Average rally length

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Average rally length

Post by summerblues on Sun 10 Apr 2016, 4:49 am

First topic message reminder :

A few weeks back Born Slippy and I were discussing the length of an average point in tennis.  I expressed the view that – specifically at Wimbledon – the current average must be quite a bit longer than it used to be.  My hunch was that:
summerblues wrote:I strongly suspect that […] the average length of the rally went down from the 80s to 90s, and then increased to above where it started from.
I did not have any real data to support it though, so I decided to – time permitting – try to look at some older matches and collect some stats:
summerblues wrote:I have been planning to (though have not yet got around to it) pick a few matches from Wimbledon and check average length of a point in each.  I would pick a couple of matches that I remember enjoying very much (maybe Borg-McEnroe and Becker-Edberg), then maybe some that I considered having too short points (Sampras-Ivanisevic?, maybe some more?) and then something more recent (Djokovic-Nadal, Djokovic-Federer?)
Re-watching these matches in full proved too much, but I did manage to get some data.  For each of the matches, I looked at the first 50 points played in the match (disregarding any DFs).  In addition to the five matches I listed above, I included three more (all matches are Wimbledon finals):


  • Sampras-Agassi: to get an example of a “slower” 1990s match
  • Borg-Connors (’77): because BS cheekily suggested this as an example of a “typical 1980s” Wimbledon match (even though it is neither)
  • Laver-Newcombe: just for the old-times’ sake


Here is what I get:

YearWinnerLoser1-2 strokes3-5 strokes6+ strokesaverage strokes
1969LaverNewcombe143153.58
1977BorgConnors1019215.3
1980BorgMcEnroe193013.26
1988EdbergBecker232613.06
1998SamprasIvanisevic272212.66
1999SamprasAgassi232163.24
2011DjokovicNadal1713205.28
2015DjokovicFederer2116134.06

In the next two posts I summarize my conclusions.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 3:02 am

MMM, Summerblues S and V and baseline play did not thrive equally in the 70s, the game was hugely serve and volley dominant. Borg S and V every first serve at wimbeldon in the seventies. So he wouldn't succeed playing baseline tennis there, he would stay back on his return games basically. The 70s despite Connors, Borg, and Vilas success was totally dominated by S and V. Even the first half of the 80s. Really the power baseliners in the mid to late 80s started to displace the S and V guys. By the 90s S and V already was dying. So in the 70s S and V dominated, from the advent of the graphite racquet in the late 70s and early 80s and refinements of the technology it started to slowly lose ground really from the early 80s on.

The idea that in the past both S and V and baseline play were equally prevalent is not true. In fact, if you look at the history of tennis you will see that really S and V dominated the wooden era and started to die as soon as the graphite racquet came about, it was a slow rot as players and technology and tactics varied at differing times. In actuality, a very short period of time in the 1980s and early 90s did both styles thrive. If you actually look at the 100 year history of competitive tennis you would see that for most its history one or the other has dominated, and this parity where they both were equally viable lasted for really a tiny period in tennis history and it is unlikely you can recreate those conditions.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 3:10 am

socal1976 wrote:As an exercise please go back and watch the entire Sampras v. GOran wimby final of 1999 or was it 98 cited in this thread on youtube. Do it I dare you? Then tell me you want to foster a system that the very direct result is a huge increase in these matches.

You are using one match as a yardstick for the whole tour?  OK


socal1976 wrote:So the question is simple what will the players holding at 92 or 93 hold at under your serve friendly/return unfriendly environment? And what will returners who now break 7 or 8 percent of the time be breaking at?

Do not let factual errors stop you? Wink

Career numbers...

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/novak-djokovic/d643/player-stats  - Break Points Converted 44%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/rafael-nadal/n409/player-stats - Break Points Converted 45%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/roger-federer/f324/player-stats - Break Points Converted 41%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/andy-murray/mc10/player-stats - Break Points Converted 43%

... and the tour average in Open Era is

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/break-points-converted/all/all/all/

Find all the non-Clay specialist players in this list as an exercise.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/bjorn-borg/b058/player-stats - Break Points Converted 33%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/john-mcenroe/m047/player-stats - Break Points Converted 42%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/jimmy-connors/c044/player-stats - Break Points Converted 42%

and your two favorites...

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/goran-ivanisevic/i034/player-stats - Break Points Converted 40%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/pete-sampras/s402/player-stats - Break Points Converted 41%

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Re: Average rally length

Post by summerblues on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 3:15 am

I did not say they had equal chance to succeed - I agree S&V was the more important style. But that only makes the argument that tennis has given up something which was very close to its heart more compelling.

But also, baseliners were nevertheless able to live and succeed.  Borg and Connors - the two most dominant players of the 1970s - were predominantly baseliners.  They were certainly far closer to being baseliners than anyone in top 10 today is to being S&Ver.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 3:16 am

laverfan wrote:
socal1976 wrote:As an exercise please go back and watch the entire Sampras v. GOran wimby final of 1999 or was it 98 cited in this thread on youtube. Do it I dare you? Then tell me you want to foster a system that the very direct result is a huge increase in these matches.

You are using one match as a yardstick for the whole tour?  OK


socal1976 wrote:So the question is simple what will the players holding at 92 or 93 hold at under your serve friendly/return unfriendly environment? And what will returners who now break 7 or 8 percent of the time be breaking at?

Do not let factual errors stop you? Wink

Career numbers...

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/novak-djokovic/d643/player-stats  - Break Points Converted 44%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/rafael-nadal/n409/player-stats - Break Points Converted 45%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/roger-federer/f324/player-stats - Break Points Converted 41%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/andy-murray/mc10/player-stats - Break Points Converted 43%

... and the tour average in Open Era is

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/break-points-converted/all/all/all/

Find all the non-Clay specialist players in this list as an exercise.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/bjorn-borg/b058/player-stats - Break Points Converted 33%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/john-mcenroe/m047/player-stats - Break Points Converted 42%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/jimmy-connors/c044/player-stats - Break Points Converted 42%

and your two favorites...

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/goran-ivanisevic/i034/player-stats - Break Points Converted 40%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/pete-sampras/s402/player-stats - Break Points Converted 41%

There are many top players right now breaking in single digits and holding in the low 90s. Not just one or two. In fact most of the guys who hold at high percentages struggle to break at all in today's tour. We have record numbers in terms of serving proficiency. And still nobody is telling me what will happen when you make returning harder and serving easier when you have a great many players who already rarely get broken and rarely break. I mean get ready for a two week delay at wimbeldon if Raonic and Isner play each other. It could 267-265 in the fifth set and we will just have to suspend the tournament till these douchebags figure out how to break.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 3:20 am

summerblues wrote:I did not say they had equal chance to succeed - I agree S&V was the more important style. But that only makes the argument that tennis has given up something which was very close to its heart more compelling.

But also, baseliners were nevertheless able to live and succeed.  Borg and Connors - the two most dominant players of the 1970s - were predominantly baseliners.  They were certainly far closer to being baseliners than anyone in top 10 today is to being S&Ver.

If you played like Borg today at wimbeldon you would be known as an out and out S and Volleyer. Borg played from the back on clay basically and on return games. You simply could not finish points from the baseline back then. You could watch Borg play a match and not hit an out and out winner off his FH for like a week, only on returns and passes could you finish. The only way to bring back S and V would be to make it pretty damn hard to finish from the baseline. That is the trade off no one wants to make and why the conditions stay the way they are despite the online protests of purists. In history you don't get to go back. I mean at one time in the NFL they used to run the ball 60 times a game, there is some old guy out there at some bar probably talking about the glory days of football when they didn't do all this sissy passing. Can't put humpty dumpty back again, sorry.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 3:38 am

socal1976 wrote:There are many top players right now breaking in single digits and holding in the low 90s. Not just one or two. In fact most of the guys who hold at high percentages struggle to break at all in today's tour. We have record numbers in terms of serving proficiency. And still nobody is telling me what will happen when you make returning harder and serving easier when you have a great many players who already rarely get broken and rarely break. I mean get ready for a two week delay at wimbeldon if Raonic and Isner play each other. It could 267-265 in the fifth set and we will just have to suspend the tournament till these douchebags figure out how to break.

Nothing will change, as servers achieve speeds (there are mechanical studies to show that there is an upper limit), the returner will get better and tech will help such a player. Spaghetti strings were invented during Nastase's reign. Wink Your doomsday scenario is not likely to happen.

Please show me the numbers. You have free access to atpworldtour.com.

Returning with the current strings and racquets is already much easier than a 7-in wood round with natural gut from the noughties. You take one MahIsner at W and ignore all other matches? Is this not selective? And Mahut was 6'3"...

Heights... ft/in notation of a sample...

Djokovic - 6'2"
Murray - 6'3"
Raonic - 6'5"
Isner - 6'10"
Berdych - 6'5" (same as Raonic - yet Raonic is singled out because he can server at 130mph+. Why?).
Tsonga - 6'2"
Monfils - 6'4" (1" shorter than Raonic, yet no comparison...)

The point is that the Serving at 130mph is Murray's forte as is Raonic's or Berdych's.

Djokovic has learnt to lower the speed and get accuracy - a fantastic achievement after Todd Martin.

If you prefer rallies, that is fine, as some others prefer something different. Variety is important. Rally length is only one parameter. Longer rally length requires higher endurance, foot speed, stamina, maybe a minute/sit-down between points rather than a single game.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by summerblues on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 3:44 am

socal1976 wrote:If you played like Borg today at wimbeldon you would be known as an out and out S and Volleyer. Borg played from the back on clay basically and on return games.
Look at how Borg played across all surfaces and find one top player (not even #1, just top 5, or even top 10) who is as much a S&V player as Borg was a baseliner.  You will not, because there are not any.  No matter how you present it, even though S&V was the dominant style, it was easier to succeed as a baseliner then, then it is to succeed as a S&Ver now.

The style that was at the heart of tennis for what you yourself say was 100 years was killed off with new technology, and sport addressed it how?  With slower surfaces.

That said, I will emphasize again - I am not saying this is "good" or "bad" on any objective level - it is obviously a matter of preference (though I personally much preferred the old version).  I just want people to appreciate better why some of us may view it as a loss to tennis.  Not you obviously, and that is fine.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 4:40 am

summerblues wrote:
socal1976 wrote:If you played like Borg today at wimbeldon you would be known as an out and out S and Volleyer. Borg played from the back on clay basically and on return games.
Look at how Borg played across all surfaces and find one top player (not even #1, just top 5, or even top 10) who is as much a S&V player as Borg was a baseliner.  You will not, because there are not any.  No matter how you present it, even though S&V was the dominant style, it was easier to succeed as a baseliner then, then it is to succeed as a S&Ver now.

The style that was at the heart of tennis for what you yourself say was 100 years was killed off with new technology, and sport addressed it how?  With slower surfaces.

That said, I will emphasize again - I am not saying this is "good" or "bad" on any objective level - it is obviously a matter of preference (though I personally much preferred the old version).  I just want people to appreciate better why some of us may view it as a loss to tennis.  Not you obviously, and that is fine.

Yes and the power baseline tennis has been the heart of the last twenty years of tennis, people have become used to the turbocharged groundstrokes. I mean you think finishing at net is better than finishing with a FH, and I think the opposite. But the reason that the tournament directors favor the baseline style is because really as a dominant style as I stated, S and V it is the second dullest of the four main types of tennis. Power baseline, grinder, S and V, and all court being those 4 types. I mean you get a huge number of points, especially with today's bigger and physically more imposing athletes, that will be over in one shot or two. People don't like a lot of one or two shot rallies. Why else would the tournament directors ignore the impassioned pleas of you and the rest of the online purists? The only reason could be that most tennis fans prefer seeing a few rallies than seeing a steady stream of serve/putaways/overheads. Of the 4 styles people seem to prefer power baseline and all court game centric tennis to quick point S and V, or the converse endless grinding Simon v. Ferrer matches. I think if you put an honest choice in front of most people and said do you want to kill winners from the back to resurrect S and V, most would not want to take the 5th gear off the groundstrokes. Afterall, the tournament directors want to make as many fans happy as possible with a popular product. If they thought for a second that players not hitting a baseline winner for a week and running in 70 times a set was marketable they would gear the conditions to that. But really S and V as a dominant style is very popular today and online mainly because it has become extinct and nostalgia always is rose tinted.




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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 4:41 am

socal1976 wrote:There are many top players right now breaking in single digits and holding in the low 90s. Not just one or two.

Let us take a sample of 2015...

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/break-points-converted/2015/all/all/

Look at #44 in this list - John Isner at 33%. #50 in this list is Leonardo Mayer at ATP #45.

From 2014...

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/break-points-converted/2014/all/all/

The last entry is John Isner at 24%

socal1976 wrote:In fact most of the guys who hold at high percentages struggle to break at all in today's tour.

For two years running, Isner is in 20+ %.  There are no statistics to support your assertion.

socal1976 wrote:We have record numbers in terms of serving proficiency.  

2015 - Raonic at #47 at 33%.
2014 - Raonic at #24 at 39%.

Isner at 70% 1st serves in 2015.
Of all players, Nadal is at 70% 1st serves in 2015.

1991 is the oldest data available with ATP. Muster at 71% 1st serves, has a career BP conversion rate of 45% (http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/thomas-muster/m099/player-stats) . Muster has a Grass W/L of 7-10 for his career.

Provide statistics to support your assertions. OK

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 4:46 am

laverfan wrote:
socal1976 wrote:There are many top players right now breaking in single digits and holding in the low 90s. Not just one or two. In fact most of the guys who hold at high percentages struggle to break at all in today's tour. We have record numbers in terms of serving proficiency. And still nobody is telling me what will happen when you make returning harder and serving easier when you have a great many players who already rarely get broken and rarely break. I mean get ready for a two week delay at wimbeldon if Raonic and Isner play each other. It could 267-265 in the fifth set and we will just have to suspend the tournament till these douchebags figure out how to break.

Nothing will change, as servers achieve speeds (there are mechanical studies to show that there is an upper limit), the returner will get better and tech will help such a player. Spaghetti strings were invented during Nastase's reign. Wink Your doomsday scenario is not likely to happen.

Please show me the numbers. You have free access to atpworldtour.com.

Returning with the current strings and racquets is already much easier than a 7-in wood round with natural gut from the noughties. You take one MahIsner at W and ignore all other matches? Is this not selective? And Mahut was 6'3"...

Heights... ft/in notation of a sample...

Djokovic - 6'2"
Murray - 6'3"
Raonic - 6'5"
Isner - 6'10"
Berdych - 6'5" (same as Raonic - yet Raonic is singled out because he can server at 130mph+. Why?).
Tsonga - 6'2"
Monfils - 6'4" (1" shorter than Raonic, yet no comparison...)

The point is that the Serving at 130mph is Murray's forte as is Raonic's or Berdych's.

Djokovic has learnt to lower the speed and get accuracy - a fantastic achievement after Todd Martin.

If you prefer rallies, that is fine, as some others prefer something different. Variety is important. Rally length is only one parameter. Longer rally length requires higher endurance, foot speed, stamina, maybe a minute/sit-down between points rather than a single game.

BS, did a wonderful thread where he showed that it is harder to break today than it was historically in the 90s and 80s, DESPITE THE SLOWDOWN. So with all the slowed down conditions you still have several players holding in Samprasesque territory and many players who struggle tooth and nail to break double digits on the return. I still want to know how making returning harder on EVERY SURFACE through technology changes makes for more variety, just sounds like a big up to the attacker year round. The fact that we see serve numbers continuing to creep up despite all of the strings and slowed down courts is the BEST ARGUMENT for keeping conditions slow or going even slower, and it basically throws a huge monkey wrench into speeding everything up through tech and condition changes.


Last edited by socal1976 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 8:41 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 4:53 am

Laverfan, who cares about BP conversion rates, irrelevant. I am talking about hold percentage. Karlovic and Isner are breaking at 10 and 11 percent if you go by 2015 numbers. On grass by the way Isner held 97 percent of the time so what is going to happen at Wimbeldon if you speed things up and make returning harder? By the way in 2015 we had 21 players hold over 90 percent of their service games on grass. Are you now telling me we have a lot of room for speeding things up and making returning more difficult with changes year round? The changes you guys entail would make Wimbeldon way more unwatchable than the 90s with the current bigger and better trained athletes.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 5:04 am

Basically, speeding things up even a little would basically break Wimbeldon, the signature event of the entire year when the eyes of the world are on the sport. You will see a rash of tiebreak sets and lengthy 5th sets going into the teens. If a good server gets a break in the first game you can basically tune in for the next set. I mean under the changes you guys entail you will turn the Mecca of the sport into a glorified serving contest, it would be comic watching half a dozen different Isner v. Mahuts developing each tournament. For your sake's I hope they don't destroy the game by listening to you people. In away, I wish you guys could get your way, because frankly sometimes the best cure for someone's desire for something is to let them have it and then they decide on their own that well the grass isn't always greener on the other side. And the whole time I will be laughing at you guys and doing I told you so posts. And you know I am good at that.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 3:12 pm

socal1976 wrote:BS, did a wonderful thread where he showed that it is harder to break today than it was historically in the 90s and 80s, DESPITE THE SLOWDOWN. So with all the slowed down conditions you still have several players holding in Samprasesque territory and many players who struggle tooth and nail to break double digits on the return. I still want to know how making returning harder on EVERY SURFACE through technology changes makes for more variety, just sounds like a big up to the attacker year round. The fact that we see serve numbers continuing to creep up despite all of the strings and slowed down courts is the BEST ARGUMENT for keeping conditions slow or going even slower, and it basically throws a huge monkey wrench into speeding everything up through tech and condition changes.

These several players have never come close to slam final, and do not define the tour. Do they?

Where are the many players who struggle to break double digits on return? Have you considered that they have bad returns and cannot break? Please show me the numbers. Do not make unfounded assertions. It is harder to break a specific set of servers, not the entire tour.

If you stick to Isner/Karlovic/Raonic as a 'tennis-defining' group, why cannot the return numbers of Djokovic/Nadal/Murray be used similarly to disprove all your assertions?

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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 3:58 pm

socal1976 wrote:Laverfan, who cares about BP conversion rates, irrelevant.

Yet, you seem to want to bring it up on every discussion when fast courts are in discussion.

socal1976 wrote:There are many top players right now breaking in single digits and holding in the low 90s. Not just one or two. In fact most of the guys who hold at high percentages struggle to break at all in today's tour.

socal1976 wrote:BS, did a wonderful thread where he showed that it is harder to break today than it was historically in the 90s and 80s, DESPITE THE SLOWDOWN.


Can you provide some reasoning for why this is?


socal1976 wrote:I am talking about hold percentage. Karlovic and Isner are breaking at 10 and 11 percent if you go by 2015 numbers. On grass by the way Isner held 97 percent of the time so what is going to happen at Wimbeldon if you speed things up and make returning harder? By the way in 2015 we had 21 players hold over 90 percent of their service games on grass. Are you now telling me we have a lot of room for speeding things up and making returning more difficult with changes year round? The changes you guys entail would make Wimbeldon way more unwatchable than the 90s with the current bigger and better trained athletes.

From

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/ivo-karlovic/k336/player-stats?year=2015&surfaceType=all  - Break Points Saved 80%

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/john-isner/i186/player-stats?year=2015&surfaceType=all  - Break Points Saved 74%

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/milos-raonic/r975/player-stats - Break Points Saved 71%

Karlovic was broken 20% of the time while Isner was broken 26% of the time in 2015. Please research before you make unfounded assertions.

Grass is a fast surface, and is meant to reward servers. Clay is slow and is meant to reward rallies. Borg could switch between the two, without a warm up. Not many players can, so there is enough.

The only fast courts left are Dubai, Lyon, Halle, Newport, Den'Bosch and Wimbledon. Stuttgart switched from Clay to Grass showing there is demand for fast courts.

socal1976 wrote:So with all the slowed down conditions you still have several players holding in Samprasesque territory and many players who struggle tooth and nail to break double digits on the return.

Where are the numbers to support this assertion? Karlovic broken 20%, Isner broken 26%, Raonic broken 29%. Your tennis-defining-Sampraesque group is failing you miserably.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 4:02 pm

Laver - why do you keep referring to break point conversion? It's obvious Socal is referring to "service games won %". You do seem to have a habit of throwing in irrelevant stats when you don't like the topic of discussion.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 4:51 pm

Born Slippy wrote:Laver - why do you keep referring to break point conversion? It's obvious Socal is referring to "service games won %". You do seem to have a habit of throwing in irrelevant stats when you don't like the topic of discussion.  

It is not obvious, because he refuses to post any statistics. Service Games Won % using just three players is too small a sample and it is not a representation. There is nothing in his or your arguments if you keep using these three players as the Tennis universe. Where is the rest of the tour. Your argument is disingenuous and using selective statistics.

Take the Top 100 in 2015, and look at the normal distribution. If these specific players (Isner, Karlovic, Raonic) are at the extreme of the curve, it is by definition of the distribution.

If you can create BPs but are unable to win them (against this small elite group and this is the tennis universe you are confined to, then broaden your tennis viewing), you are neutering the weapon that these players have. How many slam and masters finals between this elite Sampraesque group?

Sampras had more than a serve. His game was not suited to clay and he refused to change it. So why is he being maligned? Muster, OTOH, never won a grass title.






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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 5:02 pm

Born Slippy wrote:It's obvious Socal is referring to "service games won %". You do seem to have a habit of throwing in irrelevant stats when you don't like the topic of discussion.  

Here is a set of relevant stats for the limited Tennis universe of Djokovic, Isner, Raonic, Karlovic. Laugh

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/novak-djokovic/d643/player-stats?year=2011&surfaceType=all - Service Games Won 86%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/ivo-karlovic/k336/player-stats?year=2011&surfaceType=all Service Games Won 90%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/john-isner/i186/player-stats?year=2011&surfaceType=all - Service Games Won 91%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/milos-raonic/r975/player-stats?year=2011&surfaceType=all - Service Games Won 88%


PS: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/service-games-won/2015/all/all/ - #5 is Djokovic. Ferrer is #34 at 80%.


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Re: Average rally length

Post by temporary21 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 5:11 pm

So what's the angle here? Are we saying if we speed it up these sorts f players would dominate more and be impossible to break? I'm
Not certain of that. Neither of those guys volley well. retien quality has a lot to do with why just a serve doesn't work nowadays

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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 5:24 pm

temporary21 wrote:So what's the angle here? Are we saying if we speed it up these sorts f players would dominate more and be impossible to break?

To quote CC...

CaledonianCraig wrote:Now you think fast courts will bring back serve dominated games but it wouldn't if these modern rackets were outlawed. It can be done just as the one-piece lycra swimsuits were banned in swimming, certain technologies banned in F1 so it is clear it can be done.

As for 'all this speeding up'? Well there has been the opposite ie 'all this slowing down'. It has gone too far in my opinion. You disagree socal - fine but many others wouldn't.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by temporary21 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 5:42 pm

I see. Interesting question here. For the guys who feel it's become too slow. At which year do you feel it slowed up too much?

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Re: Average rally length

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 5:47 pm

temporary21 wrote:I see. Interesting question here. For the guys who feel it's become too slow. At which year do you feel it slowed up too much?

Grass began slowing up around mid 2000s and hard courts have been slowing up since around late 2000s onwards - in my opinion that is.
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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 6:16 pm

Rotterdam was made slower, IW/Miami have been slower over the years. Paris is now slower (from Greenset on Boards to Acrylic on Wood). The balance between fast and slow courts is slowly moving towards slower courts. Stuttgart may be faster this year (Grass).

The argument used is to prevent servers from dominating the sport, which does not account for returners getting better. Rather myopic argument, IMO.  There will always be players with Service Games won in 90+% range, irrespective of the surface speed because it is a percentage. If there is Karlovic now, there was Tanner then. If there is Isner now, there was a Sampras then.

This is oft-quoted - http://www.tennis28.com/charts/ATP_Surfaces_1971_2013.GIF .

Here is another example - http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/miami-2016-final-brain-game-djokovic-nishikori and this is in Miami - a slow HC. First-strike Tennis can be played on slow courts or fast courts. On a fast court, it is the service, on a slower court, it is a 1-2-3-4 punch.

Even if we go back to 1970-90s, how many players of the serve-only time period have won titles? Very few (based on memory). Fear-mongering that Tennis will die if fast courts are added is just that. 1977 is the last time that there were double-digit Grass tourneys. Carpet was removed in 2008-9. Lydian has a court-speed study from ages ago, which should be re-visited.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 6:44 pm

laverfan wrote:
Born Slippy wrote:It's obvious Socal is referring to "service games won %". You do seem to have a habit of throwing in irrelevant stats when you don't like the topic of discussion.  

Here is a set of relevant stats for the limited Tennis universe of Djokovic, Isner, Raonic, Karlovic. Laugh

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/novak-djokovic/d643/player-stats?year=2011&surfaceType=all - Service Games Won 86%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/ivo-karlovic/k336/player-stats?year=2011&surfaceType=all Service Games Won 90%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/john-isner/i186/player-stats?year=2011&surfaceType=all - Service Games Won 91%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/milos-raonic/r975/player-stats?year=2011&surfaceType=all - Service Games Won 88%


PS: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/service-games-won/2015/all/all/ - #5 is Djokovic. Ferrer is #34 at 80%.

Only really relevant Laver if you explain the point you are seeking to make. You seem to just be showing that those 4 players all held substantially more regularly in 2015 than in 2011. Isn't that supporting the point Socal is making - that its getting harder to break?

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Re: Average rally length

Post by temporary21 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 7:20 pm

Lf is just giving some stats with sources. You can't take the top 3 servers and declare tennis a servers paradise anyway. Hence why it's so limited

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 7:21 pm

temporary21 wrote:So what's the angle here? Are we saying if we speed it up these sorts f players would dominate more and be impossible to break? I'm
Not certain of that. Neither of those guys volley well. retien quality has a lot to do with why just a serve doesn't work nowadays

No its more fundamental than that. It wouldn't be that Isner, Raonic, or Andersen won't give up a break in these conditions, they won't be able to break either. Let me ask you a question, do you want to watch a match with player X, knowing that Player X will almost certainly hold, and almost certainly will never break the other guy? I mean doesn't that take the suspense out of the match? The reason these changes will break Wimbeldon is because you will get many sets finishing without a single break and many mini-Isner v. Mahuts. Why because a player who can't be broken, and also can't break will play every opponent regardless of talent level to a virtual tie.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 7:28 pm

Born Slippy wrote:
laverfan wrote:
Born Slippy wrote:It's obvious Socal is referring to "service games won %". You do seem to have a habit of throwing in irrelevant stats when you don't like the topic of discussion.  

Here is a set of relevant stats for the limited Tennis universe of Djokovic, Isner, Raonic, Karlovic. Laugh

http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/novak-djokovic/d643/player-stats?year=2011&surfaceType=all - Service Games Won 86%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/ivo-karlovic/k336/player-stats?year=2011&surfaceType=all Service Games Won 90%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/john-isner/i186/player-stats?year=2011&surfaceType=all - Service Games Won 91%
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/milos-raonic/r975/player-stats?year=2011&surfaceType=all - Service Games Won 88%


PS: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/service-games-won/2015/all/all/ - #5 is Djokovic. Ferrer is #34 at 80%.

Only really relevant Laver if you explain the point you are seeking to make. You seem to just be showing that those 4 players all held substantially more regularly in 2015 than in 2011. Isn't that supporting the point Socal is making - that its getting harder to break?


Laverfan, BS is right I must insist that you actually stop producing stats about BP conversion when I clearly have mentioned that the numbers I am quoting is for hold percentage. And by the way it isn't just about Isner or Karlovic. You simply fail to address my actual point and unfortunately are disseminating on the issue. And my numbers are not all about 3 players that is simply not true go read the post. We had 21 players in 2015 hold at over 90 percent on grass. About half a dozen held over 95 percent. SO WILL THE FAST COURT PROPONENTS FINALLY ANSWER THE QUESTION AND NOT PRODUCE MEANINGLESS, CONTEXTLESS STATS? If you have 21 players holding over 90 percent, and 6 or so holding over 95 percent with highest being at 97 percent, then can you tell me what will happen to these already astronomical HOLD NUMBERS (NOT BP CONVERSION) if you big upped the server and attacker with technological changes to make returning harder?

Please LF, this purposeful distraction and pretending like you don't get it when I talk about holding/breaking percentages when I state it over and over again in plain language is beneath you. I talk about hold percentage and return games won percentage and then you go off on BP conversion rates.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 7:37 pm

But grass is much slower now Socal. How many players held over 90% on grass in, say, 2000? It must have been many more?

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 7:54 pm

Born Slippy wrote:But grass is much slower now Socal. How many players held over 90% on grass in, say, 2000? It must have been many more?

Yes, you know that damn green clay that they keep talking about BS. By the way in 2000 before the big slowdown we had only 11 players holding over 90 percent on grass. So despite all these slowing conditions and tech, surprise the hold percentage is moving up and moving up quickly to levels that would be considered already to be historically atypical. Now the suggestion is that with people holding 97 percent on grass and 21 players holding over 90 percent of the time, well you know what we have to do, speed things up of course. In fact, today is more serve dominated than tennis has ever been and as I have been saying for several years we need the slower conditions to preserve the semblance of a rally and to allow for modest number of breaks. Slow conditions are needed as a governor on the power of the modern male athlete's ability to hit the living schiz out of a first serve.

Also considering that it is harder to return today than it has ever been, people should really have a new found respect for what Djokovic and Murray have been able to do breaking around a third of the time while returning these cannonshots coming down on them from heights of 12 feet or more. I mean what Djokovic is doing this year basically is proving he is the greatest returner of all time. He is at 38 percent break percentage a full 7 percentage points higher than #2.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 8:25 pm

Top 5 -  Service Games Won % and BPs saved %

2015 (added Tsonga and Anderson to show progression)


Name

Service Games Won %

Breakpoints Saved %
Karlovic96%80%
Raonic94%78%
Isner93%74%
Federer92%68%
Djokovic89%68%
Anderson89%68%
Tsonga88%65%
1991


Name

Service Games Won %

Breakpoints Saved %
Stich87%69%
Sampras87%67%
Forget86%64%
Edberg85%65%
Courier85%63%
My conclusions...

1. Karlovic/Isner/Raonic/Federer are outliers. The remainder are similar between 1991 and 2015.
2. Court speed does not significantly change % of Service Games won between 1991 and 2015.
3. There is no evidence that it is harder to break if Karlovic/Isner/Raonic/Federer are not on the court.
4. For variety, court speed can be increased to allow non-Baseline styles to thrive/come back.
5. Karlovic/Isner/Raonic/Federer do not represent the entire ATP tour.

socal1976 wrote:About half a dozen held over 95 percent. SO WILL THE FAST COURT PROPONENTS FINALLY ANSWER THE QUESTION AND NOT PRODUCE MEANINGLESS, CONTEXTLESS STATS? If you have 21 players holding over 90 percent, and 6 or so holding over 95 percent with highest being at 97 percent, then can you tell me what will happen to these already astronomical HOLD NUMBERS (NOT BP CONVERSION) if you big upped the server and attacker with technological changes to make returning harder?

1. There are 4 players - Karlovic/Isner/Raonic/Federer over 90% not 21 - http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/service-games-won/2015/all/all/ . It is exactly 4 - not "6 or so" for 2015 and Career, both.  

For the Career numbers - http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/service-games-won/all/all/all/ - the players are Karlovic/Isner/Raonic/Roddick.

2. Sky will not fall tomorrow if court speeds increase. Nothing happens. There is no doomsday.

3. Let me reiterate - Karlovic/Isner/Raonic/Federer are outliers. The remainder are similar between 1991 and 2015.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 8:36 pm

Born Slippy wrote:But grass is much slower now Socal. How many players held over 90% on grass in, say, 2000? It must have been many more?

1991 - http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/service-games-won/1991/grass/all/ - not a single current player. 9 players in the 90% segment.
2000 - http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/service-games-won/2000/grass/all/ - not a single current players. 11 players in the 90%.

2015 -

Grass - http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/service-games-won/2015/grass/all/ - Wawrinka - the 2015 Roland Garros champion at #8 at 94%. Total players in 90% is 22. Nadal is #28 at 88%.

Clay - http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/service-games-won/2015/clay/all/ - Djokovic at 91%, right after Isner at 92%. (do we need a homogenization of surfaces debate). There is no one else in 90% range.


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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 8:38 pm

laverfan wrote:Top 5 -  Service Games Won % and BPs saved %

2015 (added Tsonga and Anderson to show progression)


Name

Service Games Won %

Breakpoints Saved %
Karlovic96%80%
Raonic94%78%
Isner93%74%
Federer92%68%
Djokovic89%68%
Anderson89%68%
Tsonga88%65%
1991


Name

Service Games Won %

Breakpoints Saved %
Stich87%69%
Sampras87%67%
Forget86%64%
Edberg85%65%
Courier85%63%
My conclusions...

1. Karlovic/Isner/Raonic/Federer are outliers. The remainder are similar between 1991 and 2015.
2. Court speed does not significantly change % of Service Games won between 1991 and 2015.
3. There is no evidence that it is harder to break if Karlovic/Isner/Raonic/Federer are not on the court.
4. For variety, court speed can be increased to allow non-Baseline styles to thrive/come back.
5. Karlovic/Isner/Raonic/Federer do not represent the entire ATP tour.

socal1976 wrote:About half a dozen held over 95 percent. SO WILL THE FAST COURT PROPONENTS FINALLY ANSWER THE QUESTION AND NOT PRODUCE MEANINGLESS, CONTEXTLESS STATS? If you have 21 players holding over 90 percent, and 6 or so holding over 95 percent with highest being at 97 percent, then can you tell me what will happen to these already astronomical HOLD NUMBERS (NOT BP CONVERSION) if you big upped the server and attacker with technological changes to make returning harder?

1. There are 4 players - Karlovic/Isner/Raonic/Federer over 90% not 21 - http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/service-games-won/2015/all/all/ . It is exactly 4 - not "6 or so" for 2015 and Career, both.  

For the Career numbers - http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/service-games-won/all/all/all/ - the players are Karlovic/Isner/Raonic/Roddick.

2. Sky will not fall tomorrow if court speeds increase. Nothing happens. There is no doomsday.

3. Let me reiterate - Karlovic/Isner/Raonic/Federer are outliers. The remainder are similar between 1991 and 2015.

Are you reading my posts? I was talking about grass, on GRASS! My specific point, that you cut out of the earlier discussion about Wimbeldon. Last Year 21 players held over 90 percent of the time ON GRASS. John Isner lead at 97 percent ON GRASS. That is why the changes you and others want would entail breaking wimbeldon. Again, you keep talking about Break point conversion. The only two stats directly relevant is service games and return games won percentage. And I am talking about grass. On the same webpage change the year to 2015, then change the surface to grass, and then push "GO". I know you know the page on the ATP website. And please stop ignoring and cutting the context out and quoting me, BS seems to get what I am talking about.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 8:48 pm

socal1976 wrote:Are you reading my posts? I was talking about grass, on GRASS! My specific point, that you cut out of the earlier discussion about Wimbeldon. Last Year 21 players held over 90 percent of the time ON GRASS. John Isner lead at 97 percent ON GRASS. That is why the changes you and others want would entail breaking wimbeldon. Again, you keep talking about Break point conversion. The only two stats directly relevant is service games and return games won percentage. And I am talking about grass. On the same webpage change the year to 2015, then change the surface to grass, and then push "GO". I know you know the page on the ATP website. And please stop ignoring and cutting the context out and quoting me, BS seems to get what I am talking about.

Do not need that attitude, SoCal. I have Grass numbers in the subsequent posts. Please mind your language. Nothing breaks Wimbledon. Grass is the 'shortest' segment of the entire tour.

If you want to state that Grass should be reduced, go talk to the Stuttgart TD.

Grass is a faster surface than clay. Is it the same as 1980/1990s - unlikely?

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 9:03 pm

Laverfan, I am not the one arguing to speed up conditions for quote more variety. I know that grass is different than clay. I think I have played enough to know that and watched enough tennis as well. The grass statistics I posted are accurate as you now acknowledge. And if you don't like my tone you should stop pretending that you don't understand the argument. Furthermore, you still won't answer one single question that I have repeated a hundred times. With ATP players holding at these rates on grass, what will happen to the quality of Wimbeldon the marquee event of the season? Especially, in light of the fact that the serve is more dominant now then it was in the late 90s when everyone was tired of big serve tennis.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Sun 17 Apr 2016, 9:41 pm

socal1976 wrote:The grass statistics I posted are accurate as you now acknowledge.

... and there are more players holding at 90% than in 1991/2000, which nullifies the relationship between court speed and Service Games won %. It leads me to a conclusion similar to CC about Technology helping in increasing this number.

socal1976 wrote:And if you don't like my tone you should stop pretending that you don't understand the argument.

Your attempt to instill fear in spectators who want faster courts by using this unbreakable hypothesis is not valid either.

1991 BPs saved - http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/break-points-saved/1991/grass/all/ - 82% high.
2015 BPs saved - http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/break-points-saved/2015/grass/all/ - 85% high with Djokovic at #3 with 81%.

You get fewer chances, but you can still break. That is the definition of fast court tennis. Why this fear? MahIsner is one match in recent memory, but there are many others played over 2+ days due to bad light/rain before the roof came in.

socal1976 wrote:Furthermore, you still won't answer one single question that I have repeated a hundred times. With ATP players holding at these rates on grass, what will happen to the quality of Wimbeldon the marquee event of the season? Especially, in light of the fact that the serve is more dominant now then it was in the late 90s when everyone was tired of big serve tennis.

Technology is helping big servers. You can repeat this questions as many times as you like. I do not want to use a Bushism, but nothing will happen to Wimbledon. You still have a 15% chance of breaking Muller based on 2015 numbers. Wink You have yourself concluded (as shown in the highlighted statement), that court speed is irrelevant to your question.

If you do not to want see big serve tennis, use the OFF button on your TV or plan your Summer vacation around Wimbledon. I exhort others of similar inclination to do so as well.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 4:35 am

Well that is very fine and good but Wimbeldon is the showcase for the sport so making those two weeks completely unwatchable isn't an option for the sport of tennis. Many fans in passing will only watch a few matches during wimbeldon or may only mainly follow at the slams.

Again you talk about me instilling fear, I don't need to instill fear. Fear comes from ignorance, what I am doing is instilling reality into the logic free arguments of fast condition proponents.

I do find it interesting that after years of having this debate I still can't get you or any other fast court/variety nostalgic to answer the question in regards to serving that is the principal concern.

"What will happen to Wimbeldon where 21 players are holding 90 percent of service games when you guys ban tech that helps the returner, speed up the balls, and the courts? And part 2 of the question do you think most fans would want to see that kind of tennis? Please tell me what will happen to the hold rates when these changes are implemented at the showcase of the sport?

By the way it isn't just the technical changes that have helped the server it is also the increased weight training, core training, strength, and height of the players. That is what no one ever factors into the analysis. 90s conditions today would yield way shorter rallies and way more unwatchable tennis than 90s. Because the athletes are bigger, stronger, and better trained physically than 20 years ago.


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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 4:58 am

... and there are more players holding at 90% than in 1991/2000, which nullifies the relationship between court speed and Service Games won %. It leads me to a conclusion similar to CC about Technology helping in increasing this number. -Laverfan


Are you seriously telling me that service games won % doesn't have a direct relationship to court speed? Well that is the first time I have ever heard that from anyone about tennis ever. In fact, all the numbers indicate that court speedfor that matter is directly correlated to holding %. So the very first line of your lengthy post is so wrong, and so fundamentally wrong that I had to highlight it specifically.

If court speed isn't related to holding % why since the dawn of time do the same players hold at a higher percentage on grass than hardcourt, on hardcourt to clay? I mean are we to now just changing reality 180 degrees and deciding to live in opposite world or something?

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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 5:20 am

socal1976 wrote:Well that is very fine and good but Wimbeldon is the showcase for the sport so making those two weeks completely unwatchable isn't an option for the sport of tennis. Many fans in passing will only watch a few matches during wimbeldon or may only mainly follow at the slams.

This has been around since 1887 or so. Clay courters used to boycott it for many decades as being too 'fast'. It is an option for many fans who like this context.

socal1976 wrote:Again you talk about me instilling fear, I don't need to instill fear. Fear comes from ignorance, what I am doing is instilling reality into the logic free arguments of fast condition proponents.

I do find it interesting that after years of having this debate I still can't get you or any other fast court/variety nostalgic to answer the question in regards to serving that is the principal concern.

There is no debate, but a constant unfounded statement that fast courts are detrimental to the sport. Why? It is the oldest Tennis tournament and the only one with cojones to stay with grass. The AO and US have experimented with different surfaces in their indecisiveness/mess. They cannot even figure how much sand to use in USO? Laugh

socal1976 wrote:"What will happen to Wimbeldon where 21 players are holding 90 percent of service games when you guys ban tech that helps the returner, speed up the balls, and the courts? And part 2 of the question do you think most fans would want to see that kind of tennis? Please tell me what will happen to the hold rates when these changes are implemented at the showcase of the sport?

This is why you need to see the context in the other poll/thread. 21 players, so what. What is their Wimbledon pedigree?

For part 2, they already do. Just watch the madness on SW19 and Henman/Murray hill for those two weeks and and you will get your answer.
And W has been watched, even when Clay specialists did not want to play. This is not a discussion about speeding up of W. This about speeding non-Grass tourneys to allow faster HC courts - like Dubai or Lyon. Even Rome and Monte Carlo have different speeds (just ask Lydian).  

socal1976 wrote:By the way it isn't just the technical changes that have helped the server it is also the increased weight training, core training, strength, and height of the players. That is what no one ever factors into the analysis. 90s conditions today would yield way shorter rallies and way more unwatchable tennis than 90s. Because the athletes are bigger, stronger, and better trained physically than 20 years ago.

You call Oxygen and Hypobaric chambers better training? I call it artificial Tennis.  

Horst Skoff played a 6+ hour Davis Cup Match vs Wilander (of course he died of a heart attack at age 39). Lendl was as fit in his day as Nadal is today.

Lacoste has already stated that modern Tennis is no longer about skill, but about athleticism. For example, have you considered banning DHBH at W? The what-if scenario does not apply. Athletes adapt. Look at Cricket as an example. T20 vs a 5-day test match. The sport and athletes evolve and progress.

There was a 6"3 athlete in the 1960/70s as there is now. Don Budge was as tall as Federer or Nadal are now. Time-Machine aside, peers should be matched. Vilas played 199 matches in 1977 including doubles, IIRC. Today's Tennis athlete plays 70-80 singles. McEnroe played both Singles and Doubles, which is rare today. If player X can train today in a certain environment, player Y today has access to the same environment, if financially possible.

You have access to an Egg Chamber. McEnroe did not have one.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 5:41 am

socal1976 wrote:... and there are more players holding at 90% than in 1991/2000, which nullifies the relationship between court speed and Service Games won %. It leads me to a conclusion similar to CC about Technology helping in increasing this number. -Laverfan


Are you seriously telling me that service games won % doesn't have a direct relationship to court speed? Well that is the first time I have ever heard that from anyone about tennis ever. In fact, all the numbers indicate that court speedfor that matter is directly correlated to holding %. So the very first line of your lengthy post is so wrong, and so fundamentally wrong that I had to highlight it specifically.

If court speed isn't related to holding % why since the dawn of time do the same players hold at a higher percentage on grass than hardcourt, on hardcourt to clay? I mean are we to now just changing reality 180 degrees and deciding to live in opposite world or something?

2015 has 22 players at 90%, 1991 has 9, 2000 has 11. When was the Grass faster - 1991 or 2015?

A player in Challenger+Newport at 90% and you start calls for Clay all over. Why?

On Grass

2014 has 25 players 90+% - higher than 2015 - http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/stats/service-games-won/2014/grass/all/ (Malek Jaziri is at 88% with 3 matches).
2013 has 17 players (Reister at 90% with 2 matches).
2012 has 17 players (Isak van der Merwe is at 95% with 3 matches on grass).
2011 has 16 players (Almagro at 95% with 4 matches).
2010 has 21 players (Gasquet at 100% with 2 matches, Montanes at 90% with 3 matches, Roddick at 97% with 6 matches)

Do you now see the context? 2 matches at 100% for Gasquet.

Please look at the forest now.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by Guest on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 1:37 pm

LF you are on a hiding to nothing I'm afraid.

The stats provided about the serve being difficult to break that was provided was based on 4 Slams. Not representative what so ever of the tour in it's entirety. Similarly the 4 players mentioned are not representative of all the players on tour.

No sensible argument as to why serve is so difficult to break by the big server brigade has been provided.

Simply stats are useless in painting an accurate picture of the game if that is what is purely relied on for opinions.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by laverfan on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 2:20 pm

LKv2, I looked at career stats on Grass. Stats will only provide a limited insight. This is why I would advocate a judicious use of such information. For every number, there is always a number for the opposite measure, and in this case Service Games Won % and BPs Saved %.

IMO, today's baseliners who come from slower courts have lost the ability to solve fast court tennis problems effectively. I partly blame Federer. He made Grass look so easy, that every one assumed it was. It requires better hand-eye coordination, faster and softer hands. Technology has it's fair share of the blame too. Racquets, strings, chambers, and the list goes on. Blocked returns, slice, chip-and-charge are slowly dying, because there is a Jai-Alai conjurer at the baseline who can run forever and retrieve all day long. This is progress and evolution.

With all the tweaking to Grass in order to showcase Fedal in finals and make tennis marketable and worth millions (to aid prize money increases), the differences between Grass and other surfaces were decimated. Borg v McEnroe was forgotten, the eccentric vs the genius was no longer enough. Clay specialists were appeased to allow their participation. Look at Muster and compare his Grass vs Clay record.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 7:17 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:LF you are on a hiding to nothing I'm afraid.

The stats provided about the serve being difficult to break that was provided was based on 4 Slams. Not representative what so ever of the tour in it's entirety. Similarly the 4 players mentioned are not representative of all the players on tour.

No sensible argument as to why serve is so difficult to break by the big server brigade has been provided.

Simply stats are useless in painting an accurate picture of the game if that is what is purely relied on for opinions.

You have never asked for an answer, ask and you shall receive. It is actually quite simple why the serve numbers have improved. It is a number of factors; taller players on average, stronger players on average, slightly larger ball improves serving precision, luxilon strings improves the spin levels of the serve particularly the second serve, players are better coached nowadays. And additional factor that bears hugely on this is also that the FHs today are much more competent and capable in backing up a big serve. People who don't play a lot of tennis often think of the Serve and FH as separate things to talk about. However, they are not, the crucial play in men's tennis is the serve followed by run around forehand on the first ball. New tech helps returners and passing shots, but it also helps the FH and the kick serve in particular, but serving precision in general. Serve and forehand is a combo, when analyzed together you see that both the 1 and the 2 of the famous 1-2 punch combo is improved by technological advancements. That is the whole reason no one volleys because it is more high percentage to Serve and Forehand than Serve and Volley.

Plus players now are way more coached and developed than in the past and coaching/training plays a role. Players are stronger than they were 20 and 30 years ago. We know more about nutrition (think Djoko gluten free), cross training, core training etc than we ever new. Also coaches and players given time and the money being poured into these high tech academies and computer analysis etc. we are advancing in coaching and training as well. This is another factor that doesn't get mentioned when the clock wants to get rolled back on conditions. 90s conditions with today's bigger, taller, stronger, more flexible, better trained athletes would result in way more unwatchable short point tennis than that period; specifically because of the factors I mentioned in regards to athletic advancement.

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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 7:26 pm

laverfan wrote: Blocked returns, slice, chip-and-charge are slowly dying, because there is a Jai-Alai conjurer at the baseline who can run forever and retrieve all day long. This is progress and evolution.

With all the tweaking to Grass in order to showcase Fedal in finals and make tennis marketable and worth millions (to aid prize money increases), the differences between Grass and other surfaces were decimated. Borg v McEnroe was forgotten, the eccentric vs the genius was no longer enough. Clay specialists were appeased to allow their participation. Look at Muster and compare his Grass vs Clay record.

The part I put in bold is further evidence of the hyperbole and emotion based/fact free arguments of the fast court nostalgics. I mean you ignore the actual stats that you spend so much time researching. In 2015, we had 21 players or so who held over 90 percent on grass, on CLAY we had 2 players who held over 90 percent. So the differences between grass and clay has not been decimated. There still exists big differences in conditions at varying events. If there is no difference between Grass and Clay why has Nadal won like 10 French opens and only 2 wimbeldons, why has Djokovic won so many AOs and not FOs, why has Federer won so many wimbys and one by the skin of his teeth FO?

Seriously, the people I argue against on these issues like fast conditions/weak era etc. are like Bruce Willis in Sixth Sense they only see what they want to see. I mean they produce stats and if the stats actually argue against their position their import is just ignored. The idea that there is no difference between the conditions and courts and that there isn't variety in those courts and conditions is hyperbolic, overstated, and not true. The differences are less than they used to be, but they are still very different.


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Re: Average rally length

Post by socal1976 on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 7:38 pm

You call Oxygen and Hypobaric chambers better training? I call it artificial Tennis.  

If player X can train today in a certain environment, player Y today has access to the same environment, if financially possible.

You have access to an Egg Chamber. McEnroe did not have one-Laverfan


Ok, you just jump around on these posts too much and I can't follow all the ancillary stuff you are bringing into it. So getting into an oxygen chamber makes your tennis fake? What are you getting on about? You are seriously losing the plot and jumping around.

Plus I just don't know how productive this debate is going to be if you are going to continue to put forward the fanciful suggestion that surface speeds is not directly correlated to hold/break percentages. Surface speed is directly and strongly correlated with serving hold percentages. The fact that conditions were slowed and serve numbers still go up has been explained ad nauseum. Yes the athletes are bigger, stronger, faster, more flexible, and better trained than the 80s and 90s. No one, not even the athletes of that period debate that point.

And again you still haven't answered the question will Wimbeldon be watchable to a large segment of fans when already 21 players are holding over 90 percent and some players as high as 97 percent on grass and you want to speed everything up? Of course it won't be watchable that is why even the stuffed shirt traditionalists at Wimbeldon slowed down, what other answer exists that doesn't bely logic?

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