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View Full Version : Is the game REALLY more athletic now, or is this just a lie?


Steffica Greles
Sep 21st, 2008, 11:03 PM
The game is now far more athletic: that's if you fully buy into the theory that the women's game is now the domain of fitter, faster players. Although true over all, I don't fully buy into it.

I see far more fat players at or near the top now than I did in c1999, or even in the top five in 1992.

Petrova at Eastbourne this year (successfully reaching the final) looked extremely flabby. Kuznetsova, for all her athleticism, has in recent years looked too flabby, and still reached the number two ranking. Marion Bartoli is a porker, as we know, and she reached the Wimbledon final. Serena Williams, no less, is nowhere near in optimum shape, and she's number one in the world. Only recently, Ana Ivanovic was too big, and she was top 15. Dinara Safina has been top ten with weight problems. Aravane Rezai reached the top 30 a couple of years ago whilst carrying far too much body mass.

Go back to 1999, or come to think of it, much earlier, and I can't think of as many players in the higher echelons who were overweight. Seles, maybe, Capriati, Davenport prior to 1997. Who else? <scratches head>

So where did this idea come from?

What posters on this board must realise is that when commentators or ex-players keep on saying the standard has gone up, the players are fitter, they hit harder, etc, they are selling women's tennis - it's either their job, or they feel duty bound, given the history of the game and how it is overshadowed by the men's game. So their views have no credibility because it's just rhetoric.

Ciarán
Sep 21st, 2008, 11:11 PM
=/

debopero
Sep 21st, 2008, 11:12 PM
It is whatever you want it to be.

slamchamp
Sep 21st, 2008, 11:20 PM
"I'm retiring too, here's my hall of fame" where did I hear that before? hmm...

starin
Sep 21st, 2008, 11:27 PM
ask Sugi. she'll prolly know the best.

Thanx4nothin
Sep 21st, 2008, 11:33 PM
The game is now far more athletic: that's if you fully buy into the theory that the women's game is now the domain of fitter, faster players. Although true over all, I don't fully buy into it.

I see far more fat players at or near the top now than I did in c1999, or even in the top five in 1992.

Petrova at Eastbourne this year (successfully reaching the final) looked extremely flabby. Kuznetsova, for all her athleticism, has in recent years looked too flabby, and still reached the number two ranking. Marion Bartoli is a porker, as we know, and she reached the Wimbledon final. Serena Williams, no less, is nowhere near in optimum shape, and she's number one in the world. Only recently, Ana Ivanovic was too big, and she was top 15. Dinara Safina has been top ten with weight problems. Aravane Rezai reached the top 30 a couple of years ago whilst carrying far too much body mass.

Go back to 1999, or come to think of it, much earlier, and I can't think of as many players in the higher echelons who were overweight. Seles, maybe, Capriati, Davenport prior to 1997. Who else? <scratches head>

So where did this idea come from?

What posters on this board must realise is that when commentators or ex-players keep on saying the standard has gone up, the players are fitter, they hit harder, etc, they are selling women's tennis - it's either their job, or they feel duty bound, given the history of the game and how it is overshadowed by the men's game. So their views have no credibility because it's just rhetoric.

Serena Williams may have been off her optimum conditioning at times, but she has never once been fat. The players, most that you have stated as having weight problems don't, but rather are just slightly less in shape than they could be. And weight has nothing to do with athleticism, fat people can be fit and strong and thinner people weak/unfit.

Players are bigger, stronger and hit harder, whilst moving much better (on average) tahn they did in the past. That is the reason why most would say that tennis has become more athletic.

SIN DIOS NI LEY
Sep 21st, 2008, 11:42 PM
Just a lie

Kworb
Sep 21st, 2008, 11:50 PM
It's not fat that matters, it's muscle. These days female players are a lot more muscular. Back in the day they spent far more time honing their technique than lifting weights. Sveta may carry some extra weight around, but she's also very very strong.

hotandspicey
Sep 22nd, 2008, 12:09 AM
The game is now far more athletic: that's if you fully buy into the theory that the women's game is now the domain of fitter, faster players. Although true over all, I don't fully buy into it.

I see far more fat players at or near the top now than I did in c1999, or even in the top five in 1992.

Petrova at Eastbourne this year (successfully reaching the final) looked extremely flabby. Kuznetsova, for all her athleticism, has in recent years looked too flabby, and still reached the number two ranking. Marion Bartoli is a porker, as we know, and she reached the Wimbledon final. Serena Williams, no less, is nowhere near in optimum shape, and she's number one in the world. Only recently, Ana Ivanovic was too big, and she was top 15. Dinara Safina has been top ten with weight problems. Aravane Rezai reached the top 30 a couple of years ago whilst carrying far too much body mass.

Go back to 1999, or come to think of it, much earlier, and I can't think of as many players in the higher echelons who were overweight. Seles, maybe, Capriati, Davenport prior to 1997. Who else? <scratches head>

So where did this idea come from?

What posters on this board must realise is that when commentators or ex-players keep on saying the standard has gone up, the players are fitter, they hit harder, etc, they are selling women's tennis - it's either their job, or they feel duty bound, given the history of the game and how it is overshadowed by the men's game. So their views have no credibility because it's just rhetoric.

Ex-players would know better than anyone, now, wouldn't they.:lol:

homogenius
Sep 22nd, 2008, 12:12 AM
"I'm retiring too, here's my hall of fame" where did I hear that before? hmm...

here maybe ?

http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=343491

Tennisstar86
Sep 22nd, 2008, 12:17 AM
Yes..... You put Serena/ Venus against ANY of the old greats in a foot race, long jump. High jump..... They win by miles.....

Volcana
Sep 22nd, 2008, 12:18 AM
Being athletic isn't about being slender. Models are not athletes. Shot putters and weightlifters are athletes. Being 'athletic' is about how faster you tun, how hard you hit, how well you change direction. Martina Hingis was never overweight. But eventually she succumbed to superior athletes. Also, changes in racket technology have changed the game to where athletic superiority is a huge defensive edge. The ball gets through the court so fast, if you are a superior mover, you won't catch up to it.

So sure today's plyers are superior athletes. But are they superior tennis players?

Corswandt
Sep 22nd, 2008, 12:20 AM
The game is now far more athletic: that's if you fully buy into the theory that the women's game is now the domain of fitter, faster players. Although true over all, I don't fully buy into it.

I see far more fat players at or near the top now than I did in c1999, or even in the top five in 1992.

Petrova at Eastbourne this year (successfully reaching the final) looked extremely flabby. Kuznetsova, for all her athleticism, has in recent years looked too flabby, and still reached the number two ranking. Marion Bartoli is a porker, as we know, and she reached the Wimbledon final. Serena Williams, no less, is nowhere near in optimum shape, and she's number one in the world. Only recently, Ana Ivanovic was too big, and she was top 15. Dinara Safina has been top ten with weight problems. Aravane Rezai reached the top 30 a couple of years ago whilst carrying far too much body mass.

Go back to 1999, or come to think of it, much earlier, and I can't think of as many players in the higher echelons who were overweight. Seles, maybe, Capriati, Davenport prior to 1997. Who else? <scratches head>

So where did this idea come from?

What posters on this board must realise is that when commentators or ex-players keep on saying the standard has gone up, the players are fitter, they hit harder, etc, they are selling women's tennis - it's either their job, or they feel duty bound, given the history of the game and how it is overshadowed by the men's game. So their views have no credibility because it's just rhetoric.

Completely agree. Lenglen would easily crush all these porkers with both hands tied behind her back and holding only a (wooden) racquet between her teeth.

Now seriously - will mods please do their job and sweep the antiquarians and their idiotic threads into BFTP?

Cp6uja
Sep 22nd, 2008, 12:55 AM
Yes, the game is realy more athletic, but focus on WEIGHT of current TOP players is wrong. Better to look their HEIGHT...

If we look 2008 final TOP8 (players which qualify to YEC by rankings) we will notice FIVE 180cm+ (5'11''+) girls (188Maria, 185Venus, 185Ana, 183Dinara and 180Elena). For example, 15 years ago, in 1993 when YEC played 16 (not 8) players - NOBODY of year ending TOP16 of 1993 is not 180+ tall!!! That is big diference... not weight...


1993 TOP16
1 GRAF 175cm
2 SANCHEZ VICARIO 169cm
3 NAVRATILOVA 173cm
4 MARTINEZ 170cm
5 SABATINI 175cm
6 NOVOTNA 175cm
7 FERNANDEZ 176cm
8 SELES 178cm
9 CAPRIATI 170cm
10 HUBER 173cm
11 MALEEVA-FRAGNIERE 173cm
12 PIERCE 178cm
13 DATE 163cm
14 GARRISON 164cm
15 COETZER 158cm
16 M.MALEEVA 168cm


2008 TOP8
1 S.WILLIAMS 175cm
2 JANKOVIC 177cm
3 IVANOVIC 185cm
4 DEMENTIEVA 180cm
5 SAFINA 182cm
6 SHARAPOVA 188cm
7 KUZNETSOVA 174cm
8 V.WILLIAMS 185cm

BLUE - over 175cm

But that 1993 actualy showing somethingabout new generation of dominant players - only "giant" from previous era Sukova is drop from elite that year, but some upcoming "giant" youngsters like Brenda Schultz and especialy Lindsay Davenport is on the radar... and talking about 2008 TOP8 even both "175-" players Serena and Sveta is also (super)athletic in comparation with players from previous era.

Vamos.
Sep 22nd, 2008, 01:00 AM
Maybe we should put the theory to the test and they can play best of 5 sets at Slams. :shrug:

Earn their equal prize money.

I would love to see Jelena in a best of 5. Oh, please. Just once. That would be comedic. :rolls:

égalité
Sep 22nd, 2008, 01:04 AM
Yeah they're like morbidly obese. Marion and Serena could really improve their careers with some gastric bypass surgery.

:smash:

slamchamp
Sep 22nd, 2008, 01:06 AM
safina shorter than ana?? no way..

Donny
Sep 22nd, 2008, 01:13 AM
Your notions of "overweight" only make sense if you follow the horribly imperfect BMI formula.

I define overweight as carrying around so much extra mass that normal movement or stamina is hampered. Using that definition, no professional athlete is "overweight". Saying someone like Serena is "too heavy" for tennis is like saying Venus is "too tall"- you're just basing it on some nebulous notion of what the human body should be like for sports.

This argument is especially silly, given what we know about sports. A lare number of male marathon runners could be considered "underweight", yet are clearly at the peak of physical fitness. And the defensive line of any NFL team could be considered fat, despite being faster, stronger, and more agile than the vast majority of people on earth.

Cp6uja
Sep 22nd, 2008, 01:13 AM
safina shorter than ana?? no way..I think that their real heights is 184 for Ana and 183 for Dinara, but from some reason WTA official site use 185Ana and 182Dinara... but in Height data mistakes is always maximum 1cm, maybe 2cm when some teenagers grow-up and WTA site not update that - but for weight i notice several times obvious 5-10 kilos mistakes.

slamchamp
Sep 22nd, 2008, 01:14 AM
but safina looks really tall, like sharapova

Dominic
Sep 22nd, 2008, 02:22 AM
Your notions of "overweight" only make sense if you follow the horribly imperfect BMI formula.

I define overweight as carrying around so much extra mass that normal movement or stamina is hampered. Using that definition, no professional athlete is "overweight". Saying someone like Serena is "too heavy" for tennis is like saying Venus is "too tall"- you're just basing it on some nebulous notion of what the human body should be like for sports.

This argument is especially silly, given what we know about sports. A lare number of male marathon runners could be considered "underweight", yet are clearly at the peak of physical fitness. And the defensive line of any NFL team could be considered fat, despite being faster, stronger, and more agile than the vast majority of people on earth.
The standards of fitness for athletes are logically much higher than the standards for mister and miss anyone when we say this player is overwheight, shes most likely not actually overwheight from a health point of view but the extra weight they carry is still keeping them from playing their top level. You're comparison of serena's extra fat to venus' height is really pointless since height is a good thing in tennis and too much body fat is not. Running and movement are a major part of tennis and we all know that fat greatly hampers that. And for instance, Serena's case has proven that to be true since she doesnt move nearly as well as in 2000-2003, when she was much slimmer and completely dominating women's tennis.

ElusiveChanteuse
Sep 22nd, 2008, 03:51 AM
Injuries?:shrug:

Black Mamba.
Sep 22nd, 2008, 04:09 AM
The game is way more athletic.

Black Mamba.
Sep 22nd, 2008, 04:15 AM
The standards of fitness for athletes are logically much higher than the standards for mister and miss anyone when we say this player is overwheight, shes most likely not actually overwheight from a health point of view but the extra weight they carry is still keeping them from playing their top level. You're comparison of serena's extra fat to venus' height is really pointless since height is a good thing in tennis and too much body fat is not. Running and movement are a major part of tennis and we all know that fat greatly hampers that. And for instance, Serena's case has proven that to be true since she doesnt move nearly as well as in 2000-2003, when she was much slimmer and completely dominating women's tennis.

2000-2003 was pre-knee surgery Serena.

Geisha
Sep 22nd, 2008, 04:29 AM
I don't know where to go with this.

Tennis matches these days (bar anything with Venus, Serena, and Jankovic) are so not athletic to me. Back in the day (2004 and before) the game featured different styles of players. Myskina, Capriati, Venus, Serena, Sharapova, etc. rounded out a top ten that was filled with different styles. They had long, long rallies.

The many matches we see nowadays are so error filled, it doesn't even look like players are working up a sweat. Points are so short.

darrinbaker00
Sep 22nd, 2008, 04:59 AM
What posters on this board must realise is that when commentators or ex-players keep on saying the standard has gone up, the players are fitter, they hit harder, etc, they are selling women's tennis - it's either their job, or they feel duty bound, given the history of the game and how it is overshadowed by the men's game. So their views have no credibility because it's just rhetoric.
Their views, at worst, have as much credibility as yours. The sooner you realize that, the better off you'll be.

Direwolf
Sep 22nd, 2008, 05:21 AM
No... they Just go for the shots more...
and hit hard and harder...

EveN Justine couldnt cope up with having to deal with
so Much Power...

Geisha
Sep 22nd, 2008, 05:35 AM
I may have come up with something better than my previous post.

In the present day, it is much more necessary to go to the gym and get physically stronger only because the ball is being hit harder - to become more powerful. But, I don't necessarily believe shots in the 1990s were easier to retrieve than shots of the modern times.

OsloErik
Sep 22nd, 2008, 05:39 AM
Yes..... You put Serena/ Venus against ANY of the old greats in a foot race, long jump. High jump..... They win by miles.....

Not quite: Steffi Graf, anyone? She ran an untrained 100m dash in Olympic-qualification time.

I agree that most women today are more powerful than they once were, but I think it's less a factor of overall fitness than of height (like my sometimes-nemesis Cp6uja pointed out) and racquet technology. That said, I think nowadays we see a broader range. The players who've hit the top of the rankings in the past 5-10 years have been among the finest athlete in the sport. Venus Williams in 2001 is the most impressive female athlete I've ever seen in tennis. The only top players from the 1995 and earlier demographic I'd put up there with Venus (and Serena, Henin, Mauresmo, and even Kuznetsova at times) are Graf, Navratilova, and Court.

Harping on Serena's fitness is a little disingenuous, as well. Navratilova had her fitness struggles, and she is always cited as a paragon of female athleticism. What's striking to me, nowadays, is that there are so many extremely fit women who couldn't get as high as they are without that fitness. Bammer, Schiavone, Pennetta, Srebotnik, even Sugiyama: they could not have reached the top 20 (or 30, I suppose) without their fitness. Back in the 90's and earlier, you couldn't reach the top 20 without technical proficiency. An out-of-shape Navratilova remained a top 10 player in the late 70's because she was technically precise with her groundies. Nowadays, you can be supremely fit and lack the technical skills, and make an impact. However, you can't be lacking both, and you never could.

LDVTennis
Sep 22nd, 2008, 07:34 AM
For various reasons, women's tennis as a sport does not attract the best female athletes.

On average, there are better female athletes in soccer, swimming, basketball, and track and field.

About Steffi Graf, it was often said that she could have played any sport she wanted. Can't say that about any of the top female tennis players today. None of them demonstrate the quickness, agility, and endurance to be good at any of the other sports.

OsloErik
Sep 22nd, 2008, 07:56 AM
About Steffi Graf, it was often said that she could have played any sport she wanted. Can't say that about any of the top female tennis players today. None of them demonstrate the quickness, agility, and endurance to be good at any of the other sports.

I think Venus could have succeeded in just about any sport she tried.

dreamgoddess099
Sep 22nd, 2008, 08:32 AM
So Jankovic is taller than Serena? Isn't Serena about 5'10? I know Venus is about 6'1 and a half. I remember Serena saying that Venus is 3inches taller than her.

OsloErik
Sep 22nd, 2008, 09:45 AM
On a related note:

http://www.tennisforum.com/showpost.php?p=14026804&postcount=92

Lunaris
Sep 22nd, 2008, 12:16 PM
What posters on this board must realise is that when commentators or ex-players keep on saying the standard has gone up, the players are fitter, they hit harder, etc, they are selling women's tennis - it's either their job, or they feel duty bound, given the history of the game and how it is overshadowed by the men's game. So their views have no credibility because it's just rhetoric.
You are paranoid.

Steffica Greles
Sep 22nd, 2008, 01:06 PM
You are paranoid.

LOL. Or are you just naive?

Volcana
Sep 22nd, 2008, 01:26 PM
For various reasons, women's tennis as a sport does not attract the best female athletes.

On average, there are better female athletes in soccer, swimming, basketball, and track and field.I don't agree with that. However, one reason that athletes go to other sports is money. Tennis is an expensive sport to excel in. Soccer and basketball are not.About Steffi Graf, it was often said that she could have played any sport she wanted. Can't say that about any of the top female tennis players today. None of them demonstrate the quickness, agility, and endurance to be good at any of the other sports.Venus Williams. Serena Williams. Jelena Jankovic. Elena Dementieva.

I've been watching tennis since before the Open era. The players now run faster, hit WAY harder, and have more endurance. If you put today's top ten in the heptathlon vs the top ten from 1995, the top ten now would blow away the top ten from 13 years ago. (Why 1995? First year nav was not in the top ten.)

Steffi Graf ................ Serena Williams
Monica Seles ............... Jelena Jankovic
Conchita Martinez .......... Dinara Safina
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario .... Elena Dementieva
Kimiko Date ................ Ana Ivanovic
Mary Pierce ................ Maria Sharapova
Magdalena Maleeva .......... Svetlana Kuznetsova
Gabriela Sabatini .......... Venus Williams
Mary Joe Fernandez ......... Agnieszka Radwanska
Iva Majoli ................. Vera Zvonareva
Anke Huber ................. Patty Schnyder

By choosing 1995, I also minimize the differences in racket technology. (There are some, but it's not wood vs composite.) If you look at those two lists is terms of raw athleticism, That is; fast, agile, strong, today's top ten wins out easily. For one thing, today's top ten had both Venus and Serena, who are probably the best raw athletes in the history of the sport. Today's players are taller, and they have to be faster just to catch up with the ball.

Lunaris
Sep 22nd, 2008, 01:36 PM
LOL. Or are you just naive?
You are naive if you think the game isn't more athletic nowadays.

Olórin
Sep 22nd, 2008, 01:44 PM
For various reasons, women's tennis as a sport does not attract the best female athletes.

On average, there are better female athletes in soccer, swimming, basketball, and track and field.
About Steffi Graf, it was often said that she could have played any sport she wanted. Can't say that about any of the top female tennis players today. None of them demonstrate the quickness, agility, and endurance to be good at any of the other sports.

As usual you pronounce a purely subjective statement and personal opinion as if it's fact. Are you able to actually prove anything unless it's with Steffi Graf clips from youtube?

Also it's speed not quickness. Quick is the adjective, speed is the noun.

Justty
Sep 22nd, 2008, 01:58 PM
Female tennis closes with male tennis in terms of athletism. yes, balls are becoming harder and faster, about 10 or 15 years ago,just cant imagine a woman could serve at 120mph . But skillwise, female tennis is degenerating. No active players can hit volley perfectly as their precessdors did. Look at Navaratilova, her flexibility, agility, reaction shown at the net was what female tennis all about. Those cross court dropshot backhand volley, the big angle, the movement were the unique grace of female tennis. But now, even top 10 players like Jelena, Elena, Safina... cant volley at all. If you talk about change of game style, serve-volleyers is bound to die of course. Nowadays, baseline-punchers only need to be athletic, cos Female tennis doesnt require you to hit every ball down on the line like male players do. It is pathetic that whenever we judge how a player will do, we only look at how tall they are, how hard they hit the ball and how fast they run, but few mention skill.

sipnsurfMurph
Sep 22nd, 2008, 04:07 PM
Depends. Is your favorite still playing or retired?

tonybotz
Sep 22nd, 2008, 05:48 PM
navratilova was fitter than any of these girls. she with todays technology would dominate. same with graf. the players aren't more athletic, if anything they rely on the new technology to accomodate for their lack of fitness.

laurie
Sep 22nd, 2008, 07:01 PM
navratilova was fitter than any of these girls. she with todays technology would dominate. same with graf. the players aren't more athletic, if anything they rely on the new technology to accomodate for their lack of fitness.

interesting point.

LDVTennis
Sep 22nd, 2008, 07:02 PM
I think Venus could have succeeded in just about any sport she tried.

Endurance is a serious problem with Venus.

Venus also lacks quickness off the mark. In tennis, obviously, she's been able to compensate with her long arms for that lack of quickness. In sports like track and field, she would find herself left back in the blocks.

Venus is also not as coordinated as top female athletes in other sports. If she were, Venus' service motion wouldn't be so erratic and her ability to hit touch shots would be much improved. With better coordination, she'd probably also do much better on clay. Sliding on clay is one of those movement skills that only the really great athletes ever master.

LDVTennis
Sep 22nd, 2008, 07:11 PM
Also it's speed not quickness.

In sports, particularly the NFL where judging athleticism is something of a science, quickness is used to denote the rate at which one makes that first step. This is an important measuring stick in the NFL since players coming into the league, especially running backs, must exhibit the ability to exploit creases or holes in the defense which open up only for split seconds.

For NFL scouts, speed denotes the players rate of movement after that first step. You can have a very fast player that is slow to react or to take that first step. In the NFL that type of player usually has very limited success.

So, your point was what?

debopero
Sep 22nd, 2008, 08:21 PM
Endurance is a serious problem with Venus.

Venus also lacks quickness off the mark. In tennis, obviously, she's been able to compensate with her long arms for that lack of quickness. In sports like track and field, she would find herself left back in the blocks.

Venus is also not as coordinated as top female athletes in other sports. If she were, Venus' service motion wouldn't be so erratic and her ability to hit touch shots would be much improved. With better coordination, she'd probably also do much better on clay. Sliding on clay is one of those movement skills that only the really great athletes ever master.

You lost all credibility here. There are players taller than Venus with longer legs and arms who are not as fast as her (Davenport,Sharapova).

LDVTennis
Sep 22nd, 2008, 08:36 PM
I've been watching tennis since before the Open era. The players now run faster, hit WAY harder, and have more endurance.

Steffi Graf ................ Serena Williams
Monica Seles ............... Jelena Jankovic
Conchita Martinez .......... Dinara Safina
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario .... Elena Dementieva
Kimiko Date ................ Ana Ivanovic
Mary Pierce ................ Maria Sharapova
Magdalena Maleeva .......... Svetlana Kuznetsova
Gabriela Sabatini .......... Venus Williams
Mary Joe Fernandez ......... Agnieszka Radwanska
Iva Majoli ................. Vera Zvonareva
Anke Huber ................. Patty Schnyder

By choosing 1995, I also minimize the differences in racket technology. (There are some, but it's not wood vs composite.) If you look at those two lists is terms of raw athleticism, That is; fast, agile, strong, today's top ten wins out easily. For one thing, today's top ten had both Venus and Serena, who are probably the best raw athletes in the history of the sport. Today's players are taller, and they have to be faster just to catch up with the ball.

So, if the players in the right column are better athletes than the players in the left column, explain this to me.

Why is it that all the players in the left column have better footwork than all the players in the right column?

Not convinced they have better footwork. Well, explain this then. Why is it that all the players in the left column, with the exception of Monica Seles perhaps, can slide on clay whereas only two players in the right column (i.e., Patty and Svetlana) can do that?

The best two athletes from both columns are Steffi Graf and A. Sanchez-Vicario. They are the only two on both lists who have demonstrated the ability to master the movement skills required to excel both on the clay of the French Open and the grass at Wimbledon. (Serena can't slide on clay.)

You'd think that a person who has been watching tennis for a long as you have would also recognize that you can't minimize the differences in technology or even the changes to the surface compositions. Let's start with the surfaces. The grass is slower, the ball skids less, and the bounces are truer. With today's racquets they might be able to hit the ball harder, but at Wimbledon the surface is just slowing the ball down and making it bounce up. Net effect is that the game on grass is actually slower and less athletic than it was two decades ago.

As to the racquets, you obviously think that all composite racquets are alike. The first graphite racquets were heavier than some wood racquets. Try swinging the Dunlop graphite racquet that Steffi used to win her first Wimbledon. To those of us who have, it is amazing that she could serve with it at all. The first generation composite racquets were definitely stiffer than the wood they replaced, but they weren't for all that easier to handle.

Yes, they did become lighter. And, by 1996, Steffi is certainly using a lighter racquet, but it is still not anything like the oversized, wide-beamed racquets with the Luxilon strings of today. Back in Steffi's day, you couldn't hit the ball as hard as you wanted because the strings didn't allow you to put as much spin on the ball as you needed to make it drop back into the court. Today, the strings alone can do that for the most average of shotmakers.

In many ways, and not just because of the strings, the women's game is much easier to play today than it was in 1988 or 1996. Who cares if they are taller today, if the court has only gotten smaller. This is what I mean. In Steffi's day, players were better able to take the game to all corners of the court. You had Monica and Kamiko Date with all their exotic, acute angles. You had Sanchez-Vicario with her short slices and drop shots. You had Conchita Martinez with her slice and whip/roll backhand. You had Sabatini with her chips and drop volleys. And, of course, you had Steffi Graf with her inside-out/inside-in forehand (from the backhand corner), the dropshots, and the chips and slices. Those kind of shots forced players to cover the whole court, not just the center of the court. To be able to do just that, you had to be extremely quick and agile. If you ever want to see how good the women's game can be, look at the 1996 French Open Final. In that match, Steffi and Arantxa challenge each other from all positions and points on the court. The points are long and they go side to side, up and down, over and back. You don't get that kind of point or movement anymore for various reasons. The women don't hit the kind of shots anymore to force their opponents to move that way and above all you don't have a No. 1 player in the world anymore like Steffi who sets the tone for the rest by opening up the court with that inside-out forehand. Those were the days when the women's game was as dynamic as the men's game is today.

In any case, I'll take the No. 1 and No. 2 players on the left column against the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the right column anytime. Steffi at 26/27 was a much better and more graceful athlete and shotmaker than Serena is now or ever was. As for Monica, she was no pusher and she had the mental capacity to make you pay for any short ball you sent her way.

Steffica Greles
Sep 22nd, 2008, 09:06 PM
So, if the players in the right column are better athletes than the players in the left column, explain this to me.

Why is it that all the players in the left column have better footwork than all the players in the right column?

Not convinced they have better footwork. Well, explain this then. Why is it that all the players in the left column, with the exception of Monica Seles perhaps, can slide on clay whereas only two players in the right column (i.e., Patty and Svetlana) can do that?

The best two athletes from both columns are Steffi Graf and A. Sanchez-Vicario. They are the only two on both lists who have demonstrated the ability to master the movement skills required to excel both on the clay of the French Open and the grass at Wimbledon. (Serena can't slide on clay.)

You'd think that a person who has been watching tennis for a long as you have would also recognize that you can't minimize the differences in technology or even the changes to the surface compositions. Let's start with the surfaces. The grass is slower, the ball skids less, and the bounces are truer. With today's racquets they might be able to hit the ball harder, but at Wimbledon the surface is just slowing the ball down and making it bounce up. Net effect is that the game on grass is actually slower and less athletic than it was two decades ago.

As to the racquets, you obviously think that all composite racquets are alike. The first graphite racquets were heavier than some wood racquets. Try swinging the Dunlop graphite racquet that Steffi used to win her first Wimbledon. To those of us who have, it is amazing that she could serve with it at all. The first generation composite racquets were definitely stiffer than the wood they replaced, but they weren't for all that easier to handle.

Yes, they did become lighter. And, by 1996, Steffi is certainly using a lighter racquet, but it is still not anything like the oversized, wide-beamed racquets with the Luxilon strings of today. Back in Steffi's day, you couldn't hit the ball as hard as you wanted because the strings didn't allow you to put as much spin on the ball as you needed to make it drop back into the court. Today, the strings alone can do that for the most average of shotmakers.

In many ways, and not just because of the strings, the women's game is much easier to play today than it was in 1988 or 1996. Who cares if they are taller today, if the court has only gotten smaller. This is what I mean. In Steffi's day, players were better able to take the game to all corners of the court. You had Monica and Kamiko Date with all their exotic, acute angles. You had Sanchez-Vicario with her short slices and drop shots. You had Conchita Martinez with her slice and whip/roll backhand. You had Sabatini with her chips and drop volleys. And, of course, you had Steffi Graf with her inside-out/inside-in forehand (from the backhand corner), the dropshots, and the chips and slices. Those kind of shots forced players to cover the whole court, not just the center of the court. To be able to do just that, you had to be extremely quick and agile. If you ever want to see how good the women's game can be, look at the 1996 French Open Final. In that match, Steffi and Arantxa challenge each other from all positions and points on the court. The points are long and they go side to side, up and down, over and back. You don't get that kind of point or movement anymore for various reasons. The women don't hit the kind of shots anymore to force their opponents to move that way and above all you don't have a No. 1 player in the world anymore like Steffi who sets the tone for the rest by opening up the court with that inside-out forehand. Those were the days when the women's game was as dynamic as the men's game is today.

In any case, I'll take the No. 1 and No. 2 players on the left column against the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the right column anytime. Steffi at 26/27 was a much better and more graceful athlete and shotmaker than Serena is now or ever was. As for Monica, she was no pusher and she had the mental capacity to make you pay for any short ball you sent her way.
:worship::worship::worship:

For the first time ever, I have nothing to add to that, and am in complete agreement with LDV. He (?) even managed to compliment Seles at the end there.

Never were truer words written.

Steffica Greles
Sep 22nd, 2008, 09:13 PM
I think Venus could have succeeded in just about any sport she tried.
Athletically, she could have succeeded in most sports. Not in as many as Graf, who could also have done ballet or gymnastics, as well as short and long distance running (Steffi ran the Olympic 400m Olympic qualifying time one year), but I can certainly see Venus sprinting round the bend with those long pins of hers, powering away from the rest of the field.

But alas, Venus would always have lacked the work rate. And to be fair, her sickly tendencies wouldn't have helped.

Tennisstar86
Sep 26th, 2008, 10:56 PM
Endurance is a serious problem with Venus.

Venus also lacks quickness off the mark. In tennis, obviously, she's been able to compensate with her long arms for that lack of quickness. In sports like track and field, she would find herself left back in the blocks.

Venus is also not as coordinated as top female athletes in other sports. If she were, Venus' service motion wouldn't be so erratic and her ability to hit touch shots would be much improved. With better coordination, she'd probably also do much better on clay. Sliding on clay is one of those movement skills that only the really great athletes ever master.

lol Venus isnt quick? then why is it that she can get to just about any ball in play. You clearly dont know what you are talking about. In Tennis being Quick is the KEY factor cause clearly running around the court you have "quick" burst...... be fast long distance doesnt help you in the least..... Venus has the best clay court record of players today..... and she has no problem sliding on clay.....

Im confused Venus isnt quick off the "blocks" in one post and the next she doest have Endurance. So shes not quick she has no endurance why is it the announcers cant get over the fact that she moves like a gazellle on the tennis courts.....and noone maybe not even Serena can get to the shots Venus gets too...

Tennisstar86
Sep 26th, 2008, 11:03 PM
So, if the players in the right column are better athletes than the players in the left column, explain this to me.

Why is it that all the players in the left column have better footwork than all the players in the right column?

Not convinced they have better footwork. Well, explain this then. Why is it that all the players in the left column, with the exception of Monica Seles perhaps, can slide on clay whereas only two players in the right column (i.e., Patty and Svetlana) can do that?

The best two athletes from both columns are Steffi Graf and A. Sanchez-Vicario. They are the only two on both lists who have demonstrated the ability to master the movement skills required to excel both on the clay of the French Open and the grass at Wimbledon. (Serena can't slide on clay.)

You'd think that a person who has been watching tennis for a long as you have would also recognize that you can't minimize the differences in technology or even the changes to the surface compositions. Let's start with the surfaces. The grass is slower, the ball skids less, and the bounces are truer. With today's racquets they might be able to hit the ball harder, but at Wimbledon the surface is just slowing the ball down and making it bounce up. Net effect is that the game on grass is actually slower and less athletic than it was two decades ago.

As to the racquets, you obviously think that all composite racquets are alike. The first graphite racquets were heavier than some wood racquets. Try swinging the Dunlop graphite racquet that Steffi used to win her first Wimbledon. To those of us who have, it is amazing that she could serve with it at all. The first generation composite racquets were definitely stiffer than the wood they replaced, but they weren't for all that easier to handle.

Yes, they did become lighter. And, by 1996, Steffi is certainly using a lighter racquet, but it is still not anything like the oversized, wide-beamed racquets with the Luxilon strings of today. Back in Steffi's day, you couldn't hit the ball as hard as you wanted because the strings didn't allow you to put as much spin on the ball as you needed to make it drop back into the court. Today, the strings alone can do that for the most average of shotmakers.

In many ways, and not just because of the strings, the women's game is much easier to play today than it was in 1988 or 1996. Who cares if they are taller today, if the court has only gotten smaller. This is what I mean. In Steffi's day, players were better able to take the game to all corners of the court. You had Monica and Kamiko Date with all their exotic, acute angles. You had Sanchez-Vicario with her short slices and drop shots. You had Conchita Martinez with her slice and whip/roll backhand. You had Sabatini with her chips and drop volleys. And, of course, you had Steffi Graf with her inside-out/inside-in forehand (from the backhand corner), the dropshots, and the chips and slices. Those kind of shots forced players to cover the whole court, not just the center of the court. To be able to do just that, you had to be extremely quick and agile. If you ever want to see how good the women's game can be, look at the 1996 French Open Final. In that match, Steffi and Arantxa challenge each other from all positions and points on the court. The points are long and they go side to side, up and down, over and back. You don't get that kind of point or movement anymore for various reasons. The women don't hit the kind of shots anymore to force their opponents to move that way and above all you don't have a No. 1 player in the world anymore like Steffi who sets the tone for the rest by opening up the court with that inside-out forehand. Those were the days when the women's game was as dynamic as the men's game is today.

In any case, I'll take the No. 1 and No. 2 players on the left column against the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the right column anytime. Steffi at 26/27 was a much better and more graceful athlete and shotmaker than Serena is now or ever was. As for Monica, she was no pusher and she had the mental capacity to make you pay for any short ball you sent her way.


I'm not even gonna bother reading this past the footwork. What exactly does their footwork have to do with being more athletic..... footwork is a technical skill......
And what does Steffi qualifying time blah blah... that was in the 90's, Qualifying times go up in track and field also. And Venus would run circles around her. and you say oh so Venus can run circles around steffi what about other sports.

Theres a reason track and fielders are known as attracting the best athletes in the world...

I think the problem with you and many others in this thread is you've gotten defensive by someone saying better athletes today = better tennis players. And thats not the case. And while the champions of today would IMO destroy the champions of the past its got more to do with natural progression IMO than whose better technically.....

Viktymise
Sep 26th, 2008, 11:19 PM
Athletically, she could have succeeded in most sports. Not in as many as Graf, who could also have done ballet or gymnastics, as well as short and long distance running (Steffi ran the Olympic 400m Olympic qualifying time one year), but I can certainly see Venus sprinting round the bend with those long pins of hers, powering away from the rest of the field.

But alas, Venus would always have lacked the work rate. And to be fair, her sickly tendencies wouldn't have helped.

:lol:

Yeah, Graf would have left Marita Koch choking on her dust, I'm sure. Heck, she could have ran the 100m too, beat Flo-Jo and gone sub 8 seconds, out-running even the men of today.

I'm guessing she just didn't bother her arse to enter the Artistic Gymnastics at the Olympics either.

Anyone with half a brain would realise that the reason why Graf stayed at the very top of tennis for such an extended period of time, in comparison with the top players of today, was because the game is nowhere near as physical as it is now.

Thinking it's because she was just a superhuman athlete, is beyond a delusion.

Volcana
Sep 27th, 2008, 03:21 AM
So, if the players in the right column are better athletes than the players in the left column, explain this to me.

Why is it that all the players in the left column have better footwork than all the players in the right column?They don't. To pick an obvious example, Mary Pierce certainly did NOT have better footwork than Serena. Jelena Jankovic, for example, has better footwork than Anke Huber did.

Not convinced they have better footwork. Well, explain this then. Why is it that all the players in the left column, with the exception of Monica Seles perhaps, can slide on clay whereas only two players in the right column (i.e., Patty and Svetlana) can do that?I can slide on clay. Doesn't mean I have good tennis footwork. Sliding on clay is, at best, at trivial example of footwork. The most important thing in footwork is getting your feet in position for your shots. Players who go to net need one kind of footwork, players who hug the baseline need another.

Women's tennis is mostly a baseline power gam now. In the mid-nineties, players were still trying to get to net. Ana Ivanovic has good footwork for what she's trying to do. Is her footwork close to Jana Novotna's? Not for playing serve-and-volley. But Ivanpovic is a better baseliner than Novotna.