have learned to play tennis. Rather that aside from being great at basketball he has never demonstrated that he has that ability at all to support pie-in-the-sky claims about how well his general physical feats and capabilities could be transfered to tennis in the form of an amazing tennis player. The idea probably has less merit than claiming Tiger Woods could have made a great tennis player. Arguably, his knack for fine-tuned technique using an implement and incredible concentration skills make him more suited as a sports cross-over thought experiment than any basketballer.
If I understand what you’re saying, a stronger, quicker, buffer, more durable, version of Cilic, Delpotro or Zverev would have no success at tennis?

Interesting.
 

hugobosstachini

Professional
Volleyball? Seriously?
You know volleyball crowds are two to three times bigger than the one of tennis? Volleyball is an extremely popular sport especially in Asian countries [I don't know about the US] . It's also a sport that does not require any kind of infrastructures other than a ball, that can be played anywhere, especially in areas where people like having fun (e.g. at the beach) which participates in making it popular.

It is impossible to say whether anyone has the requisite coordination and motor skills to actually develop high level tennis technique no matter how athletic or tall they are. Then of course there are the separate issues of movement, mentality, fitness, etc. How on earth can you know if someone has the requisite wrist flexibility/fast twitch forearm muscles necessary to generate pro level racket head speed by watching them play basketball? Baseball is a much better comparable from that regard.
Technology.

I wouldn't rule out Isner being able to play D1. He's more coordinated/agile than most college bigs, at least the ones that don't go pro, and seems to have a nice shooting stroke too. Also has a pretty big 6'10" frame that he could easily fill out to 260 ish if he wasn't playing tennis considering he weighs 245 now.
Yeah, D1. Isner isn't NBA material nor Karlovic. Most tennis players would be terrible at NBA even Nadal. Well to me at least in current NBA. Right now it seems to me you have to be 6'3" or 6'4"+ with the speed and agility of a guard. Even the best centers and power forwards of the current game can drive, handle the ball, lead the plays at times and shoot 3's.
 

Tommy Haas

Hall of Fame
I don't think a basketball players movement translates well to tennis. Soccer would be the best sport to carry over footwork to tennis. For the upper body, it would be the golf and baseball swing requiring core strength. The serve perhaps a quarterback's spiral with the pronation.
 

hugobosstachini

Professional
Lebron and Durant may be all that you've stated. But have you considered 'racquet-skills' if they transition to a tennis player?

All top-1000 tennis players, especially recent generations, have decent-to-great FH, BH, serve; meaning good 'racquet-skills'. But how many have Federer/Nadal/Djokovic level of racquet-skills? Obviously not many, or they would've dominate alongside/similar-to Fedalovic. In all the years since John McEnroe joined tennis, how many have JMac's racquet-skills? Federer might be the closest one, but he's GOAT-level.

Sure, Lebron and Durant are amazing athletes in basketball, and they might be able to translate their athletic attributes into tennis, with varying successes.

But to contend as an ATG or GOAT-level tennis player, is it 'realistic' to think that Lebron and Druant can also develop Federer/Nadal/Djokovic/McEnroe-levels of racquet-skills? Even though there was almost nobody out of the whole populace of tennis, of all heights, in the last few decades who could do it?
This I agree on the racket skills. In BB that's also the reason why very tall people are bad at shooting. They lack the feel and control people with smaller hands can have. Shaq's palms a basketball which is roughly the size of a person's head so it's true that their biggest weakness would be racket handling.

On the pure athletic side of things, those who watch things like NBA Draft Combine, which basically pushes these players to the limit with various complex exercises know that most of these dudes are just pure athletic beasts for their heights. People like Isner, Berdych, Raonic or Karlovic would never cut it in the Combine. They're just not athletic.

This video is kind of a good preview. Can't really find better stuff on this.


This was a video from 6 years ago before Durant's peak. I think he foot speed was kinda under par here but would be interesting to see this but now in his peak (starts at 1:12). Durant's reaction time is really incredible though. The guy is 6'9" this should not be possible lol.

 
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Bluefan75

Professional
No, but I've watched enough basketball and tennis to know that the associations between them movement-wise are vastly overstated - mostly by people promoting the idea that James could have been an amazing tennis player.


I disagree and empirical evidence shows virtually no correlation between the comparatively child's play actions of throwing/catching to the vastly more technical and fine-tuned skills/movement required to hit forehands, backhands and serves. And once you add that level of additional complexity in you find that tennis is self-governing in respect to who can excel at it. Most people don't have the potential no matter what and most great athletes from other sports don't either - even some legendary athletes who people repeatedly make the simplistic mistake of thinking are somehow suited to any other sport they want to argue about. It just does not work that way.

People also often say stuff like the reason there aren't any legendary 6'10'' tennis players is because the athletes of that height all went to other, more lucrative sports. But an opposite scenario is just as likely: those 6'8'' and taller athletes lean towards team sports because they perhaps never possessed the mental aptitude to excel at individual sports. We can test this theory by looking at other individual sports such as sprinting or decathlon or swimming... Lo and behold in all of them there are no competitive athletes over about 6'5'' and the bulk of the best are usually closer to about 6'1''/6'2''. So, is it because those sports also have height-related performance decline past a certain point like tennis, or maybe the people who you and others want to believe would rule tennis or any of those sports are simply not cut out for the quite different mental rigors that individual sports demand. Evidence of people who have tried is that crossover between team to individual sports is very rare when you look at the ability level they attain.
Yep, it's because they are "not cut out for the rigors of individual sports." This has nothing to do with it:

1 Stephen Curry, PG Golden State Warriors $34,382,550
2 LeBron James, SF Cleveland Cavaliers $33,285,709
3 Paul Millsap, PF Denver Nuggets $31,269,231
4 Blake Griffin, PF LA Clippers $29,727,900
5 Gordon Hayward, SF Boston Celtics $29,727,900
6 Kyle Lowry, PG Toronto Raptors $28,703,704
7 Mike Conley, PG Memphis Grizzlies $28,530,608
8 Russell Westbrook, PG Oklahoma City Thunder $28,530,608
9 James Harden, PG Houston Rockets $28,299,399
10 DeMar DeRozan, SG Toronto Raptors $27,739,975

That's the top 10. #39 is the first guy not at $20 million. Follow the money.

Ian Thorpe is 6'7". Plenty of swimmers near that height.

Decathlon wouldn't be the same because the shot put doesn't work well with a tall guy, and there are events beyond the 100m and the high jump. But it doesn't really matter, because you're either willfully blind or completely obtuse to think tennis players are on decathletes' level for athleticism.
 
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Bluefan75

Professional
I don't think a basketball players movement translates well to tennis. Soccer would be the best sport to carry over footwork to tennis. For the upper body, it would be the golf and baseball swing requiring core strength. The serve perhaps a quarterback's spiral with the pronation.
Play defense for a couple possessions and then tell me the movement doesn't translate. You could change directions three times while guarding a guy in the amount of time you have between tennis shots. Hakeem Olajuwon was renowned for his footwork. Said he got it from soccer. So soccer footwork can tranlsate to hoops, and to tennis, but hoops footwork can't?

"Requiring core strength"? What do you people think guys do? There is no "core strength" among athletes in other sports?
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
If I understand what you’re saying, a stronger, quicker, buffer, more durable, version of Cilic, Delpotro or Zverev would have no success at tennis?

Interesting.
Not at all if it's from a purely physique comparison.

But if look at what tennis actually required and also consider that Lebron hasn't done anything that indicates he has the aptitude for an extremely technical sport like tennis it becomes very hard to accept he would be amazing when on probability alone he should be fairly rubbish. This is based on the vast majority of people who are otherwise really good at sport still being rubbish at tennis per se (and golf for what it's worth), or the specific skills which all top tennis player must excel at in order to be successful.

Being tall, strong, fit, fast like LeBron is almost entirely genetic luck and has next to no impact on the other skills required.
 
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Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
Yep, it's because they are "not cut out for the rigors of individual sports." This has nothing to do with it:

1 Stephen Curry, PG Golden State Warriors $34,382,550
2 LeBron James, SF Cleveland Cavaliers $33,285,709
3 Paul Millsap, PF Denver Nuggets $31,269,231...
Oh. You're one of those "special" people who thinks there is a strong correlation between athletic prowess and dollars earned or that when kids are 12 years old making the primary decisions about which sporting path they will take they all receive career guidance on the earning prospects of each sport they have available at their local school.

Decathlon wouldn't be the same because the shot put doesn't work well with a tall guy, and there are events beyond the 100m and the high jump. But it doesn't really matter, because you're either willfully blind or completely obtuse to think tennis players are on decathletes' level for athleticism.
If being really tall was an additional advantage in a couple of events then it would be of net benefit regardless of it hindering the shot put event. But we don't see any (decent) decathletes who go down that path because there is simply not remotely significant gain in those other events to cover for any downside in others.

In fact decathlon is a good example and I introduced it to see how many muppets there were who would argue they are among the greatest athletes. As it would happen they are only average in each discipline. They are all-rounders of no special note in any event. That is their unique skill - being superb all-rounders. Few ever are capable of competing at an individual level in any of the 10 disciplines. Tennis however does have specialists who are among the best in all sports at certain things. The beep test for example - aside from squash and a few other sports the comparisons I've seen put them well ahead of decathletes and basketballers. And do you know what is a factor in the basketballer's relative performance? Yep, they're generally much taller and this hinders them in a movement which is highly relevant to tennis.

A pointless point if ever there was one.

As for Ian Thorpe.. a couple of outliers make no difference to the narrative. Apparently they don't teach they anymore. :rolleyes:
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
No, he made it to the minor leagues for one season (immediately after retiring), hit 0.252 in the fall against the top prospects for that year and then stopped baseball and returned to basketball during the MLB Strike (so he wouldn't make it to the majors as a scrub.

I would venture that there are few other athletes who could retire and within 2-3 months be playing competitively in another sport (significantly different too) at the "minor league" level.

The point is that true athletes skills sets/mental game transfer. But height is not a big deal in tennis (I believe the magic height in tennis to be 6'1" to 3" - tall enough to hit down on a serve and get it over the net but not so big to encumber movement.
MJ was garbage at pro baseball. Tebow is a guy that actually could have played if he had focused on it from the start, likely not MJ who had no MLB skills besides his speed and ok control of the strike zone. Tebow's performance in double A utterly destroys what MJ did and Tebow still has no actual future as a major leaguer.

It's hard to make cross sport comparisons between sports which are highly skill intensive such as baseball and tennis. If you don't have an extremely high baseline of skills you are going to be awful at those sports in a pro context no matter how athletic you are, which is not true for basketball or football.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
You know volleyball crowds are two to three times bigger than the one of tennis? Volleyball is an extremely popular sport especially in Asian countries [I don't know about the US] . It's also a sport that does not require any kind of infrastructures other than a ball, that can be played anywhere, especially in areas where people like having fun (e.g. at the beach) which participates in making it popular.



Technology.



Yeah, D1. Isner isn't NBA material nor Karlovic. Most tennis players would be terrible at NBA even Nadal. Well to me at least in current NBA. Right now it seems to me you have to be 6'3" or 6'4"+ with the speed and agility of a guard. Even the best centers and power forwards of the current game can drive, handle the ball, lead the plays at times and shoot 3's.
What's the worldwide revenue of pro volleyball? Tennis is probably around 1.5 billion, which isn't that much, but that's because of the structure of the tour (no consolidated teams, spread out locations, makes it hard to get massive TV deals). Pro tennis is still a major worldwide sport, probably 3rd most popular worldwide. Volleyball is simply not a major sport, unlike soccer, tennis or one of the 4 north american sports. I'd wager most volleyball players are those not athletic or coordinated enough to play basketball, so its talent pool is basically part of another bigger sport, and most play it to get easy college scholarships not go pro, because everyone else of that height who's more athletic is playing basketball or football. Then again, the same is true of tennis in the US these days.
 

existential dread

Professional
One thing that hasn't been brought up is foot size. Durant's feet, IMO, are too big to make him an incredibly agile tennis player. By comparison, Jordan has smaller feet than even Curry, which is one of the reasons why he was so agile even at his size. Also, saying Hakeem can guard other NBA centers doesn't say much about his own athleticism.
 

Wander

Hall of Fame
Some people even here have this fear that tennis is going become dominated by players approaching seven feet, but there is little evidence at all that development is going that way. Nadal has also spoken out about fearing that the sport will become more and more dominated by the serve in the future, but really, is this a legitimate threat? I'm not convinced that technology is going to make the fastest serves much faster than what they are right now although the average serving performance of players might yet improve.

We'll see what the development is in the coming years, but I don't see the tower-tennis-scenario happening. Servebots are too far away from dominating.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
It's hard to make cross sport comparisons between sports which are highly skill intensive such as baseball and tennis. If you don't have an extremely high baseline of skills you are going to be awful at those sports in a pro context no matter how athletic you are, which is not true for basketball or football.
This.. It's amazing how often, and to what extent, people still conflate athletic genetic luck with the high level of baseline skills required for a sport like tennis. Even between basketball and tennis there is a huge gap. There is just no pleasing some people but you only need to take your mate who is good at passing/catching/shooting a basketball for some simple dexterity tests to see they are mostly only above average and that's about it. A semi-decent club tennis player however is right among the very highest levels of metrics in regards to dexterity and hand-eye coordination. But people somehow extend basketball skills greatness to other skills greatness which is poor logic.

Of course LeBron will be better than most, probably even much better - but also probably not close to even a top club tennis player in terms of particular aptitude and skills range. So, the question really is: what evidence is there that if he has chosen tennis at age 12 that he would have been great at tennis?

The correct answer is: there is none. Maybe he would have been, but more the likely he would not. Without any decent evidence for it - the huge sore point among butthurt LeBron fans - the default position must be that there is just no credible argument for most of the stuff people try and claim. In all probability he would have been nowhere near good enough to excel at tennis, just like most other people - even those who excel at sport.

Look at it another way. If people who think LeBron would have been an amazing tennis player take a second to look at all these tennis players they say aren't all that great athletes then ponder what makes those tennis players so good among the few who are great athletes? It must be particular skills they are adept at. If those skills are so important in the make-up of tennis potential then is must also stand to reason that there, at some point, is a strong self-selection bias in tennis towards people with those particular skills. I.e. if you don't have them, you cannot complete no matter how much you make up for the shortfall in athleticism. Ergo: LeBron is highly unlikely to have the potential to be a great tennis player based on a total lack of evidence showing otherwise (as is the case for virtually everyone).
 
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Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
You know volleyball crowds are two to three times bigger than the one of tennis? Volleyball is an extremely popular sport especially in Asian countries [I don't know about the US]..
Don't take the ****. Volleyball is a niche sport even moreso than tennis is globally.
 

Bluefan75

Professional
This.. It's amazing how often, and to what extent, people still conflate athletic genetic luck with the high level of baseline skills required for a sport like tennis. Even between basketball and tennis there is a huge gap. There is just no pleasing some people but you only need to take your mate who is good at passing/catching/shooting a basketball for some simple dexterity tests to see they are mostly only above average and that's about it. A semi-decent club tennis player however is right among the very highest levels of metrics in regards to dexterity and hand-eye coordination. But people somehow extend basketball skills greatness to other skills greatness which is poor logic.

Of course LeBron will be better than most, probably even much better - but also probably not close to even a top club tennis player in terms of particular aptitude and skills range. So, the question really is: what evidence is there that if he has chosen tennis at age 12 that he would have been great at tennis?

The correct answer is: there is none. Maybe he would have been, but more the likely he would not. Without any decent evidence for it - the huge sore point among butthurt LeBron fans - the default position must be that there is just no credible argument for most of the stuff people try and claim. In all probability he would have been nowhere near good enough to excel at tennis, just like most other people - even those who excel at sport.

Look at it another way. If people who think LeBron would have been an amazing tennis player take a second to look at all these tennis players they say aren't all that great athletes then ponder what makes those tennis players so good among the few who are great athletes? It must be particular skills they are adept at. If those skills are so important in the make-up of tennis potential then is must also stand to reason that there, at some point, is a strong self-selection bias in tennis towards people with those particular skills. I.e. if you don't have them, you cannot complete no matter how much you make up for the shortfall in athleticism. Ergo: LeBron is highly unlikely to have the potential to be a great tennis player based on a total lack of evidence showing otherwise (as is the case for virtually everyone).
"A semi-decent club tennis player however is right among the very highest levels of metrics in regards to dexterity and hand-eye coordination." Is there some kind of ego you are protecting? Because this statement is far less accurate than any of the ones you have railed against in this thread. The default position must be, your statements are utter rubbish.

Karlovic and Isner are called serve bots constantly, they have no strokes other than a serve. Yet they manage to, respectively, win tournaments at the age of 37, and stay in the top 20 a very long time. What do they have in common? Being 6'10". So they can't apparently play tennis, yet somehow have success. But a guy that height who actually has ability to do other things has no chance?

This is almost starting to sound like a tennis version of protectionism.
 

Bluefan75

Professional
MJ was garbage at pro baseball. Tebow is a guy that actually could have played if he had focused on it from the start, likely not MJ who had no MLB skills besides his speed and ok control of the strike zone. Tebow's performance in double A utterly destroys what MJ did and Tebow still has no actual future as a major leaguer.

It's hard to make cross sport comparisons between sports which are highly skill intensive such as baseball and tennis. If you don't have an extremely high baseline of skills you are going to be awful at those sports in a pro context no matter how athletic you are, which is not true for basketball or football.
MJ spent half a season at the age of 31 after playing basketball exclusively for a decade. But ok. Plant your flag on that hill.
 

Your Hero

Professional
There's such a thing as being too tall. I'm 6'3". I went out with a girl who was 4'10"
once upon a time. Anyone who's been through this will know exactly what I mean.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
"A semi-decent club tennis player however is right among the very highest levels of metrics in regards to dexterity and hand-eye coordination." Is there some kind of ego you are protecting? Because this statement is far less accurate than any of the ones you have railed against in this thread. The default position must be, your statements are utter rubbish.
No. I have been involved in reaction/dexterity/skills testing of people at a research level across dozens of disciplines including various sports, mechanics, surgeons etc. And tennis players - in the testing done - came out consistently in the top group in reactions and a number of other coordination tests.

Other research has also shown similar indicators of all-roundedness. But, you, some random guy on the internet knows better yeah because he loves basketball?

Karlovic and Isner are called serve bots constantly, they have no strokes other than a serve. Yet they manage to, respectively, win tournaments at the age of 37, and stay in the top 20 a very long time. What do they have in common? Being 6'10". So they can't apparently play tennis, yet somehow have success. But a guy that height who actually has ability to do other things has no chance?
You omit to include another detail here though. Both Karlovic and Isner have extremely good serve technique and general coordination/dexterity. Their height is what has limited their games as much as helped their serves.

What you also seem to not consider is that they are also among the extremely rare few who, after picking up tennis and becoming 6'6''+ giants in their teens, saw most of their similar-height peers fall by the wayside for the same reason most people who aspire to be tennis players fall by the wayside: lack of ability.

So, in Karlovic and Isner you're not seeing an example of a tall person showing how being tall is such an advantage you can do well at tennis despite being average athletes . You're seeing an example of how if you are really tall and are a rare, lucky person to have the innate skill, and had the right support in the formative years then they are the result. Good, excellent even, players whose entire careers have been as notably hindered by their height as it has been helped.

So, when you say "But a guy that height who actually has ability to do other things has no chance?" you are really asking: would an amazing athlete who is tall but has never anywhere demonstrated he has the aptitude for the type of skills tennis requires at a technical level be a shoe-in as a potentially great player?

The answer is no. Maybe, possibly. But not probably or likely.

Sorry, but the chances are LeBron would be rubbish at tennis based on the huge numbers of tall people who did try tennis, and were good at club, college or lower tour level but who have never achieved anything of note in the sport. Again, Karlovic and Isner do have special talents at the sport which almost, just almost, overcome the huge and obvious downsides of their extreme height in a sport like tennis. And you think they wouldn't apply to LeBron effectively because "whatever" or "he is the greatest basketballer of this century" type ridiculous logic?
 

Sudacafan

Bionic Poster
-Serves 150MPH on average (fastest serve 175 MPH) serve volleys every point
-Hits forehands at 130 MPH
-Backhands at 110 MPH
-As slow as Karlovic, not that it matters much.

This guy plays basketball. But what if he played tennis instead? Would you enjoy watching him hit 24 aces every set?

That would be fun to watch, in the way we are sometimes attracted to circus entertainment. We could take our kids.
 

mental midget

Hall of Fame
too tall. point's already been made but tennis is always going to be about 2 things, movement and consistency. the physics of a body that big just don't work. usain bolt is the fastest man alive but diego schwartzman will destroy him in 20m suicides all day long, and that's what tennis movement looks like.

and from a racket control standpoint, levers are just too long. look how inconsistent the big guys are off the ground. too easy to get jammed up on short balls, etc.

as for the serve...at a certain point height isn't going to juice your mph's too much further. and it still has to go in the box. like anybody, they'll double fault, have to spin in second serves etc. and then they're dead in the water.

and the monster groundstrokes...that only happens if their feet are set. nobody's going to magically produce a 110 mph groundstroke off-balance leaning the wrong way. and set feet means moving to the ball. and being too tall means you can't do that often enough, well enough.

mostly, though, it's the movement. wrong body for the sport, end of story.
 

TenS_Ace

Professional
One thing that hasn't been brought up is foot size. Durant's feet, IMO, are too big to make him an incredibly agile tennis player. By comparison, Jordan has smaller feet than even Curry, which is one of the reasons why he was so agile even at his size. Also, saying Hakeem can guard other NBA centers doesn't say much about his own athleticism.
If urban myths actually exist, I don't think any ladies on here that have relaxed morals, would care if Durant's footwork wasn't that great :D:D
 

Enga

Hall of Fame
Even in basketball the taller guys don't necessarily move better. They're just a giant wall that can't be overcome. It's geometry. Only way a 7 foot tall guy is going to have an advantage in tennis is if the court were made bigger.
 
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