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disposable robots from the assembly line?




welcome back, Mr.Clutch :hatoff:

the OP got a bit sensational, but the development in pro tennis you describe there is serious.
players shorter than 6 foot (like Agassi, Nalbandian, Hewitt, Borg) haven't won a Slam anymore in twelve years now!
during that time period we got three Slam winners taller than 6'3 instead.

tall players are physiologically unable to move very well and beyond 6'3 it starts looking clumsy.
but for the conditions we currently have on the ATP World Tour you really don't need much agility.
this development is indeed worrisome.
conditions shouldn't favour 6'6 players over 5'11 players. that's bad for the game. /argument

^^this angle isn't very different from the OP.
standard size used to be around 6'0, then it was ~6'1, currently it's rather 6'2 and its heading straight towards 6'3.
people are getting taller nowadays and there are also more tennis players worldwide than ever in the past (and as mentioned, coaches are focusing more on taller players).
this won't make Zverev a GOAT contender, but we might get MORE overly tall players who either win the Slams or are injury-sidelined.
and since there are only 4 Slams per year this might very well greatly affect the Thiems or Pouilles, so not just the shorter guys.

Impact force will depend on racquet head speed, which depends on moment arm length. However, tall players, for example, have longer arms that have more inertia. With regard to the entire body, they are heavier. They have more bone, etc. mass that doesn't contribute to the movement. But longer muscle fibers are not stronger. What affects muscle strength is cross sectional area.

This individual discrepancy works against tall players. However, their longer lever will result in equal racquet head speed with a lesser rotational velocity.

You could use golf club length as an analogy. Longer clubs hit further, but that would be a false equivalency since golf club mass is negligible compared to, for example, arm weight, which weigh 10+ lbs in men. A longer club doesn't amount to significantly more inertia. A proper analogy would be punching power, but I don't see any evidence that Lennox Lewis hit harder than Mike Tyson. Punching power isn't the reason the Klitschko's have dominated heavyweight boxing for almost the entire 2000s. But anyway...

The net effect of every variable is likely that tall players do generate slightly more power. However, my own observations are that short guys generate plenty enough. I've seen 5'10" rec players with beer guts effortlessly generate big power. Anyone can. The trick is hitting it hard and keeping it in. Watch a pro close up. They don't hit the ball as hard as they can.

Remember that hard cross court backhand Federer hit against Nadal at AO 2014 out of frustration? How often does he hit it that hard? Never.

With regard to serve, you go bigger than you do on groundstrokes, but the principal impact of height seems to be hitting angle rather than pace. A big reason Isner, etc. serve so big is they serve A LOT flatter than 6' guys do. I stand by what I said. Slower courts are enabling these unathletic bums who "serve from a tree."
he said (or at least: meant) that they generate power easier (rather via torque than force).
thats one reason (among others he explained too) why in Bo3 tournaments Nishikori has better results than Cilic, but it changes in the Slam format.

as for the bolded part: Mr.Clutch could add that the new prototype is lighter than the predecessor model.
well, also DelPotro actually had much less weight when he won the USO.
several models will get a weight problem when they get older, not mainly because of bone mass (even though that can still increase too, in your 20s).



:scared: disposable robots from the assembly line? :scared:​









what Uncle Toni said was absolutely spot-on-the-money.
but his suggested solution was to make the courts even slower (if i remember correctly).
this would help Nadal,
but how is it supposed to help guys shorter than 6 foot over Zverev types?
or open question:
what would be the solution to the problem, in your opinion?

so far i for one would agree with the following:
Slower courts are enabling these unathletic bums who "serve from a tree."
(of course we exclude clay courts from the equation.)
slowing down Wimbledon and the slowish hard courts are the problem.
Wimbly should be speed up again
and 70% of the HC tournaments should be changed to Cincinnati speed while the other 30% should be made clay events straightaway, imo.


^^i know that the ATP doesn't like those ideas of splitting the tour again!
court homogenisation was fully intentional after all.
so another question here:
hypothetically(!), which court conditions would be best for tennis if we had to decide for only ONE?
how about Har-Tru like courts? (is just a thought.)









i will 'mention' a couple of posters here who may be interested in the topics:
@philosophicalarf @Mountaindewslave @masterclass @Uncle Latso @Burrow @allpro @leng jai @Secondeuce @MWW @BackhandDTL @redshift36188 @jojjeshruk @Rychu @sexybeast
 

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It's pretty obvious to even casual observers that the additional power that comes with more height is advantageous. The narrative that tennis will now be finally overdosed on power is pretty old already.

A few more than 10 year old excerpts:

"Raw power is the coin of the realm. Oversized boomsticks carry the day. Panache may as well be the capital of France."

Meet Andy Roddick, future of the game.

"Australian Wayne Arthurs, who lost 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-4) to the 135-mph serve of 18-year-old American Andy Roddick in the first round of the Washington Classic on Monday, said he's seen the future of the game. "He's pretty much the future of the game," Arthurs said. "I hate to think what tennis is going to be like in 10 years with all these kids watching and imitating him."

Doesn't Arthurs sound like our esteemed OP here. Roddick isn't a one-off in his time amongst the young players either.

Both [Venus and Marat] are the vanguard of tennis, pushing the sport forward by mixing pure power with all-over-court athleticism as few ever have. (...) Venus Williams and Marat Safin, both just 20, have futures as promising as their strokes are punishing. (...) The 6-foot-4 (198cm) Safin, who whips serves at 135 mph, is a deft returner, can trade baseline blazes with anyone, and knows when to slip in a cradled drop shot or topspin lob. (...) "He serves harder than I did at 19. He's more powerful," said Sampras (...). "He doesn't have many holes. He moves well. He's going to win many majors." (...)

The guy who actually took over instead of these power players, Federer was seen as a bit of a throwback even in 2003 with his onehanded backhand and beautiful all-court game, a blend of power and finesse that was remarked on repeatedly.

He was displaced not by tall, big hitters, but by Nadal and Djokovic whose best asset was their great return game and outrageous defense.

All these players (+ others like Murray, Ferrer, Hewitt) are/were highly effective at their best to neutralize the weapons of the giants and could thus prevent the big hitters from successfully taking over the tour. I don't see why we wouldn't see more players in the Djokovic/Murray mold in the future.

Tall, big hitters might move better than ever, yet to this day they can't match the superior movement of the best guys around 185 cm, who also don't lack for power. Will they ever reach the level of movement of those shorter guys? It seems unlikely now, but then again, who'd have thought that a guy with the physique of Usain Bolt could possibly win the 100m? It's unheard of and yet he destroyed the field. Potential drug use is an unknown quantity that might influence on the ability to move around a large body.

Should it ever happen, that they will move as well as the smaller guys or very close to it, there is indeed nothing that will stop those tall, big hitters from killing the game. ;)
 

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This is largely correct, but it should be stated that Zverev is an exceptionally gifted mover for his size (6'6). He's much stronger in that department than Fritz for example.
 

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they will always slow down balls and surfaces gradually to avoid this inevitable otherwise trend.

This is the tennis we'll have forever -


and that's ok.
 

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This is largely correct, but it should be stated that Zverev is an exceptionally gifted mover for his size (6'6)
Yeah, but I wonder how well he will be able to maintain that movement when he fills out a bit more with age. Cilic was an exceptional light-footed mover as well for his height, but he regressed a little in that respect when he got stronger.
 

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All these players (+ others like Murray, Ferrer, Hewitt) are/were highly effective at their best to neutralize the weapons of the giants and could thus prevent the big hitters from successfully taking over the tour. I don't see why we wouldn't see more players in the Djokovic/Murray mold in the future.
We won't see them coming in with every generation, they are unique with their strong/anticipated ROS and their overall balanced game. From which there are only 2 dominators of the Tour per decade.
That won't change in the future, since the distribution of tennis talent (in ROS and in general) will remain the same.
 

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Federer 1.85 m
Nadal 1.85 m
Sampras 1.85 m
Coincidence, no?
 

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"These tall players will serve from a tree!"

"Then I will slice in the soil"

For every strength, there is a weakness, and if you are a player under 1m95, you must use your mind and your strategy to defeat a taller player. While a topspin return is good vs. a shorter player, getting it high, it is bad vs. a taller player. Slice is much better vs. a tall player, as they continually have to get down low to make shots. It can get to their legs, and the lungs, and then the mind. And as a shorter player, you obviously figure yourself to have the better fitness, so outlast the taller player, let him blow himself out with errors, keep your head and your serve, and get it done.

Federer 1.85 m
Nadal 1.85 m
Sampras 1.85 m
Coincidence, no?
Let's extrapolate this, this is an angle I have never researched before. Height of best players in history who have been ranked #1 and/or won a slam:

Henri Cochet- 1.68m
Pancho Segura- 1.68m
Bobby Riggs- 1.70m
Ken Rosewall- 1.70m
Rod Laver- 1.73m
Michael Chang- 1.75m
Marcelo Rios- 1.75m
William Renshaw- 1.78m
Ernie Renshaw- 1.78m
Laurie Doherty- 1.78m
Jimmy Connors- 1.78m
Lew Hoad- 1.78m
Bjorn Borg- 1.80m
Andre Agassi- 1.80m
John McEnroe- 1.80m
Lleyton Hewitt- 1.80m
Guilermo Vilas- 1.80m
Fred Perry- 1.83m
John Newcombe- 1.83m
Mats Wilander- 1.83m
Juan Carlos Ferrero- 1.83m

Don Budge- 1.85m
Pat Rafter- 1.85m
Jim Courier- 1.85m
Roger Federer- 1.85m
Rafa Nadal- 1.85m
Pete Sampras- 1.85m
Reggie Doherty- 1.85m
Ilie Nastase- 1.88m
Ivan Lendl- 1.88m
Novak Djokovic- 1.88m
Bill Tilden- 1.88m
Jack Kramer- 1.88m
Tony Wilding- 1.88m
Arthur Ashe- 1.88m
Elly Vines- 1.88m
Stefan Edberg- 1.88m
Andy Roddick- 1.88m
Pancho Gonzales- 1.90m
Boris Becker- 1.90m
Guga Kuerten- 1.90m
Yevgeny Kafelnikov- 1.90m
Andy Murray- 1.90m
Stan Smith- 1.93m
Marat Safin- 1.93m

In the history of the game there are almost as many champions 1.83 and below as there are 1.85 and up. 168cm to 193cm seems to be the ideal height for a tennis player, with 1m85 splitting the difference. What the future holds? Well of course a coach will work with a young tall player but there will always be a place for the shorter players, as heart, guts, guile, and gonads have always and will always be the most important aspect of an even match between 2 high level opponents. And you can't measure that.

It is true that the trend is going up. Fedal- 1.85, Djoker- 1.88, Murray- 1.90, Raonic- 1.95, Del Potro- 1.98, Cilic- 1.98, Zverev- 1.98

However, there is also Nishikori- 1.78, Ferrer- 1.75, Fognini- 1.78, Goffin- 1.80, even Wawrinka is only 1.82

For me, my conclusion is that the future will be just like that past. Marked with players of all heights being able to compete with each other and sometimes the shorter guy wins and sometimes the taller guy wins but usually the guy in the middle wins the most.

Now, here is a good question: What is more likely in the future? A player over 2m win a slam? Or a player under 1.80 win a slam?
 

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^^very nostalgo-romantic thoughts, Johnny Groove :rain:



The narrative that tennis will now be finally overdosed on power is pretty old already. [...]
that was when the modern racquets were new and it's not the same problem as we witness today.
there has been that major change called "homogenisation" in the narrative meanwhile.
for the hardcourts it was good til ~2006 or so, but then arguably went too far.

it was right to make things harder for Roddick like players,
but not to push it so far that Cilic can win the USO and someone like Isner can make the top10. :tape:

Roddick looked like the next big thing in 2003
and then his career was largely thwarted (and net game in general greatly affected).
he even had to adopt that pathetic pushing style and MTF kiddos regard him as proof for a weak era now. :sadface:

they will always slow down balls and surfaces gradually to avoid this inevitable otherwise trend.
i assume you mean ~2003 hardcourt conditions there.
but a happy medium would be possible. Cincinatti speed (or a tad slower).

All these players (+ others like Murray, Ferrer, Hewitt) are/were highly effective at their best to neutralize the weapons of the giants and could thus prevent the big hitters from successfully taking over the tour.
Hewitt and Ferrer are rather examples for the opposite. they showed the limits i was talking about.

Hewitt and Nalbandian ended their careers mainly due to hip injuries from the endless running on the slow hardcourts.
for shorter players these conditions are particularly cruel.
Ferrer was sturdier and Davydenko a lightwight version, but they could only compete by running like rabbits.

I don't see why we wouldn't see more players in the Djokovic/Murray mold in the future.
basically because it tendentially takes longer and requires more talent to build a game like Djokovic or Pouille or even Thiem,
whereas the new prototype is planned to arrive in higher number and like completely assembled. :cool: :cool: :cool: :smoke:

Should it ever happen, that they will move as well as the smaller guys or very close to it, there is indeed nothing that will stop those tall, big hitters from killing the game. ;)
your Usain Bolt / 100m track comparison doesnt fit as moving in tennis is complex.
 
well, someone like Isner has already made the top10 in this sport. :tape:

tall guys cannot move as well as short guys. it's physiologically/physically impossible.
it's debatable what is regarded as "still good enough", but when you compare Nalbandian with Cilic i think practically things are clear.

All we need to do is bring back the wooden racquets. Simple but unrealistic.
i think you dont know what you are talking about.
what would happen if these racquets would be brought back?




-------------------------------------------------





slowing down Wimbledon and the slowish hard courts are the problem.
Wimbly should be speed up again [...]
this topic is actually complicated. :scratch:

during the early rounds the outer courts are already "too" fast as they are now.
big servers can upset top players. thats not a good thing.
but since the center court is not much slower during the early rounds, the problem is like inherent with grass courts.

now the question is if a quicker Wimbly center court (which gets more relevant with every round) would really make things harder for subpar movers like Raonic.
on the one hand their movement will be more exposed, on the other hand their serves might get even harder to return.
(with hardcourts things are easier as you can tweak them more specifically.)

the question of the "identity" of Wimbly is also there.
in case both, USO and AO were speed up, a slowish Wimbly may fit.
making the "Channel Slam" so hard for players was questionable anyway.

a third point is the general soundness of the big difference between outer courts of round 1 and present center court conditions during the final.
is it good to have such a gradient in a tournament?
 

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I agree. Too many ball bashers and big servers now. Not much variety type players coming up. Shapovalov probably the exception.

I hope Nishikori has a good couple of years where he gos on a rampage when the big 3 retire. Enjoy these types of players while we still can
 

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It looks to me that players coming on to the tour better have a really good serve. Its tough to grind out service games from the baseline, particularly when you're at a pressure point in the match. Mostly why Serena has done so well, and stayed relevant long after her movement has fallen away, while other wta players have patches where their groundstrokes are hot and then they get upset by someone else who's turn it is to have a hot streak with their groundies because they can't rely on holding their serve easily .

You don't have to be taller than 186cm or so to have a good serve but it certainly helps. Over a certain height what you potentially (not every tall player makes the most of their height) gain on the serve starts getting undermined by what you are likely to lose on movement.

If you were training a bunch of juniors with an eye to making it on the atp, what would you look for?

Easiest path is to find the tall ones and develop a lethal serve and big first strike forehand. Doesn't mean they'll be superstars but it's the easiest path to get on the tour. What you would hope is that you are lucky enough to have someone in that 185-190 odd cm bracket who can do everything but that is a real lottery. As for the guys smaller than 185cm, unless they showed something really special you'd pass them by to focus on the taller guys.
 
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