Earlier this week Vice launched a narrative blaming know-how on the decline of America’s tennis prowess.
They particularly sited new polyester-based mostly strings created by Belgian firm Luxilon as the rationale for this decline.
It’s true america has not had a primary ranked tennis participant since arduous-hitting Andy Roddick topped the ATP rankings in 2003. However America has not fallen of the grid both.
John Isner was ranked as excessive as ninth simply three years in the past and opposite to Vice’s claims, america does have “younger” expertise within the type of 22 yr previous Jack Sock. Sock went into the yr ranked within the mid-thirty’s and is persistently beating prime ranked opponents, having simply defeated eleven ranked Grigor Dimitrov on this yr’s French Open.
However that also doesn’t account for this decade’s lack of John McEnroe, Pete Sampras or Andre Agassis, American gamers persistently ranked within the primary cease.
So how might the strings of a racquet convey down a whole nation’s tennis expertise?
Vice claims it’s as a result of the news strings, which produce unnatural quantities of topspin, aren’t suitable with America’s type of play. That play is predicated round large serves, highly effective inside-out forehands and volleying from the web.
The brand new strings make hitting from the baseline simpler. What was as soon as a defensive transfer is now simply as efficient on the offensive. Extra skilled European gamers profit from this fashion of play for 2 causes.
The rationale the brand new strings profit European and South American gamers is as a result of the brand new fashion of play is extra reliant on positioning than on overpowering your opponent. And European tennis gamers play on slower clay surfaces, permitting them to adapt extra simply to a recreation that requires health as an alternative of energy. Most tennis surfaces in America (and struggling Australia) are exhausting-surfaces, which aren’t solely harder to adapt too, however are being deserted from the ATP schedule.
And extra skilled gamers profit from the best way the ball reacts to the brand new polyester-based mostly strings. With extra topspin, the ball bounces greater than it ever has earlier than. This requires youthful gamers who will not be absolutely developed to overexert their backs and shoulders to return a ball bouncing up at their face.
However we can’t conclude that new strings are the one, and even the primary purpose, america is not dominating the tennis scene. There are such a lot of variables that would have disrupted the development from a reducing curiosity on the youth degree, to a rise in competitors from European nations.
After which there are all the different applied sciences altering the game, like Babolat’s Play and the Zepp sensor app.
Who is aware of, perhaps sooner or later we’ll questioning why European gamers are struggling to maintain up with People.
However one factor is for certain. The brand new strings have modified the best way tennis is performed, and put an emphasis on a unique fashion of play.