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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 3:28 pm 
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he's 178 cm, which is taller than i thought he was... his listed weight of 70 kg, on the other hand, seems way too generous...


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 6:40 pm 
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Waspsting wrote:
Tudwell wrote:
And I believe, though correct me if I'm wrong, that in Connors' day the rankings were based on a two-year system, thus inflating Connors' number of weeks at number one


I'd be curious to hear about this also. These are the little subtleties that make all the difference

Tudwell wrote:
This also cut into Borg's time at No. 1, which should've been much more because he really was the man to beat in the late 70s.


I believe - but am not sure - that Borg skipped parts of the tour regularly, and that might have had something to do with it also. The ATP insisted that he'd have to enter qualifying tournaments if he continued this policy after 1981, when McEnroe displaced him from the #1 spot, and that played a role in his deciding to call it quits.


Borg played a full schedule until 1981, at which point he began to feel burnt out. He wanted to player a lighter schedule, but the ATP didn't want him to, so he ended up quitting altogether. It was only 1981 that he skipped large parts of the tour. By the ATP's count, he played 77 matches in 1980, 90 in 1979, 77 in 1978, etc. And that doesn't include exhibitions and other tournaments not counted by the ATP. In 1981, he played only 41 matches.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 6:44 pm 
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Also, fun fact about Don Budge: He's the only man in history to win six consecutive slams (37 Wimbledon - 38 U.S. Championships). He extended that streak into the pro tour and won the 39 French Pro and 39 Wembley Pro. He also won the next pro major he participated in, the 1940 U.S. Pro. Nine consecutive majors! It's too bad WWII interrupted his tennis career after his five consecutive years at number one. He came back to the tour with a shoulder injury and never quite reached his previous level.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 7:27 am 
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George wrote:
(regarding Nadal)...I will agree with that even if his career had ended right this very moment, he's already every bit as great as lendl, connors, mcenroe, agassi, et al... for the moment being, he's virtually tied with them, in my book, and there's just no way of saying one is "obviously" greater than the other among them.


I agree completely.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 7:47 am 
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Georgi wrote:
what do you think Federer (and Nadal for that matter) would have to do to achieve number one?


Probably hold at least two of three most wins at GS, open era. He's tied for most at Aus, U.S and one short at Wimbeldon. Another French would be nice, too

Shortening the lopsided head to head with Nadal would help, and gaining ascendancy over Andy Murray on the same thing.

gaining back the World #1, and building a lead for the most weeks ever at the spot.

19 slams would do it for me, i think.

Nadal, i don't think realistically has a chance of rising to GOAT.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 8:36 am 
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Tudwell wrote:
George wrote:
post your own complete list, if you wish, Sting.


I'm not Waspsting, obviously, but here's my list:

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


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 8:37 am 
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Waspsting wrote:
19 slams would do it for me, i think.

including pro slams then rosewall has 23, laver 20, pancho 17


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 9:32 am 
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the pro slams were, what - max 16 players and usually less?

VERY hard to compare. Personally, i'd weigh pro slams - smaller fields and all - higher than Amateurs only slams. This would dampen Laver's '62 slam a little (its still a great achievement, just not as great as the '69 one). I'd also weigh Fed's performances in 06 and 07 as high at least as Laver's 62 (though that's obviously debatable)

Neither Rosewall, nor Laver were the best player in the world as amateurs. Pancho thrashed Rosewall when Ken first turned pro, just as Rosewall thrashed Laver when the Rocket first turned pro.

In my opinion, quality of field counts for more than smaller field (and I'm not sure what the field for amateur slams were, either)

Fed has the edge in a few ways. To date,

-He has a better winning percentage at every grand slam.

-23 SF's in a row. Laver's best run was 12

-10 finals in a row and 18/19. Laver's is 8 and 12/13 and 16/18 (same run)

- I count it in Fed's favor that he changed the trend in tennis, from clay court greats being hopeless on grass and vice versa, to one where he's been rock solid on all surfaces. By comparison, in Laver/Rosewall's time, it was already pretty standard (?)

RV, what do you think? In one of your earlier posts you suggested another French for Fed, beating Nadal along the way, and a winning record against Nadal might push Fed up to #1? Could you say a bit more on this?


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 4:29 am 
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Waspsting wrote:
Fed has the edge in a few ways. To date,

-He has a better winning percentage at every grand slam.

-23 SF's in a row. Laver's best run was 12

-10 finals in a row and 18/19. Laver's is 8 and 12/13 and 16/18 (same run)

- I count it in Fed's favor that he changed the trend in tennis, from clay court greats being hopeless on grass and vice versa, to one where he's been rock solid on all surfaces. By comparison, in Laver/Rosewall's time, it was already pretty standard (?)

RV, what do you think? In one of your earlier posts you suggested another French for Fed, beating Nadal along the way, and a winning record against Nadal might push Fed up to #1? Could you say a bit more on this?
those are pretty meaningless claims to me. i would expect him to have a better percentage at this stage because those 3 guys had extremely long careers, pancho and ken were still competitive at 40. guys like borg have awesome percentages because they finished early. i dont really care about semi finals in a row. the third point is why he is great, and as mint has mentioned the surfaces are more homogenous than they have ever been, saying he has won on 3 different surfaces and pioneered this is a bit of a stretch. even as recently as 10 years ago nadal would have never come close to winning a wimbledon, now any old baselining mug can rock up without even knowing what a volley is and hes a real chance. guys like muster and kuerten would literally not turn up because the surface was so different. furthermore it could be argued that laver has an edge with 7 years at number 1 opposed to feds 5. good points but i will still stick with laver for now. one big thing for fed is he is probably the most elegant player in history and one of the most aggressive, which helps make him appear to be the greatest.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 6:22 am 
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rockvirtuoso wrote:
... i will still stick with laver for now.


I agree. I was asking your opinion on what Fed would have to do to change that. If not 19 slams, what do you think would lift him to #1?

rockvirtuoso wrote:
one big thing for fed is he is probably the most elegant player in history and one of the most aggressive, which helps make him appear to be the greatest.


I believe Laver was the in the same mould. Heard some commentators discussing this point, and they thought Laver, McEnroe and Federer were the three best looking players. I'd add Stefan Edberg to that list


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 6:36 am 
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rockvirtuoso wrote:
even as recently as 10 years ago nadal would have never come close to winning a wimbledon, now any old baselining mug can rock up without even knowing what a volley is and hes a real chance


10 years ago, Lleyton Hewitt was winning Wimbledon!

rockvirtuoso wrote:
now any old baselining mug can rock up without even knowing what a volley is and hes a real chance


Serve volleyer's have disappeared, true, but this is an exaggeration. post-Laver/Rosewall, and with wooden rackets still in play, Borg and Connors dominated Wimbledon. Both were capable, but far from great volleyers. Neither had a great serve. Both were great baseliners, particularly at returning serve.

Think they correspond pretty well (obviously not perfectly) to Nadal and Djokovic, who are both exceptional players by any standards - homogenous courts or otherwise.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 6:43 am 
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Could somebody please explain the nuances of clay court tennis?

I understand its slower/ higher bouncing, thus discourages serve volleying, and base liners do well.

But not all baseliners. What are the nuances that make the top clay courters top clay courters?

Is it "not making mistakes" based baseline play, as opposed to "attacking" baseline play that makes the difference? I'd think Hewitt would have done better then.

What was it about Jim Courier's game that made him so much better than Andre Agassi on clay?

Initially Agassi seemed better suited to clay than grass, but that seemed to change over time. Why was this?

Any answers would be appreciated.

I


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 7:28 am 
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Answered on the other thread.

One thing that should be noted is it's very difficult to compare wooden racquet era tennis with modern racquet tennis. Even the early graphite racquets of the 80's were so much different to the racquets today.

With wooden racquets you couldn't put anywhere near the kind of top spin that players put on the ball today. Players used to hit it much, much flatter and so the margins were smaller. It was probably a more tactical but much less athletic and much less powerful game. It really is like two different sports. If you watch matches played on clay, even from Borg's era it looks so weak compared to the sort of play you get today.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 7:28 am 
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Waspsting wrote:
rockvirtuoso wrote:
... i will still stick with laver for now.


I agree. I was asking your opinion on what Fed would have to do to change that. If not 19 slams, what do you think would lift him to #1?

rockvirtuoso wrote:
one big thing for fed is he is probably the most elegant player in history and one of the most aggressive, which helps make him appear to be the greatest.


I believe Laver was the in the same mould. Heard some commentators discussing this point, and they thought Laver, McEnroe and Federer were the three best looking players. I'd add Stefan Edberg to that list
19 probably is enough to be honest. but there will always be doubts while he has a losing record to nadal, which is probably unfair as rosewall and laver played each other so many more times so that the result is more genuine.
yeah for sure. edberg was pure class, my fave player as a kid


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Tennis Players
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 7:31 am 
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Waspsting wrote:
rockvirtuoso wrote:
even as recently as 10 years ago nadal would have never come close to winning a wimbledon, now any old baselining mug can rock up without even knowing what a volley is and hes a real chance


10 years ago, Lleyton Hewitt was winning Wimbledon!

rockvirtuoso wrote:
now any old baselining mug can rock up without even knowing what a volley is and hes a real chance


Serve volleyer's have disappeared, true, but this is an exaggeration. post-Laver/Rosewall, and with wooden rackets still in play, Borg and Connors dominated Wimbledon. Both were capable, but far from great volleyers. Neither had a great serve. Both were great baseliners, particularly at returning serve.

Think they correspond pretty well (obviously not perfectly) to Nadal and Djokovic, who are both exceptional players by any standards - homogenous courts or otherwise.
haha hewitt. well i suppose that was the beginining of the end of wimbledons integrity then :smile: though hewitt was a far more competent volleyer than most, and an excellent return of serve


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