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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:50 am

Once upon a time, tennis players looked like the rest of us: they ate the same food, wore the same gear and played with pretty much the same racquets.

Both men and women.

Rod Laver, a multi-slam champion was 1.72 m tall.
Chris Evert, 1.68 m.

They played lovely all-court tennis using wooden racquets, and we could all relate to them.

In the meantime, something's happened: money came in and tennis went BIGGER. Literally.

Players became taller, heavier, but strangely racquets and balls went the other way: they became lighter.

The only thing that hasn't gone bigger is the actual tennis court, but the players do seem to use more space around it, so in a way even the court, or the area it's being played on has gone bigger.

I talked to an LTA coach and an ITF tournament player on Saturday and fond out that LTA, before even thinking of investing a penny into a young player/child, will first look into the genetics, i.e. how tall child's parents are.

I also talked to a parent of an apparently extremely talented child, dubbed the New Federer, who is also worrying that his son won't cut it among pros because he (the father) is just under 6ft.

So all you youngsters, if your parents are not 6ft tall, you have no hope. Don't even bother. Tennis belongs to a 6ft2 model.

After all, can anyone remember when was the last time a player under 6ft won Wimbledon?

Do you think things can ever go back the way they once used to be?

Size Matters Roger-Federer-greatest-player-of-all-time-in-tennis-Rod-Laver

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:51 am

Would getting rid of second serve help?

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:53 am


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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:12 am

To me , it's interesting how with players getting taller, the game in general moved away from the net, esp among women.

Safe ball-bashing from the base-line seems to be the way. Women are all top heavy and big, even the ones that don't look like that on TV.

The slimmed down Ana Ivanovic who looks like an anorexic on a tennis court these days, actually looks "normal" and healthy in real life, it's just that the others dwarf her.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:51 am

Wasn't Mc Under 6ft?

BUt yes I agree that size matters but it looks like "serial" slam winners have been within that narrow 6'1 and 6'2 bracket. Taller and shorter players can win a one off slam but rarely more. If anything the magic size is probably 6'1 as that is the size of all men players (bar Laver) in that first picture. So a total of 50 slams between those 4 players!!!). and average of 12.5 slam each!!!

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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:58 am

Actually it looks like Agassi was only 5"11 only too...and Gaudio shorter too.

Right that makes 3 players at 6'1 for 42 slams....an average of 14 each!!1

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:05 am

Tenez wrote:Actually it looks like Agassi was only 5"11 only too...and Gaudio shorter too.

Right that makes 3 players at 6'1 for 42 slams....an average of 14 each!!1

I was just going to mention Agassi.

My grief is not that players are getting taller, in a way every sport kind of reaches its optimum athlete sooner or later (tall people play basketball, "short" play football etc).

The problem is two-fold:


  1. one is that the size of players is changing the game (not exclusively the size, but it contributes a lot, esp among women)
  2. and the other is that now youngsters, or ore their parents are told not to even bother trying because they fall short of a certain height.

Those two factors combined can't bode well for the future in my opinion.

The problem can be potentially solved by speeding up the conditions considerably, but then you get the serving bullies take over, in which case, maybe the thing to do is speed up the conditions and take away the second serve.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:10 am

Tenez wrote:Actually it looks like Agassi was only 5"11 only too...and Gaudio shorter too.

Right that makes 3 players at 6'1 for 42 slams....an average of 14 each!!1

The question is would any of them stand a chance today?

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Post by luvsports! on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:32 am

hewitt no?

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:36 am

Tenez wrote:Actually it looks like Agassi was only 5"11 only too...and Gaudio shorter too.

Right that makes 3 players at 6'1 for 42 slams....an average of 14 each!!1
Just checked, Hewitt is the same height, too.
If you look at players under 6ft, Ferrer is the highest ranked one and nobody can really see him moving up, he has overachieved anyway and doesn't seem to have any attacking weapons.
Same as Tipsarevic.
The next one down the ranking is Dolgopolov, also 5ft11, the only one you'd give a thought of possibly being able to win a slam now, provided he got CONSIDERABLY fitter, which he can't due to his medical condition.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:38 am

luvsports! wrote:hewitt no?

yes, just mentioned him, but look at what he was able to do since the arrival of Fedal, not a lot. He definitely had a lot of heart, just no weapons.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:41 am

Ranked 18, 19, and 20 are
Dolgopolov 5.11 and then
Nishikori 5.10
Kohlschreiber 5.10

When you watch them, however well they play, you just know they have no hope of winning a slam which is a shame as they are all talented players and good to watch.


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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:41 am

noleisthebest wrote:
Tenez wrote:Actually it looks like Agassi was only 5"11 only too...and Gaudio shorter too.

Right that makes 3 players at 6'1 for 42 slams....an average of 14 each!!1

The question is would any of them stand a chance today?



BUt likewise would the current top be the best at SVing? which was close to be the sole way to win Wimby and USO back then?

I rewatched last weekend the 2001 match between Pete and Federer and it's so obvious that players though not as fit as today would have had no chance in the world to engage in 3+ plus shot rallies. The ball is simply flying, especially past the baseline. It was reallly tough to keep the ball in court. That's why there was no claycourter in sight....it all went wrong in 2002.

It completely changed the dynamics of the game. It's actually entertaining and refreshing to see that teh best player then was teh one with the best eye/hand coordination, mental strength, and luck was also playing a part.

Nowadays none of it really plays a role. The fittest simply wins.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:44 am

Tenez wrote:

I rewatched last weekend the 2001 match between Pete and Federer and it's so obvious that players though not as fit as today would have had no chance in the world to engage in 3+ plus shot rallies. The ball is simply flying, especially after the baseline.

It completely changed the dynamics of the game. It's actually entertaining and refreshing to see that teh best player then was teh one with the best eye/hand coordination, mental strength, and luck was also playing a part.

Nowadays none of it really plays a role. The fittest simply wins.

yes, that's the big problem, the grass isn't grass any more and that certainly contributed hugely to changing of the game and consequently size of players. The high bounce has killed SBH game in Wimbledon, although massive credit to Federer for still being able to hold his own there.
I'm just not sure whether it's a chicken and egg scenario or can something be done about it.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:55 am

More pressurised balls (or harder rubber) would certainly even things up a bit....but then it might give the very tall guys an amazing edge. Look what Rosol coudl do v Nadal there. The margins are thin....though Frankly Nadal shoudl have never been close to winning Wimbledon as we knew it.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:59 am

Tenez wrote:More pressurised balls (or harder rubber) would certainly even things up a bit....but then it might give the very tall guys an amazing edge. Look what Rosol coudl do v Nadal there. The margins are thin....though Frankly Nadal shoudl have never been close to winning Wimbledon as we knew it.
what about taking away second serve?
There is no second serve in badminton, volleyball, and table tennis.


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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:00 pm

But on fast surfaces, the tall guys could be exposed by their lack of agility as they would have to really have quick reactions....which they typically don't.

SO certainly that woudl be interesting. I am convinced 2013 will bring new conds and a change of guard...especially in slams as there they don;t mind as much losing the top seeds. Smaller tournaments are more dependant on having the big seeds.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:02 pm

I would love to see a player like Dolgopolov given a chance to play in some human conditions.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:03 pm

noleisthebest wrote:
Tenez wrote:More pressurised balls (or harder rubber) would certainly even things up a bit....but then it might give the very tall guys an amazing edge. Look what Rosol coudl do v Nadal there. The margins are thin....though Frankly Nadal shoudl have never been close to winning Wimbledon as we knew it.
what about taking away second serve?
There is no second serve in badminton, volleyball, and table tennis.

That woudl be the worse thing to do to give the edge back to guys like Nadal/Djoko/Murray. We don't want that. I certainly don't.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:03 pm

noleisthebest wrote:I would love to see a player like Dolgopolov given a chance to play in some human conditions.

He would be the new "Agassi"...a better version in my opinion.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:04 pm

Tenez wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:
Tenez wrote:More pressurised balls (or harder rubber) would certainly even things up a bit....but then it might give the very tall guys an amazing edge. Look what Rosol coudl do v Nadal there. The margins are thin....though Frankly Nadal shoudl have never been close to winning Wimbledon as we knew it.
what about taking away second serve?
There is no second serve in badminton, volleyball, and table tennis.

That woudl be the worse thing to do to give the edge back to guys like Nadal/Djoko/Murray. We don't want that. I certainly don't.

Not if combined with fast conditions.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:05 pm

Tenez wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:I would love to see a player like Dolgopolov given a chance to play in some human conditions.

He would be the new "Agassi"...a better version in my opinion.

Interesting. I'd never put the two in the same sentence. Why Agassi?

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:08 pm

Imagine Nadal on a low bouncing 80s grass, even with one serve. I can imagine others adapting, but not him.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:08 pm

noleisthebest wrote:
Tenez wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:
Tenez wrote:More pressurised balls (or harder rubber) would certainly even things up a bit....but then it might give the very tall guys an amazing edge. Look what Rosol coudl do v Nadal there. The margins are thin....though Frankly Nadal shoudl have never been close to winning Wimbledon as we knew it.
what about taking away second serve?
There is no second serve in badminton, volleyball, and table tennis.

That woudl be the worse thing to do to give the edge back to guys like Nadal/Djoko/Murray. We don't want that. I certainly don't.

Not if combined with fast conditions.

Still would cause even on fast conds...Agassi woudl have won 17 slams with second serve only.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:09 pm

noleisthebest wrote:
Tenez wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:I would love to see a player like Dolgopolov given a chance to play in some human conditions.

He would be the new "Agassi"...a better version in my opinion.

Interesting. I'd never put the two in the same sentence. Why Agassi?

Well both relying on a fast and flat hitting.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:13 pm

Tenez wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:
Tenez wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:I would love to see a player like Dolgopolov given a chance to play in some human conditions.

He would be the new "Agassi"...a better version in my opinion.

Interesting. I'd never put the two in the same sentence. Why Agassi?

Well both relying on a fast and flat hitting.

To me they are different worlds, one goes forward, the other is irritating on the baseline.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:15 pm

noleisthebest wrote:Imagine Nadal on a low bouncing 80s grass, even with one serve. I can imagine others adapting, but not him.


No-one can adapt to fast conds. One is fighting versus the best natural eye/hand coord players and servers out there, so you either have it or you don't. This is why Wimbledon was good for some players though they never really trained on it. McEnroe reached teh semi at 17, Becker won at 17, Goran, Pete, Federer, all did very well at a very young age. When they slowed it down, then it was not much more different that the other surfaces and we saw a bunch of clay courter or baseliners do well there.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:16 pm

Of all the "young" players, I would really love to see Dolgo win something.
I know he looks like a lost cause in current climate, but I can dream.
JJ despite the size falls in the same bracket just because of the game he plays.
To me, his surge in Bercy really gives hope for the next season, and I really look forward to seeing him in AO.
Excited about him a lot more than Raonic.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:16 pm

It's no luck either that Edberg, Gasquet, Dimitrov all won their junior slam there.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:17 pm

Tenez wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:Imagine Nadal on a low bouncing 80s grass, even with one serve. I can imagine others adapting, but not him.


No-one can adapt to fast conds. One is fighting versus the best natural eye/hand coord players and servers out there, so you either have it or you don't. This is why Wimbledon was good for some players though they never really trained on it. McEnroe reached teh semi at 17, Becker won at 17, Goran, Pete, Federer, all did very well at a very young age. When they slowed it down, then it was not much more different that the other surfaces and we saw a bunch of clay courter or baseliners do well there.

when I say adapt I meant learn to play in those conditions. I have no problem imagining Nole play well in the 80s and 90s. He is a phenomenal mover and has very good hand to eye coordination.
He'd play completely differently, but unlike Nadal, I can see him to it.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:21 pm

noleisthebest wrote:Of all the "young" players, I would really love to see Dolgo win something.
I know he looks like a lost cause in current climate, but I can dream.
JJ despite the size falls in the same bracket just because of the game he plays.
To me, his surge in Bercy really gives hope for the next season, and I really look forward to seeing him in AO.
Excited about him a lot more than Raonic.

There were a few things I did not like in JJ's game. Too many attempts to drop shots, sometimes ridiculous exposing some fragility in his BH...but he is young and can improve.

I like Dolgo's too...

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:28 pm

I actually did like the drop-shots as it showed the madness he has in his game and the right anti-conservative mindset.
He looks very aggressive, and I really can't see him playing safe like Raonic has started, but it will be interesting to see how and what he changes in the next year.
Another thing, he hasn't had to play any of the top 3 yet, and fast movers like Nole would expose any weaknesses in JJ's current game.
I don't know if I'm too optimistic in believing that JJ can win without having to rally too much.

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Post by luvsports! on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:55 pm

murray is top 3 and he beat him in 3 sets

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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:55 pm

noleisthebest wrote:Another thing, he hasn't had to play any of the top 3 yet, and fast movers like Nole would expose any weaknesses in JJ's current game.

When you have guys who can hit as hard, it's also a case of those "fast movers" simply not moving fast enough. Murray is an extremely fast mover who can give Djoko and Nadal a run in that department and as Luv says he has troubled him.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:11 pm

Tenez wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:Another thing, he hasn't had to play any of the top 3 yet, and fast movers like Nole would expose any weaknesses in JJ's current game.

When you have guys who can hit as hard, it's also a case of those "fast movers" simply not moving fast enough. Murray is an extremely fast mover who can give Djoko and Nadal a run in that department and as Luv says he has troubled him.

All I know is that JJ beat Murray in Bercy Size Matters 123628122

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Post by luvsports! on Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:22 pm

but you said he hasn't played any of the top 3, yet he beat murray in 3 sets. #backtracking

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:28 pm

luvsports! wrote:but you said he hasn't played any of the top 3, yet he beat murray in 3 sets. #backtracking

Murray is just filling Nadal's big number 3 boots at the moment Size Matters 1071211947

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Post by luvsports! on Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:15 pm

but you said nadal won't be back in the top 3 or even 4 after miami or wimbledon.
After Miami

1 Nole
2 Fed
3 Murray
4 Del Potro
5 Nadal


After Wimbledon

1 Nole
2 Fed
3 Del Potro
4 Murray
5 Nadal/Ferrer

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:07 pm

luvsports! wrote:murray is top 3 and he beat him in 3 sets
I thought you meant Murray by "he" .
Elementary grammar for a budding sports journalist, LS Size Matters 123628122!

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Post by luvsports! on Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:29 pm

haha thats your fault for not cottoning on Winking

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:07 pm

luvsports! wrote:haha thats your fault for not cottoning on Size Matters 1071211947

That's the sort of comment world's most famous Uncle would make...

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:14 pm

Back to the main topic, as things stand, it seems there's no hope for the under 6 footers among men, and as for women, if you want to look like one, then you can forget about being a professional tennis player.

ATP and WTA being businesses, won't want to change anything at the moment as tickets are selling well and the business blooming.

I just hope there is somebody there with long-term vision who has worked out that once Federer retires and Nole decides he's had enough, Murray won't be filling the stands however hard ATP are trying to push him:

http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2012/11/Features/Rivalries-Djokovic-Murray.aspx

So the quicker tennis returns to its own all-court charming self and personality, the better.

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Post by paulcz on Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:58 pm

Although the size of women players does not play such a significant role as for men, I consider as an absolute miracle in tennis Justine Henin ever. Her height 167cm and playing with SHBH is something what can be hardly ever seen. I just can not believe that she is and did so much in tennis. Great woman. From the present tennis pro women is one of the smallest Slovak Dominika Cibulkova, only 161cm and plays quite aggressive tennis, but DHBH.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:03 pm

Yes, Justine was a miracle and such a beautiful one. Pure magic. It's a shame she was never able to win Wimbledon, it was impossible to get past the Williams, ok, sisters

To me, she is a moral winner, to play like she did against the massive women of her era in their prime...I miss her so much Size Matters 1805953252

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp9zc83u0OU

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Post by paulcz on Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:23 pm

noleisthebest wrote:Yes, Justine was a miracle and such a beautiful one. Pure magic. It's a shame she was never able to win Wimbledon, it was impossible to get past the Williams, ok, sisters

To me, she is a moral winner, to play like she did against the massive women of her era in their prime...I miss her so much Size Matters 1805953252


[url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp9zc83u0OU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp9zc83u0OU[/quote[/url]]

And one thing on the top, she did not shriek either Size Matters 3157886161

Many tennis players used to say that Williams on top should have had a special tournay for themselves, something as a middle category Size Matters 123628122

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Post by Tenez on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:06 pm

WHat the Rochus could do was really impressive too. In my view Olivier is an amazing talent.....lots of talent coming from Belgium actually but few were tall enough to make a real impact. Isn't this Goffin a bit short as well?

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:10 pm

Tenez wrote:WHat the Rochus could do was really impressive too. In my view Olivier is an amazing talent.....lots of talent coming from Belgium actually but few were tall enough to make a real impact. Isn't this Goffin a bit short as well?

Yes, I believe you have a personal Belgian story too Size Matters 1071211947
Goffin is 22 looking like a 15 year old, 5ft11, I only saw him a little bit in RG, playing in the virtual car park with a camera hanging from the tree...all I remember was a very kind type of ball-striking.

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Post by SayonaRa on Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:26 am

noleisthebest wrote:Yes, Justine was a miracle and such a beautiful one. Pure magic.

“Miracle”, really?

http://tpatennis.net/christophe-rochus-speaks-out-about-steroids-in-tennis/

Q: There were even rumours about Justine Henin when she retired. Do you think they were unfounded?

Rochus: “I heard them just like you did. All I can say is that I was surprised by the
fact that she suddenly stopped competing, without apparent reason. A
great champion, generally, announces it several months in advance and does a
sort of farewell tour…”
Size Matters 563610107
Rochushas nothing to gain by denigrating his fellow countrywoman. Kimiko Date Krumm
is still competing today at age 42!! Even worse than nadal’s banishment due to
non-existent “injury”, Henin’s abrupt retirement at the youngish age of 27 when
she’s still at her peak seems very fishy indeed. Good for Rochus
to speak out.
Size Matters 3157886161

Incidentally,Marina Higgins retired after being found guilty of doping and a 2-year ban
prevented her from competing.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-506068/Martina-Hingis-banned-tennis-years-testing-positive-cocaine.html

I suspect Roger eventually abandoned the idea of teaming up with Hinggis to represent Switzerland for the Olympic
Mixed Doubles because Higgins is a convicted sports cheat.


And Toni nadal says it is impossible to dope in tennis? Unfortunately for poor Nadal,
his coach is the biggest liar and most seasoned conman in tennis today. No
wonder rafa had to watch
Spain play DC sitting on his living room sofa. Size Matters 2033450363

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Post by Tenez on Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:56 am

I think Justin says it clearly when she gave the reason for her retiremenent. I can;t rememeber what she said exactly but something like she had to care about her feminin side and did not want to go through what modern tennis requires from women: in other words become ridiculously physical. SHe was forced to become more athletic to keep up with the competition (and this is how she may have been caught positive) but she is clealry not one who started the trend.

We cannot blame an athlete for trying to keep up with the obvious more physical players and dopers. It's still an amazing achievement from Justin to have won versus players who hit twice as hard as her.

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