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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Where is the game going?

When I watch the top juniors at our club practice, they’re all hitting the ball as hard as they can. They swing from the heels on virtually every shot, and it seems as if twelve-year-old girls of today hit as hard or harder than top male pros did 15 or 20 years ago. And the older boys hit (for them) routine balls that look like screamers to even the best club players.

So I was trying to imagine where the game would be in five years? Or ten years? Will the players and racquets become increasingly powerful? And how much more powerful can it become? Will today’s game seem slow in comparison – the way the games of guys like Borg and Vilas seem today?

Or will the tennis authorities put the brakes on the power trend by softening the balls? I certainly don’t see racquet manufacturers voluntarily stopping or even slowing their technical advancements. They have to keep innovating so people will continue to buy new racquets.

I realize that predicting the future is a shaky endeavor, but I was wondering if anyone else had thoughts on this.

(Note: No doubt, this has been discussed here before, but I went back quite a ways and couldn’t find a recent thread on it.)
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 01:59 PM
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Re: Where is the game going?

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Originally Posted by Howard View Post
When I watch the top juniors at our club practice, they’re all hitting the ball as hard as they can. They swing from the heels on virtually every shot, and it seems as if twelve-year-old girls of today hit as hard or harder than top male pros did 15 or 20 years ago. And the older boys hit (for them) routine balls that look like screamers to even the best club players.

So I was trying to imagine where the game would be in five years? Or ten years? Will the players and racquets become increasingly powerful? And how much more powerful can it become? Will today’s game seem slow in comparison – the way the games of guys like Borg and Vilas seem today?

Or will the tennis authorities put the brakes on the power trend by softening the balls? I certainly don’t see racquet manufacturers voluntarily stopping or even slowing their technical advancements. They have to keep innovating so people will continue to buy new racquets.

I realize that predicting the future is a shaky endeavor, but I was wondering if anyone else had thoughts on this.

(Note: No doubt, this has been discussed here before, but I went back quite a ways and couldn’t find a recent thread on it.)
Interesting thread.

Surely in 5-10 years today's game won't be seen as slow. How much of an increase in power would be required for today's game to look slow!
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 02:44 PM
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Re: Where is the game going?

Yes, interesting question. In terms of how the game is played, in only 5 years I doubt you'll see much difference (remember the peak of Borg & Vilas was over 25 years ago). After that there'll probably be slight increases in power, but nothing to compare with the changes caused by the move to high pressure balls and away from wooden rackets. The vast majority of the game being played from the baseline is here to stay I think - it's just too easy to hit powerful passing shots.

I think the biggest changes will be the increased use of gimmicks to liven the game up. I can see hawkeye (or it's equivalent) being used everywhere (probably on all courts), all the time so that linespeople will probably disappear. It wouldn't surprise me if no-ad scoring and super tiebreaks came in, along with the increased playing of music etc. Maybe RR will spread (but hopefully not). Wimby would probably try to hold the line against these changes, but I doubt anyone would give a damn for tradition anywhere else.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 06:06 PM
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Re: Where is the game going?

the rackets nowadays
are the main reason for all the power & variety we see

5-10 years ago it was all that different, but now the light rackets, give players such an advantage
its almost doing so much for the player, like literally adding a new dimension to his game

its mostly power, than actualy variery from players, or finess
that is an art that is dying,
no serve or volley coming up , & less than a handful of the current crop (J.Johansson, T.Dent r injured, only one that comes to mind is Miryni

i didnt like the changes in the doubles game
& not really keen on the RR, bit of a PR measure that just dont bode sportsmanlike behavoir (case in point Malisse in Delray beach)
Hawkeye, interesting has its +s maybe more than -s
ad score is a must, no super tiebreak , its ridiculous if u ask me

why the need for so many changes, as if the current ones are not enough

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 06:09 PM
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Re: Where is the game going?

The game is going down and unless some new decent players appear, we'll be stuck to moonballers like Murray and Nadal in the future.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 07:41 PM
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Re: Where is the game going?

there need to be some more individual players coming through, not ones who stick to the established trend of hitting the ball as hard as possible. but hopefully that will cause other players to develop contrasting styles to combat this. so really i think the way the game is played will stay pretty much the same, but like with other sports, it will get faster
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 08:20 PM
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Re: Where is the game going?

The game is movingin the direction of using a lot of spin, IMO. One of my hitting partners is a 15 year old girl but she hits the ball so damn hard and with enough topspin that i was shocked the first time we hit together. Maybe not Nadal-level of spin, but I think the days of just plain "hard flat" groundstrokes is over.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 08:23 PM
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Re: Where is the game going?

I think Federer is changing the game. You see more players with all court games because of him, otherwise they don't stand a chance. I think he may influence a return to coming into the net behind solid approach shots.

It will continue to change probably, but not as dramatically as from the Borg era to now just because of the racquets.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-04-2007, 08:51 PM
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Re: Where is the game going?

Howard, you fly the banner of the U.S.A....whose courts are predominately cement...concrete...whatever you call it.

The club you play at: does it have har-tru? (Or clay?)

[Remember that Jimmy Connors used to OWN the national Clay-Courts championships, there in Indianapolis. Now that he's coaching Andy Roddick, that might do some good for at least that one player.]

Yeah, we play a lot of lightweight rackets nowadays...but the fundamentals don't change:

The faster the court, the more you want to come in.

The more you come in, (assuming that areas of your game are the same, vis-a-vis the backcourt and the net) the more you will win points.

...and the French Open isn't (hopefully) going to change to "Astroturf."

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2007, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Where is the game going?

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Originally Posted by Richard_from_Cal View Post
Howard, you fly the banner of the U.S.A....whose courts are predominately cement...concrete...whatever you call it.

The club you play at: does it have har-tru? (Or clay?)
I live in Florida where Har-tru abounds, but the kids I’ve seen clobber the ball no matter what the surface. Interestingly, they practice the swinging forehand volley a lot. I asked the pro about this and he said they use such extreme Western forehand grips that it’s almost impossible to teach classical volleying.

Probably another reason why so many pros don’t volley well – too big a grip change.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2007, 06:43 PM
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Re: Where is the game going?

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Originally Posted by Jlee View Post
I think Federer is changing the game. You see more players with all court games because of him, otherwise they don't stand a chance. I think he may influence a return to coming into the net behind solid approach shots.

It will continue to change probably, but not as dramatically as from the Borg era to now just because of the racquets.
why so many people here thinks Roger means serve and volley or an all court player. Sorry, but JesusFed ins't the best thing at the net. This generation sucks so much at it that it makes him look great

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2007, 06:46 PM
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Re: Where is the game going?

Game is going nowhere whilst Federer is dominating. It will be only after he retires that the game can progress more.


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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2007, 09:34 PM
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Re: Where is the game going?

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Originally Posted by Howard View Post
I live in Florida where Har-tru abounds, but the kids I’ve seen clobber the ball no matter what the surface. Interestingly, they practice the swinging forehand volley a lot. I asked the pro about this and he said they use such extreme Western forehand grips that it’s almost impossible to teach classical volleying.

Probably another reason why so many pros don’t volley well – too big a grip change.
juniors just dont get taught volleys really nowadays. virtually no junior girl in the world can volley or for that matter hit a slice backhand. the situation is slightly less grim for the boys who can volley and slice, but just not well
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2007, 09:44 PM
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Re: Where is the game going?

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Originally Posted by alfonsojose View Post
why so many people here thinks Roger means serve and volley or an all court player. Sorry, but JesusFed ins't the best thing at the net. This generation sucks so much at it that it makes him look great
He is not an awesome volleyer because he does not S & V non-stop and get the practice but if he did I think he would be pretty damn good. His volleys are technically as good as the best of volleyers (Rafter, Sampras etc...), just far too inconsistent. Still, they are improving and Federer is certainly an all court player.

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-06-2007, 03:46 PM
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Re: Where is the game going?

at my lesson last week, my coach again remarked on vast improvement after watching a lot of the AO. There is actual documentation of a 30 percent improvement after watching the pros. The problem, of course, is holding onto it! As far as surface goes, all children should learn to play on clay as soon as they have some technical/stroke proficiency. On clay they are forced to learn to defend and construct points...so a change in approach to teaching Juniors along those lines could be very fruitful for all nations. Also I learned an interesting fact I was unaware of. RF plays with a very small grip, this fascillitates grip changes!
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