Surface Tension

by Christopher Paul on July 13, 2013

Brian Phillips writing for Grantland on how changes to the major tennis courts have altered the pace and style of the game:

What used to be four radically different surfaces, requiring four radically different styles of play, have become increasingly homogenous. This is a major factor — arguably the major factor — in the current state of the game, particularly in men’s tennis, where it has helped shape both the Nadal-Federer-Djokovic-Murray golden age and the slow-paced, relentless, defensive tennis that more and more seems to define it. There’s a serious argument to be made that Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and even Roger Federer could never have won so many majors if they’d played in an era before the biggest competitions started rewarding similar skill sets.

He argues that through subtle changes to grass mixture, paint, and different surface materials have slowed down the game to attract the mass audiences – not the rabid tennis fans. Where there was once a difference to force players to change their style of play, it’s more or less the same and players just have to out-last the other instead of relying on more skill or tactics.

via MG

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