Wimbledon surface speed: an analysis

ohplease

Professional
The claim is that Courier got lucky in 1993 because Wimbledon was hot and dry, and Agassi's run in 1992 was legitimately amazing (unlike Nadal's 2006). There's also a claim that the transition from RG to Wimbledon is easier today. If those claims are true, we should see more common quarterfinalists between RG/Wimbly in 1993, fewer in 1992, and the most in 2006.

The data:

1992

oz only:
krajicek
mansdorf

rg only:
cherkasov
korda
kulti
leconte

wim only:
becker
forget

oz/rg:
courier

oz/wim:
edberg
mcenroe
stich

rg/wim:
agassi
ivanisevic
sampras

all three:
none

1993:

oz only:
bergstrom
forget
korda

rg only:
bruguera
krajicek
novacek
prpic

wim only:
agassi
becker
martin

oz/rg:
courier
edberg
sampras

oz/wim:
courier
edberg
sampras
stich

rg/wim:
courier
edberg
sampras

all three:
courier
edberg
sampras

Table summary:
oz only,rg only,wim only,oz/rg,oz/wim,rg/wim,all three
2006,3,4,4,4,2,3,1
1993,3,4,3,3,4,3,3
1992,2,4,2,1,3,3,0

So, there's the data. The problem is that there were actually MORE men going deep at Wimbledon - and only Wimbledon - in 2006 than in either 1992/1993. The number of RG only QF's was the same in all three years: 4.

So there should be more common quarterfinalists between the two tournaments in 2006 compared to 1992/1993, right? Except there were 3 men who did it in 2006. 3 who did it 1992. 3 who did it 1993.

Sure, you can have accidental quarterfinalists, even accidental finalists. Surface changes can certainly yield some influence in the kind of tennis played. How much influence, though? Enough to change the results of matches? In the number of men succeeding at surface specific events, or succeeding in transitioning between surfaces?

The data simply doesn't show that to be true.

Want to be really shocked? People are also pointing to 2002 as a particularly slow year at Wimbledon, with Hewitt and Nalbandian in the final. Want to know how many men made the QF's at both RG and Wimbledon that year?

Zero.

Both Oz and Wimbledon?

Zero.

There were 7 oz open only qf's that year, and 7 RG only. EIGHT Wimbledon only. According to this metric, the RG/Wimbledon transition was actually the hardest in 2002, not the easiest.

Want real grass court tennis? Then what you want is 2002. Nobody who did well at RG did well at Wimbly that year.
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
From statistics point of view, your comparison of only quarterfinalists between Wimbledon and French as criteria is called bias. The seeding of Wimbledon and French are different systems, plus only in recent years you have 32 seeds - used to be only 16, thus in a sense, the draw is not completely random. Without completely random sampling, you can't draw conclusion with statistics.
 

ohplease

Professional
The tennis guy said:
From statistics point of view, your comparison of only quarterfinalists between Wimbledon and French as criteria is called bias. The seeding of Wimbledon and French are different systems, plus only in recent years you have 32 seeds - used to be only 16, thus in a sense, the draw is not completely random. Without completely random sampling, you can't draw conclusion with statistics.
Except no one's talking about statistics. Is it easier to transition from RG to Wimbledon? Yes or no? What evidence do you have?

I'm claiming that a good measure of that transition is who does well at both tournaments. And by that measure, there is simply no evidence that the transition is dramatically more or less easy than in years past. In fact, I'll also claim that people don't even really understand which years are fast and which are slow - again, look at 2002.
 

NoBadMojo

G.O.A.T.
Your theory might have some validity to it if the only variable was the court speed. Also, lots is different about tennis in 2006 than 1992/1993 rendering comparisons like this pretty useless I feel
 

Jonnyf

Hall of Fame
Yes good idea but it leaves out several key variables such as raquets (which ha affected the game) and just how rounded the players were in 2 compared to 06
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
ohplease said:
Except no one's talking about statistics. Is it easier to transition from RG to Wimbledon? Yes or no? What evidence do you have?
I am not giving you answers, I just point out the bias factor in your analysis. Quarterfinalists only comparison is bias, that's all I am saying.

Since 2002, the surface is fairly consistent.
 

ohplease

Professional
NoBadMojo said:
Your theory might have some validity to it if the only variable was the court speed. Also, lots is different about tennis in 2006 than 1992/1993 rendering comparisons like this pretty useless I feel
And what theory is that, exactly? I don't see myself offering up a theory, anywhere.

I'd agree that tennis has evolved since 1992 - but the point is that even with all those changes, there is still NO EVIDENCE that the demographics of the men who make it to the second week are somehow different than in years past.

Tell you what, here's a theory: given that the numbers of men succeeding (or not) on the different surfaces shows no real trend either way, there must, therefore be a bigger difference in both playing style and surface speed than people on this board are willing to admit or notice.
 

ohplease

Professional
The tennis guy said:
Since 2002, the surface is fairly consistent.
Oh really. I don't see any evidence of that assertion. In fact, the only evidence in this thread about 2002 is very much to the contrary.

Think I'm wrong? Show me. Let's see some evidence.
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
ohplease said:
Oh really. I don't see any evidence of that assertion. In fact, the only evidence in this thread about 2002 is very much to the contrary.

Think I'm wrong? Show me. Let's see some evidence.
I don't know what evidence do you want. That's what Wimbledon says. That's what I thought by watching through the years as well. The only major changes since 2002 could be balls they use.
 

armand

Banned
It has less to do with racquet technology and more to do with strings. Polyester has almost killed serve+volley completely and the flat balls and slower grass has killed Wimbledon.

So now everyone plays a baseline game and that's why the #1 and #2 players in the world are also #1 or #2 across all surfaces. I remember 10 yrs ago when they had surface rankings but these days it's completely irrelevant. Do they even keep surface rankings any longer?
 

NoBadMojo

G.O.A.T.
ohplease said:
And what theory is that, exactly? I don't see myself offering up a theory, anywhere.

.
Call it as you like, but you're relating quaterfinalists to court speed really isnt relevant, especially considering that it really isnt only the court speed which has caused the difference in play at W anyway
 

ohplease

Professional
NoBadMojo said:
Call it as you like, but you're relating quaterfinalists to court speed really isnt relevant, especially considering that it really isnt only the court speed which has caused the difference in play at W anyway
In your opinion. Where's the data? In fact, where's the claim?

If your analysis of tennis trends anything like your reading comprehension skills - where I had previously made no mention of a pet theory and, in fact, am precisely claiming that court speed is NOT responsible for Nadal's success this year (which is fairly stated as the predominant opinion on this board and the exact opposite of what you think I'm saying) - or your long and storied history of not being able to play nice with others - well, that's evidence enough of what may or may not be relevant to this thread.
 

NoBadMojo

G.O.A.T.
ohplease said:
In your opinion. Where's the data? In fact, where's the claim?

If your analysis of tennis trends anything like your reading comprehension skills - where I had previously made no mention of a pet theory and, in fact, am precisely claiming that court speed is NOT responsible for Nadal's success this year (which is fairly stated as the predominant opinion on this board and the exact opposite of what you think I'm saying) - or your long and storied history of not being able to play nice with others - well, that's evidence enough of what may or may not be relevant to this thread.
i sure dont want to argue you with you as you are really nitpicking and twistng this to oblivion, but it seems to be YOU who isnt playing well with others..all i did was disagree with you (or you are suggesting i am agreeing with you), and YOU are turning this into me being someone who cant read and who doesnt get along with others, which thusly makes it personal in nature. you may also wish to note that NOBODY else is agreeing with you <whatever it is you are trying to say since it isnt a theory>, so why dont you go insult them as well..oh..why dont you check YOUR package by the way before insulting others? thanks

I think the real grasscourt tennis was before 2002...Federer even says the courts havent changed over the last few years. You have to go back to when it was impossible to win by staying back to have grasscourt tennis as it was traditionally played and not some form of baseline grinding..when the spaniards were complaining because none of the could play serve volley or all court ball so therefore had no chance of winning or even doin well at W...when you had to take as many balls as you could in the air. now you can win by staying back. by the way..this isnt directed at you..it is for anyone else who wishes to contribute
 

ohplease

Professional
NoBadMojo said:
you may also wish to note that NOBODY else is agreeing with you
Oh?

Johnnyf said:
Yes good idea
That's just in this thread.

My judgements are based on facts and evidence. Yours appear to be pulled from thin air. That's not personal. That's observation of data. There's also the distinction between someone being illiterate and someone not understanding what they've read. You're confusing the two - which proves my point.
 

Jonnyf

Hall of Fame
Yeah i'll admit it is a good idea, there is a few variables but atleast someone's trying to find out how much the courts have slowed by using a sort of formula as oppossed to just saying "the courts are slower im sure of it"
 

NoBadMojo

G.O.A.T.
o please why dont you try quoting johnny f in entirety which would be something like 'good idea BUT'..talk about limiting context to try and prove your point...i think this lenghtly exercise you've done makes no sense..that (unlike what you are saying about me) is NOT a personal attack...now if i said something like i think you are a real creep for attacking me, that would be different. also, what i said was that relating the qf participants to court speed isnt relevant, so i could easily build a case for YOU lacking reading comprehension skills

Johnny F, Federer sez the courts havent gotten slower over the past few years...thats good enough for me..i think he knows a little bit about it
 

Jonnyf

Hall of Fame
NoBadMojo said:
o please why dont you try quoting johnny f in entirety which would be something like 'good idea BUT'..talk about limiting context to try and prove your point...i think this lenghtly exercise you've done makes no sense..that (unlike what you are saying about me) is NOT a personal attack...now if i said something like i think you are a real creep for attacking me, that would be different

Johnny F, Federer sez the courts havent gotten slower over the past few years...thats good enough for me..i think he knows a little bit about it

Yes as does Henman and several others
 

ohplease

Professional
NoBadMojo said:
o please why dont you try quoting johnny f in entirety which would be something like 'good idea BUT'..talk about limiting context to try and prove your point
Will do:

Johnnyf said:
Yeah i'll admit it is a good idea, there is a few variables but atleast someone's trying to find out how much the courts have slowed by using a sort of formula as oppossed to just saying "the courts are slower im sure of it"
Secondly:

NoBadMojo said:
Johnny F, Federer sez the courts havent gotten slower over the past few years...thats good enough for me..i think he knows a little bit about it
ohplease said:
Surface changes can certainly yield some influence in the kind of tennis played. How much influence, though? Enough to change the results of matches? In the number of men succeeding at surface specific events, or succeeding in transitioning between surfaces?

The data simply doesn't show that to be true.
Again, had you read more closely, you'd understand that the question isn't "is it slower?" Rather, it's "is it slow enough to show in the results?" - and the answer, again, is no.
 

NoBadMojo

G.O.A.T.
Jonnyf said:
Yes good idea but it leaves out several key variables such as raquets (which ha affected the game) and just how rounded the players were in 2 compared to 06
i'm out of this silly thread
 

Bassus

Rookie
Does any one on the tour deny that the courts have slowed down since 2001; the last year a serve-volleyer won it, and the year that Federer, who now wins it from the baseline, knocked off Sampras in a match where he serve-volleyed on every first serve and at least half of his seconds?
 

ohplease

Professional
Bassus said:
Does any one on the tour deny that the courts have slowed down since 2001; the last year a serve-volleyer won it, and the year that Federer, who now wins it from the baseline, knocked off Sampras in a match where he serve-volleyed on every first serve and at least half of his seconds?
That would appear to be the case. However, the proof is in the pudding - players that do well on slower surfaces should now do better on the grass, and there should be fewer players who do well at Wimbledon, but not do well at slower surface slams.

Neither of those conditions are true. In other words, is it slower? Maybe. Does it matter?

No.

Now, if the issue is that the aesthetics have changed - that people aren't playing the way you want them to - then the real solution is to institute a figure skating-like scoring system, where style points count.
 

Hal

Rookie
ohplease, I think what you're failing to account for is the fact that players are adapting to the slower conditions. In general all courts have gotten slower (Hard courts have gotten slower, too), equipment has changed, and balls are different, causing fewer S&V players. So, even though you might be seeing different names at the French versus Wimbledon, you're not seeing the dramatic difference in playing style. Another note is that since all surfaces are getting slower, you're not seeing younger players invest the time in learning the S&V game. Even if Wimbledon was as fast as it was before, they'd never get to Wimbledon because they wouldn't do well enough on the slower surfaces to be entered in the Wimbledon draw. These days, you can't build a career on grass courts skills alone.
 

The tennis guy

Hall of Fame
Marat Safinator said:
The courts got alot slower from 2001 (fast), 2002 (slow) to 2006(slower)
Not necessarily the court itself had changed between 2002 and 2006 though. The extreme hot and dry weather in England could have contributed to the slowness of court.
 

ohplease

Professional
Hal said:
So, even though you might be seeing different names at the French versus Wimbledon, you're not seeing the dramatic difference in playing style.
I'll admit that there doesn't appear to be a dramatic difference in playing style nowadays. I'll also admit that surface speeds are more similar than they were in the past.

My point, however, is that in the face of all the complaints of less and less diversity in tennis, why are we not seeing a situation similar to the WTA, where the same top 6-10 players pretty much always populate the quarters and semis, regardless of surface?

That we don't see that phenomenon tells me that despite the alleged homoginization of tennis, there's STILL a very real difference in playing style and surface speeds in today's game - regardless of what our aesthetic expectations may or may not be.

And yet, to go back to the lack of diversity in playing style - I actually think that's precisely why the top 2 boys are lapping the field. In addition to them just being that darn good, I also think they're exploiting something above and beyond the smaller differences in style and surface.

And no, I don't think people really understand what that is, yet. There's aspects of footwork, defense, etc. - but there's something else to it above and beyond typical tennis dogma (i.e. "baseliner," "S&V'er" - as if where these guys choose to stand sufficiently describes their games or their success).
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I don't understand why everyone feels the need to rip on someone when he brings interesting data to the table.

On this topic:
I agree with adely that the Luxilon strings are a bigger factor than court speed on the apparent death of serve-and-volley.
 

bdawg

Semi-Pro
ohplease said:
The claim is that Courier got lucky in 1993 because Wimbledon was hot and dry, and Agassi's run in 1992 was legitimately amazing (unlike Nadal's 2006). There's also a claim that the transition from RG to Wimbledon is easier today. If those claims are true, we should see more common quarterfinalists between RG/Wimbly in 1993, fewer in 1992, and the most in 2006.

The data:

1992

oz only:
krajicek
mansdorf

rg only:
cherkasov
korda
kulti
leconte

wim only:
becker
forget

oz/rg:
courier

oz/wim:
edberg
mcenroe
stich

rg/wim:
agassi
ivanisevic
sampras

all three:
none

1993:

oz only:
bergstrom
forget
korda

rg only:
bruguera
krajicek
novacek
prpic

wim only:
agassi
becker
martin

oz/rg:
courier
edberg
sampras

oz/wim:
courier
edberg
sampras
stich

rg/wim:
courier
edberg
sampras

all three:
courier
edberg
sampras

Table summary:
oz only,rg only,wim only,oz/rg,oz/wim,rg/wim,all three
2006,3,4,4,4,2,3,1
1993,3,4,3,3,4,3,3
1992,2,4,2,1,3,3,0

So, there's the data. The problem is that there were actually MORE men going deep at Wimbledon - and only Wimbledon - in 2006 than in either 1992/1993. The number of RG only QF's was the same in all three years: 4.

So there should be more common quarterfinalists between the two tournaments in 2006 compared to 1992/1993, right? Except there were 3 men who did it in 2006. 3 who did it 1992. 3 who did it 1993.

Sure, you can have accidental quarterfinalists, even accidental finalists. Surface changes can certainly yield some influence in the kind of tennis played. How much influence, though? Enough to change the results of matches? In the number of men succeeding at surface specific events, or succeeding in transitioning between surfaces?

The data simply doesn't show that to be true.

Want to be really shocked? People are also pointing to 2002 as a particularly slow year at Wimbledon, with Hewitt and Nalbandian in the final. Want to know how many men made the QF's at both RG and Wimbledon that year?

Zero.

Both Oz and Wimbledon?

Zero.

There were 7 oz open only qf's that year, and 7 RG only. EIGHT Wimbledon only. According to this metric, the RG/Wimbledon transition was actually the hardest in 2002, not the easiest.

Want real grass court tennis? Then what you want is 2002. Nobody who did well at RG did well at Wimbly that year.


how did you find the time to do this?
 
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