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Bigger isn't necessarily better

896 Views 14 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Volcana
I've correlated the heights of the the 2002 opening top fifteen, plus a couple up and coming players. Things look good for Lina K. Iroda and Daja are on dicier ground, height wise.

A wee bit too small.

hite rk name<br />1.67 07 Henin<br />1.68 15 Maleeva<br />1.70 04 Hingis<br />1.70 20 Tulyaganova<br />1.72 13 Farina-Elia<br />1.72 28 Bedanova

Unqualified success (5'8 1/2" to 5'10 1/2"). Six of the top eleven players, all tournament winners. The height to be. And Lina K is.

1.74 02 Capriati<br />1.74 05 Clijsters<br />1.74 34 Krasnoroutskaya<br />1.75 08 Dokic<br />1.75 09 Mauresmo<br />1.76 11 Testud<br />1.78 06 Williams, S

Oops .... winning isn't guaranteed up here! Seles is a threat in every match. Shaughnessy is something less than that. Dementieva? Kournikova II?

1.80 10 Seles<br />1.80 12 Shaughnessy<br />1.80 14 Dementieva

So grow.

1.85 03 Williams, V<br />1.88 01 Davenport

If bigger IS better, say hello to world #3 Elena Bovina.

[ December 17, 2001: Message edited by: Volcana ]</p>
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Height isn't everything but it helps. <br /> Lina needs to stay fit and healthy in early part of 2002 and get some god draws while she is still under AER rules.<br /> Lina's 1m 75 last measurement.

<br /> Daniela Hantuchova is another 1m 80 girl.
Nadia is pretty tall too! I never would've thought Iroda was that short! <img src="eek.gif" border="0">
I thought Jelena/Amelie/Lina K were taller than that?!?!?! <img src="confused.gif" border="0">
same here Pea, she looks taller Iroda <img src="confused.gif" border="0">
Height only clear advantage is the serve.<br />The higher the ball was hit, the angle, the placement, the bounce and the speed would be better.

Otherwise, the rest is still TALENT!!!!!
That's what I thought DavenFan, but that doesn't explain Serena Williams who has one of the best serves (not fastest, but most effective) in the game, and yet she's not the tallest.

I think been bigger also gives advantages through ability to reach at the net or at the baseline etc...

So whilst I agree with the underlying "Bigger isn't necessarily better" statement, I have to say been taller, bigger has its advantages. It's how you use those advantages that determines whether you'll be better.
I cross checked the heights in a couple different places. Within a millimeter or so, all the online locations agreed.

[ December 17, 2001: Message edited by: Volcana ]</p>
I also thought Iroda was much taller than 170.<br />Her serve is wicked for her height. Amazing wrist snap!

Seles 1.80! <img src="eek.gif" border="0"> I thought she was like 1.74... <br /> <img src="tongue.gif" border="0">
I saw Lindsay, Venus, Monica and Serena standing in a row during Fed Cup or the Olympics last year. And that was the apparent order their height. Lindsay, Venus, Monica, Serena. Which roughly matches the stats.

At 1.70, I wonder if Tulyaganova is going to be able to hang.
btw LIndsay is 1.89,not 1.88 <img src="tongue.gif" border="0">
Iroda at 1m 70 has the best serve ever for anyone of her height.
I definantly agree that there are some advantages to being taller, but it does not explain the success of someone like Amanda Coetzer or Justine Henin, whom do not have the advantage of height, yet are extremely talented, competitive players. I think if we are going to determine what makes someone a top player, then speed, stamina, determination and the technical aspects of their game should be taken into consideration as well as height.
My armchair analysis again:

Originally posted by Volcana:<br /><strong><br />A wee bit too small.

hite rk name<br />1.67 07 Henin<br />1.68 15 Maleeva<br />1.70 04 Hingis<br />1.70 20 Tulyaganova<br />1.72 13 Farina-Elia<br />1.72 28 Bedanova<br /></strong><hr></blockquote>

I sure hope that they're not too small. That's the kind of thing people rub me with when they find out how much I like tennis. Sad thing is even if these players win Slams and stuff people will still point out that they're at least 3 inches taller than I am.

Go Amanda!

Anyway...<br />Players have to work with what they have. If they're tall like Davenport, Bovina and Venus, they should take advantage of their height. If they're small like Coetzer they should take advantage of their speed/footwork.

When Hingis bulked up she felt sluggish and she stopped. Of course, she stopped in other ways too. <img src="mad.gif" border="0">

The advantages of size are longer arms and longer legs. Longer arms help them generate a bigger swing action. And because they're taller they have more of a margin of error when it comes to getting the shots "in." (Take a look at Henin's 2001 speed and percentage stats. Her average speed is as good as - and sometimes even better than - a lot of the big girls...but her percentage is appalling.) Plus, the additional weight means they could throw more of their weight into their shots. A big girl takes a few steps and she's all the way on the other side of the court. Of course, she has to be careful about the pounding her body takes on hardcourts (knee problems, anyone?). A smaller player can change direction easier but takes more steps.

(Old stuff and "stating the obvious," I know.)

I guess it seems like the people in the middle have the best combination of the two and their liabilities (if any) are less apparent. We'll see.

What I'm concerned about is if, at some level, some girls are getting overlooked in the "system" because of their height (or projected height). Look where these smaller players are coming from: Switzerland (Schnyder too), Czech Republic, Belgium (which has also given us the Rochus brothers), South Africa, Bulgaria, Italy, etc. Not exactly big tennis nations.
cynicole - You have a good point there about smaller players being overlooked, or not encouraged. The USA has five players in the top twelve rankings. Jenn Capriati is the shortest. The next shortest is Serena. You have to wonder if the Lisa Raymonds are still being encouraged to play the game in the USA.
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