What made wimbledon slower?

Grass used to be as fast as indoor carpet. and now people say that even the USO ground is faster than wimby and talk about "green clay".

What are the factors that made wimbledon slower than in the 80s,90s? And did it really become slower?

did they change someething with the grass (longer, more dense...), do they have more dirt under the grass or what?

Or is it even the baseline style itself that rubs of the grass, so that only the clay remains? what is it?
 

PimpMyGame

Hall of Fame
They changed the type of grass used to 100% perennial rye, and this change enabled the groundsmen to keep the ground drier and firmer, resulting in a higher bounce.

Frankly, for all the Sampras love, his dominance at Wimbledon made the tournament a yawn-fest for all but the hardened tennis fan. It was also no coincidence that the last Wimby on the old surface was won by Ivanisevic, so more of the same with regard to big serves and not many returns.

Personally I think the change was the right thing to do as the game at its highest level was evolving at a rate that made grass obsolete. With change this tournament was able to maintain its prestige as a GS event; without change it would have become a joke.
 

dirtballer

Professional
Courts were reseeded with a different strain of grass which slowed them somewhat and the new strain of grass allowed the courts to be rolled tighter which created a higher bounce and also a more uniform bounce. In the old days bad bounces were the norm.
 

Lsmkenpo

Hall of Fame
Since 2002 they use a bigger, slower, higher bouncing ball at Wimbledon, designed specifically to slow the game. The ball is 6% bigger in diameter and studies showed it allowed the receiver 10% more reaction time to return serve and extend rallys. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/itf-introduces-three-types-of-balls-to-counter-power-game-670049.html



This was mandated by The International Tennis Federation in a vote in 2001, there are three different ball types used on the 3 different surfaces to homogenize the game.

Ball type 1- Clay, a smaller, faster, low bounce
Ball type 2- Hardcourt, A normal sized, medium bounce.
Ball type 3- Grass, oversized ball, slow,high bounce.
 

Blue Cat

Banned
They changed the grass (see post #2) and changed the balls. The ITF were always trying to slow down the grass in the 90's. I think they went a little too far slowing down other surfaces as well. To think that was enough they even got rid of carpet. Thankfully they forgot to slow down the five remaining fast courts of Dubai, Cincy, Paris, Madrid and Basel.
 

pmerk34

Legend
They changed the type of grass used to 100% perennial rye, and this change enabled the groundsmen to keep the ground drier and firmer, resulting in a higher bounce.

Frankly, for all the Sampras love, his dominance at Wimbledon made the tournament a yawn-fest for all but the hardened tennis fan. It was also no coincidence that the last Wimby on the old surface was won by Ivanisevic, so more of the same with regard to big serves and not many returns.

Personally I think the change was the right thing to do as the game at its highest level was evolving at a rate that made grass obsolete. With change this tournament was able to maintain its prestige as a GS event; without change it would have become a joke.
Ah yes, 1985-2001 the glory years of Wimbledon. ACE ACE, SERVICE WINNER, BARELY A RETURN. 2 Stroke rallies for weeks.
 

BrooklynNY

Hall of Fame
Ah yes, 1985-2001 the glory years of Wimbledon. ACE ACE, SERVICE WINNER, BARELY A RETURN. 2 Stroke rallies for weeks.
Considering its only 2 weeks. Not to mention, a week before there is a a pretty famous tournament by the name of Roland Garros...where there is nothing but 40 shot grind-fest rallies, a few drop shots, and no net play.
I don't think 2 weeks of 'boring' S&V tennis is too much to ask, maybe even 5 if you include some of the indoor events.

Players are so good at returning these days, right? Surely, there be some exciting tennis.
 

pmerk34

Legend
Considering its only 2 weeks. Not to mention, a week before there is a a pretty famous tournament by the name of Roland Garros...where there is nothing but 40 shot grind-fest rallies, a few drop shots, and no net play.
I don't think 2 weeks of 'boring' S&V tennis is too much to ask, maybe even 5 if you include some of the indoor events.

Players are so good at returning these days, right? Surely, there be some exciting tennis.
The French One played much quicker then in my opinion. Now it's a mud fest
 
They changed the grass (see post #2) and changed the balls. The ITF were always trying to slow down the grass in the 90's. I think they went a little too far slowing down other surfaces as well. To think that was enough they even got rid of carpet. Thankfully they forgot to slow down the five remaining fast courts of Dubai, Cincy, Paris, Madrid and Basel.
USO are also fast.
 

JimF

Rookie
It's a Lot More than the Grass, and Bounce is More important than Speed

Here's what slowed down Wimbledon. Also, the balls bounce much higher, which I contend is more important than the outright speed, turning Wimbledon into almost another clay court tournament.

As Boris Becker said, "I couldn't win at Wimbledon now, it's way too slow."

1) Denser-packed dirt
2) Different, thicker grass
3) Larger (8% CSA) tennis balls (type 3 Slazengers)
4) First three meant grass inside the service box is not worn out, because no one volleys, which means serves are slowed down, but by the finals, ground strokes bounce wildly because the baseline is like cracked concrete.

BBC did a video showing two near-identical 120 MPH serves by Fed, at Wimbledon, years apart. Second one bounced nearly a foot higher and was 10 MPH slower when it reached the returner.

Result: Nadal came to the net less often in his five-set win in 08, than Borg did against Vilas at the French Open on clay, in three sets. Back then, some people ridiculed Borg for being boring, and one dimensional, because he rarely came to the net. Now, Borg would look like a raging maniac of a net rusher. This is a main reason players with one-dimensional games are doing well. Full-court play is punished.

It's also a main reason ATP matches are getting longer and longer, along with players that stall for 40-60 seconds on first serves.

There are only (2) fast-court tournaments left on the ATP, the Paris Open (which was great, lots of variety, none of this park-10 feet behind the baseline for 30 an hour, rallies), and to a lesser extend the year end ATP World Cup ( which isn't fast, but has low bounces).
 

1477aces

Hall of Fame
Here's what slowed down Wimbledon. Also, the balls bounce much higher, which I contend is more important than the outright speed, turning Wimbledon into almost another clay court tournament.

As Boris Becker said, "I couldn't win at Wimbledon now, it's way too slow."

1) Denser-packed dirt
2) Different, thicker grass
3) Larger (8% CSA) tennis balls (type 3 Slazengers)
4) First three meant grass inside the service box is not worn out, because no one volleys, which means serves are slowed down, but by the finals, ground strokes bounce wildly because the baseline is like cracked concrete.

BBC did a video showing two near-identical 120 MPH serves by Fed, at Wimbledon, years apart. Second one bounced nearly a foot higher and was 10 MPH slower when it reached the returner.

Result: Nadal came to the net less often in his five-set win in 08, than Borg did against Vilas at the French Open on clay, in three sets. Back then, some people ridiculed Borg for being boring, and one dimensional, because he rarely came to the net. Now, Borg would look like a raging maniac of a net rusher. This is a main reason players with one-dimensional games are doing well. Full-court play is punished.

It's also a main reason ATP matches are getting longer and longer, along with players that stall for 40-60 seconds on first serves.

There are only (2) fast-court tournaments left on the ATP, the Paris Open (which was great, lots of variety, none of this park-10 feet behind the baseline for 30 an hour, rallies), and to a lesser extend the year end ATP World Cup ( which isn't fast, but has low bounces).
Couldn't have said it better. Seriously, i've got some stats.
Roddick vs. Haas. 2011 Australian Open 3rd round: Roddick serves 32 aces in 19 games: 1.68 aces a game
Roddick vs. Federer 2009 Wimbledon Final: Roddick serves 26 aces in 40 games: .65 aces a game.
And plexicushion is considered a slow hard court. This is on center court, i think the outside courts are still moving as fast as the USO.
 

JimF

Rookie
Aussie Open May be Slower Then the French Open

Couldn't have said it better. Seriously, i've got some stats.
Roddick vs. Haas. 2011 Australian Open 3rd round: Roddick serves 32 aces in 19 ... And plexicushion is considered a slow hard court. This is on center court, i think the outside courts are still moving as fast as the USO.
Good stats.

Remember back in the days of the Rebound Ace surface when Lleyton Hewitt stopped a match at the Australian Open to scream at the tournament organizers in the stands about how slow the surface was?

Announcers said the "slow" surface made it impossible for a tactical player like Hewitt to end a rally -- he can't hit hard enough to hit a winner on such a slow surface.

Now, the players say the new Plexipave is MUCH slower than the infamous Rebound Ace.

I suspect the French Open now plays much faster than the Australian.

One of the players (Murray or Federer?) said when the AO moved to Plexipave, "People are complaining there isn't enough volleying now. This threatens to eliminate it."
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
At some stage in the 1990s didn't they also reduce the pressure in the balls slightly? I recall reading about it but not sure if they implemented it.
 

aceX

Hall of Fame
Couldn't have said it better. Seriously, i've got some stats.
Roddick vs. Haas. 2011 Australian Open 3rd round: Roddick serves 32 aces in 19 games: 1.68 aces a game
Roddick vs. Federer 2009 Wimbledon Final: Roddick serves 26 aces in 40 games: .65 aces a game.
And plexicushion is considered a slow hard court. This is on center court, i think the outside courts are still moving as fast as the USO.
What is this meant to tell me?

That Federer is a much better returner than Haas? I already knew that.
 

JimF

Rookie
Ball changes

At some stage in the 1990s didn't they also reduce the pressure in the balls slightly? I recall reading about it but not sure if they implemented it.
Interesting. Never heard that one.

I know they went through a re-write of the ball standards and came up with three categories suitable to pro tennis. The "type IIIs" are actually bigger, but I don't recall a pressure change, just lots of specs on rebound. You can read all the specs, but I don't know how they compare to the old ones.

After I heard the broadcasters at the US Open say the tournament refuses to confirm the ball specs, I got cans from all the majors. In the process of actually testing them (yeah, I know, over the top nerdy, but I got tired of discussions without facts).

Interesting discussion with Yonex reps who said that in order to sponsor an ATP tournament they had to produce balls with different specs than those they sell (less like Dunlop Grand Prixs and more like Pen Pros).
 

Bud

Bionic Poster
Good stats.

Remember back in the days of the Rebound Ace surface when Lleyton Hewitt stopped a match at the Australian Open to scream at the tournament organizers in the stands about how slow the surface was?

Announcers said the "slow" surface made it impossible for a tactical player like Hewitt to end a rally -- he can't hit hard enough to hit a winner on such a slow surface.

Now, the players say the new Plexipave is MUCH slower than the infamous Rebound Ace.

I suspect the French Open now plays much faster than the Australian.

One of the players (Murray or Federer?) said when the AO moved to Plexipave, "People are complaining there isn't enough volleying now. This threatens to eliminate it."
:lol::lol::lol:

Sure, it plays faster than Wimbledon as well.

Wimbledon is now the slowest surface, followed by the AO and then the FO.
 

Murrayfan31

Hall of Fame
They made Wimbledon slower after 2005 when Nadal got nowhere. They wanted to see Nadal get further in the tournament. Thus they slowed down the courts to allow topspin to succeed and have clay behind the baseline when it gets worn down. It's like green clay now.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
They made Wimbledon slower after 2005 when Nadal got nowhere. They wanted to see Nadal get further in the tournament. Thus they slowed down the courts to allow topspin to succeed and have clay behind the baseline when it gets worn down. It's like green clay now.
 

Blue Cat

Banned
They made Wimbledon slower after 2005 when Nadal got nowhere. They wanted to see Nadal get further in the tournament. Thus they slowed down the courts to allow topspin to succeed and have clay behind the baseline when it gets worn down. It's like green clay now.
You do realise the ITF slowing Wimbledon down would benefit Murray, do you?



Imagine Murray v Federer on the faster grass? LMAO!!!!!
 

Murrayfan31

Hall of Fame
You do realise the ITF slowing Wimbledon down would benefit Murray, do you?



Imagine Murray v Federer on the faster grass? LMAO!!!!!
You do realize the courts were already slower before Murray became a serious threat. And also Murray prefers fast courts if you haven't noticed. He is good on anything but clay. That might change if he gets in real good shape like he says he is doing.
 

ksbh

Banned
Too many industries. The smoke and dust from industries have made the air denser, causing the ball to travel slower.

Yes, it really did become slower because of industries.

What are the factors that made wimbledon slower than in the 80s,90s? And did it really become slower?
 

JimF

Rookie
Anyone Have Volleying Stats?

Does anyone know of or have stats on number of net approaches at each major and how they have changed over the years?

i.e. hypothetically, 20% of points at the net at USO but only 5% at Australian, or was 40% at Wimbledon but now is only X%.

Any ideas there? Always nice if we can quantify things, and sometimes you can be surprised.
 

The-Champ

Legend
They made Wimbledon slower after 2005 when Nadal got nowhere. They wanted to see Nadal get further in the tournament. Thus they slowed down the courts to allow topspin to succeed and have clay behind the baseline when it gets worn down. It's like green clay now.


How come Murray couldn't chase down Nadal's shots on this slow surface?
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
Does anyone know of or have stats on number of net approaches at each major and how they have changed over the years?.
Well just the other day someone posted a stat showing that Borg had come to the net more times in one of his famous French Open finals than Nadal did in a (comparably long) Wimbledon final.

That says something.
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
Rafa. Rafa has magic powers. He makes the grass slower by winning on it. If Federer or Roddick win, then the grass is normal again.
 

The-Champ

Legend
Well just the other day someone posted a stat showing that Borg had come to the net more times in one of his famous French Open finals than Nadal did in a (comparably long) Wimbledon final.

That says something.


or it could simply mean that Borg is much more comfortable at the net than Nadal.


Agassi has played on fast grass but only came to the net once in a blue moon. I didn't see Edberg camping at the baseline during the FO.
 

The-Champ

Legend
Simple. He doesn't move as well on grass.

BTW I'm only responding to your statement and not what Murrayfan31 said, which is obviously ridiculous.

So to be successful on grass would need great movement on the surface. The idiot Murrayfan31 thinks its all speed-related.
 

Bud

Bionic Poster
or it could simply mean that Borg is much more comfortable at the net than Nadal.


Agassi has played on fast grass but only came to the net once in a blue moon. I didn't see Edberg camping at the baseline during the FO.
It's a completely different game.

You can't even compare modern tennis with what was played in the 70's.
 

Sid_Vicious

G.O.A.T.
So to be successful on grass would need great movement on the surface. The idiot Murrayfan31 thinks its all speed-related.
Don't worry about Murrayfan31. He likes to stand out with his unique yet stupid posting style. He pretty much trashes Federer and Nadal for everything (game,personality, achievement etc.) and likes to bring up Murray and Djokovic at the same time.

He is a funny guy, he made a big deal of Djokovic beating Federer in straight sets, but piped down about the beatdown Murray received in the final. :lol:
 

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
England being conquered by the Spanish Armada, starting as complainers back then about the too-fast conditions.

There you have it now: garbage, that's left of tennis. The results, all over the place: lack of spectators. Ping-pong, not a truly athletic game. Roadrunners.

I hate it.
 
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gsquicksilver

Semi-Pro
it's funny how during the period that the grasscourts were dominated by S&V's that many wanted to slow the courts down so that more rallies can happen. now that they've done that, people want to go back to fast grass to bring back the S&V.

can't we all just get along?:confused:
 

pmerk34

Legend
it's funny how during the period that the grasscourts were dominated by S&V's that many wanted to slow the courts down so that more rallies can happen. now that they've done that, people want to go back to fast grass to bring back the S&V.

can't we all just get along?:confused:
You correct. The problem is if they go back to the old balls and or the old grass or some variation it will just lead to more aces which I don't think anyone wants to see.
 

NamRanger

G.O.A.T.
It's higher bouncing, not slower.


Basic physics will tell you that what you just stated is impossible unless the ball moves faster from a horizontal aspect to make up for the increased vertical aspect.


What is this meant to tell me?

That Federer is a much better returner than Haas? I already knew that.

Haas is a great returner and rarely gets aced that much by Roddick. Even if Federer is a better returner than Haas, he is not comparatively that much better.
 
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JimF

Rookie
Law of Unintended Consequences

it's funny how during the period that the grasscourts were dominated by S&V's that many wanted to slow the courts down so that more rallies can happen. now that they've done that, people want to go back to fast grass to bring back the S&V.

can't we all just get along?:confused:
Problem is the tennis bureaucrats over-compensated, partly because too many variables were changed at the same time.

So, the pendulum swung too far in the other direction.

If they merely slowed down the serve, perhaps the game would be more balanced now. But all this happened in quick succession: 1) game was significantly slowed down 2) equipment gave returners and baseline players ability to hit dipping returns and passing shots 3) courts and balls make shots bounce much higher, 4) ITF stopped enforcing 20/25 sec serve rule with players like Nadal taking a full minute to simply toss their serve.

Combination makes for 5-hour rally-fests. Nobody but a glutton can watch several 5-hour tennis matches, comprising nothing but cross-court rallies, seemingly back to back without becoming a zombie.
 
Profressively bigger and bigger balls, slightly longer grown grass I believe were the physical reason for the slow.

Here's a qoute from my book:

"Though I'm not big on statistics myself, for those of you who are, here's some interesting information.

During the 2008 Wimbledon championships a comparison was done of the speed and height of Roger Federer's first serves reaching his opponents baseline.

In 2003, a serve leaving his racquet at 126 mph, having travelled over the net, bounced in the service box and then continued on to the baseline, passed over the baseline at around 56 mph.

The same serve, using heavier, larger balls, on a court with slightly longer grown grass, reached the baseline at around 46 mph and also passed the baseline several inches higher.

Do you think that's significant?"

Martin Baldridge
So you want to win Wimbledon?
 

rolandg

Semi-Pro
90's Wimbledon grass was already a lot slower than 70's Wimbledon grass. I've got a video of Wimbledon from the early 90's and some of the old retired Aussie players are talking about how slow the grass is, and how it is playing more like a hard court.
 

reversef

Hall of Fame
They made Wimbledon slower after 2005 when Nadal got nowhere. They wanted to see Nadal get further in the tournament. Thus they slowed down the courts to allow topspin to succeed and have clay behind the baseline when it gets worn down. It's like green clay now.
Nadal is a God!
He's so likeable that they changed the courts only for him. Even if it's at the disadvantage of the british players. Poor Murray (and Henman in those days). What is the problem with them? What more do they need to get some good treatment in their own country?


More seriously, if the surfaces have been slowed down, blame it on the big servers. And only them. Men tennis was unwatchable at some point, except on clay. And it would be even worse now without the slowing down. There are still much too many serve fests anyway.

BTW, clay is much faster than it used to be at that time. Most of you avoid mentioning it. :confused:
 

Sentinel

Bionic Poster
Too many industries. The smoke and dust from industries have made the air denser, causing the ball to travel slower.

Yes, it really did become slower because of industries.
According to Sir Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution, the grass like everything else has evolved over the years into a slower strain. This has nothing to do with human intervention or conspiracy. It is nature's way. In 20 years, the grass will stop the ball completely and WO will have to move to slow hard court.
 
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