WTA vs ATP groundstroke speed..

wy2sl0

Hall of Fame
Right now I am watching the Semifinal match with Maria and Woz....

Maria is hitting a ton of winners, way more than I see in mens tennis. I mean compared to Roddick who rolls them in, Maria seems to be blasting and painting the lines (obviously can't do this all time). I know this discussion has been had before, but I really think negating the serve of course of mens tennis, that rally's may not be as far off as we are always quick to say - at least in this exact case when she is in god mode.

I also know mens tennis there is much less time to set up, since there is alot more spin. Regardless...
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
Right now I am watching the Semifinal match with Maria and Woz....

Maria is hitting a ton of winners, way more than I see in mens tennis. I mean compared to Roddick who rolls them in, Maria seems to be blasting and painting the lines (obviously can't do this all time). I know this discussion has been had before, but I really think negating the serve of course of mens tennis, that rally's may not be as far off as we are always quick to say - at least in this exact case when she is in god mode.

I also know mens tennis there is much less time to set up, since there is alot more spin. Regardless...
Sharapova wouldn't've beaten the current pushy Roddick if she served the entire match.
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
I am not saying win, that isn't the case obviously. But I have seen threads here that say it would be a bagel every time.
Dude, seriously, any top 100 player would've owned any woman in history without having to serve once. The difference is more than huge.
 

President

Legend
I am not saying win, that isn't the case obviously. But I have seen threads here that say it would be a bagel every time.
The difference in spin and weight is far too much for the women to overcome, they wouldn't be able to do anything with the ATP players ball. Not to mention the difference in mobility.
 

wy2sl0

Hall of Fame
Dude, seriously, any top 100 player would've owned any woman in history without having to serve once. The difference is more than huge.
IMO a winner is a winner, no human will get to it if the entire court is open and a top player is hitting it as hard as they can. I don't see someone not being able to string a few points together. And like I said, forget serve, since mens second serve obliterates the women's first.
 

wy2sl0

Hall of Fame
The difference in spin and weight is far too much for the women to overcome, they wouldn't be able to do anything with the ATP players ball. Not to mention the difference in mobility.
Yes I considered this, but there are players like Stepanek that hit extremely flat, much like the women.
 

tenis1

Banned
I don't like these comparisons. Men are men and women are women. They are different. There is a reason they do not compete against each other.
 

cocolate

Banned
IMO a winner is a winner, no human will get to it if the entire court is open and a top player is hitting it as hard as they can. I don't see someone not being able to string a few points together. And like I said, forget serve, since mens second serve obliterates the women's first.
a winner in men's tennis has +70 km/h at least...and how could the women get the court to be opened?Was it Navratilova who said that there are 3000 men in the world who could beat her easily, and she was best.
 

krz

Professional
Right now I am watching the Semifinal match with Maria and Woz....

Maria is hitting a ton of winners, way more than I see in mens tennis. I mean compared to Roddick who rolls them in, Maria seems to be blasting and painting the lines (obviously can't do this all time). I know this discussion has been had before, but I really think negating the serve of course of mens tennis, that rally's may not be as far off as we are always quick to say - at least in this exact case when she is in god mode.

I also know mens tennis there is much less time to set up, since there is alot more spin. Regardless...
Winners against girls even Woz would not be winners against men.

Outside of the serve the biggest difference between men and women is the foot speed. I bet even Dr. Ivo has a similar 40 time to Woz.

And I believe certain tournaments. I know for sure the US Open and the Olympics consciously use lighter balls for women.
 
sharapova hits about 80 MPH from the baseline if she goes for it (I have seen her years ago hitting 80 consistently in wimby against sugijama). on a chest high winner she can probably hit 90.

the best men hit 100+ if the go full speed and sometimes 110 on winners (seen by gonzo, DP, nadal, tsonga and others).

so men have a lot more power if they want.

the average ballspeed is probably not all that different. If have read that guys like Sod, fed or DP average about 70 MPH from the baseline. that's not so much different from maria, but they do it with twice as much spin and 2 feet net clearance while maria goes all out flat bombs (very risky) all the time.

if the men also flatten it out what they do much rarer than maria they hit a lot harder of course.

The biggest difference between men and women is of course the serve but on baseline men are also much better even if their average hitting speeds don't look all that different.


but of course they don't hit flat net cord shavers all the time like maria. if they did they would hit long all the time because they have so much power. men can basically only go really flat if the ball is high (clearly above the netcord so they can almost hit down a little) because a totally (or nearly) flat 100 MPH shot would at least fly 100 feet.
 
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NLBwell

Legend
Movement is a lot of it. Sharapova would be barely reaching the ball against a male top pro rally shot - it's hard to hit a winner if you aren't set up.
If she and a male pro both had time to set up on a ball, yes, they both could hit a winner.
 

Clay lover

Hall of Fame
Set up and hit? Sure no problem...The power of the William's sisters can probably match lots of men. But men move so much better and are much more consistent on the run. Guess it all comes down to coordination...
 

Nadalgaenger

G.O.A.T.
sharapova hits about 80 MPH from the baseline if she goes for it (I have seen her years ago hitting 80 consistently in wimby against sugijama). on a chest high winner she can probably hit 90.

the best men hit 100+ if the go full speed and sometimes 110 on winners (seen by gonzo, DP, nadal, tsonga and others).

so men have a lot more power if they want.

the average ballspeed is probably not all that different. If have read that guys like Sod, fed or DP average about 70 MPH from the baseline. that's not so much different from maria, but they do it with twice as much spin and 2 feet net clearance while maria goes all out flat bombs (very risky) all the time.

if the men also flatten it out what they do much rarer than maria they hit a lot harder of course.

The biggest difference between men and women is of course the serve but on baseline men are also much better even if their average hitting speeds don't look all that different.


but of course they don't hit flat net cord shavers all the time like maria. if they did they would hit long all the time because they have so much power. men can basically only go really flat if the ball is high (clearly above the netcord so they can almost hit down a little) because a totally (or nearly) flat 100 MPH shot would at least fly 100 feet.
Great post. I totally agree that the difference in spin is the key. Nadal's moonball shots may take longer than Sharapova's on average to cross the court but they have ridiculous spin and no WTA player could do anything with them.

Does anybody have links to WTA players commenting on their odds against playing men?
 

Joe Pike

Banned
a winner in men's tennis has +70 km/h at least...and how could the women get the court to be opened?Was it Navratilova who said that there are 3000 men in the world who could beat her easily, and she was best.

Graf said in the mid-90s that at least 3,000 men in the world would beat her.
 

krprunitennis2

Professional
I know I'm just reviving a super old thread, but I did try to compare the average time per groundstroke for men and women. I haven't been able to find data using google so I thought I might as well share it.

Methods
1. I looked at highlight reels of men's (Fed vs. Wawrinka, London 2014; Dimitrov vs. Verdasco, Beijing 2014; and Nadal vs. Djokovic, US Open 2013) and women's (Cirstea vs. Cibulkova, Stanford 2012; S. Williams vs. Azarenka, US Open 2013; and Sharapova vs. Lisicki, US Open 2014) matches. Matches were selected so that no player is included in the dataset twice. The selection process was not completely random. I searched for players whose names came up in my head first, but with no idea of what the match would be like.
2. I started counting time when the serve was struck (though it would've probably been better to start when the return was struck....).
3. I only counted points with returns and groundstrokes (regardless of spin). A point is omitted from the dataset if a player passes the service line any time between the strike of the serve and the ball has been called out.
4. Only the first five points with greater than 3 shots (returns and groundstrokes) are counted starting from the beginning of each highlight reel.
6. Data was counted by dividing the amount of time (in seconds) by the # of shots in each point.
7. Unpaired and two-tailed Student's t-tests were used to measure the difference between the results for each individual data set between men and women (5 points for each match, 3 matches per gender for n = 15).

Results
Men's Results - Mean +/- Std. Deviation
seconds/shot - 1.542 +/- 0.195 s

Women's Results - Mean +/- Std. Deviation
seconds/shot - 1.553 +/- 0.205 s

The results between the amount of seconds/shot between men and women were insignificantly different, BUT:

Looking at time alone per point, men averaged at 14.333 +/- 7.925 s while women averaged at 8.733 +/- 4.079 s. Also, for the # of shots per point, men averaged at 9.667 +/- 6.032 shots while women averaged at 5.8 +/- 3.167 shots. Between men and women, there were significant differences in the time required per point as well as the # of shots per point. However, I doubt the accuracy of this throughout the whole match because I omitted many points that ended with just a serve or approaches to the net (more often in men and the S. Williams vs. Lisicki women's match) and a great number of points in the Cirstea vs. Cibulkova match ended in under 3 shots (check out the power!).

Conclusion
Not much at all. Average time for men and women to react to each shot were basically the same. However, men had more tendency to slice (maybe I'll try to factor that in later), which definitely slows down the point and increase the amount of shots (hence the significance in time and # of shots per point). Unless the slices travel at the same speed, which I believe is not likely the case, this does suggest that men hit at harder speeds with regular groundstrokes than women in order to make up for the difference. In addition, the men seemed to travel greater distances during each point.
 
Right now I am watching the Semifinal match with Maria and Woz....

Maria is hitting a ton of winners, way more than I see in mens tennis. I mean compared to Roddick who rolls them in, Maria seems to be blasting and painting the lines (obviously can't do this all time). I know this discussion has been had before, but I really think negating the serve of course of mens tennis, that rally's may not be as far off as we are always quick to say - at least in this exact case when she is in god mode. (When?)

I also know mens tennis there is much less time to set up, since there is alot more spin. Regardless...
Pushpova can hit more winners than A rod. But how?
 

gino

Hall of Fame
I know I'm just reviving a super old thread, but I did try to compare the average time per groundstroke for men and women. I haven't been able to find data using google so I thought I might as well share it.

Methods
1. I looked at highlight reels of men's (Fed vs. Wawrinka, London 2014; Dimitrov vs. Verdasco, Beijing 2014; and Nadal vs. Djokovic, US Open 2013) and women's (Cirstea vs. Cibulkova, Stanford 2012; S. Williams vs. Azarenka, US Open 2013; and Sharapova vs. Lisicki, US Open 2014) matches. Matches were selected so that no player is included in the dataset twice. The selection process was not completely random. I searched for players whose names came up in my head first, but with no idea of what the match would be like.
2. I started counting time when the serve was struck (though it would've probably been better to start when the return was struck....).
3. I only counted points with returns and groundstrokes (regardless of spin). A point is omitted from the dataset if a player passes the service line any time between the strike of the serve and the ball has been called out.
4. Only the first five points with greater than 3 shots (returns and groundstrokes) are counted starting from the beginning of each highlight reel.
6. Data was counted by dividing the amount of time (in seconds) by the # of shots in each point.
7. Unpaired and two-tailed Student's t-tests were used to measure the difference between the results for each individual data set between men and women (5 points for each match, 3 matches per gender for n = 15).

Results
Men's Results - Mean +/- Std. Deviation
seconds/shot - 1.542 +/- 0.195 s

Women's Results - Mean +/- Std. Deviation
seconds/shot - 1.553 +/- 0.205 s

The results between the amount of seconds/shot between men and women were insignificantly different, BUT:

Looking at time alone per point, men averaged at 14.333 +/- 7.925 s while women averaged at 8.733 +/- 4.079 s. Also, for the # of shots per point, men averaged at 9.667 +/- 6.032 shots while women averaged at 5.8 +/- 3.167 shots. Between men and women, there were significant differences in the time required per point as well as the # of shots per point. However, I doubt the accuracy of this throughout the whole match because I omitted many points that ended with just a serve or approaches to the net (more often in men and the S. Williams vs. Lisicki women's match) and a great number of points in the Cirstea vs. Cibulkova match ended in under 3 shots (check out the power!).

Conclusion
Not much at all. Average time for men and women to react to each shot were basically the same. However, men had more tendency to slice (maybe I'll try to factor that in later), which definitely slows down the point and increase the amount of shots (hence the significance in time and # of shots per point). Unless the slices travel at the same speed, which I believe is not likely the case, this does suggest that men hit at harder speeds with regular groundstrokes than women in order to make up for the difference. In addition, the men seemed to travel greater distances during each point.
Interesting to note the male use and implementation of the slice and the increased distance traveled between points, that's noteworthy for sure
 

mtommer

Hall of Fame
The keys to winning at the top level of tennis has little to do with the power or spin groundstrokes compared to the ability to anticipe where and how the opponent will hit as well as being able to DEAL with incoming shots. Because men are faster overall, the men would win based on that and that alone, given the ability of women to hit the exact same ball as men. Put another way, why is it that the top 1,000 men (if not a heck of a lot more) can all hit the same type of groundstrokes yet only a few are consistently at the top and most in 1st rounds vs. high name opponents typically lose fairly handily?
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
A big difference I noticed between the ATP and the WTA is anticipation. The men just anticipate shots much better than the women and as a result often hit shots in better position. And that's probably needed because of the speed difference in their groundstrokes.
 

Goosehead

Legend
Right now I am watching the Semifinal match with Maria and Woz....

Maria is hitting a ton of winners, way more than I see in mens tennis. I mean compared to Roddick who rolls them in, Maria seems to be blasting and painting the lines (obviously can't do this all time). I know this discussion has been had before, but I really think negating the serve of course of mens tennis, that rally's may not be as far off as we are always quick to say - at least in this exact case when she is in god mode.

I also know mens tennis there is much less time to set up, since there is alot more spin. Regardless...
the women use different balls to the men..

so any measurement between men/women is void.
 

Zoolander

Hall of Fame
W
the women use different balls to the men..

so any measurement between men/women is void.
Would be interesting to know how different the balls are. Even just in the mens game is there any resource that states which touneys use which balls? Often wonder how much difference there is between different events.

Regarding the difference between mens/womens average grounstroke speed anyone ever seen a hawkeye visual showing this? They have them all the time for the men i dont know about women, but surely thats the best and easiest way to tell the difference?
 

Vanhool

Legend
W


Would be interesting to know how different the balls are. Even just in the mens game is there any resource that states which touneys use which balls? Often wonder how much difference there is between different events.

Regarding the difference between mens/womens average grounstroke speed anyone ever seen a hawkeye visual showing this? They have them all the time for the men i dont know about women, but surely thats the best and easiest way to tell the difference?
I've read that some tournaments use different balls and some use the which do what. I haven't been able to find an easy listing of them. I think I remember hearing that at the USO the women use regular duty balls and the men use extra duty.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
...Would be interesting to know how different the balls are. Even just in the mens game is there any resource that states which touneys use which balls? Often wonder how much difference there is between different events...
I believe that that the USO is the only major that uses a different ball for men and women. As Vanhool indicated the women use a standard duty ball whereas the men use the extra duty version of the Wilson USO ball. Not sure that these 2 types of balls come off the racket at different speeds. I believe that the primary difference in speed is due to the added air drag of the extra duty ball while it is in flight. If there is any speed diff at all on the racket impact or the ground impact (the bounce), it is probably very minor, if not negligible. When ball speeds are measured by radar guns, I'm pretty sure that it is the speed of the ball coming off the racket.

So the effect of air drag on the measured outgoing speed do not come into play. However, the incoming speed of the ball would be affected since the added air drag would slow the ball down from the opponent when using an XD ball.

AFAIK, the Slazenger Wimbledon ball only comes in one flavor. Ditto for the Wilson AO ball. I believe that all tennis balls used for RG and other clay tournaments are always standard duty (since XD balls would collect too much clay). The match in question here (in the OP) is a clay court event, Roma (Italian Open). Undoubtedly a standard duty ball was used.

In WTA-only events where Penn or Head balls are used, it is the red label version of the Championship ball (standard duty). For ATP-only (non-clay) events, Head ATP or Penn ATP balls are often used. These are a typically firmer than the Head/Penn Championship balls and the felt is extra duty. I noticed that there was some complaints by Rafa, Roger and some of the other top players about the Penn ATP ball used this year at Indian Wells. No problems in the past but, for some reason, they were less than satisfactory this year (highly susceptible to atmospheric conditions?)

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/03/roger-federer-rafael-nadal-tennis-ball-indian-wells-feels-stone-penn

If the men were using the ATP ball at Indian Wells, it is possible that the women were using a red label (Championship) ball. Don't know for certain. Sorry, don't know types of balls are used at other non-major, non-clay events where Penn or Head are not used.
 

Zoolander

Hall of Fame
I believe that that the USO is the only major that uses a different ball for men and women. As Vanhool indicated the women use a standard duty ball whereas the men use the extra duty version of the Wilson USO ball. Not sure that these 2 types of balls come off the racket at different speeds. I believe that the primary difference in speed is due to the added air drag of the extra duty ball while it is in flight. If there is any speed diff at all on the racket impact or the ground impact (the bounce), it is probably very minor, if not negligible. When ball speeds are measured by radar guns, I'm pretty sure that it is the speed of the ball coming off the racket.

So the effect of air drag on the measured outgoing speed do not come into play. However, the incoming speed of the ball would be affected since the added air drag would slow the ball down from the opponent when using an XD ball.

AFAIK, the Slazenger Wimbledon ball only comes in one flavor. Ditto for the Wilson AO ball. I believe that all tennis balls used for RG and other clay tournaments are always standard duty (since XD balls would collect too much clay). The match in question here (in the OP) is a clay court event, Roma (Italian Open). Undoubtedly a standard duty ball was used.

In WTA-only events where Penn or Head balls are used, it is the red label version of the Championship ball (standard duty). For ATP-only (non-clay) events, Head ATP or Penn ATP balls are often used. These are a typically firmer than the Head/Penn Championship balls and the felt is extra duty. I noticed that there was some complaints by Rafa, Roger and some of the other top players about the Penn ATP ball used this year at Indian Wells. No problems in the past but, for some reason, they were less than satisfactory this year (highly susceptible to atmospheric conditions?)

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/03/roger-federer-rafael-nadal-tennis-ball-indian-wells-feels-stone-penn

If the men were using the ATP ball at Indian Wells, it is possible that the women were using a red label (Championship) ball. Don't know for certain. Sorry, don't know types of balls are used at other non-major, non-clay events where Penn or Head are not used.
Thanks nice info. Is it true that 10-15 years ago they changed balls in order to slow down the game?

I remember reading an article saying if they made the ball something like 5% larger it would slow it down by X% etc. Dont know if it was just one manufacturer or if they ever actually did it?
 

Russeljones

G.O.A.T.
I know I'm just reviving a super old thread, but I did try to compare the average time per groundstroke for men and women. I haven't been able to find data using google so I thought I might as well share it.

Methods
1. I looked at highlight reels of men's (Fed vs. Wawrinka, London 2014; Dimitrov vs. Verdasco, Beijing 2014; and Nadal vs. Djokovic, US Open 2013) and women's (Cirstea vs. Cibulkova, Stanford 2012; S. Williams vs. Azarenka, US Open 2013; and Sharapova vs. Lisicki, US Open 2014) matches. Matches were selected so that no player is included in the dataset twice. The selection process was not completely random. I searched for players whose names came up in my head first, but with no idea of what the match would be like.
2. I started counting time when the serve was struck (though it would've probably been better to start when the return was struck....).
3. I only counted points with returns and groundstrokes (regardless of spin). A point is omitted from the dataset if a player passes the service line any time between the strike of the serve and the ball has been called out.
4. Only the first five points with greater than 3 shots (returns and groundstrokes) are counted starting from the beginning of each highlight reel.
6. Data was counted by dividing the amount of time (in seconds) by the # of shots in each point.
7. Unpaired and two-tailed Student's t-tests were used to measure the difference between the results for each individual data set between men and women (5 points for each match, 3 matches per gender for n = 15).

Results
Men's Results - Mean +/- Std. Deviation
seconds/shot - 1.542 +/- 0.195 s

Women's Results - Mean +/- Std. Deviation
seconds/shot - 1.553 +/- 0.205 s

The results between the amount of seconds/shot between men and women were insignificantly different, BUT:

Looking at time alone per point, men averaged at 14.333 +/- 7.925 s while women averaged at 8.733 +/- 4.079 s. Also, for the # of shots per point, men averaged at 9.667 +/- 6.032 shots while women averaged at 5.8 +/- 3.167 shots. Between men and women, there were significant differences in the time required per point as well as the # of shots per point. However, I doubt the accuracy of this throughout the whole match because I omitted many points that ended with just a serve or approaches to the net (more often in men and the S. Williams vs. Lisicki women's match) and a great number of points in the Cirstea vs. Cibulkova match ended in under 3 shots (check out the power!).

Conclusion
Not much at all. Average time for men and women to react to each shot were basically the same. However, men had more tendency to slice (maybe I'll try to factor that in later), which definitely slows down the point and increase the amount of shots (hence the significance in time and # of shots per point). Unless the slices travel at the same speed, which I believe is not likely the case, this does suggest that men hit at harder speeds with regular groundstrokes than women in order to make up for the difference. In addition, the men seemed to travel greater distances during each point.
Time per point, unfortunately, is a derivative of the match time and total points aggregates. This tells us nothing about the speed of the rallies themselves. At least not with any scientific certainty.

A note about the significance of the average time allowed for anticipation. While the nominal value might not seem significant, in the course of a rally this would be magnified and the inherent athletic imbalance between the two sexes (the men being more powerful and quicker athletes) would serve to explain, to some extent, why it is harder for more women to maintain such a style of play and why it is the outliers in the men's game who can succeed today through aggressive offensive tennis.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
Maria is hitting a ton of winners, way more than I see in mens tennis. I mean compared to Roddick who rolls them in...
The difference is Maria knows she wont be punished very often for short or central balls. In the men's game you are basically every time which is why when Roddick looks like he's rolling it in he's actually playing patiently until he has an opening without giving one to his opponent.

Hands-down Roddick, even in retirement, would blow Maria off the court even if he had to serve underarm. It would be such a brutal beatdown if he even bothered to try you'd watch it and probably come back here and say she was sick or couldn't run. The gap is that big in physicality between the men's and woman's game.

To see an example of the difference go watch a top female player hitting with her coach. Earlier this year I got to see the likes of Wozniacki, Venus Williams hitting up close with their male coaches. They were destroying the ball and putting in 100% effort while the guys - nobodies in the scheme of tennis ability - looked like they were just going through the motions.
 

thomasferrett

Hall of Fame
Everyone knows the real difference in ATP vs WTA shots is amount of spin.

Men are hitting roughly the same speed as the women, but they're also hitting probably double the topspin.
 

TommyA8X

Hall of Fame
Everyone knows the real difference in ATP vs WTA shots is amount of spin.

Men are hitting roughly the same speed as the women, but they're also hitting probably double the topspin.
Plus the movement. Men hit great on the run, or can get in position much faster, while most of the women who hit hard can barely do anything on run (ex. Sharapova). Women who move great, generally have little to no power (Radwanska, Wozniacki...). Serena is amongst the few who hit hard and move reasonably well.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
Everyone knows the real difference in ATP vs WTA shots is amount of spin.

Men are hitting roughly the same speed as the women, but they're also hitting probably double the topspin.
No, they don't.

The men are hitting at higher average speeds without any doubt at all. Moreso, because they are such quicker movers they also deny opponents what would be winners against WTA players and they are also are hitting more of their own shots balanced... and their hitting on the run is miles better.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
No, they don't.

The men are hitting at higher average speeds without any doubt at all. Moreso, because they are such quicker movers they also deny opponents what would be winners against WTA players and they are also are hitting more of their own shots balanced... and their hitting on the run is miles better.

 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
Anyone, even you, can find a specious pile of examples which buck the trend.

Anyone with a remotely critical eye can see the incoming shot was nothing special at all. Venus made contact, what, 2m inside the sideline? Djokovic and tons of top men hit multiple shots like that in ever match except another 4m further over.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Thanks nice info. Is it true that 10-15 years ago they changed balls in order to slow down the game?

I remember reading an article saying if they made the ball something like 5% larger it would slow it down by X% etc. Dont know if it was just one manufacturer or if they ever actually did it?
In an early effort to slow down the men's game there was a larger ball developed about 15 years ago (might have even been the late 90s). These balls were 6% larger than standard balls. I had the opportunity to use these balls a couple of times. Even tho' they were the same weight as a regular ball, everyone insisted that they felt heavier. Perhaps the rubber was stiffer (or it could be that the dwell time on the strings gave them the illusion of being heavier). Air drag was noticeably greater. Players often over-stressed their arm or shoulders trying to hit these balls faster/harder.

This experimental ball was not very popular at all. Nonetheless, the ITF added this to their list of approved balls in 2001 as a Type 3 ball. I don't know if they are still currently available. If so, they might sometimes be used for play at high altitudes where the air is thinner so air drag would be lower. The larger ball would offset the effect of thinner air. However, the internal pressure of the ball might also need to be reduced so that the bounce would not be too lively with the lower external air pressure. Pressureless balls or special high altitude balls are often used for high altitude play.

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/SPORT/tennis/03/25/tennis.fastest.serve/
http://www.itftennis.com/technical/technical-centre/faqs/faqs.aspx#A16

According to the 2nd link above, the standard pressurized ball is a Type 2 ball. This is regardless of whether the felt is standard duty or extra duty. Both versions must adhere to the same specs. There can be a bit of variance since the specs do allow for a narrow range. The mass range is for all balls (except youth training balls) is 1.975-2.095 ounces (56-59.4 grams). The range prior to 2000-2001 was narrower than this (56.7-58.5 grams).

Faster Type 1 balls (with standard felt) can be used for clay tournaments according to the ITF link above. Don't know if Type 2 (standard speed) are also used for clay. It is possible that men might use Type 2 whereas women use Type 1 for some events.

http://www.usta.com/2011_tennis_ball_specifications

Since the Type 3 balls were not popular with pros or rec players 15 years ago, other changes were made to compensate for high ball speeds seen in the mens' game of the 1990s for grass and hardcourts . Balls became brighter so that they would be easier for players to track visually. This was also done for improved TV viewing. Slazneger developed Ultra-Vis for the Wimbledon ball. Other ball makers also made their balls brighter. The courts at the USO and AO changed from green to blue as another measure to improve ball visibility.

Grass courts and hard courts were slowed down from what they were in the 1990s.
 
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I know I'm just reviving a super old thread, but I did try to compare the average time per groundstroke for men and women. I haven't been able to find data using google so I thought I might as well share it.

Methods
1. I looked at highlight reels of men's (Fed vs. Wawrinka, London 2014; Dimitrov vs. Verdasco, Beijing 2014; and Nadal vs. Djokovic, US Open 2013) and women's (Cirstea vs. Cibulkova, Stanford 2012; S. Williams vs. Azarenka, US Open 2013; and Sharapova vs. Lisicki, US Open 2014) matches. Matches were selected so that no player is included in the dataset twice. The selection process was not completely random. I searched for players whose names came up in my head first, but with no idea of what the match would be like.
2. I started counting time when the serve was struck (though it would've probably been better to start when the return was struck....).
3. I only counted points with returns and groundstrokes (regardless of spin). A point is omitted from the dataset if a player passes the service line any time between the strike of the serve and the ball has been called out.
4. Only the first five points with greater than 3 shots (returns and groundstrokes) are counted starting from the beginning of each highlight reel.
6. Data was counted by dividing the amount of time (in seconds) by the # of shots in each point.
7. Unpaired and two-tailed Student's t-tests were used to measure the difference between the results for each individual data set between men and women (5 points for each match, 3 matches per gender for n = 15).

Results
Men's Results - Mean +/- Std. Deviation
seconds/shot - 1.542 +/- 0.195 s

Women's Results - Mean +/- Std. Deviation
seconds/shot - 1.553 +/- 0.205 s

The results between the amount of seconds/shot between men and women were insignificantly different, BUT:

Looking at time alone per point, men averaged at 14.333 +/- 7.925 s while women averaged at 8.733 +/- 4.079 s. Also, for the # of shots per point, men averaged at 9.667 +/- 6.032 shots while women averaged at 5.8 +/- 3.167 shots. Between men and women, there were significant differences in the time required per point as well as the # of shots per point. However, I doubt the accuracy of this throughout the whole match because I omitted many points that ended with just a serve or approaches to the net (more often in men and the S. Williams vs. Lisicki women's match) and a great number of points in the Cirstea vs. Cibulkova match ended in under 3 shots (check out the power!).

Conclusion
Not much at all. Average time for men and women to react to each shot were basically the same. However, men had more tendency to slice (maybe I'll try to factor that in later), which definitely slows down the point and increase the amount of shots (hence the significance in time and # of shots per point). Unless the slices travel at the same speed, which I believe is not likely the case, this does suggest that men hit at harder speeds with regular groundstrokes than women in order to make up for the difference. In addition, the men seemed to travel greater distances during each point.
Amazing data, and it agrees with my eyes and what I've been telling here: Women hit equally as hard as men, but women have far weaker footwork and foot speed, and are far weaker atheletes in general. That's exactly what your data suggests (shorter rallies with equal time between shots), i.e women just can't move their feet and cannot get the ball back in play. Sharapova is the best example of this: Top pro level hitting but club level footwork, in short: Non-athlete who has the skill to hit the ball.
 

cknobman

Legend
Anyone arguing this point obviously had never played any competitive level of Tennis, especially with the opposite sex.

It just goes to show the lack of knowledge from someone who watches a sport versus someone who plays that sport.

There is a tremendous gulf between equally skilled men and women. Women are biologically and physically different than men and the only way to make up that difference is through skill.

For a woman to be successfully competitive against a man in tennis, much like many other sports, she needs to have a significant skill advantage.
 

donquijote

G.O.A.T.
If you want to see the difference between women and men's tennis, watch mixed doubles matches, especially the ones that top players from each gender plays. The difference is huge and Navratilova was right, any player Top 200 in ATP can easily beat Serena or Sharapova.
 

easywin

Rookie
Amazing data, and it agrees with my eyes and what I've been telling here: Women hit equally as hard as men
Do you mean as fast or do you really mean hard as in force put upon the ball expressed by speed and spin ?
I searched for some information on average groundstroke and rpm on the WTA/ATP but couldnt find anything worth mentioning that backs my opinion up but honestly, I can't see women putting comparable amount of force on a tennis ball.
Not on average and 100% not comparing the heavy hitters - if someone has any data that approves or disprove please provide it.

Most men on the tour have 15+ kgs on their female counterparts and the technique that most WTA players have is inferior to ATP players - how can they hit with the same force ?
One of my favorite videos that explains the differences is this one :
Definitely worth the watch.

I think it's totally possible or happens frequently that a big hitter on the WTA hits faster than a smaller defensive ATP guy in a match BUT that does neither mean they hit harder nor that the ATP guy won't hit a LOT harder if he'd play the women.
There are other indicators that the ATP guys simply hit harder like racquet weight (where I'm far from being an expert but to my knowledge women play lighter racquets) or simply the lack of topspin on the WTA.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
Most men on the tour have 15+ kgs on their female counterparts and the technique that most WTA players have is inferior to ATP players - how can they hit with the same force ?
Simple: they can't. People are dreaming when they say the women hit as hard but just with less topspin. They don't come close in either category on-average.

Men are generally taller, have longer limbs and use heavier racquets as well - aside from the already mentioned strength thing. The notion that women hit as hard is laughable no matter what cherry-picked dataset people can come up with.

As an example of the difference - Serena is probably one of the biggest built players on the WTA... and she's barely bigger than David Ferrer who is considered a midget in the ATP.
 

Vanhool

Legend
As an example of the difference - Serena is probably one of the biggest built players on the WTA... and she's barely bigger than David Ferrer who is considered a midget in the ATP.
Well, here is something, too. Serena and David are the same height. The women are on average 10% shorter than the men. A midget on the women's tour is 5' 2" or 5' 3". Yet they are scrambling over the same sized court. Just sayin'
 
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@easywin It was in RG14 when Madison Keys hit more average pace than any ATP player, more than Djokovic/Nadal and all the top guys: http://2015.ausopen.com/en_AU/news/articles/2015-01-24/day_6_preview_keys_packs_a_punch_.html

Sure, I know the differences in ATP/WTA technique (that clip is familiar) and I agree that men in general hit a heavier ball, with more spin. But, my point was that hitting itself is NOT the biggest difference between ATP/WTA. Serena with her serve and groundstrokes could easily hang with ATP 100-1000 players if she had the court coverage, foot speed and athleticism of male players. Her strokes are not the reason why she'd lose to any top 1000 ATP player. Lack of court coverage speed is the reason, and that "weakness" would be easily highlighted by any male tour players.

People just tend to be so obsessed with the strokes, whereas in reality tennis is a MOVEMENT sport, where the player with the best court coverage and best anticipation tends to win. This is true at all levels, even more so at club level. Pusher always beats the ball basher! :D
 

Andyk028

Professional
I know I'm just reviving a super old thread, but I did try to compare the average time per groundstroke for men and women. I haven't been able to find data using google so I thought I might as well share it.

Methods
1. I looked at highlight reels of men's (Fed vs. Wawrinka, London 2014; Dimitrov vs. Verdasco, Beijing 2014; and Nadal vs. Djokovic, US Open 2013) and women's (Cirstea vs. Cibulkova, Stanford 2012; S. Williams vs. Azarenka, US Open 2013; and Sharapova vs. Lisicki, US Open 2014) matches. Matches were selected so that no player is included in the dataset twice. The selection process was not completely random. I searched for players whose names came up in my head first, but with no idea of what the match would be like.
2. I started counting time when the serve was struck (though it would've probably been better to start when the return was struck....).
3. I only counted points with returns and groundstrokes (regardless of spin). A point is omitted from the dataset if a player passes the service line any time between the strike of the serve and the ball has been called out.
4. Only the first five points with greater than 3 shots (returns and groundstrokes) are counted starting from the beginning of each highlight reel.
6. Data was counted by dividing the amount of time (in seconds) by the # of shots in each point.
7. Unpaired and two-tailed Student's t-tests were used to measure the difference between the results for each individual data set between men and women (5 points for each match, 3 matches per gender for n = 15).

Results
Men's Results - Mean +/- Std. Deviation
seconds/shot - 1.542 +/- 0.195 s

Women's Results - Mean +/- Std. Deviation
seconds/shot - 1.553 +/- 0.205 s

The results between the amount of seconds/shot between men and women were insignificantly different, BUT:

Looking at time alone per point, men averaged at 14.333 +/- 7.925 s while women averaged at 8.733 +/- 4.079 s. Also, for the # of shots per point, men averaged at 9.667 +/- 6.032 shots while women averaged at 5.8 +/- 3.167 shots. Between men and women, there were significant differences in the time required per point as well as the # of shots per point. However, I doubt the accuracy of this throughout the whole match because I omitted many points that ended with just a serve or approaches to the net (more often in men and the S. Williams vs. Lisicki women's match) and a great number of points in the Cirstea vs. Cibulkova match ended in under 3 shots (check out the power!).

Conclusion
Not much at all. Average time for men and women to react to each shot were basically the same. However, men had more tendency to slice (maybe I'll try to factor that in later), which definitely slows down the point and increase the amount of shots (hence the significance in time and # of shots per point). Unless the slices travel at the same speed, which I believe is not likely the case, this does suggest that men hit at harder speeds with regular groundstrokes than women in order to make up for the difference. In addition, the men seemed to travel greater distances during each point.
Any recommendations for future research?

On a serious note, how do you have time to do an APA style research project?
 
Simple: they can't. People are dreaming when they say the women hit as hard but just with less topspin. They don't come close in either category on-average.

Men are generally taller, have longer limbs and use heavier racquets as well - aside from the already mentioned strength thing. The notion that women hit as hard is laughable no matter what cherry-picked dataset people can come up with.

As an example of the difference - Serena is probably one of the biggest built players on the WTA... and she's barely bigger than David Ferrer who is considered a midget in the ATP.
Sure, men hit SLIGHTLY faster than women. But that's not where the biggest difference is!
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
Sure, men hit SLIGHTLY faster than women. But that's not where the biggest difference is!
What do you mean by slightly? 2%? or 10%?

The gap in average pace (not to mention variety) of topspin ground-strokes is quite significant. Most of women's tennis is more akin to men's warm-up pace.
 

Vanhool

Legend
What do you mean by slightly? 2%? or 10%?

The gap in average pace (not to mention variety) of topspin ground-strokes is quite significant. Most of women's tennis is more akin to men's warm-up pace.
That's true, BUT some of the women hit WAY harder than others. I would say there is a much bigger disparity of pace between pusher and ball basher on WTA. And some of the power players sacrifice control to make that happen.

Little 5'3"" Cibulkova hits really hard. She can do really well (AO final), but usually she will have a match where she makes a lot of errors and gets knocked out before she can reach the fnal (or in the final). She is OK with it, because she made a decision. She used to be a pusher, and would get knocked out by power players. She decided she would rather take matters into her own hands and be aggressive, recognizing that she loses control sometimes. She decided she would rather go down swinging, by her own racquet, than by being passive and getting trampled. The few tournaments she's won were since she changed. Been out this year with Achilles surgery :(
 

TommyA8X

Hall of Fame
@easywin It was in RG14 when Madison Keys hit more average pace than any ATP player, more than Djokovic/Nadal and all the top guys: http://2015.ausopen.com/en_AU/news/articles/2015-01-24/day_6_preview_keys_packs_a_punch_.html

Sure, I know the differences in ATP/WTA technique (that clip is familiar) and I agree that men in general hit a heavier ball, with more spin. But, my point was that hitting itself is NOT the biggest difference between ATP/WTA. Serena with her serve and groundstrokes could easily hang with ATP 100-1000 players if she had the court coverage, foot speed and athleticism of male players. Her strokes are not the reason why she'd lose to any top 1000 ATP player. Lack of court coverage speed is the reason, and that "weakness" would be easily highlighted by any male tour players.

People just tend to be so obsessed with the strokes, whereas in reality tennis is a MOVEMENT sport, where the player with the best court coverage and best anticipation tends to win. This is true at all levels, even more so at club level. Pusher always beats the ball basher! :D
Movement is the most important but spin is huge also. Male players can open the court so much better with great angles (because of the amount of spin they put on the ball). Women mostly hit through the court. The only WTA player who hits with some good spin constantly is Stosur (FH side only obviously). Also, net clearance is noticeably higher for ATP players.
 
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