Author Topic: Surfaces losing their individuality  (Read 824 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline medwatt

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 795
  • Gender: Male
  • I am the most beautiful
Surfaces losing their individuality
« on: April 19, 2012, 01:26:57 PM »



The switch to clay courts requires the biggest adjustments to a player's game in the course of a season, but it is nowhere near as hard as it used to be to do.

Those new to the game may not remember the days of extremes between the clay-court specialists, who relied on patience and movement at the back of the court, to the serve-and-volley experts on grass courts.

The former world number one Marcelo Rios famously said during Wimbledon 1997 that grass was for "cows and soccer". He only played at SW19 three times in his 10-year career.

He was not alone. Clay-court specialists would regularly go deep in the French Open, and then give Wimbledon a miss.

Players of that standing doing the same now is almost unimaginable, but that is in part due to the surfaces changing.

Wimbledon is much slower than it ever used to be, meaning that serve-and-volley is a rare tactic — and hard courts have gone the same way too.

The Australian Open this year was played on very slow courts — making the remarkable six-hour final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal possible.

Both those great players would have found it far more difficult to win their Grand Slams on all surfaces on the courts of 20 years ago.

That is not to diminish all they have achieved, but it is a sign that tennis has evolved over recent years.

It used not be as simple as simply playing a couple of matches, adapting your foot movement and getting used to the bounce — it took a wholesale change of approach to your game to conquer a new surface.

That's not to say that the changes to the courts are not, on the whole, for the better. I believe they are — they certainly provide a better show for the spectator.

They also encourage players to follow the calendar, rather than limit their activities to one or two favoured surfaces.

But tennis must also be careful not to go too far the other way. Hard courts, clay and grass should all still pose their own unique challenges. Winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year, for instance, should be a very rare occurrence.

It would be nice, too, to see another week of grass court tennis on the calendar — a four-week season comes and goes all too quickly.

If I could tweak any surface, though, it would be the hard courts. They have slowed dramatically in recent times, even at Grand Slams. The men with the most power and strength on service games should still have opportunities to exploit it.

Funnily enough, the different courts have never really affected women's tennis in the same way.

The cream has always risen to the top — and the best players on one surface are typically the best on all the others at the same time.

Perhaps the difference in the power of the men's game and the power of the women's would explain that, perhaps it is a reflection depth of the talent in the two fields — and maybe it is a combination of the two.
The world awaits no genius

Offline medwatt

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 795
  • Gender: Male
  • I am the most beautiful
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2012, 01:34:38 PM »
Perception from fellow fans

I am so fed up with tennis fans complaining about the change in surface..Yes it has happened, but I dont see the problem with a really top level tennis player being able to alter their game to suit any surface/ball....What is the problem with that?..
_______________________

. . . I agree with you 100% Nadal and Djokovic would have found it very difficult on faster courts especially Nadal. I believe a mixture of super fast, medium and slow courts would provide the greatest variety on tour and only the most talented and complete player who has all the tools could ever be dominant throughout the whole year. You would have to have an all court game not just a clay court game. Nowadays everything is pretty much clay. Greg Rusedski even joked after Miami that Roland Garros was the fastest slam of 2011. Without variety I strongly believe the games popularity is going to take a huge dive when Federer retires.

_______________________

Al the slams look like Roland Garros.
 Even the movements are the same, Especially Nadal and Djokovic use the roland Garros Sliding shots, on USO and AO. Its a matter of time before the slide on the worn Grass on the Baseline of SWL.

_______________________

I really don't understand how anybody just makes this sort of statements without any arguments one way or another. I mean come on the game resembles nothing of what it was 20 years ago. I mean just look at a match from Federer's early career against Agassi and you will see huge differences in style and athleticism. The raquests have evolved incredibly as well as the physical conditioning. Now think about going 20 years backwards : the differences would increase even more !!! Perhaps it's not soo much the surfaces as it is the players, the raquets , the shoes , let alone the balls.

_______________________

Common! guys live with it. The game, the surface, the balls, the rules will evolve.
 No two eras are the same. A determined sports man will adapt. That's what human beings do. Nadal will still win as many gram slams as he has, Fedex will do the same. nothing ever remains the same, except change!

________________________

Excellent article.

It's been 5-6 years that all courts have been slowed down.
This is why you have players like Nadal with inflated grand slam wins.....These players can only cope with slow conditions.....but once they go to quicker courts they fall off the map.
It is a shame. Keep the hardcourts and grass quick and let roland garros and clay remain slow....my 2 cents

________________________

it seems nowadays the Slam surfaces are becoming too similar, the grass of Wimbledon should be the same as it was 15 years ago. The Australian Open and US Open should be fast hard courts, not slow. This way we'll truly see how can change and adapt the best over the 4 slams, and also it will mix up the game more.

_________________________

Yep. The normalisation of the different surfaces is killing variety. It's no news flash, but then you gotta write something when you're salary depends on it.

_________________________

What a load of bull excrement this is! players with a big serve are horrible for the game. and the way to fix it is sooo simple: NO 2nd SERVE!
 And also Wimbledon was boring 20 years ago. WTF is entertaining about players serving 58 aces in a match?????

_________________________

Tennis started at grass - the same for probably all 4 Majors. (FO on sand?)
 USO/AO was on grass until ’78/88.
 Could be said - 20 years ago player needed one main good weapon to become No.1. (as Roddick even 10 years ago). Today you need ALL weapons to become the top player. One dimensional player, as well as one-dimensional tennis is history - even many think otherwise.
 All top players today are very good at all surfaces, and in all segments of the game, as at the net too - but return, passing game and speed are deathly improved. Against Rafa and Nole you can’t play at the net even on ice.
 Today's top players are much more complete than those 20 years ago. While Nadal did not begin to win at HC, he could not become No.1. The same was with Novak, until he won at grass. We forgot, 30 years ago were only two surfaces, outdoor at sunny day. Today we have 3 main varieties of surfaces (+carpet, not counting small differences..) - day or night, outdoor or indoor - means 12 pretty different conditions at least . The game is far more complicated and demanding - physically, mentally, technically and conditionally - totally incomparable with the previous time - any realistic older player would tell you so.
 Forgive me - This is the Total Tennis Time, and Novak is the first representative of T(N)T generation ,}-

 Top 4 are top 4 at all courts - that is why they are top 4) You can’t judge according to them – the real difference is visible at lower ranking. Generally could be said - 20 years ago, top players much more depended of court surface (Lendl, McEnroe, Becker, Edberg, Sampras...) because they had “one” main weapon – same time lower ranked players had no main weapons, and were almost the same at any court. Today situation is opposite - you can see how lover ranked players are more depended of surface, until top players are good even in mud and hurricane.
 hm, we almost set the law?)

 ..however, the egg is older than chicken. Winning a Grand Slam today is MUCH harder than ever before. period

__________________________

Finally, finally somebody wrote this! You're absolutely correct Simon. Of course younger tennis fans will have it difficult to comprehend what it means "variety in tennis". Winning all 4 GS now is much easier for a TOP player than it used to be. In the 90's neither Djokovic nor Nadal would have such success.

__________________________
The world awaits no genius

Offline Djokovic Champion

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 748
  • Gender: Male
    • Djokovic numer one
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2012, 01:37:06 PM »



The switch to clay courts requires the biggest adjustments to a player's game in the course of a season, but it is nowhere near as hard as it used to be to do.

Those new to the game may not remember the days of extremes between the clay-court specialists, who relied on patience and movement at the back of the court, to the serve-and-volley experts on grass courts.

The former world number one Marcelo Rios famously said during Wimbledon 1997 that grass was for "cows and soccer". He only played at SW19 three times in his 10-year career.

He was not alone. Clay-court specialists would regularly go deep in the French Open, and then give Wimbledon a miss.

Players of that standing doing the same now is almost unimaginable, but that is in part due to the surfaces changing.

Wimbledon is much slower than it ever used to be, meaning that serve-and-volley is a rare tactic — and hard courts have gone the same way too.

The Australian Open this year was played on very slow courts — making the remarkable six-hour final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal possible.

Both those great players would have found it far more difficult to win their Grand Slams on all surfaces on the courts of 20 years ago.

That is not to diminish all they have achieved, but it is a sign that tennis has evolved over recent years.

It used not be as simple as simply playing a couple of matches, adapting your foot movement and getting used to the bounce — it took a wholesale change of approach to your game to conquer a new surface.

That's not to say that the changes to the courts are not, on the whole, for the better. I believe they are — they certainly provide a better show for the spectator.

They also encourage players to follow the calendar, rather than limit their activities to one or two favoured surfaces.

But tennis must also be careful not to go too far the other way. Hard courts, clay and grass should all still pose their own unique challenges. Winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year, for instance, should be a very rare occurrence.

It would be nice, too, to see another week of grass court tennis on the calendar — a four-week season comes and goes all too quickly.

If I could tweak any surface, though, it would be the hard courts. They have slowed dramatically in recent times, even at Grand Slams. The men with the most power and strength on service games should still have opportunities to exploit it.

Funnily enough, the different courts have never really affected women's tennis in the same way.

The cream has always risen to the top — and the best players on one surface are typically the best on all the others at the same time.

Perhaps the difference in the power of the men's game and the power of the women's would explain that, perhaps it is a reflection depth of the talent in the two fields — and maybe it is a combination of the two.


Very good picture

Offline medwatt

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 795
  • Gender: Male
  • I am the most beautiful
The world awaits no genius

Offline Djokovic Champion

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 748
  • Gender: Male
    • Djokovic numer one
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2012, 01:50:14 PM »




Very good picture


Was that all you noticed ?


No, it was noticed that the game of Nadal against Federer, the king of clay against the king of grass.

Offline Alex

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 11997
  • Gender: Male
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2012, 03:20:41 PM »
Med, there is so much talk about courts being slowed down, regardless if it's grass, HC or clay. I, personally would like to see some variety but it's not happening. Djokovic and Federer can play well on any surface ... Nadal can't. Nadal is good at slow to medium slow courts. Roger is probably the best on fast HC although Djokovic is pretty close (he won Dubai 3 times, and Dubai has the fastest HC courts nowadays).

It would be very interesting if they go back to 'old grass' at Wimbledon. However, we can speculate as much as we want ... nothing's gonna change. 

Offline conchita

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 14553
  • Gender: Female
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2012, 03:59:19 PM »
another perspective not coming from fans but rather players and fitness coaches

the pathology of tennis is more micro traumatic than in other sports. The competition is demanding and players compete 25 to 30 weeks a year. Some of them during the entire week. the risk of playing on "different" surfaces: in the past it influenced the players more. However, players adapt better to the "different" surfaces today although the risk over overload is higher. Overload occurs if players don’t get a chance to rest or take a break. Young players between 17 and 20 years face an even bigger risk of overload, playing qualifiers, futures and challengers. tennis has changed: the better equipment (balls, rackets and surfaces) make the game faster and more demanding for the player, which creates new pathologies that need to be controlled and prevented. Tennis has developed faster than we thought. We have to realize that there are players who at 30 have already undergone a hip surgery, to name the injury that concerns us the most.
A comeback to faster hardcourts,old grass at Wimbledon will bring a very much needed variety to the game but will also increase dramatically the injuries to the players.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 04:16:08 PM by conchita »
Self-praise is for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble.

Offline pawan89

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 8497
  • Gender: Male
    • Onset of Chaos
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2012, 04:48:25 PM »
This is an evergreen topic these days. Interesting but also can lead to heated debates especially when we bring players into the discussion. There's two aspects to this that I'm interested in. 1) why it's happening 2) what's the result

This is the way I see it, personally. Because of the homogenization of surfaces, we have:

a) year long, multi surface domination by players starting with Federer in early 2000s and now Nadal and Djokovic and even Murray. and a big corrolary to this is Rivalries. Mutli-surface rivalries are not a joke, they are for real. The fact that someone who prefers faster surfaces like Roger can build a career rivalry on all surfaces vs. a guy like Nadal is a credit to both their geniuses as well as the courts.

b) more injuries - you can say for sure that if all surfaces were faster and faster and everyone serve and volleyed we wouldn't have half the people spending countless hours on the court over the course of the year and we'd see an emergence of bigger weapons and shorter games, think about Isner, Roddick, del Potro, Tsonga and Soderling type games. But instead we have people who are now grinding year in year out on all types of court with similar games.

c) bigger gaps between the best and the next tiers, hence the reason why someone like Nadal or Berdych can be just as conclusively a favourite over someone ranked a few spots beneath them regardless of surface.

d) bigger opportunity for breakthroughs - oddly this is not substantiated by any proof. But I'd assume the younger crop of players have a whole year and plenty of courts to fine tune and improve their game, as opposed to times in the past when the clay courters could only come up during the clay court seasons and the powerful servers could only come up during the faster courts.

e) homogenization of games. Variety and styles of play are blending, doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing. If you look at the skill set from someone from the 80s 90s and today, you'd find a DIFFERENT skill-set and also at times a better variety. But unfortunately the bread and butter type shots have become more standardized and limited and things like longer and longer points can be a bad thing when they go past a certain limit.

I think for the most part some of these are good things. So am I pro surface homogenization? To a certain extent, yes. Should it have a stopping point at some point. Definitely. It is a joy to see different surfaces and different paces and speeds and we have been robbed of that of late. Watching a Federer vs. Tsonga at the USOpen should be completely different than watching Nadal vs. Ferrer on clay, anything less than the most drastic of differences and we're being robbed of variety. And I'll add that watching Djokovic, Federer and Nadal do what they do in as varied a surface as possible is a lot more impressive than watching them do that when you have certain clay courts playing faster than grass and hard courts and the ball bouncing higher on grass than it does on hard courts.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 04:53:44 PM by pawan89 »


Online Babblelot

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 32634
  • Gender: Male
  • Chicago, IL
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2012, 10:33:07 PM »
All I got is what Andre Agassi accomplished > what Laver, Roger, and Rafa accomplished because he did it on 4 truly different speeds and surfaces: fast grass, fast hard, medium rebound ace, slow red clay.

2 career slams in 2 years in and of itself says something about homogenized surfaces, but imagine if Nole gets the career slam this year. That would make 3 career slams since 2009. Agassi and Laver were separated by 30 years!! and, of course, Laver did it on 3 grass courts.



« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 10:45:33 PM by Babblelot »
1995 USO, 1997 USO, 2004 USO, 2005 RG, 2005 USO, 2006 RG, 2006 USO, 2007 USO, 2008 RG, 2008 USO, 2009 USO, 2010 USO, 2011 USO, 2012 USOhttp://www.gifsoup.com/view4/1856936/2005safin-o.gif
http://www.gifsoup.com/view1/1857331/2004gaudio-o.gif

Offline pawan89

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 8497
  • Gender: Male
    • Onset of Chaos
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2012, 10:56:37 PM »
I second Bab's notion and this is why Agassi for me is higher up than some people might put him. He went through the ups and downs, he had his share of big rivals to stop him and he had his personal problems and still came back. And of course, as you mentioned, he won on the grass of the EARLY 90s and the clay of the late 90s and hard-courts throughout. He might not have been a grass-court specialist or a clay-court specialist but he was the first of the modern hard-court based gamers who could also compete on very different surfaces of his day, grass and clay, with great results.

I'm not going to bring in my views about Laver et al, as great as he was, I like to leave Pre-late-70s tennis out of the picture. If three slams were on grass in the 90s, Pete would have had at least 25 slams.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 10:58:41 PM by pawan89 »


Offline falcon

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 4938
  • Gender: Female
  • cooooooooooooooool
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2012, 12:43:43 AM »
what about Borg's triple? I think that is even more remarkable...he played the dead slow clay courts and within two weeks he was holding the trophy of the fastest surface...three years in a row. He is the best transition player ever.


The drag of destiny destroys the reins of reason

Offline ashwin#1

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 615
  • Gender: Male
  • The Best
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2012, 12:58:55 AM »
excellent point babbs..:)
i always he wasn't given enough credit for his achievements. on paper, it may look good..but in reality, to achieve that over such different surfaces was very impressive.. :)

falcon :

good point..
the other day, i saw a clip of borg's match at french open..i can't believe the game on clay courts has change this much..
today's claycourts are much faster & hence transition from clay to grass is reasonably easy..
You can ignore reality, but you can't ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.

Offline Alex

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 11997
  • Gender: Male
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2012, 05:45:56 AM »
Ash, Borg was my first love  :). I absolutely adored him. I was a small kid when I was watching the final of Wimbledon in 1980 (Borg vs. JMac). I was so fascinated with him. In my eyes he is the best player ever (sorry Fed fans). If he just had decided to play the AO, take the USO open more seriously... who knows, he could have won 17/18 slams. It's so sad that he retired so early (25yo) ... Borg is my hero.

Online Babblelot

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 32634
  • Gender: Male
  • Chicago, IL
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2012, 07:33:05 AM »
What's more, Agassi accomplished his career slam with a mullet and a cue ball.
:D
1995 USO, 1997 USO, 2004 USO, 2005 RG, 2005 USO, 2006 RG, 2006 USO, 2007 USO, 2008 RG, 2008 USO, 2009 USO, 2010 USO, 2011 USO, 2012 USOhttp://www.gifsoup.com/view4/1856936/2005safin-o.gif
http://www.gifsoup.com/view1/1857331/2004gaudio-o.gif

Offline falcon

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 4938
  • Gender: Female
  • cooooooooooooooool
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2012, 07:23:49 PM »
The late 90's had the best variety, wish they had stuck with that. I hate to see players slide on hard courts. The poor knees!!


The drag of destiny destroys the reins of reason

Online Babblelot

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 32634
  • Gender: Male
  • Chicago, IL
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2012, 09:36:02 PM »
The late 90's had the best variety, wish they had stuck with that. I hate to see players slide on hard courts. The poor knees!!

And the sad irony, clay, the one surface you should easily slide on, for all intents and purposes just ended the seasons for two guys really on the rise.  :(
1995 USO, 1997 USO, 2004 USO, 2005 RG, 2005 USO, 2006 RG, 2006 USO, 2007 USO, 2008 RG, 2008 USO, 2009 USO, 2010 USO, 2011 USO, 2012 USOhttp://www.gifsoup.com/view4/1856936/2005safin-o.gif
http://www.gifsoup.com/view1/1857331/2004gaudio-o.gif

Offline falcon

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 4938
  • Gender: Female
  • cooooooooooooooool
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2012, 09:42:36 PM »
The late 90's had the best variety, wish they had stuck with that. I hate to see players slide on hard courts. The poor knees!!

And the sad irony, clay, the one surface you should easily slide on, for all intents and purposes just ended the seasons for two guys really on the rise.  :(
Whom are you referring to Babbs?


The drag of destiny destroys the reins of reason

Online Babblelot

  • Tennis God
  • ******
  • Posts: 32634
  • Gender: Male
  • Chicago, IL
Re: Surfaces losing their individuality
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2012, 10:02:49 PM »
The late 90's had the best variety, wish they had stuck with that. I hate to see players slide on hard courts. The poor knees!!

And the sad irony, clay, the one surface you should easily slide on, for all intents and purposes just ended the seasons for two guys really on the rise.  :(
Whom are you referring to Babbs?

Monaco seriously ruptured talo-fibular ligament in his ankle and Benneteau broke his elbow; Julien's ankle injury looked worse! but I don't know the extent of the damage.
1995 USO, 1997 USO, 2004 USO, 2005 RG, 2005 USO, 2006 RG, 2006 USO, 2007 USO, 2008 RG, 2008 USO, 2009 USO, 2010 USO, 2011 USO, 2012 USOhttp://www.gifsoup.com/view4/1856936/2005safin-o.gif
http://www.gifsoup.com/view1/1857331/2004gaudio-o.gif