Author Topic: The Old Era?  (Read 1541 times)

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Offline Tennis4you

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The Old Era?
« on: February 16, 2005, 06:45:32 PM »
If there was one person from 30-100 years ago that played tennis that you think would of been one of the best in the world with today's technology, who do you think it could of been?  Or do you think tennis was so different back then that they could not have adapted with the power and pace of today's tennis?
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Offline jimbo

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The Old Era?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2005, 07:38:38 PM »
Poncho Gonzalez. He was a fiesty dude and liked to win. So with the technology of today he would be great to watch.
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Offline Tennis4you

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The Old Era?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2005, 08:16:32 PM »
Interesting.  There were so many great players out there, you just have to wonder if the power game would end up being too much for them, or if they would of easily had a power game themselves.
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Offline MC ill Logic

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The Old Era?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2005, 07:28:24 AM »
I know he's not that old school, but I think Bjorn Borg would have done very well today with the physical and mental gifts he supposedly possessed.  Maybe the baselining equivalent of Federer?  Or a two-fisted Guga???

Offline Jamesdster

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The Old Era?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2005, 07:43:57 AM »
I would've loved to have seen Roscoe Tanner hit a serve with a modern racket.  Also, Stan Smith might be a good possibility here a someone who could prosper.  If Henman can make the semis and quarters of majors with his net game, I think ole Stan would have done much better playing a similar game.
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Offline val

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The Old Era?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2005, 08:11:29 AM »
Roscoe jumped to my mind as well.  He was hitting 100mph serves with wood.

But the answer is, they all would have been good.  Tennis is still more about how you handle pressure when you are being exposed on the court.  Anyone good at it 50 years ago would be good at it today.

Offline MC ill Logic

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The Old Era?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2005, 08:35:57 AM »
Quote from: "val"

But the answer is, they all would have been good.  Tennis is still more about how you handle pressure when you are being exposed on the court.  Anyone good at it 50 years ago would be good at it today.
Maybe, but modern technology and technique has benefitted baseliners more than it's helped serve and volleyers.  And since most of the "Old Era" guys are serve and volleyers, it's tough to say.  Good technique begets confidence, and confidence begets good technique, it's a feedback loop, so to say the serve and volleyers of back then would dominate in today's power baseline world because of their superior mentality... I'm not so sure.  

Just saying that the physical game of modern tennis is so radically different than the physicality of the old era, that I'm not so sure that handling pressure well is enough.

Offline val

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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2005, 09:28:46 AM »
Well, then Rod Laver would have become a baseliner.  Or he'd remain a serve and volleyer with a 130mph serve.    Either way, he'd still dominate.

Offline MC ill Logic

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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2005, 07:59:10 PM »
I respectfully disagree.  He may have still been a tough player, but at 5'8", to me it's not obvious that he could dominate in today's game.  He may have been tough, confident, and brilliant back in the day, but in today's world he may never have accumulated the success/wins to develop such a mind set.  He may just plain physically be overwhelmed.

Offline val

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The Old Era?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2005, 08:37:33 AM »
This argument is rehashed over and over again in all sports:  Would Babe Ruth or Jim Brown or Bill Russell or Pele be able to keep up and/or dominate in today's hyper-athletic sports competitions.  Better people than me have taken a shot at this argument, one way or the other, but I tend to think that the will to dominate has not changed, which is the essence of sport, and that sports are more similar than they are different.  Yeah, all games have gotten bigger and faster, but don't you think that Rod Laver, with better nutrition and better health and year round training and full-time coaches and greater competition, wouldn't have also made the corresponding gains in his game?  Don't you think Bill Russell, who's got the size of some small forwards, would absolutely destroy all these hopped-up players who can't shoot a five footer?  Jim Brown never missed a hole and according to one guy who got the Cleveland Browns' game films from 1958 claims that he was never hit once that season.  280 carries and he always made contact with the defender first.  I think Jim Brown would destroy Ray Lewis.  Barry Sanders and Michael Vick are tiny and small respectively, yet they dominated a far more physical game than tennis.

If you put Tiger Woods with graphite drivers and aerodynamic balls in a match with a Snead or a Hogan with wood shafts and older balls, yes Woods would win.  You play Federer and his nCode against Laver with his wood racquet, and yes, Roger will win.  But take either Federer or Woods back 40 - 50 years and I think you'd have a very interesting match.

Offline MC ill Logic

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The Old Era?
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2005, 09:26:35 AM »
Quote from: "val"
This argument is rehashed over and over again in all sports:
No doubt.
Quote
Better people than me have taken a shot at this argument, one way or the other
It's fun to talk about.  It's just fun.  So with that said...
Quote
but I tend to think that the will to dominate has not changed, which is the essence of sport, and that sports are more similar than they are different.
The will to dominate is not enough.  If you have two people who are equally gifted physically and technically, yes, the one with the stronger will will win.  But...
Quote
Yeah, all games have gotten bigger and faster, but don't you think that Rod Laver, with better nutrition and better health and year round training and full-time coaches and greater competition, wouldn't have also made the corresponding gains in his game?
He would still be only 5'8".  
 
I understand what you're saying, but most great athletes with the "will to win" also had exceptional physical gifts.  Michael Jordan was supremely competitive, but let's not forget that he was one of the most athletically gifted people to ever play basketball, or any other team sport for that matter.  Federer, McEnroe, Sampras, and Agassi are also all insanely gifted people.  I think it's incomplete to say that it's their will to win that separates them at the expense of underestimating how much their physical abilities played in their success.  A will to dominate is great, but in order to actually dominate they need the weapons to back it up.  The will does not transcend how the game has evolved over the years.  Just saying Rod Laver by today's standards would be small and low powered.  it's not just me being present-centric, it's a simple matter of physics.  We can speculate all day on how well he might compete and this and that, but the fact that he's 5'8" is a matter of fact.  A guy might arrive into the modern game feeling like the biggest stud in the world, like he's assuredly destined to become an all time great, but he might be crushed and he won't be the first.  After a few losses time-traveler Laver might be reduced to a journey man in the modern game.  

The will to dominate, yes, will always help an athlete, but only the ones with the physical gifts to turn will into actual results.  Back then, Laver's physical make-up was enough, but is it today?  Could a 5'8" guy who probably weighed around 140 lbs. or so dominate guys like Mirnyi, Safin, Federer, and Roddick, not matter how badly he wants it?  I say "no."

My point being that people tend to cite only the champions as being the ones with the iron will to win, but I believe there are a lot of people out there with that will to win, but they just don't have the technique to back it up.  

I think this applies to all sports.  In the end, I'll just say that Rod Laver is an all time great, and it really doesn't matter how well he would do in today's game.  But this is fun to talk about.