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View Full Version : Why Federer has to Win the FO to be a GOAT contender


noeledmonds
05-04-2007, 04:34 PM
Allow me to explain why Federer has to win the French Open to be a contender for the GOAT. Firstly all comparisons appear to be with Sampras. Why not make comparisons with Rod Laver who has a far more valid argument for being the GOAT. Before I talk about Laver's achivements let me inform those of you who are unaware how tennis worked pre-open era.

Professionals were not allowed to enter grand slams, only amateur players were. Rod Laver turned professional after completing his first Grand Slam in 1962. Therefore from 1963 until 1967 Laver was unable to compete in any grand slam events. However there were Majors for professionals that were the equivalent of grand slams. These majors were the US Pro, the French Pro and the Wembley Pro. These were the biggest events in tennis for professionals before 1968.

Here are some of Laver's achivements:

Won 181 Tournaments
Won 19 Majors (6 pre-open era grand slams, 8 pro events, 5 open-era grand slams)
Won The Grand Slam twice (winning all 4 grand slam events in the same calander year)
Won the Pro Slam once (the professional equivalent of The Grand Slam before the open-era)
Spent an estimated 7 years finishing at World Number 1 (although there was not an offical ranking system like there is today this is the figure most experts have agreed on)
Won 22 tournaments in a pre-open era year (in 1962, the most ever won in a single pre-open era year)
Won 18 tournaments in an open-era year (in 1969, most ever in an open-era year)

The Competition:

This is a common critisism I hear of the Rod Laver era. People say that the competition is weak. The people who say this are almost exclusively people who have not watched the early game. While it is true that the players from 50 to 100 in the rankings are probabely stronger today than there were back then, it is also true that the top 10 or 20 were probabely stronger back in Laver's time. While it is true that a players first or second round oponents were often weaker than todays by the time the quarter-final, or latest the semi-final was reached the players were playing multi-slam champions with complete games (not the likes of Davydenko and Ljubicic). Generally it does not matter if a player such as Federer is playing Björn Phau (Federer's first round oponent at the AO) or someone worse. Either first round oponent should be easily dismissed by a great champion. It is later in the tournament against the better players who are nearer to your own standard that the matches become closer. Consider that Federer passes Björn Phau with ease and Laver passes M Di Domenico (Laver's 1969 AO first round oponent) with even more ease. However come the quarters Federer has Robredo and Laver has Fred Stolle (2 time slam champion and 8 time slams finalist). Come the semi-final Federer has Roddick (1 time slam champion and 4 time slam finalist) while Laver has Roche (1 time slam champion and 6 time slam finalist). Both players have weak finalists with Federer having Gonzalez and Laver has Gimeno (1 time slam champion). However Laver has had the harder latter part of the draw. Incidentally I choose these draws at random, and obviously both Federer and Laver have had harder slam draws. Laver beat the very best on grass and clay at the grand slams, overcoming the likes of Newcombe on grass and Rosewall on clay.

The Surfaces:

Here is another reason I here often. Most people think that Laver never played on hard courts. This is not true, Laver never won a slam on hard courts because there were no slams on hard courts when Laver played (both AO and USO were grass). Laver did win the big hard court events at the time however (such as the South African Open at Ellis Park, Johannesburg and US Pro at Boston). He also won the big indoor events (such as Philadephia US Pro Indoor and Wembley British Indoor). There is no reason to suspect that Laver would have not won The Grand Slam had one of the slams been played on hard court. Note that people use Borg as an example of a player who could win on hard courts but not at the hard court slam (USO). This is incorrect reasoning as it was not the surface that stopped Borg winning the USO. Borg hated the noisy crowds and the late night sessions under the lights. Borg performed relativly poorley all accross the USA because of this. Two of the grand slam finals that Borg reached at the USO were actually played on green clay and not hard court at all, thus reinforcing the fact that it was the area not the surface that bothered Borg. Laver won many events throughout the USA so there is no reason to suspect he would have been bothered like Borg was.

The Physicalness of the Game:

The physical fitness of the players was very high back then. They were not hitting the ball as hard consitantly, but this was down to the older equipment. Players played 5 set matches from the semi-finals onwards even in many smaller tournaments. There were no tiebreaks, so sets sometimes went to scores of 22-20 or more. This meant for exhausting matches. The players also played a hectic doubles schedule, and Laver won 6 doubles grand slams accross his career (4 pre-open era and 2 open-era). Player did not have the same kind of assistance from nutritionists and personal trainder that they have today. In fact the players often took public flights to get between tournaments and arranged traveling themselves. These flights were normally indirect and Vilas stated that many players left the tour simply because of the hassel and stress of the oranisational side.

General Consensus:

I also here the arguement that most people think that Sampras is the GOAT so he must be. This is because most people know very little about Laver's achivements and have never seen him play. Therefore they disregard him. Those who are more knowledgable tend to choose Laver over the likes of Sampras or Pancho Gonzales (I am not going into a debate about Gonzales now though).



Therefore the reason that Federer has to win a FO to be the GOAT is because he needs to match the achivements of Rod Laver. I would in fact argue that Federer really needs a Grand Slam before he start tipping the scales in his favour.

N.B I am aware that by counting slams from the pre-open era and the professional equivalent I am effectivly handing out two sets of grand slams, one to ameteur and one to professional. This does favour Laver's pre-open era case as he did not compete against professionals for his pre-open era slams or ametuers for his pro tournament. Even taking this into account though it should be obvious that Laver is considerably ahead of the likes of Sampras and Federer. Remember that also Laver's years as a professional pre-open era had only 3 pro events (slam equivalents) so Laver had less majors he could win during some of the best years of his playing career.

federerfanatic
05-04-2007, 04:46 PM
It all depends who you consider the GOAT. If Sampras is the GOAT he certainly does not need to win the French Open to achieve that status. If Gonzalez is the GOAT, I would even argue he doesnt since Gonzalez never even won the French Pro. If Borg or Rosewall are your GOAT he still doesnt have to since they each failed to win a hugely important slam. However if Laver or Budge is your GOAT then yes I would agree.

drakulie
05-04-2007, 04:47 PM
I don't think fed needs a French to be considered GOAT. He is without a doubt the best player between the lines the game has ever seen, regardless of the numbers. The numbers he currently has are just icing on the cake, and they are still being added to.

Also, to a certain extent I disagree with the comment below. They weren't hitting the ball as hard because they weren't swinging as fast back then as they do today. If they were swinging as hard as they do today, and the MPH is still significantly lower>>> then you would have a valid argument.

"They were not hitting the ball as hard consitantly, but this was down to the older equipment. "

Heavy Metal Tennis Star
05-04-2007, 04:48 PM
a slam is a slam, they are all equal, sampras is the current goat, but federer will obviously surpass him.

Polaris
05-04-2007, 05:10 PM
I don't think fed needs a French to be considered GOAT. He is without a doubt the best player between the lines the game has ever seen, regardless of the numbers. The numbers he currently has are just icing on the cake, and they are still being added to.
Agree completely. This statement makes me want to retract anything negative I have ever said about drak.

drakulie
05-04-2007, 05:19 PM
Agree completely. This statement makes me want to retract anything negative I have ever said about drak.

Thanks Polaris. But remember, it's those negative comments coupled with the positive ones that make us all whole. They add color and character!

Zaragoza
05-04-2007, 07:37 PM
Because clay is currently the 2nd most important surface in tennis. Someone who isn´t the best in the 2nd most important surface (at least once in his life) cannot be considered the GOAT. Even if he wins the FO once, Borg and Laver will be ahead in my opinion.
Noeledmonds, you said recently that the current competition on clay is weak compared to other eras. So if there is a weak competition on clay after Nadal, don´t you think that the GOAT should be able to win the FO at least once in his life in a weak era of clay? Or...if Federer is the GOAT and he is constantly beaten by Nadal on clay does it mean that Nadal is the greatest ever on clay despite of the "weak" competition? My point is: if you think that Federer could be the GOAT without winning the FO then you can´t deny that Nadal is the greatest ever on clay.
Actually I think Laver is the GOAT and Borg is the greatest ever on clay.
We are judging the players achievements, not tennis evolution. Otherwise the GOAT will always be the current no. 1 since tennis is in constant evolution.

brc444
05-04-2007, 08:11 PM
The Laver post indicated that he had 8 pro majors. Who are the leaders in pro majors and should any of them be considered for GOAT? If we give Laver the benefit of the doubt and say he has 19 majors, then I would give Fed GOAT with 20 slams even without the FO.

federerfanatic
05-04-2007, 08:19 PM
Because clay is currently the 2nd most important surface in tennis. Someone who isn´t the best in the 2nd most important surface (at least once in his life) cannot be considered the GOAT. Even if he wins the FO once, Borg and Laver will be ahead in my opinion.

Clay may or may not be the 2nd most important surface in tennis, depending on what your views are, but its biggest event is still only the 3rd most important event in tennis behind the biggest event of 2 other surfaces-Wimbledon(grass) and U.S Open(hard courts).

Someone who is never the best on the 2nd most important surface in tennis automaticaly cannost be considered the GOAT? Well Borg was never the best on the 1st mot important sruface in tennis-hard courts. One cant say he was ever the best on hard courts when he failed to win the U.S Open any of the 4 years it was on hard courts, so he then could even less be the GOAT on that logic.

If winning the French Open is sufficient to make Laver considered as the best clay courter at one point in time, then winning the French Open would also be sufficient to make Federer considered that at one point in time, if you go by the same standards.

federerfanatic
05-04-2007, 08:22 PM
My point is: if you think that Federer could be the GOAT without winning the FO then you can´t deny that Nadal is the greatest ever on clay.

This logic is beyond ridiculous. However it is typical of the ******** Nadal fan groupies.

I wonder if someone ever said previously: if Sampras can be considered the GOAT without winning the French, then you couldnt deny any player who dominated Sampras on clay and dominated clay in general during a Sampras era is the greatest ever on clay. Naw, I doubt it, unless the Sampras era "clay court king" fan groupies somehow matched the group of clowns that make up Nadal's fan club.

urban
05-05-2007, 12:41 AM
I think, Noeledmonds makes some good points about Laver and the pre open era, which are to be regarded in a thoughtful analysis. The problem of the lost records of the era is discussed by Raymond Lee in tennis week, in an article 'Roger vs. the Record Book, from May 2006. He agrees that Federer has to win nearly 20 majors, to get near the real records.
http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennisweek/index.cfm?nc=showarticle&newsid=14812...
From some discussions on the internet i have learnt, that it would be fair (but it is complex and difficult), to reconstruct the four most significant tournaments for every year since 1946. This is especially important to the pre open era, but also to the early open era until 1974/5 (and maybe for the late period, due to the AO problem), because many majors had depleted fields. The importance of the pro majors changed over the years: Wembley was regarded as a inofficial world champs since 1956-1967, the US pro had a slump in the late 50s and early 60s, and were rejunevated at Boston since 1964. The French Pro was played on different surfaces (until 62 on clay, and 68 on clay at RG, 64-67 on indoor carpet) in September, often one week before Wembley. There were other important pro tourneys as the US indoors, the Forest Hills event, the Melbourne event, the Johannesburg event and so on. The most important pro event ever probably was the Wimbledon pro, held on Centre Court in 1967. Furthermore, in the early 70s, events like Sydney, Phialdelphia, Boston or Wembley had much better fields than many majors. Its of course difficult and a bit arbitrary to select 4 events for each year. Maybe you can use for most years of the pre open era a formula of 3 pro majors and 1 amateur Wimbledon, to get the four. If you do, you will see, that Rosewall and Laver both will end up with around 20 titles, Gonzales with ca. 15, Tilden with up to 20.

noeledmonds
05-05-2007, 03:37 AM
I am disapointed by the general response here. Why is Sampras the GOAT? This is something you have to justify. Sampras has less majors than Laver and failed to win the FO. You can say that you view all slams as equal but you can not deny that winning across multiple different surfaces shows more versitility. The GOAT must be based on criteira and not just an impulse desion based on general consensus. As urban says the reality of the situation with the important tournaments is more compilcated than I stated above, however this is still a reasonable representation of the situation back in Laver's era and makes a comparison with today's achivements reasonable.

noeledmonds
05-05-2007, 03:41 AM
He is without a doubt the best player between the lines the game has ever seen, regardless of the numbers.

Incidentally, What does this mean? Laver had amazing talent and varitey. Could hit angles equally (or perhaps more) extreme than Federer. Laver could hit passing shots from all over the court, was superb at the net, and came out with some remarkable improvised shots as often as Federer.

Also, to a certain extent I disagree with the comment below. They weren't hitting the ball as hard because they weren't swinging as fast back then as they do today. If they were swinging as hard as they do today, and the MPH is still significantly lower>>> then you would have a valid argument.

They could actually hit the ball nearly as hard as today in Laver's day. They just did not attempt to do so as consistantly. This is because with a wood racket the sweet spot is so small there is very little margin for error. Swinging at the ball widly every shot would lead to too many errors. Todays rackets allow a full swing as the ball is still contolable if hit almost anywhere within the the perimieter of the racket frame.

tricky
05-05-2007, 04:35 AM
Incidentally, What does this mean? Laver had amazing talent and varitey. Could hit angles equally (or perhaps more) extreme than Federer. Laver could hit passing shots from all over the court, was superb at the net, and came out with some remarkable improvised shots as often as Federer.

Basically, it means that Federer is the best practitioner of the most advanced racquet technology available today. People can use that to support any stance, and they'll probably be right.

Tennis as a game doesn't have a stable reference point for long term comparisons. People can't prove that Borg could hit a Nadal shot with the spin rate of a 2nd serve had he used a modern racquet. People also can't prove that Federer can match Laver's shot selection using a wooden racquet in a game situation. We don't know.

tintin
05-05-2007, 08:37 AM
he's already surpassed Sampras in my book for the simple fact that in this era,no other player has ever dominated the game the way Federer has been able to do despite the fact that he hasn't won RG yet and we know that had Nadal not been in Federer's way he won have won for sure.
2nd-the man is trully all surface player something that can't be said about Sampras;Federer has made every single clay finals there is around and made the finals of RG the big daddy of all clay court tournaments and for pete's sakes Federer has made all the damn Slams finals since Wimbledon 2005
3-Sampras never won so many tournaments; on so many surface that came his way the way Federer has .
Federer is a better athlete and a much better player technique wise that Sampras ever was.

Mick
05-05-2007, 09:10 AM
People also can't prove that Federer can match Laver's shot selection using a wooden racquet in a game situation. We don't know.


Borg said current world No 1 Federer would likely master an old-fashioned wooden racquet unlike many other active top players. "A player like Federer is the master of everything, he has no weaknesses," Borg said.

source:
http://www.protennisfan.com/pete_sampras/index.html

Andres
05-05-2007, 09:21 AM
We are judging the players achievements, not tennis evolution. Otherwise the GOAT will always be the current no. 1 since tennis is in constant evolution.
We judge the achievements, but that's only a part of the picture.
GOAT = Greatest of all time, and not Most Achieved of All time.

Down in the picture, the greatest players of all time, to my eyes, are those who could beat virtually anyone, without looking at the numbers. That's why we can't compare achievements from different Eras. If a player dominates the grass, and 3 slams are on grass (like Laver), that somehow TAINTES his record. Can you imagine Ivanisevic playing in that era? With that serve?

Down to the picture, the GOAT must be around Borg, Sampras and Federer. Federer plays a total different kind of dominant tennis, but Sampras could blow anyone off, at a certain moment, and so could Borg or Fed. Fed is the most dominant player ever, probably. His records and game is undeniable.

There are no GOATS in sports. Can anyone argue about Wilt Chamberlain vs. Michael Jordan? Both have equally impressive records and careers.

Looking for a Goat will NEVER end up right.

The Top3 players of all time are Borg, Sampras, and Federer, in my own and humble opinion.

drakulie
05-05-2007, 10:01 AM
Incidentally, What does this mean?

What I mean is as follows:

If Fed played Laver he would blow him off the court. Period.

Many times it's not about the numbers>> it's simply about watching players and knowing that one is a better "all-around" player than another. In my opinion>> Fed is a way better player than Laver ever was. To me, he is without a doubt the best player I have ever seen.

drakulie
05-05-2007, 10:06 AM
They could actually hit the ball nearly as hard as today in Laver's day. They just did not attempt to do so as consistantly. This is because with a wood racket the sweet spot is so small there is very little margin for error. Swinging at the ball widly every shot would lead to too many errors.

I disagree. They did not hit the ball as hard because quite simply their mechanics did not allow it. They did not take the full swings like players today take. The game was different back then. The way swings were taught and what was considered "correct technique" was different than what is taught today.

urban
05-05-2007, 11:21 AM
Now, Laver didn't play textbook tennis in his day.Instead he played a wristy topspin game with new shoulder turns, quick swings and exquisite timing, which was an innovation in the 60s, when drives and slice backhands were the standard of the top players. When in form, he did take a swing at almost every ball, to blast it back as hard as possible. Thanks to the internet, i could refresh my memories with some dvds. Laver was medium built, but his lefthanded serve was quite effective. In the Wim final 1969 against Newcombe, who by all accounts had the heaviest first and second serve of the day, he outaced Newk 11-5. Laver (and Newcombe too) made more double faults than today (5 or 6 and 8), obviously it was more difficult to hit a long and spinning second serve with the small wood frames. Laver had a wristy, quick forehand, not unlike Federer. Federer is more regular with it, because he returns more defensive, and hits his winners mostly from the middle of the court. Laver was more like Henri Leconte, going for quick winners. Newcombe avoided the Laver forehand, which could find small gaps for passing shots, and was especially dangerous, when hit wide on the run. Laver's backhand was much better than Federer's. When on song, Laver could hit one shot with biting slice and the next shot with heavy topspin, he could hit it with disguise, soft and hard, down the line or extremely cross. Against Newcombe he found angles, i have never seen again. In the 3 rd set of that final, at 2-4, 15-0, he was forced wide to his backhand by a deep Newcombe volley, hit a half volley behind his foot and sliced it cross, parallel to the net, not soft, but so quick, that you could barely see it even in slow motion. His slice was not a defensive poke, but a true heavy hit (Rosewalls backhand slice was similar forcing), but mostly he hit deadly topspin winners, often setting the volleyer on the wrong foot. On the volley, especially on the backhand volley, Laver was better and more forcing than Federer. I see advantages for Federer maybe on the consistency of the forehand and the overhead. Laver could be a bit shaky there, but could come up with great after bounce smashes from the baseline. But on the backhand and volley, Federer is not near Laver. While Federer may be more consistent and defensive off the ground,Laver's game was more aggressive and risky. If you combine the technical ability and adventurous mind of a Leconte, with the tactical brain and physical fitness of a Ivan Lendl, you get an idea of Laver's game.

Mick
05-05-2007, 01:29 PM
Borg vs Laver (for those who haven't seen it)

I really admire Rod Laver's form. He was so smooth. Borg won the match.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=aLzbXvh64sY

ShooterMcMarco
05-05-2007, 01:37 PM
Damn, I wish I was around to see the former greats. Why couldn't my parents have sex sooner?

Andres
05-05-2007, 01:39 PM
Damn, I wish I was around to see the former greats. Why couldn't my parents have sex sooner?
Splitting headaches. And they were tired, if I recall correctly ;)

Mick
05-05-2007, 01:41 PM
Damn, I wish I was around to see the former greats. Why couldn't my parents have sex sooner?

the tennis was great but there's no DVD movies or Internet. It's better to be living today :)

a guy
05-05-2007, 01:43 PM
Laver or any other older players wouldn't have a chance against Federer.. don't be daft. He is a million times a better athlete and tennis is more difficult now.

CyBorg
05-05-2007, 02:19 PM
Borg said current world No 1 Federer would likely master an old-fashioned wooden racquet unlike many other active top players. "A player like Federer is the master of everything, he has no weaknesses," Borg said.

source:
http://www.protennisfan.com/pete_sampras/index.html

Bjorn speaks the truth.

P.S. Sampras is not the best of all time. Not even close. You can't suck on clay and be in contention for such a consideration.

CyBorg
05-05-2007, 02:20 PM
Laver or any other older players wouldn't have a chance against Federer.. don't be daft. He is a million times a better athlete and tennis is more difficult now.

Well, I'm sold. Thanks for the in-depth analysis, Einstein.

Zaragoza
05-05-2007, 06:44 PM
This logic is beyond ridiculous. However it is typical of the ******** Nadal fan groupies.

I wonder if someone ever said previously: if Sampras can be considered the GOAT without winning the French, then you couldnt deny any player who dominated Sampras on clay and dominated clay in general during a Sampras era is the greatest ever on clay. Naw, I doubt it, unless the Sampras era "clay court king" fan groupies somehow matched the group of clowns that make up Nadal's fan club.

Fanatic:

I never said that Sampras is the GOAT.
Sampras was never the 2nd best on clay. Federer is much better than Sampras was on clay.
Nobody dominated on clay in the Sampras era like Nadal has been doing in the last 2 years (and the best is probably to come).
Federer´s dominance in the last 3 years has been bigger than Sampras´s dominance and still, he has been beaten by Nadal on clay everytime and in the biggest events. Isn´t a hint that Federer is so dominant but he always loses to Nadal on clay? And yes, I don´t change a comma from that sentence: if you consider Federer the GOAT without a FO title and he is constantly beaten by Nadal on clay, I could apply the same logic to say that Nadal is the greatest ever on clay. But as I said, I think Laver and Borg are the greatest in their respective categories.
At least I hope you don´t say anymore that Nadal fans are unclassy. That would be ******** but wouldn´t surprise me from you, of course.

brc444
05-05-2007, 08:51 PM
Bjorn speaks the truth.

P.S. Sampras is not the best of all time. Not even close. You can't suck on clay and be in contention for such a consideration.

Pete's 14 slams puts him in contention notwithstanding any deficiencies on clay.

federerfanatic
05-05-2007, 09:23 PM
Fanatic:

I never said that Sampras is the GOAT.
Sampras was never the 2nd best on clay. Federer is much better than Sampras was on clay.
Nobody dominated on clay in the Sampras era like Nadal has been doing in the last 2 years (and the best is probably to come).
Federer´s dominance in the last 3 years has been bigger than Sampras´s dominance and still, he has been beaten by Nadal on clay everytime and in the biggest events. Isn´t a hint that Federer is so dominant but he always loses to Nadal on clay? And yes, I don´t change a comma from that sentence: if you consider Federer the GOAT without a FO title and he is constantly beaten by Nadal on clay, I could apply the same logic to say that Nadal is the greatest ever on clay. But as I said, I think Laver and Borg are the greatest in their respective categories.
At least I hope you don´t say anymore that Nadal fans are unclassy. That would be ******** but wouldn´t surprise me from you, of course.

OK I am definitely glad to hear you dont consider Sampras the GOAT, since if what you value would require Federer to be more then the 2nd best clay court player in the World at some point, then considering Sampras the GOAT based on that requirement needed of Federer would be ridiculous.

For the record I do not consider Federer the GOAT yet. I consider him somewhere from the 4th to 8th greatest of all time. Below Laver, Sampras, Borg at this point and debateable among Tilden, Budge, Gonzalez, Rosewall. However I do still question your saying you dont believe one could be the GOAT never being the best player on the second most important surface, based on your saying Borg and Laver are the greatest for you. If you consider clay the second most important surface, I can only assume you consider grass the third, since hard courts being the most important surface is pretty much undisputable. Yet you say Laver or Borg are the greatest by your standards. Yet was Borg ever the best player on hard courts, the most important surface? Borg failed to win the U.S Open any of the 4 years it was played on hard courts. From 75-78 Borg went 0-3 vs Connors on hard courts from 1978-1981, all in his tennis prime when he was right at the top. In 80-81 Borg only played John twice on hard court, both U.S Open finals, losing both. The only year I could see an argument that he was the best on hard courts was 1979 where he won his 3 meetings with McEnroe or Connors, all in straight sets, but then again he crashed out in the big one-the U.S Open.

noeledmonds
05-07-2007, 02:12 PM
Now, Laver didn't play textbook tennis in his day.Instead he played a wristy topspin game with new shoulder turns, quick swings and exquisite timing, which was an innovation in the 60s, when drives and slice backhands were the standard of the top players. When in form, he did take a swing at almost every ball, to blast it back as hard as possible. Thanks to the internet, i could refresh my memories with some dvds. Laver was medium built, but his lefthanded serve was quite effective. In the Wim final 1969 against Newcombe, who by all accounts had the heaviest first and second serve of the day, he outaced Newk 11-5. Laver (and Newcombe too) made more double faults than today (5 or 6 and 8), obviously it was more difficult to hit a long and spinning second serve with the small wood frames. Laver had a wristy, quick forehand, not unlike Federer. Federer is more regular with it, because he returns more defensive, and hits his winners mostly from the middle of the court. Laver was more like Henri Leconte, going for quick winners. Newcombe avoided the Laver forehand, which could find small gaps for passing shots, and was especially dangerous, when hit wide on the run. Laver's backhand was much better than Federer's. When on song, Laver could hit one shot with biting slice and the next shot with heavy topspin, he could hit it with disguise, soft and hard, down the line or extremely cross. Against Newcombe he found angles, i have never seen again. In the 3 rd set of that final, at 2-4, 15-0, he was forced wide to his backhand by a deep Newcombe volley, hit a half volley behind his foot and sliced it cross, parallel to the net, not soft, but so quick, that you could barely see it even in slow motion. His slice was not a defensive poke, but a true heavy hit (Rosewalls backhand slice was similar forcing), but mostly he hit deadly topspin winners, often setting the volleyer on the wrong foot. On the volley, especially on the backhand volley, Laver was better and more forcing than Federer. I see advantages for Federer maybe on the consistency of the forehand and the overhead. Laver could be a bit shaky there, but could come up with great after bounce smashes from the baseline. But on the backhand and volley, Federer is not near Laver. While Federer may be more consistent and defensive off the ground,Laver's game was more aggressive and risky. If you combine the technical ability and adventurous mind of a Leconte, with the tactical brain and physical fitness of a Ivan Lendl, you get an idea of Laver's game.

Excellent analysis Urban. I have no more to add to the comparison. However to those who say that tennis is getting better all the time consdier the longitivity of so many champions. Consider that Rosewall reached the final of both Wimbledon and the USO at the age of 39 going on 40 and was still winning tournaments in 1977 at the age of 43. Laver beat Borg on clay in 1974, the year Borg won his first FO title. Connors still performed competivly well beyond the age of 30, picking up his last grand slam at 31. Agassi was world number 1 at 33 and won 5 slams after the age of 29. Also look at people like McEnroe and Navratilova who are winning doubles tournaments as recently as last year both nearly 50 and having made the transition from wood to graphite rackets. Older Players have not just had to keep up with the younger generation but have also adapt their games with changes in the game due to changing technologies. Yet these older players have still made these adaptations and been sucessfull late into their careers.

tricky
05-07-2007, 03:25 PM
Older Players have not just had to keep up with the younger generation but have also adapt their games with changes in the game due to changing technologies. Yet these older players have still made these adaptations and been sucessfull late into their careers.

I actually consider Agassi an exceptional case, because for the most part, he only had to rebuild his serve through his career. It's part of his unique greatness among his generation -- his strokes are still textbook models for the current game.

Laver, though . . . you can argue that his FH is a forerunner of the "Forehand 3.0" (yeah I made that up) you see with Federer and Nadal. Laver used forearm pronation/arm extension in his backswing, as "modern" a technique as there is, and which gives you a very liquid whip motion. In fact, cross Laver's motion with Borg's shoulder finish, add a Western grip, and you have something very close to Nadal.

edmondsm
05-07-2007, 04:13 PM
Excellent analysis Urban. I have no more to add to the comparison. However to those who say that tennis is getting better all the time consdier the longitivity of so many champions. Consider that Rosewall reached the final of both Wimbledon and the USO at the age of 39 going on 40 and was still winning tournaments in 1977 at the age of 43. Laver beat Borg on clay in 1974, the year Borg won his first FO title. Connors still performed competivly well beyond the age of 30, picking up his last grand slam at 31. Agassi was world number 1 at 33 and won 5 slams after the age of 29. Also look at people like McEnroe and Navratilova who are winning doubles tournaments as recently as last year both nearly 50 and having made the transition from wood to graphite rackets. Older Players have not just had to keep up with the younger generation but have also adapt their games with changes in the game due to changing technologies. Yet these older players have still made these adaptations and been sucessfull late into their careers.

Longevity is a product of a good mental approach. You can't have longevity if you rely on your physical attributes. This is true of all of the players you mentioned regardless of generation, with the exception of McEnroe and Navritilova. Doubles and singles=apples and oranges. Neither of them could put two singles wins together on tour.

janipyt05
05-08-2007, 01:18 AM
question why do ppl in order for Fed to be GOAT he has to win French open, hasn't Fed done enough already to be right up there with the very best if not the best? Sampras never won French and he is the GOAT?

caulcano
05-08-2007, 02:31 AM
If you consider clay the second most important surface, I can only assume you consider grass the third, since hard courts being the most important surface is pretty much undisputable

I hate to break your bubble but Wimbldeon is considered the most important tournament in the calendar year which makes grass the most important surface. Period.

federerfanatic
05-08-2007, 03:35 AM
I hate to break your bubble but Wimbldeon is considered the most important tournament in the calendar year which makes grass the most important surface. Period.

If grass is really the most important surface then, then that would make clay only the 3rd most important surface behind both grass and hard courts. One thing is definite, hard courts is over clay no matter how you look at it. So either way my point does not change, and in no way does your statement burst my bubble. If Zaragoza claims Federer cant be the best player ever if he is not considered the best clay courter at some point, then by his/her standards Borg could also not be the best ever since he was never really the best hard court player at any point in time, and hard courts is a more important surface then clay. Yet he/she says despite that prevention of Federer achieving GOAT status, that GOAT is Laver or Borg.

caulcano
05-08-2007, 04:02 AM
If grass is really the most important surface then, then that would make clay only the 3rd most important surface behind both grass and hard courts. One thing is definite, hard courts is over clay no matter how you look at it. So either way my point does not change, and in no way does your statement burst my bubble. If Zaragoza claims Federer cant be the best player ever if he is not considered the best clay courter at some point, then by his/her standards Borg could also not be the best ever since he was never really the best hard court player at any point in time, and hard courts is a more important surface then clay. Yet he/she says despite that prevention of Federer achieving GOAT status, that GOAT is Laver or Borg.

Whether HC or clay are 2nd or 3rd most important is very a debatable issue, which I would not like to be draw on.

Back on the original issue of GOAT, like you have said in an earlier response,

It all depends who you consider the GOAT. If Sampras is the GOAT he certainly does not need to win the French Open to achieve that status. If Gonzalez is the GOAT, I would even argue he doesnt since Gonzalez never even won the French Pro. If Borg or Rosewall are your GOAT he still doesnt have to since they each failed to win a hugely important slam. However if Laver or Budge is your GOAT then yes I would agree.

I agree with your statement.

Also, I'd like to add, the fact that Federer is talked about in the same sentence as Laver, Budge Sampras, etc, shows what Federer has achieved in his career thus far and in a style of play that brings praise from so many past legends.

jhhachamp
05-08-2007, 01:25 PM
Whether HC or clay are 2nd or 3rd most important is very a debatable issue, which I would not like to be draw on.

I don't think it is a very debatable issue. Ever since the US Open switched to hard court, hard courts have been the 2nd most important surface. I believe the US Open switched from clay to hard in the mid 70s (someone correct me if I am wrong).