Today┤s players vs past greats - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
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Today┤s players vs past greats

Alfajeffster had a thread about how Graf would do against today┤s player.

The consensus was that today┤s players weren┤t any good at all.....just a bunch of nobodies who were lucky that Graf retired.

Makes one wonder: Which of the current players could have competed in the Martina N-Chrissie-Graf era and still snatch some majors?!

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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 12:40 PM
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Bandabou, Alfa was probably trying to win some ground the otherway. I've been on this board a while now, and the number of times that past champions' achievements have been dismissed out of hand because of lack of competition, or couldn't stand the pace of today is staggering.

All of us here have had to defend past champions at one stage ot another, and I think that Alfa is making the point that (quite rightfully) Graf certainly would be able to compete today.

It is my personal opinion that the game overall lack variety. Many of the top players play the same game. They are almost without exception hardhitting baseliners. That doesn't make them mindless bashers of the ball, but a match between Serena and Linsday, Venus and Jen, Myskina and Dementieva....who can tell the difference? And I think that you can't deny that the artistry has by and large been bludgeoned out of the game.

At the various stages of Venus, Serena, Lindsay, Hingis etc, their fans proclaimed that they were so much better than champions of the past, but based on their short period of dominance. These players are all great players, but what was happening was that you were comparing 18 months to 2 years of play against retired palyers' entire career. For example, when Venus won 2 straight Wimbeldons (which is a magnificent achievement), people were saying that she would have double-bagelled Chris on grass, all else being equal. Now a few years on, is this really still the case? Venus's 2 Grasscourt GS still trail 5 grasscourt GS, and her 2 or 3 other Wimbeldon finals is still a long way short of Chris's 7 Wimby finalist places. You need to compare players' entire careers.

Out of this generation, I think that Serena is in a league of her own, then Hingis and Venus together at the next level, then Lindsay, JHH and Cappy. I think everyone else has still yet to prove their mettle. Yes, even the Russians that won their first GS this year, and definitely Cljisters and Mauresmo have a lot to prove still, and I think that you can only judge their true greatness by considering an entire career, and not a good couple of years............
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandabou
Alfajeffster had a thread about how Graf would do against today┤s player.

The consensus was that today┤s players weren┤t any good at all.....just a bunch of nobodies who were lucky that Graf retired.

Makes one wonder: Which of the current players could have competed in the Martina N-Chrissie-Graf era and still snatch some majors?!
I think the real question is: How would George W. Bush fare in a televised debate against John F. Kennedy? -or-

How would Richard M. Nixon fare in a televised debate against Franklin D. Roosevelt (this could be done in a fireside chat sort of format, no?)? -or-

How would Ronald Reagan fare in a televised debate against Harry S. Truman?

Seriously, it's fun to compare champions from different eras, but in reality, it is a totally impossible venture, rife with personal opinions and conjecture, and nothing more. Naturally, I have my opinions, but I try to ground them in starting any comparison with an equal hypothetical playing field, ie. same size racquet, same training, etc., and from there it really comes down to perceptions of talent. I don't think human beings are any less competent today than they were 10, 20, 30 or even 100 or more years ago. I do believe they are progressively using less and less of their cranial capacity, and this is no more evident than when you look at the knee-jerk, reactionary direction the game of tennis is moving. Can I stop it? Probably not. Do I want to return to the days of wood and white balls? No. Standard size frames- ABSOLUTELY, SIR!

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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandabou
Alfajeffster had a thread about how Graf would do against today┤s player.

The consensus was that today┤s players weren┤t any good at all.....just a bunch of nobodies who were lucky that Graf retired.

Makes one wonder: Which of the current players could have competed in the Martina N-Chrissie-Graf era and still snatch some majors?!

S. Williams and Henin.
No-one else.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfajeffster
I think the real question is: How would George W. Bush fare in a televised debate against John F. Kennedy? -or-

How would Richard M. Nixon fare in a televised debate against Franklin D. Roosevelt (this could be done in a fireside chat sort of format, no?)? -or-

How would Ronald Reagan fare in a televised debate against Harry S. Truman? ....
There you go again!
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfajeffster
I think the real question is: How would George W. Bush fare in a televised debate against John F. Kennedy? -or-

How would Richard M. Nixon fare in a televised debate against Franklin D. Roosevelt (this could be done in a fireside chat sort of format, no?)? -or-

How would Ronald Reagan fare in a televised debate against Harry S. Truman?

Seriously, it's fun to compare champions from different eras, but in reality, it is a totally impossible venture, rife with personal opinions and conjecture, and nothing more. Naturally, I have my opinions, but I try to ground them in starting any comparison with an equal hypothetical playing field, ie. same size racquet, same training, etc., and from there it really comes down to perceptions of talent. I don't think human beings are any less competent today than they were 10, 20, 30 or even 100 or more years ago. I do believe they are progressively using less and less of their cranial capacity, and this is no more evident than when you look at the knee-jerk, reactionary direction the game of tennis is moving. Can I stop it? Probably not. Do I want to return to the days of wood and white balls? No. Standard size frames- ABSOLUTELY, SIR!
Only too true, Jeff, as you say but it makes a fun debate. I enjoyed your very thought-provoking post on the General Board in relation to Serena and Venus being "tennis players".
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandabou
Alfajeffster had a thread about how Graf would do against today┤s player.

The consensus was that today┤s players weren┤t any good at all.....just a bunch of nobodies who were lucky that Graf retired.

Makes one wonder: Which of the current players could have competed in the Martina N-Chrissie-Graf era and still snatch some majors?!
I personally don't believe today's player's are all that good relatively speaking. In comparison to Graf, Navratilova, Evert etc I think the only ones who could have competed are the Serena and Venus of a couple of years ago and maybe a fully fit and half-a-stone lighter Lindsay Davenport. I think Henin-H has been made to look relatively better than she is has by the current malaise which seems to be affecting the Williams.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Hmmm.... so Serena, Venus (maybe), both despite no obvious tennis talent, JHH, Lindsay....

You do make a good point, bcp. I think sometimes the younger generation are too quick to dismiss the older generation and it isn┤t just this generation, look how many fans are dismissing the record of Margaret Court....but I think the older generation is too quick to dismiss the next generation too.

I mean: yeah of course the current generation hasn┤t put up the numbers, yet, but to say they┤re mindless bashers....they don┤t have any obvious tennis-skills, etc..only because of the raquets they won so many titles, etc...I think that┤s a bit unfair too.

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandabou
Hmmm.... so Serena, Venus (maybe), both despite no obvious tennis talent, JHH, Lindsay....

You do make a good point, bcp. I think sometimes the younger generation are too quick to dismiss the older generation and it isn┤t just this generation, look how many fans are dismissing the record of Margaret Court....but I think the older generation is too quick to dismiss the next generation too.

I mean: yeah of course the current generation hasn┤t put up the numbers, yet, but to say they┤re mindless bashers....they don┤t have any obvious tennis-skills, etc..only because of the raquets they won so many titles, etc...I think that┤s a bit unfair too.
bandabou put of you pink colored glasses and also see the opposite dismissing. when people say that silvia farina is in fact better then steffi because she is a powerplayer. then people really lost it
it happens from both sides!

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by irma
bandabou put of you pink colored glasses and also see the opposite dismissing. when people say that silvia farina is in fact better then steffi because she is a powerplayer. then people really lost it
it happens from both sides!
Yeah Irma, but everybody knows that that┤s just nonsense....

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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 02:49 PM
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There are things about both the past and present that I like and don't like. I for one am very happy to see players such as, Serena, Venus and Lindsay bring to the game both a solid serve and return of serve. Gone are the days of the patty cake serve of Francoise Durr which made the women's game look weak. Now those shots are solid weapons. I also enjoy the speed that Steffi, Serena, and Venus have brought to the game. Back in the 1930s it was the rare female who could run down an overhead. Alice Marble was the exception not the rule. Also, I like the fact that the depth in women's tennis is getting a little better. Pauline Betz told me that when she played she didn't fear any women outside the top 5. Alice Marble didn't play the US National in 1934 and 1935 and yet, when she returned in 1936, she won it easily. Over all the women players of today are better athletes. Of course a lot of that has to do with changes are society has made in how we view women and women athletes. Women back in the 20s, 30s, and 40s weren't exactly encouraged to be athletes. Steffi, Monica, Venus, Serena, Lindays, Justine etc have all benefited from both technology and a changing attitude toward women. Billie Jean King and others opened a lot of doors for these women.

Now that said, I am a bit bored with the lack of shots many of these women have. The game is getting boring. Basically, you just sit there and watch the women hit back and forth until finally someone drops a shot into the net or hits it long. I have found myself screaming at the tv set for a player to use a drop shot or come to net.Even doubles is being played from the baseline.

Of course male players are doing much of the same thing. And the thing of it is when you finally do see an all around player such as Roger Federer take on an Andy Roddick it's Roger the all court player that wins. So, the women should start looking at that. There's no reason why they can't play more all court. Mix in a little of the old with a little of the new.
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 05:47 PM
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yes, but roger federer is in such a class...men and women players could all 'take a look at it' but part of his ability to play that way, considering the pace and lack of time to move about and prepare alternative shot selection from just bashing, is that he is a magician. Often he hits such absurd shots that actually land in, I cant imagine he thought of hitting it before it touched his racquet. God bless this man.

Howveer, if I sit home and watch the 1981 madison sqaure garden masters of mcenroe and borg, i know i will see a type of variation and mastery that i will not see when i watch a televised match from today: its like having a feder on BOTH sides of the net. And neither player is about to get injured or disappear for 7 months and ruin the rivalry...(unless he decides to retire and deserts the game altogether...haha)

but theres not much question that these are fantastic fantastic athletes today, as the game has enjoyed greater international popularity and snagged better athletes who might've played other sports. With that said, I watched serena play in the china open finals last week, and her long lapses of concentration ---(3 easy but netted shots in a row...i consider 3 points with lack of focus a GIGANTIC lapse of concentration because chris evert never hit 3 shots into the net in succession...by unforced error...in her career)--- in addition to the poor racquet preparation and stumbling footwork makes her look to an 'old school' viewer like she lacks the skills and sharp mental focus of her predecessors. but it IS a different game now, and the players are going for more...If these same players tried to play the game without the power-boosters, i'm sure they would develop the qualities that make great classic play. You grow by being tested. If you start out with painting and learn how to work with oils, versus just getting on a computer and splashing color around, your process will make you go deeper and so it hurts your development to START with EASIER equipment. Its not the players' FAULT. It's the times we live in.

the whole world has attention-deficit-disorder and isrushed and hurried; its not just tennis players but this high-tech high-paced world.

by the way, i dont agree that justine is not in the same calibre as the other players; she has enormous potential and has fulfilled a lot of that potential. she's the real deal; has 'championship quality' written all over her. but i wont bother defending her...i think her tennis will do the talking over the next 7 years. and as for serena, she's shown a lot of class especially recently in adversity and has unquestionable talent, resolve, and instincts for being great.
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daze11
...If these same players tried to play the game without the power-boosters, i'm sure they would develop the qualities that make great classic play. You grow by being tested. If you start out with painting and learn how to work with oils, versus just getting on a computer and splashing color around, your process will make you go deeper and so it hurts to START with EASIER equipment. Its not the players' FAULT. It's the times we live in.
This sums it up in a nutshell for me, thanks daze. I couldn't agree more. What we are doing in threads like this goes way beyond comparing apples and oranges, it smacks of the concepts of time travel and attempts to quantify theories of relativity which can never be tested in the tangible (with the possible exception of when one is standing before Dali). Ah, but you and I, my friend, we are so much intangible. I need a John McEnroe fix, and I need it real bad this weekend (*picture alfa digging through piles of VHS tapes*) As a some-time and very lazy artist, I appreciate the above words more than you know (but probably knew).

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 05:58 PM
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You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to daze11 again.


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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old Oct 1st, 2004, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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THAT I can agree with...this makes more sense. blame the technology...don┤t blame the players.

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