Originally Posted by Hewitt =Legend
This is what happens with surface homogenisation. Tennis is now a much more physical sport as a result and therefore it is only natural that it is going to take longer for the youngsters to establish themselves consistently on tour. Just makes the transition significantly trickier for them, not just physically but mentally as well. Imagine being so successful in the juniors, stepping up to the main tour and getting whipped left, right and centre and not reaching the upper echelons of the tour for another 5-6 years or so. That would be incredibly frustrating and definitely create doubt in the mind of the youngsters...
This is just incorrect though.
For one, Djokovic, Nadal and Murray have had success by playing laborious styles from an early age. Surface didn't effect them, why? Because they were physically well prepared.
There is absolutely no scientific backing to suggest that elite performers in their late teens/early twenties cannot achieve high and potentially peak levels of physical performance. Some of tennis' fundamental physical attributes such as flexibility (think of joints, not only movement) and agility have been demonstrated to peak at an early age by plenty of literature. Strength and thus power generally peak later but this is irrelevant to this subject. Someone in their late teens and early 20's can easily achieve tremendous
levels of strength, more than enough for tennis performance.
Look at how youngsters performed in the past on slow surfaces. Look at their body composition as an indicator.
Rafael Nadal won Roland Garros aged 19. Marat Safin at 18 was winning gruelling back to back 5 set matches against Agassi and Kuerten at Roland Garros. Carlos Moya and Gustavo Kuerten were winning Roland Garros aged 20 and 21. Courier won multiple slams when he was 20/21 in Australia and Roland Garros. Look at the likes of Guillermo Coria, demonstrating unbelievable physicality when he was 21.
There's countless other examples but the fact is that these men were physically prime time, they were in fantastic shape. Forget about everything else and simply analyse their performance and how they used their physicality to their advantage, at a young age.
Now we have Grigor Dimitrov weighing in at about 160lbs, cramping up after 2 sets of tennis. That is poor physical conditioning. Even Del Potro at 20 was playing 5 set matches with relative comfort.
The current generation need to dedicate themselves to fitness, like Andy Murray did in the 2007 off season. Are we in a completely different era now than we were in 2008? No. Andy Murray did it, when he was relatively frail in comparison to other top players. In the space of months he transformed himself and became one of the best athletes on tour. If this lot want it enough, they'd do the same.