Are Big 4 Overrated?

Page 4 of 4 Previous  1, 2, 3, 4

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by summerblues on Sun May 29, 2016 1:40 am

First topic message reminder :

The title is meant to be maybe more provocative than real, but here is an item that had been nagging on my mind the last few years:

MfC brought up the fact that 12 of top 16 seeds made their seeding - and it could well have been more had Nadal/Tsonga not been injured:
Mad for Chelsea wrote:Looking at the R4 players, there are only 4 top 16 seeds who haven't made it: two of those are Nadal and Tsonga of course, who had to withdraw.

This just continues the pattern I had noted during AO - seeds (and not only the very top few) are making their seeding more easily than they used to in the past.  Here are some numbers I listed during the AO:

summerblues wrote:Here are the numbers of top 16 seeds who made it into the round of 16 at the AO from 1990 onward, in chronological order:

1990-99: 9, 6, 6, 9, 10, 9, 7, 10, 4, 5 - average: 7.5
2000-09: 7, 10, 6, 7, 10, 9, 9, 14, 9, 12 - average: 9.3
2010-16: 11, 12, 9, 13, 10, 11, 13 - average: 11.3

The pattern is clear.  From 1990-99, there was not a single year where the number was above 10.  From 2010-16, in contrast, there has only been one year where the number was below 10.

I have now done the same thing for the FO - and the same thing happens there:

1990-99: 9, 7, 6, 10, 5, 8, 10, 6, 6, 7 - average: 7.4
2000-09: 10, 9, 8, 8, 5, 10, 9, 9, 5, 12 - average: 8.5
2010-16: 10, 10, 11, 12, 9, 12, 12 - average: 10.6

So, a similar pattern of seeds advancing more easily now.  The first time we see more than 10/16 is in 2009, but now it has happened in four out of last five years.

I quickly eyeballed Wimbledon and USO - it does not look like the pattern is quite as pronounced there, but even there I think it has gotten a little easier to advance for the seeds.

I do not have a firm theory as to why this is happening, but one possibility is that it has something to do with today's conditions.  It could be more homogeneous surfaces meaning the same 16 players are best on any surface, it could also mean that baseline game allows for less luck and makes it harder for weaker players to upset better ones.  Who knows.

But, if it does have anything to do with the current game, then it does beg the question as to whether current top players' dominance is propped to some extent through the conditions that make it easier for them to dominate.  Would Fed/Rafa/Djoko, and to a lesser extent Andy, have been as consistent in the old conditions?  Or, equivalently, if it is true that Sampras played in the conditions where it was more difficult to be consistent, does it not elevate his 14 slams a little bit relative to the current top players?

I cannot quite put my finger on it, and I am not really certain one way or another, but my hunch is that some portion of the current crop's dominance (though not all of it) is likely due to conditions that are more supportive of such dominance.

summerblues

Posts : 4362
Join date : 2012-03-07

Back to top Go down


Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon May 30, 2016 10:32 pm

banbrotam wrote:
Nore Staat wrote:One can tackle this issue from another perspective.  

For example Djokovic.  One of his unique talents is his ability to slide on the edges of his feet on all surfaces.  He has the most difficulty doing this on grass because the surface is less predictable and can get slippery.  But this allows him to be effective on slow to fast courts.  Less sand on the surface at the US Open?  Okay he just slides further.  Less bounce, he just slides lower.  So Djokovic unique movement and his ability to hit the ball almost while doing the splits makes his technique transferable to different surfaces.  If one looks at his success at the Masters, that is quite a range of surfaces he has won on.

With Nadal it was his control of the ball and his top spin that were unique plus he was also a quick mover.  For big hitters he just goes further back beyond the base line.  He was becoming successful on other surfaces - he has the career slam, and he has also been successful on a range of Masters surfaces.  Injuries have limited his variability - plus Djokovic came up with a better model of play than Nadal in non-clay events.

And so on.  So although there does seem to be some homogenisation and levelling due to surface changes and racket technology - it could be argued that even if there was less homogenisation (as in the Masters events?) they would be able to transfer their skill sets to reach the latter end of the tournaments etc.  Players can only demonstrate their abilities on the courts of their time period.  It is difficult to speculate how they would transfer to surfaces they don't compete on.


Exactly. Murray often moans when the conditions are faster, but simply adapts his game. His moans are misunderstood, it's not that he can't cope with the change, it's more to do with him been used to the conditions always been the same and been surprised to the point of initially letting it get to him that it has changed

And lets not forget he won the US Junior Open in 2004 well before the courts there were slowed down.
avatar
CaledonianCraig

Posts : 15412
Join date : 2011-05-31
Age : 48
Location : Edinburgh

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by socal1976 on Mon May 30, 2016 10:49 pm

banbrotam wrote:
bogbrush wrote:A four year old would realise that if the courts are very different it becomes much harder to win all four and to amass very large numbers, but somehow this baffles some posters. His example of Muster & Sampras then (when each would dominate the other depending on surface) to what would happen now (one having the edge across) was clear and correct.


I'm not certain that three of the four (assuming Djoko does it) doing the slam, is the only argument for those of who defend their talents

Let's not get too misty eyed about the 90's, although I do remember fondly watching the great entertainment we had in the Wimby's of the early 90's Stich's win of 1991 was of course the best illustration of all court tennis ever

The romanticising of the 90's is just as laughable as anyone denying homogenisation exists now. It was a boring era, with players unwilling to adapt (i.e. Sampras) to the clay simply because 80% of the main events were on fast surfaces. It just meant there was more of  'them v us' going on. I'm all for a bit of variety, but when I get too obsessed with the idea - I simply watch the 91, 93, 94, 95 or 96 Wimby's. It used to make me almost weep at the paucity of the quality in comparison to the Borg/Connors/Mac era's

If Agassi had possessed Pistol Pete's mental maturity, he'd have done the slam years before he did. Also, let's remember that this same era allowed Courier to reach all four major finals
Great post. Absolutely, I find it rather shallow analysis when people who have a different views just automatically get discredited as fanboys. BB seems to think we are all irrational when we don't accept his naked opinion as fact. If everything was so perfect in the late 90s why the hell did all the tournaments change? They just wanted to annoy Tenez and bogbrush apparently. 

I mean we know the day all the big four retire whoever is left should just magically turn into 10 and 15 slam winners aided by those easy homogenized conditions that helped to inflate Novak and Andy's stats. The funny thing is that biggest beneficiary of the homogenized conditions if there is such thing would be Fed. Yet, we never hear from these people how the true GOat is Sampras who had to win with different conditions as opposed to Roger who got to play the same conditions all the time. If these people actually believed what they are saying they would have to conclude that Roger the biggest beneficiary of the current conditions was inferior to Sampras. Funny I have never heard that argument.

It's clear there is an agenda at work here to deny the great players of the golden generation and to inflate Roger just in case one of these newer guys breaks the mythical 17 number. At least for most of the people who make this argument. I would except Lydian and SB because at least SB is consistent and says that based on his homogenization argument Sampras might be Goat. if anything the quality and professionalism is better now then ever, and to their credit all the legends say the same thing. But that ain't the party line on 606v2

socal1976

Posts : 14212
Join date : 2011-03-18
Location : southern california

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by lydian on Mon May 30, 2016 11:53 pm

The best guys win slams. Whatever the era. Fact.

However, what makes them the best? Their set of attributes, which suit the conditions of the day, being better than their peers.

So we had fast and slow conditions in the 80s and 90s. Attributes were honed to excel on fast and slow courts. So we saw little cross over between the best grass guys and best clay guys.

Then ATP decided they didn't like Sampras winning all the grass and USO slams, they said it was boring. So they slowed grass down in 2001. They slowed USO down in 2003 (not 2006). Funnily enough the year after Sampras won his last USO in 2002.

And a new generation was born...guys who's attributes suited the slower conditions. Faster court attribute players like Sampras, Kafelnikov, Rafter etc...all died away pretty quickly.

The players from 90s who attributes lent themselves to slower conditions did ok...Agassi, Roddick (extreme Western FH despite big serve), Hewitt and Nalby (although mammothly underachieved).

So SUmmerblues, ATP didn't slow it all down for Federer, he just happened to be the next best guy. And don't forget a key point here is that he was raised on clay but also had fast court ability too. The slowing (not fully slowed) conditions by 2007-8 suited him perfectly. However, courts continued to slow beyond even 2008 and we see even Federer start to struggle winning more slams...retriever guys like Djokovic, Murray and Nadal started to dominate Masters and slams with their slow court, returner/defender attributes. Federer did ok but was never the same at USO or AO or even Wimb. The ATP/ITF in cahoots had slowed slams down even too much for his still razor sharp game to make an impact. So he scratched his head, decided he couldn't beat Nad/Djo/Mur at their own games so devised a different way...become uber attaching...which is laudable on slow courts but was never really going to return him to slam glory. Just as they did for Sampras, so ironically ATP also took the slams out of his reach too.

So coming back full circle. The best guys win slams. Current conditions suit those with retrieving and rallying based games. These games under highly homogenised conditions don't have to be adapted from AO through to USO. Which means they are able to dominate all slams because their attributes can't be beat by any others right now. That's the way it is. When they have gone, if 2-3 guys have similar attributes that suit the slower conditions better than most then they'll go on to win 10+ slams too...because someone has to win them. If no-one stands out then they'll get shared. But we'll have seeds going deep, and the same 5-10 guys winning everything...it's just a matter of how many stand out from the rest to share the spoils.

Finally, most guys can't adapt their games as CC keeps insisting. That's a bit of a tennis-naive statement. If you learn your game under very specific conditions, ie Sampras had Eastern FH and BH, then when courts are slower and the ball pops up you can't dominate with that game vs Western gripped ball retrievers. It's only Federer and Agassi who adapted through the "transition period" because of their technical underpinnings and talent. The rest died away pretty quickly.

I struggle to see why this forum cannot logically see (and yes I'm running out of patience BB) that homogenisation allows the best guys for those conditions to simply mop up all year round. Whoever the best guys are...this isn't player specific!

What is sad is the sleep walking acceptance of current conditions being great when all seasoned observers know we're being sold short and all the old tennis records have been rendered obselete by ATP who saw fit to meddle with the conditions because a few people thought Sampras was too good at Wimbledon and hence boring.

For me variety is the spice of life, and the lifeblood of future tennis. All we have now are basically 4 differently coloured slam courts with a Formula One procession of same best players/drivers winning everything because the current conditions make it easier to win all events. I mean look at the way Djokovic is winning all the Masters...and you're telling me he's more talented than Sampras which is what is likely to happen with his slam count. I say no way.

I really cannot believe it's possible to ignore the effects of ATP driven homogenisation. The only defence in the opposite direction is player-fan driven.
avatar
lydian

Posts : 9164
Join date : 2011-04-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by banbrotam on Tue May 31, 2016 12:53 am

Lydian

Murray's best chances of wins are on the fastest surfaces. The description you give him makes him sound like Tracey Austin!!. Slow courts make his poor serve far more vulnerable. Fast courts enhance his poor serve and as he's an instinctive returner, he can still get a significantly better read on most serves.

Who's accepting of current conditions?  Are you not reading correctly? I've said loads of times before that varied courts suit a player like Murray, who often turns up takes a set to see what the courts are doing and then adapts. Of course it would be great for the game, for all four slams to be different 

But that's not the point of my / Socal / CC defence of the achievements of the top four. Basically their achievements are getting dismissed, because apparently not playing on extreme surfaces makes you vastly inferior to Muster and Stich!! Because everything was great when we didn't have the surfaces allowing a bunch of retrievers to dominate

I watched the tennis of the 90's and it wasn't great. Variety is indeed what we all need, but not the extremes of RG and Wimby of 20 years ago, where half the players didn't compete in either event, as even if they had entered they felt they had no chance

I fail to see where the variety was in the semi's and Final of Wimby 91'. And apart from 92, plus 96 (simply due to the surprises) not many of the others showed much variety either

banbrotam

Posts : 3323
Join date : 2011-09-22
Age : 54
Location : Sowerby Bridge - West Yorkshire

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Born Slippy on Tue May 31, 2016 2:50 am

Lydian, the five finals after the change in 2001 featured:

- Goran
- Rafter
- Hewitt
- Nalbandian
- Fed
- Phillipoussis
- Roddick

To me, that's a list of fast court specialists. Goran, Rafter and Scud were out and out serve volleyers, Hewitt had won 3 successive Queens and Roddick was the new prototype serve and forehand fast court player. They were all awful on clay (comparatively). That indicates, pretty strongly, that the change in grass had minimal impact- the courts remained quick.

To back that up, I looked at who beat Andre. He lost from 2001 to 2003 to Rafter, Srichapan and Scud - all fast court players.

The suggestion that Rafter etc were driven into retirement is also wrong. Rafter made the final in 2001 - his last Wimbledon before retirement. Sampras frankly was just on the wane when he lost to a SVing Bastl in 2002 and Kafelnikov was not a fast court specialist. Given his woeful record at Wimbledon, I'm sure he was happy they slowed the courts.

Yes, there was (much needed) slowing of Wimbledon and at the US Open but there remains substantial difference between the speed of the four slams. In my view, homogenisation at the slams is significantly overstated. You still have to be an incredible player to win all four. Where courts do need to be changed is in the Masters hard court events, which are too similar.

Born Slippy

Posts : 4010
Join date : 2012-05-05

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by bogbrush on Tue May 31, 2016 5:48 am

Right, happily it's all been said in Lydians post which means no more need to bash head against brick wall.
avatar
bogbrush

Posts : 11169
Join date : 2011-04-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue May 31, 2016 6:55 am

Of course none of us will ever know how players of today would have fared in the 90s faster courts but look at who did breach the divide of the pre and post-homogenisation.best of all - Andre Agassi. Noted as one of the greatest returners of serve ever and today the likes of Djokovic, Nadal and Murray are all supreme at that art. Their reading of the best servers in the world who hit 135mph serves would be put to very good use on the fast courts of the 90s as Agasdi did.

Post or pre-homogenisation the court speeds suits certain players of course and downplays chances of others - no doubt so neither era is ideal as in being fair to everyone. One thing does transcend though in that a great baseline game always serves a player very well as we saw in Borg, Lendl, Agassi and Connors and now with Djokovic.
avatar
CaledonianCraig

Posts : 15412
Join date : 2011-05-31
Age : 48
Location : Edinburgh

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Born Slippy on Tue May 31, 2016 7:48 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:Of course none of us will ever know how players of today would have fared in the 90s faster courts but look at who did breach the divide of the pre and post-homogenisation.best of all - Andre Agassi. Noted as one of the greatest returners of serve ever and today the likes of Djokovic, Nadal and Murray are all supreme at that art. Their reading of the best servers in the world who hit 135mph serves would be put to very good use on the fast courts of the 90s as Agasdi did.

Post or pre-homogenisation the court speeds suits certain players of course and downplays chances of others - no doubt so neither era is ideal as in being fair to everyone. One thing does transcend though in that a great baseline game always serves a player very well as we saw in Borg, Lendl, Agassi and Connors and now with Djokovic.

What divide? Point me to a fast court player aged 27 and under whose results got worse at Wimbledon after the change in 2001.

Born Slippy

Posts : 4010
Join date : 2012-05-05

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Guest on Tue May 31, 2016 8:14 am

lydian wrote:... Then ATP decided they didn't like Sampras winning all the grass and USO slams, they said it was boring. So they slowed grass down in 2001. They slowed USO down in 2003 (not 2006). ...

... The ATP/ITF in cahoots had slowed slams down even too much ...
Do the ATP/ITF have that power?  They only sanction what tournaments to include on the various tours and the rules of the game.  Do they have any control of the court conditions other than being of the correct dimensions.  I thought it was only the tournament directors and owners that determine the surface conditions.

With grass the main factor was to produce a turf that lasted.  Players were getting heavier and more destructive of the surface (at least that is what we were told) with worn patches around the baseline and dents and worn patches further into the court as well (creating uneven bounce and slippery sections).  Wimbledon tournament organisers said something had to be done.  It is the reason why grass courts have been replaced by hard courts.  The result of the changes at Wimbledon had the effect of slowing the courts down (and making them bouncier I think) --> we have Tim Henmans account of the changes.

With clay --> no change surely?

With hard courts the key factor seems to be the amount of sand in the top layer and the underlay.  But again these are beyond the control of the ATP/ITF surely?  This is a matter for the tournament organisers.

And what about the other tournaments --> the Master series --> are there no courts that are equivalent to the "fast" courts of the past?

Ps I know you are not criticising the top four.  You are just asking for a greater variety of tennis courts and tournaments with the hope that this will bring back the serve and volley in some of the tournaments and favour a style which doesn't hog the baseline.  A subsidiary question is if we had the courts of the nineties with the racket technology of today --> what style would that favour?

PPs there is scope for a book on this: looking into how the courts have changed over the years and the impact that has had on the game.  This will need to include a separate look into how the racket technology has changed and its impact ... and anything else that has changed.  Socal was referring to changes in the tennis balls or something.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue May 31, 2016 8:16 am

Born Slippy wrote:
CaledonianCraig wrote:Of course none of us will ever know how players of today would have fared in the 90s faster courts but look at who did breach the divide of the pre and post-homogenisation.best of all - Andre Agassi. Noted as one of the greatest returners of serve ever and today the likes of Djokovic, Nadal and Murray are all supreme at that art. Their reading of the best servers in the world who hit 135mph serves would be put to very good use on the fast courts of the 90s as Agasdi did.

Post or pre-homogenisation the court speeds suits certain players of course and downplays chances of others - no doubt so neither era is ideal as in being fair to everyone. One thing does transcend though in that a great baseline game always serves a player very well as we saw in Borg, Lendl, Agassi and Connors and now with Djokovic.

What divide? Point me to a fast court player aged 27 and under whose results got worse at Wimbledon after the change in 2001.

No I realize that as Henman is a prime example. No discernible dips in his results there but I am talking about both Wimbledon and the US Open. Players who are most adaptable to change fair best and great baselines and returners of serve have the necessary tools to thrive on all court conditions.
avatar
CaledonianCraig

Posts : 15412
Join date : 2011-05-31
Age : 48
Location : Edinburgh

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue May 31, 2016 8:25 am

Also on court speeds of Wimbledon in the 90s was it not down more to racquet technology advancements increasing speed of serve etc and not just a faster surface from the 80s and 70s?
avatar
CaledonianCraig

Posts : 15412
Join date : 2011-05-31
Age : 48
Location : Edinburgh

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by lydian on Tue May 31, 2016 8:28 am

Er, no CC. Sampras used the same racquet as Edberg and others....Prostaff 85. Racquet tech/strings have only really come in more latterly. They particularly help return of serve and passing shots, which together with court slowing has swung the pendulum in the direction of the guy rooted to the baseline playing extended ralleys.

It's a generic label NS...yes it's down to ATP and ITF tournament directors...and they followed each other into changing the face of the game because they knee jerked to Wimbledon being too S&V dominated. So they slowed the whole tour down because they believe more ralleys = more revenue. Then Nadal/Federer came along and they slowed even more. But they went too far, too broadly. The only court that has stayed relatively quick is Dubai and Cincinnati. But they are also probably slower than before. There are no very fast courts on tour at all now. Carpet events were abandoned in 2009 by ATP as they didn't fit with their plans anymore. At the end of the day ATP is complicit because they haven't overridden the decision of the TDs. They are too scared to do so. All they've done is oversee homogenisation take root across the whole tour.

The grass change made the game slower NS...they won't admit it but it was the intention. They also started rolling the earth much harder. Agassi commented straight away that Wimb was slower than the French.

Clay courts have seen less top dressing on them in recent years and balls are faster. The pros commented on it a few years back.

Yes BS because they were amongst the top players around that time.
However, they couldn't sustain the runs as the courts CONTINUED to slow down. They didn't slow down all in one go.

Also, 2001 was a very wet Wimbledon in the 2nd week keeping it slick and lush...ie quick. That's how Rafter and Goran made the final.

Re/ Kafelnikov, I don't think you know what you're talking about. He wasn't a fast court specialist but he excelled on those courts. Look at how many carpet titles he won, how many doubles titles he won. Sure he was an all court player (and his RG96 run was a little fortunate to say the least). But he struggles as the courts slowed no doubt because he was a big 6'3 guy who wasn't a retriever type.

And stop talking about clay re Hewitt etc. It's a whole different slam. Yes Heiwtt and Roddick were fast court originated players - clearly. But post transition they were just about the only ones along with the others listed that could survive on tour in slower conditions due to their enhanced retriever attributes. Clearly Roddick had that serve which was his mean weapon but even he had to remodel his FH later on to reflect slowing conditions. However, they didn't win much after 2003...partly due to emergence of Federer and then Nadal, and partly because the tour had slowed too much for their overall attributes to shine in the best way.

Murray isn't a slow court specialist but he's a retriever by nature from his junior junk ball origins. Is it any wonder that his best slam finals performance is AO which is the slowest slam outside clay.

And Banbrotam, it's not about variety at one slam but variety across the whole tour!

Anyway, I'm done on this thread, it's like arguing with the Flat Earth society. Basically for you guys nothing changed, no impact on the players resulted and furthermore nothing needs to change.

As you were.
avatar
lydian

Posts : 9164
Join date : 2011-04-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Guest on Tue May 31, 2016 8:44 am

Hi Lydian, thanks for your reply.  I will have to find out what is meant by top dressing of the clay.  I hope I haven't contributed to your feeling of exasperation.  I just read comments and contribute to satisfy my own curiosity.

If you feel you are going around in circles - maybe you could take a time out (as you plan to do from this thread) - and maybe write a definitive article on it for future reference - perhaps cannibalising your various comments to make it.  Maybe stick it in the tennis archive.

I personally can't remember every detail of someone's posts and when different people are saying different things it is sometimes difficult to know what is important and what is not important.  And what is fact and what is fiction.  And what is a general truth and what is a specific contextual truth.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by lags72 on Tue May 31, 2016 9:39 am

Oh come on now Nore Staat ..... I know you mean well in suggesting that lydian writes a 'definitive article' ....but be fair to the poor guy, he has already written more than anyone could reasonably be expected to do in making his position clear - and indeed has already put the whole subject into clear perspective. All backed up with a lot of supporting historical evidence.

Will leave lydian to speak for himself ; but I'm not sure that reproducing the same information which he has already supplied - and in great detail - but now in another suggested format - would convince those whose minds are set and not for turning.

lags72

Posts : 3864
Join date : 2011-11-07

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue May 31, 2016 9:43 am

There are agreements and disagreements on homogenisation as in on all topics in tennis.

If you look around there are two solid reasons given for slowing of Wimbledon. One being rye being used in the soil to protect the court surface from growing damage slowing the courts down increasing ball bounce and decreasing the speed the ball comes off the court. The other being that the public were not enamoured with what was on show at Wimbledon - many voices aired displeasure at matches dominated by the best servers with matches littered with serve-volley rallies or more often than not - serve-dominated. The only solution seen was to slow the courts down. Now for all the bumping of gums today I don't see a public baying for change because they so hate what is on show today so until they do then things will stay as they are.

The disagreements are on things such as how it affects the sport today, how if affects the slam win count compared to pre-homogenisation, the degree homogenisation plays into certain players hands today and probably a fair few more.

Anyway I will leave it there but do agree the whole subject of homogenisation should have a thread of its own.
avatar
CaledonianCraig

Posts : 15412
Join date : 2011-05-31
Age : 48
Location : Edinburgh

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by bogbrush on Tue May 31, 2016 9:57 am

Just on the subject of the French, the homogenisation process even extended to them using, I seem to recall, faster balls. I remember when Federer made the final in 2012, beating Djokovic in the semi-final and making a very creditable show against Nadal in the final, that one reason put forward was the faster balls.

Craig, you continue to have your own discussion debating the rights and wrongs of fast 90's Wimbledon, when the subject is homogenisation and it's effects, not the wisdom of the process.

And it all comes down to this; homogenisation affects records. If all 4 events were the polar opposites nobody would ever win the Grand Slam; if they are all the same then the best player that year has a great chance, and career Grand Slams would become frequent amongst the leading players. That's pretty much the current situation. Indeed, arguably Lavers great feats could be said to have benefitted from 3/4 playing on Grass (though I don't know how different those surfaces were). Certainly I think John McEnroe, had he won that French in 1984, might have been able to lay claim to an incredible career Slam, and the greatest single year any player ever enjoyed (it's on the short-shortlist anyway).

As to whether the best always come through, it all depends on definition of best. If you define it as "guy who can handle the surface" then it is circular, proving itself. If we homogenised every Slam on indoor wood then I fancy Isner would be considered a great.
avatar
bogbrush

Posts : 11169
Join date : 2011-04-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by banbrotam on Tue May 31, 2016 12:16 pm

lydian wrote:Is it any wonder that his best slam finals performance is AO which is the slowest slam outside clay


But his second best is Wimbledon - not exactly a retrievers paradise. And he's largely dominated in 2012/3, a Final, a Wimby and an Olympics Wimby win

2014 was excusable given his return from injury. Last year he got beaten by the one player better than him in those SF fast conditions when the heat was baking

I actually think that Andy is best on the extreme surfaces now, very slow or very fast, which is why I'm all for variety as the very good players can play on all surfaces



banbrotam

Posts : 3323
Join date : 2011-09-22
Age : 54
Location : Sowerby Bridge - West Yorkshire

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Born Slippy on Tue May 31, 2016 1:12 pm

bogbrush wrote:Just on the subject of the French, the homogenisation process even extended to them using, I seem to recall, faster balls. I remember when Federer made the final in 2012, beating Djokovic in the semi-final and making a very creditable show against Nadal in the final, that one reason put forward was the faster balls.

Craig, you continue to have your own discussion debating the rights and wrongs of fast 90's Wimbledon, when the subject is homogenisation and it's effects, not the wisdom of the process.

And it all comes down to this; homogenisation affects records. If all 4 events were the polar opposites nobody would ever win the Grand Slam; if they are all the same then the best player that year has a great chance, and career Grand Slams would become frequent amongst the leading players. That's pretty much the current situation. Indeed, arguably Lavers great feats could be said to have benefitted from 3/4 playing on Grass (though I don't know how different those surfaces were). Certainly I think John McEnroe, had he won that French in 1984, might have been able to lay claim to an incredible career Slam, and the greatest single year any player ever enjoyed (it's on the short-shortlist anyway).

As to whether the best always come through, it all depends on definition of best. If you define it as "guy who can handle the surface" then it is circular, proving itself. If we homogenised every Slam on indoor wood then I fancy Isner would be considered a great.

Agree with this more or less entirely. I also agree with an argument that the "extremes" are closer together now than in the 90s. What I'm trying to grapple with is how much closer they are.

If we assume court speed from 0-100 my impression (and this is entirely speculative) is that we might have been looking at a split in the 90s as follows:

RG - 15
Oz - 70
US - 90
Wim - 100

Now, my view is its more like:

RG - 20
Oz - 40
US - 60
Wim - 80

The gap between bottom and top has narrowed substantially. However, the gap between Wim and Oz has widened slightly. It's therefore harder to win 3 slams (especially as the clay court specialists can now compete on hard due to the narrowing of the gap) but easier to win all 4.

How would others see the scale?

Born Slippy

Posts : 4010
Join date : 2012-05-05

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Guest on Tue May 31, 2016 1:21 pm

lydian wrote:The best guys win slams. Whatever the era. Fact.

However, what makes them the best? Their set of attributes, which suit the conditions of the day, being better than their peers.

So we had fast and slow conditions in the 80s and 90s. Attributes were honed to excel on fast and slow courts. So we saw little cross over between the best grass guys and best clay guys.

Then ATP decided they didn't like Sampras winning all the grass and USO slams, they said it was boring. So they slowed grass down in 2001. They slowed USO down in 2003 (not 2006). Funnily enough the year after Sampras won his last USO in 2002.

And a new generation was born...guys who's attributes suited the slower conditions. Faster court attribute players like Sampras, Kafelnikov, Rafter etc...all died away pretty quickly.

The players from 90s who attributes lent themselves to slower conditions did ok...Agassi, Roddick (extreme Western FH despite big serve), Hewitt and Nalby (although mammothly underachieved).

So SUmmerblues, ATP didn't slow it all down for Federer, he just happened to be the next best guy. And don't forget a key point here is that he was raised on clay but also had fast court ability too. The slowing (not fully slowed) conditions by 2007-8 suited him perfectly. However, courts continued to slow beyond even 2008 and we see even Federer start to struggle winning more slams...retriever guys like Djokovic, Murray and Nadal started to dominate Masters and slams with their slow court, returner/defender attributes. Federer did ok but was never the same at USO or AO or even Wimb. The ATP/ITF in cahoots had slowed slams down even too much for his still razor sharp game to make an impact. So he scratched his head, decided he couldn't beat Nad/Djo/Mur at their own games so devised a different way...become uber attaching...which is laudable on slow courts but was never really going to return him to slam glory. Just as they did for Sampras, so ironically ATP also took the slams out of his reach too.

So coming back full circle. The best guys win slams. Current conditions suit those with retrieving and rallying based games. These games under highly homogenised conditions don't have to be adapted from AO through to USO. Which means they are able to dominate all slams because their attributes can't be beat by any others right now. That's the way it is. When they have gone, if 2-3 guys have similar attributes that suit the slower conditions better than most then they'll go on to win 10+ slams too...because someone has to win them. If no-one stands out then they'll get shared. But we'll have seeds going deep, and the same 5-10 guys winning everything...it's just a matter of how many stand out from the rest to share the spoils.

Finally, most guys can't adapt their games as CC keeps insisting. That's a bit of a tennis-naive statement. If you learn your game under very specific conditions, ie Sampras had Eastern FH and BH, then when courts are slower and the ball pops up you can't dominate with that game vs Western gripped ball retrievers. It's only Federer and Agassi who adapted through the "transition period" because of their technical underpinnings and talent. The rest died away pretty quickly.

I struggle to see why this forum cannot logically see (and yes I'm running out of patience BB) that homogenisation allows the best guys for those conditions to simply mop up all year round. Whoever the best guys are...this isn't player specific!

What is sad is the sleep walking acceptance of current conditions being great when all seasoned observers know we're being sold short and all the old tennis records have been rendered obselete by ATP who saw fit to meddle with the conditions because a few people thought Sampras was too good at Wimbledon and hence boring.

For me variety is the spice of life, and the lifeblood of future tennis. All we have now are basically 4 differently coloured slam courts with a Formula One procession of same best players/drivers winning everything because the current conditions make it easier to win all events. I mean look at the way Djokovic is winning all the Masters...and you're telling me he's more talented than Sampras which is what is likely to happen with his slam count. I say no way.  

I really cannot believe it's possible to ignore the effects of ATP driven homogenisation. The only defence in the opposite direction is player-fan driven.

Brilliant post Lydian clap

Says it all

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Guest on Tue May 31, 2016 1:36 pm

Born Slippy wrote:
bogbrush wrote:Just on the subject of the French, the homogenisation process even extended to them using, I seem to recall, faster balls. I remember when Federer made the final in 2012, beating Djokovic in the semi-final and making a very creditable show against Nadal in the final, that one reason put forward was the faster balls.

Craig, you continue to have your own discussion debating the rights and wrongs of fast 90's Wimbledon, when the subject is homogenisation and it's effects, not the wisdom of the process.

And it all comes down to this; homogenisation affects records. If all 4 events were the polar opposites nobody would ever win the Grand Slam; if they are all the same then the best player that year has a great chance, and career Grand Slams would become frequent amongst the leading players. That's pretty much the current situation. Indeed, arguably Lavers great feats could be said to have benefitted from 3/4 playing on Grass (though I don't know how different those surfaces were). Certainly I think John McEnroe, had he won that French in 1984, might have been able to lay claim to an incredible career Slam, and the greatest single year any player ever enjoyed (it's on the short-shortlist anyway).

As to whether the best always come through, it all depends on definition of best. If you define it as "guy who can handle the surface" then it is circular, proving itself. If we homogenised every Slam on indoor wood then I fancy Isner would be considered a great.

Agree with this more or less entirely. I also agree with an argument that the "extremes" are closer together now than in the 90s. What I'm trying to grapple with is how much closer they are.

If we assume court speed from 0-100 my impression (and this is entirely speculative) is that we might have been looking at a split in the 90s as follows:

RG - 15
Oz - 70
US - 90
Wim - 100

Now, my view is its more like:

RG - 20
Oz - 40
US - 60
Wim - 80

The gap between bottom and top has narrowed substantially. However, the gap between Wim and Oz has widened slightly. It's therefore harder to win 3 slams (especially as the clay court specialists can now compete on hard due to the narrowing of the gap)  but easier to win all 4.

How would others see the scale?

No way would I put the second week of Wimbledon at 80. Without using stats, and just using the eye test, I'd go at about 60 - pretty much the same as USO. The first week - when the grass is still fresh - it does play faster.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by lydian on Tue May 31, 2016 7:11 pm

Yep USO & Wimb similar...60
AO & RG also similar speed...40.
What's different between the slams is height of bounce.
RG highest, then AO, then USO, then Wimb.
avatar
lydian

Posts : 9164
Join date : 2011-04-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by lydian on Tue May 31, 2016 7:22 pm

emancipator wrote:
Brilliant post Lydian clap

Says it all
Thanks E ghost
avatar
lydian

Posts : 9164
Join date : 2011-04-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by lydian on Tue May 31, 2016 7:28 pm

banbrotam wrote: I actually think that Andy is best on the extreme surfaces now, very slow or very fast, which is why I'm all for variety as the very good players can play on all surfaces
Yes but nothing about today's surfaces are extreme, the distance between slowest and fastest on tour in 2016 is a fraction of the difference in the 80s/90s. This is the point...players can use same game across all surfaces now because the difference in speed top to bottom isn't big enough to warrant difference in play. I mean, in what way does Andy play differently between AO and Wimb, or even RG if you take out the sliding?
I actually agree Andy is good at net play and volleying, etc, but he chooses to play at the baseline by and large. I remember him playing Ferrer at Miami 13 final and David played 3 times more net points than Murray. Present conditions don't encourage variety.
avatar
lydian

Posts : 9164
Join date : 2011-04-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue May 31, 2016 7:33 pm

Would you agree lydian that those pre-homogenisation players that were most competitive on all surfaces were players with a top all-round game as in strong serve, top notch return of serve and good hands with great volleying ability who could also mix it on the baseline.
avatar
CaledonianCraig

Posts : 15412
Join date : 2011-05-31
Age : 48
Location : Edinburgh

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by lydian on Tue May 31, 2016 10:51 pm

Yes but players with those attributes will be kind of top in any era...you've just described the ideal player there!
avatar
lydian

Posts : 9164
Join date : 2011-04-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Wed Jun 01, 2016 3:08 am

Hmm...I think the big four guys all have such attributes! Rafa had a good enough serve all along before his back issue held him back. Djoko has improved his volleying and now is competent at the net. Murray has improved his first and now the second serve; he's also good on clay now.

And yes, players with all those attributes will be kind of top in any era...so the current big four all fit into that category, imo.

Belovedluckyboy

Posts : 1215
Join date : 2015-01-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by summerblues on Wed Jun 01, 2016 3:41 am

Born Slippy wrote:If we assume court speed from 0-100 my impression (and this is entirely speculative) is that we might have been looking at a split in the 90s as follows:

RG - 15
Oz - 70
US - 90
Wim - 100

Now, my view is its more like:

RG - 20
Oz - 40
US - 60
Wim - 80

The gap between bottom and top has narrowed substantially. However, the gap between Wim and Oz has widened slightly. It's therefore harder to win 3 slams (especially as the clay court specialists can now compete on hard due to the narrowing of the gap)  but easier to win all 4.
I don't know. I am willing to believe that raw court speed might be like you describe it. But when I talk of court "speed" I often (imprecisely, though I think usefully) talk not just of the raw speed of the courts, but also of how the court plays due to equipment etc. If the court is dominated by baseline exchanges I would term it as playing somewhat "slow" even if the court itself may well be fast.

You also seem to implicitly be making that same simplification here because you go from "speed" comparison directly to "relative difficulty of winning slams" - i.e., a comparison that is related as much to gamestyles that succeed on a court as it is to raw court speed.

In terms of this kind of "gamestyle adjusted speed" I would rate surfaces maybe like this:

RG: old 15, new 20
Oz: old 65, new 30
US: old 70, new 35
W: old 100, new 40

Of course, I pull these numbers out of thin air, but that is my feel.

summerblues

Posts : 4362
Join date : 2012-03-07

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Born Slippy on Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:01 am

"Yes BS because they were amongst the top players around that time.
However, they couldn't sustain the runs as the courts CONTINUED to slow down. They didn't slow down all in one go.

Also, 2001 was a very wet Wimbledon in the 2nd week keeping it slick and lush...ie quick. That's how Rafter and Goran made the final. 

Re/ Kafelnikov, I don't think you know what you're talking about. He wasn't a fast court specialist but he excelled on those courts. Look at how many carpet titles he won, how many doubles titles he won. Sure he was an all court player (and his RG96 run was a little fortunate to say the least). But he struggles as the courts slowed no doubt because he was a big 6'3 guy who wasn't a retriever type. 

And stop talking about clay re Hewitt etc. It's a whole different slam. Yes Heiwtt and Roddick were fast court originated players - clearly. But post transition they were just about the only ones along with the others listed that could survive on tour in slower conditions due to their enhanced retriever attributes. Clearly Roddick had that serve which was his mean weapon but even he had to remodel his FH later on to reflect slowing conditions. However, they didn't win much after 2003...partly due to emergence of Federer and then Nadal, and partly because the tour had slowed too much for their overall attributes to shine in the best way. 

Murray isn't a slow court specialist but he's a retriever by nature from his junior junk ball origins. Is it any wonder that his best slam finals performance is AO which is the slowest slam outside clay."



Sorry but a lot of this is fantasy. You name three players who were coming to the end of their careers and try and argue that was because of slowed conditions. It wasn't. Kafelnikov had burned himself out by playing way too much singles and doubles, Rafter retired in 2001 through injury and Sampras just got old/unmotivated. 


In relation to Kafelnikov, sure he was able to play on a range of surfaces. His best surface would have been medium hard in my view (albeit his best slam was RG). I assume you do accept he was woeful on grass though (his average result at Wimbledon was R2/R3)?


It's also poppycock that Hewitt and Roddick were somehow the sole survivors of some massive cull of top players. I can literally think of no c. 25 or younger player who suffered an unexplained drop down the rankings. If any player was to suffer from a slow-down it would have been Roddick (with his 1D game). However, he would have won about 6 slams but for Fed. Of course, he made zero impact on the much slower clay courts (I'm aware it's a different slam by the way - that's kind of the point given that the context is homogenisation).

Born Slippy

Posts : 4010
Join date : 2012-05-05

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Born Slippy on Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:13 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:Would you agree lydian that those pre-homogenisation players that were most competitive on all surfaces were players with a top all-round game as in strong serve, top notch return of serve and good hands with great volleying ability who could also mix it on the baseline.

You didn't need all those attributes to be competitive on all surfaces in the 90s. Courier made all 4 slam finals within 9 slams of making his first final (miles quicker than the current big 3 who all needed time to adapt to the different surfaces). He didn't have a great return or volleying ability (and his serve wasn't all that). He was just, at that stage, by far the best from the baseline.

Born Slippy

Posts : 4010
Join date : 2012-05-05

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Guest on Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:39 am

I think BS comments refuting a "cull" contains some weight.

I think this discussion can be aided by considering what is required to be good / successful on each of the surfaces.

It seems to me this can be divided into three components.

a) Movement across the surface in getting to the ball.
b) The stroke one plays when getting to the ball.
c) The tactics one uses in winning a point.

Now in terms of a) there seems to me to be a large difference between clay, grass and the hard courts in terms of starting to move (kicking off the surface), changing direction, stopping (and hitting the ball), moving (and hitting the ball while moving).  This alone can separate out the players.  For example: Federer is very good on moving on the grass.  Djokovic is very good on moving on the hard courts ... but not so good as Federer on moving on the grass.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by socal1976 on Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:44 am

BS Courier had a very good serve and was a better returner than you make it, I haven't followed the discussion but he was. He was a really poor volleyer probably much worse than any of the big 4 right now.

socal1976

Posts : 14212
Join date : 2011-03-18
Location : southern california

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by lydian on Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:48 am

Oh dear BS...I don't need you to tell me what's fantasy when you're not even on top of the details.
Lets put the record straight seen as you dont know what you're talking about.

Kafelnikov reached QF at Wimb, not r2/r3.
He beat Federer there and also beat Federer on indoor carpet.
Speaking of which, Kafelnikov reached 11 carpet finals...winning 5...beating Becker, Henman and Goran to name but a few. Sound like a guy not adept on fast courts?
He reached 46 ATP finals in total...only 6 of those were clay! RG was an aberration...and he reached USO SF twice (losing to the champion each time) back when it was quick.
He won Halle grass event 3 times and got the final another time.
Got to the ATP indoor WTF final once...won 9 outdoor hardcourt finals.
He won 2 doubles slam titles too...and many other titles indicating he was an excellent volleyer (which he was).

Then you say Courier wasn't an excellent returner when he made the finals of quick grass 90s Wimbledon.

Do you actually have any clue what you're talking about...
avatar
lydian

Posts : 9164
Join date : 2011-04-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by CaledonianCraig on Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:54 am

If we turn the clock back to the 1960s - is that when the surfaces were close to homogenized as well? After all weren't three of the slams played on grass and one on clay?
avatar
CaledonianCraig

Posts : 15412
Join date : 2011-05-31
Age : 48
Location : Edinburgh

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by socal1976 on Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:14 am

CaledonianCraig wrote:If we turn the clock back to the 1960s - is that when the surfaces were close to homogenized as well? After all weren't three of the slams played on grass and one on clay?

The surfaces are more varied now than for most of the history of tennis good point. We used to have two surfaces. And in fact hardcourt is the surface that itself because it is a composite and manufactured surface can provide the most range of variety vis a vis different hardcourts.

socal1976

Posts : 14212
Join date : 2011-03-18
Location : southern california

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by lydian on Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:16 am

Yes but what relevance is that to this discussion?
If we go back to the 1880s it was all grass! Total homogenisation...
avatar
lydian

Posts : 9164
Join date : 2011-04-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by lydian on Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:17 am

We're talking modern game...!
It's been clay, Hard, grass since the 70s...
avatar
lydian

Posts : 9164
Join date : 2011-04-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by lydian on Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:18 am

Yes Socal...but there has even been homogenisation of HC too... ;-)
avatar
lydian

Posts : 9164
Join date : 2011-04-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Born Slippy on Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:26 am

lydian wrote:Oh dear BS...I don't need you to tell me what's fantasy when you're not even on top of the details.
Lets put the record straight seen as you dont know what you're talking about.

Kafelnikov reached QF at Wimb, not r2/r3.
He beat Federer there and also beat Federer on indoor carpet.
Speaking of which, Kafelnikov reached 11 carpet finals...winning 5...beating Becker, Henman and Goran to name but a few. Sound like a guy not adept on fast courts?
He reached 46 ATP finals in total...only 6 of those were clay! RG was an aberration...and he reached USO SF twice (losing to the champion each time) back when it was quick.
He won Halle grass event 3 times and got the final another time.
Got to the ATP indoor WTF final once...won 9 outdoor hardcourt finals.
He won 2 doubles slam titles too...and many other titles indicating he was an excellent volleyer (which he was).

Then you say Courier wasn't an excellent returner when he made the finals of quick grass 90s Wimbledon.

Do you actually have any clue what you're talking about...

You don't seem to understand the difference between average and best. Kafelnikov's best result at Wimbledon was a QF. His average result was R2/R3 (he won 16 matches in 10 attempts - ie. he generally won between 1 and 2 matches). That is vastly inferior to his record at all other slams. In particular, he won double that number of matches at the French - his best slam by a distance!

My position is that he could play on all surfaces but wasn't as great on grass, as demonstrated by his Wimbledon record. Your position is that he was so reliant on fast conditions that he was forced into retirement when the courts slowed down! I know which side of that argument I'd prefer to be on.

As for Courier, I watched him live a couple of times - admittedly in about 1997, so slightly after his peak years. His serve was decent (probably slightly underrated) but not up there with the really top servers of the time. His return was reliable but not as good on the backhand particularly as most other top baseliners.

Born Slippy

Posts : 4010
Join date : 2012-05-05

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Guest on Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:22 am

The one thing that is not homogenised are the viewpoints expressed on this thread. Although I suspect there is quite a lot of agreement apart from perhaps the molehills. C'est La Vie!

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by dummy_half on Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:37 pm

Some stats that highlight quite how dominant the grouping of Fed, Nadal, Djoko and to a lesser extent Murray have been, taking the last 10 years (RG 2006 to AO 2016, so from Rafa's second slam title, but before ND and AM were significant factors), there have been 40 slams
36 have been won by one of these 4 (90%)
31 have had a losing finalist from this 4 (77.5%)
28 have had finals between two of these 4 (70%)
They have lost in the semi final 34 times (out of a possible 80 - 42.5%)

Out of a possible 160 semi final spots, they've taken 100 (62.5%), and considering that Novak and Andy really didn't challenge for the first year or so I looked at, it's even more dominant.

Individually, for those 40 tournaments, Federer has reached at least the semi final 30 times, Novak 29 times (in 36 tournaments since his first SF appearance), Rafa 22 times (4 absences) and Andy 18 times (in the last 30 tournaments since his first SF).

Two conclusions
1 - They are extraordinarily good and consistent
2 - They have benefitted somewhat from the narrowing of playing conditions, allowing a domination across all surfaces that was not plausible in the late 70s through to the late 90s

Interestingly, in these 40 tournaments, they've 'only' taken all 4 semi final spots 4 times (USO 2008, RG 2011, USO 2011 and AO 2012). Kind of supports the contention that a genuine 'big 4' only really existed briefly around 2011/12, and that before and since there has generally been one or more performing slightly below that level.

One further thought - the change from 16 to 32 seeds probably has had an impact on how many of the top 16 reach the 4th round, but likely has had much less impact on the performance of the top 4, as they have dominated anyway, generally beating the #5 to #16 players as well as everyone else...

dummy_half

Posts : 4366
Join date : 2011-03-11
Age : 45
Location : East Hertfordshire

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by lydian on Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:01 pm

Well I'll just have to bow (out) to your clearly superior knowledge BS...
Strange how most of the 90s guys who were excelling at USO, AO and Wimb died out between 2001-2004.
But to the flat earthers nothing has changed from say 98 to 04, no players were affected and nothing has changed since either.
I'll leave you guys to continue looking at the status quo tennis horizon.
avatar
lydian

Posts : 9164
Join date : 2011-04-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by CaledonianCraig on Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:30 pm

lydian wrote:Well I'll just have to bow (out) to your clearly superior knowledge BS...
Strange how most of the 90s guys who were excelling at USO, AO and Wimb died out between 2001-2004.
But to the flat earthers nothing has changed from say 98 to 04, no players were affected and nothing has changed since either.
I'll leave you guys to continue looking at the status quo tennis horizon.

I am one who is not denying there were changes - of course there were. But is today say, any different from the 1960s when three slams were on grass and one on clay? And again like I said ...now at slams there are 128 players all used to the court conditions due to uniform speed whereas in the 90s Wimbledon had perhaps half of the entrants comfortable on grass and half not so in theory half a fieldful of potential winners (well in all honesty less than that) and same on clay. So either love the 90s for diverse court speeds but narrower field of winners given court speed variation or less diverse court speeds today but more players more comfortable with court speeds?

I suppose court speeds/conditions are like varying styles of tennis players. You take your pick what you prefer.
avatar
CaledonianCraig

Posts : 15412
Join date : 2011-05-31
Age : 48
Location : Edinburgh

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Born Slippy on Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:47 pm

lydian wrote:Well I'll just have to bow (out) to your clearly superior knowledge BS...
Strange how most of the 90s guys who were excelling at USO, AO and Wimb died out between 2001-2004.
But to the flat earthers nothing has changed from say 98 to 04, no players were affected and nothing has changed since either.
I'll leave you guys to continue looking at the status quo tennis horizon.

Lydian, no one is denying the courts slowed down. My personal theory though is that the extent of the slowdown at the slams has been somewhat exaggerated (largely as it coincided with the last of the old SV generation ending their careers). What I'm trying to investigate is when and how much slow-down occurred together with an understanding of the impact. I'm therefore challenging your position that it was extreme.

The finalists at the three slams from 99-01 were:

Oz - Kafelnikov, Enqvist, Agassi, Clement
Wim - Sampras, Agassi, Rafter, Ivanisevic
US - Agassi, Martin, Sampras, Hewitt, Safin

As mentioned, Rafter retired in 2001. Goran was 30 and injury prone (and had been for a couple of years before his miracle win). I don't think there is any point looking at them. Of the rest (bracketed numbers are age at end of 2001):

Agassi (31) - results stayed pretty consistent at US/Oz. Did dip at Wimbledon but beaten by fast court players each time. I can't see any evidence of results changing at slams. As you say though, he was probably the most able to adapt of the above players anyway though, so possibly not a great guide?

Martin (31) - Didn't do much after 2001. Results were much worse at US Open in 2002-03 compared to 2000-01 but did bounce back with a R4 in 2004 (age 34). 

Sampras (30) - retired in 2002 so not much to go on. Results did noticeably dip in 2001-02 at Oz and Wim (but not US). Query due to age/lack of motivation?

Kafelnikov (27) - starts to probably get more interesting here. Dramatic decline at all slams in 02-03 and then didn't play another slam. My main comment here would be that the decline included RG which definitely didn't slow. It was also mirrored across the board in all masters. Given his comments about losing motivation (and the fact that he had adapted his game successfully at all slams earlier in his career), I'm inclined to feel that was the key rather than a change in surface. 

Enqvist (27) - Results dipped slightly after 2001 but hadn't been great for a couple of years before. Very injury prone but possible support for theory?

Clement (24) - One off slam final at the start of 2001. Results seemed to remain fairly consistent (if unspectacular) after 2002 but did noticeably dip from 2005 onwards. Possible support for theory?

Safin (21) - After he won US00 I think many would have expected greater success than he had. Was that due to slow-down? His results at the US after 2001 are noticeably poor. Did a decent job at Oz though up to 2005 or so and got himself back up to number 2. Results at the French also declined after 2002. I'm inclined to think Marat's game was pretty well suited to any speed of surface and that his failure to develop was more due to Fed, injury and being a head case.

Hewitt (20) - didn't win a slam after 2002 (when he won Wimbledon in arguably slower conditions). Did however continue to be a real threat at all slams bar the French until 2006. Injuries likely to be the main factor in decline.

I think it's fair to say that, if you'd predicted at the end of 2001 how all these guys would do then all bar Agassi might have been expected to do better (even ignoring the Fed effect). However, it's noticeable that the younger guys were already players who would be termed baseliners. I don't think I have reached a firm conclusion so make of it what you will!

Born Slippy

Posts : 4010
Join date : 2012-05-05

Back to top Go down

Re: Are Big 4 Overrated?

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 4 of 4 Previous  1, 2, 3, 4

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum