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Thread: Tennis...Anyone?

  1. #261
    I got nothing Slap Shot's Avatar
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    Re: Tennis...Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fighting Sioux 23 View Post
    Again, the reason why more "randoms" won back in Sampras' era had more to do with the number of specialists and the playing surfaces at the grand slams. Now, I believe that is certainly a factor weighing in favor of your argument. However, there are more "generational greats" playing in their primes than Sampras really ever had to contend with (Agassi is the only one I can think of at the moment (and he was extremely inconsistent)...anyone else?). Ultimately, it really is a different game today than it was just 15-20 years ago.
    You might want to check out the list of Grand Slam winners Pete was up against during his tenure, although there are some generational gaps in which the wins were acquired. Agassi won all 4 although only 1 French, Courier won 2 AO and 2 FO, Edberg won 2 W and 4 AO/USO, Becker won all except a FO, no one dominated the FO during his run and I'm not seeing a ton of "specialists" that could be argued added to the "random" argument being anything other than the competition was better. And in the 00's there were just as many one-time GS winners as during the 90's.

  2. #262

    Re: Tennis...Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slap Shot View Post
    You might want to check out the list of Grand Slam winners Pete was up against during his tenure, although there are some generational gaps in which the wins were acquired. Agassi won all 4 although only 1 French, Courier won 2 AO and 2 FO, Edberg won 2 W and 4 AO/USO, Becker won all except a FO, no one dominated the FO during his run and I'm not seeing a ton of "specialists" that could be argued added to the "random" argument being anything other than the competition was better. And in the 00's there were just as many one-time GS winners as during the 90's.
    I'm not really sure who you are arguing with, but I'll respond since you quoted me.

    First, I'm not sure that Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker were generational greats...at least by my standards (i.e. one of the 10-15 greats of all-time). To the extent they were, the majority of Sampras' grand slams were earned after Edberg and Becker were at the top of their game. 13 of Sampras' 14 grand slams came after Edberg's last (1992). Becker was still pretty strong through the mid-1990s, but only managed 2 grand slam finals after 1991...well before Sampras' run of greatness. Courier was very good for about 3 years (making 7 finals from 1991-1993, but never made another)...I'm not quite seeing how he is listed in the same sentence with Edberg and Becker.

    Second, I think you misunderstood my specialists argument. I think it favors your argument.

    Third, you seem to ignore the elephant in the room, i.e. the changes to the playing surfaces and their effect on the game overall. You pretty much need to be an all-around/baseline player these days to compete at the grand slams. In Sampras' era, you could rely on your serve and win Wimbledon or the US Open. The changes have largely wiped out the specialists, which is why you have the great all-around/baseline players winning all the tournaments...not because of a lack of competition.
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  3. #263
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    Re: Tennis...Anyone?

    Sampras was a very solid player from the baseline and although his serve was wicked you shouldn't leave out the, "volley" part of the equation. And although he never won at Roland Garros he did win a few tournaments on clay. Perhaps he wasn't up against as many "generational greats" but I still believe the overall depth in his time was stiffer. Also remember they only seeded to 16 back then which meant he could randomly face what would be considered 17-32 in the 1st or 2nd round of a tournament vs. the 3rd round since, and men's top seeds are 10% more likely to reach 3rd+ now than before the 32-seeded era began.

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    Re: Tennis...Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fighting Sioux 23 View Post
    you seem to ignore .... the changes to the playing surfaces and their effect on the game overall.
    or the changes in what the rackets are made of, or in string technology, or in nutrition and personal training.

    Even differences in travel arrangements: more global traveling, for example.

    About the only real measure we have is how a player fares against his/her contemporaries.



    also, the GOAT argument really seems to be about singles, and not about the total game: Billie Jean King twice won singles, doubles, and mixed doubles at the same major tournament, IIRC. Martina Navritalova probably did as well.
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  5. #265

    Re: Tennis...Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slap Shot View Post
    Sampras was a very solid player from the baseline and although his serve was wicked you shouldn't leave out the, "volley" part of the equation. And although he never won at Roland Garros he did win a few tournaments on clay. Perhaps he wasn't up against as many "generational greats" but I still believe the overall depth in his time was stiffer. Also remember they only seeded to 16 back then which meant he could randomly face what would be considered 17-32 in the 1st or 2nd round of a tournament vs. the 3rd round since, and men's top seeds are 10% more likely to reach 3rd+ now than before the 32-seeded era began.
    Don't get me wrong, Pete Sampras is my favorite player of all-time. I tried to emulate his game as much as possible when I played in high school (I was a serve-and-volleyer and used Pete's racket), and I always appreciated his reserved attitude...particularly in contrast with Agassi. You definitely bring up a good point regarding seeding, and one that counters the perceived overall depth of today's game...at least in the opening rounds of the tournament. IMO, the thing that tips the balance in favor of today's competition is that to win a grand slam you have to go through potentially 2-3 generational greats. I think that is slightly more difficult than going through court-specialists...although I do believe it is very close. Perhaps the real difference is that in Sampras' era, it was more difficult to get to the Round of 16, while today it is more difficult to win the whole tournament. Realistically, given the tremendous changes in the game over the last 15-20 years, it is probably too difficult to truly determine which fields were more competitive.
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    Re: Tennis...Anyone?

    To MaizeRage's point a couple weeks ago: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/bl...ts-anti-doping

    It seemed suspicious to me how all of Nadal's matches followed the same pattern during the US open as far as energy level went.

  7. #267

    Re: Tennis...Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew S. View Post
    To MaizeRage's point a couple weeks ago: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/bl...ts-anti-doping

    It seemed suspicious to me how all of Nadal's matches followed the same pattern during the US open as far as energy level went.
    FWIW, nowhere in that article do they mention Nadal or suggest that Nadal engaged in doping. If anything, it casts doubt on the whole sport, and perhaps all these "generational greats" are really just all doped up with PEDs? Maybe Slap Shot was correct all along?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fighting Sioux 23 View Post
    FWIW, nowhere in that article do they mention Nadal or suggest that Nadal engaged in doping. If anything, it casts doubt on the whole sport, and perhaps all these "generational greats" are really just all doped up with PEDs? Maybe Slap Shot was correct all along?
    Ha, the doping exacerbates the difference, but I still think without it the guys today are much better. The guys in the 90's were very solid but they didn't have the big serves and groundies like they do today. In a lot of ways Sampras was ahead of his time(outside of going to net a lot.)

  9. #269
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    Re: Tennis...Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fighting Sioux 23 View Post
    Don't get me wrong, Pete Sampras is my favorite player of all-time. I tried to emulate his game as much as possible when I played in high school (I was a serve-and-volleyer and used Pete's racket), and I always appreciated his reserved attitude...particularly in contrast with Agassi. You definitely bring up a good point regarding seeding, and one that counters the perceived overall depth of today's game...at least in the opening rounds of the tournament. IMO, the thing that tips the balance in favor of today's competition is that to win a grand slam you have to go through potentially 2-3 generational greats. I think that is slightly more difficult than going through court-specialists...although I do believe it is very close. Perhaps the real difference is that in Sampras' era, it was more difficult to get to the Round of 16, while today it is more difficult to win the whole tournament. Realistically, given the tremendous changes in the game over the last 15-20 years, it is probably too difficult to truly determine which fields were more competitive.
    A lot of fair points to be sure. In a way it's like arguing Jordan or LeBron or even Russell and Wilt.

  10. #270
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    Re: Tennis...Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fighting Sioux 23 View Post
    FWIW, nowhere in that article do they mention Nadal or suggest that Nadal engaged in doping. If anything, it casts doubt on the whole sport, and perhaps all these "generational greats" are really just all doped up with PEDs? Maybe Slap Shot was correct all along?
    Is pro tennis really that bad at testing for PEDs, or like MLB did, are they overlooking the obvious in the name of profit? Alternatively, are the PED pushers just getting really good at creating designer PEDs that aren't tested for/banned yet?
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    Re: Tennis...Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by FadeToBlack&Gold View Post
    Is pro tennis really that bad at testing for PEDs, or like MLB did, are they overlooking the obvious in the name of profit? Alternatively, are the PED pushers just getting really good at creating designer PEDs that aren't tested for/banned yet?
    There are a combination of issues. It isn't really a league like MLB and you have guys spread out all over the world outside the tournaments. I think most players are doing something, but it isn't the traditional steroids. Getting stronger wouldn't necessarily even help you in tennis. It's more around being able to train longer and recover faster. I really have no idea how you would train the amount players do these days if you weren't on something, especially the older players. There are good reasons traditionally players had peaked by their mid 20's and were usually done by 30.
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  12. #272
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    Re: Tennis...Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by FadeToBlack&Gold View Post
    Is pro tennis really that bad at testing for PEDs, or like MLB did, are they overlooking the obvious in the name of profit? Alternatively, are the PED pushers just getting really good at creating designer PEDs that aren't tested for/banned yet?
    One of the challenges (IMHO) is actually defining what constitutes a PED in the first place. There are some prescription drugs, for example, which are both PED and non-PED at the same time, depending upon whether it is deemed medically necessary or not (sorry, I don't have any specific one handy to cite at the moment).

    More broadly, there also are some practices which are in gray areas (hypobaric chambers: it is okay to go to altitude to train, but to use a device to simulate training at altitude while you are at sea level is frowned upon).

    "Nutritional supplements" that have naturally-occurring pharmaceutical properties, yet technically not a "drug" (probably a bad example, but one could chew coca leaves and not be "taking a drug" yet if you refine the active ingredient found in coca leaves and take it on a stand-alone basis you are indeed taking a drug).

    or there are substances that our own bodies produce naturally; yet if we supplement those very same substances, that becomes a PED (HGH, testosterone).


    and some of it is social convention: why is caffeine not considered a "performance enhancer" when clearly it is (famous marathon runner Bill Rodgers extolled its virtues to help his performance).
    Last edited by FreshFish; 09-14-2017 at 09:17 AM.
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  13. #273
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    Re: Tennis...Anyone?

    Interesting theories on doping. Husband and I were discussing if it seems less likely in tennis as some of it is more finesse than brute strength. I think to be a top athlete today involves some form of PED. If you don't, the guy trying for your spot will.

    Icarus, on Netflix was an interesting documentary about doping that took a gigantic turn. If you're interested in PEDs, how athletes cheat tests, WADA and Russia's Olympic doping scandal, it's a must see.

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    Re: Tennis...Anyone?

    The upcoming premier of Battle of the Sexes recalls the original spectacle from 1973.

    Wow, back then, they really promoted that King vs. Riggs match and put on a real performance, not just a tennis match (getting carried into the Astrodome in a decorated chair with bearers carrying them on poles on their shoulders, the buildup, the crowd's excitement). Howard Cosell of course was the announcer.

    Adding to the drama was that, earlier that year, Riggs had played Margaret Court and beaten her handily. He really played up the "male chauvinist pig" role to the hilt, no doubt the better to promote the match (and improve his share of the gate and TV profits).

    I think it is by far the tennis match with the largest TV viewership ever (90 million).

    Apparently, in the movie, they use real tennis players as body doubles during the actual game scenes, with the original Howard Cosell narration in places.
    Last edited by FreshFish; 09-21-2017 at 04:00 PM.
    "Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things."

    "Beer is a sign that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin

    "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy." -- W. B. Yeats

    "People generally are most impatient with those flaws in others about which they are most ashamed of in themselves." - folk wisdom

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