Why are the Big3 still dominant? The HEIGHT is probably the decisive factor.

I am discussing the Open Era only. More specifically, 1970 onwards.

Let's face it. 185-188 cm is pretty much the ideal height range to be a dominator. Or at least a multi-slam champ. Or even "just" a one-slam champ. If you're too short you may be very quick but you lack punch on the serve (which is unfortunately still the most important shot in tennis). If you're too tall you may be a servebot but your movement is weaker - and tennis is all about movement. And tall players are more susceptible to injuries.

172 and lower: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 0 slams

173-176: Chang, Kodes, Kriek ***, Gaudio --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6 slams

177-180: McEnroe, Borg, Villas, Connors, Hewitt, Muster, Costa, Johansson, Agassi ------------------------------------------- 43 slams

181-184: Wawrinka, Newcombe, Cash, Wilander, Nastase, Panatta, Gerulaitis ***, Tanner ***, Ferrero ----------------------- 22 slams

185-188: Sampras, Courier, Rafter, Djokovic, Bruguera, Edberg, Ashe, Lendl, Nadal, Federer, Thiem, Roddick, Gimeno ------ 98 slams

189-192: Becker, Kafelnikov, Murray, Moya, Korda, Teacher ***, Kuerten ------------------------------------------------------ 17 slams

193-196: Smith, Gomez, Noah, Ivanisevic, Safin, Krajicek, Stich ------------------------------------------------------------------- 9 slams

197-198: Delpo, Cilic --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2 slams

199 and higher: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 0 slams

*** These players won only sub-par AO, before it was a proper slam

How tall are the NextGenners?

Short answer -------- Too tall.

Long answer ------------ Here are their heights.

Medvedev ----------- 198
The Great One ------ 198
Citybus --------------- 193
Hunchy The Ozz ----- 193
Rublev -------------- 188
Shapo ----------------- 185
Khachanov ------------ 198
FAA ------------------ 193
The Kokk ------------- 193
Berrettini -------------- 196
Sinner ----------------- 188

Analysis and conclusions:

McEnroe, Borg, Villas and Connors - who pretty much were all contemporaries and all of almost the same height - dominated in an era when players were shorter, hence why they are below the "ideal range". Agassi would have been perhaps a more complete player with 5 more cm to add punch to the serve. Just a guess though...

It is fascinating that the 177-180 group has twice as many slams as the 181-184 group, though this MAY be explained away to an extent by height stats relying on the inches/feet system, i.e. often heights get converted from feet to the metric system, which means that some 184s get treated as 185, some 181s get written in as 180. Proof would be that for example 189 is NEVER mentioned on Wikipedia. It's always either 188 or 190 which is impossible... Ditto 181: rarely or never shows up, but 180 and 182 instead...

In the 70s and early 80s, 180 cm seems to have been ideal. Then it shifted to 185-186 and has remained that way more than 30 years later. Will it shift further up? Perhaps after the Big 3 retire... Or will Sinner win everything?

The ideal height probably will increase, simply because most up-and-comers are above 190 cm, because kids are taller than ever before, but average player height can't increase forever. (We are not giraffes... except maybe the Great One.)

Here's the problem...

The most gifted NextGen players are 190plus. Rublev and Shapo are within the ideal range but they have less potential. Only Sinner is both highly talented and of ideal height. He is statistically a shoe-in for future ATG or even GOAT-like champ.

The height issue may also partially explain why LostGen was so unsuccessful. Raonic is too tall, Goffin and Schwartz are too short. Only Thiem and Dimitrov are within the best range. Thiem fulfilled part of his promise whereas Dimitrov obviously didn't and never will.

So while height does not explain everything, it does show that it does play an important role in predicting future champs and in understanding why certain players failed or succeeded. For example, while Schwartz has great shots and is very professional, his success will always be limited by his height. Ditto Anderson and other very tall players.
 
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clout

Hall of Fame
Well today's youth (including the next gen players) are a lot taller in general. 177-180cm would've been a good height for players born in the 1950s

It's also worth noting most of the next gen could still grow another inch or so in the coming years since none of them are 25 yet
 

SinneGOAT

Hall of Fame
Or maybe they are just that good? Height matters but compared to abilities and game smarts they are superior to everybody in tennis at the moment.
 
Or maybe they are just that good? Height matters but compared to abilities and game smarts they are superior to everybody in tennis at the moment.
Who's "they"? We have many theys here.

I assume you mean the Big 3 plus Sampy...

Well, the stats are too extreme to be ignored. You'd have a point if only one player won 100 slams, but it's a bunch of them. And the rest of the numbers speak a clear language. I.e. Federer "being simply that good" would be of little value if he had stopped growing aged 8...

Federer at 138 cm would have barely had a top 1000 career.
 
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Lew II

G.O.A.T.
I'd pick 6'3 over 5'11 all day long.

Anyway yes, Big3 and Sampras probably have the ideal height. Djokovic is a bit taller but it's mostly due to his longer neck.
 
1. I'd pick 6'3 over 5'11 all day long.

2. Anyway yes, Big3 and Sampras probably have the ideal height. Djokovic is a bit taller but it's mostly due to his longer neck.
1. You would now, and especially in ten years's time, but not in 1978.

2. Longer head?
 
Good thread. Medvedev might be the 1st to break the mold though. Sometimes I forget how tall he is because of how he moves.
His success this year - or lack of it - might give some answers.

Very curious if he can become a multi-slam champ. He'd lead the way.

Or not. Because as you said, he moves extraordinarily well for his height, kind of like young Nadal and Monfils when he is insane.
 
P

PETEhammer

Guest
Who's "they"? We have many theys here.

I assume you mean the Big 3 plus Sampy...

Well, the stats are too extreme to be ignored. You'd have a point if only one player won 100 slams, but it's a bunch of them. And the rest of the numbers speak a clear language. I.e. Federer "being simply that good" would be of little value if he had stopped growing aged 8...

Federer at 138 cm would have barely had a top 1000 career.
Well, he may have actually earned his Yoda-like status in the sport if he'd played at that height.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
His success this year - or lack of it - might give some answers.

Very curious if he can become a multi-slam champ. He'd lead the way.

Or not. Because as you said, he moves extraordinarily well for his height, kind of like young Nadal and Monfils when he is insane.
Yea this year will tell us a lot. I think he will be a multi Slam champ though without a doubt. The question is will he be another Safin, or a level above that. I'm leaning towards a level above that.
 

Nadal_King

Professional
Nice analysis,I was thinking about this today only that big 3 have perfect height to excel in every department, in this era where serve is not the most important aspect it's important to not be too tall which can restrict movement and you can never compete with the top players also too short has it's limitations as well especially on quicker surfaces although on clay it may not be a big factor but still against likes of big 3 you will be found out
 

Sport

G.O.A.T.
Excellent thread.

Minor observation:

Height is a necessary but not suficient condition to be an ATG. Extraordinary talent is also necessary. Thiem is officially listed as 185 cm, even though he looks 184 cm. In other words, Thiem has the ideal, or almost ideal, height for tennis. Despite having essentially the same height as Fedal (only 1 cm less) he still can't win Majors when facing Nadovic. So why can't Thiem win more Majors despite having an ideal height for tennis? He lacks the extraordinary talent of the Big 3.
 
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Excellent thread.

Minor observation:

Height is a necessary but not suficient condition to be an ATG. Extraordinary talent is also necessary. Thiem is officially listed as 185 cm, even though he looks 184 cm. In other words, Thiem has the ideal, or almost ideal, height for tennis. Despite having essentially the same height as Fedal (only 1 cm less) he still can't win Majors when facing Nadovic. So why can't Thiem win more Majors despite having an ideal height for tennis? He lacks the extraordinary talent of the Big 3.
The point of the thread is more along the lines of "with everything else being (roughly) equal, the 185 guy is far more likely to dominate than the 178 and the 195 guys".

Thiem does have a big game, but he seems to have developed a big finales complex. 2-7. Despite winning both of these in very tight conditions. He also lost several close ones, and a few he should/could have won.

If he had the confidence of Djokovic, just picture how many more slams he'd have by now.
 
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Medvedev moves like Youngdal? Now I've heard it all...
You certainly didn't "hear" it here...

Compared to his HEIGHT, Einstein... Bear moves very well considering his HEIGHT, not LITERALLY as fast or as well as young Nadal.

I apologize to all posters who find the OP too difficult to understand... as well as my subsequent explanations. But I'm glad to help...

Well, I can try at least...
 

Red Rick

Bionic Poster
I am discussing the Open Era only. More specifically, 1970 onwards.

Let's face it. 185-188 cm is pretty much the ideal height range to be a dominator. Or at least a multi-slam champ. Or even "just" a one-slam champ. If you're too short you may be very quick but you lack punch on the serve (which is unfortunately still the most important shot in tennis). If you're too tall you may be a servebot but your movement is weaker - and tennis is all about movement. And tall players are more susceptible to injuries.

172 and lower: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 0 slams

173-176: Chang, Kodes, Kriek ***, Gaudio --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6 slams

177-180: McEnroe, Borg, Villas, Connors, Hewitt, Muster, Costa, Johansson, Agassi ------------------------------------------- 43 slams

181-184: Wawrinka, Newcombe, Cash, Wilander, Nastase, Panatta, Gerulaitis ***, Tanner ***, Ferrero ----------------------- 22 slams

185-188: Sampras, Courier, Rafter, Djokovic, Bruguera, Edberg, Ashe, Lendl, Nadal, Federer, Thiem, Roddick, Gimeno ------ 98 slams

189-192: Becker, Kafelnikov, Murray, Moya, Korda, Teacher ***, Kuerten ------------------------------------------------------ 17 slams

193-196: Smith, Gomez, Noah, Ivanisevic, Safin, Krajicek, Stich ------------------------------------------------------------------- 9 slams

197-198: Delpo, Cilic --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2 slams

199 and higher: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 0 slams

*** These players won only sub-par AO, before it was a proper slam

How tall are the NextGenners?

Short answer -------- Too tall.

Long answer ------------ Here are their heights.

Medvedev ----------- 198
The Great One ------ 198
Citybus --------------- 193
Hunchy The Ozz ----- 193
Rublev -------------- 188
Shapo ----------------- 185
Khachanov ------------ 198
FAA ------------------ 193
The Kokk ------------- 193
Berrettini -------------- 196
Sinner ----------------- 188

Analysis and conclusions:

McEnroe, Borg, Villas and Connors - who pretty much were all contemporaries and all of almost the same height - dominated in an era when players were shorter, hence why they are below the "ideal range". Agassi would have been perhaps a more complete player with 5 more cm to add punch to the serve. Just a guess though...

It is fascinating that the 177-180 group has twice as many slams as the 181-184 group, though this MAY be explained away to an extent by height stats relying on the inches/feet system, i.e. often heights get converted from feet to the metric system, which means that some 184s get treated as 185, some 181s get written in as 180. Proof would be that for example 189 is NEVER mentioned on Wikipedia. It's always either 188 or 190 which is impossible... Ditto 181: rarely or never shows up, but 180 and 182 instead...

In the 70s and early 80s, 180 cm seems to have been ideal. Then it shifted to 185-186 and has remained that way more than 30 years later. Will it shift further up? Perhaps after the Big 3 retire... Or will Sinner win everything?

The ideal height probably will increase, simply because most up-and-comers are above 190 cm, because kids are taller than ever before, but average player height can't increase forever. (We are not giraffes... except maybe the Great One.)

Here's the problem...

The most gifted NextGen players are 190plus. Rublev and Shapo are within the ideal range but they have less potential. Only Sinner is both highly talented and of ideal height. He is statistically a shoe-in for future ATG or even GOAT-like champ.

The height issue may also partially explain why LostGen was so unsuccessful. Raonic is too tall, Goffin and Schwartz are too short. Only Thiem and Dimitrov are within the best range. Thiem fulfilled part of his promise whereas Dimitrov obviously didn't and never will.

So while height does not explain everything, it does show that it does play an important role in predicting future champs and in understanding why certain players failed or succeeded. For example, while Schwartz has great shots and is very professional, his success will always be limited by his height. Ditto Anderson and other very tall players.
Stratifying by height gives INSANE sample sizing issues cause the populations of each height group are vastly different. Height is a pretty big advantage, and you're not gonna tell me guys like Medvedev or Zverev would be top 10 if they were 6'1.

I also think HGH use is extremely common. I know guys who were recommended growth hormones who never even had pro aspirations.
 
Stratifying by height gives INSANE sample sizing issues cause the populations of each height group are vastly different. Height is a pretty big advantage, and you're not gonna tell me guys like Medvedev or Zverev would be top 10 if they were 6'1.

I also think HGH use is extremely common. I know guys who were recommended growth hormones who never even had pro aspirations.
1. We don't know how their games would have developed with a height of 185. Or are there any gods here? They may have been better or much weaker. We don't know.

2. I never said height doesn't help as far as reaching top 10 or top 1000000. I clearly stated in the OP that I am discussing how height affects DOMINATION and SLAMS WINS, not top 10, 20 or top 123.

3. Very few people ever read the entire OP hence then they post flawed arguments that stem from misinformation and confusion.
 
Meanwhile you construct a segment with fake information just to fit Nadal, Fed and Djokovic in one height group
I promise you, I didn't create them in my own image, or any other image.

They more-or-less had those heights before I even knew they existed.

I may seem like a god (to some people) but I assure you I am not.
 
I kinda figured this thread would stay relevant, for a long time...

Yet another very tall player loses a slam finale...

Players taller than 192 cm:

Medvedev 0-2
Zverev 0-1
Soderling 0-2
Cilic 1-2
Delpo 1-1
Safin 2-2
Martin 0-2
Verkerk 0-1
Anderson 0-2
Krajicek 1-0 (playing a laughably weak opponent)
Ivanisevic 1-3
Birdy 0-1
A. Medvedev 0-1
Philippoussis 0-2
Rusedski 0-1

Overall: 6-23

Any questions?
 
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