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Post by Tenez on Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:36 am

LV asked me a question and thought it might interest a few here.

luvsports! wrote:
From what i have ascertained, grass courts (wimby in particular) slowed down after the goran pat final in 01, which was part of the reason why hewitt was able to win it in 02. Am i on the right lines?

Our club is about a mile from Wimbledon's centre court and we also have grass courts managed by the AE...and funnily enough I share responsibility of the garss courts with someone else so I talk to the AE grounds people on a monthly basis roughly....well less now cause I don't need to but I have asked them all the interesting questions.

The answer to your question is yes and no. Grass itself has not slowed down. 100% rye grass since and including 2001 makes grass stay longer on the court and therefore keeps the pace more similar over the 2 weeks. The goran year (2001) was 100% rye and it was fast. In the past grass was really fast the first week and slowed down quite a bit the second. You might not remember but Borg struggled a lot the first week and then with dryer conds it made it a bit easier for him the second week. What really made it slow in 2002 was simply the implementation for the first time of larger balls..which strangely enough not many players noticed at the time. They all noticed that it was slower but they could not find out exactly why. I can only take Woodford words for it as he said multiple times he kept balls of the many years he played there and for him it's clear it's the new balls that really slowed wimbledon. Probably less pressure too to make them slower off the racquet but there unfortunately I cannot be 100% sure cause unlike Woodford I have not kept balls nor played with them at SW19 sadly Winking. Since 2010 I have measured them but can't see much difference. So in summary, if you put 2001 balls on today's courts conds would simply be as fast...except maybe for a variation I will detail in the second part.


Also i saw that wimby now is 100% rye grass and before it was around 60-70%, was it that speed or amount when agassi won it, because surely that is a phenomenal achievement for a baseliner to win on a very fast court right?
One of the most impressive wins perhaps?
Though 100% rye grass is used since 2001, the real change court size is the fact they have regularly increased the percentage of clay in the soil mix and now it's almost 100% clay...which when it dries becomes really hard as they hardly water (imagine ceramics) and makes them really bouncy with with the bigger balls have really slowed the conditions and favoured a lot the clay courters of course..especially the second week. This is why in 2011 it was easier to break at wimbledon than FO statisically.

Agassi's win was certainly impressive but you have to take into consideration that the second week when he faced the better SVers was slightly slower and that Goran was quite a nervous player in key points. He had beaten Pete in 1/4F cause he had no pressure then...but in finals he was only half as good due to pressure. Agassi was also of course a great returner so in that case I woudl not call it a pure "baseliner" cause his returns were as tough to handle as a serve...for a volleyer. He was simply blocking returns and though that was difficult to do then, it was the only way to stand a chance v SVers. I think Federer handling Pete's serve on as fast surfaces (even faster as it was still beginning second week) on centre court was as impressive return wise for The 19yo, especially as unlike Agassi he did not have 2 hands on his BH returns. But anyway...yes impressive from Agassi but expected from nervous Goran. I doubt Agassi woudl have beaten Pete in the final had Goran not made him that favour.

So in summary what really slowed wimby is
1 - Bigger balls
2 - Combination balls and strings (spin) makes them slow much more
3 - more clay in the soil. Higher bounce (especially with 1 and 2) making it harder to hit the ball flat invite to more top spin for more secure shots..hence less pacy.
4 - Second week. Less grass, much dryer, more real clay patches, with bigger balls makes it really roughly as slow as the FO (when FO had fast balls).

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Post by noleisthebest on Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:59 pm

Brilliant piece from OTF's Finest Wimbledon grass variation 4052418255

I have a question for your grass guy when you see him next.

Last year there were two Wimbledons. The slam one went as usual grass-wise.
Now the Olympics Wimbledon, the grass although laid fresh deteriorated incredibly fast, despite the matches being best of 3.

I think CC and C1 looked nice and green only on day one and then went into a virtual mudpit.

There was a huge area around the baseline where the soil was not even bare, but all bumpy and rough.
I remember Djokovic complained about it.

So why did the brand new turf go so wrong in such a short time for the Olympics?
Did they use the same thing, or was it the fact they had to relay it over the already parched sandy base left from Slam Wimbledon in the first place?

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Post by Tenez on Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:14 pm

Thanks NITB. Good question. I can ask the questions but I believe I can guess the answer. Time was probably the issue. When they grew grass first time they had time to allow grass to grow thick, then teh last few weeks when roots have settled they starve the grass with water making the soil very hard, yet as the roots are well set it allows the grass to survive but just light sprinkle. You may notice anyway that teh grass looks pretty dry during Wimbledon nowadays.
The problem they had with the olympics is that they did not have the time to allow the courts to dry properly . Water was needed allow teh grass to shoot but no time allow for a drought period which turns grass court into proper HC. So Wimbledon must have been closer to old grass with a lower bounce.
I will ask next time to know their version....if they admit to it.

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Post by luvsports! on Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:47 pm

what was the first tournament that made the balls larger and did wimbledon start the slowing down of courts ahead of aus or the US?

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Post by noleisthebest on Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:57 pm

And if you could ask him why on earth more sand for higher bounce!!!? That's disgusting!
Do you know who make the "orders" of that kind?

I suppose, we can only expect LTA to keep it that way as that's Murray's only chance of winning it and LTA getting a bit of "return" on their investment. Hopefully not.

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Post by Tenez on Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:17 pm

luvsports! wrote:what was the first tournament that made the balls larger and did wimbledon start the slowing down of courts ahead of aus or the US?

Yes Wimbledon started to introduce the big slow balls first in 2002...then realised they had made it too slow provided slightly faster balls in 2003 and 2004/5....then they increased the ball size again from then on as an HE clip on youtube clearly shows that teh balls are slower in 2008 than in 2003.

Wimbledon started to slow courts (more sand in the paint first (2007/8) and then really bigger Wilson balls in 2010. That I know cause I have sets of balls of 2010 and before.
AO slowed I guess with teh new surface...which was said to be fast at first but then they introduced bigger balls to compensate.

The FO kept changing balls to allow faster conds...except in 2012 when they really provided slow balls to give Nadal a boost.

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Post by Tenez on Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:18 pm

noleisthebest wrote:And if you could ask him why on earth more sand for higher bounce!!!? That's disgusting!
Do you know who make the "orders" of that kind?

I suppose, we can only expect LTA to keep it that way as that's Murray's only chance of winning it and LTA getting a bit of "return" on their investment. Hopefully not.
I don;t think Murray and Djoko are big ticket sellers so I am pretty sure that if Nadal struggles to come back, they will look at future stars or maybe try to make Federer look great in his last year. (not that they need to though Winking)

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Post by noleisthebest on Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:25 pm

I think Nole's definitely more popular than Murray and is quite liked in Wimbledon and O2.
He may not be popular with desperate middle-aged women like Nadal, but, has quite a base among men.
Obviously, Federer is the fan's favourite wherever he goes, and rightly so.

I am yet to meet anyone who actually likes Nadal (except my friend's little son...but he's a kid so what does he know & plays tennis because he wants to win, unlike his dad, the Federer fan who plays for joy of playing. He even rents his house close to Bisham club just so he can play all year round regardless of the weather as they have indoor courts)

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Post by Tenez on Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:30 pm

I don't think Nole is disliked but neither his personality or his tennis is going to attract the masses like Nadal....and Fed. Look in that AO match v Stan...they were at 90% behind Stan...had Nole gpt Stan's styles...things could be different.

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Post by noleisthebest on Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:37 pm

TBH, I couldn't care less about the popularity competition.

As for Nadal and his brand of popularity...he can keep it, his fans, as well.

The thing going against Nole is Murray and their bland and horrid tennis they produce when they play each other, but that's more Murray than Nole.

I'll be skipping all those matches, that's for sure.

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Post by Tenez on Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:57 pm

noleisthebest wrote:TBH, I couldn't care less about the popularity competition.
Sure but popularity determines pace of teh courts to some extend....as we clearly saw with Nadal and then all courts slowing down around teh world.

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Post by noleisthebest on Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:30 pm

Tenez wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:TBH, I couldn't care less about the popularity competition.
Sure but popularity determines pace of teh courts to some extend....as we clearly saw with Nadal and then all courts slowing down around teh world.

Terrible, but so true!
Do you remember who (which tournament) started that trend in the first place?

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Post by noleisthebest on Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:12 pm

Speaking of grass courts, those at Boodles look like an utter dream....next year, I'm going to smuggle my racquet and have a go for sure!

https://s1118.photobucket.com/albums/k619/noleisthebest/

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Post by Tenez on Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:08 am

noleisthebest wrote:
Tenez wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:TBH, I couldn't care less about the popularity competition.
Sure but popularity determines pace of teh courts to some extend....as we clearly saw with Nadal and then all courts slowing down around teh world.

Terrible, but so true!
Do you remember who (which tournament) started that trend in the first place?
I remember the FO speeding up the conds to give Pete a better chance. The FO wanted to have a big name and was annoyed to have the likes of Berasategui and Bruguera.

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Post by noleisthebest on Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:11 am

Do you reckon they will speed it this year again?

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Post by Tenez on Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:13 am

not sure really. I think they will want to give Nadal his best chance.

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Post by noleisthebest on Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:14 am

Tenez wrote:not sure really. I think they will want to give Nadal his best chance.

what, for the 8th time?????
I don't get it that Babolat pushes him so badly and crowd really hate him there. Or maybe I am wrong. Do you think RG crowd would like Nadal more had Federer not been around?

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Post by luvsports! on Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:18 am

I rewatched highlights of nadal murray at RG '11, yawwwnnn, but the crowd actually cheered more for rafa! now that says something eh?!

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Post by luvsports! on Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:53 pm

I know this is not strictly about court speeds, but its in regards to changing times and tech.

Back in the day with wooden rackets, was it more about the player's skill to use that particular racket whereas today its more about the racket than the player's skill?

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Post by Tenez on Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:50 pm

luvsports! wrote:I know this is not strictly about court speeds, but its in regards to changing times and tech.

Back in the day with wooden rackets, was it more about the player's skill to use that particular racket whereas today its more about the racket than the player's skill?
A tool, here the racquet, is actually a neutral parameter. It's the same for all (more or less) so the skill to manouvre a wooden racquet would be harder but then back then they were asked to do less with it and certainly dealing with easier balls, more precisely with much less pace and spin than today's. Whatever can be said it was simply easier to be a slam champion then than now. Up to 2007 skills required to win a slam outside clay were amazing...from then on the racquet skills are much less important than the physical skills as we are being reminded when watching the latest slam finals.

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Post by noleisthebest on Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:11 pm

Interesting comments from Pete Sampras:

In my day there were more Grand Slam winners, Jim Courier, Andre Agassi and me, and now it’s so dominant from the top 3-4 guys. The game today - everyone sort of plays the same. There are four guys who are mentally and physically better than the rest, move better and compete a little harder, they physically are great athletes.

How is a guy who is going to stay back going to beat Novak?

It’s not going to happen. It's almost fitting they’ve been dominating, with the way things are and the way the way they are playing. They are much better at the same thing. The guy ranked 50 today and is better than the guy ranked 50 ten years
ago. They’ve gotten better, guys are big and strong. They are both top generations but with styles of play, I'd play aggressive baseliner Andre Agassi one day and serve and volleyer Boris Becker the next and it’s tough."

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Post by sphairistike on Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:40 pm

Not sure of the context of the comments but they seem to try to answer several questions at once, and I'm not sure Sampras is right in all his answers... Maybe we should add this to the ask Tenez thread... Winking

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:58 pm

Not quite the topic of grass, but slowing down of surfaces, so I hope I can get away with it here!

Murray has been coming with some rather odd statements during his entire career, but this one has got to take the cake!
According to Andy Murray, slow courts add to players' longevity Wimbledon grass variation 2786941968

"People are saying we need to speed up the courts because guys are not going to be able to play as long. But then, on the other hand, guys are reaching their peak later in their careers. A lot of the guys that used to play serve and volley had a lot of problems with their backs and their knees and hips, and finished whenthey were 28, 29 years old.
I think now it seems like guys are able to play longer or guys maybe aren’t breaking through at such a young age. The average age at the Top 100 has increased by a few years since I first came on the tour
.There are better training methods and people probably understanding how to recover from matches better and learning new things all the time about how the body works, so that’s probably one of the reasons why the older guys are doing better now.”

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Post by Tenez on Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:06 am

Yes Murray's statement is quite funny. He is roughly saying that there are new methods which allow better recovery from previous matches. That to me is another admission of drug taking.

But anyway, Murray is mostly wrong here. Yes, I know better. PLayers never peaked at 27/28 in teh past, they were simply pushed by better (younger) players coming with new technology. What happened recently is that the new strings force much more running and that means stamina (which improves with age) has delayed the arrival of the new generation, giving therefore the 27/28yo players a bit more time to sort it out between themselves. We have no young players reaching the top, or winning slams nowadays cause it's simply too physically tough and we have to wait until they reach 24 or even 26 to get a chance to win a slam.

I don't think this trend will last though, regardless of the pace of courts. I do think Murray, Nadal and Djoko will not last as long as Federer and will be pushed out by the new generation when this one will get to 25/26..even before. We are already seeing a bit of teh damage Dimi, Tomic Rao can do now so imagine in a couple of years.

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Post by noleisthebest on Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:42 am

Tenez wrote:Yes Murray's statement is quite funny. He is roughly saying that there are new methods which allow better recovery from previous matches. That to me is another admission of drug taking.

But anyway, Murray is mostly wrong here. Yes, I know better. PLayers never peaked at 27/28 in teh past, they were simply pushed by better (younger) players coming with new technology. What happened recently is that the new strings force much more running and that means stamina (which improves with age) has delayed the arrival of the new generation, giving therefore the 27/28yo players a bit more time to sort it out between themselves. We have no young players reaching the top, or winning slams nowadays cause it's simply too physically tough and we have to wait until they reach 24 or even 26 to get a chance to win a slam.

I don't think this trend will last though, regardless of the pace of courts. I do think Murray, Nadal and Djoko will not last as long as Federer and will be pushed out by the new generation when this one will get to 25/26..even before. We are already seeing a bit of teh damage Dimi, Tomic Rao can do now so imagine in a couple of years.

That's a very interesting observation and makes a lot of sense.

It is particularly interesting to observe the players who were able to make the transition and capitalise on their stamina, as well.
It is not so interesting however to see the way all this has already influenced Raonic's and Dimitrov's style of play. When they burst on the scene a few years ago, they were exclusive attacking players, now in their second comeback, although still "young" they have already adjusted to base-line rallying.
"fitness" and "athlete" are tennis's latest buzzwords....

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Post by laverfan on Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:04 am

From Grass speeds to Fitness/Physicality, all roads lead to Rome, I guess. Laugh

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Post by luvsports! on Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:33 am

actually it leads to brum up the a38 on the way to smethwick!

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Post by SayonaRa on Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:42 pm

LS, so tell me one thing: It is true you switch to your "idiocy" mode when you're posting on OTF? Just curious. Wimbledon grass variation 3885497126

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Post by luvsports! on Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:00 am

ouch man very ouch. i like to be light hearted in a time when there isn't much of it around.

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Post by SayonaRa on Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:03 am

Sorry if I was vague. Wimbledon grass variation 2837018037 To be sure, my “idiocy” question has nothing to do with your above
reply to LF. Sure, I’m very light-hearted most of the time. Wimbledon grass variation 364988687

I was referring to LF’s post recently here and on v2 regarding a “secret,” claiming
that you and LK switched from intelligent to idiocy when you come here. I’m
sure both you and LK saw that post. But as neither you nor LK commented on LF’s
revelation of that unconfirmed “secret,” I just wanted to tease you a bit and
ask if LF’s claim is true. Of course, you don’t have to answer if you don’t
want to.

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Post by luvsports! on Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:24 am

DONT BE SORRY! I thought you would know me that I mostly kid about Big Grin

to be fair i post idiocy all over the place Laugh

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Post by SayonaRa on Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:45 am

OK, you've my nomination for the virtual OTF MOST DIPLOMATIC POSTER AWARD. Wimbledon grass variation 4052418255

Say, what happened to tenez and Nitb? I heard Djoko and Ferrer had both pulled out of MC? In any case with Djoko truly injured, looks like nadal will have no competition on clay again, lucky guy.

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Post by luvsports! on Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:55 am

I gratefully accept Hug

No idea SR. It's been very very quiet here for the past few days.

Yes another title there. Can you believe murray will be ranked no1 on clay? Laugh
I would like to see him face delpo, raonic if possible.

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Post by SayonaRa on Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:26 pm

luvsports! wrote:
Yes another title there. Can you believe murray will be ranked no1 on clay? Wimbledon grass variation 2033450363
I would like to see him face delpo, raonic if possible.

Not sure I follow. Did you mean to say nadal?

Murray hasn't cared much to win on clay. He said in 2010: “I’ll never win the French Open.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-1317236/Ill-win-French-Open-admits-Andy-Murray.html

If Lendl could somehow manage to TOTALLY reverse Murray’s
negative natural instinct and self-doubt on clay, he’d go down as the greatest tennis
coach ever!

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Post by luvsports! on Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:35 pm

for monte carlo murray will be ranked as the 1st seed, for me that is a joke but there is no other option.

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Post by SayonaRa on Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:21 pm

You never know. He was the last one standing in Miami hitting endless slowest-speed balls and winning. The joke might be on you!

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Post by SayonaRa on Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:41 pm

Latest update, Djoko is in. All sorts of rumors. He may withdraw any time.

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