Former No. 1 Ilie Nastase says tennis has changed a great deal since he played and suggests the sport is more restrictive. The Romanian's finesse, variety, and over-the-top antics made him one of tennis' most entertaining players during the 1970s.
“Thirty or forty years ago, you can’t compare that to the coaches players have today, the managers, they have nutritionists now. It’s more professional for sure, it’s more physical, but it’s not fair to compare,” Nastase told Sport360. “The only thing I can say is that I had a great time in my time and I hope they feel the same way now. But at the time that’s what I felt I could do, entertaining the crowd, but probably now it would be impossible to do what I did then.
"Because they can’t joke around with the serious way they are playing now. Probably there’ll be more money in the sport in the future and players might get even more serious. If people are offering the money, the players will play, what can you do? You can’t refuse the money.”
Nastase also said that even though Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is just coming off of back surgery, he will be a threat at the Australian Open.
“Murray is there,” Nastase said. “He’s the only one probably who has beaten both (Nadal and Djokovic). He’s a good player. I like him because he places himself before the ball comes to him, he plays with a lot of intuition, so he’s playing easy, he doesn’t look like he’s putting an effort when he plays. That’s the kind of player I like. Before, I used to like Martina Hingis very much, and Roger Federer, they know how to place themselves before the ball comes.”