Why did it take almost 15 years for men's tennis to have another teen slam champion?

the cat
06-06-2005, 02:32 PM
Congrats to Rafael Nadal on beocoming the first ATP teenage since 1990 to win a grand slam singles title. :D :tennis: But why did it take almost 15 years since Pete Sampras won the 1990 U.S. Open at age 19 for the ATP Tour to produce another teenage grand slam singles champion in Nadal who won the 2005 French Open at age 19? My guess is the improved depth in men's tennis the last 10 to 15 years has made is harder than it used to be for an ATP teenage to win a grand slam singles title.

The 1980's produced 4 ATP players who won their first grand slam singles titles as teenagers. Mats Wilander, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Michael Chang all won their first slams as teenagers in the 1980's. That seemed to be a common occurance back then. But then it took almost 15 years after Sampras won the 1990 U.S. Open to produce another teenage men's grand slam singles champion. I suppose the main reason for it taking almost 15 years to happen again is the great depth in men's tennis. And that makes Pete Sampras winning 14 grand slam singles titles even more remarkable than originanly thought.

Action Jackson
06-06-2005, 02:33 PM
It's not WTA for one.

There has been a levelling out of the playing field over time that made it more difficult.

the cat
06-06-2005, 02:34 PM
Very true George. And thanks for the fastest reply I've ever gotten in one of my threads. :bolt: ;)

Angle Queen
06-06-2005, 02:51 PM
Because the current level of the game is played by men...not boys. They've literally got to fill into their frame to have the necessary power and stamina.

And I don't think males reach their athletic peak until their 20s (sometimes early, sometimes late)...whereas I believe females reach their athletic prime in their mid- to late teens. Perhaps I'm speaking out of turn, but look at other 'sports' where males and females compete (not necessarily with each other but in the same general manner). Gymnastics and Ice Skating. It's not unusual to see very young and successful females while the guys...take a little longer to break onto the scene. This isn't to say that women in their 20s, 30s and beyond aren't good athletes...merely that I believe the majority of them reach their natural peak earlier. That said, I think Mary Pierce at 30, in a GS final, is even more of an accomplishment than Andre still in the main draws at 35.

Sorry if I wandered a bit, Cat.

06-06-2005, 03:18 PM
Nadal keeps breaking Andre's old records :bigcry:

the cat
06-06-2005, 04:11 PM
Good points Angle. Especially about how the guys need to fill out their frames to win. And young Rafael Nadal has filled out his frame quite well as many of his female fans would say. :yeah:

Records are meant to be broken Tangy. ;)

06-06-2005, 04:50 PM
Nadal keeps breaking Andre's old records ----


It's not so bad to be second best at the most matches won in succession as a male teenager in the Open era (did you actually even KNOW that AA held that record???:) IF you're going to stick around and play top ten tennis into your mid 30's!!

Now if Nadal can play for another 17 years...and stay in the top 10, 15-16 of those years...get to number one at 33 years of age...go bald...marry Maria Sharapova ... and become the easy, eloquent voice of tennis, he may make AA completely irrelevant.... :) :)

And actually Nadal does have some real advantages over the young Andre...when I began following AA's career in the mid 1980's, Andre was a scrawny 5' 10", 140 pounds (much of that weight in hair :) flash and dasher... tennis talented, for sure, but not the consummate athlete... One SI writer contribunted in a 1988 article after Lendl beat AA in the US Open semis to "watch out if [Agassi] ever decides to visit a gym" :) It took him mucho years before he took the gym and the diet thing seriously for more than a couple of weeks/months at a time.

Nadal is over 6' tall...and obviously has been in a lot of gyms from looks of his muscular structure...and I would say that he's a much better natural athlete than Agassi...more like Boris Becker in that regard.

Also, Nadal has the media and the tennis insiders behind him...it's very "in" to be in Nadal's corner. Media are referring to Nadal as a "well-mannered" professional." I don't recall a lot of Agassi articles with that quote until he was close to 30 :)

In Agassi's teenaged years...and beyond actually...Agassi was the butt of the press venom (some of that he may have earned...but I don't recall too many writers other than Bodo giving him any slack for being young). From Carillo to Feinstein to deFord, EVERYONE wrote that Agassi was a flash in the pan..."See him now..." they wrote, "because he won't be around in a few years." That was later '80's and early '90's.

I just read an article (from 1990, I believe??) in which Agassi, stung with the anti-Agassi press-attention, was quoted as saying that he knew that the public would be more taken with all-American boy Sampras...that Sampras would be the fan-favorite :) I kid you not!!!

Anyway, best to Nadal...he will be fun to watch for some time to come...and since we're not likely to have Andre in the public arena much longer, tennis needs Nadal and a few more like him to try to fill the shoes of Andre Agassi...certainly not the best player ever to pick up a pro racket...but I would argue, certainly the most interesting!!!

the cat
06-06-2005, 06:13 PM
Great post Joy. :D And Nadal as a teenager is much different than Agassi was as a teenager.