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Has the standard improved over the years?

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Is the standard in the men's game (amongst the elite players) higher today than it was in 2004/5?

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Total Votes : 2

Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by Emancipator on Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:59 pm

Generally speaking, most people would accept that Tennis like all other sports evolves and consequently the standard improves over time.

But this not necessarily a linear progression. The state of the tour can be worse in some years due to lots of factors, the most important of which is probably economics and accessibility at the grass roots level and then how that translates into accessibility of the professional game. So it is possible that the standard actually goes down for a while, even five or ten years and then rises again to surpass previous levels if and when the conditions conducive for such progression are met.

The reason I bring this up is because I was just watching the following video: Federer vs Agassi Miami 2005, and I have to say the standard is outstanding. The rallies are fast and furious. Both players (Agassi in particular) are playing with less margin for error, and hitting flatter balls and standing closer to the baseline than is seen in today's game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z2kF6HnfK4

So what do you think? Has the game moved on from this? I'm not sure Djokovic and Murray are playing at a higher standard and in terms of excitement and enjoyable tennis, I know which one I'd prefer.

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Re: Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by bogbrush on Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:13 pm

I'm sure you're right, it's not linear Andy it might loop around but on the whole it becomes more effective (careful word there).

The problem I have with rating that against Murray now is that I can't be sure Murray wouldn't have been able to drag it into an attritional war. Agassi was a counterpuncher who may have found Murray frustrating.

In terms if excitement, there's no contest. Hell, there's no contest in excitement between a Murray / Djokovic match and this
http://metro.co.uk/2012/01/09/watching-paint-dry-championship-attracts-international-interest-279060/

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Re: Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by Tenez on Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:19 pm

Good article. the first thing to consider is that the conditions evolve. Agassi's time was played with small fast balls whereas post 2001 they started to provide bigger balls while new strings allowed for more spin. Hence it requires completely different set of skills. In that respect it is difficult to compare some periods.

But the main reasons they started to provide bigger balls in the end of the 90s is that players were getting better and better at serving. So even within period, the game evolves.

In fact the game constantly evolves and at a much faster pace than most other sports cause the players need each other to progress whereas when you race against time, there is little your opponents can do to make you a better sprinter. It helps but much less than having to get used to Fed's or Nadal's shots for instance.

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Re: Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by Daniel on Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:31 pm

Yes it has - until the last 2 years, where Murray, Djok, Nadal leaving their prime - with Federer already long passed it.

And no-one of equal ability has filled the void.  But they will.  Eventually.  Until then, we have a rather average tour. It's impossible to compare Borg's era with Federer's. The difference in racquets and conditions make it too difficult.

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Re: Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by Tenez on Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:48 pm

2007
2017

Difficult to gauge the difference due to different camera angle and court pace.

But my "analog" observation is that there is less easy mistakes made in 2017. Federer doesn't give points away easily anymore. he is building the point hence rallies are generally considerably longer in 2017 than in 2007....and thus despite both playing closer to the baseline .

Nadal's FH is short in both clips but Shanghai looks to me faster than AO17...hence shorter points too in 07.

Fed returns better now than then. no doubt.

I think what makes the comparison even more difficult here is that both Nadal and fed are really tired in that AO17. If they both were to play fresh, we woudl see a big improvement in their game from 2007. However being older comparing their game at the end of a gruelling GS is a bit unfair.

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Re: Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by Tenez on Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:08 pm

What woudl be the chances of a Todd Martin or a Washington to reach a slam final nowadays or a Thomas Johanson to win the AO?

I think the game has gone much more professional in the last 10 years in particular. There has been no lucky finalists nor even semi finalist in the last 10 years .

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Re: Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by noleisthebest on Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:37 pm

I'd say technology has played a big part; result is spin and muscle plus super fitness i.e. percentage tennis.

Percentage tennis certainly isn't an improvement in the evolution, but Federer for example is definitely playing better tennis now than 10 years ago.

He can do more, he has developed his talent.

So you can say from that angle - tennis has improved.

If TDs continue to favou faster balls, we may enjoy some excellent tennis, as it will encourage shotmakers like it did in AO.

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Re: Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by noleisthebest on Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:55 am

Tenez wrote:2007
2017

Difficult to gauge the difference due to different camera angle and court pace.

But my "analog" observation is that there is less easy mistakes made in 2017. Federer doesn't give points away easily anymore. he is building the point hence rallies are generally considerably longer in 2017 than in 2007....and thus despite both playing closer to the baseline .

Nadal's FH is short in both clips but Shanghai looks to me faster than AO17...hence shorter points too in 07.

Fed returns better now than then. no doubt.

I think what makes the comparison even more difficult here is that both Nadal and fed are really tired in that AO17. If they both were to play fresh, we woudl see a big improvement in their game from 2007. However being older comparing their game at the end of a gruelling GS is a bit unfair.
Thanks for the clips.

What comes to me first is how physical tennis has become in ten years.

In the 2007 clip, tennis is nicer because it comes across as natural, Federer smooth and able to play his game (hence the convincing score); in 2017 - he is considerably more on the baseline, but his shots are of higher quality, amd he has greater variety.
The BH stands out.

Even Nadal's game looked better in 2007, despite the loopy FH, it was kind of more organic.

The fast court in Shanghai really showed the gap in talent between the two.

In AO, Federer has to work harder, though Nadal looks quite beatable all through the match.

Federer must have been quite tired in fact, to have had that lapse in the second set.

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Re: Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by Tenez on Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:56 am

Yes we really have to consider tiredness when considering that AO 17 match. But despite I find the rallies more impressive , shots more secure...maybe cause less pacy.

But I did a quick average time per rally for both matches. Only one take as I had to consider a minimun of 14 shot rallies where both don't go with loopy slices/lobs/too much sharp cross court as this slows down the pace considerably....and it seems that 17 is played at a faster pace than 07.....essentially down to Nadal standing closer and Fed's BH being pacier. The average time per shot in 17 is 1.22s while 1.3 for 07. Multiply that by 14 and it means they have to run as much with over a second less than in 07 over a 23sec rally.

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Re: Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by noleisthebest on Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:11 am

Good work, T!

yes, faster tennis in 2017, though the angles and the extra variety are now actually making tennis quite different and not easy to compare.
But there is no doubt the quality is higher now.


It's so tough on the body, esp for Federer and even Nadal.

They did well to produce that 5 set AO final.

I read about some Laver Cup to start in Prague, in November this year.

Federer says it won't be an exhibition, 6 best players from Europe (incl Federer and Nadal), Borg to captain Europe, Mac the Rest) vs the rest of the world...so we may get to see some good tennis there, though no Fedal.

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Re: Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by Emancipator on Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:24 pm

That Shanghai court is much quicker than OZ.

The 07 Federer would beat old Federer in str8 sets and they wouldn't be close.

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Re: Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by noleisthebest on Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:33 pm

TMF wrote: That Shanghai court is much quicker than OZ.

The 07 Federer would beat old Federer in str8 sets and they wouldn't be close.

Not sure. Naked eye tells me AO is very similar if not faster.

Ball really skids through it.



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Re: Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by Tenez on Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:42 pm

TMF wrote:That Shanghai court is much quicker than OZ.

The 07 Federer would beat old Federer in str8 sets and they wouldn't be close.

It's not old federer he needs to beat, it's  the new, much improved generation. And at that he is better now than then ....obviously:

2 straight wins v Nadal
5 straight wins v Murray
3 wins v Djoko in 2015!!!

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Re: Has the standard improved over the years?

Post by Tenez on Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:04 pm

Did not fancy opening a new thread for it but you can see how unprofessional McEnroe was. And how long he was taking between points. 14mn for 14 points but unlike today the points were just 2 shots rallies if that!


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