2023 Tennis

jon abbey

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Patrick McEnroe said before the match Djokovic might be playing his best tennis ever. He wasn’t as perfect in the final two matches as the two before (de Minaur and Rublev) but he still won both in straight sets.

Federer’s last Slam was here in 2018, and since then there have been 19 played: Djokovic 10, Nadal 6, and three different US Open winners.
 

jon abbey

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Certainly not surprising. I wasn’t able to see any…was this match more a case of Tsits folding or djoker just exerting his will?
Hmm, somewhere in between? Tsitsipas played very well for most of the final two sets, but both were a bit sloppy in the second set tiebreak, and Tsitsipas made one more mistake. Then he came back and broke Novak in the first game of set 3, but proceeded to give it right back the next game, two of the only three breaks of the match. Basically Tsitsipas needed to play incredibly and he mostly did, but a few too many mistakes in crucial moments.

Different question, one I'm especially curious for your opinion about @jezza1918 :

Sabalenka (and Rybakina) serve and hit ground strokes as hard as most of the men. So I asked my friend who follows the sport more closely than me how he thinks Sabalenka would do if she joined the men's tour? For the purposes of this, let's imagine that men's matches are all best of 3 as there is a good chance she'd have trouble with the best of 5 in the Slams, out of unfamiliarity if nothing else. I suggested she might make top 100 as I think the gap has closed somewhat between men and women, he actually thinks she would be top 50, maybe even top 30.
 

jezza1918

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While the gap has tightened somewhat, my hunch is top 500 is probably not even attainable. I’ll ask people that are still actively involved for their opinion as well and report back but I’m basing it on a couple things:
1. While it was 15-20 years ago, I know a couple males who didn’t even crack top 1,000 and would be hitting/practice set partners for top 10 women and the men would often take sets
2. On the mens side the difference between the guy who is ranked 1000 and the guy who is ranked 150 is often financial, not skill. People with the financial backing to grind through a couple years on lower levels where you are typically losing money each week have a greater chance of breaking through eventually.

here is a response from a high level D1 womens coach (top 15 team in nation) who is a female: “Could get a few points here and there in 15 Ks.

From a high level d3 womens coach (who has coached d1 mens before, and currently coaches a woman who is top 100 in dubs)…this is a male: “Virtually impossible any woman could be top 1000”

I’ve asked a few others and will get those responses up if I hear back
 

jon abbey

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Interesting, thank you! Is that because of movement, conditioning, what?
 

jezza1918

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I think conditioning is probably similar if we are assuming all 2/3 sets. But speed, movement, and average pace of shots are probably the main 3 reasons. I don’t think if the guy ranked 750 played sabalenka tomorrow the male wouldn’t blitz her off the court with a ton of dominating winners, but rather sabalenka would hit a couple shots in a row that would normally be winning shots against a female but would come back routinely with pace and result in more unforced errors.
 

jezza1918

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From a male coach who has coached numerous juniors (both male and female) who have played top level D1 and/or accumulated points on the atp or wta tours:
“1,200 maybe.”

I’m giving the context of who each responder is because clearly this is all very much opinion based, so trying to give you how informed each opinion is.
 

InstaFace

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Interesting, thank you! Is that because of movement, conditioning, what?
Remember that the main physiological advantage of men is a higher VO2Max. They can simply play harder, move faster, change direction faster, hit harder. Women have the same endurance - they could play 3/5 sets no problem, they reason they don't is a combination of tradition and TV scheduling - in fact in some respects they shed heat better, etc. But mens' shots would just take too much time away from them.

The men's game also employs a lot more spin, a lot more varied and frequently in their shots.

Back when Serena was young she bragged she and Venus could beat any guy outside the top 200. This French guy who was ranked #203 at the time took them up on it, basically double bageled them with a cigarette in his mouth the whole time. He estimated they'd be ranked #500, tops.
 

jon abbey

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Back when Serena was young she bragged she and Venus could beat any guy outside the top 200. This French guy who was ranked #203 at the time took them up on it, basically double bageled them with a cigarette in his mouth the whole time. He estimated they'd be ranked #500, tops.
Yes, I remember this, I think this was in Australia too, right? I was curious because I agree from what I can tell with what jezza said:

the gap has tightened somewhat
And I was just curious by how much, but evidently nowhere near what my friend and I thought.

One thing I really love about tennis is how many levels there are, it is endless. Even at the highest levels, Khachanov is a very good player who knocked out Tiafoe and Korda here and is up to #13, but he has now lost his last 23 in a row to top 10 players. I never played seriously as I mostly just fenced from 7th grade on, but in my twenties I would play my friends and work people and always win, self-taught bad form but a reasonably good athlete still and having watched a billion hours of the top players already and really understanding strategy. So I set up a match with a guy from work, a few years older and in a league in Connecticut, but not any serious athletic background I knew about, and so I figured how much better could he be? He beat me 6-0, 6-0, 6-2, 6-0, 6-2, and I'm not sure it was really that close.
 

jezza1918

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One thing I really love about tennis is how many levels there are, it is endless. Even at the highest levels, Khachanov is a very good player who knocked out Tiafoe and Korda here and is up to #13, but he has now lost his last 23 in a row to top 10 players. I never played seriously as I mostly just fenced from 7th grade on, but in my twenties I would play my friends and work people and always win, self-taught bad form but a reasonably good athlete still and having watched a billion hours of the top players already and really understanding strategy. So I set up a match with a guy from work, a few years older and in a league in Connecticut, but not any serious athletic background I knew about, and so I figured how much better could he be? He beat me 6-0, 6-0, 6-2, 6-0, 6-2, and I'm not sure it was really that close.
Yeah the levels thing is wild. I haven't competed since I stopped (euphemism for "QUIT") playing D1 back in 2002. I have a buddy who played tennis a bit as a kid, but got more into it as an adult and plays on a USTA 4.0 team. He insists on competing with me once a summer...by USTA standards I am a 5.0 because of the college background, but because I barely play I'm much closer to a 4.5. Our scores are similar to yours, I have a lot of fun - he doesn't. On the flipside my older brother still competes a lot and is still definitely a 5.0, maybe a 5.5, and the only way Im getting any games against him is if I get lucky with a few service winners/aces. UTR - https://www.universaltennis.com/ - should eventually be the norm, puts literally everyone on the same scale.
Personally, I think the major difference when you get to higher levels that separate the Khachanov's from the top 5/10 guys is typically mental. They all have the same general level of shot making ability. But it's when they are making vs missing their shots that you begin to notice. As a more personal example, I couldn't crack the singles lineup on my college team, but I could routinely take down our #1 in baseline games or practice sets. But when it really mattered I didn't have the discipline to play smart enough. On the positive side, realizing that is what made me a relatively effective college coach. This ramble/avoidance of monday morning work emails has gone on long enough...
 

BigMike

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While the gap has tightened somewhat, my hunch is top 500 is probably not even attainable. I’ll ask people that are still actively involved for their opinion as well and report back but I’m basing it on a couple things:
1. While it was 15-20 years ago, I know a couple males who didn’t even crack top 1,000 and would be hitting/practice set partners for top 10 women and the men would often take sets
2. On the mens side the difference between the guy who is ranked 1000 and the guy who is ranked 150 is often financial, not skill. People with the financial backing to grind through a couple years on lower levels where you are typically losing money each week have a greater chance of breaking through eventually.

here is a response from a high level D1 womens coach (top 15 team in nation) who is a female: “Could get a few points here and there in 15 Ks.

From a high level d3 womens coach (who has coached d1 mens before, and currently coaches a woman who is top 100 in dubs)…this is a male: “Virtually impossible any woman could be top 1000”

I’ve asked a few others and will get those responses up if I hear back

yeah agree with this. Footspeed is a huge difference. No comparison at all
 

jezza1918

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From a male coach who has coached numerous juniors (both male and female) who have played top level D1 and/or accumulated points on the atp or wta tours:
“1,200 maybe.”

I’m giving the context of who each responder is because clearly this is all very much opinion based, so trying to give you how informed each opinion is.
One more, agent for a top 20 wta player: “definitely not top 500. Probably not top 1,000.”
 
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bit rough to see Raducanu struggle like this (some grand prix tournament in Stuggart Germany on Tennis Channel right now)
 
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jon abbey

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Two days into the French Open, we should get this going again. #2 Medvedev right now is 3-3 in the 5th set against a Brazilian qualifier with a long name, I'll write the whole thing here if he actually wins. :)
 

jon abbey

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#172 Thiago Seyboth Wild indeed finishes it, 6-4 in the 5th. Medvedev was the #2 seed and the third fave behind Alcaraz and Djokovic.

That’s Wild!
 

jon abbey

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Alcaraz and Djokovic are on the same side of the draw, so I guess Ruud is the current fave for the other finalist.
 

jon abbey

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#56 Blinkova needs nine match points (!!!) but eventually takes out #5 Carolina Garcia, women's seeds dropping like flies.
 

jezza1918

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Old man Stan, who needed 4:35 to win his 1st round, put up a good fight and won a 4th set breaker against Kokkinakis, falls 6-3 in the 5th. Stan saved 4 MPs on Kokk's serve in final game (including 3 straight down 0-40), but wasn't quite enough. Nice embrace at the end for two guys that had some, uh, beef in the past.
 
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Novak is about to send his 2nd round match into a 5-hour marathon. Entering tiebreaker in his first set vs Fucsovics.
(to think that two full Boston marathons can be run by elite runners during this span....)
 

jon abbey

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Too bad, I love watching him but he is not consistent enough. I still think his match with Alcaraz at last year's US Open might have been the best tennis match I've ever seen.
 

jezza1918

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Tiafoe through to the 3rd round with a pretty tough 4-set win over Karatzev. Big Foe has only advanced to the 2nd round here once before (last year), and will get the winner of Molcan-Zverev next. If he can get by that, he has either Dimitrov or Altmaier (aka the 79th ranked player in the world who just beat Sinner) in the round of 16. Pretty favorable break.
 

jon abbey

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Coco a game from advancing, she would meet 16 year old Andreeva (born in 2007!!!), I’m guessing the first time she would play someone younger in a GS.
 

jon abbey

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#3 Pegula out quickly this AM to Mertens, 6-1, 6-3. She had food poisoning last week, maybe still recovering from that.
 

jon abbey

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Davidovich Fokina looks great early on against Djokovic, up a break at 3-2.
 

jezza1918

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Is it just me or does it seem like Davodich-Fokina has been around forever already? I was coming into post that he's had a bit of an underwhelming career but realized he's still only 23 (for a few more days anyway).
 

jon abbey

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Is it just me or does it seem like Davodich-Fokina has been around forever already? I was coming into post that he's had a bit of an underwhelming career but realized he's still only 23 (for a few more days anyway).
Looks like he has been playing majors since 2018.
 

jezza1918

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Looks like he has been playing majors since 2018.
Still has plenty of time of course, but needs some more consistent results in non-slams in order to have more consistent runs at the slams. Only made it to the 2nd week of a slam 3x, but when you are seeded outside top 16 it makes it that much tougher. Anyway, this match has leveled out and now back on serve...these guys bash from the baseline and it's fun to watch.