Re: Grinding wins agains, speed up the courts or the sport will die.
Why have courts been slowed down? Because of '90s acefests on grass and carpet that were boring, at least for the big crowd.
Why did there was acefests in '90s? Tennis had developed, and I'd say improved racquets and strings were one big reason. I think that was the first phase of slowing down courts.
But, since mid-00s, I don't think courts have been slowed down anymore for that reason. Grass wasn't anymore an acefest, and USO was quite medium-paced, '03 finalists Roddick and Ferrero as a proof of that. But, I think the reason was to stop Federer, and slow courts were where you could beat Fed. The only tournament Fed was hoped to win, was RG. And I don't think it's a coincidence it's the only slam that's been speeded up. And after Fed reached CGS, ATP/ITF's aim was to get a CGS also for Rafa. So, after Rafa won the slowed-down AO, only USO was missing. And USO got then slower and slower every year, and Rafa won there. And because big crowd loves long rallies, they haven't speeded up USO then. Plus Wimby playing like fast HC, HC slams being slow(ish) HCs, and RG being relatively fast clay, slams play more similarly than ten years ago. And that enables the Big Four to succeed in every slam. And the two newest members of Big Four, Djokovic and Murray are defensive players because that's the way you succeed these days, unless you're an extremely skilled player like Roger.
So, with ATP/ITF making surfaces favour big names, it seems there is no hope for faster surfaces. The new big names will probably be defensive players and current surfaces favour that kind of players. But if the next big names were good fast-court players, maybe ATP would then speed up the courts to favour them. But it seems difficult for an offensive player to get to top.
But if I was the boss of ATP, my compromise between commercial interest and game would the the following. First of all, freeze the racquet/string technology and take a strict attitude towards doping. That would prevent the game developing too much. Then, speed up grass to what it was in about '03. Not anymore an acefest but fast still. Keep clay as it is, it's as slow as grass was fast in '03. And speed up HCs to what they were in mid-00s before the massive slowing down. And make indoors fast. Carpet would maybe be too fast but fast HC would be great.
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2014 Australian Open Champion | 2014 Monte Carlo Masters Champion
2008 Paris Masters Champion | 2014 Toronto Masters Champion