Charles: Thank you very much for your comments. What you said at the end of the first paragraph indicates exactly what I was referring to when I mentioned having read articles in which experts showed how the new rackets and the changes in technology have NOT, as many thought, made playing easier for the tennis pros of today.
In one article, an othopedist also contrasted the way several current women players served with the way players served years ago, and he wryly stated that the current style ensured him a lot of business with knee problems among the players (especially with the increased number of hardcourt events).
I'm glad that you also referred to the whole ranking situation that, as I'd said, pushes any player who wants to stay on top to play much more than he/she probably should play. I subscribe completely to the idea of decreasing both the number of mandated high-level events for the men AND the number of tourneys used to calculate rankings for both Tours.
I suppose that it would be impractical for the Tours to return to what they did years ago when the rankings were determined simply by dividing the points earned by the number of tourneys play (regardless of how low the number of tourneys played might have been). But using a number as high as 17 as the basis for calculating the rankings is wrong for all the reasons that you mentioned.
Incidentally, even though the WTA no longer uses the more quality-based method of ranking the players, I'd be a rich person if I had a dollar for every writer and fan who has presented his/her own "true" ranking for 2008 with Venus, Serena, and Maria at or near the top precisely because their points divided by their tourneys played produce a value that puts them way above most of the other WTA players.
Well, I still think someone needs to answer what happens to Nalby in such a system, but I asked that question already and nobody's biting.
Ruth, you've got my interest. I am having a hard time imagining what a player could do on their serve that might injure their knees?
12/02/2008 at 10:30 PM
I'm not sure how the players would feel about a challenge round...I suspect that they wouldn't care for it at all. I've heard Fed say many times that he likes to "work his way" into the tournament. Most players don't play their best until late in the tournament. I think this would actually give the challenger the advantage unless there are extreme physical conditions at the tourney.
Posted by Ruth
12/02/2008 at 10:32 PM
codepoke: What I remember is that the doctor talked about the way the women seemed to jump forward harder into the serve nowadays than they did in the past. I'm assuming that, once women (led by Tim Henman's daring grandmother) abandoned the underhand serve, there was, at first, less foot or leg movement when they put the balls in play (somewhat like the unathletic way that I served when I played) than there is now.
Some years ago, I also saw a video piece by Frank Deford (I think) on this same topic -- about the high and hard forward jump at the serve that was supposed to be mainly responsible for the knee problems of players like Graf, S. Williams, Davenport et al.
Posted by Syd
12/02/2008 at 10:39 PM
Good point. And Nadal also seems to get better as he goes through.
Ah. Sure. I could imagine something happening that way.
I've just changed my service motion from pinpointing to a stable, spread-foot stance so I'm not at risk there. I already have to wear a full ACL brace to play, so whenever anyone talks about injuring knees my attention levels go through the ceiling.
Thank you for the explanation.
Posted by Candace
12/03/2008 at 12:52 AM
I would really like to see fed and rafa in dunking booths. ok i am a blonde. truly
Posted by DMan
12/03/2008 at 02:14 AM
Interesting proposal Pete, but thankfully one that will never be employed in pro tennis. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
So all defending champs need only suit up for the final? Please! That's not the way the *real* world works. Stars only have to show up in the final act, be the superhero, and all for just one day's work? I don't think so!
And exactly how would a ranking system work that way. You're defending champ, and you win one match - the finals - and you earn the same # of points as a guy who plays through several rounds and wins an event? And what about the prize money? Win one match and you earn the bulk of the prize money? And that's fair? And if you lose in the finals, do you earn the same # of points as runner up would earn? For playing one match?
It would not enable players to move up in the rankings at all. It's basically a way to "protect" pampered stars.
I no longer have sympathy for *any* pro player who complains about the schedule. Especially for someone like Federer. I mean the week after Shanghai and he's off to the Far East for some exo matches? And then there's the announcement he is going to play the very first tournament of the year in Doha. (What, was that the sound of a gazillion dollars being plunked into Roger's bank account?!)
The problem with the "demands" on pro tennis players these days is the STUPIDITY in the scheduling. Too many people want their piece of the pie. And no one is in charge. No one who will stand up and say, STOP THIS MADNESS with the scheduling! Why are there back-to-back Masters Series events? Why are the French and Wimbledon only 2 weeks apart? Why are there several weeks with 3 pro events going on at the same time?
Pro tennis continues to dilute its product. Which is why the sport has diminished in the eyes of the public. It's too disjointed, too complicated to follow/understand/appreciate. And it shouldn't be that way.
Until they fix it, the issue will continue to be: IT'S THE SCHEDULE , STUPID!!
And the schedule won't get fixed by giving the defending champs a free pass to the finals.
Thank you for the blunt appraisal of the problem. And, if yuou've read this blog long enough or seen my posts on the subject, you will see that we are in total aggreement.
Posted by Gabriela Valentina
12/03/2008 at 10:32 AM
I don't know enough to be able to say if this is or isn't a good idea- perhaps it's the players who should be giving their opinon. I also wonder if a player doesn't need to work his way up to the fina(?)and needs a few matches to get into the swing...