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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 04:07 AM Thread Starter
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Why is it that..

WTA is now being dominated by very muscular, very strong players, while ATP is a sport of skinny guys? Williams sisters, Capriati, Mauresmo, Henin are very fit and much more muscular than your average WTA tennis player, leave alone an average fit woman.

But look at who is dominant in ATP.. Hewitt? Very skinny.. Agassi is strong, but he is nowhere near those bodybuilding types, while women stars are up there. Ferrero - very skinny. Federer - quite skinny. Safin - nothing extraordinary in terms of muscles. Etc.. No ATP player looks much different than your average fit man. Does it mean that WTA went the wrong way? Does it mean that ATP will be up to a similar revolution soon too when new players with previously unseen fitness and strength level would propel the tour to new heights?

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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 04:25 AM
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I think your exaggerating. The atp has no bodybuilders at all. In fact most if not all of the guys are fit in shape and while not musclebound they are indeed world class athletes with the bodies to go with it. The same cannot be said on the womens tour where former world class athletes like mary pierce who was the fittest of the fit is now way out of shape. Men who are out of shape cannot compete on the atp tour women can. Jen is not at her fittest yet she is still top ten, imagine if she really whipped herself into top shape again.

I swear the hardest working woman in tennis is meghan. If the lower ranked girls worked like she did to transfrom herself into a world class athlete the tour would be much much more competitve from the top twenty and under girls.

also just to repeat myself those so guys you are calling skinny are still muscular they are not skin and bone they are muscle and bone with low low body fat which can give the illusion of them being rail thin.

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 04:27 AM
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I would hardly put Henin in the same catagory as those other super muscley women.

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 04:29 AM
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Venus is not muscular, neither is Henin. They're thin and fit.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 04:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kell
I would hardly put Henin in the same catagory as those other super muscley women.

I disagree Kell. Justine has even stated that "she has had to get stronger, get more fit", inorder to compete with the top players. She admitted to working out in the gym to achieve strength and fitness.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 04:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by persond
I disagree Kell. Justine has even stated that "she has had to get stronger, get more fit", inorder to compete with the top players. She admitted to working out in the gym to achieve strength and fitness.
Yes but if you read from the beginning ys is talking about MUSCLES. Big muscles as in bodybuilder's type.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 04:58 AM
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Simply put, because of the relative depth in men's tennis it's harder to win on brute force alone (except on serve). That being the case, what good do muscles do for a guy? When Agassi got overbuffed a few year's back he was slower and running out of energy. Since guys play 3 out of 5 the name of the game is to be aerobically fit.

On the other hand, ever since I've watched women's tennis the top players hit the ball noticably harder (on average) than the "scrubs" do. The gap in speed is greater too. So as long as a woman can bulk up without losing speed it will payoff.

My guess is it's a biological diference.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 05:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo
Simply put, because of the relative depth in men's tennis it's harder to win on brute force alone (except on serve). That being the case, what good do muscles do for a guy? When Agassi got overbuffed a few year's back he was slower and running out of energy. Since guys play 3 out of 5 the name of the game is to be aerobically fit.
Good points Rollo , and in fact remember when everyone was saying to Serena Williams around Wimbledon 2001 that she was too buff and she needed to bulk down? Well I've read that since then she lost weight (not just fat, also muscle) as you can clearly see during RG 2002 she looked really trim, and the rest is history.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 05:19 AM
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I think I kind of disagree. The size of the women is greatly exagerated. Tennis has its roots in country clubs. Although it is a physical sport, up until the last few decades tennis players were not considered the most athletic of world class athletes. In fact, going to the gym to get stronger was an unheard of notion. I believe it was Lendel who made it popular to be very fit. On the women's side it was Navratilova. I think that country club mentality still hinders the women's side. So many of the lower ranked women look very doughy and out of shape. Look at Davenport, and how long she was out shape before she buckled down and got fit. It really has done wonders for her game.

Serena isn't as much big as she is toned and fit. I have seen women with muscles that would make Serena look like a ninety pound weakling. She isn't nearly as strong as the weakest man on the tour though. I think the majority of the WTA women are really subpar in the sports world (excluding golf and softball) In tennis you have to walk a very fine line. You have to be as efficiently built as possible. You should have a lot of strength in your legs for power on your strokes yet you don't want to much weight to wear you down and make you less agile. Right now, Serena, Venus, Meghann, Justine and Jennifer really have the best physiques for the game. Hewitt is the same. He is lean and fast yet he still can get some power on his shots. The same with Agassi. He is very strong all over without being too large.

Wow I am really rambling. I guess that's what seven hours of playing tennis will do to you. I am going to bed. Bon Soir. Sorry if I confused the hell out of you with this post.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 06:16 AM
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Hi there Sam I didn't know Serena went through the same thing as Andre. Good for her.

did you win your match Midnight? Hope so.

I agree with you that some (ok-a lot) of the women could be in better shape-but again, a lot of that comes down to biological differences in men and women. Women have more body fat on average-so it's easier for guys.

BTW-You're flat out wrong about conditioning being relatively new. Sure, on average people are in better shape today. They also have have better equipment and advice though. I've got tennis books written as far back as the 1920s that talk about about how important conditioning is. In the 1950s the Aussies under Hary Hopman spent hours in the gym daily. Borg was as fit as any guy I've ever seen. And Margaret Court trained with weights 20 years before Navratilova did.

Besides, in the past it was best of 5 every event for the guys and there were no tiebreaks. Oh-and forget 2 minute rests on change overs! In many regards todays men and women are wimps compared to the old timers
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 07:08 AM
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As far as men being skinny,

I think a major reason for that is because of the fitness and demands of tennis. Men's bodies lose fat much easier than women do...and I am not saying that the women are fat because they aren't. Just that men tend to lose much more weight than women do in extreme and continuous exercise.

Also, as far as comparing the men to bodybuilders...tennis is a sport of aerobic more than anaerobic excercise. While anerobics, such as lifting weights, is very important for strength, it is repetition weightlifting that is most important to tennis players(For strength, but also speed and quickness).

For bodybuilders, the goal is to build mass and strength. This is why their weightlifting consists more of lifting heavy weights than on repition. This builds body mass. This doesn't help in improving speed, but actually reduces speed...which tennis players don't want.

And as far as aerobics (Running, practice)...tennis players do this type of excercise several hours a day. Obviously this is what keeps them thin, but very fit.







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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 07:32 AM
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being in shape doesn't mean you have to spend hours in the gym.

take steffi. she didn't go there till her body broke down and she had no choice anymore, still nobody would have accused her of not being fit(except for ivan lendl in 87) or having condition problems. as far as I know she only runned out of gas in two matches. french 86(illness) and olympics 92!(overplaying in the months before)

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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 11:38 AM
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I think the big difference is where the sport stands in the heirarchy of the respective genders.

Tennis is THE #1 sport for women. As a result, they have had some of the greatest female athletes of all time (Navratilova, Graf). Conversely, there is no one that ever played men's tennis who I would remotely consider among the best male athletes of all time.

Why? A couple of reasons. Men have long had more options for a viable sports career. And there is the "macho" stigma. Tennis has always been labelled a "sissy" sport (and that's one of the more polite terms), thus discouraging those who wanted to prove how "manly" they are from chosing it. And contrary to what Johnny Mac wants to believe, that stigma persists today.

Look at the average male athlete. An average male athlete that stands 6 feet tall, and has a medium frame, is going to weigh about 185 pounds. In most sports, the physique is larger than that. In tennis, however, a build of 6'2" or 6'3" and 170-175 pounds is quite the norm. This puts them on the thin end of male athletes.

Tennis is a sport of technique. Proper mechanics are more beneficial than large muscle. Thus, small-framed men can excel at it. Now, if you add in societal factors, you get a situation where men's tennis becomes the province of the thin. Larger athletes will be steered toward more "macho" sports. And the country-club history of tennis as a genteel sport has lent itself to recruiting thinner athletes who don't want to associate with the "ruffians".

Being thinner gives no advantages in tennis, in terms of speed or endurance. It's just that those who have the speed and endurance of top tennis players, AND have medium or larger frames and the strength that goes with it, will gravitate to other sports.

And don't forget the economic factor. Decent players in other sports make far more than their tennis counterparts; often with the money in guaranteed contracts. Why play a sport where you have to continually be successful when you can earn more elsewhere, and not have to produce consistent success?

In women's sports, tennis is at the top of the totem pole. You earn more playing tennis than any other women's sport. Thus, many of the better athletes come to tennis. This not only includes athletes of every size, but also of every economic and ethnic background. Tennis gets a far bigger % of the cream of the women's athletic pool. Hence, many more athletes with muscles.
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 03:20 PM
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Brian-How can you say no male tennis player is "remotely close" to being an all-time best athlete? That's a real generalization. It all depends on the sport of course.

Quote:
Being thinner gives no advantages in tennis, in terms of speed or endurance. It's just that those who have the speed and endurance of top tennis players, AND have medium or larger frames and the strength that goes with it, will gravitate to other sports.
So how does that explain Agassi playing worse when he was bulked up?
If your theory was right then at some point we should have seen a big and bulky male suceed. They couldn't have all decided to gravitate to other sports just because it's a "sissy" sport. Chances are they drop tennis at a high level beacuase they get their brains beat out.

And if you're right about women's tennis having the best athletes [and I agree with you on that] how does that explain an obviously out of shape [for an athlete] Monica Seles remaining in the top ten for so long?
A male player in her condition wouldn't be in the top 50.

Your logic here defeats itself, even if it were true. If women's tennis had the best athletes and the men were just so-so you'd expect parity on the women's side and domination on the men's. The exact opposite is the case.
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2003, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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The reason also could be that human's joints have some sort of natural limit for a rotational speed, and once you reach that limit, no extra muscles would help you increase that speed. And with men's anatomy they can reach that limit with quite modest amount of muscles. Like the best men can serve 220-230 kmh ( note also, that those who reach that limit are very injury-prone ), but no extra muscles would help to serve faster. And in this case extra muscles would only be extra weight and also would be working against you in terms of finesse. But women do not reach that limit, and probably muscles help them to get closer to it.

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