Re: "Every generation is better than the previous one. The game is always evolving"
And players didn't hit hard back in the day, because whaling at balls with wooden rackets that have tiny sweetspots wasn't effective and would create a lot of mishits and unforced errors; it was also fairly difficult to hit winners from the baseline, much less from feet behind the baseline, as is common these days. So if you acknowledge we are comparing apples to oranges, how can we say that the level has improved with some new dimensions and some lost dimensions, when the truth is that these dimensions were uniquely adapted to the technologies of their time?
That's true. But we don't live in "what if" worlds. You can only go by what has been provided as evidence. Like I said anything else is fantasy. I could sit here and think if Lenglen were born in 1983, she would be hitting the ball very hard and serving down aces and remaining unbeatable in the early 2000s but that is fantasy. Just like saying peak Graf would be No. 1 today is fantasy.
What we have seen is that the early 2000s did lift the game (yes they got help from better strings, better training techniques) but that's besides the point. The point is they did. And something this generation hasn't been able to do. So the Gold standard is still that generation.