Does time wasting between points make it hard to tell how fit a player is?
People say Rafa/Ferrer etc are top 3 on tour in terms of fitness, certainly looking at their bodies you would think so..but how can you tell when they waste so much time between points to recover?
Likewise with a number of top guys. Towelling down, aces, easy points, the sit down, taking up to an average of 35 seconds between single points, it is very easy for a player to recover that way. Almost like the fat mans track. This just doesnt happen in other sports like football, touch rugby, hockey etc.
The only breaks you get is when play is held up. So you know those guys are mega fit.
But with tennis players its harder to tell. They can use so much time to recover. Especially the players with big serves. Between taking 45 seconds between a point, hitting an ace and an unreturnable, and the sit downs, you can effectively recover.
I guess I just still wonder how fit tennis players are in relation to other sportsmen. Everyone is saying Nadal/Djokovic/Fed/Murray are insanely fit and amongst the worlds fittest athletes. But are they really? I love tennis but I do worry the sport is not as demanding perhaps as people think it is. In terms anyway of the endurance part of it.
Playing 7 best of 5 matches when time limit is potentially unlimited is extremely tough, no doubt about it. But with 2 days off per match, and so many chances with sit downs, bathroom breaks, injury time outs, hawk eye challenges, towel downs, querrying the umpires, aces/unreturnables/waiting for crowd to get seated, excess ball bouncing, and in general just what is sometimes quite frankly outright time wasting, it is hard to tell how fit these guys are. Play is just not continuous like it was intended to be.
What does everyone think? In sports like football, you get no break really. I think tennis was envisioned to be like that more or less. But what we are seeing just isnt to that formula.
You could also make a case that perhaps the players who stick to the 20 second rule might be the fittest. They arent looking for time wasting or feel that wasting time between points might send a message of fatigue to their opponent.
"I did not play my best tennis, no? And..that is what enable him to win..to win this match no? "
- Rafael Nadal, ever so "humble", - press conference after shock 4 set loss to Robeen Soderling @ 2009 French Open 4th round.
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