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Old 07-13-2019, 08:09 AM
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The longevity of Federer, Serena, Nadal and Djokovic


What is it about these special individuals that allows them to be the best in history AND the maintain these levels for the longest periods of time? Tennis has historically been a sport in which the loftiest of careers begin their downturn when a player reaches their mid- to late-20ís. These players are all well into their 30ís. Besides coincidence, the possibilities that come to my mind are:

1) Fitness, nutrition and medical science - the advances in these areas allow them to be more efficient with their bodies, cause less internal wear and tear, and facilitate faster recovery from injuries. This would make sense, but I would also consider that all the other players have access to these as well.

2) Watered down competition- perhaps tennis isnít played as much by top athletes.

And unfortunately,

3) Performance enhancing drugs- could these athletes have access to PEDís that are undetectable and unavailable to other players? Could the ATP and WTP be allowing these players to bypass testing? Thereís certainly no evidence for either of these types of conspiracies, but the history of professional sports is filled with athletes trying to gain a chemical advantage.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:26 PM
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Didn't Serena once say that one of the things that keeps her from burning out on tour is having Venus around?
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:33 PM
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Didn't Serena once say that one of the things that keeps her from burning out on tour is having Venus around?
One of the things that keeps Serena from burning out on tour is simply not being on tour. She plays very few competitions.
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:24 PM
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'Racket technology' has certainly come a long way.
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:57 PM
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Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are probably three of the top five players of the modern era, but at least some part of their longevity comes down to watered down competetion- none of the younger players now are star material- once these three retire, *someone* will have to win every slam played, but I see no other current player that is going to finish with five or more slams- the mens game is going to soon be like the womens is now- any one of twenty or so players can win any slam, or just as easily lose in the first round. What player under 25 has done the best against the big 3? I think Kyrgios, who probably will be banned from the sport within two years. Mens ratings are going to plummet when they all retire, but since the current competition is so weak, that may be five or more years for each at least.

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Old 07-14-2019, 05:41 AM
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Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are probably three of the top five players of the modern era, but at least some part of their longevity comes down to watered down competetion- none of the younger players now are star material
Doesnít that push it back a step? If you say that none of the younger players are star material, then say why none of the younger players are star material. The OP is, in effect, already asking why these three outclass the competition; you are, in effect, restating that by replying that the competition is outclassed by them.

(Especially since, as you apparently grant that Nadal and Federer and Djokovic are probably Top Five if not Top Three, the whole thing gets even weirder. Consider, for example, Andy Murray, who built a Hall Of Fame career in the shadow of N/F/D: in between winning Olympic gold medals, he won multiple Grand Slam titles; youíd maybe expect him to get ranked #1 in the world, and, uh, he did. So ó what? Heís not N/F/D tier, but the players youíre on about are a step down from his tier?)

(Wawrinka isnít in the N/F/D tier either; but the guys youíre on about are a step down from his tier, since he wins Grand Slam title after Grand Slam title after Grand Slam title in an N/F/D context and they donít? Why? Why arenít they at least on that guyís tier? Why arenít they even second-stringers?)
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:12 AM
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Doesn’t that push it back a step? If you say that none of the younger players are star material, then say why none of the younger players are star material. The OP is, in effect, already asking why these three outclass the competition; you are, in effect, restating that by replying that the competition is outclassed by them.

(Especially since, as you apparently grant that Nadal and Federer and Djokovic are probably Top Five if not Top Three, the whole thing gets even weirder. Consider, for example, Andy Murray, who built a Hall Of Fame career in the shadow of N/F/D: in between winning Olympic gold medals, he won multiple Grand Slam titles; you’d maybe expect him to get ranked #1 in the world, and, uh, he did. So — what? He’s not N/F/D tier, but the players you’re on about are a step down from his tier?)

(Wawrinka isn’t in the N/F/D tier either; but the guys you’re on about are a step down from his tier, since he wins Grand Slam title after Grand Slam title after Grand Slam title in an N/F/D context and they don’t? Why? Why aren’t they at least on that guy’s tier? Why aren’t they even second-stringers?)
The Op is an excellent question- what is going on now is unprecedented in the history of mens tennis- every previous decade saw between 12 and 20 different men win slams, in the 2010's its SIX.

My wag as to the reason- a combination of the three best ever possibly all in their peak simultaneously, coupled with no one else stepping up. A decade or so ago you at least had Roddick and Murray and a couple of others always getting close before losing to the big 3, now you dont even have that.

Theim #4, clay specialist with two clay finals appearances only. Zverev #5, never gotten to a semi in a slam. Tsitsipas 6, only 20 but just lost in the first round at Wimbledon. 7 and 8 are age 30 journeymen with three finals appearances combined. Kyrgios, probably the best raw talent of any of the rest, is a flake. So IMO a bleak future for the mens game.

Last edited by Helmut Doork; 07-14-2019 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:18 AM
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I think part of the explanation, at least for the lack of American competition, is that the best male American athletes are generally funneled into basketball, football, and a few other sports. Imagine if LeBron James had grown up playing tennis -- with his height and athleticism, he could be utterly dominant. Drew Brees beat Andy Roddick as a kid -- if he had stuck with tennis instead of football, he might also be an all time great. And many more.
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Old 07-14-2019, 12:29 PM
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Imagine if LeBron James had grown up playing tennis -- with his height and athleticism, he could be utterly dominant.
Really tall tennis players are a bit of a rarity. There's a sweet spot between 1.80m and 1.90m for the bigger names.
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Old 07-14-2019, 12:30 PM
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Really tall tennis players are a bit of a rarity. There's a sweet spot between 1.80m and 1.90m for the bigger names.
Right... but LeBron James is almost superhumanly athletically talented. He could have John Isner's serve but move around like Nadal (or close). At least, that's my hypothesis.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 07-14-2019 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 07-14-2019, 12:41 PM
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I think part of the explanation, at least for the lack of American competition, is that the best male American athletes are generally funneled into basketball, football, and a few other sports.
That could well be part of it. Tennis's heyday as a spectator sport (and, its peak from a participation standpoint) in the U.S. was the 1970s, and into the 1980s. If young athletes aren't being exposed to tennis the way they used to be, and aren't seeing tennis as an attractive sport to compete in, fewer will pursue it.

BTW, here's the current men's rankings -- there are only three American men in the top 50, and only one of them is in the top 30.

Edit: it's a little less dire for the U.S. on the women's side, where six Americans are in the top 50, and three in the top 20...but two of the six are the Williams sisters, whose days are limited.

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Old 07-14-2019, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Helmut Doork View Post
Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are probably three of the top five players of the modern era, but at least some part of their longevity comes down to watered down competetion- none of the younger players now are star material- once these three retire, *someone* will have to win every slam played, but I see no other current player that is going to finish with five or more slams- the mens game is going to soon be like the womens is now- any one of twenty or so players can win any slam, or just as easily lose in the first round. What player under 25 has done the best against the big 3? I think Kyrgios, who probably will be banned from the sport within two years. Mens ratings are going to plummet when they all retire, but since the current competition is so weak, that may be five or more years for each at least.
If they ban Kyrgios I will never watch tennis again. He's awesome! Well...when he decides to show up and try. And/or not get ejected from matches...besides those two small things though...
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:10 PM
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If they ban Kyrgios I will never watch tennis again. He's awesome! Well...when he decides to show up and try. And/or not get ejected from matches...besides those two small things though...
Agree, he is must watch , and the sport seems to not too much mind his antics because right now its always mainly in a early round match or small tourney where he really acts the ass.

the banning is going to come when he gets to a Wimbledon final, millions watching, and blatantly quits trying.

But yes, when he's on, probably the best player on the tour besides the big three,and does really well against two of them head to head.

Last edited by Helmut Doork; 07-14-2019 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:03 AM
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A lot of elite performance is in the mind, and there's a part of F/N/D/W's success that is self-sustaining. When you, a supremely talented 20-something at peak physical fitness walk on court to face, say, Djokovic, you're not just playing Djokovic, you're playing Djokovic. The guy who's been winning Grand Slams since you were crying over losing an under-8s match. The player you dreamed of being. The legend. Sure, you've got a plan for beating him, you've got some notes about when to hit drop shots but as you walk on court you know it's a long shot. You're half-expecting to lose.

I recently saw an old interview with Andy Murray, right back when he was a teenager at his first Wimbledon and hadn't had media training. It went something like:

Interviewer: "So, Andy, welcome to your first Wimbledon. How far are you hoping you'll get through the tournament?"
Andy Murray: "All the way."
Itnerviewer, slightly incredulously: "You're hoping to win Wimbledon on your first ever visit?"
Andy Murray, future world No. 1:"Didn't come here for any other reason."

That's the mentality. And yes, at that point there weren't quite a Big Three, and certainly not like there are now. But if Zverev, Tsipras etc. aren't coming to the the Majors thinking, "This is my tournament, this is my time, get out of my way you old men" then they're playing on one leg.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:15 AM
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Interviewer: "So, Andy, welcome to your first Wimbledon. How far are you hoping you'll get through the tournament?"
Andy Murray: "All the way."
Itnerviewer, slightly incredulously: "You're hoping to win Wimbledon on your first ever visit?"
Andy Murray, future world No. 1:"Didn't come here for any other reason."

That's the mentality. And yes, at that point there weren't quite a Big Three, and certainly not like there are now. But if Zverev, Tsipras etc. aren't coming to the the Majors thinking, "This is my tournament, this is my time, get out of my way you old men" then they're playing on one leg.
Coco Gauff, the 15-year-old who knocked Venus Williams out of Wimbledon this year and made it through to the fourth round, said much the same thing. If you're not playing to win, why turn up at all?
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:31 AM
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Coco Gauff, the 15-year-old who knocked Venus Williams out of Wimbledon this year and made it through to the fourth round, said much the same thing. If you're not playing to win, why turn up at all?
Yes, and that attitude brings with it a focus on you and your game, not the opponent and how amazing they are: this is very interesting from Simona Halep, on the back of her crushing of Serena Williams:

Quote:
"The nerves were positive this time. I felt them in the stomach," she said. "I always play well when I have emotions.

"I didn't think at all against who I play. I've always been intimidated a little bit when I faced Serena."

...
"I decided before the match that I'm going to focus on myself and on the final of Grand Slam, not on her,..."That's why I was able to play my best, to be relaxed, and to be able to be positive and confident against her.

"I'm very sure that was the best match of my life."
(Italics mine)

Basically, what I'm saying is that beating tennis's GOATs is easy, and I am wiser and better than all those physically more gifted athletes who don't have my entirely undemonstrated psychological fortitude.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:41 AM
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This is Krygios' entertaining press conference following his defeat to Nadal at Wimbledon -

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/tennis/48884075

The guy's box-office but he hasn't gone past the 4th round in a slam in his last 16 attempts, it's hard to see him winning one.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:41 AM
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The Op is an excellent question- what is going on now is unprecedented in the history of mens tennis- every previous decade saw between 12 and 20 different men win slams, in the 2010's its SIX.

My wag as to the reason- a combination of the three best ever possibly all in their peak simultaneously, coupled with no one else stepping up. A decade or so ago you at least had Roddick and Murray and a couple of others always getting close before losing to the big 3, now you dont even have that.

Theim #4, clay specialist with two clay finals appearances only. Zverev #5, never gotten to a semi in a slam. Tsitsipas 6, only 20 but just lost in the first round at Wimbledon. 7 and 8 are age 30 journeymen with three finals appearances combined. Kyrgios, probably the best raw talent of any of the rest, is a flake. So IMO a bleak future for the mens game.
I wonder, as someone who doesn't really follow tennis much, Is part of it that not only are there randomly three of the best ever all active at the same time (and have mostly avoided injury), but also one of those three happens to be the absolute best-ever clay-court player, so there's no chance for a clay-court specialist to sneak in a few wins in France and elsewhere?
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:35 AM
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Possibly, and I'm not a tennis expert either, but you could probably make the argument that Djokovic and Federer are the second and third best clay court players ever, so absent Nadal they would have picked up most of his French Open wins between them.
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Old 07-15-2019, 11:36 AM
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Yeah, the dominance of the Big Three isn't so much that one of them always wins, it's that two of them are in the final, and likely three of them in the semis.

From this, the first Big Three Grand Slam final was the 2006 French Open between Nadal and Federer. Since then there have been 54 Grand Slam finals, featuring 18 individual players.

25 featured Djokovic; 25 Nadal; 24 Federer. 22 featured two of the three. Only two have featured none of them*

Of the remaining 15 players in these finals, Murray has been in 11. This puts him in a tier of his own: Wawrinka has been in 4, Cilic in 3, five others in 2 and six others in only 1.

Of French Open finals not featuring Nadal, the results were Federer beat Soderling, Djokovic beat Murray and Wawrinka beat Djokovic.

Further to the psychological arguments made above, I suspect that there's only so long you can keep entering Grand Slams and finding you are just making up the numbers before you get worn down. I mean, imagine how unbelievably good at tennis Bedych or Tsonga are, for example. They are amazingly, incredibly good. They grew up leaving others in their wake, and dedicating their lives to achieving excellence. And the reward for that is regular quarter finals, semis if they're lucky, losing in a final if they're playing out their skins. How thoroughly must it grind your soul?

*
SPOILER:
Murray/Raonic in Wimbledon 2016, Cilic/Nishikori in US Open 2014, pub quiz fans.
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Old 07-15-2019, 01:09 PM
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So, rather like Karl Malone or Charles Barkley — the misfortune of one’s career coinciding with the GOAT (in this case, three of ‘em). Interesting.
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Old 07-15-2019, 05:24 PM
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... but also one of those three happens to be the absolute best-ever clay-court player, so there's no chance for a clay-court specialist to sneak in a few wins in France and elsewhere?
You mean, no one else is better then 95-2 at the French Open, with 12 titles?

You have say, no one in sports has dominated anything more than Nadal has the French Open. Simply ridiculous!
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:59 PM
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Serena, Rafa and Djoker. Juicing.
Federer is just fit as hell.
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Old 07-16-2019, 02:41 AM
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Serena, Rafa and Djoker. Juicing.
Federer is just fit as hell.
Why aren't the rest of tennis players juicing, though?
In the whole world, only three players have managed to find the secret of undetectable PED's? Are all the other tennis players too ethical to use them?

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Old 07-16-2019, 06:04 AM
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Serena, Rafa and Djoker. Juicing.
Federer is just fit as hell.
I'm not convinced by the first three, the fact that Federer is a physical freak is clearly true to a certain extent but it seems to be a perfect storm of physical perfection, resistance to injury plus a playing style that puts his body through less trauma.

I was amazed on Sunday. Federer is my favourite sportsman of all time but I thought going to 5 was unlikely. The fact that he did it and was arguably the better player on the day was amazing. If he can still pull out a 5 set, 5 hour marathon against another all-time great at the age of nearly 38 then there is no point retiring. He plays like that and he can still win majors (and entertain us all royally at the same time)
Novak says that he hopes to emulate what Roger is doing but I think he, Rafa and Andy Murray are all far more susceptible to injury and are entering the zone where they may be struck down at the drop of a hat (or drop- shot?)

This is a freakish time. 3 players that are arguably the best 3 ever. All resilient enough to be active for over a decade.
The best of the rest has been Andy Murray by a country mile, someone with the skills and consistency good enough for a double digit major record in any other 15 year period. These are the only four people to have held the No 1. status since Feb 2nd 2004. That is an almost sarcastic degree of dominance.

The chasing group will step up, they always do but we are unlikely to see anything like this ever again. The others aren't bad, this top group are simply that good.
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:56 AM
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I agree with you on Novak/Rafa/Andy being more prone to injury (indeed all have already shown this is the case, and it's likely to get worse for them as time goes on). Which is why I was amazed to read in this morning's Metro that the odds on Federer finishing his career with more grand slams than Rafa and Novak (by the time their careers are over) are apparently 8/1. With Novak and Rafa at something like 2/1 and 6/4 respectively. 8/1 looks incredible value to me - I mean yes, the other two are great, but they are not invincible and their careers could end/fall away literally any time from now. Nadal won't be favourite to win any Slam except the French now, his best hope is to wrap that up for 2 more years (by no means guaranteed) and sneak another one in somewhere else while hoping Roger doesn't manage that also. Novak is clearly looking the strongest of the three at the moment but needs 5 to overhaul Roger's current total, that's a lot. I suspect the 'catch' is that all bets are retained in the event of a tie.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:24 AM
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Why aren't the rest of tennis players juicing, though?
In the whole world, only three players have managed to find the secret of undetectable PED's? Are all the other tennis players too ethical to use them?
They are. Several have been caught. Cilic. Sharapova. The ATP & WTA(much like cycling with Armstrong) is turning a blind eye.

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I'm not convinced by the first three, the fact that Federer is a physical freak is clearly true to a certain extent but it seems to be a perfect storm of physical perfection, resistance to injury plus a playing style that puts his body through less trauma.

I was amazed on Sunday. Federer is my favourite sportsman of all time but I thought going to 5 was unlikely. The fact that he did it and was arguably the better player on the day was amazing. If he can still pull out a 5 set, 5 hour marathon against another all-time great at the age of nearly 38 then there is no point retiring. He plays like that and he can still win majors (and entertain us all royally at the same time)
Novak says that he hopes to emulate what Roger is doing but I think he, Rafa and Andy Murray are all far more susceptible to injury and are entering the zone where they may be struck down at the drop of a hat (or drop- shot?)

This is a freakish time. 3 players that are arguably the best 3 ever. All resilient enough to be active for over a decade.
The best of the rest has been Andy Murray by a country mile, someone with the skills and consistency good enough for a double digit major record in any other 15 year period. These are the only four people to have held the No 1. status since Feb 2nd 2004. That is an almost sarcastic degree of dominance.

The chasing group will step up, they always do but we are unlikely to see anything like this ever again. The others aren't bad, this top group are simply that good.
Come on. I would not be surprised if Federer is **also ** doping, but at least his style and physique match his age.
Nadal: Went from a scrawny kid to a muscle bound Adonis. Has long layoffs and comes back stronger. And Spanish sports has enough institutional doping to make Russia blush.

Serena: yeah, we know she is doping. We have her test reports. Leaked by wiki leaks. Where she had multiple failed tests. Condoned by doctors notes. (Called ďTherapeutic Use ExemptionsĒ or TUE). Including several which were post dated. And issued in violation of rules.

Djokovic. A guy who used to have trouble with stamina, now has no problem multiple 5 set 5 hour matches.
He says itís because he gave up gluten.
From easily tired to a fucking Duracell.
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Old 07-16-2019, 10:16 AM
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I agree with you on Novak/Rafa/Andy being more prone to injury (indeed all have already shown this is the case, and it's likely to get worse for them as time goes on). Which is why I was amazed to read in this morning's Metro that the odds on Federer finishing his career with more grand slams than Rafa and Novak (by the time their careers are over) are apparently 8/1. With Novak and Rafa at something like 2/1 and 6/4 respectively. 8/1 looks incredible value to me - I mean yes, the other two are great, but they are not invincible and their careers could end/fall away literally any time from now. Nadal won't be favourite to win any Slam except the French now, his best hope is to wrap that up for 2 more years (by no means guaranteed) and sneak another one in somewhere else while hoping Roger doesn't manage that also. Novak is clearly looking the strongest of the three at the moment but needs 5 to overhaul Roger's current total, that's a lot. I suspect the 'catch' is that all bets are retained in the event of a tie.
Agree 100% on your assessment of Nadal. If Novak plays until Rogers' current 38, that's @24 more slams, and currently needs five to tie Roger, who more than likely is going to get at least a couple more at this rate, so I think it comes down to Novak or Roger. And if in two years say Nadal and Roger are both done, and Novak is still at his peak, and the competition remains as weak as it is now, I could see him overtaking Roger, but it would be close.

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Old 07-16-2019, 10:37 PM
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Part of it is that their youth and then later years corresponded with a shift in tennis from a young man's game to a relatively older man's game - you don't see teenagers winning grand slams or even getting close, when in the 80s and even 90s there were a ton of teenage champions. The last teenager to win a major was Rafa and I don't think there is one who's even close at the moment.
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Old 07-17-2019, 08:47 AM
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I was amazed to read in this morning's Metro that the odds on Federer finishing his career with more grand slams than Rafa and Novak (by the time their careers are over) are apparently 8/1. With Novak and Rafa at something like 2/1 and 6/4 respectively.
I'll be incredibly surprised if Novak does not eventually surpass Federer in major titles. Yeah, I'd give Nadal maybe two more FO titles.

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Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
Nadal: Went from a scrawny kid to a muscle bound Adonis. Has long layoffs and comes back stronger. And Spanish sports has enough institutional doping to make Russia blush.
Yep, I always wondered about the waaay-more-defined-than-usual muscalture of Nadal, Ferrer and Verdasco (not quite as sure about Lopez, Almagro, and Bautista Agut).
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Old 07-17-2019, 12:18 PM
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I think part of the explanation, at least for the lack of American competition, is that the best male American athletes are generally funneled into basketball, football, and a few other sports. Imagine if LeBron James had grown up playing tennis -- with his height and athleticism, he could be utterly dominant. Drew Brees beat Andy Roddick as a kid -- if he had stuck with tennis instead of football, he might also be an all time great. And many more.
But that was no less true before. American men have always been largely funnelled into baseball, football, and basketball.

I am skeptical of the notion that there is a lack of competition, absent a more convincing explanation of why that is; sports are zero sum and you can't say it's because other guys lose when it may be because these people win.

I am more inclined to think it's

1. Random chance, and
2. Sports medicine.
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Old 07-17-2019, 12:30 PM
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The sports medicine argument is supported by folks like Tom Brady, who despite being my age (seriously, I’m only a month older than him) is still one of the best, if not the best QB in the NFL.
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Old 07-17-2019, 04:12 PM
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Um, the OP's over-generalizing. I'm going to say this is nothing more than confirmation bias.

Nadal: 33 years old
Djokovic: 32 years old
Federer: 37 years old
Serena: 37 years old

Both Nadal and Djokovic just had birthdays, both Federer and Serena turn 38 before the Fall. These 4 people are not similar, they are clearly of different age groups.

Historically the elite men's players have seen a steep drop off after the age of 33. If both Nadal and Djokovic continue winning over the next 3-4 years they will certainly be getting into rare company, but that hasn't happened yet. Sampras, Agassi, Ashe, Connors and Laver all were winning Grand Slams regularly right up until the end of their runs, none of those final titles were really outliers. If they both stop winning majors this year or next, they'll be perfectly in line with the historical norm for top flight players.

Federer is without question an outlier, but he's just that, a single outlier. We can't infer a trend from that.

Serena is the same age as Navratilova was when she notched her last title. That's great company, but I think it's probably likely that Serena's closing in on her final days here. If she doesn't continue to win over the next 3 or 4 years, she'll be an outlier but not an unprecedented one. Importantly, there is no trend here to point at. Just one great player.

Now, perhaps it's odd that both Federer and Serena are setting new longevity marks at the same time, but I think it's most likely that we can chalk that up to random chance. On balance players' fitness is better as is the sports/medical science, so ages are edging up, but it's not some sea change.
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Old 07-17-2019, 04:40 PM
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But that was no less true before. American men have always been largely funnelled into baseball, football, and basketball.



I am skeptical of the notion that there is a lack of competition, absent a more convincing explanation of why that is; sports are zero sum and you can't say it's because other guys lose when it may be because these people win.



I am more inclined to think it's



1. Random chance, and

2. Sports medicine.
I think tennis was closer to those other sports in (American) popularity, prestige and money in past decades than today. No cite handy, so I could be wrong.
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  #35  
Old 07-18-2019, 02:36 AM
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I think both Djokovic and Federer's physique and style of play have assisted in their longevity. They both are lean and move like cats on the court.

Serena and Nadal are the German Shepherds. They are stockier, muscular and possess unabashed ambition.

All of them put in unbelievable amount of time in physical fitness and improving their game.

I refuse to believe anyone is doping, though I was fooled by Lance Armstrong, too. However, all are routinely tested, including surprise tests. The fact that they banned Sharapova (albeit for a lesser time than perhaps she deserved) shows that the WTA is not shying away from testing, even at the cost of viewers. I believe Sharapova was the 2nd most popular player behind Serena when she was banned.

Personally, I think that once these legacy players have retired, tennis attendance will drop significantly. I've held series tickets to our local Masters 1000 event for 25+ years, however I already have plans to drop them once Nadal retires. I'm a tennis fan, but I'm not plunking down $3000 to watch Kevin Anderson take on Tsisipas. No way, no how.
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Old 07-18-2019, 09:08 AM
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Also, cant wait for Federer to retire and then go undefeated for ten years on the Invessco legends tour (sic), playing against Chang, Courier, Blake, Fish and McEnroe!
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
I am skeptical of the notion that there is a lack of competition, absent a more convincing explanation of why that is; sports are zero sum and you can't say it's because other guys lose when it may be because these people win.
Looking back, consider Andy Roddick: he doesnít get a to of respect, but he was ranked #1 in the world as the US Open champ in Ď04 ó the year he knifed through everyone else he faced at Wimbledon until going up against Federer in the final. And the next year, he beat everyone he faced at Wimbledon right up until he again went up against Federer in the final. And the day came when he again beat everyone he faced at Wimbledon and then went up against Federer in the final.

Just imagine being that guy: you try to get another win at the US Open, and you drop everyone in your path until you face Federer in that final. And you try your luck at the Australian Open, and successfully take on all comers until you face Federer in the semifinal, after which he of course wins the final; and thereís a point where you face Federer at a Wimbledon semifinal, after which he of course wins the final; and so on. I mean, yeah, okay, youíre no Federer; but imagine that thatís the worst thing folks can say about you and your 150+ mph serve...
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:13 AM
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It is interesting to think how many slams Roddick would have if he started his career today instead of when he did.
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Old 07-19-2019, 12:28 PM
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It is interesting to think how many slams Roddick would have if he started his career today instead of when he did.
We can play that game all day. Not to diminish Federer's talent, but his impressive record was aided by the fact that the first 5 years of his career, he didn't have to face someone like Djokovic or Nadal. Andy Roddick was his biggest competitor for the first phase of his career. And while Roddick had an impressive serve, he wasn't in the same class as Nole or Rafa. Andre Agassi was in the twilight of his career and Sampras retired in 2002. So Federer definitely lucked out because he the quality of his competition was lacking.

And then Rafa came along, and the rest is history.

And while Nadal entered the race with Federer in the line-up, poor Djokovic had to face either Nadal or Federer, which makes his record even more impressive than either Nadal or Federer.
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Old 07-19-2019, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by PunditLisa View Post

I refuse to believe anyone is doping, though I was fooled by Lance Armstrong, too. However, all are routinely tested, including surprise tests. The fact that they banned Sharapova (albeit for a lesser time than perhaps she deserved) shows that the WTA is not shying away from testing, even at the cost of viewers. I believe Sharapova was the 2nd most popular player behind Serena when she was banned.

Serena's positive tests have been leaked....and they were approved with multiple post dated TUE.

Sharapova was caught chiefly cause she was Russian.
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Old 07-19-2019, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by PunditLisa View Post
I think both Djokovic and Federer's physique and style of play have assisted in their longevity. They both are lean and move like cats on the court.

Serena and Nadal are the German Shepherds. They are stockier, muscular and possess unabashed ambition.

All of them put in unbelievable amount of time in physical fitness and improving their game.

I refuse to believe anyone is doping, though I was fooled by Lance Armstrong, too. However, all are routinely tested, including surprise tests. The fact that they banned Sharapova (albeit for a lesser time than perhaps she deserved) shows that the WTA is not shying away from testing, even at the cost of viewers. I believe Sharapova was the 2nd most popular player behind Serena when she was banned.

.
LOL. No one is doping and Federer is crushing grand slam tournaments at 38 years of age because he moves around the court like a cat

I mean don't get me wrong, I completely endorse any sports fan's right to enjoy their chosen sport and not give a shit about doping. I'm a football fan, which is the biggest sport in the world, doping is almost certainly rife, and no one cares.

But that doesn't mean you get to earnestly defend the indefensible with risible statements liek the WTA is not shying away from testing - you must recognise the tacit agreement which exists between you, the governing body of the sport, and the athletes.
You said it yourself, you don't want to pay to watch Kevin Anderson take on Tsisipas. You do want to see a geriatric (in tennsi terms) Rafa and Fed, legends of the game, go head to head and duel it out in a grand slam. Like seeing Keith Richards and Mick Jagger on stage, only with less drugs. There's a price to be paid for that, but fortunately every stakeholder's (you, the WTA, and the players) incentives are aligned.

Last edited by Busy Scissors; 07-19-2019 at 02:53 PM.
  #42  
Old 07-28-2019, 05:25 PM
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2. Sports medicine.
This is probably what explains it better than anything. Before, although there was some ideas as to what to do to get ready for a match, there wasn't as much thought as to what to do immediately after to help you recuperate. Also, there is a lot better understanding as to what exercises to do that will help develop your tennis skills in particular instead of a general fitness regimen. And yes, equipment has improved as well with things such as even shoes being tailored specifically for a player.

In the specific case of Roger Federer, people tend to forget that he has always been very good a managing his schedule, even when he was younger. For example, he took almost a whole month in 2007 after Wimbledon. He has never really been the type to try to play a tournament every week, which has helped prolong his career.


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  #43  
Old 07-30-2019, 04:09 PM
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Serena, Rafa and Djoker. Juicing.
Federer is just fit as hell.
Their are rumors surrounding Rafa for sure. If memory serves, the talk was he was involved in the operation puerto blood doping scandal with the footballers and cyclists. Thatís just rumors though. Blood doping makes sense with him considering his stamina.

There are also rumors surrounding shiner, but those are a little less focused.

It would be hypocritical of me to say Federer was clean. No one could possibly know.

Serena is helped out by weak competition. Clijsters and Justine Henin did as well as anyone did, but their careers were short.
  #44  
Old 07-31-2019, 05:45 PM
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Ken Rosewall won a grand slam title at 37. He made it to the finals of the U.S. Open just shy of his 40th birthday. He won two events when he was 43, and played on the tour until he was 47.

Andre Agassi made it to the finals of the U.S. Open at 35.

There are many players that remained competitive on the tour into their mid to late 30's, right from the beginning of pro tennis.

So the unusual numbers of mid-30's winners now could just be variance.

That said, if anything is different with the men it would be the change in the game due to equipment. Me don't have nearly the number of long rallies they used to have. They probably take less of a toll, on their knees and backs than they used to, And perhaps don't need as much cardio endurance as they once did.
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:51 AM
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Are you sure about the long rallies? My understanding was the modern game has more long baseline rallies than ever before, as opposed to the good old days when there was much more serve and volley on all surfaces.
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Old 08-01-2019, 06:23 PM
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Rosewall was a major outlyer and also played back when the game was less competitive - not everyone even traveled to Australia for the Australian Open, for instance. Look at most of the big names from the 80s and 90s and they not only weren't competitive at 30, most of them had their best days behind them by 25 - that's something that's definitely changed in the Fed/Rafa/Novak era.
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:48 AM
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[Men] don't have nearly the number of long rallies they used to have..
Incorrect. If any anything, we're currently in an era of comparatively longer rallies than ever. The 90's especially was rife (and quite annoyingly, IMO) with short rallies, with serve-and volley meisters like Pete Sampras, and before him, in the previous decade, John McEnroe, Roscoe Tanner, and Stephan Edberg, and a decade before them - Rod Laver, and a decade and-a-half before Laver - Jack Kramer. All of them dominating the game, all of them primarily known for their serve and volleying.

With the ascendancy of Agassi, the return of serve evolved from defense to attack (along with increased use of the two-handed back-hand), making it more difficult for the server to approach the net, almost singlehandedly ushering in a still-as-yet-unabated downturn in the serve and volley game, which I doubt strongly will ever come back.

In the men's top 100, only one player - Alexander Zverev's brother, Mischa - has been considered a serve and volleyer.
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:56 AM
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MISSED EDIT WINDOW:

meh - I guess you could add Karlovic and Isner to the current batch?
  #49  
Old 08-14-2019, 10:31 PM
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I coincidentally found this article while browsing: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features...-in-their-20s/

Notice itís from 2018, and spot-on with the predictions at the end.
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