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ATPballkid
05-14-2007, 07:48 PM
1. Sampras
2. Tilden
3. Budge
4. Rosewall
5. Perry
6. Borg
7. Laver
8. Cochet
9. Gonzales
10. Lendl
11. Connors
12. McEnroe
13. Lacoste
14. Agassi

#3-#9 are all very, very close and a good argument could be made for Rosewall at #3 ... #11-#14 are also very close.

drakulie
05-14-2007, 08:46 PM
[B]1. Sampras


ZERO FRENCH OPENS.

zapvor
05-14-2007, 10:07 PM
ZERO FRENCH OPENS.

+1. if you dont win at Roland Garros, you dont get #1

Alafter
05-14-2007, 11:11 PM
This thread lacks serious scientific analysis.

CyBorg
05-15-2007, 12:16 PM
This thread lacks serious scientific analysis.

2 + 2 = Sampras out of the top 5. :p

Azzurri
05-15-2007, 12:29 PM
Had to laugh at his 2 and 3....really a sad list with his top 2 and 3 as Tilden and Budge.

People should NOT formulate a list like this unless they have seen EVERY player play on their list. Its a joke and tiring to see this garbage on the boards.

Who am I to rate how good Laver was...NEVER SAW THE GUY PLAY. Was he good/great...of course. The only thing I can say for certain is he has won quite a few majors and a 2 time GS winner. But to rate him over Mcenroe or Lendl?? How? I saw Mac and Lendl play many matches and have no problems with rating players from the 80's, 90's and 00's. This list is a joke and I am finding the OP posts to have the same credibility.

Azzurri
05-15-2007, 12:31 PM
This guy has BORG ahead of MAC!!!! I thought MAC was the reason Borg retired?? MAC was better than Borg.

Moose Malloy
05-15-2007, 01:40 PM
People should NOT formulate a list like this unless they have seen EVERY player play on their list. Its a joke and tiring to see this garbage on the boards.

Who am I to rate how good Laver was...NEVER SAW THE GUY PLAY. Was he good/great...of course. The only thing I can say for certain is he has won quite a few majors and a 2 time GS winner. But to rate him over Mcenroe or Lendl?? How? I saw Mac and Lendl play many matches and have no problems with rating players from the 80's, 90's and 00's. This list is a joke and I am finding the OP posts to have the same credibility.

do you feel that way with other sports as well? it seems like many older boxers, baseball players, etc are still highly regarded by sportwriters/fans today, even though most of them didn't actually see them play.

Wonder why Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth are still universally regarded as among the best in their sport today, yet some tennis fans find it so farfetched to give older players their due.

Bud Collins & Steve Flink are 2 of the most knowledgable, award winning tennis writers on the planet & they put Tilden in their top 5, without having seen him play. Are they full of "garbage" as well?

I think it is incredibly shortsighted to only rank players that you have seen, & considering this board consists of mostly teenagers, I think your method(just ranking who you've seen) can result in some rather comical looking lists.

BTW you can find many laver matches on the internet, if you are interested in seeing why mac(among others) still calls him the best ever. and remember sampras studied laver's strokes when he was developing his game.

This guy has BORG ahead of MAC!!!! I thought MAC was the reason Borg retired?? MAC was better than Borg.

why is that farfetched? virtually every tenniswriter/historian ranks borg higher. 11 slams is more than 7, no? and borg retired because he was burnt out(turned pro at 15) & the atp wouldn't let him play a reduced schedule(they actually wanted him to play the qualifying at the french & wimbledon. borg had too much pride to cave-in to their demands)

Gizo
05-15-2007, 01:45 PM
If Borg had won the US Open in either 1978 or 1980, I would have no qualms declaring him as the GOAT as he would have achieved the French Open-Wimbledon-US Open treble on clay, grass and hard respectively. In my opinion, that would have topped Laver's calendar grand slam in 1969 on grass and clay.
However he didn't so Laver's takes the crown for me. I know he didn't win any grand slams on hard, but he regularly won the biggest tournaments on this surface that were available to him at the time. It was the same story with carpet as well.

EZRA
05-15-2007, 02:04 PM
Gerulaitis was the reason why Borg retired.

ATPballkid
05-15-2007, 04:55 PM
ZERO FRENCH OPENS.

Again, Tilden never won a French and never played an Australian .. yet he was the #1 player of the first 100 years of tennis even though Laver and Emerson won each of the Grand Slam events at least twice.

Sampras, Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Edberg and Kafelnikov won at least 3 singles titles on each of the 4 court surfaces ... Lendl and Wilander won at least 2 singles titles on each of the 4 court surfaces .. Agassi never managed to win more than 1 on each of the surfaces.

Baghdatis72
05-15-2007, 05:01 PM
1. Sampras
2. Tilden
3. Budge
4. Rosewall
5. Perry
6. Borg
7. Laver
8. Cochet
9. Gonzales
10. Lendl
11. Connors
12. McEnroe
13. Lacoste
14. Agassi

#3-#9 are all very, very close and a good argument could be made for Rosewall at #3 ... #11-#14 are also very close.

Where's Federer and Nadal in the ranks? :confused:

drakulie
05-15-2007, 05:19 PM
Agassi never managed to win more than 1 on each of the surfaces.

WRONG!!!!

Agassi won 4 AO titles (rebound ace)

2 US Opens (hard court)

By the way, your list is a joke.

ATPballkid
05-15-2007, 05:46 PM
WRONG!!!!

Agassi won 4 AO titles (rebound ace)

2 US Opens (hard court)

By the way, your list is a joke.

No dominance at any major event or in the #1 ranking for Agassi ... the closest would be the Australian Open.

Agassi has had a little success in several areas of the sport ... no, he has never won a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th or all-time record 7th Wimbledon ... no, he has never won a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or all-time record 5th ATP Championship ... no, he has never finished a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or all-time 6th year ranked #1.

Agassi did manage to fluke into a lucky draw at the 1999 French Open and Sampras came up 2 matches short of this when he had to beat the top clay court champions of the Open Era from the United States and Spain in 5 set battles before the semifinals.

Sampras came within 2 matches of matching Agassi in singles titles at the French.

How many matches did Agassi come within matching Pete Sampras with Pete's all-time record 7 singles titles at Wimbledon?

ANSWER: 13 matches.

1991 quarters, semis and final (QF loss to Wheaton).
1993 quarters, semis and final (QF loss to Sampras).
1995 semis and final (SF to Becker .. Becker lost to Pete).
1999 final round loss (to Sampras 3-6, 4-6, 5-7.)
2000 semis & final (SF loss to Rafter .. Pat lost to Pete).
2001 semis & final (SF loss to Rafter .. Pat lost to Goran).


How many matches did Agassi come within matching Pete Sampras with Pete's all-time record 5 U.S. Opens on hardcourts?

ANSWER: 3 matches.

1990 final round loss to Pete Sampras.
1995 final round loss to Pete Sampras.
2002 final round loss to Pete Sampras.


How many matches did Agassi come within matching Pete Sampras with Pete's all-time record 5 Tour Championships indoors?

ANSWER: 5 matches.

1994 semis lost to Sampras and final (Sampras d. Becker)
1999 final round loss to Pete Sampras 1-6, 5-7, 4-6.
2000 final round loss to Gustavo Kuerten 4-6, 4-6, 4-6.
2003 final round loss to Roger Federer 3-6, 0-6, 4-6.


How many matches did Agassi come within matching Pete Sampras with Pete's all-time record 11 consecutive years in Grand Slam singles finals?

ANSWER: 9 matches.

1993 ... 2 matches (QF & SF at Wimbledon - Sampras).
1996 ... 1 matches (semis at U.S. Open - Chang).
1997 ... 3 matches (R4, QF & SF at U.S. Open - Rafter).
1998 ... 3 matches (R4, QF & SF at U.S. Open - Kucera).


How many matches did Agassi come within matching Pete Sampras with Pete's all-time record 8 consecutive years winning Grand Slam singles finals?

ANSWER: 11 matches.

1996 ... 2 matches (semis and final at U.S. Open).
1997 ... 4 matches (R4, QF, SF and final at U.S. Open).
1998 ... 4 matches (R4, QF, SF and final at U.S. Opens).
2002 ... 1 match (final round U.S. Open loss to Sampras).



HOWEVER ...


The difference of 1 French Open doesn't negate the huge chasm of 6 Wimbledons, 3 U.S. Opens, 4 ATP Tour Championships, 5 years at #1 and 185 weeks at #1.

In fact, a player who represented the DIFFERENCE between Sampras and Agassi would be one of the very, very top players of the Open Era:

Wimbledons:

1. Sampras 7
2. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 6
3. Borg 5
4. Becker, McEnroe 3
6. Laver, Newcombe, Connors, Edberg 2


U.S. Opens on Hardcourts:

1. Sampras 5
2. McEnroe 4
3. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 3
3. Connors, Lendl 3


ATP TOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS Indoors:

1. Sampras, Lendl 5
3. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 4
3. McEnroe, Nastase 4


Years Ranked #1:

1. Sampras 6
2. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 5
2. Connors 5
4. Lendl, McEnroe 4
6. Borg, Edberg and Hewitt 2


Weeks Ranked #1:

1. Sampras 286
2. Lendl 270
3. Connors 268
4. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 185
5. McEnroe 170
6. Borg 109


Most Consecutive Years In A Grand Slam Final:

1. Sampras, Lendl 11
3. Borg 8
4. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 6
4. McEnroe 6
6. Connors 5


Most Consecutive Years Winning a Grand Slam final:

1. Sampras, Borg 8
3. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 5


This mythical player known simply as "Difference between Sampras and Agassi" would be right there with Ivan Lendl and Bjorn Borg as the 3 best players of the Open Era other than Sampras.

Azzurri
05-15-2007, 05:46 PM
do you feel that way with other sports as well? it seems like many older boxers, baseball players, etc are still highly regarded by sportwriters/fans today, even though most of them didn't actually see them play.

Wonder why Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth are still universally regarded as among the best in their sport today, yet some tennis fans find it so farfetched to give older players their due.

Bud Collins & Steve Flink are 2 of the most knowledgable, award winning tennis writers on the planet & they put Tilden in their top 5, without having seen him play. Are they full of "garbage" as well?

I think it is incredibly shortsighted to only rank players that you have seen, & considering this board consists of mostly teenagers, I think your method(just ranking who you've seen) can result in some rather comical looking lists.

BTW you can find many laver matches on the internet, if you are interested in seeing why mac(among others) still calls him the best ever. and remember sampras studied laver's strokes when he was developing his game.



why is that farfetched? virtually every tenniswriter/historian ranks borg higher. 11 slams is more than 7, no? and borg retired because he was burnt out(turned pro at 15) & the atp wouldn't let him play a reduced schedule(they actually wanted him to play the qualifying at the french & wimbledon. borg had too much pride to cave-in to their demands)

Moose...I am a fan of many sports. Some sports you can rank a player from 100 years ago to the present like baseball. Babe Ruth would still be a great player today because guys were not only throwing heat (90 mph plus) back then, but were doctoring balls like you would not believe. Joe Dimaggio, Ted Williams, Bob Feller, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb and a host of other players would still be great players today. So a top whatever list in baseball would work. This is common knowledge and many sportswriters and experts agree baseball can be ranked with out seeing the player...stats are very important because the game has relatively stayed the same. I know the balls are a little juiced or the bats are harder, but that is all.

Football...some changes that may affect a list. The sheer size and speed of players has grown leaps and bounds. But you can still rate certain guys from years past with todays players. The equipment is basically the same.

Basketball...again. The sheer size and speed of players has changed big time. Some players from the 50's might be as good as players today, but most could not even play division one college ball.

Hockey...other than a few rules changes (size and speed...to a point) is basically the same. Equipment changes is small.

Golf....lots has changed. Now this is reverse in this case. 80 years ago Bobby Jones was the best golfer in the world....bring him back today (in his prime) and he challenges Woods no problem. Equipment has changed the game and hence changed the golf course. The ball is especially important. Golfers of years past may actually be better than today's golfers....

Tennis...changes in equipment is very important to add. Bill Tilden played a style of tennis based on his equipment. That was the way he played....give him a Babolat today and he would be crushed by a nice college player. The racquet in those days only allowed a certain way to play. Today's game and for the past 26 years is very different to the days of Don Budge, Rosewall Laver and Tilden. You see, other sports have not changed much in equipment. A baseball and bat is static, footballs, basketballs, hockey sticks and pucks...all static. Golf and tennis have changed way too much.

I am not discrediting the older generations achievments, but simply stating you can't really list a player from 50 years ago to todays. The game has changed too much and we never saw them play. Stats don't mean much from 50 years ago in Tennis...unlike other sports.:)

Azzurri
05-15-2007, 05:50 PM
Gerulaitis was the reason why Borg retired.

huh?? Its common knowledge that Mac broke Borg's spirit when he took his number one ranking and started to beat him. Not only is this in Mac's book, but its been discussed in many areas. Mac is the reason.:)

FedSampras
05-15-2007, 06:58 PM
ZERO FRENCH OPENS.

drakulie = ZERO INTELLIGENCE. :D

CEvertFan
05-16-2007, 12:19 AM
Everyone seems to forget that Sampras doesn't hold the Wimbledon record all by himself. He shares it with William Renshaw, like Martina did with Helen Wills Moody until she won her 9th in 1990. So every time I see it written that Pete alone holds the record I just have to point this out. ;)

EZRA
05-16-2007, 03:05 AM
huh?? Its common knowledge that Mac broke Borg's spirit when he took his number one ranking and started to beat him. Not only is this in Mac's book, but its been discussed in many areas. Mac is the reason.:)


Vitas introduced Borg the wonders of partying .. and partying hardcore

Azzurri
05-16-2007, 03:57 PM
Vitas introduced Borg the wonders of partying .. and partying hardcore

Yes...that was part of it. According to Mac, Vitas shoed Borg you can party and play great tennis, but I don't think Borg could party like Vitas and play great tennis.

sandy mayer
05-17-2007, 01:07 PM
No dominance at any major event or in the #1 ranking for Agassi ... the closest would be the Australian Open.

Agassi has had a little success in several areas of the sport ... no, he has never won a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th or all-time record 7th Wimbledon ... no, he has never won a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or all-time record 5th ATP Championship ... no, he has never finished a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or all-time 6th year ranked #1.

Agassi did manage to fluke into a lucky draw at the 1999 French Open and Sampras came up 2 matches short of this when he had to beat the top clay court champions of the Open Era from the United States and Spain in 5 set battles before the semifinals.

Sampras came within 2 matches of matching Agassi in singles titles at the French.

How many matches did Agassi come within matching Pete Sampras with Pete's all-time record 7 singles titles at Wimbledon?

ANSWER: 13 matches.

1991 quarters, semis and final (QF loss to Wheaton).
1993 quarters, semis and final (QF loss to Sampras).
1995 semis and final (SF to Becker .. Becker lost to Pete).
1999 final round loss (to Sampras 3-6, 4-6, 5-7.)
2000 semis & final (SF loss to Rafter .. Pat lost to Pete).
2001 semis & final (SF loss to Rafter .. Pat lost to Goran).


How many matches did Agassi come within matching Pete Sampras with Pete's all-time record 5 U.S. Opens on hardcourts?

ANSWER: 3 matches.

1990 final round loss to Pete Sampras.
1995 final round loss to Pete Sampras.
2002 final round loss to Pete Sampras.


How many matches did Agassi come within matching Pete Sampras with Pete's all-time record 5 Tour Championships indoors?

ANSWER: 5 matches.

1994 semis lost to Sampras and final (Sampras d. Becker)
1999 final round loss to Pete Sampras 1-6, 5-7, 4-6.
2000 final round loss to Gustavo Kuerten 4-6, 4-6, 4-6.
2003 final round loss to Roger Federer 3-6, 0-6, 4-6.


How many matches did Agassi come within matching Pete Sampras with Pete's all-time record 11 consecutive years in Grand Slam singles finals?

ANSWER: 9 matches.

1993 ... 2 matches (QF & SF at Wimbledon - Sampras).
1996 ... 1 matches (semis at U.S. Open - Chang).
1997 ... 3 matches (R4, QF & SF at U.S. Open - Rafter).
1998 ... 3 matches (R4, QF & SF at U.S. Open - Kucera).


How many matches did Agassi come within matching Pete Sampras with Pete's all-time record 8 consecutive years winning Grand Slam singles finals?

ANSWER: 11 matches.

1996 ... 2 matches (semis and final at U.S. Open).
1997 ... 4 matches (R4, QF, SF and final at U.S. Open).
1998 ... 4 matches (R4, QF, SF and final at U.S. Opens).
2002 ... 1 match (final round U.S. Open loss to Sampras).



HOWEVER ...


The difference of 1 French Open doesn't negate the huge chasm of 6 Wimbledons, 3 U.S. Opens, 4 ATP Tour Championships, 5 years at #1 and 185 weeks at #1.

In fact, a player who represented the DIFFERENCE between Sampras and Agassi would be one of the very, very top players of the Open Era:

Wimbledons:

1. Sampras 7
2. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 6
3. Borg 5
4. Becker, McEnroe 3
6. Laver, Newcombe, Connors, Edberg 2


U.S. Opens on Hardcourts:

1. Sampras 5
2. McEnroe 4
3. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 3
3. Connors, Lendl 3


ATP TOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS Indoors:

1. Sampras, Lendl 5
3. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 4
3. McEnroe, Nastase 4


Years Ranked #1:

1. Sampras 6
2. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 5
2. Connors 5
4. Lendl, McEnroe 4
6. Borg, Edberg and Hewitt 2


Weeks Ranked #1:

1. Sampras 286
2. Lendl 270
3. Connors 268
4. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 185
5. McEnroe 170
6. Borg 109


Most Consecutive Years In A Grand Slam Final:

1. Sampras, Lendl 11
3. Borg 8
4. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 6
4. McEnroe 6
6. Connors 5


Most Consecutive Years Winning a Grand Slam final:

1. Sampras, Borg 8
3. Difference between Sampras and Agassi 5


This mythical player known simply as "Difference between Sampras and Agassi" would be right there with Ivan Lendl and Bjorn Borg as the 3 best players of the Open Era other than Sampras.

This is a great post. I've always believed Sampras had amuch better career than Agassi and have never understood why some people say otherwise.

ATPballkid
05-19-2007, 09:05 AM
This is a great post. I've always believed Sampras had amuch better career than Agassi and have never understood why some people say otherwise.

Thanks Sandy.

Andre Agassi is overrated after an 20 year career with very little to show for himself ... he had 3 or 4 good years' worth of results --- good years, NOT great ones --- spread out over an 20 year career.

If someone were to achieve in 4 years what Agassi has achieved in 20 years, people would say that this person might end up becoming the next Pete Sampras.

CyBorg
05-19-2007, 11:53 AM
There are many reasons for Borg's burnout, which include:

a) the fact that Borg was an early bloomer, he became breaking down mentally and getting tired of travel earlier than most star players

b) as some have mentioned, he wanted to party and was getting tired of getting up and going to sleep at specified times

c) he married Marianna - realized he made a colossal mistake

d) he had very little else to prove and literally sleepwalked through the 81 french open and still won it

e) even McEnroe himself admitted that Borg was simply 'not into it' in their last few matchups - including the Wimbledon and US Open of 1981

Borg outgrew tennis. The matches with McEnroe were difficult, whereby he couldn't win by sheer will alone. But Borg was unwilling to practice overtime as he would have done in prior years. He realized that he had enough and it was time to move on with his life.

McEnroe did not win a single major in 1982. He was far from a perfect player. In 1984 he was almost perfect - this was 2+ full years after Borg quit grand slam competition.

z-money
05-21-2007, 09:16 AM
This is a great post. I've always believed Sampras had amuch better career than Agassi and have never understood why some people say otherwise.

my former boss who loves andre said he was better than pete because he won the french. that was his only statement i then laid him to waste with similar stats, and because he was an idiot he said pete couldnt be better cause he didnt match agassi at the french!!!! i thought to myself when pete really wanted you to go down (angry pete) he damaged your pride with 6-1 sets 12 sets between them pete laid down a double break on andre. P.S. Davis Cup 95: Pete beat two of the best clay players on clay in russia to take the cup in the final rubber. andre never won davis cup

chaognosis
05-21-2007, 09:18 AM
1. Sampras
2. Tilden
3. Budge
4. Rosewall
5. Perry
6. Borg
7. Laver
8. Cochet
9. Gonzales
10. Lendl
11. Connors
12. McEnroe
13. Lacoste
14. Agassi

#3-#9 are all very, very close and a good argument could be made for Rosewall at #3 ... #11-#14 are also very close.

I like all the players you've listed. Of course, a few names could always be added to these sorts of things. It's particularly interesting to watch the evolution of rankings over time. 30 years ago Kramer would have been a lock for the top 5, and it would have been unheard of to place Rosewall ahead of Perry or Gonzales. Around 1990, Borg and McEnroe were widely considered to have been the greatest players of the Open Era (with the exception of Laver) and the only two to stand on par with past greats like Tilden, Budge, etc. Today one often sees Connors and Lendl ahead of McEnroe.

The positions of Cochet and Lacoste are always tricky. 30 years ago both would often appear in the top 10. Most ranked Cochet ahead of Lacoste, but not all (books by Al Laney and Eugene Scott are notable exceptions). Today both are largely, and unfortunately, forgotten. In 1968 Laney compared Rosewall to both Cochet and Lacoste, but felt that the two Frenchmen were ultimately superior.

In practice I tend to favor players who have no obvious weaknesses. The only two men to achieve the true Grand Slam (Budge and Laver) are a good starting point for any G.O.A.T. discussion. While many felt Budge was even more invincible than Laver at his peak, Laver's greater longevity gives him the advantage in most contemporary critics' eyes. Tilden needs to be right up there as well, if not indeed at the very top. These three together certainly belong in the top five.

Many other great champions, despite their incredible achievements in one area or another, have clear holes in their resumes: Borg's short career and his failures at the US Open, Sampras's poor record on clay, etc. The true G.O.A.T. in my eyes must not be tarnished in such a way. An all-court, all-surface champion with a long career, winning historic matches over legendary rivals, is a very rare thing indeed. Tilden and Laver are the safest choices. Budge would probably have joined them, if not for the war. Laver has two Grand Slams, Tilden has an even greater record of dominance (six straight years without losing a single match of any significance), greater longevity, and was the most influential figure in the history of the game. Take your pick between these two, or opt for Budge as the "dark horse" (relatively speaking). I would place Sampras and Borg just below, with guys like Perry, Gonzales, Rosewall, etc., beneath them. As you go down the list, however, relative rankings become all the more difficult and all the more subjective... not that they aren't inherently subjective to begin with!

fgbowen33
06-18-2007, 02:08 PM
McEnroe was the best - cuz he was ranked number 1 in both singles and doubles. Tennis is more the just singles

chaognosis
06-18-2007, 04:41 PM
McEnroe was the best - cuz he was ranked number 1 in both singles and doubles. Tennis is more the just singles

Many players have dominated in both singles and doubles - it only became a rarity in the past 30 years or so. It's one of the many reasons, I feel, that modern champions are not as complete or accomplished as the stars of the past. Don Budge, for example, achieved the incredible feat of winning the Wimbledon triple (singles, doubles, mixed) in back-to-back years.

TacoBellBorderBowl1946
06-18-2007, 04:49 PM
bjorn borg is no. 1, if he didn't retire at 25 who knows how many slams he would have won.

chaognosis
06-18-2007, 04:57 PM
bjorn borg is no. 1, if he didn't retire at 25 who knows how many slams he would have won.

Unfortunately, he did - you want to give him credit for what he didn't win?

fastdunn
06-18-2007, 05:02 PM
A taller version of Laver would beat anybody in any era.

ChipNCharge
06-18-2007, 05:02 PM
Unfortunately, he did - you want to give him credit for what he didn't win?

No, but I'll give Borg credit for having the highest career winning percentage in the open era (82.3%).

chaognosis
06-18-2007, 05:21 PM
No, but I'll give Borg credit for having the highest career winning percentage in the open era (82.3%).

I have nothing against Borg - truly one of the all-time great players - but don't you think that percentage would have gone down if he'd played longer?

Swingin Richard
06-18-2007, 06:12 PM
Good list. I don't know about 2-14, but if Pete is #1, it is a solid list. You can throw out so many FACTS that point to Pete as the greatest ever. To argue for another player, the facts disappear and you start getting all these strange, emotional opinions. Pete's records speak for themselves.

CyBorg
06-18-2007, 07:13 PM
I have nothing against Borg - truly one of the all-time great players - but don't you think that percentage would have gone down if he'd played longer?

It did go down when he made his 90s comeback!:mad:

chaognosis
06-18-2007, 09:07 PM
Good list. I don't know about 2-14, but if Pete is #1, it is a solid list. You can throw out so many FACTS that point to Pete as the greatest ever. To argue for another player, the facts disappear and you start getting all these strange, emotional opinions. Pete's records speak for themselves.

You can throw out as many (if not more) facts in support of other players:

- Tilden: six straight years without a loss
- Gonzales: eight straight years as world pro champ
- Rosewall: won approx. 23 major titles (amateur and pro)
- Laver: TWO Grand Slams, 180+ overall titles

None of Sampras's "records" extends beyond the Open Era except for one: his seven Wimbledon titles, which ties Willie Renshaw's much older mark - though Renshaw won his seven in the Challenge Round era. A case for Sampras as G.O.A.T. must rest on those seven Wimbledons, because, at the very least, both Tilden and Gonzales were ranked No. 1 longer (and Kramer about the same), and both Rosewall and Laver won far more major titles (Tilden and Gonzales about the same). In my opinion, several players have a much stronger case for being the G.O.A.T. than Sampras - with many more impressive facts to back them up - particularly Tilden and Laver, who could win on all surfaces and in all conditions and had very long careers. These two have topped more G.O.A.T. polls over the years than any others. Laver in particular has clearly been the favorite of experts over the past two decades.

FiveO
06-19-2007, 05:07 AM
I have nothing against Borg - truly one of the all-time great players - but don't you think that percentage would have gone down if he'd played longer?


A percentage point or two.

Borg ended his career with a winning percentage a couple of tenths short of 83%.

Laver was slightly below 80% just from 68-77 when Rod 29 to 39 years old.

Connors ended slightly below 82% playing much longer than Borg. But, Connors winning percentage was likely to have dropped as well in that Borg had started to own Connors later in his career going 8-0 vs. Jimbo in tournament play from 79-81.

dukemunson
06-19-2007, 10:57 AM
Sampras...the argument for Borg breaks down quickly (he was basically done at 25) and Tilden/Laver were in another era that I don't think can fairly be argued for...

CyBorg
06-19-2007, 11:05 AM
Sampras...the argument for Borg breaks down quickly (he was basically done at 25) and Tilden/Laver were in another era that I don't think can fairly be argued for...

The argument for Sampras breaks down quickly.

It's true because I've stated it confidently.

chaognosis
06-19-2007, 02:13 PM
Tilden/Laver were in another era that I don't think can fairly be argued for...

Explain...?

Personally, I feel the problem is that most fans are ignorant of tennis history. Rather than pick up a book, they'd rather make unqualified statements like "those old timers weren't real athletes" and live with the delusion that real tennis began whenever they started following it on TV. I guess it's only natural to want to believe that one's contemporary heroes are not only the best players of the current era, but also the best of all time. Fortunately, not everyone thinks this way. If you don't know the accomplishments of Laver, Gonzales, Budge, Tilden, or even Wilding and the Doherty brothers, then you aren't qualified to assess who the greatest players of all time really are.

Swingin Richard
06-19-2007, 03:26 PM
You can throw out as many (if not more) facts in support of other players:

- Tilden: six straight years without a loss
- Gonzales: eight straight years as world pro champ
- Rosewall: won approx. 23 major titles (amateur and pro)
- Laver: TWO Grand Slams, 180+ overall titles

None of Sampras's "records" extends beyond the Open Era except for one: his seven Wimbledon titles, which ties Willie Renshaw's much older mark - though Renshaw won his seven in the Challenge Round era. A case for Sampras as G.O.A.T. must rest on those seven Wimbledons, because, at the very least, both Tilden and Gonzales were ranked No. 1 longer (and Kramer about the same), and both Rosewall and Laver won far more major titles (Tilden and Gonzales about the same). In my opinion, several players have a much stronger case for being the G.O.A.T. than Sampras - with many more impressive facts to back them up - particularly Tilden and Laver, who could win on all surfaces and in all conditions and had very long careers. These two have topped more G.O.A.T. polls over the years than any others. Laver in particular has clearly been the favorite of experts over the past two decades.
Tennis was a gentlemans game when those geezers played. Sampras dominated real athletes in a much more competitive era. It's kind of like saying Bill Russell would dominate Shaq.

dukemunson
06-19-2007, 05:15 PM
Explain...?

Personally, I feel the problem is that most fans are ignorant of tennis history. Rather than pick up a book, they'd rather make unqualified statements like "those old timers weren't real athletes" and live with the delusion that real tennis began whenever they started following it on TV. I guess it's only natural to want to believe that one's contemporary heroes are not only the best players of the current era, but also the best of all time. Fortunately, not everyone thinks this way. If you don't know the accomplishments of Laver, Gonzales, Budge, Tilden, or even Wilding and the Doherty brothers, then you aren't qualified to assess who the greatest players of all time really are.

I understand and accept that the accomplishments of Tilden were amazing, he dominated in the 20's unlike anyone has ever dominated a decade...but with the differences in the structure of the tour how could you possibly compare his accomplishments with someone from the Open era? This isn't football where you can look at OJ or Jim Brown and marvel about what they did...the game and way in which it is competed has been changed so drastically that comparison is nearly impossible.

FedUp
06-19-2007, 05:18 PM
1. Laver
2. Sampras
3. P Gonzalez
4. Federer
5. McEnroe/Lendl/Borg

chaognosis
06-19-2007, 05:24 PM
Tennis was a gentlemans game when those geezers played. Sampras dominated real athletes in a much more competitive era. It's kind of like saying Bill Russell would dominate Shaq.

Most fans/experts consider Russell a greater player than O'Neal.

TacoBellBorderBowl1946
06-19-2007, 05:33 PM
lol, Bill Russell is a LOT better than Shaq, Shaq has four rings to Russell's ELEVEN!

Russell wasn't as good offensively or as strong, but he was the greatest defensive player to ever play basketball and would block anyone who penetrated the lane.

FedUp
06-19-2007, 05:34 PM
Gerulaitis was the reason why Borg retired.
I think Borg was the reason why Borg retired.

chaognosis
06-19-2007, 05:34 PM
I understand and accept that the accomplishments of Tilden were amazing, he dominated in the 20's unlike anyone has ever dominated a decade...but with the differences in the structure of the tour how could you possibly compare his accomplishments with someone from the Open era? This isn't football where you can look at OJ or Jim Brown and marvel about what they did...the game and way in which it is competed has been changed so drastically that comparison is nearly impossible.

I agree that comparison is difficult, but to me that is a challenge to investigate more and come up with the best possible solution(s). Certainly there's no magic formula for "greatness," but I think it's better to try to intelligently appreciate the unique achievements of all players (in the proper historical context, of course) rather than to simply dismiss everyone who played before some magic point where tennis became a "real" sport. There are a lot of knowledgeable experts who lived to see many decades of tennis, who always felt that Tilden would have found a way to beat any player of any era. Jack Kramer for one is still around, and he maintains that Vines and Budge - players of the 30s - were better than either Sampras or Federer. From the videos I have seen of older players, the best could easily compete physically and athletically with today's stars: Fred Perry may be the fastest player I've ever seen. Moreover, while the structure of the tour(s) has changed over the years, I doubt that anything about the game today really would have looked so foreign to Tilden, Budge or Laver... aside from technological changes, which they could adapt to. All in all, I think it's unfair in these G.O.A.T. discussions to penalize someone simply for when they were born.

bluegrasser
06-19-2007, 06:43 PM
To me you have to win all *4* Grand Slams to be called the greatest - no RG, no numero uno. Perry, AA, Budge, Laver, Emerson - For me it's Laver now, but if King Fed wins the French, he gets the crown.

FiveO
06-19-2007, 07:26 PM
Tennis was a gentlemans game when those geezers played. Sampras dominated real athletes in a much more competitive era. It's kind of like saying Bill Russell would dominate Shaq.

Sampras is Sampras simply one of the greatest of all time, but this argument is ill advised.

Ever hear of Wilt Chamberlain? As big and arguably stronger than Shaq. How did Russell do vs. Wilt? How do you think Russell and Chamberlain would do today? There are very few centers in the NBA who came after them through today who have ever played the game.

stormholloway
06-19-2007, 07:43 PM
Sampras is Sampras simply one of the greatest of all time, but this argument is ill advised.

Ever hear of Wilt Chamberlain? As big and arguably stronger than Shaq. How did Russell do vs. Wilt? How do you think Russell and Chamberlain would do today? There are very few centers in the NBA who came after them through today who have ever played the game.

Chamberlain is stronger than Shaq? No way in hell.

slice bh compliment
06-19-2007, 08:42 PM
Chamberlain is stronger than Shaq? No way in hell.

I hang out with a lot of fine, fine ladies. Some of them are past they prime backup singers. Most of them have been counted by Wilt the Stilt. I aksed them all about the Wilt vs Shaq strength issue. They all disagree with you, Stormholloway, and they called you a young cracka.

They told me to tell you:
You play your cards right,
you might git a invite.
One night.

Actually they sang that.

slice bh compliment
06-19-2007, 08:45 PM
1. Laver
2. Sampras
3. P Gonzalez
4. Federer
5. McEnroe/Lendl/Borg

Great list, man. I like.

Here is mine:
1] Nastase
2] Noah
3] Newcombe
4] Guga
5] Rostagno. Derrick Rostagno. Just edging out the pre-broom closet Boris Becker.

CyBorg
06-19-2007, 09:21 PM
Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row. Remember that.

FiveO
06-20-2007, 04:46 AM
Chamberlain is stronger than Shaq? No way in hell.

To flatly claim that Wilt was not arguably stronger indicates that you are either being disingenuous or absolutely, positively, unequivocally never saw Wilt play. The league through the referees absolutely allowed smaller teams to assault Chamberlain in games, so much so that it looked like two opponents were doing chin-ups on Wilt's arms when he went to the hoop and he still scored. Wilt also never carried the body fat that Shaq did/does. Wilt was a physical specimen and a fit one at 300+ pounds.

keithchircop
06-20-2007, 06:50 AM
To me, and only me it seems, the GOAT is not someone who wins grand slams on all surfaces but someone who wins the most grand slams on both the fastest and the slowest surfaces ie. grass and clay. Decoturf, plexicushion and rebound ace are all in between when it comes to speed. should i really care who won most slams on the medium speed surfaces?

borg won 5 wimbledons and 6 french opens. he's the open-era greatest for all i care.

Moose Malloy
06-20-2007, 09:18 AM
Its hard for me to imagine Shaq doing what he does in even the 80s. The way the game was called back then, he would foul out by halftime in every game. And get called for traveling. Tennis isn't the only sport where its hard to compare, since conditions are never the same in most sports.

Tennis was a gentlemans game when those geezers played. Sampras dominated real athletes in a much more competitive era. It's kind of like saying Bill Russell would dominate Shaq.

Laver beat Borg twice in '74(the year Borg won his 1st French), despite a 15 year age difference. Most consider Borg to be the best athlete tennis has ever seen. Laver would hold his own with anyone.

CyBorg
06-20-2007, 12:18 PM
Laver beat Borg twice in '74(the year Borg won his 1st French), despite a 15 year age difference. Most consider Borg to be the best athlete tennis has ever seen. Laver would hold his own with anyone.

Laver is Laver. But Pancho is Pancho.

Can you imagine Pancho today? Federer would **** his pants.

chaognosis
06-20-2007, 12:24 PM
Laver is Laver. But Pancho is Pancho.

Can you imagine Pancho today? Federer would **** his pants.

Gonzales was one of the greatest athletes tennis has seen as well - and almost certainly its greatest competitor. The footage I have seen of his game is simply astounding. Bruce Jenkins wrote last year that he thought Gonzales would beat Federer by the sheer force of his will.

CyBorg
06-20-2007, 02:30 PM
Gonzales was one of the greatest athletes tennis has seen as well - and almost certainly its greatest competitor. The footage I have seen of his game is simply astounding. Bruce Jenkins wrote last year that he thought Gonzales would beat Federer by the sheer force of his will.

The man gets no love anymore. The mainstream media consistently rolls out the all-time grand slam leaders as the indicators of all-time greatness and Pancho is never in the conversation.

Of course, thank goodness for boards like this. ;)

FiveO
06-20-2007, 03:03 PM
The man gets no love anymore. The mainstream media consistently rolls out the all-time grand slam leaders as the indicators of all-time greatness and Pancho is never in the conversation.

Of course, thank goodness for boards like this. ;)

Harder for the media to put Pancho in easily comparable terms for the masses without doing an entire profile on the man. For the lay person, the majors, the Grand Slam and even the Davis Cup are recognizable, measurable and comparable. Pancho's career is harder to display in a dumbed down simple tv graphic or to describe in a short sound bite.

But they also usually overlook Emerson as well who has all those numbers but has become a relative mainstream media footnote to tennis.

Open tennis was easier for the mainstream media to distill tennis' history down to and package it for the masses.

Moose Malloy
06-20-2007, 03:17 PM
Bud Collins always puts Pancho in his top 5, if you consider him part of the mainstream media.

FiveO
06-20-2007, 04:36 PM
Bud Collins always puts Pancho in his top 5, if you consider him part of the mainstream media.


I agree with him but would not put Collins in what I'd describe as the mainstream media. He has been reduced to an amusement by the mainstream media.

Roger_Federer.
06-20-2007, 05:10 PM
Ever hear of Wilt Chamberlain? As big and arguably stronger than Shaq. How did Russell do vs. Wilt?


Are you ok?

CyBorg
06-20-2007, 05:37 PM
I agree with him but would not put Collins in what I'd describe as the mainstream media. He has been reduced to an amusement by the mainstream media.

He's the token clown of the mainstream media. When he includes Pancho Gonzalez in his greatest players list it's considered 'cute'.

CyBorg
06-20-2007, 05:39 PM
Harder for the media to put Pancho in easily comparable terms for the masses without doing an entire profile on the man. For the lay person, the majors, the Grand Slam and even the Davis Cup are recognizable, measurable and comparable. Pancho's career is harder to display in a dumbed down simple tv graphic or to describe in a short sound bite.

But they also usually overlook Emerson as well who has all those numbers but has become a relative mainstream media footnote to tennis.

Open tennis was easier for the mainstream media to distill tennis' history down to and package it for the masses.

Yes, you are entirely correct, although Emerson is obviously a factor to the conversation at all times with his 12 slams, regardless of how dumbed-down the conversation gets.

stormholloway
06-20-2007, 06:12 PM
To flatly claim that Wilt was not arguably stronger indicates that you are either being disingenuous or absolutely, positively, unequivocally never saw Wilt play. The league through the referees absolutely allowed smaller teams to assault Chamberlain in games, so much so that it looked like two opponents were doing chin-ups on Wilt's arms when he went to the hoop and he still scored. Wilt also never carried the body fat that Shaq did/does. Wilt was a physical specimen and a fit one at 300+ pounds.

It's not about arguability. It's either true or it's not. Wilt was not stronger than Shaq. They had to redesign the basket due to Shaq's strength. Did you watch Shaq out of college? He wasn't fat at all. To this day, when he's healthy, Shaq can simply overpower players.

FiveO
06-20-2007, 07:00 PM
It's not about arguability. It's either true or it's not. Wilt was not stronger than Shaq. They had to redesign the basket due to Shaq's strength. Did you watch Shaq out of college? He wasn't fat at all. To this day, when he's healthy, Shaq can simply overpower players.

Name anyone he has faced in the NBA, forget the NCAA, who matches Wilt.
I'll answer it for you. There is no one. Shaq can get away with being out of shape and has for years because no one is near his height a bulk. Wilt was and was in shape his entire career. And I'll restate my premise as ridiculously as you stated yours: Wilt is clearly stronger than Shaq. Now what?

Your analogy sucked from the first go round which was the point.

joe sch
06-21-2007, 07:06 PM
All,

Hope you dont mind me turning the thread back to the tennis GOATs ...
I really found the threads very interesting and was motivated to create a summary webpage that I also included the GOATs by decade. Let me know if any body has corrections or objections. I am also willing to give any credit due or add references.
Looking for more tennis GOAT feedback on this webpage and my arrangement of the listing:

http://www.woodtennis.com/goat.htm

Best regards,
Joe

stormholloway
06-21-2007, 07:54 PM
Name anyone he has faced in the NBA, forget the NCAA, who matches Wilt.
I'll answer it for you. There is no one. Shaq can get away with being out of shape and has for years because no one is near his height a bulk. Wilt was and was in shape his entire career. And I'll restate my premise as ridiculously as you stated yours: Wilt is clearly stronger than Shaq. Now what?

Your analogy sucked from the first go round which was the point.

What analogy?

All I know is Shaq in his prime was the same height and weighed more. You can talk about Shaq being fat all you want. When he came into the league he was a muscular beast. And yes, he was stronger than Wilt.

SgtJohn
06-22-2007, 12:21 AM
OK, it's probably the 573462756345th thread about "Who's the G.O.A.T.?" but it seems I'll never get tired of them...

Good post, joe, but you evoke quite a large group of players as possible GOATs. I doubt anyone would ever give the nod to Cochet or Agassi...

Just another thing: you sometimes talk about doubles. I think we have to be clear about what we're talking about. If we have a 'classic' discussion, we're only talking about the G.O.A.T in singles tennis. If you want to discuss about the most complete player in tennis in general, it's very interesting too, but it also has to change your list. For example, Sedgman would DEFINITELY have to be on it. McEnroe would go right up, while Fed, Sampras, Borg, are not contenders anymore...

A quick list:


Laurie Doherty: 4 Wimbledons, 4 Davis Cup, 1 US Championships, 6 British Indoors, many many Nice, Monte-Carlo and other clay tournaments. Very dominant on every surface, and the first player to actually compete with opponents from the whole world thanks to the Davis Cup.

Tilden: late bloomer but a very long career. 2 Wimbledon-US doubles. One 'Slam' in 1921 by winning Wimbledon, the US, Paris World Clay and the Davis Cup. 7 Davis Cup, won every one of his singles from 1920 to 1926. 6-straight-times N°1 (1920-26). Great pro career in 1931-32. Won around 140 tournaments.

Budge: to me, the weakest of all the GOAT contenders, but mainly because of bad luck (bad injuries, and WW2). First Grand Slammer, but in quite a depleted field for this time (he would never have won the French, on his weakest surface, had former champs Perry and Von Cramm been around). Totally dominated the pros in 1939 and 1940. Was injured in '41, went on to dominate again in '42 but in a very small pro tour because of the war. Probably the best player in the world in 1937-1940 and 1942, and could have been the best ever if he hadn't had his best years during WW2.

Pancho Gonzales: an astounding career. Great amateur years in '48-'49, wining back-to-back Forest Hills, plus many big tournaments (PSW Los Angeles, US Indoors, Newport,...). One of the main pros right from his debut year in 1950, winning Wembley and and the US Pro indoors. Arguably the n°1 in 1952 when Kramer semi-retired (though Sedgman came up very strong too). Maybe the best again in 1953, but we'll never know since Kramer didn't allow him to compete in his tour. A clear n°1 from 1954 to 1959, six straight years. He retired several times in the 60s, but incredibly had each time amazing come-backs, winning the US Pro Indoors in 1964 over Laver, the BBC2 Wembley event over Rosewall and Laver in 1966, the Las Vegas Open in 1969, and the PSW Los Angeles in 1969 and 1971!!! In terms of will-power, probably the greatest ever. Only drawback: his main achievements were on very fast surfaces, and he never did as well outside of the US than inside.

Ken Rosewall: Won the Davis Cup, the Australian and Roland Garros when he was 19! He turned pro in 1957 and quickly showed he was second only to Gonzales. In 1960, with Pancho semi-retired, he became the n°1. 1962 and 1963 were extremely dominant, "Grand Slam-like" years. Became n°2 to Laver from 1964 on. Had a great come-back during Open tennis, beating Laver in RG 1968, winning the US in 1970 and 2 more Australian Open. Reached Wimbledon and Forest Hills finals in 1974, aged 40! Probably won around 120 tournaments.
Will be forever the best player never to have won Wimbledon. He's the best all-court player of all-time, being able to beat all-time greats such as Hoad or Laver on wood or grass, and being the clear-cut n°1 on clay throughout the 60s.

Rod Laver: 1 Grand Slam in a depleted amateur field, another in 1969 in a field packed with great players, the only 'true' Grand Slam in history. He turned pro in 1963. Was n°1 from 1964 to 1969, 5 straight years. He never played well at a Slam anymore after 1969, but was arguably still the best player around in 1970-1971, as he won plenty of big tournaments, was the prize money leader by far, and regularly trounced the slam winners, Newcombe, Rosewall, Ashe, in other tournaments.
Was at his best on grass and indoor, but showed he could be an all-court player by winning the French Pro agains Newcombe in 1968, RG against Rosewall in 1969, and Rome in 1971 against Kodes (who would win RG later).
Won around 20 'True Grand Slam', around 40 big 'Super 9-like' tournaments (by my count), and at least 180 events over all !!!!

Borg: the best clay-courter ever (maybe tied with Rosewall). Won 6 RG, losing to only 1 player in all his career. After passing in 1977, came back in 1978, and destroyed the whole field, losing only 32 games and 0 sets, embarassing defending champ Vilas in the final. He was able to adapt his game to grass, and won 5 straight Wimbledon, including 3 RG-Wim doubles. Lost 4 US finals. Was N°1 for 3 or 4 years. He retired at 26. Some more years on the tour and a US victory, and he could be THE G.o.a.t..

Sampras: 14 Grand Slam titles, 5 Masters. A Renshaw-tying 7 Wimbledon. 6 straight years as N°1.

Federer* :still playing. If he retires today, he doesn't make the list, but I assume he keeps his current pace for a few years. 6 or 7 more Slam titles, 10 or 12 more Masters series definitely put him high on the list. 1 or 2 RG titles and 3 or 4 more years as N°1 would make him the GOAT and pretty much close the debate...but he doesn't have a lock on this!

Jon

SoBad
06-22-2007, 12:27 AM
This poll is not well-designed. It does not include the greatest ball-striker of all times - Marat Safin.

urban
06-22-2007, 01:07 AM
Good points Jonathan, all very well rounded. Laurie will thank you in heaven for including him. By the way, there is a nice article on Brookes and the globalisation of Wimbledon in 1907 this week on the telegraph online or the times online. And its everytime nice to read Your wonderful webside, Joe.

chaognosis
06-22-2007, 06:41 AM
Jonathan, I know this is asking a lot - and it's OK if you can't answer - but do you have any sense of what the head-to-head record of Brookes and Wilding would have looked like? You're the only person I can think of who might know.

joe sch
06-22-2007, 07:58 AM
OK, it's probably the 573462756345th thread about "Who's the G.O.A.T.?" but it seems I'll never get tired of them...

Good post, joe, but you evoke quite a large group of players as possible GOATs. I doubt anyone would ever give the nod to Cochet or Agassi...

Just another thing: you sometimes talk about doubles. I think we have to be clear about what we're talking about. If we have a 'classic' discussion, we're only talking about the G.O.A.T in singles tennis. If you want to discuss about the most complete player in tennis in general, it's very interesting too, but it also has to change your list. For example, Sedgman would DEFINITELY have to be on it. McEnroe would go right up, while Fed, Sampras, Borg, are not contenders anymore...

A quick list:


Laurie Doherty: 4 Wimbledons, 4 Davis Cup, 1 US Championships, 6 British Indoors, many many Nice, Monte-Carlo and other clay tournaments. Very dominant on every surface, and the first player to actually compete with opponents from the whole world thanks to the Davis Cup.

Tilden: late bloomer but a very long career. 2 Wimbledon-US doubles. One 'Slam' in 1921 by winning Wimbledon, the US, Paris World Clay and the Davis Cup. 7 Davis Cup, won every one of his singles from 1920 to 1926. 6-straight-times N°1 (1920-26). Great pro career in 1931-32. Won around 140 tournaments.

Budge: to me, the weakest of all the GOAT contenders, but mainly because of bad luck (bad injuries, and WW2). First Grand Slammer, but in quite a depleted field for this time (he would never have won the French, on his weakest surface, had former champs Perry and Von Cramm been around). Totally dominated the pros in 1939 and 1940. Was injured in '41, went on to dominate again in '42 but in a very small pro tour because of the war. Probably the best player in the world in 1937-1940 and 1942, and could have been the best ever if he hadn't had his best years during WW2.

Pancho Gonzales: an astounding career. Great amateur years in '48-'49, wining back-to-back Forest Hills, plus many big tournaments (PSW Los Angeles, US Indoors, Newport,...). One of the main pros right from his debut year in 1950, winning Wembley and and the US Pro indoors. Arguably the n°1 in 1952 when Kramer semi-retired (though Sedgman came up very strong too). Maybe the best again in 1953, but we'll never know since Kramer didn't allow him to compete in his tour. A clear n°1 from 1954 to 1959, six straight years. He retired several times in the 60s, but incredibly had each time amazing come-backs, winning the US Pro Indoors in 1964 over Laver, the BBC2 Wembley event over Rosewall and Laver in 1966, the Las Vegas Open in 1969, and the PSW Los Angeles in 1969 and 1971!!! In terms of will-power, probably the greatest ever. Only drawback: his main achievements were on very fast surfaces, and he never did as well outside of the US than inside.

Ken Rosewall: Won the Davis Cup, the Australian and Roland Garros when he was 19! He turned pro in 1957 and quickly showed he was second only to Gonzales. In 1960, with Pancho semi-retired, he became the n°1. 1962 and 1963 were extremely dominant, "Grand Slam-like" years. Became n°2 to Laver from 1964 on. Had a great come-back during Open tennis, beating Laver in RG 1968, winning the US in 1970 and 2 more Australian Open. Reached Wimbledon and Forest Hills finals in 1974, aged 40! Probably won around 120 tournaments.
Will be forever the best player never to have won Wimbledon. He's the best all-court player of all-time, being able to beat all-time greats such as Hoad or Laver on wood or grass, and being the clear-cut n°1 on clay throughout the 60s.

Rod Laver: 1 Grand Slam in a depleted amateur field, another in 1969 in a field packed with great players, the only 'true' Grand Slam in history. He turned pro in 1963. Was n°1 from 1964 to 1969, 5 straight years. He never played well at a Slam anymore after 1969, but was arguably still the best player around in 1970-1971, as he won plenty of big tournaments, was the prize money leader by far, and regularly trounced the slam winners, Newcombe, Rosewall, Ashe, in other tournaments.
Was at his best on grass and indoor, but showed he could be an all-court player by winning the French Pro agains Newcombe in 1968, RG against Rosewall in 1969, and Rome in 1971 against Kodes (who would win RG later).
Won around 20 'True Grand Slam', around 40 big 'Super 9-like' tournaments (by my count), and at least 180 events over all !!!!

Borg: the best clay-courter ever (maybe tied with Rosewall). Won 6 RG, losing to only 1 player in all his career. After passing in 1977, came back in 1978, and destroyed the whole field, losing only 32 games and 0 sets, embarassing defending champ Vilas in the final. He was able to adapt his game to grass, and won 5 straight Wimbledon, including 3 RG-Wim doubles. Lost 4 US finals. Was N°1 for 3 or 4 years. He retired at 26. Some more years on the tour and a US victory, and he could be THE G.o.a.t..

Sampras: 14 Grand Slam titles, 5 Masters. A Renshaw-tying 7 Wimbledon. 6 straight years as N°1.

Federer* :still playing. If he retires today, he doesn't make the list, but I assume he keeps his current pace for a few years. 6 or 7 more Slam titles, 10 or 12 more Masters series definitely put him high on the list. 1 or 2 RG titles and 3 or 4 more years as N°1 would make him the GOAT and pretty much close the debate...but he doesn't have a lock on this!

Jon


Jon, Awesome points and info ! I will update my list.

Its actually a Greatest of all time players list attempting to rank order.
I think singles should be the main focus but I like to also consider doubles for differentiating some of the players, like Mac vs Lendl. I agree that nothing in the future is a lock, anything can happen ... probably will remove the lock term regarding Federer. I will update with lots of your comments ...

Thanks,
Joe

SgtJohn
06-22-2007, 08:38 AM
Jonathan, I know this is asking a lot - and it's OK if you can't answer - but do you have any sense of what the head-to-head record of Brookes and Wilding would have looked like? You're the only person I can think of who might know.

Wow, this is really a hard one, chaog! I'm sorry, I have to pass on this one. The data for their time is way too vague to get such information. I'm happy to have a decent list of tournament winners for these years, so head-to-head records is a bit too much...sorry!
Actually, I'm not even able to guess wich one had the edge. The only data I have, apart from the Slams, is about Wilding beating Brookes twice on the Riviera in 1914.
Actually they probably didn't play so many times, as Brookes really chose his tournaments. He played the Slams, Davis cup, and not much more...well, of course I can't really say because I don't have complete draws, but he shows up so rarely in my list of tournament winners, that I have to guess this.
On the opposite, Wilding won 92 tournaments, by my count, which is huge for the time and makes him a distant first for the pre-WW1 era, in terms of events won (even more impressive considering he passed away in 1915, sadly).

That's all I have for you, I'm afraid...

Jonathan

chaognosis
06-22-2007, 08:58 AM
No worries, Jon. Thank you.

joe sch
06-23-2007, 01:20 PM
Jon,

I incorporated your comments and made some more additions like adding some relevent champion statistics in a section for each of the GOAT contenders. Would like to round out with more of the signifcants wins. Let me know if you have any more suggestions.

urban,

Would also appreciate any feedback you have on improvements or corrections.

all,

Im open to all suggestions, would like to have this webpage be as accurate as possible for presenting the cases for tennis GOATs

latest updates now at:

http://www.woodtennis.com/goat.htm

Joe

chaognosis
06-26-2007, 06:57 PM
Good points Jonathan, all very well rounded. Laurie will thank you in heaven for including him. By the way, there is a nice article on Brookes and the globalisation of Wimbledon in 1907 this week on the telegraph online or the times online. And its everytime nice to read Your wonderful webside, Joe.

Jonathan has inspired me to reread my books about pre-WWI tennis, and I think he is absolutely right - the younger Doherty must be included in these discussions. His becoming the first person to win the two major national championships (Wimbledon and U.S. - both singles and doubles!) in the same year must stand as the greatest performance to that time. He won more singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon than any other player, and with his brother formed the first truly great Davis Cup team, and one of the most succcessful of all. Paul Metzler, whom I often cite here, considered Doherty the brightest of all British stars - a greater champion even than Perry. I am fortunate to have a copy of the Dohertys' book on lawn tennis, which demonstrates that they were astute analysts of the game as well. Too many fans, even the more knowledgeable ones, treat Tilden as the first true giant of the game, but the Dohertys deserve considerable respect. Brookes and Wilding must also belong among the all-time greats, though I have much trouble choosing between them... any thoughts on the relative merits of these two would be greatly appreciated.

I am also thinking a great deal about the Four Musketeers, and especially Lacoste and Cochet. Al Laney, in my favorite tennis book, strongly felt that Lacoste was ultimately the greatest player of the four. (Laney also felt that both were greater than Rosewall or Hoad.) Though at least one, Gene Scott, has agreed, most critics have always chosen Cochet as the preeminent one. I had long taken the majority view, but I am increasingly seeing the case for Lacoste: he was the only one to win two major titles in the same season on multiple occasions, the first to win multiple French, Wimbledon, and U.S. championships, and he was unquestionably the leader and master tactician of their Davis Cup squad - which was of course the most important event at that time. His short career hurts his legacy, but his contributions off the court deserve mention, as he was is credited with the invention of that now-famous shirt, the steel racquet, and - I believe - the ball machine. Any further thoughts on how to choose one of these two as the French "ambassador" to the G.O.A.T. competition?

jnd28
06-26-2007, 07:36 PM
A taller version of Laver would beat anybody in any era.
That would be Lew Hoad

jnd28
06-26-2007, 07:40 PM
Not sure why Emmo is not anyones list. If you are saying tennis player rather than singles player I could understand, but still not agree with the omission. If you are talking tennis players here you have to include him. 28 grand slam titles gets you in the discussion. BTW he is the only male player to have won all grand slam titles in both singles and doubles.

JN

chaognosis
06-26-2007, 07:53 PM
Not sure why Emmo is not anyones list. If you are saying tennis player rather than singles player I could understand, but still not agree with the omission. If you are talking tennis players here you have to include him. 28 grand slam titles gets you in the discussion. BTW he is the only male player to have won all grand slam titles in both singles and doubles.

JN

You forgot the necessary addendum. Yes, Emerson accomplished all these things... against a severely depleted amateur field that lacked all of the top pros (Laver, Rosewall, Hoad, Gonzales, etc.) who were, and are, almost universally considered greater players than Emerson. Emerson was a very fine player, but the numbers here are highly deceiving, and if you investigate closely I don't think you will find a very good case for including Emerson in the top 10. To his credit, the great writer Allison Danzig ranked Emerson #10 on his list in 1969, though allowing for the number of superior players since then (Borg, Sampras, Federer, etc.), Emerson surely must now have slipped out of the top 10 even in such a generous assessment as Danzig's.

fgbowen33
06-26-2007, 10:21 PM
you can't compare them

superman1
06-26-2007, 11:03 PM
Yes you can. Greatness is the same regardless of what generation you were in, but you do have to account for those that survived in different generations, like what Agassi did, which was starting out with wood racquets and gut as a kid and retiring with graphite and Luxilon. Playing Connors and Lendl starting out and then playing Federer and Nadal at the end. That's what closes the gap between him and Borg, the guy who quit when the going got tough.

For me, it's:

1. Sampras
2. Laver
3. Borg
4. Federer
5. Agassi

If I saw more of Laver, I might be inclined to put him at #1. I've only seen 4 minutes of him playing at age 40 and I'm convinced of his greatness.

Zets147
06-26-2007, 11:08 PM
me period.

SoBad
06-26-2007, 11:18 PM
me period.

OK that's BS cuz you're a pusher...

Zets147
06-26-2007, 11:23 PM
I Ain"t A Pusher!!!! Rawr!!!

SoBad
06-26-2007, 11:25 PM
Then why do you just push every ball? That doesn't make sense then...

Zets147
06-26-2007, 11:26 PM
I "Massage" the ball, I don't push!

SoBad
06-26-2007, 11:29 PM
So you're claiming you're the best masseuse? That just confirms that you are not a good enough pusher to qualify as the greatest player.

fastdunn
06-27-2007, 01:04 PM
I wish I could debate on Laver's greatness but I simply can't since
I hardly ever saw him playing.

One important factor to consider is the degree of dominance which
has been key issue on Federer's greatness.

How dominant Laver was in professional circuit and for how long ?

SgtJohn
06-27-2007, 01:34 PM
Jonathan has inspired me to reread my books about pre-WWI tennis, and I think he is absolutely right - the younger Doherty must be included in these discussions. His becoming the first person to win the two major national championships (Wimbledon and U.S. - both singles and doubles!) in the same year must stand as the greatest performance to that time. He won more singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon than any other player, and with his brother formed the first truly great Davis Cup team, and one of the most succcessful of all. Paul Metzler, whom I often cite here, considered Doherty the brightest of all British stars - a greater champion even than Perry. I am fortunate to have a copy of the Dohertys' book on lawn tennis, which demonstrates that they were astute analysts of the game as well. Too many fans, even the more knowledgeable ones, treat Tilden as the first true giant of the game, but the Dohertys deserve considerable respect. Brookes and Wilding must also belong among the all-time greats, though I have much trouble choosing between them... any thoughts on the relative merits of these two would be greatly appreciated.

I am also thinking a great deal about the Four Musketeers, and especially Lacoste and Cochet. Al Laney, in my favorite tennis book, strongly felt that Lacoste was ultimately the greatest player of the four. (Laney also felt that both were greater than Rosewall or Hoad.) Though at least one, Gene Scott, has agreed, most critics have always chosen Cochet as the preeminent one. I had long taken the majority view, but I am increasingly seeing the case for Lacoste: he was the only one to win two major titles in the same season on multiple occasions, the first to win multiple French, Wimbledon, and U.S. championships, and he was unquestionably the leader and master tactician of their Davis Cup squad - which was of course the most important event at that time. His short career hurts his legacy, but his contributions off the court deserve mention, as he was is credited with the invention of that now-famous shirt, the steel racquet, and - I believe - the ball machine. Any further thoughts on how to choose one of these two as the French "ambassador" to the G.O.A.T. competition?

Good points chaog, you're right that 'Little Do', not Tilden, is the first giant of the game, the first who should be included in any GOAT debate. As well as Tilden in 1921, L. Doherty actually had a kind of 'Grand Slam year' in 1903, winning Wimbledon, the US Championships, both his singles in Davis Cup, the Nice tournament (one of the greatest clay tournaments), and the British Indoors Championships (probably the second-best English tournament at the time).

Brookes and Wilding were also outstanding, no question, but to me they belonged to "Tier II". As the likes of Sedgman, Trabert, Connors, Lendl, Agassi, etc., they are definitely all-time greats, but not GOAT contenders...
About comparisons between those two, it's hard to tell, as I mentioned earlier in this thread...Wilding has by far the best record, with 90+ tournament wins, including 4 Wimbledon and 3 Davis Cups. He won most of the time's great tournaments several times: the British Indoors, French Indoors, Queen's Indoors, Queen's grasscourt. And he was also prominent on red clay, winning the Paris World Championships in 1913 and Monte-Carlo, Nice, Cannes several times....Then his record speaks for Wilding, yet there was no ATP computer at the time so winning many events was not a good criterion for greatness in this context. I guess that without any head-to-head details between the two, it will always be a matter of subjective opinion...

As for the Musketeers, I'm from France and have much affection for our last true champions, plus I still think their Davis Cup conquest and subsequent Slam sweep is the biggest epic in tennis. Yet I'm afraid no one of them qualify for the GOAT competition, to me Lacoste and Cochet stay in tier II, with Brookes, Wilding, et al. Neither one matches the achievements of Tilden or Budge. Probably if you took the Musketeers' motto so seriously you considered them as one individual, you'd have a perfect GOAT! :-)

As for Lacoste v Cochet, it's once again a matter of peak vs longevity. Lacoste retired very early for health matters (quite ironically he lived to 95+, passing away in the 90s). Then his record is less impressive than Cochet's. Cochet won many big events, sweeping the European circuit in his best years (1928-1930) and winning big US events (Newport, the PSW Los Angeles).He won around 45 tournaments on the whole, while Lacoste was stuck to 20 or so.
About which one was the best at his peak, the 'Crocodile' or the 'Magician', it's hard to judge for anyone not living at the time...Lacoste's domination over Tilden in 1926-1927 was impressive, but in 1929, Big Bill told that Henri played 'a tennis he did not know anything of'.
So to answer you question, I personally think that Lacoste might have been the best as the greates tennis mind of his time (along with Tilden), that Cochet has the best record and a better career overall, that both are among the most interesting personalities in the game, but that their Slams, tournament wins, and dominant years are not numerous enough to put them in the GOAT conversation...

Jonathan

chaognosis
06-27-2007, 02:05 PM
Wonderful post. Thank you.

Moose Malloy
06-27-2007, 02:21 PM
I wish I could debate on Laver's greatness but I simply can't since
I hardly ever saw him playing.


Well, I never saw Joe Louis or Rocky Marciano, but I'm pretty sure they were great. At some point results should trump what we "see." John McEnroe is still an important voice in the tennisworld, he ranks him at the top(& he saw plenty of Laver)

One important factor to consider is the degree of dominance which
has been key issue on Federer's greatness.

How dominant Laver was in professional circuit and for how long ?

here is a wikepedia article with the (unofficial)#1 players year by year. according to it Laver was #1 seven years in a row, from '64-'70.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_number_one_male_tennis_player_rankings#Male_ tennis_players_No.1_or_Co-No._1.2C_since_1913_.28sorted_by_descending_number _of_years.29

and another article about his '19' majors(including the important events he won when banned from the grand slams)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis%2C_male_players_statistics

Since so many are preoccupied with ages of players & when they peak, it is worth noting that Laver was 31 when he won his 2nd Grand Slam in 1969, he was very likely past his prime(since he was considered the clear #1 when he was at least 26) That speaks volumes about how dominant he was in his prime(many observers say that his best tennis was played from '64 to '67) that he could achieve his biggest feat when arguably past his prime.

Also Laver was still in the top 10 in 1975 at the age of 37.

And Laver beat Borg twice in 1974(once on clay!), despite an 18 year age difference. Borg won his 1st FO that year. Also in 1974 he won Philadelphia, a 96 player draw, which was one of the biggest events of the year. That shows how competitive he could be with the new generation.

Laver never really declined, just cut back his schedule slowly & retired. He was really a freak of nature, supremely fit(the size of his forearms are crazy), athletic & talented, & with inordinate longevity. Its rare to have all those attributes.

Laver could win on all surfaces, another important factor in his greatness. Besides his FO wins, he won the Italian Open in 1971, which had a better field than the French that year(many top players, including Laver, were banned from the French that year due to politics) Laver beat Kodes in the final of the Italian. Kodes won the French that year.

In terms of yearly win/loss % records, Federer probably has Laver beat in that aspect. But players weren't as carefull in scheduling back then(nobody would dare withdraw due to 'fatigue' as they sometimes do today, they'd probably be banned for 6 months if they tried something like that. best to show up & tank or retire during the match) they played every almost every week, even when injured, since the prize money was exploding overnight & they had to take advantage of it.

superman1
06-27-2007, 02:40 PM
McEnroe actually puts Sampras above Laver. I recall him saying that if Sampras played Laver, Sampras would win most of the time. This coming from a guy who grew up idolizing Laver. McEnroe's list is Sampras, Laver, Federer, Borg, Agassi, and then he said rather modestly that he would throw himself somewhere after those guys. He said that he would put Fed at #1 if he won the French.

Moose Malloy
06-27-2007, 02:56 PM
McEnroe actually puts Sampras above Laver. I recall him saying that if Sampras played Laver, Sampras would win most of the time. This coming from a guy who grew up idolizing Laver. McEnroe's list is Sampras, Laver, Federer, Borg, Agassi, and then he said rather modestly that he would throw himself somewhere after those guys. He said that he would put Fed at #1 if he won the French.

Mac changes his mind quite a bit on this topic. He's called laver the best ever several times over the last few years(like at the French this year)

The who would win argument gets a little silly, since they played with completely different equipment. Robredo, Djokovic, & Ginepri hit with wood racquets recently & they said they couldn't imagine trying to play a match with them, its a completely different game, like trying to compare the steroid era in baseball.

superman1
06-27-2007, 05:48 PM
I agree, although Sampras' classic style would have worked perfectly with wood, especially considering the racquet he used. And he wouldn't have had to deal with all of those guys with their 98 sq inch racquets and strings designed for hitting passing shots. It's all speculation and BS but my imagination tells me that Sampras would have won more than 14 if he had played in any other era besides his and the current one. His serve and athleticism would have trounced everyone.

Rabbit
06-27-2007, 07:12 PM
McEnroe does change his mind quite often. It usually revolves around whoever is the topic. Just last week, I heard him saying that Laver was the greatest ever. He went on to gush about Laver and his achievements. I don't disagree with Laver being #1 at all. Laver is the one guy McEnroe never knocks.

fastdunn
06-28-2007, 12:36 PM
here is a wikepedia article with the (unofficial)#1 players year by year. according to it Laver was #1 seven years in a row, from '64-'70.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_number_one_male_tennis_player_rankings#Male_ tennis_players_No.1_or_Co-No._1.2C_since_1913_.28sorted_by_descending_number _of_years.29

and another article about his '19' majors(including the important events he won when banned from the grand slams)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis%2C_male_players_statistics



Thanks, Moose, for giving us references to
very imprtant summaries on this GOAT issues, IMHO.

Mind-boggling achievements of guys like Laver, Rosewelll, Tilden, Gonzales.

Sampras barely neared their achievements in fully open era and
look how much rookie Federer is now..(although he is going strong)

Rafa freak
06-28-2007, 12:40 PM
I think it is sampras is the best tennis player of all time.

beernutz
06-28-2007, 01:53 PM
I hang out with a lot of fine, fine ladies. Some of them are past they prime backup singers. Most of them have been counted by Wilt the Stilt. I aksed them all about the Wilt vs Shaq strength issue. They all disagree with you, Stormholloway, and they called you a young cracka.

They told me to tell you:
You play your cards right,
you might git a invite.
One night.

Actually they sang that.

To settle the Shaq v. Wilt issue: http://www.nickbakay.com/archives/wilt_vs_shaq

prostaff18
06-30-2007, 07:14 PM
Jonathan has inspired me to reread my books about pre-WWI tennis, and I think he is absolutely right - the younger Doherty must be included in these discussions. His becoming the first person to win the two major national championships (Wimbledon and U.S. - both singles and doubles!) in the same year must stand as the greatest performance to that time. He won more singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon than any other player, and with his brother formed the first truly great Davis Cup team, and one of the most succcessful of all. Paul Metzler, whom I often cite here, considered Doherty the brightest of all British stars - a greater champion even than Perry. I am fortunate to have a copy of the Dohertys' book on lawn tennis, which demonstrates that they were astute analysts of the game as well. Too many fans, even the more knowledgeable ones, treat Tilden as the first true giant of the game, but the Dohertys deserve considerable respect. Brookes and Wilding must also belong among the all-time greats, though I have much trouble choosing between them... any thoughts on the relative merits of these two would be greatly appreciated.

I am also thinking a great deal about the Four Musketeers, and especially Lacoste and Cochet. Al Laney, in my favorite tennis book, strongly felt that Lacoste was ultimately the greatest player of the four. (Laney also felt that both were greater than Rosewall or Hoad.) Though at least one, Gene Scott, has agreed, most critics have always chosen Cochet as the preeminent one. I had long taken the majority view, but I am increasingly seeing the case for Lacoste: he was the only one to win two major titles in the same season on multiple occasions, the first to win multiple French, Wimbledon, and U.S. championships, and he was unquestionably the leader and master tactician of their Davis Cup squad - which was of course the most important event at that time. His short career hurts his legacy, but his contributions off the court deserve mention, as he was is credited with the invention of that now-famous shirt, the steel racquet, and - I believe - the ball machine. Any further thoughts on how to choose one of these two as the French "ambassador" to the G.O.A.T. competition?

What books are those? I am so interested in the history of tennis; I just find it so hard to find books about tennis in those days. Thanks!

Also thanks to Jonathan for sharing your knowledge!! Great Stuff!!

chaognosis
06-30-2007, 08:26 PM
Yes, good tennis writings can be hard to find these days. Some of the best on those early years are by A. Wallis Myers, easily the most famous authority of his time. (I think it's a crime he isn't in the hall of fame, BTW.) I have a book by him called The Complete Lawn Tennis Player that is excellent - Nabokov also had it and refers to it in his autobiography, as well as in The Annotated Lolita. A more recent book with some good coverage is Sporting Gentlemen by E. Digby Baltzell, though the author makes a somewhat offensive sociological argument that relates the superiority of amateur tennis to professional tennis and the supposed superiority of the aristocratic classes. One of my very favorite books, and the one that taught me the most about the game when I first read it long ago, is Tennis Styles and Stylists by Paul Metzler, which is easy to read (very informal in tone) and packed with details going back to the very first Wimbledon. There is a wonderful biography of Norman Brookes written by his wife, which has helped me appreciate what a truly great champion he was - certainly one of the greatest of all time, I think. And though you may have trouble finding it, I have the book written by the Doherty brothers, which includes instructional material as well as descriptions of the games of many of their contemporaries. Finally, one fun thing to do is to read the biographies at the Hall of Fame website, and the excellent essays at histoiredutennis.com (though many of the latter are not translated into English).

stormholloway
06-30-2007, 08:37 PM
Tennis and the Meaning of Life is a good book.

urban
07-01-2007, 11:05 AM
i just read some comments on the subjects here. First i didnt know, that Nabokov made some references on tennis in Lolita. Would be interesting to sample other literary references. Tennis is a bit underrated, when it comes to literacy. You only have to compare it to boxing and names like London, Hemingway, or now Carol Oates.Some German speaking writers as Ernst Musil or Erich Kästner wrote essays on tennis, Kästner called it 'duel on distance'. Peter Ustinov wrote pretty well on tennis, too.For the pre WW 1 era, an often forgotten man is Maurice McLoughlin, the Californian Comet, a quite small man, but the first big server in history. His Wim final against Wilding in 1913, was probably the most significant pre war match. Masses showed up and Worple Road was outgrown.Wilding tamed the comet's serve, and won in three close sets.

urban
07-03-2007, 11:02 PM
Yes, the Clerici book is great with fine photo material. I got one copy when i was on vacation in Italy in 1975, later i got a German edition, too. I read somewhere that he has out a new edition in 2007.

Zets147
07-03-2007, 11:03 PM
Tsonganator - GOAT

joe sch
07-04-2007, 08:35 AM
I would also highly recommend "The Ultimate Tennis Book" by Gianni Clerici

With 335 pages and more than 1200 black and white illustrations and 40 color plates.
In this hugh, handsome and lavish book, is a bible for tennis history as it contains quite alot of info and pictures of the history of tennis. Clerici details the renaissance and classical origins of the sport, describing the current action which has made tennis a million-dollar business as well as the fastest growing spectator and active participant sport in the Western world. Copyright 1975, this book is 10" X 12", close to 10 pounds and 2 inches thick. This book is out of print and very hard to find

Another excellent reference is "Tennis A Cultural History" by Heiner Gillmeister

Supported by a startling wealth of linguistic and documentary research, Gillmeister charts the global evolution of tennis from its origins in the early Middle Ages to the appearance of the modern game in the 20th century. Along the way, he debunks established myths about the history of the game, including those surrounding the invention of the Davis Cup. 136 illustrations, 16 in color.

Not sure if "The Fireside Book of Tennis" by Allison Danzig has been recommended, it is also outstanding ...

This very comprehensive book on Tennis History documented by many of the best players and writers of the 20th century. This alone makes it an excellent reference.

A backward look at the wonderful heritage of the game is also very rewarding. You can leaf through these pages and comprehend why there are so many old-timers who swear no tennis player was ever as good as Bill Tilden. Or no tennis match is glamorous or as fascinating as the one in which Suzanne Lenglen met Helen Wills...unless perhaps it was the Don Budge-Baron Von Cramm battle that decided the Davis Cup in 1937? But come to think of it, wasn't Jack Crawford's conquest of Ellsworth Vines at Wimbledon in 1933 even more dramatic? Where does Pancho Gonzales rate among All-Time greats? Enough. Let your eye run over the Contents and you'll find your own moments in tennis history that you'll particularly want to explore, whether on a revisit or for the first time. Allison Danzig will tell you about them along with such other superb tennis chroniclers of those days as Parke Cummings, Al Laney, John Tunis, A. Wallis Myers, Edward Potter, and Fred Hawthorne. But this book by no means confines itself to ancient history. A new crop of genuinely knowledgeable and sensitive writers, including Fred Tupper, Herbert Warren Wind, Bud Collins, Lance Tingay, Neil Amdur, Rex Bellamy, David Gray, Richard Evans, Walter Bingham, Will Grimsley, Frank DeFord, and Alan Trengove, are here to recount great moments from more recent times as the stars of today, Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Ken Rosewall, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Tony Roche, and all the rest battle it out for top spot. Nor are the ladies neglected - far from it. The roster of women stars represented ranges all the way back to the Sutton sisters and Hazel Wightman, through the eras of Lenglen and Wills, Alice Marble, Althea Gibson, Maureen Connolly, up to today's outstanding players, Margaret Smith Court, Billie Jean King, Maria Bueno, Ann Jones, and those two newest sensations, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong. Part III is completely devoted to instruction of strokes and tactics by outstanding players who excelled in theory as well, such as Tilden, Billy Talbert, George Lott and Pancho Gonzales. In similar vein, scattered through Part I are expert technical analyses of the games of a number of great players, written by Julius D. Heldman. I know of nothing that can compare with them in achieving what they set out to do. Server ready? - Receiver ready? - Read! - Peter Schwed".

I really enjoy collecting and analyzing the rackets that many of these great champions played along with the transition of racket technology. The must have book for this area is "Book of Tennis Rackets" by Sigfield Keubler.. This is the most complete book on Tennis Rackets and Keubler was a renown racket designer and consultant to Wilson. This hugh book has 630 pages most with many 150+ color racket photos and illustrations.

I have some pictures of these books along with some more references at: http://www.woodtennis.com/history10s.htm

Regards,
Joe

Gasquetrules
07-04-2007, 10:56 PM
I know Becker only won six or seven GS titles, perhaps because he competed against McEnroe, Connors, Lendl, Wilander, Edberg, Sampras, Courier, Chang, Muster, Stich and many other great players during his career.

But regardless of the GS tally, just watching Becker play in recordings of his matches and comparing him to other players, I think he was among the very best to ever play the game.

He was a terrific athlete. He had a serve that was second only to Sampras' in his day. He could effectively rally from the baseline with Ivan Lendl or anyone else during his time. He really did have great groundstrokes. And he was a great natural volleyer. I'd put only McEnroe and Edberg as being superior at the net -- all time. Really, I think Becker was a much better volleyer than Sampras, and certainly had a more consistent and better backhand. Forehands were about equal. Sampras had a great serve that kept him out of trouble, other than that the rest of his shots were on par with other top-ten players during his day.

And regarding the Becker - Sampras comparison, Becker played his best tennis during the '80s, a time when there was more top-level competition than there was during the mid-90s when Sampras dominated. And perhaps Becker was not as highly motivated to win as many titles as possible the way Sampras was from the beginning of his career. After all, Becker was and still is the youngest man to ever win Wimbledon, so really, what more did he have to prove? It's one thing for a player to win the French at age 17. Both Wilander and Chang did that, and Nadal did it at 18. All you need is a solid baseline game and great stamina, something a teenager can acquire. But to win Wimbledon, a player must have a pretty complete game. I doubt Becker's record win as the youngest player to win Wimbledon will ever be broken.

I have great admiration for Wilander, Lendl and Edberg, three great players with very different styles of play. But when Becker was playing his best he easily and soundly beat all three. Becker could overpower Wilander and Edberg when he was in top form. And he could give as well as he got from the baseline with Lendl, while always outplaying Lendl at net.

Really, Becker had no weaknesses in his game. Until Roger Federer arrived, Becker was probably the most complete player who had ever played the game, and I still believe Becker to be better at net than Federer.

Becker reminded many tennis fans of Lew Hoad, because he was big and blond and athletic and so talented. Hoad didn't win as many major titles as Laver, but some would argue that at his best he was every bit as good as Laver was, perhaps better. I think you can make a similar argument about Boris Becker against any player from any period.

superman1
07-04-2007, 11:40 PM
I know Becker only won six or seven GS titles, perhaps because he competed against McEnroe, Connors, Lendl, Wilander, Edberg, Sampras, Courier, Chang, Muster, Stich and many other great players during his career.


Got something against Agassi? It's only natural progression to say "Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Chang," to leave Agassi out seems intentional.

jonline
07-05-2007, 12:59 AM
1. Sampras
2. Tilden
3. Budge
4. Rosewall
5. Perry
6. Borg
7. Laver
8. Cochet
9. Gonzales
10. Lendl
11. Connors
12. McEnroe
13. Lacoste
14. Agassi

#3-#9 are all very, very close and a good argument could be made for Rosewall at #3 ... #11-#14 are also very close.

Agassi and McEnroe out of top ten when Sampras is at #1? That's rather comical. I think you have some of the right players there, though.

CyBorg
07-05-2007, 04:22 AM
Agassi and McEnroe out of top ten when Sampras is at #1? That's rather comical. I think you have some of the right players there, though.

How is Agassi better than Lacoste?

BTURNER
08-01-2007, 10:58 PM
one of the Best thread on any of these sites!! I'd pay to sit at a roundtable and discuss this with most of you. Great insight and knowledge. Mind the 80's catfight thread is better , though.

SoBad
08-01-2007, 11:01 PM
Tsonganator - GOAT

That's a valid point, but is there any scientific evidence to support it?

base_liner
08-02-2007, 11:11 AM
ZERO FRENCH OPENS.

look at federer he hasnt won the french and people are calling him one of the greatests of all time

avmoghe
08-02-2007, 03:52 PM
look at federer he hasnt won the french and people are calling him one of the greatests of all time

I understand the argument as follows:

This is because he is clearly the 2nd best player on clay. Sampras wasn't anywhere near the top on clay. The implicit assumption here is that a GOAT *must* excel on every surface that the sport throws at him. Sampras fails at this criteria.

If Federer gets 14 slams, he effectively eliminates Sampras from any GOAT consideration (equal slam total with far better play on clay. Sampras six year end number 1's is negated by Federer's longer consecutive weeks at number 1 record). The only way to keep Sampras in contention is to resort to the rather ridiculous "Sampras competition was better" arguments.

Either way, I don't agree with these "people" - Rod Laver has been and still is the GOAT until Federer wins a real Grand Slam (4 in a row may be good enough)

Zimbo
08-02-2007, 06:44 PM
And he was a great natural volleyer. I'd put only McEnroe and Edberg as being superior at the net -- all time. Really, I think Becker was a much better volleyer than Sampras, and certainly had a more consistent and better backhand.

Really, Becker had no weaknesses in his game.


Becker was awesome. When he was on I wouldn't bet against him against anyone. However, I would not say he had "no weaknesses." He was a mental case, didn't always have the best game plan, was to stuborn to change game plan when one wasn't working, and his movement wasn't the best. Also, I wouldn't say he was only behind Edberg and Mac as a volleyer. Henmen, Cash, and Rafter were better then him just to name a few.

stevekim8
08-02-2007, 06:49 PM
are you kidding? no federer on the list?
now that's just plain wrong

Virginia
08-02-2007, 09:03 PM
I am also thinking a great deal about the Four Musketeers, and especially Lacoste and Cochet. Al Laney, in my favorite tennis book, strongly felt that Lacoste was ultimately the greatest player of the four. (Laney also felt that both were greater than Rosewall or Hoad.) Though at least one, Gene Scott, has agreed, most critics have always chosen Cochet as the preeminent one. I had long taken the majority view, but I am increasingly seeing the case for Lacoste: he was the only one to win two major titles in the same season on multiple occasions, the first to win multiple French, Wimbledon, and U.S. championships, and he was unquestionably the leader and master tactician of their Davis Cup squad - which was of course the most important event at that time. His short career hurts his legacy, but his contributions off the court deserve mention, as he was is credited with the invention of that now-famous shirt, the steel racquet, and - I believe - the ball machine. Any further thoughts on how to choose one of these two as the French "ambassador" to the G.O.A.T. competition?
I really think you need to consider Borotra - his playing career was so long it beggars belief. Here are a few salient points:

He first played at Wimbledon in 1922 and was last entered in an open event (mixed doubles) in 1964. That's a 42 year Wimbledon history and during that time he played a staggering 221 matches (winning 152).

His Davis Cup record lasted from 1922 to 1947 - 25 years representing his country.

In the annual match between the International Clubs of France and Great Britain, he played singles every year that it was held between 1929 and 1985 - that's 56 years, and he won his last match (in this event) in 1984 at the age of 86.

Nobody, but nobody, will ever equal or come even close to, this record of tennis longevity.

Apart from his delightful charm and sense of showmanship, (similar to Nastase but without the offensive element), he was a dedicated athlete, could play any shot to perfection and of the Four Musketeers, was actually the most successful, winning Wimbledon in 1924 and 1926, The French Open in 1924 and 1931 and the Australian Open in 1928, plus several doubles titles (Wimbledon Mens 3 times, French Mens 5 times, Australian Mens once) and Mixed 5 times.

Gorecki
08-04-2007, 05:50 AM
Mac is the reason.:)
why is it then that Mac considers without any shade of doubt that Borg was the greatest?

Tilden?
Lacoste?
Budge?
Cochet?

why not throw in "Major Harry Gem" and "Augurio Perera", the inventors of this game we love...

People here tend to give too much credit for players of the First 70 years of tennis...

The Gorilla
08-04-2007, 07:29 AM
Becker was awesome. When he was on I wouldn't bet against him against anyone. However, I would not say he had "no weaknesses." He was a mental case, didn't always have the best game plan, was to stuborn to change game plan when one wasn't working, and his movement wasn't the best. Also, I wouldn't say he was only behind Edberg and Mac as a volleyer. Henmen, Cash, and Rafter were better then him just to name a few.

as far as hitting the ball es, but he couldn't move from a to b, and he was a headcase

Polaris
08-07-2007, 12:36 AM
Tennis and the Meaning of Life is a good book.
I agree. I only had time to read one of the stories in a bookstore, but want to buy this one day. I can't wait to read what Wallace Stegner has written about the game.

Wuornos
08-07-2007, 10:06 AM
1. Roger Federer 671pts
2. Ivan Lendl 577pts
3. Pete Sampras 518pts
4. Bjorn Borg 512pts
5= John McEnroe 447pts
5= Mats Wilander 447pts
7. Rod Laver 414pts
8. Jim Courier 404pts
9. Stefan Edberg 400pts
10. Boris Becker 373pts
11. Jimmy Conners 366pts
12. Andre Agassi 348pts
13. Guilermo Vilas 325pts
14. Ken Rosewall 321pts

Peak Ratings from my own system. Open Era Only.

Moose Malloy
08-07-2007, 10:16 AM
^and how did you come to these 'ratings?'

mac was 82-3 in 1984, I find it hard to believe that 4 players had a higher "peak" rating.

and Connors was 99-4 in 1974, yet is behind Courier? very strange...

urban
08-07-2007, 10:22 AM
What does peak mean in this system? Normally peak performance means best performance in a year, which would give Lavers 1969, Federers 2006 and 2004, Connors 1974, McEnroes 1984 or Guillermo Vilas 1977 high rankings.

CyBorg
08-07-2007, 07:36 PM
heh .. system.

Zimbo
08-07-2007, 10:34 PM
1. Roger Federer 671pts
2. Ivan Lendl 577pts
3. Pete Sampras 518pts
4. Bjorn Borg 512pts
5= John McEnroe 447pts
5= Mats Wilander 447pts
7. Rod Laver 414pts
8. Jim Courier 404pts
9. Stefan Edberg 400pts
10. Boris Becker 373pts
11. Jimmy Conners 366pts
12. Andre Agassi 348pts
13. Guilermo Vilas 325pts
14. Ken Rosewall 321pts

Peak Ratings from my own system. Open Era Only.

Explain please. Where the heck is Lendl?

Wuornos
08-08-2007, 03:00 AM
Many thanks for the replies relating to my posting. I am pleased that you have all taken the time and trouble to read it and felt strongly enough to post your concerns. I am perhaps a little disappointed that there was no voice of support, but I suppose the nature of the subject is going to cause arguments and debate as it is impossible to derive a definitive answer.

I will try to answer each of your points in turn.

I hope the fact that I am splitting up the answers does not constitute spamming, but if it does let me know and next time I will ensure I amalgamate any points I have to make into a single post.

Wuornos
08-08-2007, 03:01 AM
‘Its Connors, not 'Conners.' Learn it. Know it. Live it.’

First of all sorry for the misspelling of Connor’s name.

Wuornos
08-08-2007, 03:03 AM
^and how did you come to these 'ratings?'

mac was 82-3 in 1984, I find it hard to believe that 4 players had a higher "peak" rating.

and Connors was 99-4 in 1974, yet is behind Courier? very strange...

The ratings are calculated using statistical probability theory.

Common intuition suggests that if a fair coin is tossed many times, then roughly half of the time it will turn up heads, and the other half it will turn up tails. Furthermore, the more often the coin is tossed, the more likely it should be that the ratio of the number of heads to the number of tails will approach unity. Modern probability provides a formal version of this intuitive idea, known as the law of large numbers. This law is remarkable because it is nowhere assumed in the foundations of probability theory, but instead emerges out of these foundations as a theorem. Since it links theoretically-derived probabilities to their actual frequency of occurrence in the real world, the law of large numbers is considered as a pillar in the history of statistical theory.

The strong law of large numbers (SLLN) states that if an event of probability p is observed repeatedly during independent experiments, the ratio of the observed frequency of that event to the total number of repetitions converges towards p strongly in probability.
I understand the points you are making in relation to the dominance of the players quoted for individual years but as described above we must decide whether the volume of data for a single year is sufficient to yield a sufficient confidence level as separate the calculated value of p for the higher level players which we are trying to evaluate. In this system we are calculating a 95% confidence limit.

The results show us that a sample of data for one year is not sufficient to yield a very high value of p within the space of a single year. In fact a perfect set of results for single year without any further results to take into account would only yield a minimum p value of .324.

Therefore mathematically for a player to prove with a 95% confidence that he/she is in the top 14 players of all time, he/she must play for a minimum of one year. Of course results may exceed this p = .324 by a wide margin but within the finite scale of a single year we could not be reasonably certain that this was not an aberration of the limited sample size.

I won’t go on any further here but should you be interested in the subject of sports ratings with a sound basis in statistical probability theory I would recommend. The Rating of Chessplayers, Past and Present (1978) by Arpad Elo.

I like the statistics you quoted, could you possibly let me have the source. Thanks

Wuornos
08-08-2007, 03:04 AM
What does peak mean in this system? Normally peak performance means best performance in a year, which would give Lavers 1969, Federers 2006 and 2004, Connors 1974, McEnroes 1984 or Guillermo Vilas 1977 high rankings.

It look for the highest value of p in which we have a 95% confidence that the figure derived is the minimum value necessary to have achieved the results.

I like the statistics you quoted, could you possibly let me have the source. Thanks

Wuornos
08-08-2007, 03:05 AM
heh .. system.

System is defined as ‘a set of rules or principles or practices forming a particular philosophy’. Admittedly you may not agree with the mathematical theories behind the system and therefore disagree with the philosophy, but at least it is objective.

Wuornos
08-08-2007, 03:05 AM
Explain please. Where the heck is Lendl?

Lendl is at number two. He was dominant for a period much longer than one year and at one point we would be 95% confident that he would need a p value of at least .577 to achieve the results recorded.

Wuornos
08-08-2007, 03:06 AM
As you all enjoyed the men’s ratings so much, here are the women’s.

1 Martina Navratilova 747
2 Steffi Graf 666
3 Chris Evert 623
4 Margaret Smith Court 550
5 Monica Seles 544
6 Evonne Goolagong 495
7 Martina Hingis 481
8 Serena Williams 478
9 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario 447
10 Venus Williams 438
11 Billie Jean King 426
12 Justine Henin 423

As before Open Era only.

Zimbo
08-08-2007, 12:20 PM
Explain please. Where the heck is Lendl?

Lendl is at number two. He was dominant for a period much longer than one year and at one point we would be 95% confident that he would need a p value of at least .577 to achieve the results recorded.

Sorry, I must have been blind or drunk at the time. Nice Stats tho. However, how did you pick your data and which factors did you use and how many years played did you include?

lakis92
08-08-2007, 01:26 PM
Federer! No one else!

kashmonyklik
08-10-2007, 10:24 PM
I know the whole universe would disagree but my Greatest Tennis Player All time is - Goran Ivanisevic

Cant think of anyone taking that away

slice bh compliment
08-11-2007, 05:22 AM
Well, maybe Yannick Noah. Up there with Goran in all categories, except Grand Slam finals lost.;)

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
10-27-2008, 06:01 AM
Good points chaog, you're right that 'Little Do', not Tilden, is the first giant of the game, the first who should be included in any GOAT debate. As well as Tilden in 1921, L. Doherty actually had a kind of 'Grand Slam year' in 1903, winning Wimbledon, the US Championships, both his singles in Davis Cup, the Nice tournament (one of the greatest clay tournaments), and the British Indoors Championships (probably the second-best English tournament at the time).

Brookes and Wilding were also outstanding, no question, but to me they belonged to "Tier II". As the likes of Sedgman, Trabert, Connors, Lendl, Agassi, etc., they are definitely all-time greats, but not GOAT contenders...
About comparisons between those two, it's hard to tell, as I mentioned earlier in this thread...Wilding has by far the best record, with 90+ tournament wins, including 4 Wimbledon and 3 Davis Cups. He won most of the time's great tournaments several times: the British Indoors, French Indoors, Queen's Indoors, Queen's grasscourt. And he was also prominent on red clay, winning the Paris World Championships in 1913 and Monte-Carlo, Nice, Cannes several times....Then his record speaks for Wilding, yet there was no ATP computer at the time so winning many events was not a good criterion for greatness in this context. I guess that without any head-to-head details between the two, it will always be a matter of subjective opinion...

As for the Musketeers, I'm from France and have much affection for our last true champions, plus I still think their Davis Cup conquest and subsequent Slam sweep is the biggest epic in tennis. Yet I'm afraid no one of them qualify for the GOAT competition, to me Lacoste and Cochet stay in tier II, with Brookes, Wilding, et al. Neither one matches the achievements of Tilden or Budge. Probably if you took the Musketeers' motto so seriously you considered them as one individual, you'd have a perfect GOAT! :-)

As for Lacoste v Cochet, it's once again a matter of peak vs longevity. Lacoste retired very early for health matters (quite ironically he lived to 95+, passing away in the 90s). Then his record is less impressive than Cochet's. Cochet won many big events, sweeping the European circuit in his best years (1928-1930) and winning big US events (Newport, the PSW Los Angeles).He won around 45 tournaments on the whole, while Lacoste was stuck to 20 or so.
About which one was the best at his peak, the 'Crocodile' or the 'Magician', it's hard to judge for anyone not living at the time...Lacoste's domination over Tilden in 1926-1927 was impressive, but in 1929, Big Bill told that Henri played 'a tennis he did not know anything of'.
So to answer you question, I personally think that Lacoste might have been the best as the greates tennis mind of his time (along with Tilden), that Cochet has the best record and a better career overall, that both are among the most interesting personalities in the game, but that their Slams, tournament wins, and dominant years are not numerous enough to put them in the GOAT conversation...

Jonathan


Bonjour Jonathan (for the English readers, as Jonathan I'm French too),
I've just ended reading Wilding's own book ("On the court and off") and he stated that H.L. Doherty and Brookes only met twice : "The two met twice, but neither match could be called satisfactory or conclusive. On the first occasion, when Doherty won, Brookes had an injured shoulder which was a very considerable handicap. On their second meeting Brookes won, but taking into consideration the fact that the match was a friendly affair, and that neither player had enjoyed preliminary practice for it, we can hardly attach the same weight to the victory as if it had been earned in a Davis Cup competition or championship match.". Wilding had forgotten the England vs Australasia test match, Wimbledon (G): (Jul 31) where Brookes beat H.L. Doherty 64 62 (or perhaps Wilding considered this match as the private one ?).

Have you any info about the private match between Brookes-H.L. Doherty ?

I think you slightly overrate H.L. and underrate his brother R.F. Of course the latter was "always" ill so can truly be considered in any GOAT discussion. Nevertheless he has always beaten Laurie both in their only official match (Wimby 1898 ) and in their numerous private matches. GW Hillyard even stated that Laurie even seldom won a set and that in fact Reggie owe 15 to Laurie. The latter has become a sort of #1 by default when Reggie couldn't play anymore and before the Australasians and Larned became top players. For me he was a little the equivalent of Riggs, the American being #1 when Budge had declined and before Kramer reached the top. The difference is that the intermediate era of Laurie Doherty lasted longer than Riggs's.

About Wilding I sort of agree with you. According to Myers (in his book about Wilding, ended on January 1916) in the challenge round of Wimbledon 1913 Wilding had played better than anyone before especially his contemporaries, Brookes and McLoughlin. Myers stated that Brookes was the artist (and Wilding the athlet) but that the Melburnian had a bad stamina which explains for instance his following defeats though he had previously led 2 sets to love : Queen's 1905 (Beals Wright (USA) - Norman Brookes (AUS) 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-1), Davis Cup 1908 (Beals Wright (USA) - Norman Brookes (ANZ) 0-6 3-6 7-5 6-2 12-10), Victorian Chp 1909 (Tony Wilding (NZL) - Norman Brookes (AUS) 2-6 3-6 6-3 6-3 9-7). This is why he considered Wilding better (I also think Myers's friendship with Wilding influenced Myers's judgment). But Myers also claimed that after Wilding's great successes in 1913 the New Zealander had lost his enthusiasm for tennis competition and hard training. All witnesses, including Myers, agree that Wilding wasn't fit when he played Wimbledon in 1914 and Myers insisted that Wilding didn't train very hard for the Davis Cup meeting against the USA. Had there been no war in 1914 it is likely that Wilding would have anyway declined. Hadn't he been killed in Neuve-Chapelle it is probable that he wouldn't have done better than Brookes after the war though he was 6 years younger than Norman. So he probably wasn't in the same class as Tilden or other players.
And for me there is no doubt that Brookes was below Wilding. In best-of-three set matches played on grass Brookes was perhaps better than Wilding because of his superb service and volley but in best-of-five set matches on grass Wilding was slightly superior because of his great stamina. On clay there was no match because Wilding's forehand lifting drive was much more efficient on clay whereas in the same time Brookes's twisted service was much less efficient on clay : in conclusion Wilding was truly better on clay (Championships of Cannes, 1914, Wilding winner 6-4 6-2 6-1 and Cannes Carlton, 2nd meeting, Wilding still winner 6-2 6-2 6-2). Brookes himself said that Wilding had been year in, year out, easily World #1 and that Anthony had beaten everyone and was invincible on European hard courts (=clay).

Virginia
10-28-2008, 12:44 AM
I was very interested to read this about Wilding, as recently I have bought both his biography by Len & Shelley Richardson and two separate editions of Wilding's "On the Court and Off".

The first one is what appears to be a paperback photocopy of the original printing, while the second is a hardback new edition by Kessinger Publishing, who specialise in reprints of rare books. I obtained both editions, new, from Amazon.

Oddly enough, the people at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand, where most of Wilding's memorabilia is held (and which is worth around half a million NZ dollars), were not even aware that Wilding had written this book.

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
10-28-2008, 03:34 AM
I was very interested to read this about Wilding, as recently I have bought both his biography by Len & Shelley Richardson and two separate editions of Wilding's "On the Court and Off".

The first one is what appears to be a paperback photocopy of the original printing, while the second is a hardback new edition by Kessinger Publishing, who specialise in reprints of rare books. I obtained both editions, new, from Amazon.

Oddly enough, the people at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand, where most of Wilding's memorabilia is held (and which is worth around half a million NZ dollars), were not even aware that Wilding had written this book.

Hello,
the Len & Shelley Richardson book is wonderful (I've read it before Wilding's and Myers's books respectively published in 1912 and in 1916 for the first editions) because there are many Anthony's tennis results (almost completely missing in "Captain Anthony Wilding" and in "On the court and off", in the latter I don't think there is any complete score) and a very detailed biography : for instance all his South African trip in 1910 is told while there are few . They made very few mistakes, the most important one was that they put in 1907 (from memory) the 1906 Monte Carlo tournament (where he lost to H.L. Doherty).

adidasman
10-28-2008, 12:22 PM
Gadzooks. How stupid can people be? Sampras with no French? Not the best. I'd argue Agassi should rank higher all-time. Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall ahead of Laver and Borg? So far beyond ludicrous it's not worth addressing. And the fact that Federer isn't in there at all makes the list completely useless. Arguing that a college player would have beaten Tilden with a modern racquet? Not necessarily, if Tilden had grown up with that babolat in his hand and all the modern training techniques. You can't just drop a wood racquet guy out of thin air into 2008 and then say, "He wouldn't beat Nadal." That's moronic. Number one all time? Laver. That's easy. Sampras isn't even in the top three on my list, even if I only rank the guys I've actually seen play. (Probably Federer and Borg for me at two and three.)

JoshDragon
10-28-2008, 02:05 PM
1. Federer
2. Sampras


No one else qualifies because the next in line is Laver and there's no way that he'd be able to defeat Sampras or Federer in their primes.

hoodjem
10-28-2008, 03:01 PM
No one else qualifies because the next in line is Laver, and there's no way that he'd be able to defeat Sampras or Federer in their primes.
Unsupported blather.

Boy, has this thread degenerated.

JoshDragon
10-28-2008, 03:21 PM
Unsupported blather.

Boy, has this thread degenerated.

There's no way the greatest player today would lose to the greatest player of the 60s who played with a wooden racquet. Sorry, but there's no way that would happen.

chaognosis
10-28-2008, 03:59 PM
There's no way the greatest player today would lose to the greatest player of the 60s who played with a wooden racquet. Sorry, but there's no way that would happen.

If they are both using wood, my money is on Laver or Rosewall (or for that matter Budge) - definitely NOT Federer or Sampras. It seems you are more interested in comparing racquet and string technologies, rather than the abilities of the players themselves. FYI, playing with wood requires greater skill.

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
10-29-2008, 05:39 AM
Gadzooks. How stupid can people be? Sampras with no French? Not the best. I'd argue Agassi should rank higher all-time. Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall ahead of Laver and Borg? So far beyond ludicrous it's not worth addressing. And the fact that Federer isn't in there at all makes the list completely useless. Arguing that a college player would have beaten Tilden with a modern racquet? Not necessarily, if Tilden had grown up with that babolat in his hand and all the modern training techniques. You can't just drop a wood racquet guy out of thin air into 2008 and then say, "He wouldn't beat Nadal." That's moronic. Number one all time? Laver. That's easy. Sampras isn't even in the top three on my list, even if I only rank the guys I've actually seen play. (Probably Federer and Borg for me at two and three.)

Hi,
Look at an old version of the "Ken Rosewall" article (January 17, 2007) in Wikipedia that I mainly wrote at the end of 2006 and early 2007 : http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ken_Rosewall&diff=101338209&oldid=101337920. This version has been often edited since because new stats' were found (in paticular Ken's number of titles has improved from 121 to 132 wins) and because I wasn't neutral as required in Wikipedia. In particular there was a chapter called "Rosewall’s combined amateur-professional annual rankings (rough estimations due to the absence of official rankings before 1973)" which since has been cut. Another chapter, being non-neutral too has been also erased : "One of the greatest players of all time though being also one of the most underrated players". Nonetheless two chapters helped to estimate Rosewall's level. When someone really knows Rosewall's career he can truly wonder if that player was at least the equal of Laver and he's almost sure that Ken was above Borg without any doubt. Most of persons, as you, judge Rosewall when he was a baby (before he turned pro in 1957) or when he was a patriach (when open tennis arrived at last). But so many ignore all his feats when he was at his best. Everyone recalls that he was crushed when he was nearly 40 by Connors but Rosewall has already declined since late 1965 and mainly since May 1972 (when he won his last WCT Finals). In very great finals against Laver he was at least equal to Rocket or even ahead though he met Laver for the first time when he was over 28 years old. Here are their very great finals. US Pro 63 (Rosewall winner), French Pro 63 (Rosewall), French Pro 64 (Rosewall), Wembley Pro 64 (Laver), US Pro 65 (Rosewall), French Pro 65 (Rosewall), Madison Square Garden 66 (Rosewall), US Pro 66 (Laver), Wembley Pro 66 (Laver), French Pro 66 (Rosewall), Wimbledon Pro 67 (Laver), Wembley Pro 67 (Laver), French Open 68 (Rosewall), French Open 69 (Laver), Dunlop Open Sydney 70 (Laver), WCT Finals 71 (Rosewall), WCT Finals 72 (Rosewall). My choices can be disapproved on some cases but not many and here you have a Rosewall lead of 10-7. After the WCT Finals 1972, their last very great meeting, neither Rosewall nor Laver fight for the very top honours that is the #1 spot but before their first very great final (the US Pro 1963) Laver was never a contender for the first place and even for a very great title (in 1962 though he made the Slam he was two classes below Rosewall and Hoad that year and of course the years before) while Rosewall had won his first great titles in 1957-1958 (Wembley 57 or French Pro 58 ) and began to fight for the first place since 1959 (that year he led at last 3-2 Gonzales in direct confrontations according to McCauley but Rosewall himself said that he had beaten Gonzales 5 times out of 7 meetings in 1959).
So yes Rosewall is a name to be picked up for any GOAT discussion. Yes Rosewall was perhaps as good if not better than Laver if we judge their whole career. And Tilden and Gonzales are too superb contenders for the GOAT title. And Borg and Sampras and Federer (if his career would stop now) can't compete with Rosewall at all. The Australian had won the equivalent of 20 modern Slam tournaments (once again see my old contribution to Wikipedia of January 17, 2007) so he can be selected without any doubt in any GOAT discussion. I don't claim that he was better than Tilden, Gonzales or Laver without any doubt, I just say that I have strong cases to show that Rosewall was in the same class as those players. I defy anyone to give me really good arguments showing that Laver was a greater player than Rosewall without any doubt. Firstly Rosewall's records are at least as good as Laver's, secondly Rosewall's longevity (26 (consecutive) years in the Top20 : 1952-1977) was clearly superior to Laver's (17 years : 1959-1975). Laver was only better in terms of potential. At his very best Laver was superior to Rosewall on fast courts (Wembley 1966, NTL Wembley Invitation Pro 1968, Pacific Southwest 1968 ) but even on fast courts Rosewall could beat or extend a great Laver : French Pro 1963 final (played on indoor wood : Laver said in 1973 that it was the finest match of his whole career though he lost to Ken), Wembley 1964 (won in 5 sets by Laver), US Pro 1966 (Laver winner in 5 sets), Wembley 1967 (Laver in 5), Open Dunlop Sydney (Laver in 5, considered by many as the greatest match on the Australian soil with the von Cramm-Budge match on January 9, 1938 in a tri-state event), WCT Finals 1971 (Rosewall in 4) and WCT Finals 1972 (Rosewall in 5). And on slow courts in general Rosewall at his best was superior to Laver (for instance the 1968 Roland Garros final, considered by some as the greatest match of the first three open era years) in particular on wet courts. The greatest Laver's win over Rosewall on slow courts was the Roland Garros final in 1969, Laver said that it was his best match ever on clay but he also added that Ken in 1969 was declining because he wasn't mentally at the top after 20 years in the tennis circuit.
In conclusion about the Rosewall-Laver comparison, Laver was clearly superior at his very best on fast surfaces but on all the other criteria Rosewall was at least the equal or even better so to state at 100% that Laver was superior is very bold not to say inaccurate.

About Perry I agree with you : he cannot be compared to Laver or Borg. Perry was never a clear #1 : between 1934 and 1936 he was the best amateur but Vines, the best pro, could claim to be quite equal (in 1934-35 I think Vines was slightly better but in 1936 I would give the edge to Perry because Vines was injured most of the summer that year and therefore didn't play for 6 months). The other year when Perry was close to #1 was in 1941 (best pro) but Riggs, the best amateur was at least as good as Perry (in their single confrontation Riggs led 5-4 in the decisive set and (if I'm not mistaken) 30-15 when Perry injured and had to retire), and J.P. Allen suggested that Riggs, the top amateur in 1941 should defeat Perry, the top pro that same year.

About Borg. Compare him with Budge, year by year at intervals of 40 years (Budge was born in 1915 and Borg in 1956) :
if you read my following arguments you will note that Borg was a sort of Budge who would have retired well before so I suggest that Budge was globally better than Borg. Given that injury (and war) prevented Budge from having a career as great (or even better) as Tilden, Gonzales, Rosewall or Laver you can guess that I think that Borg was below Rosewall (and co.).

A) First years
1933-1936 :
- Budge was an ordinary player in 1933-1934, was possibly in the Top15 in 1935 and was around #5 in 1936
1973-1976 :
- Borg was in the Top20 in 1973, possibly #3 in 1974, between #2 or 3 (tied with Connors) in 1975, probably #2 in 1976
Here you can see that Borg had better begun his career than Budge

B) "Apogee"
1937-1942 :
- Budge was possibly #1 in 1937 (Vines and Perry, then pros, were very close to Budge), almost surely #1 in 1938, #1 in 1939 and 1940, I think he was just #6 in 1941 and once more #1 in 1942
1977-1982 :
- Borg was probably #1 in 1977 (Vilas very close), #1 in 1978-1979-1980, #2 in 1981, very debatable but this my opinion : Borg #5 (after Connors, Lendl, McEnroe, Wilander) though he didn't play the official circuit except his Monte Carlo and Las Vegas appearances where he didn't give a damn.
Both players had comparable years

C) "Decline"
1943-1955 (until 1961)
- Budge played one match in 1943 (that he won against Edward Alloo 62 64) after his shoulder injury because of war, in 1944 he was slightly dominated by Segura and was equal to Kramer, in 1945 Budge was #2 as in 1946, in 1947 he was #2 or 3 (tied with Kramer), in 1948 #3 or 4 (tied with Kovacs), in 1949 he was in the Top5 or Top10, 1950-1951-1952-1953 : possibly in the Top10 each year, 1954-1955 : Top20
1983-1993 :
except Borg's win over Clerc in Monte Carlo 1983 (and some Swede's wins in exhibition matches) Borg's end of career was nil.
In their last years Budge was better though not outstanding with some good results from 1945 to 1947-1948.

Of course my above comparisons are rough but it gives first elements to decide between Budge and Borg.
Budge had a slow start (compared to Borg) then both players dominated the tennis world for some years and finally Budge declined but played very honestly while Borg simply retired. Therefore I'm enclined to give the edge to Budge : each player had a stop, due to war and injury for Budge (1943) and to mental tiredness for Borg (40 years later in 1983), but the difference between them is that Budge really came back with some good performances whereas Borg just played some challenge or exhibition matches and made a pathetic return in 1991-1993.

hoodjem
10-29-2008, 06:01 AM
There's no way the greatest player today would lose to the greatest player of the 60s who played with a wooden racquet. Sorry, but there's no way that would happen.The excellence of your logical argument leaves me speechless. The evidence you offer is irrefutable.


And by extrapolation, there's NO WAY a player with all Luxilon strings would lose to a player with a gut-poly hybrid. "Sorry, but there's no way that would happen."

JoshDragon
10-29-2008, 09:28 AM
Unsupported blather--The Sequel.

I thought that was a book that you wrote. I don't want to take credit for your work. ;)

hoodjem
10-29-2008, 10:22 AM
Again, you thought wrong. This is your work:1. Federer
2. Sampras


No one else qualifies because the next in line is Laver and there's no way that he'd be able to defeat Sampras or Federer in their primes.There's no way the greatest player today would lose to the greatest player of the 60s who played with a wooden racquet. Sorry, but there's no way that would happen.


Stand up and be proud of your creation!

380pistol
10-29-2008, 11:06 AM
1. Federer
2. Sampras


No one else qualifies because the next in line is Laver and there's no way that he'd be able to defeat Sampras or Federer in their primes.

Please explain there's "no way" Laver could beat Sampras and Federer in their primes??

380pistol
10-29-2008, 11:25 AM
There's no way the greatest player today would lose to the greatest player of the 60s who played with a wooden racquet. Sorry, but there's no way that would happen.

If they are both using wood, my money is on Laver or Rosewall (or for that matter Budge) - definitely NOT Federer or Sampras. It seems you are more interested in comparing racquet and string technologies, rather than the abilities of the players themselves. FYI, playing with wood requires greater skill.


Thank you. What JD is saying is CSI today would be a better criminalist than a CSI in the '60's as today's criminalist have the benefit of using DNA. Put a modern day CSI in the 1960's and how do they fare?? What about giving CSI's from the '60's the beneift of using DNA, and other forenzic advancements.

It's not a slight on one or the other, but with the DNA and modern science readily avaiable CSI's from the 1960's would have been moulded with a different approach, likewise if modern day criminalsts did not have modern science they'd approach the science of criminalogy differently. If these things aren't considered what's the point of discussing this, whoever is the most recent will just end up being the greatest based on evolution.

You have to somewhat level the laying filed. Put a Babolat in Tilden's hands, a Wilson in Gonzales' hands, or a head in Laver's hads and how do they fare?? Put wood in Federer or Nadal's hands and how would they fare.

Note: Sampras is somewhat of a unique case cuz though he's from the graphite era, his game from a young age was moulded by wood due to the designings of Pete Fischer, According to Pete he didn't use graphite unil he honed his strokes and technique with wood.

What JD is doing is not logical. Take to trained marksmen. Give one a modern day Sig Sauer 380 and the other a Derringer form the 1930's, and let then have a shootout, without question the one with the 380 will win. Does that mean he's the better shooter?? maybe, maybe not. But all this illustrates is that he was equipped with the better firearm. JD is equating haveing the better firearm as being the better shooter. Havein access to better and modern science as the better criminalist.

So Chaog I'd have to agree. His comparison is invalid, as the playing level are clearly not even.

BGB.CA
10-29-2008, 11:37 AM
If they are both using wood, my money is on Laver or Rosewall (or for that matter Budge) - definitely NOT Federer or Sampras. It seems you are more interested in comparing racquet and string technologies, rather than the abilities of the players themselves. FYI, playing with wood requires greater skill.

Racquets have nothing to do with it, it's because todays athletes are faster, stronger, more powerful, and have more endurance than in the past. Knowledge of human kinetics, athletic training and nutrition have gone ahead light years since Laver's time. If you give the player from the past these advantages and let them train with it their entire career then you could argue that they would win, but saying a guy from the 1960's could beat todays greatest players is like saying that the fastest 100m runner from the 60's could outrun Usain Bolt.
Laver is listed as 5'9" and 150 lbs, how many top 50 nevermind top 10 players are that size today? Compare him with Sampras who was 6'1" 175lbs and had the vertical jump of a basketball player or a player like Nadal who seems to be able to sprint at full speed and hurl himself at the ball hour after hour and the 1960's players look like children playing.

I've watched video of Laver playing and while his skill and pedigree are undeniable the power and the athleticism is nowhere near the level of todays top tennis players. They've even done tests to compare serve speeds with wood and graphite racquets and there is less than a 5% difference, I think Tennis Magazine published one of these tests w/Phillipoussis in it. If we can say for certain that the technology in this element of the game is negligable so then why when watching video of past players does the ball appear to be going so much slower on the serve?

No matter how great of a champion someone is time and human physiology are going to catch up to them. I'm sure even Laver himself accepts this you guys should too.

urban
10-29-2008, 11:52 AM
Bob Hayes run 10.00 in 1964, on a clay surface, soaked with rain. He still would give Bolt a run for the money. I always read this Philippoussis thing about his test with wood. His hit maybe ten to twenty serves with wood. But nobody says that he couldn't move his arm the next morning. Of course, the technology matters. And i think, the athletic fitness of current tennis players is way overrated, see Nalbandian, Murray, Djokovic, or Fish. Even Federer is not built like a muscular quarterback with a six-pack.

thalivest
10-29-2008, 12:34 PM
And i think, the athletic fitness of current tennis players is way overrated, see Nalbandian, Murray, Djokovic, or Fish. Even Federer is not built like a muscular quarterback with a six-pack.

Physicality is overrated in tennis IMO. I am not saying it isnt important but it isnt the "be all and end all" some make it out to be. You mentioned Federer, he works very hard on his fitness I think, but his build is very slight and he is actually quite frail looking. When he has his shirt off you can really see it.

Lots of people use examples like the Williams, but they are insane tennis talents, not just physical talents. Other people point to Hingis, but if she worked as hard as equally small Justine Henin she would have held up alot better.

JoshDragon
10-29-2008, 01:53 PM
Thank you. What JD is saying is CSI today would be a better criminalist than a CSI in the '60's as today's criminalist have the benefit of using DNA. Put a modern day CSI in the 1960's and how do they fare?? What about giving CSI's from the '60's the beneift of using DNA, and other forenzic advancements.

It's not a slight on one or the other, but with the DNA and modern science readily avaiable CSI's from the 1960's would have been moulded with a different approach, likewise if modern day criminalsts did not have modern science they'd approach the science of criminalogy differently. If these things aren't considered what's the point of discussing this, whoever is the most recent will just end up being the greatest based on evolution.

You have to somewhat level the laying filed. Put a Babolat in Tilden's hands, a Wilson in Gonzales' hands, or a head in Laver's hads and how do they fare?? Put wood in Federer or Nadal's hands and how would they fare.

Note: Sampras is somewhat of a unique case cuz though he's from the graphite era, his game from a young age was moulded by wood due to the designings of Pete Fischer, According to Pete he didn't use graphite unil he honed his strokes and technique with wood.

What JD is doing is not logical. Take to trained marksmen. Give one a modern day Sig Sauer 380 and the other a Derringer form the 1930's, and let then have a shootout, without question the one with the 380 will win. Does that mean he's the better shooter?? maybe, maybe not. But all this illustrates is that he was equipped with the better firearm. JD is equating haveing the better firearm as being the better shooter. Havein access to better and modern science as the better criminalist.

So Chaog I'd have to agree. His comparison is invalid, as the playing level are clearly not even.

If you put a wood racquet in Federer's hands his game would not be as good because he is unaccustomed to playing with wood. The same goes for Laver or Tilden if you gave them a graphite. It would be too much to ask them to make a switch from graphite to wood or vice-versa.

Wood racquets, are not as good as graphite. They lack the power and I believe they also lack some of the spin of the racquets today (partly due to the stringing.) The smaller head size also makes leaves room for a smaller sweet spot and margin of error.

To be honest. It's more than just the technology that makes me convinced that Laver would not stand a chance against Federer if they were to play a match. It's the average physical capabilities of the players today over the players back then.

Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall were both very small guys and yet both of them were able to dominate the sport during their time periods. Today the top players (for the most part) are much taller.

Nadal 6'1"
Federer 6'1"
Djokovic 6'2"
Murray 6'3"

The strength of the players today is greater as well. You just didn't see guys like Nadal, Gael Monfils, Roddick or Robby Ginepri, back in the 60s. There's no question that Nadal is fitter than Laver just look at these pictures.



http://www.australianhistory.org/images/rod_laver.jpg

http://www.baseball-statistics.com/Greats/Century/Pictures/Borg.jpg

http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2007/06/11/nadal1_narrowweb__300x448,0.jpg

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0crL2fxaMN7M9/610x.jpg

Bill Tilden, played Tennis into his 40s, he was ranked #1 when he was 38. Connors, Laver, and Rosewall all played until either their late 30s or early 40s. Today the top players are lucky if they make it to 35 before retiring. Tilden, Connors, Rosewall, and Laver were all able to hang around because the game was less physical when they played. The rallies were slower and the serves weren't as powerful.

treblings
10-29-2008, 02:18 PM
There´s a difference between being the Greatest and being the Best.
If you want to determine who is the Greatest you look at the results of the players in their respective careers. You don´t let them play a fictitious tournament against each other.
Players like Rosewall, Laver or particularly Emerson were extremely fit, but the character of the game was different back then.
Matches were longer so endurance was more important.

CyBorg
10-29-2008, 03:02 PM
Guys played up to 150 matches a year and many more five-setters than today. I don't know where this nonsense about endurance comes from.

BGB.CA
10-29-2008, 04:02 PM
To be honest. It's more than just the technology that makes me convinced that Laver would not stand a chance against Federer if they were to play a match. It's the average physical capabilities of the players today over the players back then.

Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall were both very small guys and yet both of them were able to dominate the sport during their time periods. Today the top players (for the most part) are much taller.

Nadal 6'1"
Federer 6'1"
Djokovic 6'2"
Murray 6'3"

The strength of the players today is greater as well. You just didn't see guys like Nadal, Gael Monfils, Roddick or Robby Ginepri, back in the 60s. There's no question that Nadal is fitter than Laver just look at these pictures.


Thats what I was trying to get at. Take away the wood vs graphite debate and tell me that Laver or anyone of his era could move as fast or hit with the pace that any of the aformentioned players could. Today players uncoil there entire bodies into just about every shot, watching Laver play he had basically an all arm swing on his groundies with minimal shoulder rotation.
Do the math: a 6'2" 200ish lbs guy like Roddick or Monfils throwing all his weight behind the ball and a tiny guy like laver stroking it with his arm even with his greater touch/feel I can't see how Laver would win.

JoshDragon
10-29-2008, 05:43 PM
Thats what I was trying to get at. Take away the wood vs graphite debate and tell me that Laver or anyone of his era could move as fast or hit with the pace that any of the aformentioned players could. Today players uncoil there entire bodies into just about every shot, watching Laver play he had basically an all arm swing on his groundies with minimal shoulder rotation.
Do the math: a 6'2" 200ish lbs guy like Roddick or Monfils throwing all his weight behind the ball and a tiny guy like laver stroking it with his arm even with his greater touch/feel I can't see how Laver would win.

Laver, wouldn't be able to beat Federer or Roddick. Nor would Tilden despite his height advantage. Tilden, was into his 30s before he hit his prime and he wasn't exactly a graceful mover. Just good enough to win 10 amateur majors.

hoodjem
10-29-2008, 06:05 PM
The strength of the players today is greater as well. There's no question that Nadal is fitter than Laver just look at these pictures.

http://contest.bodybuilding.com/gallery/contest/4832/event/1/division/6/contestant/19162/mode/jim/#

JoshDragon
10-29-2008, 06:15 PM
http://contest.bodybuilding.com/gallery/contest/4832/event/1/division/6/contestant/19162/mode/jim/#

http://www.tennisite.org/racquets

For the wood racquet fan.

380pistol
10-30-2008, 10:54 AM
If you put a wood racquet in Federer's hands his game would not be as good because he is unaccustomed to playing with wood. The same goes for Laver or Tilden if you gave them a graphite. It would be too much to ask them to make a switch from graphite to wood or vice-versa.

Wood racquets, are not as good as graphite. They lack the power and I believe they also lack some of the spin of the racquets today (partly due to the stringing.) The smaller head size also makes leaves room for a smaller sweet spot and margin of error.

To be honest. It's more than just the technology that makes me convinced that Laver would not stand a chance against Federer if they were to play a match. It's the average physical capabilities of the players today over the players back then.

Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall were both very small guys and yet both of them were able to dominate the sport during their time periods. Today the top players (for the most part) are much taller.

Nadal 6'1"
Federer 6'1"
Djokovic 6'2"
Murray 6'3"

The strength of the players today is greater as well. You just didn't see guys like Nadal, Gael Monfils, Roddick or Robby Ginepri, back in the 60s. There's no question that Nadal is fitter than Laver just look at these pictures.



http://www.australianhistory.org/images/rod_laver.jpg

http://www.baseball-statistics.com/Greats/Century/Pictures/Borg.jpg

http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2007/06/11/nadal1_narrowweb__300x448,0.jpg

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0crL2fxaMN7M9/610x.jpg

Bill Tilden, played Tennis into his 40s, he was ranked #1 when he was 38. Connors, Laver, and Rosewall all played until either their late 30s or early 40s. Today the top players are lucky if they make it to 35 before retiring. Tilden, Connors, Rosewall, and Laver were all able to hang around because the game was less physical when they played. The rallies were slower and the serves weren't as powerful.

Ok it's become clearer. If you took Federer present day put him in the 50's and 60's with wood, he gets destroyed. Now make him a product of that era, and things would more than likely be different. The same way I'm putting graphite in past players hands, and I'd have to give Federer the chance to hone his game with wood and to the climate back then as well. It has to go both ways.

As far as physical abilities it's tough. Naturally the athletes today are better than they once were. Kintecs, biology, human nature, evolution all attest to that. So if Laver was born in 1978 he may somehwta of a different athletic specimen than the one we know that was born in 1938. Federer may be a different athletic specimen if born in 1941, than the one we know born in 1981.

Laver's physical stature at 5'9" 160lbs is something I question. But Hoad(5'8" 175 lbs) and Rosewall 5'7" 142lbs) were able to hang with Gonzalez (6'2" 180lbs). Think basketball, back when Wilt dominated a 7 ft center was the exceotion, and now it's the norm. The avg height has grown. Even MJ was considered a big guard at 6'6", but now it has become the norm. How this would effect Laver, I cannot honestly say as I'm no scientist, but I can see where you're coming from.

Yes Nadal is fitter, and generally a better athlete than Laver. But switch them around and would stay that way??? Not likely.

The pictures don't mean much as it's evolution, it would be the same in many different sports. Gretzky was greatest and he was 6'1", 170lbs, far too small today, so he's not great. It's difficult to compare different eras, cuz a lot of "what if's" come into play.

Honestly I agree with you I don't see Tilden, Rosewall and even Pancho being as effective in their late 30's toady as they were in their time. I also see stronger players at the top, than there is today, today may have more depth. There are a lot of things to condsider, that when this issue is brought up, many overlook,

urban
10-30-2008, 11:56 AM
Pistol makes some sensible points. The average high of men, as measured for instance by army checks, had grown from 1,75 to 1,82 over the last 30 years. Consequently in many sports, athletes are taller than in previous eras. In soccer, classical strikers like Pele, Mueller, Greaves, Seeler or Puskas were all around 1,70. Tall men became defenders. Today the standard striker like van Basten, Drogba, Ronaldo or Adriano is a muscular guy over 1,90. But there are always small, but successful top players as Maradona, Romario or Rooney, or actually Messi, who looks like a school boy.
From the pictures i cannot say, that Roddick looks more athletic than Laver or Rosewall. There are simply better, more close up pictures. Laver and Rosewall like Borg and Edberg had muscular structures on the right place, on the underarm and upper leg. And i never saw a more muscular player than Vilas in his prime. He had the same biceps as Nadal but also legs like trees, which he couldn't close. Nevertheless, he always lost to the more agile and nimble Borg.

CyBorg
10-30-2008, 01:13 PM
Seriously, Roddick? What makes him more physically impressive than, say, Roscoe Tanner?

Thanks for the laugh though.

Nadal's photos get nicely airbrushed and plucked out too.

hoodjem
10-30-2008, 01:23 PM
I never saw a more muscular player than Vilas in his prime. He had the same biceps as Nadal but also legs like trees, which he couldn't close. Nevertheless, he always lost to the more agile and nimble Borg.

Don't overlook Laver's left arm: enormous.

(I wonder if it was even bigger than Nadal's?)

urban
10-30-2008, 01:53 PM
The strange thing with Laver's arm was, that, while he had small shoulders and normal biceps, his underarm had Popeye's size - the same size from the elbow to the wrist.

JoshDragon
10-30-2008, 04:02 PM
Ok it's become clearer. If you took Federer present day put him in the 50's and 60's with wood, he gets destroyed. Now make him a product of that era, and things would more than likely be different. The same way I'm putting graphite in past players hands, and I'd have to give Federer the chance to hone his game with wood and to the climate back then as well. It has to go both ways.

As far as physical abilities it's tough. Naturally the athletes today are better than they once were. Kintecs, biology, human nature, evolution all attest to that. So if Laver was born in 1978 he may somehwta of a different athletic specimen than the one we know that was born in 1938. Federer may be a different athletic specimen if born in 1941, than the one we know born in 1981.

Laver's physical stature at 5'9" 160lbs is something I question. But Hoad(5'8" 175 lbs) and Rosewall 5'7" 142lbs) were able to hang with Gonzalez (6'2" 180lbs). Think basketball, back when Wilt dominated a 7 ft center was the exceotion, and now it's the norm. The avg height has grown. Even MJ was considered a big guard at 6'6", but now it has become the norm. How this would effect Laver, I cannot honestly say as I'm no scientist, but I can see where you're coming from.

Yes Nadal is fitter, and generally a better athlete than Laver. But switch them around and would stay that way??? Not likely.

The pictures don't mean much as it's evolution, it would be the same in many different sports. Gretzky was greatest and he was 6'1", 170lbs, far too small today, so he's not great. It's difficult to compare different eras, cuz a lot of "what if's" come into play.

Honestly I agree with you I don't see Tilden, Rosewall and even Pancho being as effective in their late 30's toady as they were in their time. I also see stronger players at the top, than there is today, today may have more depth. There are a lot of things to condsider, that when this issue is brought
up, many overlook,

I agree with your post and you're correct it's very easy too overlook something. I wrote two posts on my blog comparing Federer and Rod Laver and I still felt that I left out quite a bit. Tennis is very complicated especially when comparing different eras. It takes allot of reading just to stay on top of today.

Bill Scanlon wrote a book called Bad News for McEnroe. It's one of my favorite tennis books and was helpful for understanding the game back in the 70s and 80s.

FiveO
10-30-2008, 06:59 PM
Pistol makes some sensible points. The average high of men, as measured for instance by army checks, had grown from 1,75 to 1,82 over the last 30 years. Consequently in many sports, athletes are taller than in previous eras. In soccer, classical strikers like Pele, Mueller, Greaves, Seeler or Puskas were all around 1,70. Tall men became defenders. Today the standard striker like van Basten, Drogba, Ronaldo or Adriano is a muscular guy over 1,90. But there are always small, but successful top players as Maradona, Romario or Rooney, or actually Messi, who looks like a school boy.
From the pictures i cannot say, that Roddick looks more athletic than Laver or Rosewall. There are simply better, more close up pictures. Laver and Rosewall like Borg and Edberg had muscular structures on the right place, on the underarm and upper leg. And i never saw a more muscular player than Vilas in his prime. He had the same biceps as Nadal but also legs like trees, which he couldn't close. Nevertheless, he always lost to the more agile and nimble Borg.

The "experiment" of tennis has also been altered significantly via many changes outside of "human evolution" some seem to allude to. There was a belief in Laver's era that 5'9" or so, was the "ideal" height for tennis primarily due to being smaller made it easier to get down for the lower stike zones provided by low bouncing grass. Hoad had stated that if a human being's eyes were mounted in their abdomen he would never have missed a shot. There was a belief that they, the 5'9"ers, held an inherent advantage over their taller adversaries, the Ashes, Smiths, Newcombes, etc. The ability to force taller opponents to "get down" for low ball after low ball, was then viewed as a constant advantage.

The slower higher bouncing surfaces, combined with larger head sizes and polyester string are now advantaging those with inherently higher strike zones today, making it conversely more difficult for shorter players to compete. A quantum shift.

5

CyBorg
10-30-2008, 08:14 PM
The "experiment" of tennis has also been altered significantly via many changes outside of "human evolution" some seem to allude to. There was a belief in Laver's era that 5'9" or so, was the "ideal" height for tennis primarily due to being smaller made it easier to get down for the lower stike zones provided by low bouncing grass. Hoad had stated that if a human being's eyes were mounted in their abdomen he would never have missed a shot. There was a belief that they, the 5'9"ers, held an inherent advantage over their taller adversaries, the Ashes, Smiths, Newcombes, etc. The ability to force taller opponents to "get down" for low ball after low ball, was then viewed as a constant advantage.

The slower higher bouncing surfaces, combined with larger head sizes and polyester string are now advantaging those with inherently higher strike zones today, making it conversely more difficult for shorter players to compete. A quantum shift.

5

Excellent post.

I should also point out that weight training was often discouraged. I recall Ken Rosewall mentioning this somewhere.

Now, this doesn't mean that guys weren't fit. Of course they were extremely fit, but packing up muscle was seen by many as a negative. Being light on one's feet was vital and getting heavier didn't necessarily make sense.

Even in the more contemporary times we've seen some negative effects of weight training on some players. Michael Chang, for example, bulked up and it stunted his progress.

I think it's quite likely that contemporary training methods are hurting the progress of many younger, smaller players.

I'm really becoming a big-time cynic and particularly unoptimistic about where the game is going. It's too corporate, too homogenized. Tennis was once art. It was often in the same sentence as chess. It was a strategic art of sorts. Not anymore.

380pistol
10-30-2008, 09:24 PM
Pistol makes some sensible points. The average high of men, as measured for instance by army checks, had grown from 1,75 to 1,82 over the last 30 years. Consequently in many sports, athletes are taller than in previous eras. In soccer, classical strikers like Pele, Mueller, Greaves, Seeler or Puskas were all around 1,70. Tall men became defenders. Today the standard striker like van Basten, Drogba, Ronaldo or Adriano is a muscular guy over 1,90. But there are always small, but successful top players as Maradona, Romario or Rooney, or actually Messi, who looks like a school boy.
From the pictures i cannot say, that Roddick looks more athletic than Laver or Rosewall. There are simply better, more close up pictures. Laver and Rosewall like Borg and Edberg had muscular structures on the right place, on the underarm and upper leg. And i never saw a more muscular player than Vilas in his prime. He had the same biceps as Nadal but also legs like trees, which he couldn't close. Nevertheless, he always lost to the more agile and nimble Borg.

Thank you. Just to touch on the pictures, today with better cameras, digital etc. they may look better than a 30 year old oic. But the general consensus, is thata modern day athlete would be fitter and moore athletic. I can't see Ellsworth Vines being as strong as Nadal. With modern day science, nutrition along 70+ years of human advancements I just don't see it. No if Vines played today, it would be different. He could quite possiby be the strongest hardest hitter on tour. Although he'd need 10-20lbs on his 6'2" 155lb frame.

urban
10-31-2008, 06:21 AM
Interesting points by FiveO. Indeed on the older grass courts, lower bounces were much more frequent. People played much more slice, and, with their serve and volley style, had to hit many shots from around the ankles. In today's game, shots like the underspin approach (also on the forehand) or the half-volley from the T are virtually extinct. Topspin shots from the baseline now are the theme of the day.
Medium built players like Rosewall, Hoad or Laver were masters of that "short game", which was played on all parts of the fore-court. They made the court smaller, by forcing shots (not piti-pati-shots) from low volleys or half-volleys. Their position play and solid overhead made them dangerous for high balls, too. And they were fast and could run back and hit counterpuches. On the other hand, even then many top players were tall guys around 1,90 like Gonzales, Ashe, Smith, Savitt, Falkenburg, Stolle, Gimeno, Mackay, Buchholz, Pilic and many others.

hoodjem
11-02-2008, 05:16 PM
The "experiment" of tennis has also been altered significantly via many changes outside of "human evolution" some seem to allude to. There was a belief in Laver's era that 5'9" or so, was the "ideal" height for tennis primarily due to being smaller made it easier to get down for the lower stike zones provided by low bouncing grass. Hoad had stated that if a human being's eyes were mounted in their abdomen he would never have missed a shot. There was a belief that they, the 5'9"ers, held an inherent advantage over their taller adversaries, the Ashes, Smiths, Newcombes, etc. The ability to force taller opponents to "get down" for low ball after low ball, was then viewed as a constant advantage.

The slower higher bouncing surfaces, combined with larger head sizes and polyester string are now advantaging those with inherently higher strike zones today, making it conversely more difficult for shorter players to compete. A quantum shift.

Yes, I agree: excellent post.

It makes me wonder if Wimbledon switched back to a faster lower-bouncing grass, then would smaller and leaner players would have more advantage?

And would they then get more respect from the newbies who claim that the Schwarzeneggers of the game are the greatest??

CyBorg
11-02-2008, 06:46 PM
Interesting points by FiveO. Indeed on the older grass courts, lower bounces were much more frequent. People played much more slice, and, with their serve and volley style, had to hit many shots from around the ankles. In today's game, shots like the underspin approach (also on the forehand) or the half-volley from the T are virtually extinct. Topspin shots from the baseline now are the theme of the day.
Medium built players like Rosewall, Hoad or Laver were masters of that "short game", which was played on all parts of the fore-court. They made the court smaller, by forcing shots (not piti-pati-shots) from low volleys or half-volleys. Their position play and solid overhead made them dangerous for high balls, too. And they were fast and could run back and hit counterpuches. On the other hand, even then many top players were tall guys around 1,90 like Gonzales, Ashe, Smith, Savitt, Falkenburg, Stolle, Gimeno, Mackay, Buchholz, Pilic and many others.

One of Boris Becker's best strengths on grass was getting to the low bouncing ball and hitting it back with power. In fact, Becker often delayed his move and then surprised the opponent by hitting the ball from his ankles for a passing shot. That took tremendous strength.

hoodjem
11-03-2008, 05:09 AM
One of Boris Becker's best strengths on grass was getting to the low bouncing ball and hitting it back with power. In fact, Becker often delayed his move and then surprised the opponent by hitting the ball from his ankles for a passing shot. That took tremendous strength.

Yep. I saw Becker live (in doubles with Mike Leach) at Wimby in '85 against Wilander-Nystroam on an outer court. I'd never seen a player hit with such a combo of power, pace, and topspin. Becker's ball was incredibly fast and hard but only 3 feet above the net, and always in. It was amazing example of low-to-high hitting starting at his ankles.

I daresay neither had Wilander and Nystroam, who kept shaking their heads and mumbling in disbelief.

hoodjem
11-03-2008, 08:41 AM
1. Sampras
2. Tilden
3. Budge
4. Rosewall
5. Perry
6. Borg
7. Laver
8. Cochet
9. Gonzales
10. Lendl
11. Connors
12. McEnroe
13. Lacoste
14. Agassi


No Federer?

urban
11-03-2008, 09:56 AM
On the forehand, Beckers volley and half- volley could be a bit shaky. I think, he hit it too flat, without much underspin. His grip was not ideal for the forehand volley. In his 1987 book (togehter with his Coach Günther Bosch) he confessed, that he had a problem with the forehand volley.

lambielspins
11-03-2008, 10:18 AM
Becker was an amazing talent and determined competitor but I often wondered how coachable he was given his personality. Perhaps a coach pointing out a glaring technical flaw in something would set him off the wrong way. His stubborn and proud persona could be shown in his attempt to beat Agassi from the baseline everytime they played for awhile and losing 8 in a row.

Tennisfan!
11-08-2008, 06:44 AM
Link to another thread like this:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=136097

hoodjem
11-08-2008, 07:07 AM
On the forehand, Beckers volley and half- volley could be a bit shaky. I think, he hit it too flat, without much underspin. His grip was not ideal for the forehand volley. In his 1987 book (togehter with his Coach Günther Bosch) he confessed, that he had a problem with the forehand volley.

Agreed. Edberg was a better volleyer.

Azzurri
11-15-2008, 02:47 PM
There's no way the greatest player today would lose to the greatest player of the 60s who played with a wooden racquet. Sorry, but there's no way that would happen.

Josh, you are being unfair to Laver. Put wood in Federer's hand and he would get smoked by Laver. Put graphite in Laver's hand..Fed would probably smoke him. The point is its not a valid arguement either way.:)

edit: I see you explained yourself.

Azzurri
11-15-2008, 02:48 PM
The excellence of your logical argument leaves me speechless. The evidence you offer is irrefutable.


And by extrapolation, there's NO WAY a player with all Luxilon strings would lose to a player with a gut-poly hybrid. "Sorry, but there's no way that would happen."

he is just a kid (but he is a good poster). I believe he just did not think before he typed. he is usually well aware.

edit: posted this before I read entire thread. seems as if Josh offered his reasons. good enough for me.

Kal-El 34
11-15-2008, 03:12 PM
No Federer?

lol how could you have no federer?

JoshDragon
11-15-2008, 04:00 PM
he is just a kid (but he is a good poster). I believe he just did not think before he typed. he is usually well aware.

edit: posted this before I read entire thread. seems as if Josh offered his reasons. good enough for me.

Thanks =D.

Azzurri
11-15-2008, 05:40 PM
Thanks =D.

no problem. you're a smart poster and have good common sense. :)

hoodjem
11-17-2008, 05:14 AM
Awwwww: Group hug!

(We're all just pals having a friendly debate. Ain't that right?)

Argento full
01-27-2009, 12:13 PM
lol how could you have no federer?

Let's see how AO 2009 ends....

FiveO
01-27-2009, 12:57 PM
Thanks =D.

Here's another thing you should factor into your equipment adaptation beliefs.

Note the questions about Djoker changing frames as he approached the elite status level.

Remember too that Safin "switched" from Head to "Dunlop" to a Head painted to look like a Dunlop and back to Head because he couldn't make that transition.

Blake's Dunlop>Prince(I think)>Dunlop and so on. And all their and other guys difficulty in adapting to frames of the same materials and very similar characteristics.



Well as far as Laver his contemporaries and successors and their wood using limitations go.

In 1970 Laver, Roche and Margaret Court switched from wood to aluminum Chemold sticks.

Newcombe to a Rawlings aluminum. Ken Rosewall to a Seamless aluminum.

Stan Smith later switched from his woodie autograph to aluminum as did the rest of that generation.

All remained at or very near the top of the game after that transition, against the next generation many who had been playing with metals since the juniors.

Later came Connors, McEnroe and Lendl all of whom stuck around long enough to transition from steel or wood, respectively, to graphite composites and remained at or very near the top of the game.

There is evidence as to who would adapt better using the other generations equipment and that, while not nearly quite as simple as it seems to be presented here, is much more likely to be a one way street with the later generation being far more limited as to what equipment they could successfully switch to.

5

hoodjem
01-27-2009, 04:24 PM
And your point is . . . ?

FiveO
01-27-2009, 04:32 PM
And your point is . . . ?


It was in response to JD's post stating outright that one generation could not adapt to the other's more or less equally. I think that is flawed in that the next generation of equipment has been adapted to by those who played with the earlier version over and over. If anything there is evidence that it is more likely that those moving from older to newer equipment could make that transition much easier than the reverse and actually did.

5

No Knees
01-28-2009, 01:27 AM
I believe that it is not a question of which generation could adapt to another generation's equipment, but which "players" could adapt/benefit from another generation's equipment.

I will use Borg as an example as he was my boyhood hero and I still have a Borg Bancroft sitting in my bookshelf behind me...therefore, it hurts me to say this.

Borg's game was based on precision and patience. Outlast the opponent with consistency and fitness and if required, pass him with precision. Would he adapt to today's game with today's equipment ? Unfortunately, I don't think so.

A more powerful racquet would serve him no better. He played with a great deal of clearance over the net....hard flat shots were not in his game plan. His volleying was capable at best, but he certainly couldn't be considered an instinctive volleyer like McEnroe.

So I now place Borg on the other side of the net to one of today's modern players and they both have latest generation equipment.

Roscoe Tanner used to send heaps of Aces flying past Borg when Borg was considered one of the fastest players ever and even got voted as the World's finest Athlete on at least one occasion. If Tanner could fire down Aces with an older racquet, what chance would Borg have against players of today....would his reaction time be so much better today, or the wider head of the new racquets help him ? (probably not).

Borg was capable of getting his racquet onto the attempted passing shots while at the net....but how would he cope with the speeds that passing shots are now hit at in today's game.

So in my opinion, Borg would not cope in today's game with today's equipment. Having said that, some of this generation's players (where power is their main advantage), would have the same difficulty in Borg's era.

FiveO
01-28-2009, 04:08 AM
I believe that it is not a question of which generation could adapt to another generation's equipment, but which "players" could adapt/benefit from another generation's equipment.

I will use Borg as an example as he was my boyhood hero and I still have a Borg Bancroft sitting in my bookshelf behind me...therefore, it hurts me to say this.

Borg's game was based on precision and patience. Outlast the opponent with consistency and fitness and if required, pass him with precision. Would he adapt to today's game with today's equipment ? Unfortunately, I don't think so.

A more powerful racquet would serve him no better. He played with a great deal of clearance over the net....hard flat shots were not in his game plan. His volleying was capable at best, but he certainly couldn't be considered an instinctive volleyer like McEnroe.

So I now place Borg on the other side of the net to one of today's modern players and they both have latest generation equipment.

Roscoe Tanner used to send heaps of Aces flying past Borg when Borg was considered one of the fastest players ever and even got voted as the World's finest Athlete on at least one occasion. If Tanner could fire down Aces with an older racquet, what chance would Borg have against players of today....would his reaction time be so much better today, or the wider head of the new racquets help him ? (probably not).

Borg was capable of getting his racquet onto the attempted passing shots while at the net....but how would he cope with the speeds that passing shots are now hit at in today's game.

So in my opinion, Borg would not cope in today's game with today's equipment. Having said that, some of this generation's players (where power is their main advantage), would have the same difficulty in Borg's era.

In today's conditions, i.e. court speeds, Borg's ability to return would only be enhanced. After the bounce most of the biggest serves are coming off the court slower than in Borg's day. Arm him with a 98" hoop instead of the 65" hoop he played with then and it makes the task even easier.

Borg's patience and consistency was predicated on topspin. Harold Solomon described the experience of playing Borg as feeling like he was combing his hair for over two hours, meaning that the ball was above his shoulders the entire match. Borg accomplished that with a 65" hoop, a dense gut string pattern strung like a board, 70+ lbs. Let's see, 98" and poly who does Borg start sounding like?

Remember, marketing hype aside, when Moya showed up with a Granny Stick it was a Babalot and the Babalot was first marketed as a game improvement frame with the idea to make the game easier and more accessible to the masses. Lighter, larger, more powerful was and remains "easier" to play with than smaller, less powerful and much, much heavier. Who would transition easier? Especially a player whose game was markedly different than his contemporaries in that it was so based on topspin?

Now give Nadal Borg's 65" hoop, weighing 14-15 ounces, strung with gut. Who's impacted more?

So IMO.....

5

Rabbit
01-28-2009, 09:11 AM
So, FiveO, if I may be so bold....

What you're saying is that we have proof positive by results logged of those who grew up using old gear that they could play with new gear. But, there is no proof that the current iteration of the game would be backwards compatible?

I agree with this. The game's technique has become more and more extreme and I don't think the technique today's pros use would translate very well. Neither would their stratgy. I think we've seen with Sampras playing Federer that a pro employing an attacking S/V strategy who knows what he's doing can do so successfully.

Also, if Borg was playing today, his game would be different than it was. Borg's game and tactics, as with any pro, evolves as his abilities evolve. Borg started off as a retriever. He depended on his foot speed and just got everything back. He won through attrition. As he became stronger, his game developed into more of an attack. His forehand became a weapon from anywhere on the court and his serve particularly his first serve became as powerful as anyone's (except Tanner?). Borg's serve was the big factor in his continued success at Wimbledon IMO.

Regarding speed of ball, I think there are a couple of mitigating points. First, if it is true that the speed of ball coming to Borg is faster today then it would also be true that Borg would hit with more pace given today's equipment. Second, Borg's tactics would not be the same today as they were then. The surfaces are more equitable. i.e. the clay is faster and the grass slower, so Borg would have altered his game to fit.

The truth about Borg is that he would have been a champion in any generation. He is of good size, strength, and at his peak, his footspeed was unrivaled by anyone of any time.

FiveO
01-28-2009, 09:32 AM
So, FiveO, if I may be so bold....

What you're saying is that we have proof positive by results logged of those who grew up using old gear that they could play with new gear. But, there is no proof that the current iteration of the game would be backwards compatible?

I agree with this. The game's technique has become more and more extreme and I don't think the technique today's pros use would translate very well. Neither would their stratgy. I think we've seen with Sampras playing Federer that a pro employing an attacking S/V strategy who knows what he's doing can do so successfully.

Also, if Borg was playing today, his game would be different than it was. Borg's game and tactics, as with any pro, evolves as his abilities evolve. Borg started off as a retriever. He depended on his foot speed and just got everything back. He won through attrition. As he became stronger, his game developed into more of an attack. His forehand became a weapon from anywhere on the court and his serve particularly his first serve became as powerful as anyone's (except Tanner?). Borg's serve was the big factor in his continued success at Wimbledon IMO.

Regarding speed of ball, I think there are a couple of mitigating points. First, if it is true that the speed of ball coming to Borg is faster today then it would also be true that Borg would hit with more pace given today's equipment. Second, Borg's tactics would not be the same today as they were then. The surfaces are more equitable. i.e. the clay is faster and the grass slower, so Borg would have altered his game to fit.

The truth about Borg is that he would have been a champion in any generation. He is of good size, strength, and at his peak, his footspeed was unrivaled by anyone of any time.

May you be so bold? Of course, my learned friend. Need you ask?

5

No Knees
01-28-2009, 11:47 AM
...Also, if Borg was playing today, his game would be different than it was. Borg's game and tactics, as with any pro, evolves as his abilities evolve.

If I may be so bold....I don't think that it is that easy to evolve one's game plans. Tennis History will confirm that. Lendl tried unsuccessfully to develop a Serve/Volley game under one of the greatest Serve Volleyers around (Tony Roche). Steffi Graf tried to develop a topspin backhand which looked good in the hit-up but when the game got close, went back to her trusty slice backhand. Look at Hewitt now, everyone is telling him that his game of defence and attrition won't work anymore....so why doesn't he change ? Because he won't...or because he can't ?

Borg was quoted in training magazines (who knows how accurately), that he considered players that hit the ball on the rise and at a flat trajectory over the net, took too great a risk. He played a game that involved low risk....high shots over the lowest part of the net.

Would his game change today ? Could his game change today ?

FiveO
01-28-2009, 11:56 AM
If I may be so bold....I don't think that it is that easy to evolve one's game plans. Tennis History will confirm that. Lendl tried unsuccessfully to develop a Serve/Volley game under one of the greatest Serve Volleyers around (Tony Roche). Steffi Graf tried to develop a topspin backhand which looked good in the hit-up but when the game got close, went back to her trusty slice backhand. Look at Hewitt now, everyone is telling him that his game of defence and attrition won't work anymore....so why doesn't he change ? Because he won't...or because he can't ?

Borg was quoted in training magazines (who knows how accurately), that he considered players that hit the ball on the rise and at a flat trajectory over the net, took too great a risk. He played a game that involved low risk....high shots over the lowest part of the net.

Would his game change today ? Could his game change today ?

By this last post I would suspect you're too young to have seen Borg play and to see how he played on grass, fast grass, from the time he joined the tour. I saw him at the US Open at Forest Hills and he was the first player I saw hit 4 straight aces to win a game w/o surrendering a point. By the time he was winning Wimbledon he was serving and volleying a ton.

He adjusted and expanded his game to fit the conditions and the opponent, to intimate he didn't reveals you didn't watch him play. I think you need to acquire some Borg DVD's at Wimbledon to appreciate how much Borg adjusted his defensive game to fit grass and carpet. He adjusted and won with those adjustments rather than merely giving those types of changes lip service like many top players have done since that time.

5

No Knees
01-28-2009, 02:02 PM
Five0....I wish I was too young :). I spent many late nights watching Borg / McEnroe Finals Live on Tele....and was devastated when he lost that last one.

I saw him Live in Sydney when he played Lendl in the "Gold Racquet" challenge at the Horden Pavillion...so yes, I've seen him play.

FiveO
01-28-2009, 02:18 PM
Five0....I wish I was too young :). I spent many late nights watching Borg / McEnroe Finals Live on Tele....and was devastated when he lost that last one.

I saw him Live in Sydney when he played Lendl in the "Gold Racquet" challenge at the Horden Pavillion...so yes, I've seen him play.

Apologies.

I don't understand how you reached your conclusions about Borg's adaptability in particular, but apologies just the same.

5

No Knees
01-28-2009, 05:13 PM
No offense taken.

I remember the constant remarks from commentators over the years when Borg was in his prime, that he was not a great volleyer (which is not to say he was a bad volleyer). I'm hoping you will agree that his volleying "style" while suited to the grass of Wimbledon, did him no favours on other surfaces. While you may see this as proof of his adaptive skills which depended on court type and opponent, I use this same argument when wondering why he couldn't adapt to the courts used in the US Open.

I guess it's open to interpretation and we express our views in the full knowledge that we can never be proven right (or wrong for that matter). But like you, I base my views on what I believe and don't expect everyone to come up with the same conclusion as mine.

CyBorg
01-28-2009, 06:40 PM
The thing about Borg going for safety with a loopy topspin strokes over the net mostly applies to the style he brought to the clay courts.

On faster courts like hard and carpet he flattened out his strokes considerably.

And, even as to his style on clay, we look down on 'safety' now, because in light of the way the game is played the approach no longer appears to make sense.

But it did then - it takes a lot of skill and mental toughness to always hit the right spot on the court and when your opponent isn't equipped with a nice juicy graphite, the best he can normally do is to hit the ball back with placement.

Whether Borg would or wouldn't be able to adjust to the style of now really doesn't matter. He played the game in a way that was great for the type of game it was.

No Knees
01-28-2009, 07:30 PM
He played the game in a way that was great for the type of game it was.

Yes, totally agree with that. :)

Cesc Fabregas
01-29-2009, 02:57 AM
1.Laver
2.Sampras
3.Borg
4.Federer
5.Tilden/Gonzalez/Budge/Rosewall

Rabbit
01-29-2009, 04:07 AM
If I may be so bold....I don't think that it is that easy to evolve one's game plans. Tennis History will confirm that. Lendl tried unsuccessfully to develop a Serve/Volley game under one of the greatest Serve Volleyers around (Tony Roche). Steffi Graf tried to develop a topspin backhand which looked good in the hit-up but when the game got close, went back to her trusty slice backhand. Look at Hewitt now, everyone is telling him that his game of defence and attrition won't work anymore....so why doesn't he change ? Because he won't...or because he can't ?

Borg was quoted in training magazines (who knows how accurately), that he considered players that hit the ball on the rise and at a flat trajectory over the net, took too great a risk. He played a game that involved low risk....high shots over the lowest part of the net.

Would his game change today ? Could his game change today ?

I would like to make a distinction here. I said evolve, not radically alter. Borg's game evolved into something he was completely comfortable with. Lendl, on the other hand, was so desparate to win Wimbledon that he and Roche attempted to completely change not only his tactic, but his equipment and preparation. Lendl wound up skipping the French a couple of years, 1990 & 1991, to enhance his chances of winning Wimbledon.

I would also like to address another misconception that constantly is brought up. I have some matches of a 17/18-year old Borg playing on hardcourts in the WITC. It was so early in his career that he was wearing Fred Perry clothing, Tretorn shoes, and playing with Slazenger Challenge 1's. In those matches, Borg's tactics when he is serving is either serve and volley or serve, hit an approach and get to net. He is constantly moving forward on his service games. When returning, Borg does give the net to his opponent, but given who he was playing, I don't see that as anything out of the ordinary (Stan Smith & Rod Laver).

The point of the above is that while Borg was not a natural serve and volley player and was not at home at net, he did work toward making himself competent from a very early age. It is also true that early in his career, on clay, he didn't approach net, but he didn't have to.

Rabbit
01-29-2009, 04:13 AM
1.Laver
2.Sampras
3.Borg
4.Federer
5.Tilden/Gonzalez/Budge/Rosewall

Gonzalez
1. Laver
2. Borg/Sampras
4. Federer
5. Rosewall/Connors
7. Agassi
8. McEnroe/Lendl
10. Australia/Sweden


I altered your list.... :)

In my view, Gonzalez will always be the 800 pound gorilla. He was a force no one, except Lew Hoad, could deal with. When professional tennis began to make itself a viable sport, Gonzalez was arguably well past his prime. Yet, in 1969, he defeated the player who had just won the first "legitimate" Grand Slam. (I quoted legitimate because I don't agree with that notion. I think any Grand Slam is valid.)

Even after that, Gonzalez once again came out of retirement and played the world's best and beat them. In his prime, he'd have decimated the competition as defined above.

bluegrasser
01-29-2009, 04:51 AM
Where's Emerson on this list ? also Laver winning two " Grand Slams" ( hear that 'Cyborg" ) should be numero uno IMO, then Pete. I'm with Drak, in that winning all four GS's on all surfaces ( eg: Agassi, Budge.) should put one near the top.

No Knees
01-29-2009, 01:08 PM
...also Laver winning two " Grand Slams" ( hear that 'Cyborg" ) should be numero uno IMO....

His first was not against the best players in the World (Professionals were not allowed to compete) So realistically...one Grand Slam.

Virginia
01-29-2009, 07:02 PM
The only professionals at that time capable of winning any slams were Rosewall, Hoad and Gonzales. It's not like there were a dozen missing challengers, so I don't think it's at all fair to dismiss the first grand slam. He won two and that's that!

FiveO
01-30-2009, 02:59 AM
The only professionals at that time capable of winning any slams were Rosewall, Hoad and Gonzales. It's not like there were a dozen missing challengers, so I don't think it's at all fair to dismiss the first grand slam. He won two and that's that!

There were less missing than many envision.

However, I think you're discounting the tougher gauntlet it could have been had names like Ashley Cooper, Mal Anderson, Tony Trabert, Alex Olmedo, Butch Bucholz been added to the draw along with those named above.

If just those eight names were in the draw it represents an entire QF round of more depth. I'm not saying Laver loses to any of them necessarily, however, alot of these guys would have been capable of pulling an upset.

5

hoodjem
01-30-2009, 06:35 AM
His first was not against the best players in the World (Professionals were not allowed to compete) So realistically...one Grand Slam.

If you take away the GS of 1962 (because it was among amateurs only), then you need to add the Pro Slam of 1967.

Tony Sideway
01-30-2009, 07:30 AM
If you take away the GS of 1962 (because it was among amateurs only), then you need to add the Pro Slam of 1967.

Great quote hood!

:)

Borgforever
01-30-2009, 08:07 AM
If you take away the GS of 1962 (because it was among amateurs only), then you need to add the Pro Slam of 1967.

Exactly to the point and completely correct...

timnz
01-31-2009, 03:38 PM
If you take away the GS of 1962 (because it was among amateurs only), then you need to add the Pro Slam of 1967.

I agree. Laver was probably at his peak in 1967.

NB: Ken Rosewall also got the pro grand slam in 1963 - so he has to be up there near the top.

timnz
01-31-2009, 03:49 PM
Including the 3 Pro Grandslam tournaments + Pro Wimbledon.

I think that is better than Mac 1984, Connors 1974

CocaCola
02-01-2009, 08:38 AM
Sampras best ever.

SgtJohn
02-01-2009, 09:36 AM
The title of my post is voluntarily provocative :)

But it is based on serious facts. I, for one, if I try to make up my own subjective list, will tend not to give the top spot to Kenny, and the reasons for that are often 'symbolic' or 'sentimental' (no Wimbledon title, for example, no very long stretch as year-end #1)...

... but still I think that anyone not putting him in the top 3 (most of you here) is seriously underestimating his record. Quite simply, if you just focus on the numbers, leaving aside subjectivity for a moment, the guy is superior to anyone in the sport in just every category! Quick reminder:

-major tournaments:

Pro World Series (main tour) '63
Wembley Pro '57, '60, '61, '62, '63
French Pro '58, '60, '61, '62, '63, '64, '65, '66
US Pro '63, '65
Madison Square Garden '66
Roland Garros '68
US Open '69
Australian Open '71
WCT Finals '71, '72

That's 22. Keep in mind that:
-a) this is the most conservative of lists. With this choice of events, there were only 2 pro majors in the early 60s and only 3 later, not 4 as today.
b) he won 3 Davis Cups and 4 majors as an amateur at a time when the amateur field was far inferior to the pro, but still wasn't bad at all (Trabert-Seixas-Drobny-Hoad era).

You can make any list of majors you want, I made a lot, with surfaces taken in to account or not, with 3 majors a year or 4, etc., in the end Rosewall is always the leader hands-on.


-major finals:

Masters Round-Robin '57
Tournament of Champions '58
Wembley Pro '64, '66
US Pro '66
French Pro '67
Wimbledon Pro '67
PSW LA Open '68
Roland Garros '69
Wimbledon '70, '74
US Open '74

The sum of wins and runner-up finishes of Rosewall leave all the others far behind. The same can probably be said for the semis to underline his great regularity.

-rankings:

'53-'56: probably in a top 10 pro-amateurs combined.
'57: #2
'58, '59: #3
'60: #1 or #2 (Gonzales beat Rosewall in the World Series, Ken dominated the tournaments in Rosewall's absence)
'61-63: #1, with 62 and 63 very dominant years (Pro Slam in 1963 with 4 wins if we include the World Series against Laver)
'64: probably #2 (even if judged #1 at the time)
'65: #2, but very close (won 2 pro majors against Laver)
'66: #2
'67: #2 or 3 (Gimeno had an excellent year too)
'68: #2 or 3 (Ashe could have been #2)
'69: #4
'70:#1 or 2
'71-72: #3
'73-74: top 10 finish

The #1 ranking is the only domain where Rosewall does not dominate everyone. His record of between 3 and 5 years at #1 (including 2 very dominant) is good but inferior to Laver's or Tilden's for instance.

But if we consider the top 2 finishes, Rosewall again trumps everyone with at least 7 straight years (up to 9) in the top 2, and between 9 and 11 total.

His 12 straight years in the top 3, and 15 years (!!) total is as amazing. The closest to this figure are Gonzales and Tilden (13).

Also remember that Rosewall's career was 'sandwiched' between 2 other all-time greats, Gonzales and Laver, this quick succession being quite rare, which might explain (not justify) his relatively small number of number 1 finishes.

-tournament wins:

according to most counts, Rosewall is in the top 5, behind Laver and open era players (Connors, Lendl...). Still, (as Gonzales) Rosewall played a large part of his career in a pro tour where some years very few tournaments were available to play at all (Laver's arrival on the pro tour corresponded to its expansion).
This figure is usually not a reliable one for this reason...


Anyway, these are just some quick thoughts. Again, I'm not anointing Rosewall the GOAT, as I don't really want to designate one at all, I just wanted to remind these quick stats to everyone, as it hit me that Kenny was superior to everyone in virtually every stat you can imagine (again, except for the highly symbolic number-one years figure).

SgtJohn

CyBorg
02-01-2009, 11:21 AM
I pretty much have Rosewall solidified at #2 behind Laver now. Laver wins out due to a longer dominant peak, which I value more than Rosewall's longevity.

It took me a while to warm up to Rosewall as #2, though I'm not sure why. I think that there's a tendency in history books to underrate him and everyone sort of follows along with that train of thought. Going on facts, it becomes hard to not have him as #1 or 2. And then consider who finally unseats Ken for the #1 in the world - Laver. And when Laver's dominance ends, who is back at the top? Rosewall (US, Aussie combo in 70-71).

Rosewall did suffer a lot of losses to Laver from mid-60s-onward. Almost with Nadal d Federer-type of regularity, but I think it's amazing that he stuck around past Laver's peak, won two majors in the 70s and then those two Dallas WCT finals. What heart.

Virginia
02-01-2009, 03:51 PM
SgtJohn, thank you so much for posting all those details of Rosewall's results, showing what a tremendous player he was. One of those WCT finals by the way, was against Laver - which he won in a gruelling five setter, much to everyone's surprise and delight.

CyBorg, you are right - the history books do underrate him, possibly because he is a very humble person, really almost too nice to be a tennis player!

I've been a fan of his for more years than I'd like to admit.

In March I'm going to meet him in person, in Sydney, as the museum there is holding an event known as the "Ken Rosewall Tennis Day". I'm a member of the museum tennis club, so I get an invitation and might even get a chance to play on the same court as "the little master". :)

urban
02-02-2009, 06:35 AM
Rosewall is often underrated. Maybe he had the bad luck, to be overshadowed sometime in his career by some more charismatic or more spectacular players. The iconic and adonis-like Hoad was seen as the better amateur player due to his 2 Wimbledon triumphs, although overall Kenny had about the same amateur success. Gonzales too, was a charismatic player with a movie star look, and dominated the young pro at the foreign indoor circuit. Laver wasn't that good looking, but had the more spectacular game. And he never won the big one Wimbledon, despite 4 finals. He probably would have won 2-3 around 1960. Rosewalls game wasn't overpowering, but was built on accuracy, economy and efficiency. He was always on the right place for him, and the wrong place for the opponent. And, what made him especially dangerous, he glided swiftly into winning positions at the net. He could be overpowered, not by net rushers, but by good returners like Hoad, Laver or Connors, who could exploit his solid and accurate, but not forcing serve. Many net rushers like Newcombe, Ashe or Smith always had surprisingly difficulties with his serve.

jeffreyneave
02-02-2009, 08:14 AM
I would agree with your world rankings given that you put some uncertainy on them; world rankings are never clear cut.

On your list of majors , I would eliminate msg 1966 (you seem to be constructing 4 a year for the pros so the argument about only having 3 to pick is not valid) and repace it with Barcelona because a clay court event is required in '66 and its best of 5 sets. Gonzales's paricpation at MSG is not that significant given he did not play any of the other major pro events


I would also eliminate WCt '71 and choose the Italian open; you need a major clay court if you can find one and this was stronger than paris with 13 of the top 17 playing; its also stronger than the WCT finals because only 10 of the top 17 attempted to qualfy for Dallas; the ITF players qualified for the masters.

jeffrey

SgtJohn
02-02-2009, 10:47 AM
Hi Jeffrey,

Thanks for your comments. Actually this small list was off the top of my head just to back my point about Rosewall, so it's not systematic at all.

But actually you are truly spot-on! In the last list I worked on I used a 4-majors system, but with 'partial majors' when there are only 2 or 3 obvious majors.
For instance for 1971 I have the AO, Wimbledon and the USO as 'complete majors', and Dallas and Rome both as 'partial majors' with coefs 0.5 each.
Same thing in 1966. I would not quite call Barcelona a 'true major' in its own right as it was clearly less prestigious than Wembley, Longwood or Paris. The MSG might have had an inferior field but was highly considered, because of the venue and the prize money, huge for the time.

So I guess we agree, in the end...

Take care,
SgtJohn

hoodjem
02-02-2009, 12:06 PM
1. Laver
2. Tilden
3. Rosewall
4. Budge
5. Sampras
6. Borg
7. Gonzales
8. Federer
9. Perry
10. Lendl

Have you moved Nadal up on your top-20 list? I am going to have to. He's earned it.

Cesc Fabregas
02-02-2009, 12:13 PM
1. Laver
2. Tilden
3. Rosewall
4. Budge
5. Sampras
6. Borg
7. Gonzales
8. Federer
9. Perry
10. Lendl

Good but I would have Sampras in the top 3.

chaognosis
02-02-2009, 01:50 PM
1. Laver
2. Tilden
3. Rosewall
4. Budge
5. Sampras
6. Borg
7. Gonzales
8. Federer
9. Perry
10. Lendl

Have you moved Nadal up on your top-20 list? I am going to have to. He's earned it.

Very, very similar to my own list. I view Laver as a firm number one, followed by Tilden, Budge, and Rosewall all in a cluster (though I rate Rosewall narrowly ahead of the others). Sampras and Gonzales are basically tied, just ahead of Borg, who is, in turn, just ahead of Federer. And then I somewhat idiosyncratically round out the top 10 with Cochet and Perry. In my judgment Nadal will remain bubbling under this group for at least a couple more years, unless of course he runs the table this year, in which case he immediately bursts into the top five.

chaognosis
02-02-2009, 01:52 PM
Good but I would have Sampras in the top 3.

I just don't think Sampras has not earned that high accord...

He lacks two key virtues of Laver, Rosewall, Tilden, and Budge:

1) The demonstrated ability to dominate on all surfaces

2) The concentrated excellence to win the GS (amateur or pro)

CyBorg
02-02-2009, 06:45 PM
Very influenced by chaog's push for Rosewall, I now have him second. The list is...

1. Laver
2. Rosewall
3. Budge
4. Tilden
5. Gonzales
6. Borg
7. Federer
8. Sampras
9-10. Lendl/Kramer/Perry/Cochet are all very close.

I acknowledge that Gonzales/Sampras are very similar, but Gonzo was still better than Sampras on clay and his stretch as year-end#1 looks a bit more convincing.

Still think Federer is better than Sampras.

Wuornos
02-02-2009, 11:04 PM
Thanks Sandy.

Andre Agassi is overrated after an 20 year career with very little to show for himself ... he had 3 or 4 good years' worth of results --- good years, NOT great ones --- spread out over an 20 year career.

If someone were to achieve in 4 years what Agassi has achieved in 20 years, people would say that this person might end up becoming the next Pete Sampras.

Absolutely. I couldn't agree with this more.

Tim

Wuornos
02-02-2009, 11:08 PM
My personal list although I don't know enough about the pre WWII era and the pre open pro era would be the following:

1 Roger Federer
2 Rafael Nadal
3 Rod Laver
4 Ivan Lendl
5 Roy Emerson
6 Mats Wilander
7 Björn Borg
8 Frank Sedgman
9 Tony Trabert
10 Pete Sampras
11 Ashley Cooper
12 John McEnroe
13 Jim Courier
14 Ken Rosewall
15 Lew Hoad

I have included down to 15 as following the debate regarding Ken Rosewall I wnated to show he was also high on my list.

Tim

jeffreyneave
02-03-2009, 05:05 AM
this list far overrates ameteur slams pre -1968.

Both emerson and cooper are way overraed . Both rosewall and laver are way better players.

pro slams in the period 1954-67 are always worth a lot more than amateur slams. No top amAteur champ who turned pro was initially successful and some like cooper never did anything

Rosewall was the top pro 1960-3 in terms of definte pro majors. He won 9 in a row doing the french/ british(london) pro double 1960-3 and winning the Us pro in 1963 (us pro was not a major between 60-62 because of weak fields-
neither Hoad or Rosewall enterred)

Cooper turned pro in 1959 after winning 3 amateur slams in '58.
and proved how worthless they wore. In the '59 Gonzales beat cooper 14-0 and hoad 18-2 in head to head in the world series. At the end of the season he was ranked 8 below all the long established pros like sedgman, rosewall , trabert and segura.

In all his pro career cooper nevered reached a major final let alone won one. Cooper played in all the major events up to 1962. he was in the fields rosewall won in from 60-62 and was beaten by rosewall in the '61 french pro and wembly pro '62. Cooper was a complete flop and would never even be regarded as even a top 5 player in his own era; he ranked about 7 or 8 in his last full year of play in '62.

As for emerson, he was never ranked above Rosewall in his career when they played in the same field ie 1955-56 and 1968-73. Rosewall was always the better player and rosewall was not at his peak in any of these years . Rosewall 's peak is from 1960-66 when he could not play emerson. Laver was better than emerson( he has something like a 45-15 edge head to head). Laver had the greatest amateur year in history in '62 winning 22 events,the 6 top majors events (a unique achievement consisting of Wimbledon ,us , french, australian , iltalian and german titles with emerson runner-up in 4 of these finals)) , but he was not the world's best player- rosewall was ; he domnated the pros winning every major event in '62 and '63. Laver turned pro in '63 and his performance quickly showed he was not the world's best player.

Hoad beat him 8-0 on grasss in australia in jan 1963
Rosewall beat him 11-2 in Aus/ new zealand jan/feb 1963
Rosewall again beat him 14-4 on us world series head to head play-off may '63

Rosewall won all 3 pro majors beating laver in 2 of them between june and sptember '63. Rosewall completed a real slam in '63 and confirmed he was best player in '62 -63 by miles. Neither Laver or emerson have any case whatsoever.

Rosewall's record is awesome and his list of about 20 true majors (see sgt john list above) is the highest of all time and his real world ranking record is awesome (see sgt john list again). emerson was never the world number 1 in any true senes (3 or 4 in 1964 is the best he deserves). gimeno is about the same age as emerson and just as good a player. In '68-72 they always finished very close in the world rankings , although head to head Gimeno has the advantage. Gimeno has only one slam , but that's because he spent his best years '61-67 as a pro having to face the awesome 3 some of laver, rosewall and gonzales. His wins at geneva '63 and bareceloa '66 when he defeated Rosewall and laver on clay are true majors not the second rate events Emerson won.

jeffrey

SgtJohn
02-03-2009, 06:00 AM
My personal list although I don't know enough about the pre WWII era and the pre open pro era would be the following:

1 Roger Federer
2 Rafael Nadal
3 Rod Laver
4 Ivan Lendl
5 Roy Emerson
6 Mats Wilander
7 Björn Borg
8 Frank Sedgman
9 Tony Trabert
10 Pete Sampras
11 Ashley Cooper
12 John McEnroe
13 Jim Courier
14 Ken Rosewall
15 Lew Hoad

I have included down to 15 as following the debate regarding Ken Rosewall I wnated to show he was also high on my list.

Tim

Tim, could you explain how you built this list? Lots of strange stuff here, chiefly Rosewall's ranking of course, but also, Nadal superior to Laver? Let the kid grow up a little bit, we'll have this conversation when he's 25 at least... ;)
Is it based on the ELO ratings? because in this case you might not be using the same criteria as us ( ELO ratings are mainly about regularity and head-to-head dominance, if I'm not mistaken).

thalivest
02-03-2009, 08:52 AM
1. Laver
2. Tilden
3. Rosewall
4. Budge
5. Sampras
6. Borg
7. Gonzales
8. Federer
9. Perry
10. Lendl

Have you moved Nadal up on your top-20 list? I am going to have to. He's earned it.

Just curious, where would you have Nadal if he wins the grand slam this year.

SgtJohn
02-03-2009, 09:45 AM
As I said before, I find it too hard to actually rank players in this debate, as so many parameters can be taken into account... But still I usually classify them in 'groups'.

Tier 1 (in alphabetical order, not preference order):
Doherty H.L.
Laver
Rosewall
Tilden

Federer*

Tier 2:
Budge
Borg
Gonzales
Sampras

Tier 3:
Cochet
Lendl
Perry
Renshaw (Willie)


*Federer is in-between for me... If he retires today, he's not in the Tier 1. Still, his record does not need much more for him to be there.

Nadal might be in the top 20, but barely. Not only all the players listed above, but also the likes of Reggie Doherty, Segura, Riggs, Kramer, McEnroe, and maybe a few others are ahead of him.
Again, this is reasoning on a 'If-he-retires-today' basis. If Nadal is near the GOAT Top 20 at 22, the upside is huge of course...

Jonathan

Moose Malloy
02-03-2009, 09:56 AM
Tim, could you explain how you built this list? Lots of strange stuff here, chiefly Rosewall's ranking of course, but also, Nadal superior to Laver? Let the kid grow up a little bit, we'll have this conversation when he's 25 at least...
Is it based on the ELO ratings? because in this case you might not be using the same criteria as us ( ELO ratings are mainly about regularity and head-to-head dominance, if I'm not mistaken).

Its ELO:

The following data show peak career ELO Ratings for all players who have achieved a 2500 ELO Rating based on results since WWII up to and including the Australian Open of 2009.



MEN

1 Roger Federer 2783
2 Rafael Nadal 2759 Players Current ELO Rating equals their Peak ELO Rating. Strong probability of increase at next revision.
3 Rod Laver 2752
4 Ivan Lendl 2748
5 Roy Emerson 2735
6 Mats Wilander 2726
7 Björn Borg 2725
8 Frank Sedgman 2724
9 Tony Trabert 2720
10 Pete Sampras 2713
11 Ashley Cooper 2705
12 John McEnroe 2703
13 Jim Courier 2700
14 Ken Rosewall 2685
15 Lew Hoad 2683


http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=190959

Virginia
02-03-2009, 10:24 AM
Jeffrey, thanks so much for posting all those stats for Rosewall - I have his biography "Twenty Years at the Top" but to have all the stats and other info set out, as in your post, adds tremendously to my knowledge base. I've copy/pasted both your post and SgtJohn's to keep with my other notes on Kenny.

His sheer longevity as a player puts him in a class of his own and he is still contributing to tennis in other ways, not the least of which is in connection with the Tennis Museum in Sydney.

hoodjem
02-03-2009, 03:09 PM
Just curious, where would you have Nadal if he wins the grand slam this year.
I had thought of this myself right after the AO final (when I projected and thought he will surely win the FO . . . again, for a fifth time).

IMO, the true Grand Slam is the Everest of tennis, the greatest sustained "peak" performance in the game of tennis. It comes close to trumping even the amazing longevity of a Rosewall.

. . . maybe just behind or tied with Budge. (Who has won the most slam majors in a row?)

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
02-05-2009, 01:56 AM
How can Rosewall NOT be the Goat?

The title of my post is voluntarily provocative :)
...
SgtJohn

I don't want to give a GOAT players' list because I've so much to study before giving that sort of list but I can give the following indications :
In chronological order the best ever players are : William Charles Renshaw, Reginald Frank Doherty, Hugh Laurence (Lawrence) Doherty, William Tatem Tilden II, John Donald Budge, John Albert Kramer, Richard Alonso Gonzales, Kenneth Robert Rosewall, Rodney George Laver, Björn Rune Borg, Petros Sampras (I didn't know that Petros was his first name) and Roger Federer. At a lower level you have James Ernest Renshaw, Joshua Pim (very underrated), Malcolm Douglass Whitman (very underrated too), William Augustus Larned, Norman Everard Brookes, Anthony Frederick Wilding, William M. Johnston (if someone knows what "M." is in reality I would be glad) , Jean René Lacoste, Henri Jean Cochet, Henry Ellsworth Vines Jr., Frederick John Perry, Robert Larimore Riggs, James Scott Connors, John Patrick McEnroe Jr., Ivan Lendl, Andre Kirk Agassi. Below are the following great players : Wilfred Baddeley, Francisco Olegario Segura, Frank Arthur Sedgman, Lewis Alan Hoad (very overrated because many forget his innumerable injuries who prevented him from being better, the first quality of a sportsman is to be in good health), Mats Wilander, Stefan Bengt Edberg, Boris Franz Becker and Rafael Nadal Parera (he will possibly improve as his first Australian Open win can indicate) . Finally John David Newcombe (a player who could have been very great but, as his autobiography shows, had many lacks of will : in 71-72 he wanted to retire and once again after Wimby 73 and he virtually retired after the 1975 Australian) and Ilie Năstase (another player who didn't fulfill his potential because he couldn't stand pressure : at Roland 70 and even 71 - Wimbledon 72, 73, 76 - Davis Cup 72 - US Open 73 - Masters 74, ... he could have won or at least made better).
I've perhaps forgotten some players.

All the lists in that forum completely underrate pre-WWI players (except HL Doherty) so they shouldn't be entitled
"Greatest Tennis Player of All-Time" lists
but "Greatest Tennis Player since the 20's" lists.

For instance George Whiteside Hillyard was adamant that R.F. Doherty when he wasn't too ill (it seemed that R.F. has never been in good health in his whole life) never lost once to his younger brother H.L., be it in official or private match. Hillyard even said that H.L. very seldom won a set against his elder. In fact R.F. owe 15 in each game to H.L.
So though H.L. Doherty had the best tennis record of all the pre-WWI players, R.F. Doherty shouldn't be ignored in any GOAT discussion.

This said I want to thank warmly SgtJohn for his post about Kenny.
Rosewall is (was) completely underrated because his peak years were a) before the open era, b1) between Gonzales (who had such a great sex-appeal) and Laver (who in some occasions could display such an attractive game) whereas Kenny was a small man with no very powerful strokes and b2) his head-to-head records against those giants of the game are negative.
Most of Gonzales' wins over Rosewall were in 1957 and 1960 when Pancho was better but had the American faced Kenny in long pro tours in the mid-60's and Pancho's record against Muscles would have been much less good.
Urban very often points out that Laver always led Kenny in H2H meetings from 1964 to 1972
but Urban never recalls that Kenny would have probably a superb positive H2H record before 1963 against Laver had Kenny the opportunity to play Rocket in those years.
I recognize that Rosewall's record in 1963 is skewed because he met (and beat) Laver so many times that year but at least it makes up for the missed meetings between both players, which would have happened in the years before if tennis had been open.
Until 1962 Rosewall-Laver record is 0-0 though Laver was at that time "million" classes below Rosewall and it penalizes so much Rosewall in any judgment of his true level.
For instance in 1957-1958 Kenny was already a contender for majors while Laver was crushed by grandpa Drobny at Wimby. If Ken had meet Laver in these years it is evident that Laver would have lost most (if not all) of their meetings.
One example of Rosewall's underestimation : in the late 80's, George Lott (an amateur player of the 20's and a pro player in the 30's, for those who don't know him, so a man who has watched all the greats from Johnston to Becker) made his own list in World Tennis. Lott ranked Neale Fraser higher than Rosewall (it wasn't a true list but an imaginary tournament, won by McEnroe, where Fraser got further than Kenny). When you know that Fraser a) was always barred by Rosewall (and Hoad and Cooper and Anderson) in the amateur circuit and b) was virtually retired when Rosewall was at his peak or close to it, how can someone put Fraser above Rosewall ?

Many forget that Laver met Kenny for the first time when the latter was 28 years old and that Laver dominated Kenny in direct confrontations (since 1964) when the Sydneysider was already 29 years old that is close to his 30's.
The same remark can be made about Gonzales. According to Jeffrey or Urban, Laver leads Gonzales something like 37-20 in H2H but don't forget that this record concerns a Gonzales who was between 36 and 42 years old. If tennis had been open, Laver could have beaten Pancho some times in 1962 or 1963 or if I'm generous in 1961 but not before that is when Pancho was at least 33 years old so Laver's record against Gonzales is also more flattering than it should.

In conclusion Laver's head-to-head record against Kenny (and Pancho) and Pancho's record against Kenny are misleading. This is one of the reasons why Kenny was so underestimated. But it is clear that if one considers the era since 1920, Rosewall has to be ranked in the same class as Great Bill, Don ? (I have many problems to judge Budge because WWII damaged his career so much), Gorgo and Rocket.
So SgtJohn's title post is not provocative at all. It is debatable but once again not provocative. Thank you very much SgtJohn.

SgtJohn
02-05-2009, 05:17 AM
You are right Carlo, the complexity of tennis doesn't allow one to give too much credit to head-to-head in any case (before the 1980s).
Concerning the Pancho-Ken H2H, we should also mention that Gonzales was in a perpetual state of semi-retirement from 1962. In 1961, Gonzales had lost in the big events, Roland-Garros Pro and Wembley Pro while Rosewall had won the double, we can then assume that Ken had become superior. But in 1962 and 1963, Rosewall's best years, Gonzales did not play at all. He came back in 1964 and 1965 but played only half a season at best. Then he retired again and came back for the Open Era (apart form a few events as MSG Pro 1966). During all these years Rosewall could have improved his H2H if he had had the occasion to...

As for the pre-WW1 Era, here is my personal Top 10:

1. HL Doherty
2. W Renshaw
3. RF Doherty
4. W Larned
5. Wilding
6. Brookes
7. Pim
8. E Renshaw
9. Lawford
10. Gore

Now I admit that at least Reggie Doherty and Larned would have deserved to be in the list I posted earlier, but definitely not in 'Tier 1'.

With 4 Wimbledon and 3 Irish titles, Reggie cannot be ignored, you are right, but I don't think he is as serious a GOAT candidate as his brother.

A (very) quick reminder of his career:
1897: R Doherty appears on the tennis scene (no trace of him playing in 1896 or before in my records...), and won Wimbledon. It can be argued that the real number 1 for this year was Irish winner Eaves, though.
1898-1900 : He dominates Tennis, his only loss in an important tournament being the Irish in 1898.
1901: sadly his illness begins to take its toll when he loses his Wimbledon title to Gore, but he brilliantly wins the Irish again.
1902: from now on, he never played in England again. He reaches the US Championships challenge roud, but Larned beats him. He also loses a match in Davis Cup to Whitman.
1903-1906: Reggie only plays the European clay circuit but after 1904 his brother dominates it.

A significant element that should be noticed is all the walk-overs that the brothers gave each other. It probably seemed the brotherly thing to do at the time, but now it seems unfortunate as it tweaks a little bit the results.
I think Laurie gave Reggie a few walk-overs at the Irish. Reggie did at the 1900 Olympics. Laurie also gave Reggie a walk-over at Newport in 1902, which could have been really important considering that Reggie was finally beaten by Larned but that Laurie won the next year against him...

Jonathan

Jonathan

urban
02-05-2009, 05:42 AM
Now, Carlo we have had our differences about this speculative questions. I don't think, that Rosewall was a million times better than Laver in say 1960-62. I generally rank the amateur game of the 50s and 60s a bit higher against the pros than Carlo or even Jeffrey. In the early 50s or in 61 or 62 imo the pro game had problems and struggled, and the emerging amateurs did quite well. Its quite possible that Rosewall was the best player in 1961 and 62, but if Laver had gotten him earlier, i think, he would have challenged him earlier. Especially in 128 draws, where Hoad would have had difficulties due to his physical problems (Gonzales was semi-retired 1961-63). The 1963 domination of Rosewall was complete only in the first half of the year. In the second European part of the pro season, Laver made great strides, won a big share of the pro tournaments and challenged Rosewall severely. Sedgman said that in early 1964, and Trabert wrote it in 1963. Carlo himself has cited a Tennis du France article on the Cannes tournament in autumn 1963, where Kenny, after he saw Laver demolish Gimeno, seemed a bit afraid to face the in form Laver in the final.
I wrote in earlier posts, that Laver would probably not have won a Grand Slam in 1962 with all the pros competing. But if Wimbledon would have been open all the time, i would give Laver the 61 and 62 titles even with all the pros.

Borgforever
02-05-2009, 09:34 AM
I don't want to give a GOAT players' list because I've so much to study before giving that sort of list but I can give the following indications :
In chronological order the best ever players are : William Charles Renshaw, Reginald Frank Doherty, Hugh Laurence (Lawrence) Doherty, William Tatem Tilden II, John Donald Budge, John Albert Kramer, Richard Alonso Gonzales, Kenneth Robert Rosewall, Rodney George Laver, Björn Rune Borg, Petros Sampras (I didn't know that Petros was his first name) and Roger Federer. At a lower level you have James Ernest Renshaw, Joshua Pim (very underrated), Malcolm Douglass Whitman (very underrated too), William Augustus Larned, Norman Everard Brookes, Anthony Frederick Wilding, William M. Johnston (if someone knows what "M." is in reality I would be glad) , Jean René Lacoste, Henri Jean Cochet, Henry Ellsworth Vines Jr., Frederick John Perry, Robert Larimore Riggs, James Scott Connors, John Patrick McEnroe Jr., Ivan Lendl, Andre Kirk Agassi. Below are the following great players : Wilfred Baddeley, Francisco Olegario Segura, Frank Arthur Sedgman, Lewis Alan Hoad (very overrated because many forget his innumerable injuries who prevented him from being better, the first quality of a sportsman is to be in good health), Mats Wilander, Stefan Bengt Edberg, Boris Franz Becker and Rafael Nadal Parera (he will possibly improve as his first Australian Open win can indicate) . Finally John David Newcombe (a player who could have been very great but, as his autobiography shows, had many lacks of will : in 71-72 he wanted to retire and once again after Wimby 73 and he virtually retired after the 1975 Australian) and Ilie Năstase (another player who didn't fulfill his potential because he couldn't stand pressure : at Roland 70 and even 71 - Wimbledon 72, 73, 76 - Davis Cup 72 - US Open 73 - Masters 74, ... he could have won or at least made better).
I've perhaps forgotten some players.

All the lists in that forum completely underrate pre-WWI players (except HL Doherty) so they shouldn't be entitled
"Greatest Tennis Player of All-Time" lists
but "Greatest Tennis Player since the 20's" lists.

For instance George Whiteside Hillyard was adamant that R.F. Doherty when he wasn't too ill (it seemed that R.F. has never been in good health in his whole life) never lost once to his younger brother H.L., be it in official or private match. Hillyard even said that H.L. very seldom won a set against his elder. In fact R.F. owe 15 in each game to H.L.
So though H.L. Doherty had the best tennis record of all the pre-WWI players, R.F. Doherty shouldn't be ignored in any GOAT discussion.

This said I want to thank warmly SgtJohn for his post about Kenny.
Rosewall is (was) completely underrated because his peak years were a) before the open era, b1) between Gonzales (who had such a great sex-appeal) and Laver (who in some occasions could display such an attractive game) whereas Kenny was a small man with no very powerful strokes and b2) his head-to-head records against those giants of the game are negative.
Most of Gonzales' wins over Rosewall were in 1957 and 1960 when Pancho was better but had the American faced Kenny in long pro tours in the mid-60's and Pancho's record against Muscles would have been much less good.
Urban very often points out that Laver always led Kenny in H2H meetings from 1964 to 1972
but Urban never recalls that Kenny would have probably a superb positive H2H record before 1963 against Laver had Kenny the opportunity to play Rocket in those years.
I recognize that Rosewall's record in 1963 is skewed because he met (and beat) Laver so many times that year but at least it makes up for the missed meetings between both players, which would have happened in the years before if tennis had been open.
Until 1962 Rosewall-Laver record is 0-0 though Laver was at that time "million" classes below Rosewall and it penalizes so much Rosewall in any judgment of his true level.
For instance in 1957-1958 Kenny was already a contender for majors while Laver was crushed by grandpa Drobny at Wimby. If Ken had meet Laver in these years it is evident that Laver would have lost most (if not all) of their meetings.
One example of Rosewall's underestimation : in the late 80's, George Lott (an amateur player of the 20's and a pro player in the 30's, for those who don't know him, so a man who has watched all the greats from Johnston to Becker) made his own list in World Tennis. Lott ranked Neale Fraser higher than Rosewall (it wasn't a true list but an imaginary tournament, won by McEnroe, where Fraser got further than Kenny). When you know that Fraser a) was always barred by Rosewall (and Hoad and Cooper and Anderson) in the amateur circuit and b) was virtually retired when Rosewall was at his peak or close to it, how can someone put Fraser above Rosewall ?

Many forget that Laver met Kenny for the first time when the latter was 28 years old and that Laver dominated Kenny in direct confrontations (since 1964) when the Sydneysider was already 29 years old that is close to his 30's.
The same remark can be made about Gonzales. According to Jeffrey or Urban, Laver leads Gonzales something like 37-20 in H2H but don't forget that this record concerns a Gonzales who was between 36 and 42 years old. If tennis had been open, Laver could have beaten Pancho some times in 1962 or 1963 or if I'm generous in 1961 but not before that is when Pancho was at least 33 years old so Laver's record against Gonzales is also more flattering than it should.

In conclusion Laver's head-to-head record against Kenny (and Pancho) and Pancho's record against Kenny are misleading. This is one of the reasons why Kenny was so underestimated. But it is clear that if one considers the era since 1920, Rosewall has to be ranked in the same class as Great Bill, Don ? (I have many problems to judge Budge because WWII damaged his career so much), Gorgo and Rocket.
So SgtJohn's title post is not provocative at all. It is debatable but once again not provocative. Thank you very much SgtJohn.

A knock-out great post again Carlo! I totally agree with your assessments here in every last detail. And grand writing too.

Also have to commend Sgt John for his excellent additions and comments which are of course very illuminating and creating even greater nuance to this debate.

I'm hesitant about Urban's comments though. Laver wasn't the honed, precision Mozart he was to become until the mid 60s (he said he didn't think and adjust brilliantly during matches until later in his career) and he IMO (and others) had amateur success much like Fed -- being so amazingly talented that he whacked you on the basis of that alone and not on tenacity, quick tactical adjustment skill et al -- and did lose spectacularly or surprisingly in matches he probably could've won (based on his obvious potential) because of this roughness.

Rosewall on the other hand had such precision, anticipation, Borg-like consistency and ability to keep the ball in play even in seemingly impossible situations -- not to dismiss his Mecir-like angles and out-of this world volleying. He was a scalpel early on. And Laver couldn't make it to any GS-final in the 70s -- even at his favorite tourney Wimby that was tailor-made for him -- whereas KENNY (who was much older than Rod by this time) almost won Wimby 1970 (killed Laver twice in those two classic WCT-finals in the early 70s) won US Open and effin' made it to the 1974 Wimby final.

Hats off for Mr. Ken Rosewall!

Urban's points could be correct anyway. It's a very worthy additional view to express as I see it nonetheless...

A joy to read this. Would love some more info on the Doherty's though. What was Reggie's illnesses exactly? Why did they die so young -- both of them?

A white patch in my reservoir of knowledge sadly so I would appreciate some info on this if it's possible...

cristiano
02-05-2009, 10:48 AM
If health is so important for a tennis player, R. Doherty is not a possible goat for you, i suppose.

I don't know so much about pre-Tilden tennis. In last 90 years of tennis - I agree with Carlo - the best nine players are, in chronological order, Tilden-Budge-Kramer-Gonzales-Rosewall-Laver-Borg-Sampras-Federer (Lendl and McEnroe maybe share the #10, but it's not so important). Maybe we can all agree with this statement?

In the pre-Tilden tennis HL Doherty can stay for sure in the same echelon. Maybe also Renshaw. Who other?

Between the nine players above i can observe a general consensus here, with the exception of Kramer, which is often considered (i don't know why) to stay at a lower level.

But I think we can (almost) all agree with a large 'Tier I' of 11-12 players and say that the GOAT is, without any reasonable doubt, one of them. 10-12 is not too much, it's a good starting point. What do you think?

Virginia
02-05-2009, 10:51 AM
I don't know if this has been mentioned in this thread and I'm not entirely certain whether "demolish" was the actual word used, but it was said that:

Laver would demolish you, but Rosewall would break your heart.

*Off topic* Do any of you know that Anthony Wilding wrote a wonderful book entitled "On the Court and Off"? I have two (new) copies of it - one is a photocopy version of the original printing and the other is a recently published version by an American company that speclialises in the reprinting of rare books.

*Back on topic* I saw many of Rosewall's matches (singles and doubles with Lew Hoad) at Wimbledon back in the 1950's. I had pin up photos of both players on my bedroom wall!

urban
02-05-2009, 11:08 AM
Great memories, Virginia. I would have loved to see Hoad and Rosewall. Besides: The quote You mentioned could have been made by Fred Stolle. I read that or something similar in some books.

AndrewD
02-05-2009, 11:59 AM
Urban,

Why aren't people emphasising that when Laver started to wrack up wins against Rosewall it neatly coincided with him entering his peak years and Rosewall entering his 30's ?

Far as I can see, everyone is trying to rate the two while completely ignoring very basic physical realities. (just as they happily ignore how beneficial certain playing conditions were for some player over others).


A final word - everyone, PLEASE, when you find a comment/article/book/etc that comes from a player, promoter or journalist, think through the reasons why that person said what they did and what their biases or hesitations might be.

Virginia
02-05-2009, 12:10 PM
AndrewD, I mentioned this in the classic racquets forum, but I think you may have missed it.

Do you happen to live in Sydney? It's just that I'm going to be there for about a week next month, and will be going to the "Ken Rosewall Tennis Day" at the Museum.

I just thought it would be fun to meet up and compare notes. :)

Borgforever
02-05-2009, 10:48 PM
No-one has the knowledge about the Doherty's early deaths and health problems? I'm waiting impatiently... :-)

SgtJohn
02-06-2009, 12:19 AM
No-one has the knowledge about the Doherty's early deaths and health problems? I'm waiting impatiently... :-)

Here's a quote from the french 'Bmarcore' site:

Laurie Doherty abandonna le tennis en 1906 pour se consacrer au golf, sport moins violent où il fit une carrière toute aussi brillante qu'au tennis, paraît-il. De santé fragile comme son frère, il avait des problèmes respiratoires et il se fatiguait vite. Mobilisé dans la Royal Navy pendant la guerre, les rigueur du service achevèrent d'user sa santé. Il mourut après une longue maladie à Broadstairs dans le Kent le 21 Août 1919, à l'âge de 43 ans.

Approximate translation:

"Laurie Doherty retired from tennis in 1906 and played only golf from then on, and had a brilliant career in that sport too, it seems. A man with a fragile health, as his brother, he had respiratory issues and tired easily. As he was enrolled in the Royal Navy during the Great War, military service kept deteriorating his health. He died after a long illness in Broadstairs, Kent, at 43."

Borgforever
02-06-2009, 12:31 AM
Many thanks Sgt John! :-)

Seems like asthma for Reggie then probably. A great handicap...

If anyone has even more info on these master brother duo I'll appreciate it greatly since I'm fascinated with tennis pre 1910... So if Carlo or anyone else has something I'm dying listen...

hoodjem
02-07-2009, 06:44 PM
1. Sampras
2. Tilden
3. Budge
4. Rosewall
5. Perry
6. Borg
7. Laver
8. Cochet
9. Gonzales
10. Lendl


1. Laver
2. Tilden
3. Rosewall
4. Budge
5. Sampras
6. Borg
7. Gonzales
8. Federer
9. Perry
10. Lendl

timnz
02-07-2009, 10:04 PM
This is a great post. I've always believed Sampras had amuch better career than Agassi and have never understood why some people say otherwise.

I take your point. However it is only valid for the Nortern Hemisphere. Sampras never beat Agassi in Australia ever :)

Borgforever
02-08-2009, 10:13 AM
Okey -- the Doherty's has always fascinated me although there's not a wealth of info about them out there. This is one of my projects for 2009.

If you're nutty about stuff like this as I am check out this little gem of a report from the early 1900's when the Doherty's visited the US. It gives us some nice evaluations on the sophistication of our game and the players around this era.

I just love stuff like this. Hope you enjoy as much as I did:

http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/Outing/Volume_42/outXLII05/outXLII05u.pdf

Both of them absolutely belong in a GOAT debate IMO and deserve deep scrutiny -- so I hope someone else, if they have further knowledge about these early Kings, that they will post...

And I must add -- the earliest film footage of tennis at Wimbledon is from around 1903-04 (?) and only a few seconds so I doubt we'll ever see anything of fantastic Doherty's in action during their glorious peak. Saaaad....

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
02-09-2009, 12:46 AM
Many thanks Sgt John! :-)

Seems like asthma for Reggie then probably. A great handicap...

If anyone has even more info on these master brother duo I'll appreciate it greatly since I'm fascinated with tennis pre 1910... So if Carlo or anyone else has something I'm dying listen...

I don't remember well what were their diseases but after the brothers played their very tiring doubles in the 1906 Wimbledon event their mother, who was afraid, made them swear not to play anymore in the Championships so in particular Hugh gave up his title in 1907 because he didn't want to betray his mother but he did it reluctantly. So the Dohertys didn't play many singles since 1907. For instance Hugh reached the Monte Carlo final in 1907 and 1909 and won some tournaments as the North of England Championships, Scarborough in 1908-1909-1910 or the Nottinghamshire Championships, Nottingham in 1909. Reggie probably won his last tournament in early 1909 (probably January) at the South African champs in Johannesburg but he was so ill that he didn't play the rest of the South African tour with the other British players.

About the brothers meetings the only public match they apparently played was their 1898 Wimbledon final (they played many private matches in particular on George Whiteside Hillyard's private home court).

SgtJohn, here are some Doherty's performances before 1897 (thanks to Károly) :

Exmouth BRI (G) Probably Aug 10 1895 (ending date):
Last round : Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Harry Barlow (BRI-G) 7-5 4-6 6-4 6-2

Scottish Championships, Moffat BRI (G) (Probably Aug 24 1895)
Challenge Round: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – R. Watson (BRI-G) 6-1 6-1 6-1

Irish Championships, Dublin BRI (G) (Probably May 30, 1896):
Quarters: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-2 6-2 6-4

London Championships, Queen’s Club BRI (G) Probably Jun 27, 1896:
2nd round: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Bill Larned (USA) 6-4 7-5 6-2
Semis: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-3 4-6 6-2 2-6 10-8
Final : Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 11-9 6-4 6-4

Jul 20 1896
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G)
1st round: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-3 5-7 6-1 3-6 6-2

Probably Aug 15 1896
Scottish Championships, Moffat BRI (G):
Challenge round : Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – Edward Allen (BRI-G) 13-11 6-4

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
02-09-2009, 03:18 AM
Now, Carlo we have had our differences about this speculative questions. I don't think, that Rosewall was a million times better than Laver in say 1960-62. I generally rank the amateur game of the 50s and 60s a bit higher against the pros than Carlo or even Jeffrey. In the early 50s or in 61 or 62 imo the pro game had problems and struggled, and the emerging amateurs did quite well. Its quite possible that Rosewall was the best player in 1961 and 62, but if Laver had gotten him earlier, i think, he would have challenged him earlier. Especially in 128 draws, where Hoad would have had difficulties due to his physical problems (Gonzales was semi-retired 1961-63). The 1963 domination of Rosewall was complete only in the first half of the year. In the second European part of the pro season, Laver made great strides, won a big share of the pro tournaments and challenged Rosewall severely. Sedgman said that in early 1964, and Trabert wrote it in 1963. Carlo himself has cited a Tennis du France article on the Cannes tournament in autumn 1963, where Kenny, after he saw Laver demolish Gimeno, seemed a bit afraid to face the in form Laver in the final.
I wrote in earlier posts, that Laver would probably not have won a Grand Slam in 1962 with all the pros competing. But if Wimbledon would have been open all the time, i would give Laver the 61 and 62 titles even with all the pros.

If we have to believe Hoad :
a) he trained hard 10 days before facing Laver in January 1963 on Australia's grass well mastered by the Rocket and however Hoad never lost a match to Laver. Hoad has never defaulted a match in this series and previously Hoad hadn't much defaulted in the whole year 1962. Hoad was out of form in 1961 (because of his Coubertin injury). I also guess that in 1962 Hoad was slightly better than in January 1963 and that Laver slightly improved during his Rosewall or Hoad matches and so was a little better than in 1962. I can then deduce that the gap between Hoad and Laver in 1962 was larger than in January 1963. So it is very likely that Hoad would have bettered Laver in 1962 on grass;
b) Rosewall quit his holidays vacation spot only 2 days before meeting Laver indicating how Muscles judged Laver's level at the time. Once Rosewall had recovered his true level (after his initial 3-2 lead) he too didn't lose one match.

Therefore Hoad and Rosewall were clearly better than Laver in early 1963 and even more in the 1960-1962 years.

Remember that Laver had problems against Darmon and Santana at Wimbledon 1961-1962. Except his volley Darmon had no good grasscourt strokes and Santana though a relatively complete player was far from being the best grasscourter especially in 1961-1962 when he wasn't at his peak (circa 1965-1966).

In 1961, Gonzales (who wasn't retired then), Rosewall and Segura (unfortunately tennis has never seen a real Segura-Laver confrontation because they didn't meet before 1963 when Segura was clearly over the hill) were superior to Laver on grass and would probably have prevented him from winning that year (and perhaps MacKay and Buchholz were on the same level as Laver).

In 1962 the same can be said about Rosewall, Hoad (not injured this time) - Segura and perhaps Earl Buchholz, the latter had some good pro performances in 1962 (and even in 1963 he crushed Laver 64 61 or 61 64 at Wembley).

So we have a deep disagreement about Wimbledon 1961-1962.

The point here is to judge players as they were and not as they would have been.

You think that a hypothetical Laver would have won Wimbledon in 1961-1962 if the pros had entered the event because he would have been better after having challenging them before but
you don't judge the true Laver of those years (you wrote "if Laver had gotten him (Ken) earlier, i think, he would have challenged him earlier").

In this case you should apply the same logic with all the amateurs :
in the early or mid-60's if Emerson, Stolle, Newcombe, Roche, Santana had faced the pros they also would have been better, if Rosewall had faced the pros since his early years he wouldn't have been crushed by them in early 1957, the same for Gonzales with Kramer and so on (and you can come back to Vines or Perry). But the true Laver in 61-62 apparently had a weak defensive game which could have been greatly exploited by the best pros.

If I use your logic I can also state that if Rosewall had met Laver earlier, Rosewall would have adapted to Laver's best game earlier too.
It took Rosewall 2 years to do that : I recall that Laver clearly dominated Kenny in direct confrontations during the years 1964-1965 but in 1966 and 1967 Kenny (though more than 31 years old) did well against Laver (6-7 in 1966 and 5-8 in 1967).
So if Laver had turned pro in 1961 (and not in 1963) why not speculate that Rosewall would have truly rivalled Laver in direct confrontations since 1964 (and not 1966). Besides being younger in 1964 than in 1966, perhaps this hypothetical Rosewall would have been even more dangerous in 1964-1965 for Rod than he had been in 1966-1967 and so in this case why not speculate that Laver could not have been #1 in 1964-1965.

As my example above I therefore think your reasoning, a hypothetical better Laver in 1961-1962 than the true one, is too speculative. In reality Laver wasn't that good in those two years.

One last remark : You also wrote "In the second European part of the (1963) pro season, Laver ... challenged Rosewall severely". It was true only in second class events but it wasn't the case in the majors, at the French Pro and at Wembley (held in that second part) where Laver was clearly behind Rosewall (see Laver's defeat by Buchholz at Wembley).

cristiano
02-09-2009, 03:41 AM
I agree with Carlo in toto, great post :)