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McEnroe thinks doubles should be scrapped.

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Post by luvsports! on Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:43 pm

Legendary player John McEnroe has questioned the usefulness of keeping doubles alive in professional tennis.
McEnroe won 155 titles in his illustrious career, of which 77 were in singles and 78 came in doubles.
But he has now spoken out against the latter, arguing that it is of little interest in the modern era and featuring only 'slower', 'mediocre' players.
McEnroe, who will be 55 next February, was arguably the best player to have ever crossed between singles and doubles consistently in his career and his views have been forthright.
"Doubles - why are we even playing it?" he said in an interview with The Times. "Most of you guys know I love doubles. But I look at it now and say, what is this? I don’t even recognise what this is.
"I don’t know what doubles is bringing to the table," he added. "The doubles are the slow guys who aren’t quick enough to play singles.
"Would it be better off, no disrespect, but would it be better off if there was no doubles at all, and we invest all the money we save elsewhere so that some other guys who never really got into a good position in the sport, end up playing more in singles?"
McEnroe's major gripe is with the fact that doubles has made millionaires of very mediocre players who could not cut it on the singles tour, and that is an issue many others in the game share.
His former professional doubles partner, Peter Fleming, once said that the best doubles team of all time would be 'Junior (his nickname for McEnroe) and anyone', so there is no doubt that his views carry real clout.
And on the subject of the most dominant doubles pair in the modern era, Bob and Mike Bryan, he was equally uncompromising with his views.
"I hear the greatest doubles players of all time - the Bryan Brothers and it’s 'Excuse me?' I find that comment unbelievable."
This week McEnroe has been asked to meet with Chris Kermode, the soon-to-be executive chairman and president of the ATP World Tour, and he will have a chance to further air his views on the state of the sport."

So what do you think?
I don't agree but it is a shame more top players don;t play it. Thoughts?

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Post by Tenez on Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:03 pm

I think business wise McEnroe is right. I don't think doubles would bring more crowd than darts or petanque (French bowling) yet those 2 sports would spend a fraction of what tennis does with double.

Skill wise McEnroe is wrong. Though I agree they are slower , they also are often more skilled than top players who in effect essentially rely on legs and lungs. A double's player is a shot maker. Once again look at that WTF singles final and see how poor shot making is. Watch a bit of Laeder Paes and Stepanwk play double and you will see the difference in versatility, technique and even creativity. Problem is that no one really cares...including me.

I however think we should probably maintain it for the following reasons:

- It is still a great attraction for those walking the slams grounds to see really impressive tennis (more in my view than singles, so shame there is no big names playing it).
- It allows doubles AND singles player to make some revenue and cover costs. When a to 30 goes out of a tournament early he is usually keen to enter the double so he can earn a bit of money covering expenses.
- If we push McEnroe's logic we should rid of women tennis maybe too and what about first rounds of mens singles tournaments? There is usually no-one watching and even less in the atp 250 and 500.

So according to McEnroe Shall we just start the slams in 1/4F? Frankly, McEnroe is just a McDonald commentator . (just made up that expression).

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Post by luvsports! on Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:18 pm

Fatty, unhealthy, cheap and can cause heart disease? Winking
Perhaps not.

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Post by Tenez on Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:09 pm

Just cheap food for tasteless people making tons of money.

McEnroe makes cheap comment for non real tennis fans to make more money.


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Post by luvsports! on Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:26 pm

That's more like it. smiley

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:14 pm

Over the years, I have learnt to take everything Mac says with a pinch of salt.
He sometimes comes out with unbelievable rubbish (eg at Wimbledon 2012, commentating on Nadal's match against Rosol. Just before it started he said how he considered Nadal as a GOAT, man, did he have to back-paddle after the match Laugh ).
With this doubles scrapping comment, I even thought it was an inverted cry for help, attention to the problem of doubles' tennis.

Doubles tennis unfortunately gets no TV coverage, but every time I had the chance too see it (O2, Davis Cup, Olympics, Wimbledon) I have enjoyed it.
It's almost the last bastion of volleying these days!
Take Nenad Zimonjic for example: he won 8 Wimbledon titles but who has heard about him?
He is a really good player and I love watching him: great SBH, super volleying and he is 37.
Why am I mentioning him?
Because he is a classic example of what Mac is upset with: Nenad is actually "slow"!
I can't remember which DC match it was, I think it was Serbia vs Russia in Moscow a few years ago, when almost entire Serbian team went down with flu on the last day and Zimonjic had to play singles, and yes, the poor thing was slow...but only slow compared to today's mad fitness standards: he was "just" a tennis player, not a gazelle and a sprinter, two steps too slow to run down Davydenko's sharp groundstrokes.
When you watch doubles players, you realise how removed in a negative way singles tennis has got to these days.
You also see how poor a lot of singles players are when they play doubles matches, why? because they can't volley to save their lives, Nole is a terrible doubles player for example.
So, should doubles tennis be scrapped: no way!

To make it more commercial it would be good if tournaments offered incentive to top players to take part, just to raise the profile of doubles' tennis which is really, really thrilling and exciting to watch.

I know that's very difficult with current scheduling and demands "fitness" tennis is now putting on leading players, so, another incentive to have sponsors chip in a bit more cash and honesty in catching big name dopers.
Everyone wins!

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Post by Tenez on Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:59 pm

but it is true that doubles lacks characters. How do you warm to a 2 player team? The Bryans are the best examples. DO they have fans?

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:08 pm

I actually don't like Bryans at all.
To me they look like a jumping freak show.
I saw them lose to that Spanish team in O2 last year (M.Lopez and yes Granollers!!!),  who eventually won WTF last year, they were really good.
There is no reason doubles should not have plenty of characters, they are all experienced players.
It's just that fans need time to get to know them and "bond".
You don't even have to like both players in a team. When I was watching Davis Cup doubles match in Belgrade, I actually enjoyed watching Pospisil and Zimonjic, although they played for the opposite teams.
I admit, I haven't had a chance, or time to get used to any doubles team, so it's hard to comment properly.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:21 pm

Actually, I just remembered, was it this year's RG final when Llodra\Mahut lost a tight match and Mahut couldn't hold the tears...I saw parts of it and that was a super match.
Maybe there are too many singles matches we get swamped with...
But, to me personally the only problem is doubles don't get enough exposure and coverage.
Imagine if singles and doubles were reversed.
OR!!!!!!
Why not give them extended competition and exclusive doubles tournaments during this off-season and give the fans the time to get to know them.

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Post by Tenez on Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:10 am

To me team tennis (doubles) should be about nations. In fact I only follow the results of Paes, and the French doubles teams.....at best.

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:20 am

I can see your point of view, doubles and singles are almost two different sports in many ways and people expect the same pattern of enjoyment and following to apply.
They obviously don't.
Still, I find doubles matches today more exciting than a lot of singles, from pure tennis standpoint.
I don't have a chance to watch them often (so maybe it's the novelty factor), but every time I did, I liked it. Actually, just remembered Olympic doubles women's final was rubbish....and it had "star" players- Williams sisters.
Maybe doubles does not need to be sold like singles tennis: individual characters, etc...tennis and drama they create should be more than enough.
I don't know....just can't imagine tennis without doubles!

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Post by summerblues on Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:19 am

On one hand, I usually quite enjoy watching doubles on those - rare - occasions that I watch them.  On the other hand, I tend to watch them more as one-off entertainment rather than sport.  I cannot imagine seriously rooting for a doubles pair and following their results from a tournament to a tournament.

While I would probably not scrap them, realistically I do not care much for them one way or another.  I would not be too bothered if tennis did away with them.

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Post by luvsports! on Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:53 am


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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:33 pm

If you put OTF's thread on v2, LF would probably chop off your left, and Julius your right hand.
They are a great doubles team Winking

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Post by luvsports! on Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:57 pm

Haha! Well they post here as well so I think they are ok with it.

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:03 pm

Try it!
Lydian, Hawkeye and Haddie will probably have a heart attack Laugh

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Post by luvsports! on Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:07 pm

this topic is pretty mellow compared to the other heart attack worthy stuff!

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:17 pm

Of course it is.
It's doubles, and doubles are "slow"...
Just imagine:
"Who Is More Talented: Federer or Nadal?" thread.
Carnage...

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Post by Tenez on Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:53 pm

I think Nadal would actually be a poor doubles player. Has he won anything of note? double wise? he can't taked the ball early cause he has no reflexes. he only makes up for it at the net cause he has a huge arm and a light racquet helping him tremendously....bit still he would not have won anything of note unless he was playing with the best doubles partner.

I always said that top players would typically be the best doubles players...but that essentially applies to those who don't rely on stamina to win majors or tournaments. Fed, Stan, Tsonga, Gasquet, ...skilled players....but Nadal in doubles is like Nadal with a wooden racquet....Not much to expect from...this is where V2 is wrong again.

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Post by luvsports! on Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:13 pm

He's won a few masters events I think.
Fed's doubles record isn't great 2bh.

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Post by BEL19VE on Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:48 pm

Tenez wrote:I think Nadal would actually be a poor doubles player. Has he won anything of note? double wise? he can't taked the ball early cause he has no reflexes.
Right, let's have a look.

Nadal's W/L ratio in doubles is: 63%
Federer's W/L ratio in doubles is: 59%

Nadal has won 10 Doubles titles, Federer has only won 8 Doubles Titles. This is despite Federer entering more than twice the number of doubles tournaments Nadal has.
Also worth noting that the vast majority (above 85%) of Federer's doubles matches came before 2009.
Nadal has won 3 Masters Double titles, including beating Nestor/Zimonjic in an IW final (with Marc Lopez as a doubles partner).

Pity you don't research and verify anything you write Tenez.

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:51 pm

luvsports! wrote:He's won a few masters events I think.
Fed's doubles record isn't great 2bh.
Just the Olympic gold in Beijing.
Remember when he "carried" Stan?

McEnroe thinks doubles should be scrapped. Week-32

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Post by truffin1 on Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:35 pm

Julia Santamaria wrote:
Tenez wrote:I think Nadal would actually be a poor doubles player. Has he won anything of note? double wise? he can't taked the ball early cause he has no reflexes.
Right, let's have a look.

Nadal's W/L ratio in doubles is: 63%
Federer's W/L ratio in doubles is: 59%

Nadal has won 10 Doubles titles, Federer has only won 8 Doubles Titles. This is despite Federer entering more than twice the number of doubles tournaments Nadal has.
Also worth noting that the vast majority (above 85%) of Federer's doubles matches came before 2009.
Nadal has won 3 Masters Double titles, including beating Nestor/Zimonjic in an IW final (with Marc Lopez as a doubles partner).

Pity you don't research and verify anything you write Tenez.
To be fair Amerit-- though you mention Lopez- it might be worth looking at "who" their partners were in these doubles matches to determine who is a better doubles player....    Remember it's not just Nadal and Federer playing...

I don't follow Nadal in doubles so it very well might be the same quality partner as Federer- but knowing the quality and depth of the Spanish and some of his other partners like Djokovic he's played with- I have a feeling Nadal has had a stronger partner the majority of the time.    Federer usually enters to help the orgnanizers draw a crowd and plays with a hometown favourite like he did in Shanghai, partners with his buddies who may or may not be great players, or partners up with other Swiss players who have been far less talented and successful than Nadals fellow Spaniards until Stans recent success.

My eye and my gut tells me that Federer would be substantially a better doubles player than Nadal if they both focused in on it and had similar quality partners..  my opinion.

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Post by BEL19VE on Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:46 pm

truffin1 wrote:To be fair Amerit-- though you mention Lopez- it might be worth looking at "who" their partners were in these doubles matches to determine who is a better doubles player....    Remember it's not just Nadal and Federer playing...
I don't follow Nadal in doubles so it very well might be the same quality partner as Federer- but knowing the quality and depth of the Spanish and some of his other partners like Djokovic he's played with- I have a feeling Nadal has had a stronger partner the majority of the time.   
In recent years he has been partnered by Marc Lopez and Grannollers... putting the phrase 'other players like Djokovic' is pretty misleading from you as he's only entered one tournament with Djokovic.
Both his recent Masters win have come with Marc Lopez.


Federer usually enters to help the orgnanizers draw a crowd and plays with a hometown favourite like he did in Shanghai, partners with his buddies who may or may not be great players, or partners up with other Swiss players
In recent years he's mainly being partnering Wawrinka when he plays doubles, before that Allegro Yves, and even before that he had a few spells with Max Mirnyi and Hbarty (not bad doubles players at all those two).

To be fair Amerit
I'm not sure why you call me Amerit.


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Post by Daniel on Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:54 pm

I am sure McEnroe would be happy to see the end of net play entirely....

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Post by noleisthebest on Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:39 pm

In this clip you can see how poor singles players are in doubles now. Pospisil with any idea what to do. Says a lot about how much the game of tennis has moved away from its roots.


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Post by Daniel on Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:59 pm

Shows how limited their games are.  Especially Nadal.  The two "best players in the world" and when it comes to needing an all round game and net play, they are clueless.  Made to look ordinary on a doubles court.  As soon as you remove their defensive play, they have nothing left.

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Post by Tenez on Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:22 pm

Good pick NITB. And I don't consider again Rao and Pospo skilled players at all. Interesting to see again on the 5th point Nadal not able again to handle a ball early after the bounce. How many points did Djoko win v Nadal sending his returns in Nadal's feet. Nadal can only hit a slow ball...this is why he stays that far back. He has improved in that regard over the last 12 months but you would expect that from a player who hits millions of balls a month.

He is just not that talented....but he certainly makes that up with his extraordinary fitness....however that fitness is less of an advantage at doubles.

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Post by BEL19VE on Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:38 pm

Lydian what a legend smiley

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Post by BEL19VE on Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:40 pm

I think if any top 2 players from the singles top 10 paired up, they could beat the Bryan brothers.

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Post by summerblues on Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:57 pm

Julia Santamaria wrote:I think if any top 2 players from the singles top 10 paired up, they could beat the Bryan brothers.
You mean paired up, practiced some, and took it seriously?  Obviously they would destroy Bryan Brothers.

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Post by BEL19VE on Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:18 pm

summerblues wrote:
Julia Santamaria wrote:I think if any top 2 players from the singles top 10 paired up, they could beat the Bryan brothers.
You mean paired up, practiced some, and took it seriously?  Obviously they would destroy Bryan Brothers.
Yes I agree with you, they would have to practice together and maybe also enter a few tournaments before really getting the chemistry needed... but after that they would dominate.

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Post by noleisthebest on Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:20 pm

summerblues wrote:
Julia Santamaria wrote:I think if any top 2 players from the singles top 10 paired up, they could beat the Bryan brothers.
You mean paired up, practiced some, and took it seriously?  Obviously they would destroy Bryan Brothers.
I think you are seriously underestimating what bad doubles players Nadal and Nole are (esp. Nadal).
Doubles tennis requires a lot of skill most exclusive baseliners can only dream about.
It's a different sport.

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Post by BEL19VE on Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:26 pm

noleisthebest wrote:
summerblues wrote:
Julia Santamaria wrote:I think if any top 2 players from the singles top 10 paired up, they could beat the Bryan brothers.
You mean paired up, practiced some, and took it seriously?  Obviously they would destroy Bryan Brothers.
I think you are seriously underestimating what bad doubles players Nadal and Nole are (esp. Nadal).
Doubles tennis requires a lot of skill most exclusive baseliners can only dream about.
It's a different sport.
Oh please, don't put Nole and Nadal in the same line when talking about doubles.

Nadal is an accomplished (well relatively speaking) doubles player who has won 10 titles including 3 Masters 1000 Titles, and also has a good W/L ratio in doubles (higher than Federer's too).

Djokovic meanwhile couldn't even play doubles to save his country in the Davis Cup final this year. Djokovic's doubles record is so bad that he has lost more matches than he has won; he has won 33 doubles matches but lost 46.
Djokovic is a hapless doubles player compared to Nadal.

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Post by Daniel on Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:39 pm

I'm afraid he isn't an accomplished doubles player at all.  What exactly has he won compared to the Bryans? All you need to do is watch that match that was posted... he is completely out of his league.

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Post by BEL19VE on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:01 pm

FedererKing wrote:I'm afraid he isn't an accomplished doubles player at all.  What exactly has he won compared to the Bryans?
I said relatively, if you read my quote.
He's done well in the tournaments he's entered.

FedererKing wrote:
All you need to do is watch that match that was posted... he is completely out of his league.
Well that was one super tiebreak from one match... it's a small sample size to draw any big conclusions. I agree he played poorly there, but I have watched him play many matches and normally he's far better than that.

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Post by luvsports! on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:07 pm

Do you think it should be scrapped JS?

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Post by BEL19VE on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:11 pm

luvsports! wrote:Do you think it should be scrapped JS?
No, not scrapped.

I accept the level of doubles is below that of singles (ie if top singles players wanted they could take most doubles titles) BUT:
the tradition of doubles for me is too great for it to be simply scrapped. Maybe less money towards doubles and less favourable scheduling, but it should not be totally scrapped.

Furthermore there is a possibility that in the future doubles tennis comes in the forefront again... scrapping it will destroy that possibility.

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Post by noleisthebest on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:27 pm

Doubles players earn exactly ten times less than singles players in Wimbledon.
Mixed doubles thirty times less. I don't think their pay should be cut.
Tournaments should be less greedy and increase prize money in early rounds.

http://www.wimbledon.com/pdf/Press_Release_Prize_Money_2013.pdf

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Post by BEL19VE on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:38 pm

noleisthebest wrote:Doubles players earn exactly ten times less than singles players in Wimbledon.
Mixed doubles thirty times less. I don't think their pay should be cut.
Tournaments should be less greedy and increase prize money in early rounds.

http://www.wimbledon.com/pdf/Press_Release_Prize_Money_2013.pdf
In this case I agree that pay should stay as it is (ie doubles vs singles).
Also agree that we should pay more in earlier rounds... do Nadal and Djokovic really need that much money when they win a major...

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Post by Tenez on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:49 pm

summerblues wrote:
Julia Santamaria wrote:I think if any top 2 players from the singles top 10 paired up, they could beat the Bryan brothers.
You mean paired up, practiced some, and took it seriously?  Obviously they would destroy Bryan Brothers.
What makes you so sure? I mean most top 2 I agree....but actually Not Djoko and Nadal who both rely on stamina to outlast top 50 players. They main advantage over the Bryans would be serve and return game. They are of course used to return faster servse but Nadal standing back would be a disadvantage and volley wise the Bryans would be better. We can see in the clip NITB posted Nadal and Djoko are far from great at the net. Even the young Posp and Rao are better.

But the Bryans would not be my best pair anyway. Take Paes just 2 years ago and Stepanek would have been very good....much more skilled for double than Nadal and Djoko.

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Post by luvsports! on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:50 pm

Some may fear drawing the wrath of v2 posters, actually I am the only regular v2 poster here, ok maybe it will only be me who will be weary of upsetting the v2ers but who cares what they think!
Freedom of OTF speech and all that Winking

JHM raised a good point about the hypocrisy of JMAC as he didn't call for doubles being scrapped when he was playing and apart from him there weren't many top players who played doubles regularly back then either.
As the game is so much longer and more physical the onus to do both singles and doubles is perhaps lesser now than it was then.

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Post by Tenez on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:56 pm

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Top-Players/Rafael-Nadal.aspx?t=pa&y=2013&m=d&e=0
-------------------
Look at Nadal's double result this year. All very close match and the most important one (the final) he loses it very convincingly v 2 Italians (Lorenzi and Starace)....unless he felt giving the Italians a nice present!erm 

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Post by BEL19VE on Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:02 pm

Tenez wrote:http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Top-Players/Rafael-Nadal.aspx?t=pa&y=2013&m=d&e=0
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Look at Nadal's double result this year. All very close match and the most important one (the final) he loses it very convincingly v 2 Italians (Lorenzi and Starace)....unless he felt giving the Italians a nice present!erm 
Well he hasn't played much doubles this year.
In Vine Del Mar he reached the final against the Italians as you say, but was hugely undercooked (it was his first proper tournament back from injury), he also lost to Zeballos in the singles final as well.
Sao Paulo and Montreal his partner I think called it quits each time... but he was unbeaten in both the matches he played at the event. And he won his Davis Cup match.

So all in all he only lost 1 doubles match in the year, but didn't really play much anyway.

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Post by Tenez on Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:10 pm

But look how close are the other results despite playing crap players.

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Post by BEL19VE on Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:19 pm

Tenez wrote:But look how close are the other results despite playing crap players.
Well in the Davis Cup they won the doubles match away from home in Ukraine in 4 sets quite comfortably; in Montreal he and Andujar beat Ferrer and Lopez in a close match; in Sao Paulo he and Nalbandian (who btw was just returning from a long injury break at Sao Paulo) edged past Andujar and G. Lopez; while in Vine Del Mar he and Monaco didn't drop a set before the final despite it being the FIRST tournament for Nadal in a long while.

Pretty impressive stuff.

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Post by Tenez on Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:49 pm

Good. Looks like Nadal's double results and skills match your expectations.

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Post by BEL19VE on Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:24 am

We'll he did better than my expectations considering:
-Chile and São Paulo were his first two tournaments for months
-He with Monaco reached Chile final without dropping a set
-In São Paulo, he was partnering Nalbandian who had just come back from a long injury break, yet won their tough match there
-Won only match in Montreal before his partner Andujar got injured after R1
-Won Davis Cup doubles match comfortably in 4 sets, against hostile Ukrainian crowd and a dangerous player in Stakhovsky

So overall winning 6/7 matches he played in those difficult circumstances is good, no doubt about it.

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