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Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
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calitennis127 Offline
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Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
Today, more than ever, I missed the 2003-2008 era, when you legitimately had 10-20 players who could all play some serious, elite tennis from the baseline.

The young crop, aside from Janowicz, is so bad that I really don't see why Djokovic, Nadal, and Murray can't dominate for another 6 to 8 years. I am dead serious about that.

What is going to stop that from happening, aside from injuries? The talent differential is so big aside from Janowicz that it seems improbable that the current regime will be dethroned anytime soon.

I would have thought that the Federer-Nadal rivalry in its heyday of 2006-2008 would have inspired the younger generation to be great. Maybe it is too soon to judge the rivalry's effects, but it appears that the players who were teenagers when Federer and Nadal were dooking it out simply did not have even one-tenth of the talent to produce the level of tennis we saw from the Top 20 2003 to 2008. What we are seeing from this younger generation is really pathetic.

People often talk about history as if it is just a constant progression with things getting better and better. The reality is that there are stretches of progress AND regress. The men's game seems to me to have really taken a couple steps back in the past 5 years. As much as I respect and like Ferrer's game and mentality, the fact that he has had his peak results at ages 29-31 (after having been as serious about tennis earlier in his career; Ferrer was no slacker) means that he out-lasted a generation he couldn't beat.

The current crop of young players is inferior and the pro game has regressed. Today's match was proof positive of that. There is no way any Top 10 players in, say, 2006 - Ivan Ljubicic included - would have looked as sad as Raonic did today.
(This post was last modified: 11-Aug-2013 03:48 PM by calitennis127.)
11-Aug-2013 03:45 PM
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Didi (08-12-2013)
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
I'm not sure what it is but it's possible that the game is so physical now that it is tougher for the youngsters to break through. Milos will improve but you can't teach quickness and I think he will always be too slow to be a true contender at majors. JJ seems to be the only real threat in sight.
11-Aug-2013 04:06 PM
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Riotbeard (08-11-2013)
calitennis127 Offline
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
(11-Aug-2013 04:06 PM)DarthFed Wrote:  I'm not sure what it is but it's possible that the game is so physical now that it is tougher for the youngsters to break through. Milos will improve but you can't teach quickness and I think he will always be too slow to be a true contender at majors. JJ seems to be the only real threat in sight.



People often say this - that "the game is so physical now". What about matches 2003-2008? What about Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open? What about Masters Cup 2003-2005? Were they not physical?

All of those matches were very "physical" as well. You keep saying that Federer is now irrelevant. Well, if that's the case that only leaves three players (Djokovic, Murray, Nadal) who you can say hold up this new standard of "physicality". But the rest don't even come close to the era of Federer, Safin, Hewitt, Roddick, Nalbandian, Davydenko, Ljubicic, Gonzalez, Baghdatis, Blake, Moya, etc.

That group was FAR more talented.
(This post was last modified: 11-Aug-2013 04:18 PM by calitennis127.)
11-Aug-2013 04:12 PM
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DarthFed Offline
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
The game has advanced mostly in physicality the past 5-10 years and if you compare it to even the 90's it is a night and day difference. That is the Rafa effect. 2003-2005 is not as physical as the matches we have now. Federer has been irrelevant for a year but that doesn't mean he won't ever rise up again. Clearly he does not have the athleticism, power and endurance as the other top 3 and I'd say he hasn't had it for at least 3-4 years. He will never beat them again by going toe for toe and making it a track meet or a battle of stamina.
11-Aug-2013 04:20 PM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
(11-Aug-2013 04:20 PM)DarthFed Wrote:  The game has advanced mostly in physicality the past 5-10 years and if you compare it to even the 90's it is a night and day difference. That is the Rafa effect. 2003-2005 is not as physical as the matches we have now.



If you take Djokovic, Murray, and Nadal out of the equation, is that really the case?

I don't think so. I don't think Berdych and Tsonga are all that special with their fitness. Ferrer is unique with his fitness but he didn't have the game to be absolutely elite within his own generation.

I also think that healthier Safins, Nalbandians, Davydenkos, Roddicks, Blakes, etc. would have all given the current Top 3 listed above serious trouble. The Top 3 right now get to feast on a pretty sorry Top 20 compared to what existed 6 to 8 years ago.
11-Aug-2013 09:48 PM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
Darth - let me put this direct question to you. If tennis is now so "physical", then how are Milos Raonic and Stanislas Wawrinka in the Top 10?

How are Gasquet, Cilic, and Simon in the Top 20? Nishikori is #12???

Wow, so "physical" it psyches me out.

The fact is, the main issue in this era is the immense lack of talent in the Top 20 compared to what there was 5-7 years ago. For all the talk about Federer supposedly facing a weak era, it is looking like what he had to deal with was much tougher, in terms of the Top 10 and Top 20, than what Djokovic, Murray, and Nadal are coping with.
11-Aug-2013 09:59 PM
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Riotbeard (08-11-2013)
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
(11-Aug-2013 09:48 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  
(11-Aug-2013 04:20 PM)DarthFed Wrote:  The game has advanced mostly in physicality the past 5-10 years and if you compare it to even the 90's it is a night and day difference. That is the Rafa effect. 2003-2005 is not as physical as the matches we have now.



If you take Djokovic, Murray, and Nadal out of the equation, is that really the case?


Aren't these the 3 players you think will dominate for 8 more years? You're saying if you take them out, matches are suddenly not quite as physical. Well, if you take them out, the tour isn't suddenly dominated by them. Seems like there might be a correlation there.

Darth's argument is that the tour has become too physical and the younger generation isn't able to keep up. Well, that seems to be in line with why Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are dominating. For the record, I don't believe physicality is the only reason, or even the biggest.

For example, I don't think Raonic's issues are strictly physical. The real issue is that he's simply not that good (relatively speaking of course, compared to the absolute elite), and doesn't seem like he has that kind of potential unless he suddenly turns into a great mover and develops world class ground strokes, which isn't going to happen.

Jerzy "better shots than Nadal on hard courts" Janowicz is exciting, if nothing else. But really, he doesn't seem to have the kind of upside that would see him become a legitimate top 4 player in the future (or maybe I just don't see it). The problem with these up and coming players is not that they don't seem as promising as Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray were at a younger age, but that they don't seem to have the potential to become the Davydenko of their era, and that's the real worrying thing.
12-Aug-2013 06:56 AM
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Moxie629 (08-12-2013)
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
(11-Aug-2013 09:59 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  Darth - let me put this direct question to you. If tennis is now so "physical", then how are Milos Raonic and Stanislas Wawrinka in the Top 10?


By default. Because the rest of the tour is that weak at the moment. As I said, the issues aren't strictly physical, but it doesn't take an expert to figure that some of the aforementioned players lack the physicality of the top 5. However, that doesn't mean this is strictly why they can't compete with them. The main issues are tennis related.

But again, your argument if "take out X, Y and Z and the tour doesn't become so physical" is kind of odd. You're essentially saying take out the 4-5 most physical players who are achieving the best results (if you include Ferrer, and you should), and the tour suddenly isn't so physical. Well, yeah...
(This post was last modified: 12-Aug-2013 07:09 AM by Broken_Shoelace.)
12-Aug-2013 06:59 AM
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Didi Offline
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
(11-Aug-2013 09:59 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  The fact is, the main issue in this era is the immense lack of talent in the Top 20 compared to what there was 5-7 years ago. For all the talk about Federer supposedly facing a weak era, it is looking like what he had to deal with was much tougher, in terms of the Top 10 and Top 20, than what Djokovic, Murray, and Nadal are coping with.

I agree with your original point that the top 10 and top 20 back in 2003 - 2008 were a lot stronger and more talented compared to now. They did make for much more compelling matches and dynamics. I've often said to myself how much I miss the prime versions of Hewitt, Roddick, Safin, Nalbandian, Davydenko, Gonzo, Blake etc. and only really started to appreciate them now when they are gone. As for the quoted part, I think you should exclude Nadal from Djokovic and Murray here as he was already world #2 in July 2005 which is almost a decade ago and thus had to deal with the very same top 10/20 as Federer. The teenage version of Nadal faced Federer's generation of players countless times back in 05-07 and suffered a lot of ugly blowouts on hardcourts which ultimately led to eventual and necessary adjustments he had to make. Djokovic's prime started in 2011 and Murray's in 2012, so they are obviously a different case.
12-Aug-2013 07:02 AM
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
(12-Aug-2013 07:02 AM)Didi Wrote:  
(11-Aug-2013 09:59 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  The fact is, the main issue in this era is the immense lack of talent in the Top 20 compared to what there was 5-7 years ago. For all the talk about Federer supposedly facing a weak era, it is looking like what he had to deal with was much tougher, in terms of the Top 10 and Top 20, than what Djokovic, Murray, and Nadal are coping with.

I agree with your original point that the top 10 and top 20 back in 2003 - 2008 were a lot stronger and more talented compared to now. They did make for much more compelling matches and dynamics. I've often said to myself how much I miss the prime versions of Hewitt, Roddick, Safin, Nalbandian, Davydenko, Gonzo, Blake etc. and only really started to appreciate them now when they are gone. As for the quoted part, I think you should exclude Nadal from Djokovic and Murray here as he was already world #2 in July 2005 which is almost a decade ago and thus had to deal with the very same top 10/20 as Federer. The teenage version of Nadal faced Federer's generation of players countless times back in 05-07 and suffered a lot of ugly blowouts on hardcourts which ultimately led to eventual and necessary adjustments he had to make. Djokovic's prime started in 2011 and Murray's in 2012, so they are obviously a different case.

Agreed. While I would absolutely agree that the tour was deeper then, it's unfair to suggest that the level of competition Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are dealing with NOW has been the standard for their entire career. As you pointed out, Nadal's rise to the top first began in 2005, so he overlapped with Federer's generation. Moreover, the year in which he ultimately became world number 1 (2008), was one of the best tennis years in recent memory in terms of depth of the tour and quality of competition (the real drop off, IMO, began midway through 2010). Even someone like Djokovic first emerged in 2007, and became a top 3 player then.

Plus, I'd say that for Djokovic and Murray, having to contend with Federer and Nadal in their heyday (a few years ago) is just as bad (even worse) than having to deal with the deep tour that Federer dealt with when he rose to the top, as those two stopped them from multiple slams when they had a complete stranglehold on tennis.

But yeah, as I expressed back at the AO this year, the overall quality of the tour for the past couple of years has been a bit underwhelming. It is still top heavy, and the top 7-8 guys are nothing to sneeze at (Djokovic, Murray, Nadal, Fed, Ferrer, Del Po, Berdych and Tsonga is a serious list), but it goes downhill from there.

It's even more worrying with Roger's best days being behind him and Nadal's continuous struggles with injuries.
(This post was last modified: 12-Aug-2013 10:10 AM by Broken_Shoelace.)
12-Aug-2013 07:15 AM
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Didi (08-12-2013)
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
(12-Aug-2013 07:15 AM)Broken_Shoelace Wrote:  Plus, I'd say that for Djokovic and Murray, having to contend with Federer and Nadal in their heyday is just as bad (even worse) than having to deal with the deep tour that Federer dealt with when he rose to the top, as those two stopped them from multiple slams when they had a complete stranglehold on tennis.

Absolutely. Until Nadal came along, Federer was basically proceeding through the field unopposed. Now there's a huge dose of uncertainty about things. But, interestingly, there have been surprises at the slams, involving both Fedal, which suggest that the makeweights are waking up a little, something which was absent actually in Roger's early dominance.

I don't know if there's a decline in the also-rans because I didn't think the class of 2004-2007 was particularly dangerous, but El Dude has made convincing arguments elsewhere for the fact that players are peaking later than they used to, so this would suggest a time-delayed lapse would occur somewhere along the way. I don't necessarily think today's batch are worse because I don't think guys like JJ are quite finished yet in their development.

I think this thread is just an expression of Cali's frustration that Rafa took names in Montreal, and that's all it is...
12-Aug-2013 08:33 AM
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
(12-Aug-2013 08:33 AM)Kieran Wrote:  
(12-Aug-2013 07:15 AM)Broken_Shoelace Wrote:  Plus, I'd say that for Djokovic and Murray, having to contend with Federer and Nadal in their heyday is just as bad (even worse) than having to deal with the deep tour that Federer dealt with when he rose to the top, as those two stopped them from multiple slams when they had a complete stranglehold on tennis.

Absolutely. Until Nadal came along, Federer was basically proceeding through the field unopposed. Now there's a huge dose of uncertainty about things. But, interestingly, there have been surprises at the slams, involving both Fedal, which suggest that the makeweights are waking up a little, something which was absent actually in Roger's early dominance.

I don't know if there's a decline in the also-rans because I didn't think the class of 2004-2007 was particularly dangerous, but El Dude has made convincing arguments elsewhere for the fact that players are peaking later than they used to, so this would suggest a time-delayed lapse would occur somewhere along the way. I don't necessarily think today's batch are worse because I don't think guys like JJ are quite finished yet in their development.

I think this thread is just an expression of Cali's frustration that Rafa took names in Montreal, and that's all it is...

It might have been due to the frustration that his adopted son got blown out yesterday...scratch that, it is due to that frustration. That said it is a legit topic that has been discussed before. Also, you are comparing the likes of Darcis and Rosol upsetting Rafa in 1st week Wimbledon, Stak upsetting 32 year old Fed at Wimbledon, with 2004-2007 competition's inability to upset Roger anywhere. Needless to say, apples and oranges. I think his point about 2004-2007 is right, more depth but obviously it is much stronger at the very top now with the exception of Fed who is on his way out.
12-Aug-2013 09:38 AM
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
He had a few adopted sons in Montreal - all of them, funny enough, Rafa's opponents. Cali is so anti-Rafa I'm tempted to call him "afaR" from now on.

It isn't just Stak or Darcis/Rosol, but also Tsonga and Berdych took Roger out. When the top players are off, they're more vulnerable. That wasn't always the case, but it's welcome if it's the start of a trend...
12-Aug-2013 09:46 AM
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
(12-Aug-2013 09:46 AM)Kieran Wrote:  He had a few adopted sons in Montreal - all of them, funny enough, Rafa's opponents. Cali is so anti-Rafa I'm tempted to call him "afaR" from now on.

It isn't just Stak or Darcis/Rosol, but also Tsonga and Berdych took Roger out. When the top players are off, they're more vulnerable. That wasn't always the case, but it's welcome if it's the start of a trend...

Well Roger being off in 2004-2007 was about the same level as Roger playing great in 2010-2013. If you start seeing them step up vs. Nole at AO and Rafa at RG then I think we are talking...
12-Aug-2013 10:56 AM
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
(12-Aug-2013 06:59 AM)Broken_Shoelace Wrote:  
(11-Aug-2013 09:59 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  Darth - let me put this direct question to you. If tennis is now so "physical", then how are Milos Raonic and Stanislas Wawrinka in the Top 10?


By default. Because the rest of the tour is that weak at the moment. As I said, the issues aren't strictly physical, but it doesn't take an expert to figure that some of the aforementioned players lack the physicality of the top 5. However, that doesn't mean this is strictly why they can't compete with them. The main issues are tennis related.

But again, your argument if "take out X, Y and Z and the tour doesn't become so physical" is kind of odd. You're essentially saying take out the 4-5 most physical players who are achieving the best results (if you include Ferrer, and you should), and the tour suddenly isn't so physical. Well, yeah...


Smile

That's the point. People say that "the tour" is so physical now, or that "the game" is so physical in some new kind of way that it wasn't 5 to 10 years ago. As you yourself are acknowledging, that is bogus. Last I checked, "the tour" or "the game" as Darth characterizes it amounts to more than 3 or 4 players. Look at the shotmaking from a regular Masters Cup or Masters Series match in 2006, and compare it to Djokovic-Gasquet or Nadal-Matosevic last week. The drop-off is clear.

People see Delpo hit 4 forehand winners against Nadal at Indian Wells and they're all like "ooooohhhhhh, it's getting serious now; here's a threat", only to then see Delpo slouch his shoulders between points as if he just woke up from a nap and someone asked him to carry a box of kitchen supplies upstairs.

If someone wants to say that the standard Grand Slam semifinal or final today is more physically taxing, on average, than it was 5-10 years ago, then I agree. But the shotmaking was much better over the course of entire tournaments and often in the latter stages as well. I know this is an extreme example, but if you look at the Masters Cup 2005 final between Federer and Nalbandian and compare it to the junk I just witnessed at the Montreal event, there has clearly been a regression. "The game" has gotten worse. It's plain as day.
12-Aug-2013 11:51 AM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
(12-Aug-2013 08:33 AM)Kieran Wrote:  
(12-Aug-2013 07:15 AM)Broken_Shoelace Wrote:  Plus, I'd say that for Djokovic and Murray, having to contend with Federer and Nadal in their heyday is just as bad (even worse) than having to deal with the deep tour that Federer dealt with when he rose to the top, as those two stopped them from multiple slams when they had a complete stranglehold on tennis.

Absolutely. Until Nadal came along, Federer was basically proceeding through the field unopposed. Now there's a huge dose of uncertainty about things. But, interestingly, there have been surprises at the slams, involving both Fedal, which suggest that the makeweights are waking up a little, something which was absent actually in Roger's early dominance.

I don't know if there's a decline in the also-rans because I didn't think the class of 2004-2007 was particularly dangerous, but El Dude has made convincing arguments elsewhere for the fact that players are peaking later than they used to, so this would suggest a time-delayed lapse would occur somewhere along the way. I don't necessarily think today's batch are worse because I don't think guys like JJ are quite finished yet in their development.

I think this thread is just an expression of Cali's frustration that Rafa took names in Montreal, and that's all it is...



More so that Raonic even made the final.

I mean - are you serious? That was a final?
12-Aug-2013 11:53 AM
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
Hey, there's been thrashings since time began. It's not a recent development that a player arrives at a station where he's found to be out of his depth. We might as well trace the rot back to the Wimbledon final in 2002, in that case... Wink
12-Aug-2013 12:45 PM
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
(12-Aug-2013 12:45 PM)Kieran Wrote:  Hey, there's been thrashings since time began. It's not a recent development that a player arrives at a station where he's found to be out of his depth. We might as well trace the rot back to the Wimbledon final in 2002, in that case... Wink


Or the 2007 Paris Masters final, or the 2008 Miami final, or the World Tour Finals in 2010, or the US Open final in 2011.

The difference was - at least in those matches there were rallies and points displaying athleticism. Yesterday, I think Kieran with his two bad knees and Irish beer belly could have provided more resistance in rallies than big lumbering Milos.
(This post was last modified: 12-Aug-2013 01:55 PM by calitennis127.)
12-Aug-2013 01:54 PM
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
I don't think the WTF final in 2010 or the US Open final in 2011 were thrashings, but I'm happy to agree with you that your OP logic was flawed...
12-Aug-2013 01:55 PM
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RE: Why has the tour regressed in the last 10 years?
(12-Aug-2013 01:55 PM)Kieran Wrote:  I don't think the WTF final in 2010 or the US Open final in 2011 were thrashings, but I'm happy to agree with you that your OP logic was flawed...



I don't think you saw my edit addition:

"The difference was - at least in those matches there were rallies and points displaying athleticism. Yesterday, I think Kieran with his two bad knees and Irish beer belly could have provided more resistance in rallies than big lumbering Milos."
(This post was last modified: 12-Aug-2013 01:57 PM by calitennis127.)
12-Aug-2013 01:56 PM
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