Is it time for weight divisions in tennis?

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Hear me out. Base your reaction on logic rather than emotion. Let's look at this issue objectively and sensibly.

There is no need for weight divisions in team sports: football (various codes), cricket, baseball, etc.

In these sports, various positions or roles can be filled by different body types.

Some sports highly favour height (eg basketball) especially at the top level. However, all teams can field as many small or large people as they like. It averages out.

In one-on-one sports, this is not the case. A small person vs a large person is, and always will be, a small person vs a large person.

This is why in wrestling, boxing, and the various martial arts, there are weight classes. It is simply unfair for small people to fight larger people.

Now look at tennis. I watched Nadal vs de Minaur. It was like watching a boy against a man. Okay, in some ways, de Minaur still is a boy, but the point remains:

He was outgunned by a bigger man. And if size makes no difference in tennis, why are people like Nadal clearly on the juice? Why have taller players dominated for so long now?

Imagine a restricted class, perhaps <80kg (and/or < 6'), where the little guys can fight it out, with matches determined mostly by skill, angles, agility, strategy, finesse.

And then the open class which will continue to be dominated by huge serves and forehands being delivered by big men who generally stand 6'1"+.

No, this will never happen. I'm not even saying it necessarily should. Perhaps we don't want to see any little men at the top level of tennis again.

But what do you think? Is size a huge advantage in tennis? And if so, is it time to give the little people a go?

Remember, the key to good discussion is to focus on logic, rather than emotion :thumbsu:
 

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BobbyMorri

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#2
No.

Halep and Woznacki won grand slam titles last year. They are puny.

In mens, Hewitt was the last little guy to have won a slam title. But the scene has been dominated by 6 or so guys. But someone like Diego Schwartzman, who is 1.7m, is in the top 16 shows that you don't have to be big to be good.

Tennis is not a game of weight.
 
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One little guy in the top 16 (who has never even got past the quarter finals of any grand slam) is your evidence that size doesn't matter in tennis?

holy lolie
 

pepsi

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Size 100% matters in mens tennis and it is only getting worst. The top 10 have been gettting progressively taller over the past 20 year. The big guys can seriously move around the court and are agile. This is creating what is happening now.

Sampras 1.85m
Agassi 1.80
Hewitt 1.78
Federer 1.86m
Nadal 1.85m
Djokovic 1.88m

Next in line
Zverev 1.98m
Medvedev 1.98m
Tsitsipas 1.93m
 
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BobbyMorri

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One little guy in the top 16 (who has never even got past the quarter finals of any grand slam) is your evidence that size doesn't matter in tennis?

holy lolie
You seem to ignore my first 2 sentences. But are you only talking about men's tennis.

Pepsi is right. Height is an advantage. But it just that. It isn't an unfair advantage..if you too big that you lack the speed to retrieve shots, you aren't going anywhere.

If Diego played Isner on clay, I would pick the small guy to win.

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No.

Halep and Woznacki won grand slam titles last year. They are puny.

In mens, Hewitt was the last little guy to have won a slam title. But the scene has been dominated by 6 or so guys. But someone like Diego Schwartzman, who is 1.7m, is in the top 16 shows that you don't have to be big to be good.

Tennis is not a game of weight.
Gaston Gaudio won the French in 04 at 175 cm... But agree the pool of GS title winners is too small to make an accurate and fair assessment.
 

Jcpdragonx

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Nah. Local seniors leagues is full of guys 13-18, they do fine. Nadal is just beating up on everyone this tournament. Participation would also become complicated.

The sport is a little broken on the mens side because of the serve, it can't really be fixed. They asked the top players who they least like facing and they all pretty much said Isner/Karlovic.
 

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Simon_Nesbit

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#16
Rather than change the players, change the technology. Players and coaches will always adapt (everyone seemingly has a deep heavy slice backhand now, and huge topspin forehand).

There will always be bigger, stronger players just like there will always be players with better skills, endurance, agility, etc. It's just another attribute. The problem is that game is currently so bias in favour of the 'power' player that it is to the detriment of everything else.

They need to find a way to change the style of game - for mine the three big ones are balls, racquets and surface.

Pro racquets are incredibly light and strong, and IIRC (ten year old tech here) also 'whippy' in that the racquets themselves bend under torque, allowing players to generate even more spin/power on their shots (imagine a slingshot effect). You cannot really control the racquet technology without providing restrictive limits on materials/etc. (Cricket has a similar issue now where bats are so good, technique and skill can be overcome with sheer power).

The balls can be modified (more/less 'hair' for wind resistance, more/less bounce, etc) - but which way do you change to favour a more 'balanced' player?
Are we better to make the ball's faster - so more players can hit with power (but making the strong even stronger); or slower - so there are less players able to hit with power?
Should we make them bounce less (more effective drop shots), or will this only encourage more heavy top-spin shots from the baseline (easier to control low balls with topspin than slice)?

The courts can be made to be faster/slower, more/less bounce - even more varied bounce (softer surfaces).

The first step is to simply acknowledge there is a problem. The second will be to consider not just what the initial change may be, but how players/coaches/manufacturers will adapt for longer term outcomes.

Cricket has been ruined by big bats and drive for $$$. Over a generation the skills have eroded badly, but new skills have been developed too, in order to counter the "new normal". Cricket will never recover (not in this country at least) as $$$ rules all, but if the technology development had been reduced/stopped then it wouldn't be as poorly balanced as we now see.

Tennis is sadly heading the same way.

(AFL is for the most part still in it's infancy as a professional sport with little technological potential professionalism is more about off-field preparation, and tactical/strategic thinking).
 
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