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Is it time to slow the courts down?

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Post by Born Slippy Thu 26 Nov 2015, 1:04 pm

First topic message reminder :

This year is the second consecutive year four players have held more than 90% of their service games throughout the year. Big Ivo set a new record holding 96% of all service games - that means he is broken 1 in every 25 games(or 4 sets assuming he didn't himself manage to break anyone).

The percentage of service games held has been steadily increasing over the years:

1991 - no one over 90% - leader Stich (87%)
1995 - no one over 90% - leader Sampras (88%)
2000 - one player over 90% - leader Sampras (91%)
2005 - one player over 90% - leader Roddick (93%)
2010 - 3 players over 90% (Roddick; Nadal and Isner) - leader Roddick (91%)
2015 - 4 players over 90% (Karlovic; Isner; Raonic and Federer) - leader Karlovic (96%)

Its a worrying trend and, with the up and comers not really containing any great returners (and a fair number of tall ball-bashers), its only likely to move one way. Conditions haven't really changed since the early 2000s and with players getting ever taller and stronger, does something need to be done?

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Post by laverfan Sun 29 Nov 2015, 6:29 pm

It Must Be Love wrote:Can we have Isner's TB record against top players ?  

Numbers (will provide accurate information later - and everyone is top player Wink ).

2015 - TBs (W/L sets) 40/24 (Paris 4-0, Vienna 2-0, Shanghai 2-0, Beijing 1-0, USO 0-1, Canada 2-3, Washington 3-0, Atlanta 3-0, Newport 1-1, W 4-1, London 3-2, Nice 2-1, Rome 1-0, Madrid 2-4, MC 2-1, Houston 0-1, Miami 3-2, IW 1-1, DC 1-3, Memphis 1-2, AO 2-2)

2014 - 41/23 (Paris 0-1, Valencia 0-1, Shanghai 3-0, Beijing 1-0, DC 1-0, USO 3-3, Winston-Salem 1-1, Cincinnati 2-1, Canada 1-0, Washington 1-1, Atlanta 2-0, Newport 1-1, W 3-2, RG 6-2, Nice 0-1, Rome 0-1, Madrid 2-1, Houston 1-1, Miami 0-1, IW 5-0, Acapulco 0-2, DelRay 2-1, AO 0-1, Auckland 6-1)

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Post by erictheblueuk Fri 04 Dec 2015, 11:38 am

"2015 - 4 players over 90% (Karlovic; Isner; Raonic and Federer) - leader Karlovic (96%)" - BS

I don't think the court speeds are a problem at all, as apart from Federer, these guys have only won one minor event each in 2015.

Also ,again apart from Federer, these guys are unusually tall. Which gives them an advantage on serve but a disadvantage ,mobility wise, when compared to the shorter guys on tour.

So as long as the courts aren't lightning fast I believe it evens out.
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Post by socal1976 Sat 05 Dec 2015, 8:44 pm

I mentioned this many times. For the larger male player with modern equipment you need slow surfaces to act as a governor on the raw power. People talk about bringing S and V back are Utopians. You would have to dramatically change the game and quite possibly go back to wooden racquets to bring back as and V. Because you aren't dealing with same athletes that you were dealing with in 80s. People serve and volley mainly because it is easier to finish points at net then to just hit a winner on the short ball. To make volleying work on the first ball would require dramatically taking pace and power away from ground strokes. I mean say good bye to 100 mile an hour or more forehands. The reason high risk S and V does not work today is because of how hard it is to volley and control the modern passing shot. Athletes are bigger, more athletic, taller, and train better. If these players played with fast conditions you would not see S and V comeback, because it would still be easier to finish a short forehand and less risky. So you would have to both speed up conditions and then dramatically restrict technology taking about 15 miles an hour out of your average baseline rally. Can you imagine watching that it would be like watching wawrinka hit like your granny. I invite you guys to watch the old school matches with old tech it looks so much less dynamic when they hit from the back because the shots have no power. Remember since the early 80s S and V was starting to lose out to big baseliners. And today's athletes are much stronger physically then the guys back then are. I mean when Mac took hist shirt off you had a hard time even believing this guy was a world class athlete. I don't think in the early part of his career he had ever seen the inside of a gym.

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Post by laverfan Sat 05 Dec 2015, 9:20 pm

McEnroe survived on his touch game, and did not need to be extremely physical. There were power servers using wooden racquets - Roscoe Tanner is one of many. Tilden was clocked at 131mph, IIRC. Height is only one factor. There were plenty of 6'3" folks playing in 60-70s. Budge, Trabert, Pancho, all were tall players. And they played on Wood, one of the fastest surfaces. Laver and Rosewall should be considered the yardstick.

Ferrer is 5'9". The lack of dynamic Tennis is also an artifact of the quality of video available. Watching some of these players of old live was a completely different experience. Borg was first player truly pushing physical boundaries. Lendl is another.

There are enough slow courts around (Clay and slow HC). There is no need to kill the remaining fast courts. Rotterdam killed it's fast court to favor base liners several years ago.

I have seen this posted before, but here it is again... - http://www.tennisabstract.com/blog/2013/11/19/the-speed-of-every-2013-surface/ .

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Post by summerblues Sun 06 Dec 2015, 4:09 am

socal1976 wrote:People talk about bringing S and V back are Utopians. You would have to dramatically change the game and quite possibly go back to wooden racquets to bring back as and V. Because you aren't dealing with same athletes that you were dealing with in 80s. People serve and volley mainly because it is easier to finish points at net then to just hit a winner on the short ball. To make volleying work on the first ball would require dramatically taking pace and power away from ground strokes.
Yes, you would have to dramatically change the game, and yes, you would need to take power away from groundstrokes.  But you would not need to go back to wooden racquets.  You would just need to provide more constraints on allowable equipment (max racquet head size, string parameters, etc).  Formula 1 does it without restricting technological progress.  Closer to home, table tennis has been doing it for years.

I do not believe the statement about the athletes is all that relevant.  To some extent, today's athletic players are product of today's game parameters, rather than vice versa.

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Post by socal1976 Sun 06 Dec 2015, 5:09 am

SB so you are willing to see Fed and Nadal's baseline and short forehand neutered to experiment and tinker with the game? To bring back a style of play that has been losing ground for nearly thirty years? You can't have shots like Nadal's or Fed's FH with the changes required to bring S and V back to life.

And my post on athleticism and power relates to the fact that even if you turned conditions and tech to 80s and 90s level you wouldn't see the tennis of your youth return. Because you have a far more advanced athlete in terms of power so the drastic changes would likely result in an even more bizarre short point fest than the 90s. I'd love to see what Isner's hold percentage would be if you sped up the conditions and forced players to return his serve with an 80 sq in racquet. That is why I said these bring S and V back people as nostalgic because you just can't turn back time. The athletes are different.

And no it the players aren't training better because of strings and slow conditions. They are training better in every sport. It has nothing to do with luxilon strings. It has everything to do with advances across the board as better knowledge and training methods were developed in sports medicine in general.

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Post by socal1976 Sun 06 Dec 2015, 5:15 am

laverfan wrote:McEnroe survived on his touch game, and did not need to be extremely physical. There were power servers using wooden racquets - Roscoe Tanner is one of many. Tilden was clocked at 131mph, IIRC. Height is only one factor. There were plenty of 6'3" folks playing in 60-70s. Budge, Trabert, Pancho, all were tall players. And they played on Wood, one of the fastest surfaces. Laver and Rosewall should be considered the yardstick.

Ferrer is 5'9".  The lack of dynamic Tennis is also an artifact of the quality of video available. Watching some of these players of old live was a completely different experience. Borg was first player truly pushing physical boundaries. Lendl is another.

There are enough slow courts around (Clay and slow HC). There is no need to kill the remaining fast courts. Rotterdam killed it's fast court to favor base liners several years ago.

I have seen this posted before, but here it is again... - http://www.tennisabstract.com/blog/2013/11/19/the-speed-of-every-2013-surface/ .

Great post but it does little to address the points I am making. I never claimed you couldn't hit big serves with old school tech. The problem is that you take away pace from the baseline game to allow volleyers time to get in and control the volley. I don't want to chop 10-20 miles off the standard baseline rally to encourage more volleying. Volleying is only worth it if you have trouble finishing with a short forehand. If it is easy to finish with a Fh 98 percent of players just want rush in on the first ball. Why risk it when you can slap a Fh just inside the baseline for a winner and not risk getting passed or not making a good volley.

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