The new age of Tennis player, all talent and no brains ? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

The new age of Tennis player, all talent and no brains ?

prima donna
06-18-2006, 08:24 PM
Sports seem to be going through a transition, be it in the NBA, NFL or on the ATP Tour.

Okay, so there are these players and they show up, with incredibile amounts of talent. You name it, they're capable of doing it, you name the shot, they're capable of making it and yet the most basic elements of the game they are lacking.

1). Physical fitness (In the case of Berdych and Murray especially, maybe Djokovic as well)
2). Mental strength ( As Nadal has proven, it's not something that's developed, it's something that you have within yourself) (Marat Safin, the weakest of the weak when it comes to this element. )

Also, while we're on the topic of mental strength, Federer's strength isn't exactly in that area either. He's not mentally weak, but he's definitely not mentally strong. He's just inbetween, anyone that's been watching Roger knows it's always been that way with him. He's no Pete Sampras or Nadal when it comes to that.

Another thing, interesting to see a guy like Roddick becoming a mental midget after being probably one of the strongest on tour when it came to wanting to win. I didn't even bother watching half of his matches, because it always seemed he wanted to win so badly that he'd somehow find a way. Roger penetrated his brain and has stolen what he had left of dignity.
Back to fitness ...

Seriously, you have to ask yourself how could one possibly find themselves playing at this level and they've yet to even find themselves a sufficient fitness program. Are you kidding me ? So, you've been winning matches all of this time and you can't last for longer than an hour without throwing up ?

It's kind of difficult to believe that they've enjoyed this much success and they've basically been slacking off their entire careers. You have all of this talent, but it only actually manifests itself once or twice a year.

Compare this list of players (ignore their accomplishments), we're talking talent here and tell me if you honestly find the more accomplished to be more talented.

Chang vs Nalbandian or maybe Chang vs Hewitt
Sampras vs Federer
Courier vs Davydenko
Muster vs Kuerten ( Muster definitely outlasted Kuerten, but Kuerten is more accomplished and owned him with regard to accomplishments)
Agassi vs Safin ( both were morons, one grew up, the other one is still in moron stage)
Richard K - Patrick Rafter vs Andy Roddick ( Ok, fair enough. Roddick is outclassed here in all aspects, rendering my point useless)
Todd Martin vs Ivan Ljubicic or maybe even James Blake (drew this comparison because of the height and both had big serves, obviously Todd was a lot more traditional with regard to his style of play)

Point is, if you look at guys like Courier, Chang or Todd Martin they all exceeded their talent. They weren't fancy shot makers or they weren't guys that were athletic, even if you compare counter punchers to counter punchers, Nadal is a very athletic guy. These guys didn't even look like athletes, yet they constantly worked on their physical conditioning outside of the court.

Muster and Courier both acknowledged recently that going into a match one aspect that was in their hands and that they both took extreme pride in was being physically fit. Okay, so basically these guys show up week in and week out giving 100 pct. and no less, even if they know it's an act of futility against a guy like Pete. No one ever gave Sampras anything, not that guys are giving Roger anything, but they certainly aren't doing themselves any favors by showing up out of shape or playing like mental midgets.

My examples maybe weren't the showcase of talent on tour right now, I left out a lot of names, but I only drew those comparisons for the sake of argument. Understood ? If we look at it from a talent standpoint, this era blows away anything that was around during Pete's reign. People can't seem to understand that talent doesn't translate into results always, because things like ego and health get in the way of that.

Roger Federer is already the most talented to ever touch a tennis racquet, but there's a difference between being the most talented and being the greatest of all time. Also, in all seriousness, Nadal may not be able to stand up to guys like Berdych or Gasquet once they reach their peak and finally get their act together, but this guy has shown what hard work will do. Funny part about it is Nadal isn't doing anything out of the ordinary if you think back 10 or 15 years ago.

After or If these guys get their act together, there is no way Roger and Rafael can continue to dominate the way they've been doing so, in this age of tennis and with so much talent on tour it shouldn't be possible. Then again, maybe it'll continue, because most of the time by the sportsman is old enough to actually realize the importance of others aspects of play .... the talent has diminished with age.

So, we'll see how things go. Anyone have comments ?

kapranos
06-18-2006, 08:36 PM
Sports seem to be going through a transition, be it in the NBA, NFL or on the ATP Tour.

Okay, so there are these players and they show up, with incredibile amounts of talent. You name it, they're capable of doing it, you name the shot, they're capable of making it and yet the most basic elements of the game they are lacking.

1). Physical fitness (In the case of Berdych and Murray especially, maybe Djokovic as well)
2). Mental strength ( As Nadal has proven, it's not something that's developed, it's something that you have within yourself) (Marat Safin, the weakest of the weak when it comes to this element. )

Also, while we're on the topic of mental strength, Federer's strength isn't exactly in that area either. He's not mentally weak, but he's definitely not mentally strong. He's just inbetween, anyone that's been watching Roger knows it's always been that way with him. He's no Pete Sampras or Nadal when it comes to that.

Another thing, interesting to see a guy like Roddick becoming a mental midget after being probably one of the strongest on tour when it came to wanting to win. I didn't even bother watching half of his matches, because it always seemed he wanted to win so badly that he'd somehow find a way. Roger penetrated his brain and has stolen what he had left of dignity.
Back to fitness ...

Seriously, you have to ask yourself how could one possibly find themselves playing at this level and they've yet to even find themselves a sufficient fitness program. Are you kidding me ? So, you've been winning matches all of this time and you can't last for longer than an hour without throwing up ?

It's kind of difficult to believe that they've enjoyed this much success and they've basically been slacking off their entire careers. You have all of this talent, but it only actually manifests itself once or twice a year.

Compare this list of players (ignore their accomplishments), we're talking talent here and tell me if you honestly find the more accomplished to be more talented.

Chang vs Nalbandian or maybe Chang vs Hewitt
Sampras vs Federer
Courier vs Davydenko
Muster vs Kuerten ( Muster definitely outlasted Kuerten, but Kuerten is more accomplished and owned him with regard to accomplishments)
Agassi vs Safin ( both were morons, one grew up, the other one is still in moron stage)
Richard K - Patrick Rafter vs Andy Roddick ( Ok, fair enough. Roddick is outclassed here in all aspects, rendering my point useless)
Todd Martin vs Ivan Ljubicic or maybe even James Blake (drew this comparison because of the height and both had big serves, obviously Todd was a lot more traditional with regard to his style of play)

Point is, if you look at guys like Courier, Chang or Todd Martin they all exceeded their talent. They weren't fancy shot makers or they weren't guys that were athletic, even if you compare counter punchers to counter punchers, Nadal is a very athletic guy. These guys didn't even look like athletes, yet they constantly worked on their physical conditioning outside of the court.

Muster and Courier both acknowledged recently that going into a match one aspect that was in their hands and that they both took extreme pride in was being physically fit. Okay, so basically these guys show up week in and week out giving 100 pct. and no less, even if they know it's an act of futility against a guy like Pete. No one ever gave Sampras anything, not that guys are giving Roger anything, but they certainly aren't doing themselves any favors by showing up out of shape or playing like mental midgets.

My examples maybe weren't the showcase of talent on tour right now, I left out a lot of names, but I only drew those comparisons for the sake of argument. Understood ? If we look at it from a talent standpoint, this era blows away anything that was around during Pete's reign. People can't seem to understand that talent doesn't translate into results always, because things like ego and health get in the way of that.

Roger Federer is already the most talented to ever touch a tennis racquet, but there's a difference between being the most talented and being the greatest of all time. Also, in all seriousness, Nadal may not be able to stand up to guys like Berdych or Gasquet once they reach their peak and finally get their act together, but this guy has shown what hard work will do. Funny part about it is Nadal isn't doing anything out of the ordinary if you think back 10 or 15 years ago.

After or If these guys get their act together, there is no way Roger and Rafael can continue to dominate the way they've been doing so, in this age of tennis and with so much talent on tour it shouldn't be possible. Then again, maybe it'll continue, because most of the time by the sportsman is old enough to actually realize the importance of others aspects of play .... the talent has diminished with age.

So, we'll see how things go. Anyone have comments ?

Zzz.

prima donna
06-18-2006, 08:41 PM
Zzz.

A discussion not exclusively devoted to Roger or Nadal is obvious boring.

Buffone.

Nathaliia
06-18-2006, 08:43 PM
I promise to read and comment when I have more time than just 12 minutes... To me, topic is very interesting. I just wanted to say this trend is touching both ATP and WTA.

Chloe le Bopper
06-18-2006, 08:47 PM
Zzz.
Did you even read all of it?

Johnny Groove
06-18-2006, 08:53 PM
Agreed. :)

So much talent on the tour at the moment, and yet just about everyone is a headcase, choker, idiot, out of shape, etc. It is very tough to balance out the talent with the mental problems, before the talent is gone, either to age or injury. And it also sucks when one player has the grit and determination and yet, for some reason, loses it at one point, and never gets it back. Like roddick and then he lost it to Fed, or Hewitt, who had it, lost it, and is now currently trying to get it back. Ive heard stories about how Agassi in his 20's used to drive around for Taco Bell's at night so he could eat. Now, obviously, Taco Bell isnt going to give you a 6-pack, but he won back then because of immense talent. Then, as he got older, he dedicated himself to nutrition and look at what he's been able to do. Imagine if he had done that before instead of Taco Bell :banghead:

The point of it all is that at the moment, the tour is full of talent, and unfilled potential. Safin and Gasquet's ranking should not be that low, for example. If one wants to be a great tennis player, or pro in anything for that matter, one must have the talent, but also the will to win and the other intangibles. You can have all the talent in the world, but without fitness or a mental strength, you wont fulfill your potential.

elang
06-18-2006, 08:57 PM
Insightful. There are more important things than talent.

Deivid23
06-18-2006, 08:58 PM
1). Physical fitness (In the case of Berdych and Murray especially, maybe Djokovic as well)

Anyone have comments ?

Curious how Berdych has managed to win all the 5th sets he has played in his career with that poor physical fitness of his :lol:

Keep smoking that weed of yours ;)

Johnny Groove
06-18-2006, 09:03 PM
Curious how Berdych has managed to win all the 5th sets he has played in his career with that poor physical fitness of his :lol:

Keep smoking that weed of yours ;)

Hes won 6/6 :eek: , I didnt know that

NicoFan
06-18-2006, 09:05 PM
Nice post prima donna.

But I think that tennis players have always been tempermental and headcases. At least since I've watched from the late 70s. (And my dad said tennis players were tempermental even when it was mostly amateurs).

One of the reasons, imho, is that there is so much more added pressure on tennis players because they are really out there alone. Unlike many sports...like baseball, football (both), hockey, etc. etc. ... tennis players don't have any support from a team. And we all know how little the ATP helps these guys out. All the travel. I think it just wears on the guys.

As for the fitness level, its difficult to compare the fitness levels of today with the fitness levels of yesterday because the game has changed. Its much more physical now. And we have a lot of different fitness levels out there now. I won't name the guys that aren't fit because most of us know them and why make their fans feel bad because they know it too. But there are many fit players too - Rafa, James, and of course, my fav Nico M. :lol: to name a few.

supersexynadal
06-18-2006, 09:20 PM
You said the talent has diminished with age.... I have to disagree.
15-20 years ago, all the players could rely on is just talent. These days, tennis is integrated with more attention to fitness, footwork and most of all, new rackets, strings etc that give players more power or spin. I could be wrong. I didnt watch tennis ages ago coz i wasnt born but im pretty sure thats how it was.

prima donna
06-18-2006, 09:20 PM
Curious how Berdych has managed to win all the 5th sets he has played in his career with that poor physical fitness of his :lol:

Keep smoking that weed of yours ;)

I understand that English isn't your first language, so maybe you're unwilling to take the time out of your schedule and actually construct a thoughtful response (obviously your schedule is filled with things to do), but I was referring to Berdych's poor movement, which translates into a physical fitness problem.

If Berdych were working on his movement, maybe he'd be developing at a quicker rate and having success when it really counts, instead of just beating guys that one would expect a player of his level to dismiss. Then again, he has to start somewhere.

Then again, that'd be called thinking outside of the box. You don't do that, you're here exclusively to troll, this is what separates idiots like you from me. I reserve my trolling for special occasions and frankly, haven't had any reason to do it as of late. :wavey:

prima donna
06-18-2006, 09:23 PM
You said the talent has diminished with age.... I have to disagree.

You're partially right, but maybe I didn't properly convey my point.

When a player is an idiot in the earlier stages of their career, they tend to settle down with age, but the downside to that is often times it's simply too late. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule (Agassi being a perfect one).

Thus, with age, talent diminishes.

Deivid23
06-18-2006, 09:28 PM
I understand that English isn't your first language, so maybe you're unwilling to take the time out of your schedule and actually construct a thoughtful response (obviously your schedule is filled with things to do), but I was referring to Berdych's poor movement, which translates into a physical fitness problem.

If Berdych were working on his movement, maybe he'd be developing at a quicker rate and having success when it really counts, instead of just beating guys that one would expect a player of his level to dismiss. Then again, he has to start somewhere.

Then again, that'd be called thinking outside of the box. You don't do that, you're here exclusively to troll, this is what separates idiots like you from me. I reserve my trolling for special occasions and frankly, haven't had any reason to do it as of late. :wavey:

Blah blah blah :zzz:

I know what fitness is and Berdych definetely doesn´t have a fitness problem. In fact, Berdych moves quite well for a guy of his height, go get a clue, jackass :hug:

PD: Btw, just to make it clear, I´ve never taken your posts seriously so keep on posting bullshit, I find it funny ocasionally :wavey:

Scotso
06-18-2006, 09:37 PM
Curious how Berdych has managed to win all the 5th sets he has played in his career with that poor physical fitness of his :lol:

Keep smoking that weed of yours ;)

Aye, Tomas is pretty fit.

prima donna
06-18-2006, 09:53 PM
Blah blah blah :zzz:

I know what fitness is and Berdych definetely doesn´t have a fitness problem. In fact, Berdych moves quite well for a guy of his height, go get a clue, jackass :hug:

PD: Btw, just to make it clear, I´ve never taken your posts seriously so keep on posting bullshit, I find it funny ocasionally :wavey:

Deivid, I've never taken you seriously for reasons that I won't disclose on a message board. Anyone that pays attention to my tendencies knows the reason, but with that being said, don't forget to participate in the infamous running of the bulls. Maybe if you're lucky enough, you'll be trampled.

Once again, physical fitness isn't only tied in with how long you can play a match, it's also tied in with other physical aspects which determine how effective you are throughout the match.

Tomas hasn't been in a 5th setter with the likes of Nadal or Federer, he'd probably never get that far at this rate with that turtle like movement.

Scotso
06-18-2006, 10:05 PM
lol... you make a fake life for yourself and then judge him? pathetic.

prima donna
06-18-2006, 10:23 PM
lol... you make a fake life for yourself and then judge him? pathetic.

Don't be such a drama queen, why are you bringing this filth into the thread ? This is why people constantly hammer you for your sexuality, because you constantly complain. This thread has nothing to do with any white lie (notice the singular usage of the word lie) that I've told in the past, if you have a problem create a thread in non tennis and we'll discuss it like good ole boys from Georgia. Ya hear ?
;)

Hahaha, but really, stop it. I'm an asshole, that's already been established. Can we talk about tennis now ?

PamV
06-18-2006, 10:45 PM
In 2003 & 2004 people were saying Roger was the strongest mentally of everyone. It all depends on the time frame you look at. It's easier for a player to be mentally strong when they are new and on the rise and there isn't a pressure on them to necessarily win all the time.

It also depends on the type of opponent that anyone happens to face, and how they match up. Sampras had such a weapon in the serve that he could naturally be very confident that would get him out of trouble.

I am getting kind of tired of hearing peoople say Federer is not so mentally strong when he's been more dominant winning more frequently than even Pete did for this long of a period. Pete was mentally strong, of course.....but he didn't necessarily TRY to win everything.

stebs
06-18-2006, 10:48 PM
I agree to some extent.

There are too many players coming through who don't seem to be able to get it right in the head but there are different types of not getting it right mentally. I can think of three main types: Choking, Tanking, Lapses.

Choking is, of course, failure to close out a match/set/game due to nerves. I think this is really only overcome by experience. Some players don't have this much but I think to some extent everyone has trouble closing out a match or holding a lead. Some have more trouble than others of course.

Tanking is not bothering to try, giving it up. This is a more petulant thing to do and experience in tennis doesn't cure this so much as growing up and getting over yourself. I think the more arrogant players are more likely to do this.

Lapses are had by everyone but of course once again some more than others. Nadal is the only guy out there who it is really rare to see a lapse out of. I think this is to do with simple concentration levels that are unlikely to change drastically with age/experience. This can often be mistaken for tanking.


I don't think that the upcoming generation of players are hugely different from the older in these attributes. I think what we're seeing is talent developing younger which means that the mental state hasn't developed fully when we are seeing these guys play whereas previously it was more likely that by the time a player was on the world stage they had grown up and had some experience.

Just a thought.

Deivid23
06-19-2006, 05:56 AM
Deivid, I've never taken you seriously for reasons that I won't disclose on a message board. Anyone that pays attention to my tendencies knows the reason, but with that being said, don't forget to participate in the infamous running of the bulls. Maybe if you're lucky enough, you'll be trampled.

Once again, physical fitness isn't only tied in with how long you can play a match, it's also tied in with other physical aspects which determine how effective you are throughout the match.

Tomas hasn't been in a 5th setter with the likes of Nadal or Federer, he'd probably never get that far at this rate with that turtle like movement.

:smoke: :smoke:

supersexynadal
06-19-2006, 07:57 AM
You're partially right, but maybe I didn't properly convey my point.

When a player is an idiot in the earlier stages of their career, they tend to settle down with age, but the downside to that is often times it's simply too late. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule (Agassi being a perfect one).

Thus, with age, talent diminishes.
Oh i get it. I thought u meant age meaning as time goes on, the future generations of tennis players are less talented. I thought ur point was that todays players arent as talendted as they were 10 years ago.

Take nadal and gasquet for example. I think its long before we see gasquet mature and that a big disadvantage. I dont see him making it into the top 5 because of that. He can be as lethal as gaudio and ferrer but thats as good as it will get for him. Someone like nadal will just kepp getting better. Already talented and mature so even if he quits early, he'll have acomplished all he could

Puschkin
06-19-2006, 08:41 AM
I think its long before we see gasquet mature and that a big disadvantage. I dont see him making it into the top 5 because of that.

We will come back to that in two years from now ;)

As for the thread topic, I prefer talent to brain when watching tennis., though I have to admit the combination is the best ;).

heya
06-19-2006, 08:59 AM
If you're tall, thin, very powerful and most importantly, agile in the arms and feet, you can
get away with a mediocrity(average speed serve, shanking backhands, wild forehands, repetitive slices).

mecir72
06-19-2006, 09:26 AM
I dont think this generation is more talented than any other generation and I don think there are mor epeople with physical or mental problems than any other generation.
Physically I would say this is the best generation playing right now infact.
There has always been alot of players who didnt quite fulfill their potential (hence the word potential).

Action Jackson
06-19-2006, 09:48 AM
I dont think this generation is more talented than any other generation and I don think there are mor epeople with physical or mental problems than any other generation.
Physically I would say this is the best generation playing right now infact.
There has always been alot of players who didnt quite fulfill their potential (hence the word potential).

Takk.

On a side note Berdych is actually quite fit, he is lazy.

Puschkin
06-19-2006, 10:03 AM
If you're tall, thin, very powerful and most importantly, agile in the arms and feet, you can
get away with a mediocrity(average speed serve, shanking backhands, wild forehands, repetitive slices).

I would be very happy to be mediocre like that :p

richie21
06-19-2006, 12:33 PM
Oh i get it. I thought u meant age meaning as time goes on, the future generations of tennis players are less talented. I thought ur point was that todays players arent as talendted as they were 10 years ago.

Take nadal and gasquet for example. I think its long before we see gasquet mature and that a big disadvantage. I dont see him making it into the top 5 because of that. He can be as lethal as gaudio and ferrer but thats as good as it will get for him. Someone like nadal will just kepp getting better. Already talented and mature so even if he quits early, he'll have acomplished all he could


Gasquet needs more time to mature than a Nadal mainly because his game(like Roger's game) is a lot more risky than Nadal's one......that's not a coincidence if defensive players like Nadal, Hewitt or Chang mature very soon and players like Federer mature a lot later.

star
06-19-2006, 01:07 PM
2). Mental strength ( As Nadal has proven, it's not something that's developed, it's something that you have within yourself) (Marat Safin, the weakest of the weak when it comes to this element. )

I have to disagree with you on this point. Although some players have mental strength, others develop it. I'd say Lendl is a prime example. He came on tour and had the reputation of always losing the important matches. He worked hard. He worked with a psychologist and he worked physicially. He became an iron man on the court physically and mentally. It's true he couldn't get past his mental block at Wimbledon, but there are other mentally strong players who couldn't get by some block or another (Sampras at RG, Borg at the USO).

And there are also players who can sustain that mental toughness only for a period of time. Courier was very strong, but it lasted a rather short period compared to some others. The same for McEnroe.

Federer also has developed mental strength -- what he likes to call selbsttvertrauen (self confidence.) Through his early career he talked a lot about his lack of selbstvertrauen and many times attributed his losses to a lack of selbstvertrauen. Now, in his press conferences he talks about his trust that he can win. So, prehaps he doesn't talk about it as "mental toughness" but it's the same thing. And I think it's false to say he isn't mentally tough. Obviously, he is. I think this past week at Halle he demonstrated his determination to win several times. But, as I said before, even the players regared as mentally tough have their moments where they aren't.

Nadal, who refers to this ephemeral quality as "attitude", also has his moments where he doesn't play with the right attitude, i.e. serving for the RG championship and being broken.

I think you are making mental toughness out to be a certain "thing" when it is really a combination of factors both physical and psychological.

As Mats says --- Balls and Heart. :)

cobalt60
06-19-2006, 02:03 PM
I agree to some extent.

There are too many players coming through who don't seem to be able to get it right in the head but there are different types of not getting it right mentally. I can think of three main types: Choking, Tanking, Lapses.

Choking is, of course, failure to close out a match/set/game due to nerves. I think this is really only overcome by experience. Some players don't have this much but I think to some extent everyone has trouble closing out a match or holding a lead. Some have more trouble than others of course.

Tanking is not bothering to try, giving it up. This is a more petulant thing to do and experience in tennis doesn't cure this so much as growing up and getting over yourself. I think the more arrogant players are more likely to do this.

Lapses are had by everyone but of course once again some more than others. Nadal is the only guy out there who it is really rare to see a lapse out of. I think this is to do with simple concentration levels that are unlikely to change drastically with age/experience. This can often be mistaken for tanking.


I don't think that the upcoming generation of players are hugely different from the older in these attributes. I think what we're seeing is talent developing younger which means that the mental state hasn't developed fully when we are seeing these guys play whereas previously it was more likely that by the time a player was on the world stage they had grown up and had some experience.

Just a thought.
Great post. And just to add- sometimes arrogance and confidence go hand in hand. JMac and JConnors come to mind. I think you hit it on the head when you mention that players start so much earlier these days. They lead such a sheltered life that the maturity they need isn't developed yet. And then as they do well, outside influences that they have lead to heightened egos and also pressure. No wonder sports psychology is such a new science;)

prima donna
06-19-2006, 02:35 PM
I have to disagree with you on this point. Although some players have mental strength, others develop it. I'd say Lendl is a prime example. He came on tour and had the reputation of always losing the important matches. He worked hard. He worked with a psychologist and he worked physicially. He became an iron man on the court physically and mentally. It's true he couldn't get past his mental block at Wimbledon, but there are other mentally strong players who couldn't get by some block or another (Sampras at RG, Borg at the USO).

And there are also players who can sustain that mental toughness only for a period of time. Courier was very strong, but it lasted a rather short period compared to some others. The same for McEnroe.

Federer also has developed mental strength -- what he likes to call selbsttvertrauen (self confidence.) Through his early career he talked a lot about his lack of selbstvertrauen and many times attributed his losses to a lack of selbstvertrauen. Now, in his press conferences he talks about his trust that he can win. So, prehaps he doesn't talk about it as "mental toughness" but it's the same thing. And I think it's false to say he isn't mentally tough. Obviously, he is. I think this past week at Halle he demonstrated his determination to win several times. But, as I said before, even the players regared as mentally tough have their moments where they aren't.

Nadal, who refers to this ephemeral quality as "attitude", also has his moments where he doesn't play with the right attitude, i.e. serving for the RG championship and being broken.

I think you are making mental toughness out to be a certain "thing" when it is really a combination of factors both physical and psychological.

As Mats says --- Balls and Heart. :)

Roger's mental strength has definitely improved, but he's had a few brain farts (that would have cost him the match against a certain other player) and no I'm not talking about the final in Roma.

Not gonna call him out on them, obviously, because he's my favorite. ;)

Anyway, you raise some good points, especially with regard to Lendl.

Angle Queen
06-19-2006, 03:00 PM
Sports seem to be going through a transition, be it in the NBA, NFL or on the ATP Tour.I don't necessarily think this is a new phenomena. 20 years ago I was describing some of the pitchers on our local AAA baseball team (just one step below MLB)...as having a million-dollar arm and a 10-cent brain. Just a few years later, I revised it to a 5-million-dollar arm...and a nickel brain. They had great fastballs but no placement...and certainly no other "go-to" backup pitch. They'd have one or two decent years in the Bigs...then just fade away.

Kinda like Roddick...with his 140mph serve...that, duh, opponents have finally caught up with/to.

While there's no question there's a lot of skill out on tour at the moment, I also think there are some "brains" out there. They're top 50 instead of top 10...and would only be Top 100...or not at all...if they weren't thinking their games through and making the very best of the skill set they have.

And when I think of "thinking" players...I tend to think of the older guys. Not because they're older, per se, but because to still hang around, they've got to have adequate (but not necessarily "top") technical skills as well as the mental ones. Although recently retired, Todd Martin comes to mind as one of the real thinkers...as is Bjorkman, particularly on the doubles court.

For the most part, younger guys don't really need to "think" their way through a match...and that's part of the allure of youth –- invincibility, stupidity and physical prowess. We excuse their mistakes, their unexpected losses but continue to be awed when they suceed. The only youngsters I actually enjoy watching for their tennis are Gasquet and Djokovic. I'll tune in to Nadal and Bagdahtis for their personality's approach to game. The others, eh, I could take or leave.

Thank goodness...we all grow up and here's hoping the current crop of young "talents" can mature into...mature players.

prima donna
06-19-2006, 03:06 PM
I don't necessarily think this is a new phenomena. 20 years ago I was describing some of the pitchers on our local AAA baseball team (just one step below MLB)...as having a million-dollar arm and a 10-cent brain. Just a few years later, I revised it to a 5-million-dollar arm...and a nickel brain. They had great fastballs but no placement...and certainly no other "go-to" backup pitch. They'd have one or two decent years in the Bigs...then just fade away.

Good example, the only difference is that in baseball these guys are forced to improve their stuff. If they aren't able to throw in a change up or some form of an off speed pitch, there's gonna be big trouble at the next level. Even if obviously, much like the success Roddick had, that'd be short lived.

( tommy john surgery has forced plenty brainless wonders into retirement or to come up with something better )

Great thing about pitchers is all they have to do is develop their stuff and if they have a halfway decent catcher calling their games, there's no thinking involved because they're being told exactly when to throw what pitch and where to throw it.

Tennis is such an independent sport that if a guy just doesn't get it, then he's pretty much stranded on an island. Not even coaching can help, because the truth is that you can only do so much from the stands. I've heard stories about Laver and how impatient he was, going for dumb shots and so forth earlier in his career ... so all players of all generations go through it .... but Pete's generation just always seemed a step ahead in maturity ....

mandoura
06-19-2006, 03:59 PM
Interesting thread PD.

I kind of agree with you, specially about Murray and Roddick.

I also agree with Star about Lendl. A similar example to Lendl would be Ancic. I think his "choking" or mental weakness is no longer a problem. Another example would be Gonzo.

Steb's post is very true too, specially the last paragraph.

Anyways, talent is definitely not enough. With the available new equipment (rackets/strings as SSN mentionned) , the high fitness levels and mental toughness of some players, the winning formula would be a combination of all these elements where the ratio of each will be relative to the player and his talent.

Jenrios
06-19-2006, 08:00 PM
I agree there are talented players out t here who aren't performing as well as they should - and I think part of the reason is money. They get so much money from sponsorship deals and prize money, they can make a good living without ever reaching the top pf the game. Maybe titles and prestige don't 'drive' them to excel. If they hover around that top 50 mark for a few years, they'll make plenty of money.

Jenrios
06-19-2006, 08:03 PM
Lendl said that when he first came on the tour, all he cared about was making money, not winning big titles. He admitted he had little regard for the history of the game - and then found himself in the predicament that he couldn't win 'the big ones'. He turned his career around - with diet, pyschologist and Tony Roche. I actually think that US Open 1985 was his 'turnaround' slam - not RG 84.