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View Poll Results: Future of taller tennis players

Taller men will win dominate 8 13.11%
Taller men will win frequently but probably won't dominate 34 55.74%
Taller men will win infrequently 9 14.75%
Taller men will win rarely and never dominate 9 14.75%
Other 1 1.64%
Voters: 61. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-11-2012, 05:03 AM   #1
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Default Will taller men take over the game?

I had a heights of slam winners thread created a couple years ago, and it slightly showed maybe a tendency that heights were getting ultimately taller. I created an update for that thread, but I have yet to edit in the changes, but maybe I will later..

Anyways, this is more of a discussion/poll if you think taller men will eventually take over the game. We had talents such as Safin, Krajicek and Del Potro (who became the tallest ever to win a slam) taste success at the highest (no pun intended) level of our sport, however, none of them were able to dominate the game (at least yet for Del Potro). But with different standards of physical requirements for our game, taller men are slowly beginning to rival the footwork and speed of their shorter counterparts. Players like Monfils, Berdych, Del Potro, Cilic, are all pretty good movers and certainly don't fit the previous notion that tall men are unable to have similar movement off the ground as shorter players.

Certainly these taller men have many advantages that shorter players will never have, such as a higher serve contact point, longer reach, generally larger bodies for more weight into their shots and ability to handle higher bouncing balls more easily. Sure, they may be prone to more injuries perhaps and are not naturally as agile or deliberate in their movement, but again, as the physical changes have been taken place, taller men seem to have benefited the most since the transition first began.

Thoughts? Before you start, this isn't a Del Potro/Janowicz bandwagon/hype thread.

E: First option in the poll should state "Taller men will win and dominate"
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?

Del Potro/Janowicz bandwagon/hype thread.








Sorry, couldn't help myself.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BackhandDTL View Post
Del Potro/Janowicz bandwagon/hype thread.








Sorry, couldn't help myself.
well, as if this development wasn't happening for the past decade anyways. It would have originally been a Safin hype thread, then a Del Potro hype thread, etc.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?

The difference between now and then, I'd say, is the surface speed. I feel like that keeps coming up these days, but I believe it's relevant to this discussion.

I believe we'll continue to see champions in that 6'1 to 6'4 range, but I don't think "big" men will ever "dominate" the game because the slower surfaces overemphasizes great movement while resisting the big hitters. It's hard to imagine guys hitting much harder or moving much better than Del Potro, but you can see his limitations against great defenders on these surfaces. There's also injuries to consider that seem to be increasingly frequent as the game reaches its physical heights.

Paradoxically, though, I'd say this is somewhat contradicted by clay, where guys like Soderling, Del Potro, and Berdych have made serious inroads toward the top of the game. There, things are slowed just enough where they genuinely do have more time to get behind shots and take big swings at the ball. Meanwhile, they hit big enough so that other guys don't enjoy that same luxury against them. I think this even showed in Sharapova's success there this year. I'm interested in seeing how things shape out on clay as Nadal gradually concedes his throne there.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?

I think we'll see lots more one dimensional serve bots/bashers, but they won't dominate a the highest level because of their inherent inconsistency.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:21 AM   #6
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?

As long as the game is focused on endurance and slow courts, tall men will never dominate the game. Heck, even when the courts were fast in the 90s there wasn't really a domination by tall players.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hipolymer View Post
As long as the game is focused on endurance and slow courts, tall men will never dominate the game. Heck, even when the courts were fast in the 90s there wasn't really a domination by tall players.
Because taller players have better chances on slower courts... Can't deny if Safin had a much more consistent mental game that he would have done more damage. We aren't talking about Karlovic-like movement here.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:26 AM   #8
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?

no, I don't think modern tennis is made for tall men at all, drawbacks are as important as advantages in reality.

One reason of the rather small evolution over the years is just that the men's height has increased in the whole world over the years, it's not specific to tennis.

the evolution by a little bit more than 5 centimeters over 40 years is not much different from the one of the general population, I think.

Some stats :

http://www.tennis28.com/charts/qf_height_slam.GIF

As you can see, the main increasing was between 1976 and 1987 from 1.79m to 1.85m : actually the period where the biggest evolutions seem to have taken place in tennis, it's also true for the stats about the players' age actually which decreased a lot in that period (the second most changing period seems to be since around 2005 with age increasing and height seeming to increase again).

Since then it's been quite stable except an evolution since 2005 from 1.84m to 1.87-1.88. But the stats are made on slams' quarterfinalists and it's still a small panel to evaluate especially as the same players keep on and on reaching slam quarterfinals.

PS : to the American and English writing everywhere in the tennis international media, do you realize that speaking in feet and inches, or miles per hour, is a specificity of yours and not the international norm ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interna...ystem_of_Units
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:40 AM   #9
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BackhandDTL View Post
Paradoxically, though, I'd say this is somewhat contradicted by clay, where guys like Soderling, Del Potro, and Berdych have made serious inroads toward the top of the game. There, things are slowed just enough where they genuinely do have more time to get behind shots and take big swings at the ball. Meanwhile, they hit big enough so that other guys don't enjoy that same luxury against them.
yes, slow surfaces are better for bad movers who hit a very heavy ball, quicker surfaces are only better for their serve but anyway modern clay is quick enough for a good serve to be useful.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?

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Originally Posted by HKz View Post
Because taller players have better chances on slower courts...
This is true, but that advantage is mostly offset by the increased difficulty of penetrating the court when they're faced with an exceptional mover/defender (IE any one of the big four), who are undoubtedly the guys who will continue to make it to the end of big events.

A guy like Del Potro is great on a slower court against most of the field. But when he faces the top guys, because of their movement and defense, I actually think he'd be better off on a quicker surface. Otherwise he ends up hitting himself into exhaustion against a great defense, like in his second set v. Djokovic at the US Open.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:03 AM   #11
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BackhandDTL View Post
This is true, but that advantage is mostly offset by the increased difficulty of penetrating the court when they're faced with an exceptional mover/defender (IE any one of the big four), who are undoubtedly the guys who will continue to make it to the end of big events.

A guy like Del Potro is great on a slower court against most of the field. But when he faces the top guys, because of their movement and defense, I actually think he'd be better off on a quicker surface. Otherwise he ends up hitting himself into exhaustion against a great defense, like in his second set v. Djokovic at the US Open.
I agree with this. Del Potro is definitely by far the best of the 'taller man', you're hardly going to get a player his size hitting harder or with more metronomic consistency. Not to mention he moves very adequately for his size as well.

Yes, injuries have derailed but even if they hadn't it's very hard to imagine JMDP as the dominant force of the ATP tour ever. On the current surfaces, even in peak form he's likely to often get frustrated by the defenses of Djokovic, Murray, the top 4 really. In order to be dominant, a player like JMDP would have to play at an extraordinarily high level every time he faced those guys to beat them consistently because his would be winners on a fast court will keep coming back to him.

Taller men dominating the game is not feasible unless the surfaces get sped up. Currently tennis favors athleticism, stamina, movement, defense... over anything else and the taller players are obviously at a disadvatange there.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:41 AM   #12
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?

I think the slight increase in average height of players simply reflects the slight increase in the average height of all people.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:57 AM   #13
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?





























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Old 12-11-2012, 11:58 AM   #14
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?

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Originally Posted by StatRacket View Post
I think the slight increase in average height of players simply reflects the slight increase in the average height of all people.
I don't think average height of all people has increased as rapidly as that.

There's also the little point that a higher percentage of players nowadays come from countries where the general population height is lower. There are fewer Americans, Swedes, Australians and Germans in QFs these days, and more Spaniards, Frenchmen, Russians and Argentines.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:32 PM   #15
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Default Re: Will taller men take over the game?

No because generally tall men have problems with their movement and fitness
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