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Old Aug 30th, 2013, 03:25 AM   #1
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Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

The grass courts at Wimbledon are slower. The hardcourts at the USO are faster. The clay at Roland Garros is faster. But has it been good for tennis? I for one liked the fact that it took a very well-rounded player to win on all 4 surfaces. I enjoyed that baseliners had the advantage at the French and serve/volleyers dominated Wimbledon. Lendl and Seles would've won a Wimbledon title on today's courts. I still don't know about Sampras, but McEnroe would've taken a French title on today's courts. Evert would've stolen a Wimbledon or two from Martina and Martina would've done the same to Chrissie at the French. But is it a good change that almost anyone has a chance on any surface?
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Old Aug 30th, 2013, 03:50 AM   #2
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

Sorry but I don't know about these assumptions. I mean Nadal has completely and utterly dominated Roland Garros but hasn't won a slam other than it since 2010.

Not sure if this has any affect on the very best players.

Seles would've won Wimbledon if she wasn't stabbed anyway. It had nothing to do with surface.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2013, 12:35 AM   #3
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

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Originally Posted by Sam L View Post
Sorry but I don't know about these assumptions. I mean Nadal has completely and utterly dominated Roland Garros but hasn't won a slam other than it since 2010.

Not sure if this has any affect on the very best players.

Seles would've won Wimbledon if she wasn't stabbed anyway. It had nothing to do with surface.
Seles never had the game to win in Wimbledon.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2013, 02:15 AM   #4
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

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Seles never had the game to win in Wimbledon.
She reached a Wimbledon final at 18 beating Navratilova on the way which was something Graf didn't even do.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2013, 08:03 AM   #5
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

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She reached a Wimbledon final at 18 beating Navratilova on the way which was something Graf didn't even do.
A close win.
Graf however demolished a 4 years younger Navratilova in the 1988 final. Oh damn, Steffi had turned 19 three weeks before ...
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Old Sep 3rd, 2013, 09:40 AM   #6
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

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A close win.
Graf however demolished a 4 years younger Navratilova in the 1988 final. Oh damn, Steffi had turned 19 three weeks before ...
19 is still 19. A win is still a win.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2013, 01:27 PM   #7
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

If Conchita Martinez could win Wimbledon in 1994 then Monica Seles could have. Especially in these days when the bounce is higher and the courts slower. It would have been harder for her in the "old" days when the ball hardly bounced at all. By the time Agassi won the Big W it was possible for a man to win it wholly from the baseline.

At any rate I agree with you preacherfan. How thrilling it was in the old days to see a real shift in styles. Borg felt he had to serve and volley to win Wimbledon. Today it's used only as a surprise tactic.

Close matches and hard hitting can excite me-but nothing approaches the old days of contrast. Give me all court tennis any day!
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Old Sep 3rd, 2013, 01:47 PM   #8
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

Evert commented this year at the USO that no sand was added to the top coat of the court surface at Flushing Meadow to speed the courts up. I've heard some say that Wimbledon plays more like a hard court now than the slick fast grass that used to be there.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2013, 05:47 PM   #9
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

I know the quirky bounces on grass drives/drove most modern players nuts, especially the ones who learned the game on only one surface and/or in a mass-production instruction setting. I know that grass' ability to "amplify" power --anybody's power-- can lead to the "better" player not always winning in a given match or at least dull just-skip-to-the-tiebreak matches. Likewise with clay: the understanding that the ball might come back one more time than it would on a fast court can drive players to try reckless/stupid/frustrated shots that they wouldn't even think of attempting on a hard court. So I understand the seeming dilemma facing the officials.

But trying to make the different surfaces uniform is a bad idea for many reasons, not least of which is that, try as they might, there is no way to make them all play the same. Clay and grass will never play like a hardcourt, even if just for the footing aspect, and the bounce will never be as consistent. All trying to normalize the surfaces and "appease" the players has done is weaken the general skill set or at least diminish style diversity -- and those are two things that most fans or even casual viewers like/liked to see. Primarily net play vs. primarily baseline. Scrambling vs. flamboyance. Basher vs. tactician. Junk baller vs. brawler. Who adapts or at least tries to vs. who sticks with their bread and butter. Who skips town vs. who takes the inevitable loss on the chin year after year.

That kind of tennis biodiversity isn't possible without different tennis ecosystems. So let grass play like grass and let clay play like clay and let carpet play like carpet, etc. Let the one dimensional players be at a disadvantage sometimes, even if it's just to a different kind of one dimensional player. Let the cookie cutter players complain and give the one-offs a chance to surface. It will work out fine.
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Old Sep 4th, 2013, 12:23 AM   #10
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

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Borg felt he had to serve and volley to win Wimbledon. Today it's used only as a surprise tactic.
Yes but Borg played with wood in a wood era. You have to to serve volley with wood if you're playing against a serve volleyer on grass.

With modern racquets, it's harder to volley. So I don't think it's got do totally with surfaces.

Even if you have fast slick grass, my guess would be that most players would still not volley but would probably just be more aggressive from the baseline.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 03:58 PM   #11
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

I don't know if this is the forum, page, or place to put this, but I am going to. To me (after a few years of watching tennis) I often felt the grand slam should be played on four different surfaces. As of right now it is played on 3. I always felt that the Grand Slam should be played on the following surfaces. We already have Clay, Grass, and Hard Court. I know it will never happen, but in my mind one should be held inside and on carpet like some events are still played on.

Thank you for at least letting me say this, and finally be able to say so.
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Old Oct 4th, 2013, 02:05 AM   #12
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

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I don't know if this is the forum, page, or place to put this, but I am going to. To me (after a few years of watching tennis) I often felt the grand slam should be played on four different surfaces. As of right now it is played on 3. I always felt that the Grand Slam should be played on the following surfaces. We already have Clay, Grass, and Hard Court. I know it will never happen, but in my mind one should be held inside and on carpet like some events are still played on.

Thank you for at least letting me say this, and finally be able to say so.
I agree with this. When I started following tennis in the early 90s I was aware of the the then recent change of the Australian Open from grass to rebound ace. Although rebound ace is a significantly different hardcourt to Decoturf, ultimately it was still a hardcourt. I didn't know why they didn't go with carpet and indoors. Even back then, the Australian summer can be extreme heat. I think it would've been good to have an end of the year and beginning of the year indoor carpet season. Another reason was the big Tokyo PPO which was on carpet straight after the AO at the time.

But I think the opportunity has been long missed now.
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Old Oct 5th, 2013, 01:19 AM   #13
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

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Sorry but I don't know about these assumptions. I mean Nadal has completely and utterly dominated Roland Garros but hasn't won a slam other than it since 2010.

Not sure if this has any affect on the very best players.

Seles would've won Wimbledon if she wasn't stabbed anyway. It had nothing to do with surface.
I agree Monica probably would have won 1 Wimbledon if she werent stabbed but it was her worst surface by far so surface did matter then. The men are even bigger examples of that than the women though. Sampras, Becker, Muster, Courier, just being some key examples. Women it mattered less than the men largely since the depth for womens tennis is never as good as the mens, and the best are the best more easily regardless of surface, but surface still were much more different than today. People like Sanchez, Novotna, Pierce, Capriati, Venus, Clijsters are some more obvious examples of distant past (well when at their best) players who excelled on certain surfaces far more than others.

I think today it is too easy in many ways to win all the majors on any surface since with the surfaces being made more similar, they dont matter anymore. Nadal not winning a slam outside clay since 2011 until recently is a bit of a fluke stat and is easy to imagine when you think about it. Djokovic owned Nadal badly in 2011, and Nadal couldnt have even beat him on clay, but lucky for Nadal someone else took out Djokovic at the French. Nadal barely lost and could have easily won the 2012 Australian along with his 2012 French, then got injured and was out. Now in 2013 he is back on top.
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Old Oct 5th, 2013, 01:21 AM   #14
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

I love the examples of Borg needing to serve and volley at Wimbledon. Evert felt she had to as well. Look how much she comes to net on grass vs other surfaces. That just shows how different grass was back then. Graf also served and volleyed more at Wimbledon than other places. Seles didnt but it is why she struggled much more on grass. Sanchez did horrible at Wimbledon until she accepted in 95 she had to start coming in alot and did. It wasnt possible to succeed at Wimbledon just from the baseline back then. Now it is, and it shows how much tennis and the surface homogenization has changed things.
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Old Oct 5th, 2013, 01:42 AM   #15
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Re: Equalizing the Surfaces - Has it been good for the game?

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The grass courts at Wimbledon are slower. The hardcourts at the USO are faster. The clay at Roland Garros is faster. But has it been good for tennis? I for one liked the fact that it took a very well-rounded player to win on all 4 surfaces. I enjoyed that baseliners had the advantage at the French and serve/volleyers dominated Wimbledon. Lendl and Seles would've won a Wimbledon title on today's courts. I still don't know about Sampras, but McEnroe would've taken a French title on today's courts. Evert would've stolen a Wimbledon or two from Martina and Martina would've done the same to Chrissie at the French. But is it a good change that almost anyone has a chance on any surface?
I am not sure Lendl would have won a Wimbledon title on todays courts. I would see Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray all being too much for him from the baseline, and his serve and volley game was never natural or finely tuned. Either way that doesnt really do anything to prove or disprove your point which would be a baseliner having a better shot, which in Lendl's case would be true even if a group of superior baseliners in this time would have likely prevented it regardless.

I disagree about Martina doing better vs Chrissie at the French. She already did as well as she was ever going to do, beating her twice htere, and the French courts havent sped up much. Now Wimbledon you are probably rihgt, Chris would do better vs Martina on todays courts.
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