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You make some good points, but I want to dig deeper on this:

Firstly, the slowing of the courts is a matter of record. In fact, it began at the USO in 2002, making this the very last USO with the faster surface. See e.g.: Are U.S. Open Tennis Courts Even Slower in 2010?

Remember that Lleyton Hewitt, who loved fast surfaces, won his only USO in 2001.



Whatever about Novak today, if this was true, it would have been very noticeable in the matches Fed played against Agassi, especially the ones when Fed wasn't ripe and Agassi wasn't that much past his prime (such as the R4 match at the 2001 USO). But Agassi's extra power on the forehand wasn't apparent then; if anything, it was the other way round in terms of hitting through the court.

(And incidentally, regarding Novak's FH speed, we shouldn't forget that when he emerged on the scene, he had one of the biggest and best FHs going.)



Well, Sampras hit his FH with much more topspin than Agassi, so that kind of undermines your theory. Although admittedly, neither hit with the freakish topspin of a Rafa or even Fed.



In this match, it's not right to say that Pete beat Andre with the forehand. Pete was very reluctant to engage in rallies, so he hit a lot of wild shots: some were winners or near winners; some went way long, but the way he played them wasn't dominating at all. Sampras didn't win this from the back court at all.
Pete Sampras hits his forehand with much more topspin than Andre Agassi?

You are on some GOOD stuff! 馃槀
 

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What qualities do you think Hewitt had that helped him to dismantle Sampras rather easily? Sampras was broken on his very first service game in the final, the first time in the tournament if I recall.
Lleyton Hewitt and Pete Sampras were playing some tight matches and tight sets up until the end of 2000 when Lleyton Hewitt crushed Pete Sampras in the Masters Cup. He also beat Pete Sampras comfortably in the finish up at Queens earlier in the year. The match-up was starting to turn in Lleyton Hewitt's favour. The Australian was still developing and therefore was more of an unknown quantity. Pete Sampras' definitely was not as settled playing Lleyton Hewitt like he would Andre Agassi, who he knew inside and out.

Lleyton Hewitt was a lot faster than Andre Agassi. He was better at getting returns back in play. He had a much better passing game, particularly with the threat of the lob that Pete Sampras would always have been conscious of.

Those were exciting times in tennis. Full of different styles and courts. Plenty of up and coming players who had bottle.
 

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I don't know Burrow, things seem blazing fast in comparison to Federer vs. Sandgren/Millman U.S. Open 2019.

Yes they were hitting the ball flat, but I don't think that accounts for everything
Of course it's faster and I didn't say that hitting flat accounts for everything.

1. They are power players. They tend to hit the ball really fecking hard, anyway.
2. They both so happen to hit the ball flat. The most topspinny shot on court is obviously the Pete Sampras backhand, which was mostly a containing shot.
3. They were playing first strike tennis, more so than not.
4. The court was quite fast. It wasn't even close to being the fastest court on the circuit at the time. Paris TMS, for instance, was much quicker, but the Bercy camera angle didn't really allow people to see how quick the court really is.
5. Neither one of these players cared about making an error, in neutral situations. The court may seem quicker because you'll see either hit some kind of error wildly when they could have just "Djokovic'd" it back in to the court. Neither were about that life, though.

Cheers.
 

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@Servebots=GOAT 's most wet dreams :love: . Seriously . what a match and match up . I grew up with these two , really different players . And that was tennis back then ,clashes of styles . The age of specialists too.
Yeah the contrast of styles back then was fascinating to watch. Sampras vs Agassi was an awesome matchup and produced many thrillers.
 

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Agassi was born too early? Maybe. He would have won more than 8 had he been born in 1975 rather then 1970. As it was, he still won 5 slams in the transitional era between the Fed era and the Sampras era. (1999-2003).

If he had been born in 1980, he might have won just a couple of slams. (was he better on clay than JCF? He didn't beat JCF in 2004, and he didn't beat Guga either. After 2005, he wouldn't win the French.

Both Federer and Djokovic are better than him on slow hardcourts. And Federer is better than Sampras on Grass. I don't really see where a player of Agassi's calibre is going to win slams. He's certainly better than Stan, and somewhat better than Murray (15 GS vs 11). I say he wins maybe 5 slams in the Big 3 era, and that's on the high side.
 

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Pete Sampras hits his forehand with much more topspin than Andre Agassi?

You are on some GOOD stuff! 馃槀
I know it's surprising, but there was a study that measured forehand rpms and found that Pete had more topspin than Andre.

Both were well behind the likes of Bruguera, Muster and Courier, but of the two Sampras had the more topspin, at least at the higher end of the range.

So I am afraid your sarcasm is misplaced in this instance.
 

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I'm not sure why people in this thread think that court was "blazingly quick" or whatever. It was quite fast, but it wasn't ridiculously fast like a carpet court.
Don't think those USO courts were that quick, average movement of the players make it look quicker than it really was.

As for carpet, it's a common mistake to say it was quick. it was actually pretty slow, this was confirmed to me (to my surprise) when i watched a replay of Federer-Ljubicic at Basel in 2003. Of course some carpet courts would play quicker (like Eckental challenger) but it isn't necessarily quicker than a hard court.
 

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Don't think those USO courts were that quick, average movement of the players make it look quicker than it really was.
Well , one is consequence of the other. HC Surface used to be faster , position the court closer to the baseline, resulting in movement (quicker adjustments) , striking (shorter, on the rise, flatter) , tactics (more attacking style, aggressive, one-two punch, s&v, etc)
 

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Well , one is consequence of the other. HC Surface used to be faster , position the court closer to the baseline, resulting in movement (quicker adjustments) , striking (shorter, on the rise, flatter) , tactics (more attacking style, aggressive, one-two punch, s&v, etc)
Yes, different ballgame, shorter stroke definitely needed. Not totally sure about needing to play close to baseline, would have liked to see how someone like Monfils, Medvedev, Zverev would have fared in late 90/early 2000. If you know a player with that gamestyle back then tell me, i don't think such players existed...
 

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Yes, different ballgame, shorter stroke definitely needed. Not totally sure about needing to play close to baseline, would have liked to see how someone like Monfils, Medvedev, Zverev would have fared in late 90/early 2000. If you know a player with that gamestyle back then tell me, i don't think such players existed...
No, no,no . In my opinion

Athletic tall beseline like Monfils, he's one rarest breed ever. No I don't recall anything like him before him but he would have been a huge success IMO for those years, people don't generally see Monfils versatility, he can play both defending and attacking , slow and fast courts , a varying of shots and styles. He mixes up and surprises opponents. He's a top 5-6 in his GREAT generation IMO. So yeah .

Big men like Daniil and Zasha with far behind the line ,definitely no , they are ultimate modern creatures of slow high jumping HCs, with no plan B , no power. Its like different sports to the 90s . May be they would beat peak Sampras now and Sampras would fk OWNED back then . Just too differnt games. These last two would not come anywhere close to top ten back then
 

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Pete had arguably best 2nd serve ever. Going for it on his 2nd delivery was his basic working strategy. Nowadays it's more commonly used tactics but back then there were only a few players who did it, most of other just rolled in the 2nd serve.
During his time he did but as of now I鈥檇 take Isner鈥檚 as the best second serve. He a lot of times hits it over 120 mph with a comfortable margin and the kick he gets is insane. Of course being 6鈥10鈥 helps.
 

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Agassi hit the ball on the rise and even though that is considered a great thing because you are "taking time away from your opponent" it also can lead to your balls landing too short into the court. I mean when you hit the ball on the rise its not easy to control your depth, and even someone as masterful as Agassi will occasionally drop the ball short, and Sampras will attack those short balls with the booming forehand.
That鈥檚 a huge part of Nadal鈥檚 strategy to win matches. He knows his opponents won鈥檛 likely be able to hit his topspin moon balls on the rise effectively the whole match so his opponents end up breaking down. Only Djokovic and Federer from 2017 onwards could consistently do it.
 

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No, no,no . In my opinion

Athletic tall beseline like Monfils, he's one rarest breed ever. No I don't recall anything like him before him but he would have been a huge success IMO for those years, people don't generally see Monfils versatility, he can play both defending and attacking , slow and fast courts , a varying of shots and styles. He mixes up and surprises opponents. He's a top 5-6 in his GREAT generation IMO. So yeah .

Big men like Daniil and Zasha with far behind the line steady topspin "no plan B",definitely no , they are ultimate modern creatures of slow high jumping HCs, . Its like different sports to the 90s . May be they would beat peak Sampras now and Sampras would fk OWNED back then . Just too differnt games. These last two would not come anywhere close to top ten back then
I don鈥檛 think Monfils would鈥檝e done well at all during the 90鈥檚 era. Even when he attacks, he takes time to load up his shots kinda like Thiem and his showings at Wimbledon have been pretty bad as well.
 

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You make some good points, but I want to dig deeper on this:

Firstly, the slowing of the courts is a matter of record. In fact, it began at the USO in 2002, making this the very last USO with the faster surface. See e.g.: Are U.S. Open Tennis Courts Even Slower in 2010?

Remember that Lleyton Hewitt, who loved fast surfaces, won his only USO in 2001.



Whatever about Novak today, if this was true, it would have been very noticeable in the matches Fed played against Agassi, especially the ones when Fed wasn't ripe and Agassi wasn't that much past his prime (such as the R4 match at the 2001 USO). But Agassi's extra power on the forehand wasn't apparent then; if anything, it was the other way round in terms of hitting through the court.

(And incidentally, regarding Novak's FH speed, we shouldn't forget that when he emerged on the scene, he had one of the biggest and best FHs going.)



Well, Sampras hit his FH with much more topspin than Agassi, so that kind of undermines your theory. Although admittedly, neither hit with the freakish topspin of a Rafa or even Fed.



In this match, it's not right to say that Pete beat Andre with the forehand. Pete was very reluctant to engage in rallies, so he hit a lot of wild shots: some were winners or near winners; some went way long, but the way he played them wasn't dominating at all. Sampras didn't win this from the back court at all.
Yeah Pete knew he wouldn鈥檛 win the match from the baseline so he did what he knew he could win the match with and got it done. As for Djokovic, he actually was a pretty offensive player who hit pretty hard when he emerged but turned into a consistent wall who got everything back and never missed.
 

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I don鈥檛 think Monfils would鈥檝e done well at all during the 90鈥檚 era. Even when he attacks, he takes time to load up his shots kinda like Thiem and his showings at Wimbledon have been pretty bad as well.
If Rios could get to N1 then Monfils could have grabbed that spot longer than him . IMO . Injuries aside let's say
 

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The two points that turned the match:


(Kind of a pity the set point ended with an ungainly volley, because it was a beautiful exchange up until then.)
 
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