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chaognosis
02-07-2007, 07:18 PM
PLEASE NOTE: I've since published a revised version of this post (http://chaognosis.wordpress.com/2008/09/18/john-donald-budge-1915-2000/) to my tennis history blog.

Since there was some interest in my earlier thread on the classic 1937 Davis Cup semifinal match, I thought I would share some general observations on Budge. I try to read at least one new book on the history of tennis every month, often finding that the best material was written several decades ago and is no longer in print. Two of my favorite sources, which I have commended on this forum before, are Paul Metzler’s Tennis Styles and Stylists and Will Grimsley’s Tennis: Its History, People and Events, the latter of which also includes a piece by Julius Heldman called Styles of the Greats. By comparing current perceptions to the accounts of their contemporaries (or near-contemporaries), one finds that the memory of past greats has indeed dimmed considerably. Tilden is now remembered as much for his sexual transgressions as for his many years of superb tennis, and how many fans today can recount the achievements of H.L. Doherty, Norman Brookes, or the "Four Musketeers"? Many know Budge’s name as that of the winner of tennis’s first Grand Slam, a feat that was in a sense bettered by Laver in ’62 and ’69, though this only scratches the surface of Budge’s incredible career. If Budge’s memory has dimmed, I say it is time we turn the light back up and remember.

Imagine a player possessing all of Roger Federer’s qualities but with a more consistent backhand (similar to Richard Gasquet’s) and a heavier serve (similar to Marat Safin’s), who could beat any opponent on any surface with relative ease, and you would have Don Budge—by all accounts one of the greatest players of all time, and arguably the very greatest.* Budge won six straight majors in 1937-38, completing the first Grand Slam in ’38, and he achieved a 92-match winning streak along the way. He won perhaps the greatest match of all time against Baron Gottfried Von Cramm in the ’37 Davis Cup semifinal, handing his opponent a loss that may have played a part in the German’s eventual imprisonment by the Third Reich; Von Cramm, it is reported, had nervously received a telephone call from Adolf Hitler before the match, the dictator wishing him good luck on the court.

It can be argued, of course, that two of the top players in the world, Ellsworth Vines and Fred Perry, were not in amateur competition during Budge’s great two-year run, being engaged in the early professional tours. Budge, however, himself turned pro in 1939 and defeated both Vines and Perry in series of matches, leaving no doubts as to who was the greatest player of their time. Budge’s peak years were sadly cut short by World War II. Budge himself sustained a shoulder injury while in service that would hamper his tennis game for the rest of his career. Nevertheless, after the war Budge continued to compete at the highest levels, losing narrowly to Bobby Riggs in their ’46 tour. The aged Budge also reached the finals of the U.S. Pro Championships in ’49 and ’53, losing first to Riggs, then to Pancho Gonzales, who would go on to dominate the ‘50s.

Budge’s predecessors and successors alike stood in awe of his unbreakable all-court game. Bill Tilden, tennis’s first great star of the 1920s, called him "the finest player 365 days a year that ever lived." Jack Kramer, the foremost player of the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, has routinely stated that Budge was the best player of all time (followed by Vines and Tilden). Budge’s backhand is universally admired, often regarded as the single greatest shot in the history of tennis, and Julius Heldman, in his piece Styles of the Greats (1971), argued that Budge’s forehand was nearly as good. The great sportswriter Will Grimsley wrote in Tennis: Its History, People and Events (also 1971) that Budge was “considered by many to be foremost among the all-time greats.” E. Digby Baltzell echoed this sentiment in Sporting Gentlemen: Men’s Tennis from the Age of Honor to the Cult of the Superstar (1994), where he wrote that Budge and Rod Laver, the only two male players to have won the Grand Slam, “have usually been rated at the top of any all-time World Champions list, Budge having a slight edge.” Panels of experts, when polled, have routinely listed Budge among the top five or six players in the history of tennis, though knowledge about him has declined in recent decades.

For me, Budge remains among the top few players who ever lived. Along with Laurie Doherty, Tilden, Ken Rosewall, and Laver, he is one of tennis’s greatest all-court, all-surface champions, and like them he was nearly as good a doubles player as he was a singles player. In fact, to this day Budge holds one of the most impressive records in tennis history, having won the so-called “Wimbledon Slam” (consisting of the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles) in back-to-back years. He had every shot, and there was no part of his game that could be considered a weakness. He could pound the ball hard like Vines, and he could take the ball on the rise like Cochet or Perry. Even though he did not have the fast cannonball of Tilden, Vines, or Gonzales, his serve was considered one of the heaviest ever seen. Though Budge was most comfortable at the baseline, he was also adept at net, and he even had an excellent stroke volley—which many of today’s fans mistakenly believe was a recent invention!

Budge was dominant both as an amateur and as a pro, and he accomplished what no man or woman had ever accomplished before: the Grand Slam, surely the greatest achievement in tennis. That he conquered such first-class rivals during his years at the top—Tilden, Vines, Perry, Von Cramm, and Riggs (before World War II)—solidifies his claim to tennis greatness. His heroic comeback victory in the epic 1937 Davis Cup match against Von Cramm lifts his name into the realm of sporting legend. I doubt we will ever see his like again.

*I have provided my updated all-time rankings later in this thread.

Nick Irons
02-07-2007, 07:22 PM
Any player Pre-Open Era is not on the G.O.A.T. List.

chaognosis
02-07-2007, 07:24 PM
Any player Pre-Open Era is not on the G.O.A.T. List.

Similar to how any baseball player pre-steroids is not on the G.O.A.T. list?

Sagittar
02-07-2007, 09:00 PM
but you know it's kinda strange that we rate a player who we never saw playing in the first place , i mean the records are trully very impressive but still we don't have a full vision about the image and kind of competition way back then ..

Mountain Ghost
02-07-2007, 10:05 PM
One of the reasons historical details are so boring for everyone but historians is because most of them don’t relate to anything physical . . . or visual. If there’s no way to see it, it’s all just words. At least we have video (and even memories) of more recent old-timers.

Picking the best tennis player of all time based on historical “evidence” is about as ridiculous as buying yourself a first-place trophy for being right. But at least then you’d have something you could touch . . . and see.

MG

chaognosis
02-07-2007, 10:11 PM
but you know it's kinda strange that we rate a player who we never saw playing in the first place , i mean the records are trully very impressive but still we don't have a full vision about the image and kind of competition way back then ..

I don't think it's so strange, and people do it all the time in all sorts of fields. Does Pavlova not deserve consideration as the greatest dancer, because one has not seen her dance? The achievements of great athletes and other performers must live on in memory. It is why I get irritated with comments from those who believe that players of the past could not hold a candle to today's stars, or that their accomplishments should be dismissed because of "inferior" competition, etc. Great players are simply great players, and they would be great in any context. Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams deserve continued recognition, as do Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, or Byron Nelson. Tennis fans, I'm embarrassed to say, have chronically short-term memories, even when compared with fans of other sports.

Nick Irons
02-07-2007, 10:19 PM
Similar to how any baseball player pre-steroids is not on the G.O.A.T. list?


It's pretty apparent who is and who is not on the juice in MLB; what that has to do with the PRE Open Era is a mystery

chaognosis
02-07-2007, 10:20 PM
One of the reasons historical details are so boring for everyone but historians is because most of them don’t relate to anything physical . . . or visual. If there’s no way to see it, it’s all just words. At least we have video (and even memories) of more recent old-timers.

Picking the best tennis player of all time based on historical “evidence” is about as ridiculous as buying yourself a first-place trophy for being right. But at least then you’d have something you could touch . . . and see.

MG

I have argued this point before, interestingly, with respect to Kant's Third Critique. One of humanity's great powers is that of imagination, which allows us to construct (or reconstruct) images, and other sense-perceptions, even when the images themselves are absent. I hope that when someone is presented with verbal and written accounts of a player's game, along with statistics, photographs, and in some cases film or video evidence, that one is capable of imagining that player on the court. Imagination, of course, is never perfect, but it's what keeps any human achievement from being rendered irrelevant as soon as it is completed. And, actually, there is film footage available of Tilden, Budge, etc., on the court, most famously a tape called Kings of the Court: The Ten Greatest Tennis Players of All Time, which was released by the Hall of Fame in 1998. You can still find copies online, though they've become rather expensive, I think in the $30-40 range.

chaognosis
02-07-2007, 10:28 PM
It's pretty apparent who is and who is not on the juice in MLB; what that has to do with the PRE Open Era is a mystery

I'm sorry. It was not a particularly serious response, but then I didn't see your argument as particularly serious either. My point was that no one would argue that Barry Bonds is a greater hitter than Babe Ruth, despite the fact that he is stronger, benefits from modern training and fitness techniques (not to mention the juice), and plays against a deeper field of opponents. Such a claim would show a lack of perspective and imagination. Why tennis players would magically have become exponentially better in 1968 is beyond me. It seems ridiculous that changes in tournament rules, or advances in technology, should make players "greater." I feel that these arguments just reveal ignorance, or at least laziness, being unwilling to actually learn about the past or consider the possibility that the "old timers" could in fact play a pretty mean game of tennis.

Jet Rink
02-07-2007, 10:33 PM
One of the reasons historical details are so boring for everyone but historians is because most of them don’t relate to anything physical . . . or visual. If there’s no way to see it, it’s all just words. At least we have video (and even memories) of more recent old-timers...

One can only be judged by how he/she performed at their peak - and that means competition against one's peers (no time machines here boys).

So when Chaognosis says he believes Budge was the greatest, first, he gets to say that because he's entitled to his opinion. Second, he's done the leg work to make the statement, bring the facts and take the time to do so. Third - Budge was a helluva player WHO DOMINATED IN HIS TIME - the only standard we have in such hopeless "comparisons."

As far as "no video = no cred." I'd say that a limited media input (radio and print only back then) only adds to mystique.

Jet

stormholloway
02-07-2007, 10:44 PM
I sure would like a full match of his though, but it's hard enough finding Laver-era matches, let alone pre-War matches.

Trinity TC
02-07-2007, 11:07 PM
And, actually, there is film footage available of Tilden, Budge, etc., on the court, most famously a tape called Kings of the Court: The Ten Greatest Tennis Players of All Time, which was released by the Hall of Fame in 1998. You can still find copies online, though they've become rather expensive, I think in the $30-40 range.
Yep, it's a great tape. Too bad it's not on DVD. Good footage of Fred Perry and a young Jack Kramer. Budge and Riggs were impressive.

I'm a Rod Laver/Lew Hoad/Pancho Gonzales fan but trying to look at the cold, hard facts as much as possible...Federer, Budge and maybe Sampras are at the top of my GOAT list.

Maybe more old skool footage will show up on YouTube.

urban
02-08-2007, 05:41 AM
Nice curriculum vitae of Budge, Chaognosis. There are - as always - some or in fact many older contemporary critics, who rank Tilden over Budge, including Danzig, Tingay, Hopman, Joubert et al. In an AP poll of 1950 for best of each sport, Tilden had the widest leading margin of all athletes overall. I think, or it was my reading, that even Baltzell regards Tilden higher than Budge. Maybe the legend and myth of Tilden has a strong influence here. One of the few exceptions was Dan Maskell, who played both, who ranks Budge second and Tilden third. Eliot Berry wrote a good book 'Topspin', in which he discusses the Budge-Perry-Vines -Riggs field (with an interview with the old Perry). He points to the fact, that Budge was constantly frustrated by the cunning of good old Bobby Riggs. Maybe some subtle change of pace could disturb his sweet swinging rhythm.

AndrewD
02-08-2007, 07:19 AM
chaognosis,

It is an interesting discussion although I do disagree completely. As far as I'm concerned, GOAT can only be done by comparing and debating accomplishments, not via some fantasy game of 'who would win if...'.
In that regard, Laver won 2 Grand Slams, Budge won 1 and I rate them 1 and 2 in that order.

Tilden I think is a worthy #3 but I would never accept him as being on level footing with Budge and Laver. As far as I'm concerned, there's Laver then, at a distance, there's Budge and then there's daylight. Tilden, in my opinion, belongs on the next step down, along with Rosewall - who didn't make your list (I consider that a travesty, especially when you have Perry, McEnroe and Kramer, 3 players who achieved nowhere near as much as Rosewall) but above Borg, Federer (for the moment) and Sampras.

If you're looking for accurate and reliable accounts of the players, I would recommend UK publications above anything else. They really are, in general, far more historically accurate as well as being relatively free of the parochialism and self-interest which plagues most other publications.

FiveO
02-08-2007, 07:34 AM
Until the 1970's there is not alot of "video evidence" to support those who opine about the greats in tennis or any other sport for that matter. There are some, though, who's level of expertise cannot be questioned, though their subjectivity can be, who witnessed everyone from Tilden to Federer play, i.e. Jack Kramer and Pancho Segura, and their opininions having been players and being associated with the game at the most elite level are hard to discount. But even among these "experts" a consensus is hard to find.

Here's a pretty good spread of opinions compiled from multiple source in Wikipedia:

Place among the all-time great tennis players

For about 35 years from around 1920 to 1955, Bill Tilden was generally considered the greatest player of all time. From the mid-1950s to about 1970, many people thought that Gonzales had claimed that title. Since then, champions of the Open era such as Rod Laver, Björn Borg, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras, and Roger Federer have been considered by many of their contemporaries to be greater players than either Tilden or Gonzales.

However, some people connected with the game still consider Gonzales to be the best male player in tennis history, primarily because he was the World No. 1 tennis player for probably 8 years — the status of a few of the earlier years is still unclear. He was possibly the No.1 in 1952, but then was probably the World No. 1 for 7 consecutive years, 1954 through 1960. In the article World No. 1 Tennis Player Rankings Bill Tilden with Rod Laver are the next closest to Gonzales with 7 No. 1 ratings, followed by Pete Sampras and Ken Rosewall with 6 each. Pancho Segura, who played, and frequently beat, all of the great players from the 1930s through the 1960s has said that he believes that Gonzales was the best player of all time. Other tennis greats such as Lew Hoad, and Allen Fox have agreed with this assessment. In a 1972 article about an imaginary tournament between the all-time greats, Gene Scott had the fourth-seeded Gonzales upsetting Bill Tilden in the semi-finals and then using his serve to destroy Rod Laver in the finals.

Bud Collins, the editor of the massive Total Tennis, The Ultimate Tennis Encyclopedia, is guarded. He writes on page 673 that Gonzales was "probably as good as anyone who ever played the game, if not better." On page 693, however, he writes that Rod Laver would "be known as possibly the greatest player ever." And on page 749 he calls Bill Tilden "perhaps the greatest player of them all."

In 2005 a tennis historian who visited the International Tennis Hall of Fame interviewed several great Australian players who had toured against Gonzales. Who, they were asked, was the best player they had ever played against?[16]

Mal Anderson named Gonzales, who "was very difficult since if you did get ahead, he had a way to upset you, and he could exploit your weaknesses fast. Though over the hill, he beat Rod [Laver] until Rod lifted his game." He added, "Lew Hoad, in his day was scary, though Gonzales was best day in and day out." Ashley Cooper also named Gonzales, whom "I never beat on the tour. But I did beat him a couple of times on clay where his serve wasn’t as good." Gonzales's frequent opponent Frank Sedgman said, "I played against probably the greatest of all time, Jack Kramer. He could put his serve on a dime and had a great first volley. The second best was Gonzales. I played him a lot — a great competitor — a great athlete.”

Jack Kramer, on the other hand, who became a world-class player in 1940 and then beat Gonzales badly in the latter's first year as a professional, has stated that he believes that although Gonzales was better than either Laver or Sampras he was not as good as either Ellsworth Vines or Don Budge. Kramer, who had a long and frequently bitter relationship with Gonzales, rates him only as one of the four players who are second to Budge and Vines in his estimation.[17] Kramer also, perhaps surprisingly, writes that Bobby Riggs would have beaten Gonzales on a regular basis.

Early in 1986 Inside Tennis, a magazine edited in Northern California, devoted parts of four issues to a lengthy article called "Tournament of the Century", an imaginary tournament to determine the greatest of all time. They asked 37 tennis notables such as Kramer, Budge, Perry, and Riggs and observers such as Bud Collins to list the 10 greatest players in order.[18] This was probably as prestigious and knowledgeable a group of tennis experts as has ever been assembled.

Twenty-five players in all were named by the 37 experts in their lists of the 10 best. The magazine then ranked them in descending order by total number of points assigned. The top eight players in overall points, with their number of first-place votes, were: Rod Laver (9), John McEnroe (3), Don Budge (4), Jack Kramer (5), Björn Borg (6), Pancho Gonzales (1), Bill Tilden (6), and Lew Hoad (1). Gonzales was ranked the sixth-best player, with only Allan Fox casting a vote for him as the greatest of all time.


In his 1979 autobiography Kramer considered the best ever to have been either Don Budge (for consistent play) or Ellsworth Vines (at the height of his game). The next four best were, chronologically, Bill Tilden, Fred Perry, Bobby Riggs, and Pancho Gonzales. After these six came the "second echelon" of Rod Laver, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Gottfried von Cramm, Ted Schroeder, Jack Crawford, Pancho Segura, Frank Sedgman, Tony Trabert, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Björn Borg, and Jimmy Connors. He felt unable to rank Henri Cochet and René Lacoste accurately but felt they were among the very best

Mick
02-08-2007, 07:44 AM
While the top tennis players from the past were superb players, I don't think they were as good athletes as today's top tennis players. Nowadays most of the top guys would have a fitness trainer in addition to a coach, and the same goes for most of the top women tennis players as well. For this reason, it is difficult for me to consider as Don Budge the greatest player of all time because conditioning and fitness would have to be counted in addition to tennis skills and professional achievements. But that's just my take on this. He's not my GOAT but he could be your GOAT.

AndrewD
02-08-2007, 08:04 AM
Five O,

Gonzales said, about Lew Hoad, that "He was the only guy who, if I was playing my best tennis, could still beat me. I think his game was the best game ever. Better than mine."

Considering the size of Pancho's ego and the jumbo sized chips he carried on each shoulder for him to say something like that speaks volumes for just how good Hoad really was.

atatu
02-08-2007, 08:37 AM
Hoad was great, no doubt, but his career was cut short so I don't think you can put him up there with the rest. I'm amazed no one has put in a vote for Jack Kramer, who is often overlooked as the man who really perfected the big game.

retrowagen
02-08-2007, 09:19 AM
Yeah, Lew Hoad was sort of the Boris Becker of his day - ironically, in appearance as well. A powerful red-headed player, but not as versatile across the board so as to be a dominating threat on any surface or any day... as was Budge.

I take the entire Modern versus Classic tennis pros debate with the same grains of salt I employ when considering the art and sport of high altitude mountaineering. What some of the more modern alpinists have achieved in the Himalayas on the 8,000 meter-plus peaks - Reinhold Messner's exploits spring to mind as standard setting, as do Jean-Christophe Lafille's - is amazing, but what their forebears did on early ascents and ascent attempts fifty-five or seventy-odd years prior is positively AMAZING. Think of the first British expeditions to climb Everest - Mallory and Irvine probably did, back in 1924, with no fixed ropes and no modern gear. Likewise, the most modern gear at the disposal of the triumphant 1953 Everest expedition (where Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made it to the peak) was nylon cloth. Equipment was still quite primative, and there were still no fixed ropes all the way up as there are today. Indeed, fast-forward to today, and hundreds of pros and ameteurs have made it to the top of Everest, which, ropes and modern climbing gear aside, is still exceptionally difficult work. But you can be sure that Joe Stockbroker's 2005 summit was much easier to achieve than Norgay and Hillary's 1953, weather notwithstanding. Nowadays, equipment can be (and usually is) a great substitute for pure skill, physical ability, and experience: a great equalizer, as it were.

I believe this was and is absolutely true in the game of tennis, as well.

Larger, lighter, and stiffer racket technology has allowed beginners to learn poorer technique, and maintain bad habits all the way to the top echelon of the sport. Production of sheer power has replaced shotmaking strategy as a prime tennis tactic. Other modern equipment (i.e., shoes as well as rackets) allow poor technique and footwork to take less of a toll on a player, further reinforcing poor technique and bad habits.

On the whole, I have always felt (as a former college player and satellite player in the late 80's/early 90's) that the best examples of professional tennis players to emulate were those of the 1920's through 1960's. Budge and Laver stand head and shoulders above most of their peers; there are dozens of others who were not only tremendous athletes who understood how to hit the ball, but were also passionate and humble ambassadors for the sport, unspoilt by the prospect of lucrative contracts, TV face time, and record chasing. Read about the Aussies of the 50's and 60's, living hand-to-mouth yet very vivaciously travelling the globe to play--I'd rather travel and hang out with those down-to-earth blokes than with a modern Top 10 pro, anyday.

chaognosis
02-08-2007, 09:29 AM
chaognosis,

It is an interesting discussion although I do disagree completely. As far as I'm concerned, GOAT can only be done by comparing and debating accomplishments, not via some fantasy game of 'who would win if...'.
In that regard, Laver won 2 Grand Slams, Budge won 1 and I rate them 1 and 2 in that order.

Tilden I think is a worthy #3 but I would never accept him as being on level footing with Budge and Laver. As far as I'm concerned, there's Laver then, at a distance, there's Budge and then there's daylight. Tilden, in my opinion, belongs on the next step down, along with Rosewall - who didn't make your list (I consider that a travesty, especially when you have Perry, McEnroe and Kramer, 3 players who achieved nowhere near as much as Rosewall) but above Borg, Federer (for the moment) and Sampras.

If you're looking for accurate and reliable accounts of the players, I would recommend UK publications above anything else. They really are, in general, far more historically accurate as well as being relatively free of the parochialism and self-interest which plagues most other publications.

The problem with the strict comparison of achievements, of course, is that the relative importance (and even possibility) of achievements changes over time. For example, saying "two Grand Slams are greater than one, therefore Laver over Budge" sounds an awful lot like "14 major titles are greater than 11, therefore Sampras over Laver." It's also like the fans who try to use Agassi's Olympic Gold Medal as evidence that he was greater than earlier "Career Slam" winners, Perry and Emerson, despite the fact tennis was not an Olympic sport in Perry or Emerson's day! Achievements simply have to be weighed in context, which is why these arguments are always going to be subjective rather than objective. Laver was fortunate that the Open Era rolled around when he was still good enough to complete a second Grand Slam. Budge's record against all opponents, amateur and pro, in the late 1930s and early '40s indicates that he would probably have been just as capable of pulling off this feat, if only he would have had the opportunity (of course, luck plays a role as well). I do, however, unequivocally rank Budge's '38 Grand Slam over Laver's '62 Grand Slam, for the simple reason that Budge was almost certainly the greatest player in the world in '38, whereas Laver was almost certainly not the greatest player in the world in '62. Both players, as you know, turned pro one year later, and while Budge proved himself better than either Vines or Perry, Laver lost badly to Rosewall and did not become the World No. 1 until at least '64, perhaps even '65.

I am glad to see Budge at No. 2 on your list, for too often he is forgotten altogether these days, even while players like Gonzales and Rosewall have enjoyed a sort of renaissance in critical circles. And speaking of Rosewall, I am sorry, and I know he has a very good case for inclusion, but I hardly think his absence from the top ten is a "travesty." Certainly, both McEnroe and Kramer are fairly routinely ranked ahead of Rosewall by most experts. Perry, I agree, is a more debatable choice, but he does have the benefit of three Wimbledons to Rosewall's zero (both were banned from Wimbledon as pros, so while Rosewall could well have won a few in the early 1960s, Perry could have won more in the late '30s or early '40s too). Rosewall, admittedly, has the longevity, equalled only by Tilden and Gonzales, and he won far more titles. However, it should be remembered that Rosewall's prime years coincided exactly with the time when the pro circuit shifted from a primarily tour-based format to a more tournament-based format. Kramer, for example, was in my opinion more successful as a pro than Rosewall, despite the fact that he won far fewer pro tournaments, because during his time these things were considered far less important; the tours against Riggs, Gonzales, Segura, Sedgman were paramount, and Kramer excelled in this series format more than any other player in history, even Gonzales.

So yes, while I see your points and respect your opinion, I think my choices are highly defensible as well. As for publications, I have read UK sources, as well as those from the US and Australia, as well as some French sources, and have struggled through a few German sources as well (my German is not as good). There is always a degree of self-interest, regardless who's writing, which is why I think it's important to read as much as possible, to gain as much perspective as possible. I hope we all keep reading, so that knowledge of our great sport and its history never ceases to grow.

chaognosis
02-08-2007, 09:37 AM
FiveO, I am familiar with the excerpt from Wikipedia, but find it too biased toward Gonzales, for obvious reasons. There were observers around 1970 who felt Budge and Kramer were as good or better than Tilden and Gonzales, in fact I have found quite a few more sources in support of Budge than Gonzales (there has been a revisionist campaign in favor of Gonzales on the Internet for some time, including the guy who wrote that Wikipedia article--he has a great deal of knowledge, no doubt, but is far from impartial). Gonzales and Rosewall seem to be the favorites of a newer generation of critics, who favor number of titles (which is not an "objective" criterion by any means, for reasons I explain above) over the more openly subjective appraisals of players and writers that were in vogue decades ago. I think we need to continue to listen, however, to the voices from the past, who were closer to the players themselves, and often had well-founded opinions that run contrary to more recent critical views.

retrowagen
02-08-2007, 09:55 AM
It's normal human nature for every new generation to automatically think their dramatis personae and achievements are the best of all time.

Best in their time, yes; best in all time, perhaps not. Very hard to consider rationally and admit.

urban
02-08-2007, 09:56 AM
Some good points there, retrowagon, especially the part about Mallory and the early 'Everesters'. The thing is, that Mallory always remained the greatest legend of mountaineering, and that even today Hollywood is planning a picture about him. It hurts Messner quite a bit, the man of the biggest ego imaginable. In the same way the Grand Slam is in tennis something mythical, like the Holy Graal, and it will be remembered in 100 years from now.

chaognosis
02-08-2007, 10:00 AM
It's normal human nature for every new generation to automatically think their dramatis personae and achievements are the best of all time.

Best in their time, yes; best in all time, perhaps not. Very hard to consider rationally and admit.

Very true, but there is never an objective way to solve this debate, be it one year or ten years or fifty years after a player's time. I forgot to comment on your last post, by the way, but thought it was well reasoned and beautifully written, and I agree with you 100% about the impact of modern technology. I have in the past echoed Sampras's belief that all players should train with wood rackets, for the very reason you have stated. The problem, I guess, is that young players would grow too frustrated with the slow pace of their development, relative to their peers who are able to apparently play "better" with their modern rackets. Impatience so often gets in the way of real progress.

retrowagen
02-08-2007, 10:35 AM
Very true, but there is never an objective way to solve this debate, be it one year or ten years or fifty years after a player's time. I forgot to comment on your last post, by the way, but thought it was well reasoned and beautifully written, and I agree with you 100% about the impact of modern technology.

Thank you - kind words.

I have in the past echoed Sampras's belief that all players should train with wood rackets, for the very reason you have stated. The problem, I guess, is that young players would grow too frustrated with the slow pace of their development, relative to their peers who are able to apparently play "better" with their modern rackets.

Well, I'm a nobody, but that's how I trained when I began playing in the early 80's. My mom (my sponsor in those earliest days!) was equally pragmatic, realistic, and spendthrifty: when I got good enough to consistently beat my peers (who had the fancier equipment), then I would be rewarded in due time with fancier equipment. So my groundstrokes (the basis of my game) were honed and grooved on standard-sized frames, which was difficult, but absolutely worthwhile: when I made a switch to a midsize graphite frame, I shot ahead of my local peers with whom I had reached parity. And my mum kept her sheckels in the bank as long as she could!

Impatience so often gets in the way of real progress.

Technology so often gets in the way of real progress! I find this true in so many arenas in life, where technology makes humans more and more obsolete, where skills are lost for the Generations to come, and where an overall laziness is fostered. I was taught by my grandfather that "anything worth doing requires hard work," and by and large, it's a sad commentary on our society that we tend to want the highest results for the least serious investment of effort.

I love it when I hear stories of Kenyan distance runners and South American soccer stars and the like having developed and perfected their skills in the dirtiest of places, away from NASA-like training centres or academies. It gives me hope that money and technology still can't buy pure skill and dedication!

Sorry for the tangent, friends - now back to Budge!

FiveO
02-08-2007, 11:06 AM
Five O,

Gonzales said, about Lew Hoad, that "He was the only guy who, if I was playing my best tennis, could still beat me. I think his game was the best game ever. Better than mine."

Considering the size of Pancho's ego and the jumbo sized chips he carried on each shoulder for him to say something like that speaks volumes for just how good Hoad really was.

I'm was aware of that and Laver's assessment of Hoad's skills as well, and as such give that alot of weight. Lew Hoad is way up there on my list.

Rabbit
02-08-2007, 12:26 PM
Five O,

Gonzales said, about Lew Hoad, that "He was the only guy who, if I was playing my best tennis, could still beat me. I think his game was the best game ever. Better than mine."

Considering the size of Pancho's ego and the jumbo sized chips he carried on each shoulder for him to say something like that speaks volumes for just how good Hoad really was.


It certainly does. I would describe Gonzalez differently than you though. I think he was probably more competitive and hungrier than even Jimmy Connors. He was certainly more of an outsider to the game and its establishment and probably saw himself like that.

NoBadMojo
02-08-2007, 12:40 PM
I think the only fair comparisons to be made in tennis are comparisons amongst contemporaries. unless folks dont believe that things and people evolve and that the game changes, then the latest of the greatest truly is the greatest i think.

To me, the two golden eras of tennis as far as having depth of field were the Laver era and the Sampras era

As a sidenote, an old doubles partner had the priveledge of teaching at the Budge Tennis Academy back in the 80's i guess it was and got to play, teach, and spend time with Mr Budge who played until he was very old..and still had the hands I am told...and was a really good guy. racquet handle with no grip..16 oz club in his heyday.

Nick Irons
02-08-2007, 12:49 PM
I'm sorry. It was not a particularly serious response, but then I didn't see your argument as particularly serious either. My point was that no one would argue that Barry Bonds is a greater hitter than Babe Ruth, despite the fact that he is stronger, benefits from modern training and fitness techniques (not to mention the juice), and plays against a deeper field of opponents. Such a claim would show a lack of perspective and imagination. Why tennis players would magically have become exponentially better in 1968 is beyond me. It seems ridiculous that changes in tournament rules, or advances in technology, should make players "greater." I feel that these arguments just reveal ignorance, or at least laziness, being unwilling to actually learn about the past or consider the possibility that the "old timers" could in fact play a pretty mean game of tennis.

In fact, that reply just revealed your own ignorance, or denial.

Using Baseball as an example just doest not jive.

Consider this. The sport of baseball, 100 years ago till today hasn't changed a bit. Batting .350 100 years ago is batting .350 today.

No quantam developments in bat technology; still made of wood. Compare these bats in order:

Babe Ruth 1927 bat
Roger Maris 1961
Mark McGwire 1998
Sammy Sosa 1998

THe only thing we can be sure of, is that Sosa and Mark were loaded :p

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/3/30/Fourbats.jpg/372px-Fourbats.jpg

Unlike tennis racquet technology.

My biggest argument for the GOAT existing after the Post Open Era, is more or less the same guys playing each other at the same events, over and over

it could it be compared to todays Champions Tour, right ?

Now, unfortunately I'm off to the courts to teach the kiddies. But Ill return this evening to humor you in this debate.

FiveO
02-08-2007, 01:00 PM
FiveO, I am familiar with the excerpt from Wikipedia, but find it too biased toward Gonzales, for obvious reasons. There were observers around 1970 who felt Budge and Kramer were as good or better than Tilden and Gonzales, in fact I have found quite a few more sources in support of Budge than Gonzales (there has been a revisionist campaign in favor of Gonzales on the Internet for some time, including the guy who wrote that Wikipedia article--he has a great deal of knowledge, no doubt, but is far from impartial). Gonzales and Rosewall seem to be the favorites of a newer generation of critics, who favor number of titles (which is not an "objective" criterion by any means, for reasons I explain above) over the more openly subjective appraisals of players and writers that were in vogue decades ago. I think we need to continue to listen, however, to the voices from the past, who were closer to the players themselves, and often had well-founded opinions that run contrary to more recent critical views.

What I took from it was that there are as nearly as many single GOAT's as their are those stating a preference and all of those choices bring with them subjectivity.

I am more of the mind to give each their own era and personally attempt to restrict myself to the Open era. I go back far enough to have seen Gonzalez playing in his late 30's to early 40's, Laver, Rosewall etc.

I rely on the expertise and opinions of those who witnessed earlier players while trying to factor out biases in those opinions.

I personally don't try to rank the best from era to era just give each player dominating their era their due.

Trinity TC
02-08-2007, 01:04 PM
While the top tennis players from the past were superb players, I don't think they were as good athletes as today's top tennis players. Nowadays most of the top guys would have a fitness trainer in addition to a coach, and the same goes for most of the top women tennis players as well. For this reason, it is difficult for me to consider as Don Budge the greatest player of all time because conditioning and fitness would have to be counted in addition to tennis skills and professional achievements. But that's just my take on this. He's not my GOAT but he could be your GOAT.
Budge and Gonzales are amongst the few tennis players from the past who would compare favourably with today's athletes in terms of size, speed and athletic ability. Interestingly. Laver and Hoad would probably be considered on the small side.

chaognosis
02-08-2007, 01:12 PM
I'm sorry if the debate seems trivial to you, but I really think you are making important oversights. There have been developments in baseball, balls and gloves for example, which have changed the game; likewise, one could argue that players today are more "athletic" and benefit from all the modern fitness/training crap people argue about in tennis. If what makes a player "great" is simply being born in a later era, then your argument makes sense, but that really isn't greatness at all, just historical circumstance. (Actually, I agree with retrowagen that if anything, modern rackets have made players worse. They are more forgiving and thus allow players to get away with poorer technique, which stays with them throughout their careers.) I think you have to admit that if such a thing as greatness exists, it is something that transcends time, and so forces us to respect the achievements of past greats.

Contrary to your statement, statistics today in baseball do not by any means correlate to those of the past. If you just look at the list of record single-season batting averages, you'll find that every one of the top fifty averages was achieved before World War II. You can look at this one of two ways. On the one hand, perhaps hitters have just gotten worse over time. On the other, perhaps it is much harder now to reach the same numbers, so that a .350 in 2007 is not truly the same as a .350 in 1907. I think the latter is indisputably true, but to make a leap and say the game is harder today, therefore today's best players are better than any that came before, would be a huge fallacy. Consider it mathematically. The average level of play in tennis may be increasing over time, but at every point along the way there are going to be extreme, outlying data points, which don't adhere to the simplistic linear model. These points are the players that stand above their contemporaries, and no equation can account for them, meaning they are not dependent on any other factors. In other words, just because the average pro in 2007 is better than the average pro in 1957, doesn't mean the best player in 2007 is better than the best pro in 1957. I hope this makes sense, as I'm writing it in a hurry. My apologies if I came across too harshly in my earlier post; I know your opinion is one that many share, though I hope to change it, because I think it is wrong.

Jet Rink
02-08-2007, 01:15 PM
Larger, lighter, and stiffer racket technology has allowed beginners to learn poorer technique, and maintain bad habits all the way to the top echelon of the sport. Production of sheer power has replaced shotmaking strategy as a prime tennis tactic. Other modern equipment (i.e., shoes as well as rackets) allow poor technique and footwork to take less of a toll on a player, further reinforcing poor technique and bad habits.

Bingo. All bow at this man's feet.

Jet

Trinity TC
02-08-2007, 01:18 PM
Hey, this is getting good.:D

Nick Irons
02-08-2007, 03:06 PM
I'm sorry if the debate seems trivial to you, but I really think you are making important oversights. There have been developments in baseball, balls and gloves for example, which have changed the game; likewise, one could argue that players today are more "athletic" and benefit from all the modern fitness/training crap people argue about in tennis. If what makes a player "great" is simply being born in a later era, then your argument makes sense, but that really isn't greatness at all, just historical circumstance. (Actually, I agree with retrowagen that if anything, modern rackets have made players worse. They are more forgiving and thus allow players to get away with poorer technique, which stays with them throughout their careers.) I think you have to admit that if such a thing as greatness exists, it is something that transcends time, and so forces us to respect the achievements of past greats.

Contrary to your statement, statistics today in baseball do not by any means correlate to those of the past. If you just look at the list of record single-season batting averages, you'll find that every one of the top fifty averages was achieved before World War II. You can look at this one of two ways. On the one hand, perhaps hitters have just gotten worse over time. On the other, perhaps it is much harder now to reach the same numbers, so that a .350 in 2007 is not truly the same as a .350 in 1907. I think the latter is indisputably true, but to make a leap and say the game is harder today, therefore today's best players are better than any that came before, would be a huge fallacy. Consider it mathematically. The average level of play in tennis may be increasing over time, but at every point along the way there are going to be extreme, outlying data points, which don't adhere to the simplistic linear model. These points are the players that stand above their contemporaries, and no equation can account for them, meaning they are not dependent on any other factors. In other words, just because the average pro in 2007 is better than the average pro in 1957, doesn't mean the best player in 2007 is better than the best pro in 1957. I hope this makes sense, as I'm writing it in a hurry. My apologies if I came across too harshly in my earlier post; I know your opinion is one that many share, though I hope to change it, because I think it is wrong.

I think I lean more towards my remark about the today's Champions Tour; it's the same group of guys, playing the same tournaments all the time. Just like the pro's of yesteryear, was it not ? (I am asking for clarification on this?)

Also, I have not done a boatload of research on baseball stats, but in slugging % alone, out of the TOP 20 Best ever, 11 are active players ..

So, I don't know ... your point seems a bit skewed. Ted Williams hitting over .400 is as hard and impressive then as TODAY; it's why no one has done it since. The game hasn't changed really at all. There have been alterations in the ball itself (Dead Ball and Juiced Balls for example)

No worries on you being harsh; thanks for the apology. I'd rather discuss than flame.


Bingo. All bow at this man's feet.

Jet

I forgot who it was; but an old pro stated that todays RACQUET technology is more advanced than what we are even capable of.

I gotta think that is true

FiveO
02-08-2007, 03:23 PM
As for the baseball analogies there were major changes:

1) 1969 the pitching mound was lowered 5"
2) The strike zone became condensed, moving the top from "the letters" down to about the belt.
3) Juiced baseballs
4) Juiced athletes going from mere amphetamine abuse to amphetamine abuse, combined with steroids and human growth hormone.
5) The move toward lighter and lighter bats with wider barrels and ever thinner handles.
6) The more recent shift to maple bats from the heretofor white ash bats

retrowagen
02-08-2007, 03:33 PM
Baseball as being technologically static really isn't an apt comparison. Bat and ball and shoe and glove technology (not to mention drug technology!) has marched on, bringing that game with it.
...

Another small detail which might need to be borne in mind is that many modern professional tournaments no longer play the best-of-five-sets format, or have compromised by adding the van Allen tiebreaker to the scoring in the later 1960's... In Budge's epoch, best-of-five with no tiebreakers was the order of the day.

I wonder how well the average pro today would cope with that.

NoBadMojo
02-08-2007, 03:35 PM
In fact, that reply just revealed your own ignorance, or denial.

Using Baseball as an example just doest not jive.

Consider this. The sport of baseball, 100 years ago till today hasn't changed a bit. Batting .350 100 years ago is batting .350 today.

No quantam developments in bat technology; still made of wood. Compare these bats in order:

Babe Ruth 1927 bat
Roger Maris 1961
Mark McGwire 1998
Sammy Sosa 1998

THe only thing we can be sure of, is that Sosa and Mark were loaded :p

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/3/30/Fourbats.jpg/372px-Fourbats.jpg

Unlike tennis racquet technology.

My biggest argument for the GOAT existing after the Post Open Era, is more or less the same guys playing each other at the same events, over and over

it could it be compared to todays Champions Tour, right ?

Now, unfortunately I'm off to the courts to teach the kiddies. But Ill return this evening to humor you in this debate.

you may wish to consider that the game of baseball HAS changed.

the baseball is hotter now than then. the bats are lighter now...the swing is way more about batspeed now than mass. i bet the bats have bigger sweetspots as well, and that the Babes' bat swings nothing at all like Sosa's..juicing is rampant. etc
A big % of a minour league team was caught buying a steroid alternative from Pete Roses' kid. Some wierd chemical they used to clean the hulls of boats or something like that..hard to imagine what they are taking in MLB

But at least MLB did what pro tennis should have done...that being have more gear restrictions for the pros. Could you see it if they allowed non wood bats in MLB?

personally, i like the idea of a racquet for the pros with a max length plus width of 36".....any weight..any materials. that would change the game enough to encourage all court play and more serve volley, and you could use your racquet to check the net height just like in the good ole' days ;O

Frank Silbermann
02-08-2007, 08:37 PM
...There were observers around 1970 who felt Budge and Kramer were as good or better than Tilden and Gonzales, in fact I have found quite a few more sources in support of Budge than Gonzales (there has been a revisionist campaign in favor of Gonzales on the Internet for some time, including the guy who wrote that Wikipedia article--he has a great deal of knowledge, no doubt, but is far from impartial). Gonzales and Rosewall seem to be the favorites of a newer generation of critics, who favor number of titles (which is not an "objective" criterion by any means, for reasons I explain above) over the more openly subjective appraisals of players and writers that were in vogue decades ago. I think we need to continue to listen, however, to the voices from the past, who were closer to the players themselves, and often had well-founded opinions that run contrary to more recent critical views. Looking at the "Kings of the Court" video it seems to me that Gonzales was not so much a tennis phenomenon as a general athletic phenomenon. Compared to most other top players he was _both_ bigger _and_ quicker. Watching him play is like watching a mediocre 21 year-old beat a much more highly skilled ten-year old. He could boom his serve in because with his height and long arms he didn't need much spin to bring it down. His volleys didn't look like much, but because he was both big and quick he could crowd the net to the point that good volleying technique was no longer necessary. And so on. So, yes, he was extremely good at beating top opponents, but that doesn't mean you could have learned much about how to play tennis from watching him. You cannot imitate "being both big and quick."

I would say that Don Budge was the greatest of all time because he achieved greatness through strokes that had perfect form and style. I could see no wasteful idiosynchracies unworthy of imitation in his groundstrokes.

Incidently, Budge had used "New School" techniques as a junior. Yeah, he had a western forehand until he was eighteen, but once he reached his full height he had to change it to compete against the top players of his day.

Today's slower courts, more intense physical training, sports medicine to let players recover from over-training, and tie-breakers have all helped ease the physical burden of the western style, and lightweight large-headed racquets have allowed players to achieve an unnatural swing speed that turns an incorrect technique into an advantage. It's not really the same game anymore

chaognosis
02-08-2007, 09:00 PM
Nick, while the early pro circuit was relatively small, I think you need to consider that it nevertheless included most of the best players in the world. It would be similar to a mini-tour consisting of Federer, Nadal, Roddick, Gonzalez, Blake, Ancic, and perhaps Murray and Gasquet, with occasionally appearances by Agassi and Sampras as well. I'm not sure how Federer would like the prospect of having to face Nadal not just five times in a year, but as many as twenty times in a single season. When the best constantly play the best, they are forced to continually improve their game by adapting their strategies, and sometimes even their technique. Gonzales, for example, was forced to completely revamp his backhand during his famous 1958 tour against Hoad. Laver has likewise remarked that he had to improve his game dramatically after turning pro in 1963. This was no Champions Tour, by any means. I hope urban will chime in on this topic, because I feel he would have more to say than I do. I believe he has argued before that the pro tour of the 1950s and '60s was the most grueling environment in the history of tennis, and its champions were the toughest (and perhaps best) players ever seen.

Jet Rink
02-08-2007, 09:38 PM
Nick, while the early pro circuit was relatively small, I think you need to consider that it nevertheless included most of the best players in the world. It would be similar to a mini-tour consisting of Federer, Nadal, Roddick, Gonzalez, Blake, Ancic, and perhaps Murray and Gasquet, with occasionally appearances by Agassi and Sampras as well. I'm not sure how Federer would like the prospect of having to face Nadal not just five times in a year, but as many as twenty times in a single season. When the best constantly play the best, they are forced to continually improve their game by adapting their strategies, and sometimes even their technique. Gonzales, for example, was forced to completely revamp his backhand during his famous 1958 tour against Hoad. Laver has likewise remarked that he had to improve his game dramatically after turning pro in 1963. This was no Champions Tour, by any means. I hope urban will chime in on this topic, because I feel he would have more to say than I do. I believe he has argued before that the pro tour of the 1950s and '60s was the most grueling environment in the history of tennis, and its champions were the toughest (and perhaps best) players ever seen.

And don't forget - those guys, as part of the early barnstorming tours, would play on some pretty weird surfaces. In Collins' book with Laver, they talk about laying canvas over ice rinks and playing!

I do believe though, that if Fed had faced Nadal MORE often, he'd have long ago unlocked the puzzle that is Nadal.

Jet

Nick Irons
02-08-2007, 09:40 PM
I can see that and nice post

I admit; I may have to revise my way of thinking about the old dogs that ruled the sport. Let me think on this and do some alternate research and get back to this thread

Today; I'd say Laver is the G.O.A.T.

AndrewD
02-09-2007, 03:20 AM
chaognosis,

I do believe that accomplishments are the best guide we have but, there are always exceptions that need to be made and explanations that need to be given. That’s why I said “ comparing and debating accomplishments”.

No, that isn’t a valid comparison and really the two don't sound anything alike. The Grand Slam is acknowledged as the supreme achievement in our sport and it can’t be compared to the total number of majors won, no-matter how many there are of the latter. All you can do is compare Grand Slam(s) to Grand Slam(s) and total number of majors won to total number of majors won. Then, when you do that you can wheel out the exceptions and make your case for one player over another, one set of circumstances over another. So, you make your case for Budge and his one Grand Slam over Laver and his two Grand Slams. Then, I’ll make my case for Rosewall and his 8 majors over Sampras and his 14. As you said, achievements/accomplishments have to be weighed in context BUT that really isn’t very hard to do and it helps us to eliminate the pointless ‘my player would beat your player’ back and forth that dominates almost all of these discussions.

In all honesty, I’m not 100% sure that Budge would have won another Grand Slam. Of course he was capable of doing it but, in my opinion, he would have to have done it almost two years on the trot. Personally, I don’t believe that he had the versatility of Laver and, rather than be an earlier rendition of Federer, was more along the lines of a Boris Becker (another redhead) – tremendous power but not a lot of flexibility.

No, I reject the notion that one Grand Slam is of higher quality than the next. While you might be able to say that Laver’s 69 win was more validating than his 62 effort, you’re asking for trouble if you attempt to rank any of them. I could very easily say that in 38 Budge managed to win the Slam because, unlike Perry and Crawford, he didn’t have any genuinely significant opposition (those two players having left the scene). I could also say, with quite some justification that Roy Emerson in 62 was significantly tougher opposition than Gene Mako, Bunny Austin (32 at the time), Roderik Menzel (31) or a 20 year old John Bromwich. However, that would do a disservice to Budge’s achievement.

I don’t think that Laver’s struggles against Rosewall and Budge’s success against Perry and Vines are an indication of Budge’s superiority. On the contrary, they’re a direct indication of Rosewall’s greatness compared to Perry and Vines, as well as a reflection on Perry’s age (30) and Vines fall from his best (very well documented). Regardless, in the 39 season Budge beat Vines 21 times to 18 and Perry 18 to 11. Neither one constitutes a genuine superiority.

McEnroe was a super talent, no doubt about that. However, I believe his record is inferior to Rosewall’s, although I consider it far better than Kramer’s. I can accept McEnroe rated so highly if you’re basing your judgement on pure skill but, if that is the case, then I don’t see how you could omit Lew Hoad.


Speaking as someone who, working within academia, has to deal on a daily basis with the revisionist approach to history, I’m very wary of most ‘experts’. Certainly there are a few who command respect but most are merely intent on giving the public what they think they want and, unfortunately, that usually means an unhealthy bias towards players from one country.


Fred Perry did not lose his prime years due to the ban on professionals playing the major tournaments. Ken Rosewall, did (Fred Perry turned pro at age 29, Ken Rosewall at age 22). For that matter, McEnroe, Connors, Sampras, Agassi, Tilden

If you mean, when you say, “ Rosewall could well have won a few in the early 1960s” that had he not turned pro he would have won a few Wimbledons then I would agree but, ‘a few’ is an understatement. Give him back those 12 years and I’m certain he would have won at least 4 Wimbledons on top of the numerous wins he would have had in French, Australian and US Opens. Wimbledon grass was his weakest surface but he still managed to make 2 finals before and one considerably past his prime. How much does it say about any player that they are able to excel on their weakest surface?

I do believe the tournament format is of use and would happily tender Rosewall’s 6 Wembley wins and 3 RU (Wembley being the ‘unofficial’ World Championship), 2 US Pro and 1 RU (not sure how often he played that event) and 8 French Pro Championships (2 over Hoad, 1 over Gonzales). That, combined with his record at the majors, displays a mastery of all surfaces – grass, clay (he and Borg would have to be the most impressive clay-courters of all time), indoors, hard courts, you name it- that exceeds any player in the game’s history. You mentioned Tilden but, unfortunately, his clay-court record is diminished due to the French not becoming an ‘open’ event until 1925. Of your top 10, the only players who come remotely close to, but are still behind, Rosewall’s record on all surfaces would be Budge, Rod Laver, Bill Tilden, Bjorn Borg and Fred Perry. Certainly, Sampras and Kramer aren’t in the same league, McEnroe and Gonzales are a long way off and Federer is making ground but will need to win the French before his career is through.

jackcrawford
02-09-2007, 06:38 AM
Ellsworth Vines, who Allison Danzig thought at peak form the best player ever, wrote a great book in 1978, Tennis: Myth and Method. In it, he states that without Budge's shoulder injury during WW II he would have been acclaimed without doubt as the best up to that point; he ranked him #1, Laver #4 and Rosewall #7. Vines played against them all and was a great all-around athlete, (a pro golfer after tennis and a champion swimmer and basketball player before) and he is in the book quite happy to see the emergence of Connors and Borg because he thought it was the weak groundstroking of players post-war that enabled Kramer's serve and volley game to go to the top; he considered Budge's all-court approach superior to that or the pure baseliners like my screen name, the great Aussie of the '30's. It's true sometimes experts aren't right, but Metzler and Vines are not a couple of clueless sportswriters to be easily dismiised. BTW, I saw Pancho Gonzalez play - I can't imagine Sampras beating him with a wood racquet. Sports stars more than a few years back are not quaint museum pieces; Bob Veale was much faster than Randy Johnson, I saw both pitch and can vouch for that.

NoBadMojo
02-09-2007, 07:01 AM
Bob Veale was much faster than Randy Johnson, I saw both pitch and can vouch for that.

And nobody has ever had an outfielders arm approaching that of Roberto Clemente. There is always the occassional anomoly <freak if you will>. If you are going to go by that, you could build a case that Connie Hawkins was better than Michael Jordan, or why not just declare Eric the Goat Manigault as the best hoopster of all time...The GOAT was even his nickname :) If you're going to talk GOAT you really should clarify the guidelines, and the most accepted barometer is Majours won (it's that way in golf too)..and since we're talking singles, it should be limited to singles majours won..otherwise people put all these qualifiers and disqualifiers and what ifs, and they still do if you limit it to Majours won. But it is fun, in the sense that we can all learn something about the history of our sport

AndrewD
02-09-2007, 07:41 AM
Ed,

The problems that come from using majors won as any type of guideline are:
1) the pre-1968 ban on professional players competing in those events. If that hadn't been in place the record for majors won would absolutely not be 14, it'd be 20 something.
2) WWI and WWII
3) Prior to 1925 there were only 3 majors

The only way you can use majors won as any type of guideline is when you're talking about players whose careers weren't interrupted (not counting injury). Then you can debate whether it's more impressive to have won 14 majors with no French Open or 11 with 6 French and 5 Wimbledon (I'm not including Emmo's 12).

NoBadMojo
02-09-2007, 08:12 AM
Ed,

The problems that come from using majors won as any type of guideline are:
1) the pre-1968 ban on professional players competing in those events. If that hadn't been in place the record for majors won would absolutely not be 14, it'd be 20 something.
2) WWI and WWII
3) Prior to 1925 there were only 3 majors

The only way you can use majors won as any type of guideline is when you're talking about players whose careers weren't interrupted (not counting injury). Then you can debate whether it's more impressive to have won 14 majors with no French Open or 11 with 6 French and 5 Wimbledon (I'm not including Emmo's 12).

Hey Andrew,
I understand that, but it's the closest to a real qualifier we have I think, and I said before, i dont think you can really compare players of different eras anyway....too many outside influences and changes in the game. In my opinion, (3)I dont think anyone from pre 1925 could be considered as worthy of GOAT status anyway unless people dont believe the players and game have evolved (1) duly noted and understood, but this would put everything into 'what if' mode.
I'm happy going with Sampras as GOAT. he played in an era with plenty of great competiton, no interruptions by wars or anything, everyone who was good enough could play, and Sampos plays the game as it is played now amongst the better trained, more fit, most evolved,etc. Barring lack of interest and injury, Fed will surely surpass Samps, but I dont think the competiton has been nearly as awesome for Fed as it was for Samps

jackcrawford
02-09-2007, 08:56 AM
But it is fun, in the sense that we can all learn something about the history of our sport
Agreed - it's even difficult to predict matches between contemporaries who have played before recently let alone different eras with different equipment and playing conditions to factor in. Very few would have taken the under in an over/under number of seven games for Roddick in their recent AO match.
As far as comparing accomplishments, I do think Sampras's lacking the French precludes him from GOAT consideration.

urban
02-09-2007, 09:04 AM
The rankings made by players tend to rate the contemporaries very high. Kramers best list of Budge, Perry, Riggs, Vines and Gonzales implies (more or less)secretly, that he - Kramer - was the best, because he had positive records against all (except Vines, who was his close mentor). Segura ranks Gonzales the best, because he played and beat him in his own prime. One could find many other examples. I am inclined, to give longtime followers, experts and journalists like Collins,Maskell (o.k. he was a player himself, but an astute observer), Danzig, Bellamy, Trengove, Tingay more weight. The playing conditions on the old pro tour were awful, the had to play on ice rinks, damp grass, wood, linol, in town halls and school halls, sometimes on real streets. But the standard remained very high, i have recently seen clips of Laver and Rosewall of the mid 60s, which look excellent: Great court coverage, angled shots from both sides, superb net play (wrong footing the defender with a volley - something you don't see today), deadly passing shots in full sprint. I saw a clip of the old Laver vs young Borg, where Laver with stoic calmness on the backhand transformed Borg's heayy topspin into biting slices.

snapple
02-09-2007, 09:10 AM
I saw a clip of the old Laver vs young Borg, where Laver with stoic calmness on the backhand transformed Borg's heayy topspin into biting slices.

WOW, now there's a video that I would LOVE to see, any chance of finding that on youtube?

NoBadMojo
02-09-2007, 09:13 AM
Agreed - it's even difficult to predict matches between contemporaries who have played before recently let alone different eras with different equipment and playing conditions to factor in. Very few would have taken the under in an over/under number of seven games for Roddick in their recent AO match.
As far as comparing accomplishments, I do think Sampras's lacking the French precludes him from GOAT consideration.

sure..goes back to what i said about Fed not having the competiton that Sampras was up against....just think of the Sampras contemporaries who were majour players vs Feds..Fed had the likes of Nalbandian who gave him trouble for a while and then Nadal for a while who Fed seems to be already solving, and I can see Nadal being injured a lot now or otherwise figured out...and who is stepping up to challenge the Fed?
But Sampras? to name a few of his competitors, you are talkin Agassi, Rafter, Goran, Becker, Courier, Krajchek, etc
I disagree about having to win all the majours to be declared GOAT..sure, it's another feather in the cap, but the French has always kind of been a bit of an 'odd' experience and you have far more one trick ponies winning that one..now if he was missing W or the US or Oz Open from his portfolio, that would certainly be a different scenario
Anywho, it's all in good fun and it's nice to be involved in a thread pretty void of the insults and whack commonly being freely flung in the TW forum

chaognosis
02-09-2007, 09:33 AM
As you said, achievements/accomplishments have to be weighed in context BUT that really isn’t very hard to do and it helps us to eliminate the pointless ‘my player would beat your player’ back and forth that dominates almost all of these discussions.

I think if this were even remotely true, we would all agree who the greatest players all. Instead, there's been perpetual disagreement since the earliest days of the sport (Renshaw, Sears, or Doherty? Discuss...) I can see you're a smart guy. I work in academia too, and I assure you I've looked at this stuff an awful lot, as it's one of those side pursuits that gives me joy, but there's been anything easy about it. For example, I think it fairly obvious that Budge in 1938 was better than Laver in '62, for three reasons: (1) Budge was far more successful in '37 and '39 than Laver was in '61 and '63; (2) at least before 1969, Budge was almost universally considered better than Laver, regardless of partisanship; (3) at least prior to the 1970s, Budge's pro rivals (Vines and Perry) were almost universally considered superior to Laver's (Rosewall). Clearly, though, you beg to differ, and you have your own reasons for doing so. So you have your opinions and I have mine, and we can defend them with vigor, but please don't think there's ever anything "easy" about it. There isn't.

In all honesty, I’m not 100% sure that Budge would have won another Grand Slam. Of course he was capable of doing it but, in my opinion, he would have to have done it almost two years on the trot.

Well, you certainly couldn't have been sure that Laver would win a second Grand Slam in 1969, either--as I said, luck plays a huge factor. Laver was fortunate to have his career interrupted by the Open Era, giving him a shot at strengthening his already impressive resume. Budge's career was interrupted by World War II, stealing several of his best years and giving him a shoulder injury that never completely healed. Fortunately, in my opinion he achieved enough before the war to still merit serious consideration as the greatest ever, just as I think Laver would have merited consideration as the greatest ever even if he never got the chance to complete that second Slam in '69. (As for your comparison to Becker, which I didn't quote, in terms of style and achievement it really makes little sense. Hair color, yes. Becker, if anything, was more like a later version of Hoad on the court. Others have compared Budge to Lendl, which I think is closer, but even then I say Lendl was nowhere near as good as Budge. Budge was as good with the forehand, far better with the backhand, had an even bigger serve, more comfortable at net, and tended to win the biggest matches, rather than choke them away. He's what Lendl should have been.)

Speaking as someone who, working within academia, has to deal on a daily basis with the revisionist approach to history, I’m very wary of most ‘experts’. Certainly there are a few who command respect but most are merely intent on giving the public what they think they want and, unfortunately, that usually means an unhealthy bias towards players from one country.

Fair, fair. But again, that's why I think we should all take it upon ourselves to read as much as possible, and never "fix" our opinions so that they cannot be changed. An interesting source is the Metzler book I cited above. He is an Australian author, writing in 1969, and the book has a foreward by Adrian Quist. It was published in London and Melbourne. Even in the immediate aftermath of Laver's second Grand Slam, the author does not think Laver was better than either Gonzales or Kramer. He chooses Kramer as the best postwar player, Budge as the best prewar player, with Kramer winning by a small margin on the basis of the theory that a forehand player is probably more versatile than a backhand player. I disagree with the final conclusion, but I think it's a fabulously interesting conclusion nevertheless. Of any author, writing under any circumstances, I think Metzler would have the most reason to be partisan toward Laver, but for him the closest contests are between these three Americans. Quist, for the record, wrote in the foreward that he felt Metzler's observations were accurate, and that the book was one of the best ever written on the history of tennis. Interesting.


You mentioned Tilden but, unfortunately, his clay-court record is diminished due to the French not becoming an ‘open’ event until 1925.

This is one of those examples of looking at things in context. Sure, Tilden couldn't compete there, so why should I hold it against him? The guy won the U.S. Clay Court singles no less than seven times in the 1920s. To me, he belongs right up there with Budge and Laver, in a class of their own.

Lastly, thanks for posting your thoughtful comments. I respect your opinions very much, and have enjoyed our little debate. Neither one of us can be proven "right," as this is a complex enterprise. It's fun, though.

Rabbit
02-09-2007, 09:59 AM
WOW, now there's a video that I would LOVE to see, any chance of finding that on youtube?

If you have the tennis channel, you may see it there. These matches took place at Sea Pines plantation in the 70s when ABC ran their tennis tournament which had men and women competing for the top prize. It was called the World Invitational Classic. There is a web site, http://www.twiarchive.com/clients/clientDetails/tennis/WITC.shtml

You'll notice that Borg and Laver played doubles together. In 1977, they played singles against each other. There are some great and not so great matches. As a kid, I watched this every Sunday. In retrospect, it is really cool to see Borg's transformation from a wiry kid playing with a Slazenger and wearing Fred Perry and Tretorns to the Borg we all remember, unshaven and wearing Fila pin stripes and Diadora's.

It's also interesting to note that even on rubico or HarTru, Borg came to the net regularly even as a 17-year old French Open champion. He also remained loyal to this event after winning Wimbledon multiple times. You wouldn't see that today I'm afraid.

I'm going to try and order the videos as well. Good luck!

snapple
02-09-2007, 10:04 AM
Thanks Rabbit, great stuff!

urban
02-09-2007, 10:16 AM
The clips, very short and not that good quality, are part of a DVD about Borg, Connors, Ashe and Laver, which is sold on the internet. They are originally US made, but now have Italian language on it. The match is the WCT semifinal at Dallas in 1975, when 19 years old Borg beat almost 37 years old Laver on a slow indoor court 7-6,5-7,3-6,7-6,6-2. But Laver played him almost to a standstill. Besides: I have seen an exhibition in Germany between the two live, end of the 70s. Laver was over 40 and could not match prime Borg any more, but he showed glimpses of his old form, especially on the backhand, which he could really clobber.

chaognosis
02-09-2007, 10:21 AM
Sorry Andrew, just one more quick remark.

If you mean, when you say, “ Rosewall could well have won a few in the early 1960s” that had he not turned pro he would have won a few Wimbledons then I would agree but, ‘a few’ is an understatement. Give him back those 12 years and I’m certain he would have won at least 4 Wimbledons on top of the numerous wins he would have had in French, Australian and US Opens. Wimbledon grass was his weakest surface but he still managed to make 2 finals before and one considerably past his prime. How much does it say about any player that they are able to excel on their weakest surface?

I would never venture to argue what would or would not have happened, only what could have happened. It does say a lot about a player if he can excel on his weakest surface. Rosewall's Wimbledon finals are impressive, and yes, I think he would have had a good shot at several titles there in the early 1960s. Budge's worst surface, however, was clay, and he actually won the French Open in 1938 and followed it up by winning the French Pro Championships at Roland Garros in '39. To me, that says even more about Budge. Winning is always more impressive than losing.

Jet Rink
02-09-2007, 10:27 AM
If you have the tennis channel, you may see it there. These matches took place at Sea Pines plantation in the 70s when ABC ran their tennis tournament which had men and women competing for the top prize. It was called the World Invitational Classic. There is a web site, http://www.twiarchive.com/clients/clientDetails/tennis/WITC.shtml

You'll notice that Borg and Laver played doubles together. In 1977, they played singles against each other. There are some great and not so great matches. As a kid, I watched this every Sunday. In retrospect, it is really cool to see Borg's transformation from a wiry kid playing with a Slazenger and wearing Fred Perry and Tretorns to the Borg we all remember, unshaven and wearing Fila pin stripes and Diadora's.

It's also interesting to note that even on rubico or HarTru, Borg came to the net regularly even as a 17-year old French Open champion. He also remained loyal to this event after winning Wimbledon multiple times. You wouldn't see that today I'm afraid.

I'm going to try and order the videos as well. Good luck!

Thanks Rabbit. Very intriguing catalogue there. May have to order the Borg/Laver match m'self!

Jet

Moose Malloy
02-09-2007, 10:52 AM
If you have the tennis channel, you may see it there. These matches took place at Sea Pines plantation in the 70s when ABC ran their tennis tournament which had men and women competing for the top prize. It was called the World Invitational Classic. There is a web site, http://www.twiarchive.com/clients/cl...nis/WITC.shtml


thanks for posting that link, they have an australian open & wimbledon archive as well. but it looks like they charge 90$ for a copy?

http://www.twiarchive.com/faq/research.shtml

May have to order the Borg/Laver match m'self!


you can find a dvd of that (very cheap) at tennis dvds .net
they have lots of great matches

The clips, very short and not that good quality, are part of a DVD about Borg, Connors, Ashe and Laver, which is sold on the internet. They are originally US made, but now have Italian language on it. The match is the WCT semifinal at Dallas in 1975, when 19 years old Borg beat almost 37 years old Laver on a slow indoor court 7-6,5-7,3-6,7-6,6-2.

chrisevert .net has highlights available of this match(its part of a Dallas WCT Archival Films DVD) lots of great highlights from every year of the event, very good price

most of the world invitational matches are at chris evert as well

Jet Rink
02-09-2007, 01:57 PM
you can find a dvd of that (very cheap) at tennis dvds .net
they have lots of great matches

Moose - thanks for the advice. Adrian is a great guy and I've got several matches from him - I thought of that soon after I posted.

Best.

Jet

The Gorilla
02-11-2007, 01:34 PM
why do we discount the pro majors?, the best players in the world played them and the standard was far far higher than the amatuer ones, I think we should count them and them only.

Tennis old man
03-30-2008, 09:16 AM
great post! the guy of the picture to me!

llgc8080
04-01-2008, 01:10 PM
And about Renshaw? & Doherty? Larned? Wilding?

chaognosis
04-03-2008, 11:08 PM
Interesting that someone bumped this old topic up; I think the original post cost me more time and energy than anything else I've written for this or any other discussion forum! It's true that Budge still doesn't get enough credit--probably the most underrated of all the serious GOAT contenders, in my opinion. I suspect the last comment was sarcastic, but there's a point there... H.L. Doherty, at least, deserves all-time consideration, and possibly Wilding. These two are among the six male players who can claim to have had at least one "Grand Slam" (or Grand Slam-equivalent) season.

P.S. I've updated my list to reflect more recent thoughts.

SgtJohn
04-04-2008, 06:41 AM
Budge is one of the many players whose career was hurt by the World War. When the US declared war he was only 26, which means he had not reached his peak at all, by that time's criteria, and he had accomplished so much already...After being injured in 1942 he was never the same player...

Jonathan

joe sch
04-05-2008, 06:15 AM
Interesting that someone bumped this old topic up; I think the original post cost me more time and energy than anything else I've written for this or any other discussion forum! It's true that Budge still doesn't get enough credit--probably the most underrated of all the serious GOAT contenders, in my opinion. I suspect the last comment was sarcastic, but there's a point there... H.L. Doherty, at least, deserves all-time consideration, and possibly Wilding. These two are among the six male players who can claim to have had at least one "Grand Slam" (or Grand Slam-equivalent) season.

P.S. I've updated my list to reflect more recent thoughts.

Hi Chaog.

Glad to see this thread revived. Do you have your GOAT list published anywhere ?

Keep reading those tennis history books and motivating the statisticians with more historicial data !

It does bother me that many of the modern tennis fans can not be true to GOAT discussions based on history and stats. Video can be deceptive and many of todays fans who see the video of the players of Lavers era hitting white balls with standard head wood rackets come to the conclusion that they could complete (and beat) these greats using todays modern rackets. Maybe its better that all we have is a few short glimpses like the Court Kings ;)

hoodjem
04-05-2008, 07:27 AM
If you watch the video of Laver beating Ashe at Wimbledon in that 1969 semi, you see that they could hit any shot with those "puny" wooden racquets anywhere on the court with much power, touch, and placement.

The only thing today's pros have over them is better technology (and maybe better physical conditioning, but even this is dubious given the length of some of those pre-tiebreaker matches).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpdPX9avs1M

hoodjem
04-06-2008, 06:11 PM
Don Budge (in the audience) appears in this video at 2:20.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jZmFMUGTTU

superman1
04-06-2008, 07:40 PM
The only thing today's pros have over them is better technology (and maybe better physical conditioning, but even this is doubious given the length of some of those pre-tiebreaker matches).

I would say they are on average a bit stronger today, but that's only because they have the advantage of all the advancements in physical training and nutrition science, and they are probably pampered a lot more to keep themselves in optimal condition.

llgc8080
04-07-2008, 09:54 AM
Interesting that someone bumped this old topic up; I think the original post cost me more time and energy than anything else I've written for this or any other discussion forum! It's true that Budge still doesn't get enough credit--probably the most underrated of all the serious GOAT contenders, in my opinion. I suspect the last comment was sarcastic, but there's a point there... H.L. Doherty, at least, deserves all-time consideration, and possibly Wilding. These two are among the six male players who can claim to have had at least one "Grand Slam" (or Grand Slam-equivalent) season.

P.S. I've updated my list to reflect more recent thoughts.

The last comment wasn't sarcarstic at all. I think at least we have name those great players. Thanks.:)

chaognosis
04-07-2008, 11:21 AM
The last comment wasn't sarcarstic at all. I think at least we have name those great players. Thanks.:)

Very glad to hear it. People are often too quick to dismiss the pre-WWI players.

Leelord337
04-07-2008, 11:40 AM
i vote for these guys. Laver and Roche.

I wish there were vids of don budge, as i've never seen him play

http://youtube.com/watch?v=wHaN2h21ANs

forlino
04-09-2008, 01:42 PM
Regarding jackcrawford's 2/9/07 post, I enjoyed and agree with his comments very much. Just wanted to point out: when Vines rated those "ten best" in his book, he was excluding of course Tilden, Crawford, Cochet, Cramm, Perry, et al., because his list was meant to include only the players after that period -- I guess from ca. the end of the 1930's onward.

There's also an excellent thread in this site titled "Ellsworth Vines - 10-Best List".

-- Paul Miller

Tennisfan!
04-10-2008, 09:12 AM
Tilden is the one, no doubt (and I love Rocket...)

Julieta
05-02-2008, 04:58 PM
My father saw Don Budge play several times in California. He said he was an incredible player and a nice person also.

hoodjem
05-03-2008, 01:38 PM
Budge, Perry, Vines, Tilden: greatest pre-1950s players.

Budge's Grand Slam is largely overlooked today. A pity.

chaognosis
05-03-2008, 08:18 PM
Budge, Perry, Vines, Tilden: greatest pre-1950s players.

Budge's Grand Slam is largely overlooked today. A pity.

I would add H.L. Doherty, Wilding, Lacoste, and Cochet. Each achieved more than Vines, IMHO, and Doherty is probably a top five all-timer in my book.

FedForGOAT
05-04-2008, 11:01 PM
I would add H.L. Doherty, Wilding, Lacoste, and Cochet. Each achieved more than Vines, IMHO, and Doherty is probably a top five all-timer in my book.

Top five? Above Laver, Budge, Tilden, Gonzalez, Rosewall, Sampras, and now Federer?

chaognosis
05-05-2008, 12:13 AM
Top five? Above Laver, Budge, Tilden, Gonzalez, Rosewall, Sampras, and now Federer?

My top four are Tilden, Budge, Rosewall, and Laver (not in that order).

I vacillate on whether to include H.L. Doherty as #5 or not.

And yes, I think he achieved more in his day than Gonzales, Sampras, or Federer have in theirs.

hoodjem
05-05-2008, 07:55 AM
My top four are Tilden, Budge, Rosewall, and Laver (not in that order).

And yes, I think he achieved more in his day than Gonzales, Sampras, or Federer have in theirs.

Hey Chaog, are you going to post the new GOAT list?

chaognosis
05-05-2008, 11:53 AM
Hey Chaog, are you going to post the new GOAT list?

It's still a work in progress, as usual, though I am giving the first-place nod to Rod Laver now. I can't decide for the life of me how to sort out the next tier of Bill Tilden/Don Budge/Ken Rosewall (consider it a three-way tie at second place for now), and I still don't know what to do with H.L. Doherty...

AndrewD should be pleased with these new picks, BTW. Very close to his own rankings.

Also, my appreciation for H.L. Doherty's achievements is thanks in large part to SgtJohn's researches.

Tennis old man
05-13-2008, 09:21 AM
It's still a work in progress, as usual, though I am giving the first-place nod to Rod Laver now. I can't decide for the life of me how to sort out the next tier of Bill Tilden/Don Budge/Ken Rosewall (consider it a three-way tie at second place for now), and I still don't know what to do with H.L. Doherty...

AndrewD should be pleased with these new picks, BTW. Very close to his own rankings.

Also, my appreciation for H.L. Doherty's achievements is thanks in large part to SgtJohn's researches.

Waiting for the list.

chaognosis
05-17-2008, 01:21 PM
Here is my newly revised list of the top 10 (actually 11) players:

1. Laver
2. Rosewall
3. Budge
4. Tilden
5. Federer
6. Borg
7. Perry
8. Sampras
9. Connors, Lacoste, and McEnroe (all tied)

Q&M son
06-14-2008, 11:56 AM
Good one chao, thanks for share your opinion.

CyBorg
06-14-2008, 12:55 PM
How is Sampras better than Gonzales? Or even Borg for that matter.

chaognosis
06-14-2008, 06:07 PM
How is Sampras better than Gonzales? Or even Borg for that matter.

Virtual tie. I gave Sampras the infinitesimal edge for his seven Wimbledons.

CyBorg
06-14-2008, 08:28 PM
Virtual tie. I gave Sampras the infinitesimal edge for his seven Wimbledons.

Fair enough. Of course, we'll never know how many Pancho would have won.

chaognosis
09-18-2008, 01:51 PM
FYI: I've published a revised version of the original post on Budge's career to my tennis history blog.

http://chaognosis.wordpress.com/2008/09/18/john-donald-budge-1915-2000/

thalivest
09-18-2008, 02:27 PM
While I think past greats should be recognized, and those who think the 50s and 60s for example had "weaker" competition are short sighted and a bit crazy, I do have some real questions about the players who played in say the 20s or before. Did Bill Tilden, Suzanne Lenglen, Helen Wills, imparticular really have anywhere near the kind of competition almost every great to follow them had? It seems like 1, 2, or 3 players during that time were always much better then everyone else, and I mean to a huge almost embarssing extreme, much more then say Federer and Nadal today or Navratilova and Evert in the 80s. Also given the time was the human population and interest level in tennis really something that could produce a truly impressive competitive field. Just curious to see some opinions on that.

Raphael
09-18-2008, 04:02 PM
While I think past greats should be recognized, and those who think the 50s and 60s for example had "weaker" competition are short sighted and a bit crazy, I do have some real questions about the players who played in say the 20s or before. Did Bill Tilden, Suzanne Lenglen, Helen Wills, imparticular really have anywhere near the kind of competition almost every great to follow them had? It seems like 1, 2, or 3 players during that time were always much better then everyone else, and I mean to a huge almost embarssing extreme, much more then say Federer and Nadal today or Navratilova and Evert in the 80s. Also given the time was the human population and interest level in tennis really something that could produce a truly impressive competitive field. Just curious to see some opinions on that.

Tilden had to compete against the "4 Musketeers", Henri Cochet, Rene Lacoste, Jean Borotra and Jacques Brugnon. While he had more competition than these guys, thats enough for me to be impressed by what he did!

thalivest
09-18-2008, 04:09 PM
Tilden had to compete against the "4 Musketeers", Henri Cochet, Rene Lacoste, Jean Borotra and Jacques Brugnon. While he had more competition than these guys, thats enough for me to be impressed by what he did!

This is true but he was also basically getting old at the exact moment they were starting to get really good so their primes did not coincide at all really. He was dominant from 1920-1925, then won only 2 slams after 1925 when the guys you mentioned just started to win theirs. Atleast they played each other some which is more then Wills Moody and Lenglen (well they played one match in a very minor event).

Steve132
09-19-2008, 08:21 AM
Here is my newly revised list of the top eight players:

1. Rod Laver
2. Ken Rosewall
3. Don Budge
4. Bill Tilden
5. Roger Federer
6. Bjorn Borg
7. Fred Perry
8. Pete Sampras

Perry ahead of both Gonzales and Sampras? He was certainly a great player, but I have never seen his name on any GOAT shortlists, while there are many, many people who claim that Gonzales was the best of all players. Sampras' record, of course, is fairly recent and well known.

NadalandFedererfan
09-19-2008, 08:45 AM
1. Rod Laver
2. Ken Rosewall
3. Pancho Gonzalez
4. Don Budge
5. Roger Federer
6. Bjorn Borg
7. Bill Tilden
8. Pete Sampras
9. Jack Kramer
10. Fred Perry
11. Ivan Lendl
12. Jimmy Connors
13. John McEnroe
14. John Newcombe
15. Rafael Nadal

would be my top 15 I think

chaognosis
09-19-2008, 09:23 AM
Perry ahead of both Gonzales and Sampras? He was certainly a great player, but I have never seen his name on any GOAT shortlists, while there are many, many people who claim that Gonzales was the best of all players. Sampras' record, of course, is fairly recent and well known.

Both achieved a bit more than Perry over the course of their careers, but in my judgment Perry had a higher peak than either of them, which he sustained for several years. Gonzales's reputation has risen dramatically in the past decade, mostly due to the Internet and some passionate supporters on Wikipedia and elsewhere. Before that, it was not at all uncommon to rank Perry ahead of Gonzales (see the lists of Al Danzig, Harry Hopman, and Dan Maskell, among others). For me it's very close and a tough call - Gonzales is, in fact, #9 on my current list. I ultimately lump all three together with Borg (and Federer, for now) in the "second tier" of players beneath Laver, Rosewall, Budge, and Tilden.

chaognosis
09-19-2008, 09:26 AM
1. Rod Laver
2. Ken Rosewall
3. Pancho Gonzalez
4. Don Budge
5. Roger Federer
6. Bjorn Borg
7. Bill Tilden
8. Pete Sampras
9. Jack Kramer
10. Fred Perry
11. Ivan Lendl
12. Jimmy Connors
13. John McEnroe
14. John Newcombe
15. Rafael Nadal

would be my top 15 I think

I'm impressed; this is a very good list. I would make only a few minor changes here and there, especially downgrading Kramer and adding the two great Frenchmen, Rene Lacoste and Henri Cochet.

NadalandFedererfan
09-19-2008, 11:08 AM
I'm impressed; this is a very good list. I would make only a few minor changes here and there, especially downgrading Kramer and adding the two great Frenchmen, Rene Lacoste and Henri Cochet.

You are right, I definitely should include Lacoste and Cochet. Probably bump Newcombe and Nadal off in this case (it wont be long at all IMHO before Nadal is back in though bumping someone else though).

Kramer I guess I am swayed by how dominant he was vs all the great young players coming from amateur to pro in the head to head challenges. Granted that is not typically when a youngster is at their peak, it would be like thinking Laver was at his peak in 1962. Still extremely impressive how fearsome he was for the reigning #1 amateur, a variety of great players, to go up against as a debut pro in those tours.

JoshDragon
09-20-2008, 09:34 AM
Don Budge, is definitely not the greatest of all time. Nor is Laver for that matter. It's Roger Federer.

NadalandFedererfan
09-20-2008, 09:44 AM
Don Budge, is definitely not the greatest of all time. Nor is Laver for that matter. It's Roger Federer.

I am a huge Federer fan but he is not the best ever at this moment. He is easily top 10, possibly and arguably top 5 (although not certain) but definitely not #1 at this point. He still has more to accomplish though (hopefully) so we will see in time. Right now I would say he is already in serious contention for the greatest player of the Open era title along with Bjorg and Sampras (keeping in mind much of Laver and Rosewall's career was pre-Open era, although each had some great moments in the Open era too).

JoshDragon
09-20-2008, 10:52 AM
I am a huge Federer fan but he is not the best ever at this moment. He is easily top 10, possibly and arguably top 5 (although not certain) but definitely not #1 at this point. He still has more to accomplish though (hopefully) so we will see in time. Right now I would say he is already in serious contention for the greatest player of the Open era title along with Bjorg and Sampras (keeping in mind much of Laver and Rosewall's career was pre-Open era, although each had some great moments in the Open era too).

I don't see how Borg, Laver, and especially Tilden have any claim to be the GOAT. I've seen videos of Borg and I haven't been overly impressed by him, especially when compared to Nadal. Tilden, won his majors as an amateur player and Laver also won most of his majors as an amateur. I know that Laver won the calendar year grand slam twice but let's think about it. The first time he won was in 1962 as an amateur and the second time was in 1969 when 3 of the four tournaments were played on grass. Which was Laver's best surface.

Winning all of the slams, (professionally) with each one played on a different surface, is one thing. Winning them all when three of them are played on your strongest surface is another.

Federer, would have two calendar year grand slams if he hadn't played Nadal at the French Open finals the last three years.

NadalandFedererfan
09-20-2008, 12:04 PM
I don't see how Borg, Laver, and especially Tilden have any claim to be the GOAT. I've seen videos of Borg and I haven't been overly impressed by him, especially when compared to Nadal. Tilden, won his majors as an amateur player and Laver also won most of his majors as an amateur. I know that Laver won the calendar year grand slam twice but let's think about it. The first time he won was in 1962 as an amateur and the second time was in 1969 when 3 of the four tournaments were played on grass. Which was Laver's best surface.

Winning all of the slams, (professionally) with each one played on a different surface, is one thing. Winning them all when three of them are played on your strongest surface is another.

Federer, would have two calendar year grand slams if he hadn't played Nadal at the French Open finals the last three years.

Of course a player of the 2000s should look better then a player of the 1960s and god for sure the 1920s (what on earth would you expect someone from the 1920s to look like) and even the 1980s, especialy with the wood to graphite racquet change made later in the 1980s after Borg retired. You cant compare players that way. An example would be in swimming. Mark Spitz's winning times from 1972 in his longtime historic 7 Olympic gold performance (finally eclipsed by Michael Phelps this year) would be a complete joke for a wannabee elite today, and in fact a few of them would only win the womens gold by a second or two at a 100 or 200 distance in Beijing. Yet you hear nobody say he was an umimpressive champion who was so much slower then todays faster and stronger swimmers, and only won due to a weak field, in fact the concept would be laughable. It is the same with many other sports, and the same with tennis. How players each did in their own time is what really matters.

Champions should have to beat other champions to prove they are the best. As a fan of both Federer and Nadal I have cheered for Federer to win the French since I know him meaningful it is to his total legacy, and I have often cheered for Nadal to beat Federer at other slams for the same reason. However in the end all that matter is whether you achieved something or not, if Federer doesnt manage to win the French then it doesnt matter who stopped him each time, he just wasnt able to do it. Champions should be expected to be able to overcome the tougher competition at some point. If Nadal is kept to winning lower # of slams and less time at #1 elsewhere by Federer the same applies to him. Of course both will be remembered as truly great players, probably among the best in history when they are done, but that they had each other in the way is not an excuse for whatever either might fail to achieve.

You cant prove whether or not Laver would have been able to win a French Open vs Nadal or not, all you can prove is that so far Federer unfortuantely hasnt. Laver beat Rosewall who is also an all time great clay courter to win his 1969 French and Grand Slam. Laver never had a chance to play grand slams on hard courts, so you cant speak against his ability on hard courts, like you could to a degree Borg because he failed in the U.S Open hard court slam from 78-81 to a degree, as Federer has with even more chances at the French clay court slam. Laver's record on hard courts in events that existed on them then, even though none were the grand slams, were outstanding generally.

Lastly I saw Borg play on tape and I was very impressed, even playing with a wood racquet and playing in the 80s. He would give anyone today a run for their money, including Federer or Nadal. In fact those are the only two players at this moment who could have even been competitive with him at all if he were playing today IMO. Even watching old tapes with Borg playing with wood it quickly becomes clear with a graphite racquet he would take apart the likes of recent/current top 5 players Ferrer and Davydenko who have nothing to hurt him with at all, while someone like perennial top 5 player of today Roddick would only be able to survive a complete murder by his serve winning him so many points.

CyBorg
09-20-2008, 01:04 PM
Spitz would still be a great swimmer today. Going on sheer velocity of these swimmers one could falsely conclude that Phelps is incrementally better than swimmers from eight years ago, even four years ago. Did anyone notice how all the swimming records were shattered at this year's Olympics? Did the swimmers really get that much better?

Nah. All information I've read points to changes in regulation, pools and uniforms as causes of this. Now, I'm not expert at swimming, but I read that the way these guys push off now is very different than the way they did it four years, ago due to a crucial rule change that speeds up their times considerably.

Spitz, interestingly enough, swam with a moustache - something that would probably not come as recommended today (body hair is discouraged). Spitz, at the peak of his powers, under today's conditions would probably be a dominant swimmer.

NadalandFedererfan
09-20-2008, 01:08 PM
Spitz would still be a great swimmer today. Going on sheer velocity of these swimmers one could falsely conclude that Phelps is incrementally better than swimmers from eight years ago, even four years ago. Did anyone notice how all the swimming records were shattered at this year's Olympics? Did the swimmers really get that much better?

Nah. All information I've read points to changes in regulation, pools and uniforms as causes of this. Now, I'm not expert at swimming, but I read that the way these guys push off now is very different than the way they did it four years, ago due to a crucial rule change that speeds up their times considerably.

Spitz, interestingly enough, swam with a moustache - something that would probably not come as recommended today (body hair is discouraged). Spitz, at the peak of his powers, under today's conditions would probably be a dominant swimmer.

Definitely all true, and even casual swimming fans dont doubt this. Which is what makes the reasoning of so many casual and even some dedicated tennis fans who seem to think you can compare players by watching guys from the 60s and 70s on film and comparing how hard they hit the ball and look to todays directly, all the more silly.

You never hear track or swimming fans saying "so and sos best times 20, 30, 40+ years ago are so much slower then today, they obviously were weaker and would not stand up to todays best at all." However you hear tennis fans frequently say "look at how much harder so and so hits then this great 40 years ago, they would never stand up today."

dpfrazier
09-20-2008, 01:19 PM
I think a fair way to judge the greatness of an athlete is by how much they dominate the competition in their era. Athletes will get stronger/faster, equipment and technique will improve, etc., so it's not reasonable to compare athletes from different eras.

Using this approach, I would suggest a few GOATs in various sports:

Baseball - Babe Ruth
Hockey - Wayne Gretzky
Football - Jim Brown
Basketball - Wilt Chamberlain

Tennis - Roger Federer (even though Laver is my favorite!)

JoshDragon
09-20-2008, 04:12 PM
Of course a player of the 2000s should look better then a player of the 1960s and god for sure the 1920s (what on earth would you expect someone from the 1920s to look like) and even the 1980s, especialy with the wood to graphite racquet change made later in the 1980s after Borg retired. You cant compare players that way. An example would be in swimming. Mark Spitz's winning times from 1972 in his longtime historic 7 Olympic gold performance (finally eclipsed by Michael Phelps this year) would be a complete joke for a wannabee elite today, and in fact a few of them would only win the womens gold by a second or two at a 100 or 200 distance in Beijing. Yet you hear nobody say he was an umimpressive champion who was so much slower then todays faster and stronger swimmers, and only won due to a weak field, in fact the concept would be laughable. It is the same with many other sports, and the same with tennis. How players each did in their own time is what really matters.

Champions should have to beat other champions to prove they are the best. As a fan of both Federer and Nadal I have cheered for Federer to win the French since I know him meaningful it is to his total legacy, and I have often cheered for Nadal to beat Federer at other slams for the same reason. However in the end all that matter is whether you achieved something or not, if Federer doesnt manage to win the French then it doesnt matter who stopped him each time, he just wasnt able to do it. Champions should be expected to be able to overcome the tougher competition at some point. If Nadal is kept to winning lower # of slams and less time at #1 elsewhere by Federer the same applies to him. Of course both will be remembered as truly great players, probably among the best in history when they are done, but that they had each other in the way is not an excuse for whatever either might fail to achieve.

You cant prove whether or not Laver would have been able to win a French Open vs Nadal or not, all you can prove is that so far Federer unfortuantely hasnt. Laver beat Rosewall who is also an all time great clay courter to win his 1969 French and Grand Slam. Laver never had a chance to play grand slams on hard courts, so you cant speak against his ability on hard courts, like you could to a degree Borg because he failed in the U.S Open hard court slam from 78-81 to a degree, as Federer has with even more chances at the French clay court slam. Laver's record on hard courts in events that existed on them then, even though none were the grand slams, were outstanding generally.

Lastly I saw Borg play on tape and I was very impressed, even playing with a wood racquet and playing in the 80s. He would give anyone today a run for their money, including Federer or Nadal. In fact those are the only two players at this moment who could have even been competitive with him at all if he were playing today IMO. Even watching old tapes with Borg playing with wood it quickly becomes clear with a graphite racquet he would take apart the likes of recent/current top 5 players Ferrer and Davydenko who have nothing to hurt him with at all, while someone like perennial top 5 player of today Roddick would only be able to survive a complete murder by his serve winning him so many points.

I wrote a post on my blog about comparing Laver to Federer if you or anyone else would like to read it here is the link:

http://millennialtennis.blogspot.com/2008/09/rod-rocket-laver-vs-roger-federer.html

urban
09-20-2008, 10:43 PM
In terms of legacy, Federer's big problem will be Nadal. First: The missing RG will be a missing link. People will say: If he was indeed so dominant, why he couldn't win a Grand Slam or at least a French Open, especially in the light of the assimilation of surfaces. If Nadal could win the RG-Wim combo, why not his contemporary? Second: A point that Newcombe already made: How can a pretender for best alltime, have a such negative record (including finals on the biggest stages)against a contemporary rival?
I am tired of this surface argument for the pre 1978 era: Laver, due to his medium hight not the biggest server and more depending on his return, would have been happy to play on trustful surfaces like hard courts. In fact, he won the two most important hard court events in 1969, the South African Open (with a 96 men field with best of five matches all the way) and the US pro.

NadalandFedererfan
09-20-2008, 10:55 PM
In terms of legacy, Federer's big problem will be Nadal. First: The missing RG will be a missing link. People will say: If he was indeed so dominant, why he couldn't win a Grand Slam or at least a French Open, especially in the light of the assimilation of surfaces. If Nadal could win the RG-Wim combo, why not his contemporary? Second: A point that Newcombe already made: How can a pretender for best alltime, have a such negative record (including finals on the biggest stages)against a contemporary rival?


Even though I am just as big a Federer fan as a Nadal fan I am starting to think it is possible that Nadal ends up a stronger candidate then Federer as the best of all time when their careers are both over. I fully expect Federer to break Sampras's slam record. However Nadal himself could be in that territory if his body doesnt break down as everyone is predicting (hoping). Furthermore Nadal looks like he will have a better shot at the career slam then Federer, provided he finds a way to be fresher come the U.S Open (in a non-Olympic year it should be more doable), plus he already has the Olympic Gold in singles and the Davis Cup. As well as you said the Federer-Nadal rivalry looks to be in his favor, which is something else in his favor in the long run.

CyBorg
09-20-2008, 11:43 PM
Hockey - Wayne Gretzky

The name is spelled Bobby Orr.

dpfrazier
09-20-2008, 11:49 PM
The name is spelled Bobby Orr.
Man, I guess that was my worst typo ever... missed almost every letter!

urban
09-21-2008, 12:28 AM
In most sports it is a difficult thing, to single out one goat. Although i am no expert in NHL-hockey, from what i read, i also would put Orr, who completely reconstructed the role of the defender, on the same level as Gretzky. In boxing, most current fans will say Ali, but real experts like Bert Sugar would rate Robinson or Louis as greater or at least as level par.
To Nadal: It is interesting to compare the Sampras-Agassi rivalry in their era. Undoubtedly, Sampras ranks higher in most people's mind. But i think, that Sampras' claim for goat was severely hurt by Agassi's RG win in 1999. AA showed, that it was no utopy, but real possibility, wo win all four under modern conditions. But even think further, if Agassi, with more Masters, Olympic gold and better DC record, would have beaten Sampras at Wimbledon and would hold a 20-14 record in his favor. Who would then rank higher?

garcia_doomer
09-21-2008, 05:57 AM
I think a fair way to judge the greatness of an athlete is by how much they dominate the competition in their era. Athletes will get stronger/faster, equipment and technique will improve, etc., so it's not reasonable to compare athletes from different eras.

Using this approach, I would suggest a few GOATs in various sports:

Baseball - Babe Ruth
Hockey - Wayne Gretzky
Football - Jim Brown
Basketball - Wilt Chamberlain

Tennis - Roger Federer (even though Laver is my favorite!)

Basket: M. Jordan
Soccer: D. Maradona
Tennis: R. Laver

garcia_doomer
09-21-2008, 06:02 AM
The number two spots:

Basket: Wilt
Soccer: Pele
Tennis: Gonzalez/Budge

CyBorg
09-21-2008, 11:29 AM
Man, I guess that was my worst typo ever... missed almost every letter!

hehe .. yeah, Gretzky was good too.;)

Steve132
09-21-2008, 02:37 PM
Even though I am just as big a Federer fan as a Nadal fan I am starting to think it is possible that Nadal ends up a stronger candidate then Federer as the best of all time when their careers are both over. I fully expect Federer to break Sampras's slam record. However Nadal himself could be in that territory if his body doesnt break down as everyone is predicting (hoping). Furthermore Nadal looks like he will have a better shot at the career slam then Federer, provided he finds a way to be fresher come the U.S Open (in a non-Olympic year it should be more doable), plus he already has the Olympic Gold in singles and the Davis Cup. As well as you said the Federer-Nadal rivalry looks to be in his favor, which is something else in his favor in the long run.

Nadal is a LONG way away from GOAT consideration. He has never won or even reached the finals of a hard court major.

NadalandFedererfan
09-21-2008, 02:59 PM
Nadal is a LONG way away from GOAT consideration. He has never won or even reached the finals of a hard court major.

Of course I know that. Nowhere in my post did I imply Nadal was even a top 10 player in history at the moment. However it is fair to point out he could be on course to reach the same territory Federer is heading towards when you consider his youth, his steady improvements on hard courts, and his achievements already. If that were to happen then Nadal's ability to come into Federer's turf and beat him which Federer has never been able to do vs Nadal on his turf, and his general dominance over Federer, and higher likelihood of the career slam (since it is seems increasingly unlikely for Roger to ever win the French, and I say that as an equal fan of both Nadal and Federer) are all things that could cause people to even favor Nadal over Federer in history.

chaognosis
09-21-2008, 03:14 PM
hehe .. yeah, Gretzky was good too.;)

My all-star team:

Forwards - Bobby Hull (LW), Wayne Gretzky (C), Maurice Richard (RW)

Defenders - Doug Harvey, Bobby Orr

Goalies - Terry Sawchuk

NadalandFedererfan
09-21-2008, 03:17 PM
My all-star team:

Forwards - Bobby Hull (LW), Wayne Gretzky (C), Maurice Richard (RW)

Defenders - Doug Harvey, Bobby Orr

Goalies - Terry Sawchuk

Mine is almost exactly the same, but my all star goaltender is probably Dominik Hasek at his peak. I probably dont consider him the best goaltender ever when you talk about a whole career, but at his peak I doubt anyone was more dominant.

CyBorg
09-21-2008, 04:31 PM
My all-star team:

Forwards - Bobby Hull (LW), Wayne Gretzky (C), Maurice Richard (RW)

Defenders - Doug Harvey, Bobby Orr

Goalies - Terry Sawchuk

Greatly underrated in all-time discussions are European and Russian players who never played in the NHL.

My two teams of great Europeans of those eras past:

Team A

F: Vsevolod Bobrov/Vaclav Nedomansky/Boris Mikhailov
D: Nikolai Sologubov/Jiri Suchy
G: Vladislav Tretiak/Jan Holecek

Team B

F: Vladimir Martinec/Tumba Johansson/Valeri Kharlamov
D: Valeri Vasiliev/Alexander Ragulin
G: Viktor Konovalenko/Vladimir Dzurilla

A great and proficient hockey player AND tennis player was Jaroslav Drobny.

chaognosis
09-21-2008, 05:28 PM
I'm sure you're right, and I simply don't have the expertise. My team was consciously limited to NHL players.

Very informative, CyBorg.

hoodjem
09-22-2008, 06:52 AM
Any player Pre-Open Era is not on the G.O.A.T. List.

Anyone who states that any pre-Open Era player or any player we have not seen extensively on video cannot be GOAT may not comment on the GOAT.

There, take that for your silly, indefensible, arbitrary opinions.

hoodjem
09-22-2008, 07:07 AM
I wish we could all agree to stop calling each of the four majors "grand slams."

As everyone should know, the Grand Slam is constituted by winning all four majors in a single calendar year, as Budge, Laver, Connolly, Smith Court, Graf have done.

It's okay if you want to call a major a "slam" but not a grand slam. It confuses lots of people, and encourages misinterpretation and ignorance.

Federer has won 13 majors, but zero grand slams. Laver won 11 majors and two Grand Slams. There is a difference.

JoshDragon
09-22-2008, 01:02 PM
I wish we could all agree to stop calling each of the four majors "grand slams."

As everyone should know, the Grand Slam is constituted by winning all four majors in a single calendar year, as Budge, Laver, Connolly, Smith Court, Graf have done.

It's okay if you want to call a major a "slam" but not a grand slam. It confuses lots of people, and encourages misinterpretation and ignorance.

Federer has won 13 majors, but zero grand slams. Laver won 11 majors and two Grand Slams. There is a difference.

Laver, only won 5 professional slams to Rogers 13. The other 6 were amateur.

grafrules
09-22-2008, 01:31 PM
Laver, only won 5 professional slams to Rogers 13. The other 6 were amateur.

Yes and yet if there had been open pro tennis from 1964-1967 he would have probably won atleast 10 slams those 4 years to go with those 5 later professional slams.

FiveO
09-22-2008, 01:46 PM
Laver, only won 5 professional slams to Rogers 13. The other 6 were amateur.

During the pro/amateur split and into 1969, Laver won eleven of the three professional "Majors" which were the measuring sticks of the best pros during that era.

5 US Pros
4 London Indoor Pros
2 French Pro Championships

Immediately before winning those 11 professional "Majors" Laver had been denied 2 more US Pros and 4 French Pro Championships, by the then reigning #1 pro Ken Rosewall who Laver eventually dethroned h2h.

Add the five Open Major titles to the eleven above and you have a number more indicative of Laver's level during that time and one to use for comparisons v. those who played their entire careers within the open era.

16.

hoodjem
09-23-2008, 04:10 PM
Laver, only won 5 professional slams to Rogers 13. The other 6 were amateur.
Josh,

Show us your top 15 list. I'm curious.

JoshDragon
09-23-2008, 07:29 PM
Josh,

Show us your top 15 list. I'm curious.

OK.

#1 I think would be Federer. Although Sampras, owns 14 majors Federer, is a much more accomplished clay court player. He would have had many more clay court titles if it hadn't been for Rafa (who I think is the greatest clay court player of all time.) It's also possible that Federer, will still win the French at some point. Nadal, could get an injury at some point (hopefully that won't happen) and Federer could wind up in the French Open final against a much easier opponent.

With 237 straight weeks as #1 and 13 majors including 5 straight US Open (and growing) and 5 straight Wimbledon titles. I can't think of another player who has dominated the game like he has.


#2 Sampras. Personally, I hate watching allot of serve and volleying but I have to put Sampras, here just based on the number of slams that he won. Sampras, was a great grass and hard court player and had an aggressive and tough game.



I don't think that it's fair to continue the list past this point. Guys like Borg, Connors, and Lendl would come next on the list, if it were based only on achievements. They won too many majors for me to put them any lower on my list but the game has changed so much since they played, that I feel I would be short changing the present day players. For instance, can you imagine Rod Laver, with a wooden racquet, trying to return one of Roddick's 140 an hour serves. I can't. The fitness level, of the players has also improved since back then and if you don't believe it just think about it. Did the guys at the top of the game 30 years ago, look like Roddick or Nadal? No. I can remember when Nadal, came out to play the US Open, in 2005 and the announcers were amazed by how fit he was. Borg, was a very fit player for his time period and that enabled him to win the French Open 6 times. If Borg, were to play today, his fitness would not be enough to win the French Open. Guys, like Nadal, who are at least as fit and much stronger, would take it from him every time.

That's why I can't continue this list any further. Based on achievements Borg, should definitely be next but I don't feel that he would have the game to compete with the top players today and it's hard for me to justify putting Borg, as the 3rd best player of all time when I don't believe he would be able to beat a present day player in the top 40 during his prime.

hoodjem
09-24-2008, 11:34 AM
Here let me help:

1. Federer
2. Sampras
3. Nadal
4. Borg
5. Connors
6. Lendl
7. Roddick

JediMindTrick
09-24-2008, 11:57 AM
Imagine a player possessing all of Roger Federer’s qualities but with a more consistent backhand (similar to Richard Gasquet’s) and a heavier serve (similar to Marat Safin’s)

You're joking, right?

CyBorg
09-24-2008, 12:45 PM
You're joking, right?

Why would he be?

lambielspins
09-24-2008, 01:05 PM
Here let me help:

1. Federer
2. Sampras
3. Nadal
4. Borg
5. Connors
6. Lendl
7. Roddick

I cringe at that list, my eyes almost bleed. Roddick a player who is not even at top 100 groundstroker TODAY, and who relies totally on his serve and fighting spirit, the #7 player all time. Let me run screaming for the door now please, hehe.

sheq
09-27-2008, 08:02 AM
its not sensible at all to mention the amateur years' players as the greatests..we all know that in these years winning a slam, being no1, competition, training session are much much more easy..

ok they contirbuted to tennis in many aspects and started it off we all have to respect for these..but saying that gonzalez, laver or whatever is better than roger, sampras, nadal, agassi is not sensible and is not fair at all..

its the same with saying porsche 60' 911 faster or better than porsche 00' 911

CyBorg
09-27-2008, 09:22 AM
ok they contirbuted to tennis in many aspects and started it off we all have to respect for these..but saying that gonzalez, laver or whatever is better than roger, sampras, nadal, agassi is not sensible and is not fair at all..

its the same with saying porsche 60' 911 faster or better than porsche 00' 911

Just as it's not sensible to say that Mickey Mantle is better than Mark McGwire?

Has Mark McGwire ever hit a homerun farther than Mantle deepest shot? I'll tell you: he hasn't.

The analogy to cars is a poor one - technological progress is rapid. But people are not cyborgs. They're people. They don't come packed with greater horsepower by virtue of some kind of technological determinism. A player as athletic and powerful as Pancho Gonzales would handle anyone in today's era.

sheq
09-27-2008, 10:43 AM
Just as it's not sensible to say that Mickey Mantle is better than Mark McGwire?

Has Mark McGwire ever hit a homerun farther than Mantle deepest shot? I'll tell you: he hasn't.

The analogy to cars is a poor one - technological progress is rapid. But people are not cyborgs. They're people. They don't come packed with greater horsepower by virtue of some kind of technological determinism. A player as athletic and powerful as Pancho Gonzales would handle anyone in today's era.

ı do not agree with you..ı am only 21 years old and have never watched gonzalez..but if you say he is great because of his majors he won or his no1 spot, its ridicilous because there were no competitions as there are today..no travelling, no heavy training tennis had not surrounded around the world yet..so the numbers or records cant make him any better..

however if you say he is great because of his movement, strenght, technique..its acceptable..

still, my example is ok..because even if human being is not cyborg technological progress have been shown on their equipmnets...and that makes modern players better..ı do not know or we can not know how would gonzalez or his other competitors react this transition..

CyBorg
09-27-2008, 10:55 AM
ı do not agree with you..ı am only 21 years old and have never watched gonzalez..but if you say he is great because of his majors he won or his no1 spot, its ridicilous because there were no competitions as there are today..no travelling, no heavy training tennis had not surrounded around the world yet..so the numbers or records cant make him any better..

You should be more open-minded at your age and rather than taking a hard-line stance about topics such as this you could instead inform yourself about tennis of those times by reading about it. There have been numerous threads on TW about pertinent literature.

Your post is incredibly wrong on every single point. You clearly know next to nothing about the travel of those times, about training and depth of competition. If you did you wouldn't be making such uninformed statements.

That is really all I can say. Here's a thread I made some time ago asking for recommendations of literature and have since read several of the books that were suggested: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=153450

however if you say he is great because of his movement, strenght, technique..its acceptable..

Players of Gonzalez's/Laver's era employed technique that was ideal for their times, their conditions and equipments.

still, my example is ok..because even if human being is not cyborg technological progress have been shown on their equipmnets...and that makes modern players better..ı do not know or we can not know how would gonzalez or his other competitors react this transition..

Graphite racquets do not automatically make players better. They have changed the game of tennis, but many would argue that this has been at the expense of certain facets of the game that were staples decades ago. This has all been discussed at great length and with particular nuance on these boards many times and it's kind of deflating to see someone clearly not taking the time to read and educate himself and posting one-dimensional and ignorant point-of-review completely unsupported by anything but naive assumptions.

sheq
09-27-2008, 11:14 AM
Of course a player of the 2000s should look better then a player of the 1960s and god for sure the 1920s (what on earth would you expect someone from the 1920s to look like) and even the 1980s, especialy with the wood to graphite racquet change made later in the 1980s after Borg retired. You cant compare players that way. An example would be in swimming. Mark Spitz's winning times from 1972 in his longtime historic 7 Olympic gold performance (finally eclipsed by Michael Phelps this year) would be a complete joke for a wannabee elite today, and in fact a few of them would only win the womens gold by a second or two at a 100 or 200 distance in Beijing. Yet you hear nobody say he was an umimpressive champion who was so much slower then todays faster and stronger swimmers, and only won due to a weak field, in fact the concept would be laughable. It is the same with many other sports, and the same with tennis. How players each did in their own time is what really matters.

Champions should have to beat other champions to prove they are the best. As a fan of both Federer and Nadal I have cheered for Federer to win the French since I know him meaningful it is to his total legacy, and I have often cheered for Nadal to beat Federer at other slams for the same reason. However in the end all that matter is whether you achieved something or not, if Federer doesnt manage to win the French then it doesnt matter who stopped him each time, he just wasnt able to do it. Champions should be expected to be able to overcome the tougher competition at some point. If Nadal is kept to winning lower # of slams and less time at #1 elsewhere by Federer the same applies to him. Of course both will be remembered as truly great players, probably among the best in history when they are done, but that they had each other in the way is not an excuse for whatever either might fail to achieve.

You cant prove whether or not Laver would have been able to win a French Open vs Nadal or not, all you can prove is that so far Federer unfortuantely hasnt. Laver beat Rosewall who is also an all time great clay courter to win his 1969 French and Grand Slam. Laver never had a chance to play grand slams on hard courts, so you cant speak against his ability on hard courts, like you could to a degree Borg because he failed in the U.S Open hard court slam from 78-81 to a degree, as Federer has with even more chances at the French clay court slam. Laver's record on hard courts in events that existed on them then, even though none were the grand slams, were outstanding generally.

Lastly I saw Borg play on tape and I was very impressed, even playing with a wood racquet and playing in the 80s. He would give anyone today a run for their money, including Federer or Nadal. In fact those are the only two players at this moment who could have even been competitive with him at all if he were playing today IMO. Even watching old tapes with Borg playing with wood it quickly becomes clear with a graphite racquet he would take apart the likes of recent/current top 5 players Ferrer and Davydenko who have nothing to hurt him with at all, while someone like perennial top 5 player of today Roddick would only be able to survive a complete murder by his serve winning him so many points.

guys come on!! ı have full of respect for these legends laver,gonzalez, budge etc, but please just try being honest; can laver beat nadal on clay or can gonzalez beat roger on hard court if it would be possible to make a match between them on their best shape??..ı watched some videos of laver and borg to have some thoughts about their game and how tennis was played in these days..first of all really poor legs' movement, lack of powerfull groundstrokes, and different style of striking on FH and BH that cant be effective as the current one..also if you are able to be fair you can easily see that roger's technigue is really really unique and best..

the things that are shown good even better than modern era are services and volleys

hoodjem
09-27-2008, 11:20 AM
You're joking, right?

No, he's not. Budge was THAT good.

sheq
09-27-2008, 11:24 AM
You should be more open-minded at your age and rather than taking a hard-line stance about topics such as this you could instead inform yourself about tennis of those times by reading about it. There have been numerous threads on TW about pertinent literature.

Your post is incredibly wrong on every single point. You clearly know next to nothing about the travel of those times, about training and depth of competition. If you did you wouldn't be making such uninformed statements.

That is really all I can say. Here's a thread I made some time ago asking for recommendations of literature and have since read several of the books that were suggested: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=153450

Players of Gonzalez's/Laver's era employed technique that was ideal for their times, their conditions and equipments.


Graphite racquets do not automatically make players better. They have changed the game of tennis, but many would argue that this has been at the expense of certain facets of the game that were staples decades ago. This has all been discussed at great length and with particular nuance on these boards many times and it's kind of deflating to see someone clearly not taking the time to read and educate himself and posting one-dimensional and ignorant point-of-review completely unsupported by anything but naive assumptions.

ı am totally agree.. ı lack of knowledges about pre modern area tennis and thats why ı made comments with some doubts..thanks for your sharing..

yet, ı do not agree that all my points are nonsense...ı still claim that modern players are better than pre-moderns..because they were not totally proffesional and thats a fact..

so let me ask you if you would make poll with tennis fans, current players, legend players, or tennis experts ( you look at me as a child its normal )..who gonna be shown as the greatest?

hoodjem
09-27-2008, 11:33 AM
During the pro/amateur split and into 1969, Laver won eleven of the three professional "Majors" which were the measuring sticks of the best pros during that era.

5 US Pros
4 London Indoor Pros
2 French Pro Championships

Immediately before winning those 11 professional "Majors" Laver had been denied 2 more US Pros and 4 French Pro Championships, by the then reigning #1 pro Ken Rosewall who Laver eventually dethroned h2h.

Add the five Open Major titles to the eleven above and you have a number more indicative of Laver's level during that time and one to use for comparisons v. those who played their entire careers within the open era.

16.
So 16 professional slams plus 6 amateur slams.

I guess that equals 22 pro/am slam singles titles.

CyBorg
09-27-2008, 11:36 AM
guys come on!! ı have full of respect for these legends laver,gonzalez, budge etc, but please just try being honest; can laver beat nadal on clay or can gonzalez beat roger on hard court if it would be possible to make a match between them on their best shape??..ı watched some videos of laver and borg to have some thoughts about their game and how tennis was played in these days..first of all really poor legs' movement, lack of powerfull groundstrokes, and different style of striking on FH and BH that cant be effective as the current one..also if you are able to be fair you can easily see that roger's technigue is really really unique and best..

the things that are shown good even better than modern era are services and volleys

If armed with wooden or metal racquets of past eras, legends like Laver and Gonzales (assuming in their respective primes) would have a considerable advantage on today's players, because the power of their opponents would be stifled and the small game of the old-timers would take control.

Today a nifty slice hit at an angle with the intent to get the opponent to come in is nothing but an occasional trick shot - a surprise tactic. In the days of Rosewall, for example, it was something that was done regularly to force the opponent to hustle and volley. Today this is mostly avoided, because guys aren't comfortable volleying. What we see instead are occasional drop shots, most of which have a really poor success rate, because if an opponent catches up to a drop shot the initiator doesn't have the net skills to respond effectively.

Graphite eliminates all of these little nuances and keeps players on the baseline exchanging missiles back and forth. But take these racquets away from them and you'll be amazed just how human these players are and how little they would be able to do with smaller, heavy woodies. It's amazing just how few players today can hit a basic volley or an effective slice or an accurate lob. A lob used to be an essential shot at a time when passing shots didn't suffice.

Quite recently I had an exchange on here with a poster who compared tennis and baseball and we had a general agreement that baseball remained basically the same over the years. There was a time when there was some fear that baseball would go to alluminum bats, but wood is still being used. This was a concern, because the use of alluminum would mean that small ball would be dead. No more slap hitters, fewer expert bunters, no pure Tony Gwynn-type hitters. Power still went up due to the use of alluminum in college, though.

But tennis, unlike baseball, went ridiculously commercial by transforming racquets into silly toys with larger frames and strings allowing for greater control and power. The effect, in my opinion, can be compared to alluminum in baseball. Very few singles players who don't play doubles have a repertoire of shots beyond the big serve, the topspin forehand and backhand. Would they be as effective if forced to vary their strokes and come in and volley on occasion with a racquet that would produce a third of the passing shots they can normally generate with graphite? I don't think so.

And as for fitness you don't get much fitter than guys like Gonzales and Rosewall who played gruelling schedules and lasted in the game much longer than today's pros, all the while making much less money and tolerating awful airplane seating.

CyBorg
09-27-2008, 11:38 AM
yet, ı do not agree that all my points are nonsense...ı still claim that modern players are better than pre-moderns..because they were not totally proffesional and thats a fact..

That's not a fact. That doesn't even make sense. Do you even know what 'professional' means? Do you know what 'amateur' means?

so let me ask you if you would make poll with tennis fans, current players, legend players, or tennis experts ( you look at me as a child its normal )..who gonna be shown as the greatest?

I can't say. Most historians do say Laver, this is quite well documented.

dpfrazier
09-27-2008, 12:01 PM
Equipment "improvements" can actually reduce the amount of skill needed to play the game at a high level.

For example, in both golf and tennis, the precision necessary to play with yesterday's equipment hasn't been developed by the current generation of players.

Golf balls have been engineered to reduce spin, so shots that were once vicious slices/hooks now only curve slightly and don't end up in as much trouble. Golf clubs now have huge sweet spots and gear-effect corrections built-in, so now shots can be hit on the heel/toe and still fly far and straight.

In tennis, of course the racquets are substantially different from those in the pre-Open era. Larger racquet heads, much larger sweet spots; lighter weight, with much more maneuverability; and better flex and torsion characteristics. And strings can be tailored to achieved the desired level of power, control, and spin.

So just as it would be interesting to see current golfers play the old timers with balata balls, traditional forged irons, and actual wood "woods", it would also be interesting to see today's baseline bashers take on Laver or Gonzales in their primes with a wood racquet.

I would bet on the old guys!

P.S. Looks like CyBorg and I were thinking along the same lines...

CyBorg
09-27-2008, 12:13 PM
Equipment "improvements" can actually reduce the amount of skill needed to play the game at a high level.

For example, in both golf and tennis, the precision necessary to play with yesterday's equipment hasn't been developed by the current generation of players.

Golf balls have been engineered to reduce spin, so shots that were once vicious slices/hooks now only curve slightly and don't end up in as much trouble. Golf clubs now have huge sweet spots and gear-effect corrections built-in, so now shots can be hit on the heel/toe and still fly far and straight.

In tennis, of course the racquets are substantially different from those in the pre-Open era. Larger racquet heads, much larger sweet spots; lighter weight, with much more maneuverability; and better flex and torsion characteristics. And strings can be tailored to achieved the desired level of power, control, and spin.

So just as it would be interesting to see current golfers play the old timers with balata balls, traditional forged irons, and actual wood "woods", it would also be interesting to see today's baseline bashers take on Laver or Gonzales in their primes with a wood racquet.

I would bet on the old guys!

P.S. Looks like CyBorg and I were thinking along the same lines...

This is all commercialism. Equipment is designed to please the consuming masses. It is made easier to handle, more adaptable for the average Joe to feel like he can 'play like the pros'.

But it's ruining professional tennis. We have two guys at the top of the rankings right now who transcend eras, in my opinion, in Federer and Nadal. Both of them have multidimensional games in spite these facts. But the rest of the tour borders on sheer rubbish. The grass court specialist is dead. The clay court specialist is dead. There is basically just one type of player for every surface. Serves and forehands. That's it.

dpfrazier
09-27-2008, 12:34 PM
This is all commercialism. Equipment is designed to please the consuming masses. It is made easier to handle, more adaptable for the average Joe to feel like he can 'play like the pros'.

But it's ruining professional tennis. We have two guys at the top of the rankings right now who transcend eras, in my opinion, in Federer and Nadal. Both of them have multidimensional games in spite these facts. But the rest of the tour borders on sheer rubbish. The grass court specialist is dead. The clay court specialist is dead. There is basically just one type of player for every surface. Serves and forehands. That's it.
True, the primary motivation for equipment changes is commercial and targeted at consumers. But the pros take advantage of and adapt to the new equipment as well, as we've both pointed out.

Your baseball bat example is a great one. Kudos to MLB for sticking with wood bats, or baseball fields would be obsoleted just like golf courses have been.

If the current pace of tennis equipment evolution continues, perhaps we will have to take the direction that golf has and change the playing field to counteract the improvements in equipment. Golf courses have been lengthened and/or tightened; tennis courts could be made bigger or smaller, or the net height could be raised or lowered. I haven't given it enough thought to know which directions to go, though...!

CyBorg
09-27-2008, 12:37 PM
True, the primary motivation for equipment changes is commercial and targeted at consumers. But the pros take advantage of and adapt to the new equipment as well, as we've both pointed out.

Certainly. Sadly the players little to no incentive to learn to play a complete game. But that's human nature - they are the byproducts of the factory.

Nadal has an old-school type of upbringing. Taught almost entirely by his family. Kind of like Kenny Rosewall was. Developing a unique approach to the game with strong values and hard work. This is why he destroys today's clones so easily.

sheq
09-27-2008, 03:26 PM
That's not a fact. That doesn't even make sense. Do you even know what 'professional' means? Do you know what 'amateur' means?



I can't say. Most historians do say Laver, this is quite well documented.

yea ı am sure that all the historians would consider laver as the greatest no doubt :) but here is an advise for you get rid of this historical points of view for tennis and add some other aspects in your evaluations

also, ı know the difference between professional and amateur..but you should know the difference if something is done with paid it brings competition to sport..and where the competition occurs the things improve

and just read it '' Many tennis critics, legendary players, and current players consider him the greatest tennis player ever. ''

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Federer

sheq
09-27-2008, 03:33 PM
This is all commercialism. Equipment is designed to please the consuming masses. It is made easier to handle, more adaptable for the average Joe to feel like he can 'play like the pros'.

But it's ruining professional tennis. We have two guys at the top of the rankings right now who transcend eras, in my opinion, in Federer and Nadal. Both of them have multidimensional games in spite these facts. But the rest of the tour borders on sheer rubbish. The grass court specialist is dead. The clay court specialist is dead. There is basically just one type of player for every surface. Serves and forehands. That's it.

'The grass court specialist is dead' is accaptable.. because the serve and volley game is dead..and nobody can use it effectively..

The clay court specialist is dead.. ı wonder whats your argument making you do this comment..if nadal is not a specialist who is ?..havent you ever heard what borh said for nadal or what vilas said..

and the main question is this why people underestimate the greatness of roger and nadal..ı know you are fewer than who overestimates them..

Q&M son
09-27-2008, 04:12 PM
Anyone who states that any pre-Open Era player or any player we have not seen extensively on video cannot be GOAT may not comment on the GOAT.

There, take that for your silly, indefensible, arbitrary opinions.

Well done buddy! :)

akv89
09-27-2008, 05:49 PM
Here's a link to a small video snippet of the famed Don Budge backhand along with a short article about him:
http://www.tennisplayer.net/public/champions/Ed_Atkinson_Don_Budge_samplearticle.html

urban
09-28-2008, 12:39 AM
This wikipedia article on Federer is a joke.Just read the citated quotations on Federer's greatness. They begin with Federer's own webside: Ask Roger! Actually no quotation besides Ferrer says, that Federer is the greatest player ever, but that he might become it and so on.

sheq
09-28-2008, 04:49 AM
This wikipedia article on Federer is a joke.Just read the citated quotations on Federer's greatness. They begin with Federer's own webside: Ask Roger! Actually no quotation besides Ferrer says, that Federer is the greatest player ever, but that he might become it and so on.

only ferrer :) why are you trying to be ridicilous...ok lets start...have you have heard what nadal, djokovic, murray ( the current top players ), sampras, wilander, borg, laver, agassi ( the legends ), almost all the polls on the web or tv, and so many tennis critics have said for roger... if you havent tell me ı will give you all the links and quotations..

but afterward you will have to confirm that at least many people think roger is the best ever..ok not everyone should think like that..but saying not many people think so requries to be blind

urban
09-28-2008, 07:08 AM
Please give me exact quotations of experts (not fans), that Federer IS the greatest ever - besides actual players like Murray who just lost to him. Without precaution notes: He is the greatest ever; not might become or has the talent to become or if he wins that and that, he will be. I haven't seen them, even not in Rogers fanbases.

asafi2
09-28-2008, 08:50 AM
Please give me exact quotations of experts (not fans), that Federer IS the greatest ever - besides actual players like Murray who just lost to him. Without precaution notes: He is the greatest ever; not might become or has the talent to become or if he wins that and that, he will be. I haven't seen them, even not in Rogers fanbases.

Well...you asked for it...

"I thought Ellsworth Vines and Don Budge were pretty good. And Gonzalez and Hoad could play a bit, too, but I have never seen anyone play the game better than Federer. He serves well and has a great half-volley. I've never known anyone who can do as many things on a court as he can. " - Jack Kramer his quote from The Observer on Sunday June 24 2007

"He's an artist on this surface. He can stay back. He can come in. No weaknesses. Federer could win Wimbledon six, seven, eight times. He can play on any kind of surface, he is so complete. And if he continues the way he has been doing and stays away from injuries and still has the motivation, he will be the greatest player ever. I think the motivation is the key thing and he has the motivation to continue to play for another three or five years." - Borg

"He's the most gifted player that I've ever seen in my life. I've seen a lot of people play. I've seen the (Rod) Lavers, I played against some of the great players—the Samprases, Beckers, Connors', Borgs, you name it. This guy could be the greatest of all time. That, to me, says it all. " - John McEnroe from the USTA website

"He's probably the greatest player that ever lived." - John McEnroe, BBC Wimbledon 2006 live broadcast.

"Oh, I would be honoured to even be compared to Roger. He is such an unbelievable talent, and is capable of anything. Roger could be the greatest tennis player of all time." - Rod Laver

"He's the best I've ever played against. There's nowhere to go. There's nothing to do except hit fairways, hit greens and make putts. Every shot has that sort of urgency on it. I've played a lot of them (other players), so many years, there's a safety zone, there's a place to get to, there's something to focus on, there's a way. Anything you try to do, he potentially has an answer for and it's just a function of when he starts pulling the triggers necessary to get you to change to that decision." - Andre Agassi 2005 US Open

"We have a guy from Switzerland who is just playing the game a way I haven't seen anyone—and I mean anyone—play before. How fortunate we are to be able to see that. If he stays healthy and motivated—and the wonderful feel he has stays with him—he is the kind of guy who can overtake the greatest." - Boris Becker

"I'd like to be in his shoes for one day to know what it feels like to play that way." - Mats Wilander

"Roger Federer is the most talented tennis player I have ever seen. He has the capacity to become the greatest in history." - Nick Bollettieri

And those are just from tennis greats...

sheq
09-28-2008, 08:59 AM
Please give me exact quotations of experts (not fans), that Federer IS the greatest ever - besides actual players like Murray who just lost to him. Without precaution notes: He is the greatest ever; not might become or has the talent to become or if he wins that and that, he will be. I haven't seen them, even not in Rogers fanbases.


firstly, roger's career is not over yet and if he finish off himself right now of course so much doubt about greatness will stay on because the numbers is so important to find the greatest..ı am trying to explain that if experts says he might, if he does it he will, he has the talen exc..its because of the fact that he is not done yet and he is still 27..( ı even not say pro-open era players had played till their 37 38..it shows in these days tennis was much more easy..not much physical condition required)

However, ı made a search on the net and so many polls and fans' comments can easly found that says roger is the best ever or he is so close to be like this..

due to the fact that you just want to see experts' evaluations ı put just one link that admit it..the odd thing is that it had been written in 2006..


http://www.thesportstruth.com/2006/11/the-top-ten-tennis-players-of-all-time.html/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis

also on wikipedia it is admitted it..

and ı know there are several experts's estimations that say laver is the best, sampras or a few that point out gonzalez..

still, try to imagine when roger career will be over and if he might be able to stay at this shape just 1 or 2 years more..what will possibly 99% of the experts say?.. because his talent, game style and combination is already best ..just several records hold on to be broken

TennisDawg
09-28-2008, 10:18 AM
I just don't see how anyone could compare the players of the Don Budge era, Bill Tilden, Bobby Riggs to todays players. With a few exception, Pancho Gonzales, Jack Kramer which came later on, the earlier players just don't look all that good. It's sorta like looking at the early NFL days and trying to argue they could compete against todays NFL, most of those teams would have trouble winning in college football. Don Budge looks is outclassed when you compare him to Roger Federer or even someone like Tsonga or Roddick, who would blow him off the court. Bill Tilden looks like a tall rangy guy with akward movements.

The early players were good in their time but would not be serious contenders, nowadays. IMHO

TennisDawg
09-28-2008, 10:23 AM
Here's a link to a small video snippet of the famed Don Budge backhand along with a short article about him:
http://www.tennisplayer.net/public/champions/Ed_Atkinson_Don_Budge_samplearticle.html


He appears to be opening his shoulders too early before he makes contact with the ball. Federer would have probably ran around the backhand and hit a forehand winner and point is over.

CyBorg
09-28-2008, 11:07 AM
yea ı am sure that all the historians would consider laver as the greatest no doubt :) but here is an advise for you get rid of this historical points of view for tennis and add some other aspects in your evaluations

also, ı know the difference between professional and amateur..but you should know the difference if something is done with paid it brings competition to sport..and where the competition occurs the things improve

and just read it '' Many tennis critics, legendary players, and current players consider him the greatest tennis player ever. ''

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Federer

I think Roger Federer is a great player and by the time his career is finished he will be a strong candidate for the best of all time.

Much of your post is incoherent, so it's hard for me to respond in any kind of thorough manner.

CyBorg
09-28-2008, 11:11 AM
'The grass court specialist is dead' is accaptable.. because the serve and volley game is dead..and nobody can use it effectively..

The clay court specialist is dead.. ı wonder whats your argument making you do this comment..if nadal is not a specialist who is ?..havent you ever heard what borh said for nadal or what vilas said..

and the main question is this why people underestimate the greatness of roger and nadal..ı know you are fewer than who overestimates them..

It has nothing to do with the serve and volley. We have had great players in history who dominated on grass who were baseliners.

A specialist, rather, is a player who is first and foremost excels on a particular surface - above other surfaces. This is unlike all-court players, for example. Or any players whose style remains relatively consistent from surface to surface.

The death of the clay court player speaks not of there being no clay court specialists whatsoever. If one is to look hard enough on will also find grass court specialists (most of whom are ranked much too low to be at all important). Rather this speaks of a trend of a gradual dying out of specialists and a phenomenon of homogenization and standardization in professional tennis.

A player like Nadal is becoming an exception to the rule - a kid from a little island, coached by his uncle.

CyBorg
09-28-2008, 11:24 AM
Well...you asked for it...

"I thought Ellsworth Vines and Don Budge were pretty good. And Gonzalez and Hoad could play a bit, too, but I have never seen anyone play the game better than Federer. He serves well and has a great half-volley. I've never known anyone who can do as many things on a court as he can. " - Jack Kramer his quote from The Observer on Sunday June 24 2007

"He's an artist on this surface. He can stay back. He can come in. No weaknesses. Federer could win Wimbledon six, seven, eight times. He can play on any kind of surface, he is so complete. And if he continues the way he has been doing and stays away from injuries and still has the motivation, he will be the greatest player ever. I think the motivation is the key thing and he has the motivation to continue to play for another three or five years." - Borg

"He's the most gifted player that I've ever seen in my life. I've seen a lot of people play. I've seen the (Rod) Lavers, I played against some of the great players—the Samprases, Beckers, Connors', Borgs, you name it. This guy could be the greatest of all time. That, to me, says it all. " - John McEnroe from the USTA website

"He's probably the greatest player that ever lived." - John McEnroe, BBC Wimbledon 2006 live broadcast.

"Oh, I would be honoured to even be compared to Roger. He is such an unbelievable talent, and is capable of anything. Roger could be the greatest tennis player of all time." - Rod Laver

"He's the best I've ever played against. There's nowhere to go. There's nothing to do except hit fairways, hit greens and make putts. Every shot has that sort of urgency on it. I've played a lot of them (other players), so many years, there's a safety zone, there's a place to get to, there's something to focus on, there's a way. Anything you try to do, he potentially has an answer for and it's just a function of when he starts pulling the triggers necessary to get you to change to that decision." - Andre Agassi 2005 US Open

"We have a guy from Switzerland who is just playing the game a way I haven't seen anyone—and I mean anyone—play before. How fortunate we are to be able to see that. If he stays healthy and motivated—and the wonderful feel he has stays with him—he is the kind of guy who can overtake the greatest." - Boris Becker

"I'd like to be in his shoes for one day to know what it feels like to play that way." - Mats Wilander

"Roger Federer is the most talented tennis player I have ever seen. He has the capacity to become the greatest in history." - Nick Bollettieri

And those are just from tennis greats...

Most of these quotes confirm what most of us already feel - that Roger Federer is in a select group of the greatest players of all time.

If one reads these quotes very carefully most of them state either that Roger is the greatest player they've seen or played against (which applies to a sample of players unrepresentative of a long history) or that Roger is one of the greatest. I, particularly, have no problem with Agassi's quote that Roger is the best he's ever played against. I also feel that Roger is better than Sampras.

Wilander's quote makes no value judgement in relation to other greats. Becker's quote is another statement about Roger's greatness that most would agree with (that he is amongst the greatest of all time). Laver's basically echoes that and is a quite humble, misleading quote (you wouldn't hear Laver ever say that he's better than Roger - he's the anti-Serena). Borg's quote doesn't say much either.

This leaves the quotes from McEnroe and Kramer. McEnroe is a biased commentator who gets payed to promote corporate interests. His purpose is to celebrate the contemporary game and this includes overrating today's stars to sell tennis as a commodity. Only Kramer remains to have made the statement that Federer is the best he's ever seen, but I would take that one isolated quote with a grain of salt. Has Jack updated his list of the greatest players recently? If Jack does that or writes an in-depth article with his updated rankings then I'll buy it. Otherwise all we have is one-quote that appears to have been taken shortly after a grand slam final in 2007. I wonder what Jack thought after Wimbledon of 2008. Something tells me that if he changed his mind we wouldn't be hearing of it in the media.

Anyway, that leaves dozens of other historians who don't think that Federer is the greatest of all time versus, debatably, Jack Kramer.

CyBorg
09-28-2008, 11:31 AM
firstly, roger's career is not over yet and if he finish off himself right now of course so much doubt about greatness will stay on because the numbers is so important to find the greatest..ı am trying to explain that if experts says he might, if he does it he will, he has the talen exc..its because of the fact that he is not done yet and he is still 27..( ı even not say pro-open era players had played till their 37 38..it shows in these days tennis was much more easy..not much physical condition required)

However, ı made a search on the net and so many polls and fans' comments can easly found that says roger is the best ever or he is so close to be like this..

due to the fact that you just want to see experts' evaluations ı put just one link that admit it..the odd thing is that it had been written in 2006..


http://www.thesportstruth.com/2006/11/the-top-ten-tennis-players-of-all-time.html/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis

also on wikipedia it is admitted it..

and ı know there are several experts's estimations that say laver is the best, sampras or a few that point out gonzalez..

still, try to imagine when roger career will be over and if he might be able to stay at this shape just 1 or 2 years more..what will possibly 99% of the experts say?.. because his talent, game style and combination is already best ..just several records hold on to be broken

Wikipedia isn't experts. And this article you've provided isn't reliable and may have been written by someone that posts here.

CyBorg
09-28-2008, 11:39 AM
Speaking of Jack Kramer's quotes. Here's one from 2004, made shortly after watching the US Open:

"Personally, I would have loved to have seen Don Budge or Ellsworth Vines play with this equipment. I don't care who's on the other side, whether it's Roger, Agassi, no matter. I think they would have figured out a way to win. They had the power and control."

So if one is to go on what Kramer said of Federer as quoted earlier in this thread then one has to grant some attention to what he says about the stars past.

One cannot quote a little snipper of what Kramer said once and completely ignore everything else. It's misstating the man's point of view and his life's worth of work.

The man obviously loves Federer's game and frankly I do too. But he would also be one of the first to tell you that stars like Vines and Budge were as skilled and fit if not more skilled and fit as today's best players.

It's amusing to me how some folks who clearly don't read books are content to rely on little abstracts to support their point of view. It's like contemporary politics - get some snippets of what Obama said over the years and you could make the argument that he was a neo-**** and even provide quotes to bolster the claim.

What matters is the context of what is said and the greater depth behind the statement. You have to actually know a little bit about the person before you quote the person.

asafi2
09-28-2008, 11:49 AM
I agree with what you're saying, but that quote you just posted happened in 2004. Of course his stance on Budge and Vines hasn't changed since then, but his stance on Federer has. Federer dominated the next few years like no other before him, he averaged what, 6 losses over those few years? Clearly, Kramer has taken that into account and as recent as 2007 has proclaimed Roger to be the greatest he has ever seen.

CyBorg
09-28-2008, 11:57 AM
I agree with what you're saying, but that quote you just posted happened in 2004. Of course his stance on Budge and Vines hasn't changed since then, but his stance on Federer has. Federer dominated the next few years like no other before him, he averaged what, 6 losses over those few years? Clearly, Kramer has taken that into account and as recent as 2007 has proclaimed Roger to be the greatest he has ever seen.

And I don't really see a problem with this. My point is that if one is to take the quote about Federer from Kramer seriously then one must also take his other quotes about past greats just as seriously. One cannot simply pick and choose.

Even better, one may even be willing to read one of Jack Kramer's books on tennis. Like "My 40 Years in Tennis" - if one is interested on some insight on the man.

Federer is a fantastic and, in my opinion, is in the conversation as an all-time great, but this in itself doesn't confound the topic at hand, which is how we approach rating all-time greats.

Clearly Jack Kramer feels that they're every bit as good and we have lots of literature to back up that statement. We have no literature to back up his little quote on Federer. So I would take it with a grain of salt.

sheq
09-28-2008, 02:15 PM
And I don't really see a problem with this. My point is that if one is to take the quote about Federer from Kramer seriously then one must also take his other quotes about past greats just as seriously. One cannot simply pick and choose.

Even better, one may even be willing to read one of Jack Kramer's books on tennis. Like "My 40 Years in Tennis" - if one is interested on some insight on the man.

Federer is a fantastic and, in my opinion, is in the conversation as an all-time great, but this in itself doesn't confound the topic at hand, which is how we approach rating all-time greats.

Clearly Jack Kramer feels that they're every bit as good and we have lots of literature to back up that statement. We have no literature to back up his little quote on Federer. So I would take it with a grain of salt.

ı agree with you on this point..someone have been underestimated these past legends maybe their cause is that there are not much video where we can see them ( before this conversation ı had even saw laver or borg's game but afterwards ı have been watching them as much as possible. )..so it is really significant case that we all real tennis fans should read this kind of books and try watching them on the videos..

IMO, roger is the best but this greatestness is not come from his records it is also come from his elegance of playing style ( the most beautiful one )..but of course it is arguable still, so many people thinks like that..

and ı wonder why tennis players cant use volley as the past ones did..ı think it take away some beauty of tennis..its because of the really strong passing shots or it is about the fundumental that volley game has not been teached or practised sufficently on the player's progression in their childhood .. ı dont know

Marcos
09-28-2008, 02:21 PM
Regarding Kramer's opinion, I found this in the Los Angeles Times of August 1, 2008:

He might have been the greatest of all time, but Kramer said the best he had ever seen was Don Budge, and lists Ellsworth Vines, Lew Hoad, Pancho Gonzales, and, yes, probably Roger Federer in the same group.

"It's hard to compare eras," Kramer says. "But I believe if you gave Don Budge modern equipment, a lighter racket instead of a wooden one, he'd more than hold his own."

http://www.latimes.com/sports/custom/morningbriefing/la-sp-briefing1-2008aug01,0,164643.story

CyBorg
09-28-2008, 02:34 PM
Regarding Kramer's opinion, I found this in the Los Angeles Times of August 1, 2008:



http://www.latimes.com/sports/custom/morningbriefing/la-sp-briefing1-2008aug01,0,164643.story

This is why isolated little quotes should not be brought forth as evidence. We often exclaim with great fury in moments of excitement. Our pronouncements get the best of us, because we have not yet had a chance to sit and think of what it all means. To compare and contrast.

It's the same with McEnroe - he says one thing and then corrects himself on it (re: Borg/Nadal on clay).

There is no chance that Kramer or any respected historian would rate Federer as number one in an in-depth study. Most would suggest that Roger would need to play several more years at a high level to deserve such an accolade. And in terms of sheer volume of accomplishments he is nowhere near the likes of Rosewall and Laver.

sheq
09-28-2008, 06:11 PM
This is why isolated little quotes should not be brought forth as evidence. We often exclaim with great fury in moments of excitement. Our pronouncements get the best of us, because we have not yet had a chance to sit and think of what it all means. To compare and contrast.

It's the same with McEnroe - he says one thing and then corrects himself on it (re: Borg/Nadal on clay).

There is no chance that Kramer or any respected historian would rate Federer as number one in an in-depth study. Most would suggest that Roger would need to play several more years at a high level to deserve such an accolade. And in terms of sheer volume of accomplishments he is nowhere near the likes of Rosewall and Laver.

ı dont think so our main subject is history.. having so much knowledge about tennis history does not make you the best tennis observer..

you dont care what players have said..but you care what historians say

you think they know the game more than players..

hoodjem
09-28-2008, 06:37 PM
Current players know only the play of those persons they play against.

Why would Murray know the play of Tilden or Budge or Borotra? (Only if it helps him with his livelihood.)

thalivest
09-28-2008, 07:35 PM
Active players will always to believe the current ones are the best. That makes them look and feel that much better, especialy if they are getting their butts kicked in by the current best, which a player like Murray is for the most part by the top 3 thus far despite his nice summer. Why would a player want to state someone that just virtually humiliated him in a slightly embarassingly one sided slam final was merely the 5th to 8th best all time, even if that is in reality what that player is at this moment.

CyBorg
09-28-2008, 07:53 PM
ı dont think so our main subject is history.. having so much knowledge about tennis history does not make you the best tennis observer..

you dont care what players have said..but you care what historians say

you think they know the game more than players..

Who could be more qualified to comment about all-time greats than someone who best knows history? Someone who is curious enough about the game to diligently study its archives? Some players develop an interest in history, but not many.

chaognosis
09-28-2008, 08:03 PM
ı dont think so our main subject is history.. having so much knowledge about tennis history does not make you the best tennis observer..

you dont care what players have said..but you care what historians say

you think they know the game more than players..

Yes - they ABSOLUTELY do. Players have better things to do with their time (namely, playing). For that very reason it is exceedingly difficult to find a tennis player who knows the history of their sport well.

thalivest
09-28-2008, 08:22 PM
Federer isnt even in the top 15 players of all time. Why the heck does he keep coming up in this thread in the first place. He is an overrated wannabee of an all time great who benefited from a crappy field most of his dominance to rack up wins, and now is struggling to win 1 slam a year vs stronger competition exposing him for what he really was all along. A very good player but not even close to top 10 all time. He should not even be mentioned in the same breath as past greats like Budge, Tilden, Sampras, Laver, Borg, Connors, Lendl, McEnroe, Rosewall, and many others.

CyBorg
09-28-2008, 08:29 PM
Federer isnt even in the top 15 players of all time. Why the heck does he keep coming up in this thread in the first place. He is an overrated wannabee of an all time great who benefited from a crappy field most of his dominance to rack up wins, and now is struggling to win 1 slam a year vs stronger competition exposing him for what he really was all along. A very good player but not even close to top 10 all time. He should not even be mentioned in the same breath as past greats like Budge, Tilden, Sampras, Laver, Borg, Connors, Lendl, McEnroe, Rosewall, and many others.

I often slam Roger's competition too, but for practical purposes I try to leave my preferences such as this behind me when comparing or ranking players from different eras.

This leaves us arguing in circles and sometimes it's just better to say that the game has changed.

It's so much easier and more useful to look at greatness as synonimous with all things having to do with accomplishments. Meaning a two-fold of dominance and longevity (I've always preferred the former, first and foremost).

As far as whether the game is getting progressively better or worse, this, I think, automatically suggests that after a while, when we're old and our kids are adults, the players we've watched for so long will be perceived as of inferior capabilities (for the same shoddy reasons some posters so persistently employ). This means that the best players are always those that haven't been born yet. And this is of no use to anyone.

sheq
09-29-2008, 06:41 AM
Active players will always to believe the current ones are the best. That makes them look and feel that much better, especialy if they are getting their butts kicked in by the current best, which a player like Murray is for the most part by the top 3 thus far despite his nice summer. Why would a player want to state someone that just virtually humiliated him in a slightly embarassingly one sided slam final was merely the 5th to 8th best all time, even if that is in reality what that player is at this moment.

dont you read what ı write or we write..firstly do this fairly good..

firstly, we all supporting the argument that roger is best or have the components to be sooner or later did not make quotes from the current players ( even if you underestimate them there are really unique players bring something good to tennis ) we quoted from the historical players ( you love this term so much ) laver, borg, edberg exc.. so what the ... is wrong with you.. did they play against roger and were fasnicated by him or do not know history enough even if they had lived in that time..

you might hate federer, nobody cares it..but at least try to be rational.. ( if you say sampras have 15 and emerson have 13 just because of this hate ı wonder what will you argue when roger will have 16 slams )..all these irrational comments dont make us hate the legends laver, borg, gonzalez, budge.. it just causes us not to make much of heed for your comments..

sheq
09-29-2008, 06:48 AM
Current players know only the play of those persons they play against.

Why would Murray know the play of Tilden or Budge or Borotra? (Only if it helps him with his livelihood.)

yea in a way you are right..still, it doesnt mean that you know the tennis better than them ( at least for every player )

also, current players doesnt have so much knowledge about the past right..but the past ones have watched these current tennis and why does all praise roger's game and put him at the top..ı eliminated the history part of this discussion for you..and ı wonder your new comment

sheq
09-29-2008, 06:53 AM
I often slam Roger's competition too, but for practical purposes I try to leave my preferences such as this behind me when comparing or ranking players from different eras.

This leaves us arguing in circles and sometimes it's just better to say that the game has changed.

It's so much easier and more useful to look at greatness as synonimous with all things having to do with accomplishments. Meaning a two-fold of dominance and longevity (I've always preferred the former, first and foremost).

As far as whether the game is getting progressively better or worse, this, I think, automatically suggests that after a while, when we're old and our kids are adults, the players we've watched for so long will be perceived as of inferior capabilities (for the same shoddy reasons some posters so persistently employ). This means that the best players are always those that haven't been born yet. And this is of no use to anyone.

ı have got a question for you..ı really wonder when the one match system ( you had played just in the final if you were the past champion ) had been over..because its important to figure out in which era competition is tougher.. still, some strong argument remain that in modern era competition is higher..

chaognosis
09-29-2008, 06:58 AM
also, current players doesnt have so much knowledge about the past right..but the past ones have watched these current tennis and why does all praise roger's game and put him at the top..

They may praise Federer's game - who doesn't? - but it's not true that they all put him at the top. Some older players still name guys like Kramer, Gonzales, or Hoad, and of course there are many who pick Laver (see McEnroe for instance). Kramer himself seems to favor Budge again. Sadly, there really isn't anyone around who saw Tilden in his prime, but those who did almost all maintained that he was the very best.

chaognosis
09-29-2008, 07:03 AM
ı have got a question for you..ı really wonder when the one match system ( you had played just in the final if you were the past champion ) had been over..

Depends on the tournament. The US Championships dropped the challenge round in 1912; Wimbledon followed suit in 1922. The other major event at that time, the World Clay Court Championships in Paris, never used it.

urban
09-29-2008, 07:38 AM
I am still waiting for this exact quotation of a tennis expert, that Federer IS the greatest ever. All i read, and i have read these before, is, that he could become it, if he wins the French or the Grand Slam or 15-20 major titles. I think the claim has diminshed and lost its ferve a bit over the last year, because Nadal has stolen the thunder. Federer should see, that he really becomes the greatest of his era. Its not a given, if one sees the progress of Nadal, who is 6 years younger.

thalivest
09-29-2008, 08:12 AM
Nadal has a greater chance to become the greatest ever then Federer does. He is young enough to win each of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, U.S Open, Olympics, and Davis Cup in his career, quite possibly each more then once. He has already won 4 of the 6 and had his best ever Australian and U.S Open results this year, closing in on the prize at each. With his rapid improvement on hard courts, determination, and incredible work ethic who should put it past him to win the Australian Open and U.S Opens in his career to complete the set and possibly even win a calender slam someday. It wont be easy but I wouldnt put it past him. Despite that Djokovic and Murray for example are a year younger, I think Nadal shows more hunger and urge to keep improving even more then those two do. He is talented, hard working, hungry, and for sure tough under pressure of intense competition to keep winning 2 slams or more per year many of the years for awhile. People keep claiming his body will break down but he no shows no signs of it happening anytime soon, it sounds like wishful thinking if anything.

Although one correction on what urban pointed out. Nadal is just less then 5 years younger then Federer (he turns 23 a couple months before Federer turns 28 ), not 6. Not a biggie though.

sheq
09-29-2008, 09:37 AM
I am still waiting for this exact quotation of a tennis expert, that Federer IS the greatest ever. All i read, and i have read these before, is, that he could become it, if he wins the French or the Grand Slam or 15-20 major titles. I think the claim has diminshed and lost its ferve a bit over the last year, because Nadal has stolen the thunder. Federer should see, that he really becomes the greatest of his era. Its not a given, if one sees the progress of Nadal, who is 6 years younger.

then ı recommend you to watch 'the spirit of a champion'...

also, nadal is 4 years and 10 months younger than federer..

CyBorg
09-29-2008, 10:37 AM
ı have got a question for you..ı really wonder when the one match system ( you had played just in the final if you were the past champion ) had been over..because its important to figure out in which era competition is tougher.. still, some strong argument remain that in modern era competition is higher..

Before Tilden's era. Meaning, circa World War I.

CyBorg
09-29-2008, 10:38 AM
then ı recommend you to watch 'the spirit of a champion'...

What is this?

hoodjem
09-29-2008, 10:54 AM
Federer isnt even in the top 15 players of all time. Why the heck does he keep coming up in this thread in the first place. He is an overrated wannabee of an all time great who benefited from a crappy field most of his dominance to rack up wins, and now is struggling to win 1 slam a year vs stronger competition exposing him for what he really was all along. A very good player but not even close to top 10 all time. He should not even be mentioned in the same breath as past greats like Budge, Tilden, Sampras, Laver, Borg, Connors, Lendl, McEnroe, Rosewall, and many others.


Oh, I would not go that far. Fed is doing quite well, and IMO should be ranked in the top-ten. Here's Raymond Lee's article where he places him at fourth, just behind Borg/Tilden. (Personally, I don't put him quite so high.)

\http://www.tennisweek.com/news/fullstory.sps?inewsid=503656

chaognosis
09-29-2008, 10:58 AM
Before Tilden's era. Meaning, circa World War I.

Tilden was actually the last player to "benefit" from the challenge round, at Wimbledon in 1921.

thalivest
09-29-2008, 11:10 AM
Oh, I would not go that far. Fed is doing quite well, and IMO should be ranked in the top-ten. Here's Raymond Lee's article where he places him at fourth, just behind Borg/Tilden. (Personally, I don't put him quite so high.)

\http://www.tennisweek.com/news/fullstory.sps?inewsid=503656

Like I said the problem with Federer is he was most dominant with weak competition. He dominated Hewitt, Roddick, Safin, young Nadal, Ljubicic, Davydenko. Now he has more competition with more mature Nadal and Djokovic and he is barely winning anymore. The excuse is used that he is old but he is only 27, and he only began to win just before he turned 22, so that doesnt fly. That should not be overlooked when evaluating him.

Rosewall, Laver, Connors, Lendl, McEnroe, Gonzales, Borg, Sampras, all won many slams vs very tough competition for atleast half of their careers, and all would win more then Federer if they played at the same time as they are better overall and much mentally tougher players. Tilden, Cochet, Lacoste, Budge, Perry, Kramer, played in a time it is harder to fault if there was less competition at times in the amateur game, especialy as the field was split up by the guys turning pro.

Plus he doesnt have a complete game at all. He has a horrible backhand, weak return of serve, weak volleys. The only great shot he has is a forehand. That is not the game of a top 10 or even top 15 player all time.

urban
09-29-2008, 11:35 AM
The thread is turning into a Federer-Nadal debate. Its sad for the Don Budge-theme. Maybe we should return to the original issue. One thing on Budge: He was a true innovator in the development of the game, turning the backhand into an offensive stroke. When i saw clips of Tilden's backhand here on the Old clips side, i noticed that he had only a slice grip and arm movement. When Tilden tried to give it more power, he threw his shoulder around in a quite cramped way. Budge however had a swift, round swing, and could hit it as a drive.

hoodjem
09-29-2008, 11:38 AM
Tilden, Cochet, Lacoste, Budge, Perry, Kramer, played in a time it is harder to fault if there was less competition at times in the amateur game, especialy as the field was split up by the guys turning pro.

I am not sure I properly take your meaning here. Could you please explain more fully?

sheq
09-29-2008, 11:39 AM
What is this?

yo can watch it on you-tube write it down and you will see..ı do not have the link

Marcos
09-29-2008, 11:48 AM
The thread is turning into a Federer-Nadal debate. Its sad for the Don Budge-theme. Maybe we should return to the original issue. One thing on Budge: He was a true innovator in the development of the game, turning the backhand into an offensive stroke. When i saw clips of Tilden's backhand here on the Old clips side, i noticed that he had only a slice grip and arm movement. When Tilden tried to give it more power, he threw his shoulder around in a quite cramped way. Budge however had a swift, round swing, and could hit it as a drive.

I noticed that too. At least in the limited footage I watched players prior to Budge seemed to hit the backhand with the arm bent and had more of a pushing motion, trying to use shoulder rotation in an awkward way. Budge's motion, though, looks perfectly modern: arm straight all the way to a high, flowing finish coupled with limited shoulder rotation. I wonder why so many players of the 50's and 60's primarily sliced on that side and didn't copy Budge's backhand more; his motion, besides being technically very sound, was also quite simple.

sheq
09-29-2008, 11:50 AM
here is the link..so many tennis experts make comments about his game..

by the way lets reverse the matter..

send me saome links that experts thinks that he has waeak backhand, bad service- returns or has not the ability to become the best ever exc..something negative you know..because if you say sampras have 15 and emerson have 13 your other comments begin the match one set down..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nO9Qt97O-g

CyBorg
09-29-2008, 04:07 PM
Tilden was actually the last player to "benefit" from the challenge round, at Wimbledon in 1921.

I sit corrected..

CyBorg
09-29-2008, 04:09 PM
yo can watch it on you-tube write it down and you will see..ı do not have the link

Looks like a rather generic documentary to me. Something of a DVD special features-quality to this.

chaognosis
09-29-2008, 05:53 PM
The thread is turning into a Federer-Nadal debate. Its sad for the Don Budge-theme. Maybe we should return to the original issue. One thing on Budge: He was a true innovator in the development of the game, turning the backhand into an offensive stroke. When i saw clips of Tilden's backhand here on the Old clips side, i noticed that he had only a slice grip and arm movement. When Tilden tried to give it more power, he threw his shoulder around in a quite cramped way. Budge however had a swift, round swing, and could hit it as a drive.

Al Laney claimed that Tilden did have an offensive BH drive, but only during his very best years in America (1923-1925), and that it was even better than Budge's. Obviously, I have no means of verifying this...

Tennisfan!
09-29-2008, 06:47 PM
Any player Pre-Open Era is not on the G.O.A.T. List.

Dumb comment, bye :evil:

Tennisfan!
09-29-2008, 06:54 PM
Don Budge, is definitely not the greatest of all time. Nor is Laver for that matter. It's Roger Federer.

Again you... enough said :evil:

Tennisfan!
09-29-2008, 06:57 PM
Laver, only won 5 professional slams to Rogers 13. The other 6 were amateur.

RE TAR DED YOU :evil:

Tennisfan!
09-29-2008, 06:59 PM
guys come on!! ı have full of respect for these legends laver,gonzalez, budge etc, but please just try being honest; can laver beat nadal on clay or can gonzalez beat roger on hard court if it would be possible to make a match between them on their best shape??..ı watched some videos of laver and borg to have some thoughts about their game and how tennis was played in these days..first of all really poor legs' movement, lack of powerfull groundstrokes, and different style of striking on FH and BH that cant be effective as the current one..also if you are able to be fair you can easily see that roger's technigue is really really unique and best..

the things that are shown good even better than modern era are services and volleys

Mamma's boy talking :evil:

Tennisfan!
09-29-2008, 07:01 PM
Federer isn't even in the top 15 players of all time.

Prediction? Like the one you said that Roger never won a GS again (before USO)? :evil:

Tennisfan!
09-29-2008, 07:04 PM
My top list of GOATs:

1) Del Potro
2) Nadal
3) Gulbis
4) Jan Silva
5) Karlovic
6) Rod Laber

urban
09-29-2008, 11:21 PM
I read and saw pictures, that Budge modelled his backhand after the batting swing of baseballers. So he became the second Sultan of Swing. Originally he played football, because he came from Scottish upbringing - and the Scots were pretty good in this old Arsenal time.

asafi2
09-30-2008, 07:39 PM
This video is pretty good as well....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hd9lU6nCro

hoodjem
10-01-2008, 02:00 PM
This video is pretty good as well....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hd9lU6nCro
A good example of sycophantic drivel.

Dick Enberg and Mary Carillo--a real pair of tennis experts. Barf!

Roger is Magic--barfomatic!

CyBorg
10-01-2008, 02:03 PM
Chaplain: Let us praise Federer. O Lord...
Congregation: O Lord...
Chaplain: ...Ooh, You are so big...
Congregation: ...ooh, You are so big...
Chaplain: ...So absolutely huge.
Congregation: ...So absolutely huge.
Chaplain: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
Congregation: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
Chaplain: Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying, and...
Congregation: And barefaced flattery.
Chaplain: But You are so strong and, well, just so super.
Congregation: Fantastic.
Humphrey: Amen.
Congregation: Amen.

luckyboy1300
10-02-2008, 05:24 AM
psssstt come on guys!!! let our grandpa's and forefathers savour and worship the tennis legends who lived ages ago!! of course they can beat the current players of today with their booming 163 mph serves with a wooden racket, consistent and powerful forehands, and their superb movements that can send a person of this generation to sleep. we don't belong here. we belong in the present. time to go wooshhh!!!

luckyboy1300
10-02-2008, 05:34 AM
message deleted...:twisted:

hoodjem
10-04-2008, 08:30 AM
Yep. See ya, bye. . . don't let the door hit in the . . .

I love the "Born Yesterday" crowd!

(AKA Roger is the greatest I have seen, ergo he is the Greatest of All Time.)

Borgforever
07-25-2009, 07:09 AM
Greatly underrated in all-time discussions are European and Russian players who never played in the NHL.

My two teams of great Europeans of those eras past:

Team A

F: Vsevolod Bobrov/Vaclav Nedomansky/Boris Mikhailov
D: Nikolai Sologubov/Jiri Suchy
G: Vladislav Tretiak/Jan Holecek

Team B

F: Vladimir Martinec/Tumba Johansson/Valeri Kharlamov
D: Valeri Vasiliev/Alexander Ragulin
G: Viktor Konovalenko/Vladimir Dzurilla

A great and proficient hockey player AND tennis player was Jaroslav Drobny.

I'm sorry -- this has nothing to do with tennis but I just couldn't let this pass...

That is IMHO the most sophisticated and perfect GOAT-hockey line-up I have ever laid my stunned eyes on, CyB!

Whew... You really know your hockey Monsieur! I tip my hat. That totally clicks.

Okey -- gotta ask you -- I do think your choices are impeccable and better than any I've ever seen before as I said, but I'm just curious, why no love for the super-five at all?

And -- the Swedes!? Why? You think Tumba was so fabulous? I do think he was astonishing -- is it the team dynamic your aiming at or just, well, major thought behind?

Just curious.

By the way, one of my old Swedish hockey faves are Ulf Sterner from the late 60s. He was so great but couldn't adapt to NHL at all. But in terms of class he was a genius. Scored crazy goals. Doing the Foppa Olympic penalty back then like there was no tomorrow. Ice Borg cool. Anyway, you know him probably -- but he has horses now on his farm here in Sweden and he names all his horses after players he faced during his career. One horse accidentally broke his nose a while back. That horse is now named Ragulin! :-)

Borgforever
07-25-2009, 07:16 AM
I'm sorry another question, the last on this subject here, I don't want to pollute the thread any more, but do you know what they thought in Russia about the Swede's hockey skills back when the Russian's dominated?

We in Sweden were in absolute awe and admiration for the old Soviet teams. We thought they were Akilles on ice. With a solid heel too! :-)

pc1
07-25-2009, 07:27 AM
I'm sorry another question, the last on this subject here, I don't want to pollute the thread any more, but do you know what they thought in Russia about the Swede's hockey skills back when the Russian's dominated?

We in Sweden were in absolute awe and admiration for the old Soviet teams. We thought they were Akilles on ice. Without a solid heel too! :-)

I was always in awe when the Russians players came to play the NHL in hockey. They and all the Europeans improved the level of hockey here in North America. Incidentally just to put a little tennis here, Borg I understand had a great left handed shot in hockey.

Borgforever
07-25-2009, 08:41 AM
I was always in awe when the Russians players came to play the NHL in hockey. They and all the Europeans improved the level of hockey here in North America. Incidentally just to put a little tennis here, Borg I understand had a great left handed shot in hockey.

Yup! He missed hockey of course. He loved it and still do. Södertälje is in his heart and he sees their matches. How often I won't say...

pc1
07-25-2009, 10:02 AM
The rankings made by players tend to rate the contemporaries very high. Kramers best list of Budge, Perry, Riggs, Vines and Gonzales implies (more or less)secretly, that he - Kramer - was the best, because he had positive records against all (except Vines, who was his close mentor). Segura ranks Gonzales the best, because he played and beat him in his own prime. One could find many other examples. I am inclined, to give longtime followers, experts and journalists like Collins,Maskell (o.k. he was a player himself, but an astute observer), Danzig, Bellamy, Trengove, Tingay more weight. The playing conditions on the old pro tour were awful, the had to play on ice rinks, damp grass, wood, linol, in town halls and school halls, sometimes on real streets. But the standard remained very high, i have recently seen clips of Laver and Rosewall of the mid 60s, which look excellent: Great court coverage, angled shots from both sides, superb net play (wrong footing the defender with a volley - something you don't see today), deadly passing shots in full sprint. I saw a clip of the old Laver vs young Borg, where Laver with stoic calmness on the backhand transformed Borg's heayy topspin into biting slices.

This is a thread I haven't read in while but is really a super thread.

Urban has a wonderful point about how players often rate their contemporaries very high. I didn't want to put this in the Kramer thread I started but Urban (as usual) is correct when Kramer indirectly praises himself by ranking his contemporaries as the best. For example he ranks Riggs among the top of all time, ahead of Gonzalez, Laver and Rosewall. His comment on Riggs against Gonzalez is "Gonzalez did beat Rosewall in the pros, and he beat Hoad and all the others on every surface but slippery dirt right on into the early 1960s, but I think Riggs at his best would have beaten Gonzalez at his best."

Now you have to take into account that Kramer crushed Riggs on a tour by a scored of 69 to 20 so you would have to rank Kramer much higher than Riggs and therefore much higher than Gonzalez by pure logic. At least that's what Kramer implies.

Kramer's top echelon is Budge, Vines, Perry, Riggs and Gonzalez plus Cochet and Lacoste who he only heard about second hand.

Kramer's second echelon is Laver(!), Hoad, Rosewall(!), von Cramm, Schroeder (Schroeder was Kramer's best buddy), Crawford, Segura, Sedgman, Trabert, Newcombe, Ashe, Smith and Nuskse (I think he means Nastase or Nusslein but I'm not sure) with Borg and Connors who he writes is capable of moving up into the first group.

Kramer mentions little items like "I don't think I was mature enough to beat him (Budge) in '46." Notice Kramer writes that he wasn't mature enough in 1946 which implies he was better than Budge at his best just little bit later. It's pretty obvious the Kramer considers himself the best tennis player ever.

Now Kramer was clearly a great player, how great is subject to debate. I have noticed a few holes in Kramer's resume but a lot of players like Sedgman have called him the best.

hoodjem
07-25-2009, 02:03 PM
Kramer did seem to have a hidden agenda behind his rankings.

CyBorg
07-26-2009, 12:56 PM
Okey -- gotta ask you -- I do think your choices are impeccable and better than any I've ever seen before as I said, but I'm just curious, why no love for the super-five at all?

"Super-five"? What guys are you referring to?

And -- the Swedes!? Why? You think Tumba was so fabulous? I do think he was astonishing -- is it the team dynamic your aiming at or just, well, major thought behind?

Just curious.

I've seen some Tumba footage. It's not really enough to form a strong opinion. I wasn't thinking of a team dynamic as much as I was just trying to throw in some important names, trying in particular to not leave out the great players from those forgotten 50s/60s decades. Who would you include?

I would say that I know my Czechs and Russians better than I know my Swedes. Some insight would be appreciated.

By the way, one of my old Swedish hockey faves are Ulf Sterner from the late 60s. He was so great but couldn't adapt to NHL at all. But in terms of class he was a genius. Scored crazy goals. Doing the Foppa Olympic penalty back then like there was no tomorrow. Ice Borg cool. Anyway, you know him probably -- but he has horses now on his farm here in Sweden and he names all his horses after players he faced during his career. One horse accidentally broke his nose a while back. That horse is now named Ragulin! :-)

I don't really think that making a mark in the NHL is necessarily important. As long as the player makes a mark on the game it's enough. And in those years there was such a stark contrast between continents and playing styles - now the hockey world is more globalized and there isn't as much of a culture shock. I really dislike this local hall-of-fame business and there's constant debate as to whether international stars should be included. It's a big business and all about money and lobbying. No one gets in merely because they're great - it's all about under-the-table deals.

I simply say that they should rename the local hall-of-fame the NHL hall-of-fame and stop pretending.

I know of Sterner, but haven't seen enough of his matches. I have a library of WC matches, but most are 1974-onward. A few 60s ones and some 50s clips - I posted a couple on YT. So I go on mostly what I've read. I try to be as informed as possible.

Thanks for sharing - very curious what you think the best Swedes are; how you'd rate them.

Borgforever
07-26-2009, 12:58 PM
You know -- Fetisov, Makarov, Krutov, Larionov... You know?

Borgforever
07-26-2009, 12:58 PM
You have Tretjak, fine...

Borgforever
07-26-2009, 01:03 PM
And yes, you have the true Gourmet's vintage Chateau Mouton Rothchild-taste in your selections of Russian and Czech players. A pure Picasso, Rembrandt, van Gogh, Dali, Da Vinci line-up...

Sterner would love to skate and dangle with such Maestros...

CyBorg
07-26-2009, 01:10 PM
I'm sorry another question, the last on this subject here, I don't want to pollute the thread any more, but do you know what they thought in Russia about the Swede's hockey skills back when the Russian's dominated?

We in Sweden were in absolute awe and admiration for the old Soviet teams. We thought they were Akilles on ice. With a solid heel too! :-)

There was tremendous respect. My uncle was a big hockey fan and loved them. The Czechs and the Swedes were always the big rivals. A very crushing blow I know was in 1977 when the Swedes beat the Soviets in the very final match of the tournament by a close score, which I think robbed the Russians of a gold and dropped them all the way down to 3rd. Sweden wound up with silver.

That was one of the peak years. The Swedes played great as a unit - very organized, very annoying. Gave you no room. It was well known that they could match the Russians in terms of skating - I think most matches came down to the Russians keeping their resolve and letting their hands do the work, but not in '77.

CyBorg
07-26-2009, 01:12 PM
You know -- Fetisov, Makarov, Krutov, Larionov... You know?

That post is from a long time ago - I think I made it a point to leave out the NHLers. So Makarov and co weren't included.

Makarov is maybe my favorite Soviet of all time. Larionov I think is overrated here in North America, but not necessarily elsewhere. Krutov had a great short career.

CyBorg
07-26-2009, 01:14 PM
And yes, you have the true Gourmet's vintage Chateau Mouton Rothchild-taste in your selections of Russian and Czech players. A pure Picasso, Rembrandt, van Gogh, Dali, Da Vinci line-up...

Sterner would love to skate and dangle with such Maestros...

Including a Swede rearguard would have made sense, but I wasn't sure who to go with. Salming of course played in the NHL, so I didn't go with him.

Vasiliev/Ragulin were great players, but not untouchable in my point of view.

Borgforever
07-26-2009, 01:29 PM
1977 was the miracle year. Sweden got together a strong WC-team and they were inspired. No-one would believe that the Russians could be beaten though. Maybe a good close match instead of terrible 1-7, 2-9-matches.

Those two matches, the 3-1 and 5-2 (or was is 5-3?) victories are shown with regularity here in Sweden (but not often enough in my view) -- they were masterpieces. Swede's loved to play the Russians though. It was stratosphere hockey. Their skating skills were second to none, packed with elegant tricks and true master touches.

Several players went after the matches something like: "You know, you find yourself so easily, dropping to a stand-still, just watching them. Just admiring the moves, the attacks, the finishes. Tremendously demoralizing."

But in 1977 something clicked. Those goals scored in those matches by the Swede's rank as some of the most lovely ones made by a Swede. Feigning and then rounding the goalies and chilling finishes.

Against the legends. Lovely taste in the mouth...

I do believe some Swedes literally get tears in their eyes when the see these pictures again, every time. The impossible happened. Cue the finishing section of Beethoven's 9th. Like the lightning striking in real time...

And then the great Czechs still won...

The next year the Boss came back and told everybody who's Boss again...

pc1
07-27-2009, 07:55 AM
I assume Borje Salming was on that team for Sweden. Was he considered the star of the team or were there better players?

grafselesfan
07-27-2009, 11:01 AM
The hardest players I have a time ranking are the pre World War 11 players. The myth that competition was much easier in the 50s and 60s is just that, a myth. In fact the 50s and 60s had some of the deepest fields ever seen, particularly the mens side. However the pre World War 11 fields were undoubtably more shallow than in the future, not surprising as tennis was only starting out as a bigtime sport. Plus the game was so different then, female players played longer but sometimes only played 0, 1, or 2 slams a year and barely any tournaments. The men also played sparsely, usually turned pro very quickly alot like the 50s and 60s, but unlike the 50s and 60s the then "pro" game wasnt as advanced or well put together with as many legitimate events as the 50s and 60s.

Frank Silbermann
08-01-2009, 08:32 PM
This is a thread I haven't read in while but is really a super thread.


Kramer mentions little items like "I don't think I was mature enough to beat him (Budge) in '46." Notice Kramer writes that he wasn't mature enough in 1946 which implies he was better than Budge at his best just little bit later. It's pretty obvious the Kramer considers himself the best tennis player ever. No, Kramer is saying that just a little bit later he might have been good enough to beat the 1946 Budge. Riggs beat Budge in 1946 and later said that this was not the same Don Budge as in 1937-39. By 1946 Budge was older, heavier, and possibly had injured his shoulder during WWII basic training.

BTURNER
08-02-2009, 07:01 AM
I thought the swing volley was considered very low percentage secondary to the small size of the sweet spot? Not that it had not been invented or it could not work, but that it required such fine timing of the swing, that was imprudent compared with stepping back or foreward a step to hit either a conventional approach or a punch volley?

hoodjem
08-02-2009, 07:02 AM
Swing volley is much easier to hit with today's larger, graphite racquets. Timing does not have to be so critical or precise.

Borgforever
08-03-2009, 08:19 AM
Swing volley is much easier to hit with today's larger, graphite racquets. Timing does not have to be so critical or precise.

Yes, a statement cannot be more correct than this and I agree without any reservations whatsoever... I think that was ten characters or more...

pc1
08-03-2009, 03:40 PM
Swing volley is much easier to hit with today's larger, graphite racquets. Timing does not have to be so critical or precise.

Yes, a statement cannot be more correct than this and I agree without any reservations whatsoever... I think that was ten characters or more...

This is an interesting few lines about the dynamic play of Laver (who was playing doubles with Forbes against Fred Stolle and Cliff Drysdale) in the early 1960's. It's from Gordon Forbes' "A Handful of Summers." We held firm until four games all in the first set, than dropped service and lost 6-4 in a very conventional sort of way. At about six all in the second set it occurred to me that we were containing the -that it was not, as I had been afraid, running away with us. If anything Rodney was perhaps too much the individual to ever be as great at doubles as he was at singles. While he made some shots so quick and stunning that he left everyone, including his partners, with severe cases of dropped jaw, he also sometimes confused things by playing unconventional shots--things like drive volleys,or topspin lobs for service returns or colossal ground shots from the back of the court when he should have been at net. He also sometimes advanced to net behind his own lobs, quite confident apparently of volleying back his opponent's smash, which he sometimes did.

Lobbing and moving in to volley a smash?? Topspin lobs off returns and with an old wood racket, drive volleys. That's amazing but I guess that's why he was Laver.

Incidentally would anyone but Laver even consider these type of shots??

Tomaz Bellucci
08-04-2009, 12:14 PM
You know -- Fetisov, Makarov, Krutov, Larionov... You know?

I can speak A LOT if we include soccer here.... :)

BTURNER
08-04-2009, 12:19 PM
Yeah,lots, but their coaches kept telling them they were stupid low percentage shots. A little harder when your player makes them most of the time.

pc1
08-04-2009, 07:03 PM
Yeah,lots, but their coaches kept telling them they were stupid low percentage shots. A little harder when your player makes them most of the time.

How true, how true.

hoodjem
08-05-2009, 03:16 PM
quite confident apparently of volleying back his opponent's smash, which he sometimes did.

Lobbing and moving in to volley a smash?? Topspin lobs off returns and with an old wood racket, drive volleys. That's amazing but I guess that's why he was Laver.

Incidentally would anyone but Laver even consider these type of shots??
Yea, imagine Laver volleying a Sampras smash at Wimbers? I can. No one else!

That's why he's Laver--the GOAT.