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Youngsters - 2013 in review

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Youngsters - 2013 in review Empty Youngsters - 2013 in review

Post by summerblues on Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:02 am

With season over for everyone but the WTF participants (not counting Davis Cup), it is time to rate the youngsters:

First and foremost, once again, none of them finish the year in top 10 (Del Potro, at 25, is the youngest member of top 10).  Here is my quick take on some of the youngsters:

Raonic (No 11, will be 23 by year end):  While he remains the highest ranked youngster, this season has to be considered a disappointment.  After finishing 2012 at No 13, he should have done better than spend one week at No 10.  Sadly, I think his game is too one-dimensional.  He has a monster serve, but there is nothing else about his game that strikes me as world class.  At his size, the movement will also always be a challenge.  Grade: C

Janowicz (No 21, will be 23 by year end): In some sense, I should probably view him as equally disappointing as Raonic.  He started the year at 26 and will finish it barely better, at 21.  His Wimbledon SF appearance redeems him somewhat - even though it also helps to mask his mostly woeful results elsewhere.  Similar to Milos, he also has a big serve and is tall.  However, in spite of his size, his game feels more like a traditional tennis game, perhaps because he appears to move far better than Raonic.  That said, I think his talent is at the end of the day somewhat limited and I suspect he may never become a top notch player - though he could become a solid top-tenner.  Grade: B

Dimitrov (No 23, 22 years old): It has been slow progress, but at least it has been progress.  He finished last year at what was his then career best No 48, and he will finish this year at 23, just one shy of his high ranking of No 22.  Of all the youngsters, he looks to me the most likely to become No 1 one day.  In spite of lower ranking, his game is more complete than either Milos's or Jerzy's.  He also seems to focus on improving his weaknesses - for example his movement is far better than it was 12-18 months ago.  That said, he turned 22 in May and has just recently won his first tournament, so it has not all been smooth sailing.  Grade:  (a perhaps slightly biased) B

Pospisil (No 31, 23 years old):  He has been a revelation to me.  I did not really pay any attention to him until this summer.  Skyrocketed to almost top 30 from last year end's ranking of 125.  Just like the three youngsters above him, he also has a great serve.  At 6'4'', he is tall, but not so tall to really hinder his movement.  Have not seen all that much of him, but he seems to have a fairly nice all-courtish game, and he also seems to have a good personality - composed and mature.  Hopefully he can build on what he has done this year.  Grade: A-

Tomic (No 51, age: 21):  What a disaster he has been.  He first broke into top 50 in October 2011.  Two years later, he is now outside yet again.  At 21, this should have been two years where he was improving by leaps and bounds, yet he has once again had a year in which the start Down Under was promising, only to translate into nothing.  Yet, other than probably Dimitrov, he is the most talented of the youngsters.  If he is really 21, it may not be too late yet, though he would need to get his act together, which, also given his father's exploits, may not be easy.  Grade: D

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:28 am

I don't know whether you've seen it, but I wrote on the same topic back in May:
http://ourtennisforum.forumotion.co.uk/t331-the-young-guns

My focus was only on identifying the young players, not assessing or judging their "success", so "interesting" to see how they have done....

I was actually thinking of revisiting the list and adding Pospisil and Herbert to it.

I think you are a bit hard on young players.
As we have mentioned here many times before, it is not that easy for them to make a breakthrough as it was, say, 15 years ago.
There is a physical stranglehold at the top that has almost monopolised it.
Watching Nadal play his indoor matches in Bercy I almost felt embarrassed on behalf of our sport: is this REALLY the NUMBER ONE player?
If someone new just starts following tennis, are they going to fall in love with it watching the "best" player?
So you then  see that it's not a player's quality or talent that takes you to the top or allows you to make a breakthrough, which is why the young players are struggling to do it.

And not to be ignored is the size/height of the young players that have emerged out of the entire pool of new talent (notice how the only one not tall - Berankis, has struggled most).
So the future of tennis according to Raonic, JJ & co, is the big serve and ability to hit the physical opponent off the court.
And they can't do even that!
There is always the "gatekeeper" Ferrer (in my opinion an unforgivably untalented player), to show them they are not fit enough, fast enough to even beat him, let alone Nadal or Novak.

And sadly, we know where those fitness and endurance come from.

So it's disappointing for those who expect the breakthroughs Becker style.

Paire and Herbert are very talented, great players that would have made those breakthroughs in any other era.

I think we may see an occasional flash and a deep run (if we are lucky!) from them, but hard to imagine "consistency".
Still, we know Nadal won't be at the top for ever and that someone "new" who is now "young" will eventually replace him.

I am just not looking forward to it much as the legacy of this dope fuelled physical era of tennis has done enormous damage to it, but I'll always keep hoping that a new ultra talented prodigy like Federer may come one day and put things right again.
Right now, it looks like an impossible dream.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:50 am

Also, one of the reasons these tall players can'tcut through is the very thing that's propelled them to the top in their generation: their size!

Just like football is not meant to be excelled in by the giraffes, so tennis too has its own ideal.

To me, Federer has that perfect build, and taller players will ALWAYS have to pay through injuries (look no further than Delpo and how his USO breakthrough was followed up with a year off due to surgery) lack of movement etc..esp in this slow era where Ferrer, equipped with "magic strings" and potions can walk you left an right till hell freezes over.

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Post by Tenez on Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:23 am

I actually agree with SB summary here though I would not put Pospisil as high for now.

Rao was the big disappointment for me too. Not only he is built like a very top player now but he is as useless as ever and more importantly as weak if not weaker than Berdych mentally. He will need to be twice as strong as his opponent to make up for that mental weakness.

He is moving very well now (for his size) thanks to absurd musly legs but the footwork is still poor.

Dimi is probably still the most promising one for me though again I am seriously doubting his mental strength. His FH disappears as soon as they is a pressure time.

So sadly the game looks like it is still dominated by those who bring the ball back and not those who wish shorten rallies. I really feel that unless the conds change (essentially with smaller/harder balls), I do not think the trend will change. In fact the only one with still a chance with an attacking game is Federer.

Delpo certainly is a hard hitter but we should not underestimate the amount of running he covers on those big points. Anyone who saw how he beat Dimi yesteray coudl see how he simply kept the ball in play in those crucial games.

I am not sure I will interested in watch in tennis for much longer.

I remember that from late 90s to beginning 00s I had also lost some interest and was only keeping up to date with the game when Goran was playing but I had no interest in watching Pete, Agassi, Hewitt taking it all then. I knew guys like Federer were around but I really thought he was another flashy player with no substance...untill he beat Pete at Wmby...yet I lost faith in him in the next 2 years until I saw that demolition of Roddick in Wimby semi again.

From then on I got addicted to watching tennis again like I was as a young teen watching Borg and McEnroe. Hopefully another talent will come through thouhg I don;t recognise one in that bunch above .

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:58 am

I can't say I am disappointed by the "youngsters" as I never really thought any of them were capable of writing history pages in the first place.
Raonic and Dimitrov have always been  overhyped, banana skins at best.
One is too slow the other too conservative.

To me, Paire is better than both of them and a real talent, and this Herbert looks interesting, too.

JJ is also good material for the right coach, just allows his passion to mess with his focus too much unfortunately as was the case last night.

As soon as you see a player strike the ball you know how good he is or can be, it's not that hard to spot talent.
Unfortunately, that seems to be less and less important.
I have a feeling there are quite a few very talented players out there playing challengers and futures events we may never hear about.

Things have changed from the 80s and 90s, and breakthrough criteria  is not what it used to be.

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Post by Tenez on Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:27 am

noleisthebest wrote:I can't say I am disappointed by the "youngsters" as I never really thought any of them were capable of writing history pages in the first place.
Raonic and Dimitrov have always been  overhyped, banana skins at best.
One is too slow the other too conservative.
They will write history anyway. I mean by that they are most likely going to win slams and in the case of Dimi with more style than Nadal, Murray and Djoko. But my point is that they are no Federer. Not close in fact.

To me, Paire is better than both of them and a real talent, and this Herbert looks interesting, too.
Not for me. Talent without a minimum of consistence does not look that good. Paire is not what I call a talented player.

JJ is also good material for the right coach, just allows his passion to mess with his focus too much unfortunately as was the case last night.
He is another one who is doing well cause he built like a tank. Is this talent?

As soon as you see a player strike the ball you know how good he is or can be, it's not that hard to spot talent.
Unfortunately, that seems to be less and less important.
I have a feeling there are quite a few very talented players out there playing challengers and futures events we may never hear about.

Yes very likely.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:42 am

We'll have to agree to disgree on Paire.

JJ, I like him better than Raonic and Dimitrov. He looks good in this era, if you take him out of it?
I think he'd still be good esp on grass. How good, I don't know. He does seem to struggle with balancing ball control & power, seems like he gets carried away by his hot head, that may be his Achilles heel.

It's not very wise to compare anyone to Federer talent wise right now  as it only leads to despair.
When you see all the things he has and how far, far away even the best of current youngsters are behind him, well in my case, I try to enjoy him as much as possible while he is still playing regardless of his results and ranking.
One of two pleasures in today's tennis...the other one is seeing Nadal lose.

The new crop of players and the way they play is just a product of current "evolution" of the game caused by playing conditions.

Yes, there is only one Fed and we should not drop/lower our standards and expectations just because there is noone to replace him now.

Would be interesting to hear him on the "youngsters" topic, I know he took a lot of personal even financial effort to encourage and help Berankis out.

How do you think Fed's breakthrough would look like if he was, say, 22 now?

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Post by Tenez on Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:00 pm

noleisthebest wrote:
How do you think Fed's breakthrough would look like if he was, say, 22 now?
I think he woudl be deadly.....but like the other youngsters...in a year or so....not at 22. He already struggled then agianst guys like Hewitt and Nalby so it is obvious he woudl have struggled v Djoko and Nadal.

However the advantage of Federer over the other youngsters is that he is the quickest learner, most talented, and the one who woudl have domoinated this generation the same way he dominated his. He woudl have learnt the game with a bigger frame, and those new strings as opposed to nat gut and 85inch frame and that would have allowed him to cope with the current crop much better.

Nadal will always be a tough cookie to handle for anyone as he sends a ball no-one is used to playing. No one can train to play those spinny balls cause only him can play this game. But it is clear that Nadal struggles v pace, be it v powerful players or fast conds. I think Fed woudl have been able to adapt to that game much better had he been exposed to it very young.


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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:49 pm

Tenez wrote:

Nadal will always be a tough cookie to handle for anyone as he sends a ball no-one is used to playing. No one can train to play those spinny balls cause only him can play this game. But it is clear that Nadal struggles v pace, be it v powerful players or fast conds. I think Fed woudl have been able to adapt to that game much better had he been exposed to it very young.

Good point, if anyone could it would be him.
I can't even begin to imagine!
But in a way I'm glad he turned up when he did, he really has nothing to prove to anyone.

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Post by paulcz on Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:28 pm

SB, I quite agree and see Vasek Pospisil as a player with the highest potential from all your mentioned players as well.
His game has no real weakness and he is a natural tennis cool killer. He has all cards in his hands to be a top player. I really enjoy his all-round game.


All others have a bigger or smaller weakness in their games. Raonic has no legs (an obsolete robot), Tomic is a lazy character (just a flower man with an upcoming elbow trouble), Dimitrov plays still as a baby (and Shara does not help him at all) and JJ is a rash shooter with basic mistakes when hitting a ball (he is a case for a psychiatrist, but at least funny to watch).

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Post by summerblues on Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:53 pm

noleisthebest wrote:I don't know whether you've seen it, but I wrote on the same topic back in May:
http://ourtennisforum.forumotion.co.uk/t331-the-young-guns
Oh, I thought we had a thread like that here but then could not quickly find it so started this one.  Apologies.

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