Andy Murray believes that the ATP Tour is doing too much to nerf the game’s more powerful servers and has called for compromise.
Attempts have been made to slow down the courts and balls as racket technology improves and players get stronger, but Murray feels that it is going a bit too far.
Murray says that there is a sameness to the courts and balls used that makes the tour monotonous.
“The biggest problem with todays conditions most weeks is the courts and balls are both super slow.
“Almost zero variety.
“Why not have some quick courts with slow balls or vice versa?
“Shanghai was always a bit like this.
“This allows for all court tennis to be played,” Murray stated in a Twitter exchange.
The discussion was started by strategy coach Craig O’Shannessy who praised the speed of the court at the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan.
O’Shannessy tweeted: “Milano, Italy. That’s one of the fastest courts you will come across. 30yo Greenset & I absolutely love it! Surface speeds have come together too much in the past two decades. Our sport is better when we have more variety of playing styles & court surfaces/speeds.”
American No 1 Taylor Fritz also weighed in with his focus on the balls which he feels make it harder to hit winners or get a reward for a good strike.
He tweeted: “For me the balls make the biggest difference in speed, some of the slow/soft balls make the conditions so slow regardless of court speed… Lots of times with those balls it just doesn’t feel like tennis, there’s never a reward for taking a chance on an aggressive shot.”
Former ATP Tour professional Brad Gilbert remembers why it is that attempts have been made to slow the game down.
“All those courts were very quick back in the day remember supreme courts and carpet courts, the big problem in early 90’s with the bomb servers especially if playing against each other no points were going past 4 shots, that killed off the really fast courts for good,” Gilbert said.
The fastest of the surfaces, carpet, has been phased out of the top tour but the reason for this is more likely to do with safety rather than the speed of play.
There are significant variations in speed between tournaments, but this is trending towards more standardisation.
Tennis in the 21st century faces a similar challenge that the sport faced as it modernised through the latter half of the 20th century as it seeks to balance touch and power.
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