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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:01 am 
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Is this Federer's greatest ever performance?



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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:56 pm 
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since we have no active sports section mod now, i'll post the updated list here, and will try to continue to revise it.
just a few updates, for now... moving up rosewall, including djokovic, ivanisevic, and also clijsters on the women's list.


btw, interesting article her, too (on Graf vs Navratilova, Serena, et al)
http://www.tennisserver.com/lines/lines_09_03_30.html

_______________________________________________________________

Greatest Tennis Players (Men)

1. Rod Laver
2. Bill Tilden
3. Roger Federer
4. Pete Sampras
5. Bjorn Borg
6. Don Budge
7. Jack Kramer
8. Pancho Gonzalez
9. Ken Rosewall
10. Jimmy Connors
11. Ivan Lendl
12. John McEnroe
13. Rafael Nadal
14. Roy Emerson
15. Andre Agassi
16. Lew Hoad
17. Ellsworth Vines
18. Bobby Riggs
19. Fred Perry
20. Rene Lacoste
21. Henri Cochet
22. Mats Wilander
23. Boris Becker
24. Pancho Segura
25. Jack Crawford
26. Tony Trabert
27. Stefan Edberg
28. John Newcombe
29. Guillermo Vilas
30. Novak Djokovic
31. Ilie Nastase


Honorable mentions: William Renshaw, Tony Wilding, William Larned, Laurie Doherty, Richard Sears, Max Decugis, Jim Courier, Reggie Doherty, Jaroslav Drobny, Jean Borotra, Manolo Santana, Karel Kozeluh, Gottfried von Cramm, Arthur Ashe, Norman Brookes, Budge Patty, Vinnie Richards, Hans Nusslein, Lleyton Hewitt, Gustavo Kuerten, Andy Roddick, Patrick Rafter, Stan Smith, Frank Sedgman, Jan Kodes, Neale Fraser, Adrian Quist, Ted Schroeder, Marat Safin, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Michael Chang, Goran Ivanisevic, Fred Stolle, Tony Roche


_______________________________________________________________


Greatest Tennis Players (Women)

1. Martina Navratilova
2. Margaret Smith Court
3. Steffi Graf
4. Chris Evert
5. Suzanne Lenglen
6. Helen Wills Moody
7. Billie Jean King
8. Serena Williams
9. Maureen Connolly
10. Monica Seles
11. Evonne Goolagong
12. Venus Williams
13. Justine Henin
14. Pauline Betz
15. Maria Bueno
16. Martina Hingis
17. Doris Hart
18. Helen Jacobs
19. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario
20. Molla Mallory
21. Lindsay Davenport
22. Hana Mandlikova
23. Hilde Krahwinkel Sperling
24. Kim Clijsters
25. Simone Mathieu

Honorable mentions: Dorothea Douglass Chambers, Lottie Dod, Virginia Wade, Tracy Austin, Shirley Fry, Thelma Long, Esna Boyd, Jeanne Matthey, Jennifer Capriati


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:05 pm 
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That's a much better place for Rosewall.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:20 pm 
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I'd say Djokovic could move up to around where Becker and Wilander are. They have more slams (for now) but were never dominant the way Djokovic is right now.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:06 pm 
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whoa, holy smokes. i'm not a nadal fan whatsoever but 13? how?


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:39 pm 
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its not a totally unreasonable position. no way is he greater than rosewall, and all the guys in front of him are giants of the game


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:02 pm 
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why not? the australian open really didn't count until the early 80s.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:24 pm 
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Rosewall's definitely greater than Nadal. Rosewall was the best player in the game for at least four years and has every other person on the list beaten when it comes to longevity (reached two grand slam finals when he was 39). He won eight slams despite being pro for 11 years and thus ineligible to compete in them.

Connors and Lendl are definitely closer calls. Right now I'd probably lean toward Nadal being just under them. Nadal has more slams, but he has far less time at number one and only two year-end number ones compared to Connors' five and Lendl's four. Nadal also has the career slam, though, with wins on three different surfaces, something Lendl lacks. Connors, though, won slams on grass, hard, and clay (even beating Borg in the final) and definitely would have had chances to win at the French if he hadn't skipped it during his five best years. Connors and Lendl also had much more dominant years - Lendl had five years with a win percentage over 90%, and Connors had four. Nadal has yet to have a year that consistent.

I would bump Nadal up over McEnroe, though, for sure, and I could see the argument for putting him over Lendl. In time he might overtake Connors but right now I don't see it.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:44 pm 
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Federer is the greatest of all time.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:36 pm 
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I'm inclined to agree. I can see Laver being ahead of him, but not really Tilden. Tilden's record is amazing, and he was the best player in the world for a good 6 or 7 years probably, but I think the depth of the field should be taken into account. Tilden mostly played in the U.S., occasionally playing Wimbledon and the French. No one outside of the U.S., Britain, France, Australia,and Germany were really all that into tennis, and even then he rarely played Australians because of how much more difficult travel was back then.

I think tennis's popularity reached its peak in the late 70s/early 80s with the Borg-McEnroe rivalry, but it's still hugely popular today and more international than ever. More prize money means more people motivated to become professional tennis players. Not to mention all the dietary and medical advances that have resulted in the game becoming far more physically demanding. Laver's so canonically enshrined as the Greatest of All Time that I have a hard time putting Federer over him, but the game Tiden played is hardly recognizable as the game Federer plays and once dominated today.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:32 am 
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Agree with the above. Federer should be 2 but I can't see him above Laver at this stage.

Laver's record doesn't have any faults, while Federer has a losing record against his biggest rival. Now yes, the amount of matches on clay and the fact their peaks were at different times skews that (when Federer was in his peak Nadal was a young gun already unstoppable on clay but on other surfaces wasn't yet there so didn't make the finals...Nadal's peak probably started in 2008 which is when Fed started to decline) ... but it's still a factor when discussing this question. Most telling is that in the slams Rafa has quite a dominant record. On the other hand Laver has a significant winning record against all his major rivals. All the great players who were within 5 years or so of his age.

Of course, there's a chance this could change a bit. Maybe Federer will have a period in his 30's similar to Agassi while Nadal could decline more than what Federer has. I think he has the possibility of getting to an outright number 1, but it'll be pretty tough.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 11:12 am 
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Don't know much about pre-open era players. Don't know (or care much) about doubles. That said...

Suggest moving Borg above Sampras.

Sampras' superiority is presumably based on winning more grand slams, 14 to 11.

But grand slams being equated with greatness is a relatively new phenomena, so how you can we use our modern standard to backwards judge all these players?

Laver was 1 short of tying the all time grand slam winning record after 1969 (when he won 4 out of 4). You'd think if that was important, he'd put on his best efforts to do so.

Nope. He only played two slams in 70, and two in 71. and never more than 1 a year after that

He won 15 tournaments in 1970 - including 5 out of 9 of what was basically the Masters Series - so he wasn't exactly semi-retired, or unskilled. He just didn't care

Borg was 1 short when he retired too. In his final year, he played 3 grand slams - won one and was runner up twice. You'd think if the record was important, he'd have put his best effort to break it.

Nope. retired. Didn't care.

He also skipped the Aus open all but once, which was being played on grass at the time (while Borg was winning 5 consecutive Wimbledons on grass). Couldn't care less about the record.

That was the standard of the time. McEnroe and Connors used to skip Aus open too.

My point is, the point on which Sampras is superior to Borg doesn't apply to most of tennis history, including Borg's time


Last edited by Waspsting on Thu May 24, 2012 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 11:29 am 
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Borg never won U.S open, but he was runner up 4 times, and his record there is 40-9 (81.6%)
Sampras never won French open, his best result is 1 semi, and his record there is 24-13 (65%). 8/13 times out before round 3.

Borg's won numerous hard/carpet titles - 27.
Sampras has won 3 clay titles.

In grand slams, Borg's match record is 141-16 (89.81% the best of any player)
Sampras' is 203-84 (84%)

Borg was great on grass, and clay, and good on hard/carpet
Sampras was great on grass and hard, and abysmal on clay (career record 90-54)

In summary, the only grounds Sampras edges Borg is more grand slams (and that standard is far from universal across time), while Borg comes out ahead in several areas, and on clay by huge margins.

And that concludes the case for Borg>Sampras.

Thoughts?


Last edited by Waspsting on Sat May 26, 2012 7:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 12:04 pm 
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You bring up an interesting argument, Wasp; but I think your argument has a couple problems with it...

(1) You are underrating the importance of Grand Slam titles to players' greatness. The "Slams weren't that important" argument is very valid when talking about the legacy of Laver, during much of whose career only amateurs were allowed to play. But since the Open Era began (or at the very least by the time Borg's pro career began), the Slams were unquestionably the most important tournaments in the world. It is true that Slam wins being used as the benchmark by which greatness is measured is a somewhat new concept, but that doesn't mean that we can just assume that Borg would have won more slams (or even played more Aussie Opens) if he had known the significance they would play in his legacy.

(2) You are overrating versatility. Borg was a far more versatile player than Sampras: both when comparing playing style and success on various surfaces. But this is but one aspect of a player's ability and cannot be used to trump all accomplishments of a comparable player, especially when that player is more successful in every other aspect of the game.

(3) (This is the big one) You are missing the fact that Sampras completely dominated the game of tennis for 6 consecutive years. He was #1 in the world for 286 weeks and finished the year #1 all 6 years. During that span, there really was no question who the best player in the world was. Borg never approached this level of dominance.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 5:33 am 
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Hi Cruz,

I'd overlooked Sampras' years at #1 completely, accept your point on the matter, and agree that its sufficient to justify his being rated higher than Borg.

The point regarding slams though, I still think is distorted.



Cruz wrote:

(1) ... since the Open Era began (or at the very least by the time Borg's pro career began), the Slams were unquestionably the most important tournaments in the world.


3 of them, yes. Not the Aus open. it wasn't just Borg who shunned it. Connors played twice there in his 20 year career. McEnroe didn't play until after Borg's retirement. Same way as a slam would lose lustre today if Djokovic, Nadal and Federer chose to regularly skip it, so too does the Aus open of Borg's time - and by extension, the basis of comparing how many slams he won to how many slams a player who played in a time when all the slams were important won

The Aus open was an odd animal back then. Some years, there were only 64 participants. Others years the seeded players were given byes in the 1st round. There were other things, like earlier rounds being best of 3 sets, and later rounds best of 5.

the suggestion that "winning as many slams as possible for my legacy" wasn't where the players themselves were coming from is crystal clear

Cruz wrote:
... doesn't mean that we can just assume that Borg would have won more slams (or even played more Aussie Opens) if he had known the significance they would play in his legacy.



My point is that the players of the time, not just Borg didn't play by this standard. Similar to if 20 years from now, Sampras is demoted because by then Davis cup glory has become the gold standard


That said, its probably because of Sampras - word and deed - that the Slams are so valued now. No one really cared much about the record before he claimed it because it was held by Emerson (the flaws of which many have pointed out earlier by several people).


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