Are all the tennis tournaments getting too slow?

The game, especially women’s tennis, but men’s as well has become too uniform.  Two-handers and baseliners fill the ranks of both the WTA and ATP tennis tours.  Two men have won the career slam in the last couple years, when in the entire history of tennis before only a handful had done it!  Does that mean this era is so weak that both Nadal and Federer could win all four when in the hundred previous years, only five guys accomplished the feat?  Does it mean that both men are just that good when viewed historically?  Nadal lacks the versitility to have won all four tournaments in the past, but then again, three of the four majors were on grass when Laver won his grand slams in 1962 and 1969.  Back then, there were too many serve-and-volleyers, now there are too many baseliners.  All eras have their favorites, and this era favors the Rafa Nadal style of play.  The problem with this style is that it is brutal on the body, shortening players careers and shortening the season one way or the other.  Look at how many players pulled out of this year’s U.S. Open so far (through the 4th round):  Soderling, Berdych, Conor Niland (versus Djokovic in Round 1), Kei Nishikori, Marsel Ilhan, Louk Sorensen, Karol Beck, Marinko Matosevic, Radek Stepanek, Nicolas Mahut, Marcel Granollers, Petra Cetkovska, Alla Kudryavtseva, Venus Williams (special illness), Jamie Hampton, Misaki Doi, and Ayumi Morita (whew!).  I count seventeen players between the men’s and women’s draws with a total of 256 players.  This means that 6.6% of the singles players in the 2011 U.S. Open.  I consider the difficulty players have ending a point to be one of the primary factors in creating this injury stream.  It also contributes to a boring uniformity in the game:  baseliners with heavy topspin.  If Wimbledon and the U.S. Open sped up the courts and balls, then we would see more of a mix and get more contrasting rivalries like McEnroe / Borg or Sampras / Agassi.  That is what makes fighters and tennis players interesting to watch, contrasting styles and personalities.  Let’s get back to four different surfaces like the 1980s, where we had a healthy mix of styles and personas.


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