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noeledmonds
05-16-2007, 08:10 AM
Looking at players who spent their entire career in the open-era I think it would be fair to say there is an elite group of 7 players that rises above the rest. These players are (in no particular order): Sampras, Borg, Agassi, Federer, McEnroe, Lendl, Connors. There is then IMO a small but detectable drop to the next players.

Leading this 2nd tier group are Becker, Wilander and Edberg. Who is the best player in this 2nd group and who left the greatest legacy?

Deuce
05-17-2007, 02:06 AM
I agree about the gap between the first group and the second.
I'd put Agassi in the 2nd group, though.
Will Nadal perhaps be in there, as well, soon?

A third group might consist of players like Gerulaitis, Vilas...

slice bh compliment
05-17-2007, 02:10 AM
...Gerulaitis, Vilas...

Yeah.

Vilas: second group, I think. Hugely responsible and inspirational in tenis in ARG, Sudamerica in general.
Vitas, in a group all by himself.
Nadal is closing in on the top groups every day.
Guga, Courier, Nadal, Rafter, Hewitt -- all have held aloft a Slam trophy on more than one occasion.

Then there's Goran, Noah and Chang. One Slammers, but they all made a big impact, and they are unforgettable. Then again, so is El Jefe Tarango but he will not be on this list.

slice bh compliment
05-17-2007, 02:12 AM
...Leading this 2nd tier group are Becker, Wilander and Edberg. Who is the best player in this 2nd group and who left the greatest legacy?

In terms of legacy, even though I always admired Becker's game, I'd have to say Edberg. They named the ATP Sportsmanship award after him.

Gizo
05-17-2007, 02:37 AM
I personally would separate the greats of the open era into 3 tiers:
Top Tier - Sampras, Borg, Federer
Second Tier - Agassi, Lendl, Connors, McEnroe
Third Tier - Wilander, Becker, Edberg

Out of the last 3 players, even I though I despised him as a player, I would edge towards Wilander. While the grand slam count isn't the be all and end all, it isn't meaningless and it still does count for something, and Wilander leads Becker and Edberg in this category. Also Wilander is one of only two men, the other being Agassi, to have won grand slam titles on 4 different surfaces. You might say that his Australian Open titles on grass in the early 80s were mickey mouse, but here's his draw from his successful 1983 campaign at Kooyong:
R64 def Ben Testerman 6-4 4-6 6-7 6-3 6-2
R32 def Roscoe Tanner 6-4 6-7 6-3 6-1
R16 def Paul McNamee 6-4 6-2 7-6
QF def Johan Kriek 6-3 6-4 7-6
SF def John McEnroe 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-3
F def Ivan Lendl 6-1 6-4 6-4

That was a tricky draw indeed and he came through it. Also Wilander was totally dominant in 1988, winning 3 out of 4 grand slams. Becker (although he had a great year in 1989) and Edberg never really dominated a season like that.

rasajadad
05-17-2007, 04:53 AM
I'd add Yannick Noah to the 2nd tier.

krosero
05-17-2007, 06:57 AM
Looking at players who spent their entire career in the open-era I think it would be fair to say there is an elite group of 7 players that rises above the rest. These players are (in no particular order): Sampras, Borg, Agassi, Federer, McEnroe, Lendl, Connors. There is then IMO a small but detectable drop to the next players.

Leading this 2nd tier group are Becker, Wilander and Edberg. Who is the best player in this 2nd group and who left the greatest legacy?Interesting list, I think I'd agree with the division and the names.

Of the second tier, I'd be inclined to pick either Becker or Wilander. I'd say Wilander for some of the reasons mentioned already: his winning on three surfaces, his Slam count. I'd also mention his great sportsmanship (and someone already mentioned the same thing about Edberg, which is absolutely true). I'd say Becker for being the first of a new generation of powerful players and showing the tennis world what could be done with power.

Really, the group in your second tier is made up of players who succeeded to Lendl's throne. Wilander actually did it directly; he gets my props for taking the #1 ranking by defeating Lendl at the 1988 Open in a memorable match, the longest Slam final ever played. But Becker was the one who really stepped up to #1 in 1989, defeating Lendl at both W and the U.S. (having already ended Lendl's domination of the Masters in 1988, in another of the Open Era's great finals). Yet Becker was not the most consistent player either, and he soon shared the top spot with, or in a sense was actually succeeded in 1990-91, by Edberg, who had his own share of battles with Lendl.

I think Becker, of the three, defeated Lendl the most times and on the biggest occasions, closest to Lendl's prime (as early as the 86W).

Of the three, he had the greatest longevity, lasting well into the Sampras era and "passing the torch" (something of an exaggeration here) to Sampras at Wimbledon and in a great ATP Championships final. Wilander gets a mention here, too, since he lost his U.S. Open title to Sampras in 1989.

I'd also mention what Becker did for tennis in Germany.

Finally, I'd pick Becker as the one to win on his best day, slightly ahead of Edberg and Wilander on fast courts. Wilander comes in next as the best of the three, without question, on clay.

TheNatural
05-17-2007, 08:01 AM
Going by their slam record - slam finals wins and runners up, the classification would be:

level 1:

Sampras 14-4
Federer 10-1
Borg 11-5

level 2

Lendl 8-11
Agassi 8-7
Connors 8-7

Level 3
Wilander 7-4
Mcenroe 7-4
Edberg 6-5
Becker 6-4

The level 2 players Lendl, Agassi and Connors who all played 15 finals or more and they alls eem to have won a higher percentage of slam matches than the level 3 players.


Looking at players who spent their entire career in the open-era I think it would be fair to say there is an elite group of 7 players that rises above the rest. These players are (in no particular order): Sampras, Borg, Agassi, Federer, McEnroe, Lendl, Connors. There is then IMO a small but detectable drop to the next players.

Leading this 2nd tier group are Becker, Wilander and Edberg. Who is the best player in this 2nd group and who left the greatest legacy?

bluetrain4
05-17-2007, 08:53 AM
Even though Edberg had a horrible overall record against Becker (10-25, though 3-1 in Slams, but then again, like 0-3 in not very close Davis Cup matches), I think they compare favorably overall in terms of legacy and achievements. I would put Wilander right on par with both of them. All of them won 3 of the 4 slams (on at least 2 surfaces) and did it over a substantial amount of time. (Wilander first slam '82, last '88) (Edberg, first '85, last '92), Becker (first '85, last '86). All won a lot of other tournaments and Davis Cups.

All had identifiable personalities/plating styles. Wilander was a reserved backboard. Edberg, a great sportsman and classic serve and volleyer. Becker was a power player, passionate, a bit volatile.

Wilander shut it down much earlier, but he's also the only one to win Slams on three surfaces (correct me if I'm wrong, but he won the AO on grass, right?)

Anyway, that's one hell of a second tier.

Agassi is right on the cusp of first and second tier. With the career slam and 8 overall, he's clearly ahead of this group, but would be at the bottom of the Tier 1 group.

Under this Tier 2 group, you get to players like Courier, Kuerten, and even Chang, who although he only has one Slam, made huge impact and won a ton of other tourneys and reached other Slam finals.

Just my opinion.

bluetrain4
05-17-2007, 08:54 AM
Becker's last slam was '96 not '86. My bad.

bluetrain4
05-17-2007, 08:57 AM
Going by their slam record - slam finals wins and runners up, the classification would be:

level 1:

Sampras 14-4
Federer 10-1
Borg 11-5

level 2

Lendl 8-11
Agassi 8-7
Connors 8-7

Level 3
Wilander 7-4
Mcenroe 7-4
Edberg 6-5
Becker 6-4

The level 2 players Lendl, Agassi and Connors who all played 15 finals or more and they alls eem to have won a higher percentage of slam matches than the level 3 players.


This makes sense. Though a lot of people would elevate McEnroe to your Level 2 because of his distinct game and enourmous reputation/personality.

noeledmonds
05-22-2007, 06:51 AM
Going by their slam record - slam finals wins and runners up, the classification would be:

level 1:

Sampras 14-4
Federer 10-1
Borg 11-5

level 2

Lendl 8-11
Agassi 8-7
Connors 8-7

Level 3
Wilander 7-4
Mcenroe 7-4
Edberg 6-5
Becker 6-4

The level 2 players Lendl, Agassi and Connors who all played 15 finals or more and they alls eem to have won a higher percentage of slam matches than the level 3 players.

I agree that there is a possible division again into these groupings. However I would put McEnroe in the 2nd group despite his slam record. McEnroe may not have as good a grand slam record as other group 2 players but he does have other achivements that cannot be overlooked. McEnroe has his great Davis Cup record (a competition he prioritised over the grand slams). McEnroe also has his 4 year end number 1s and 170 weeks at number 1 in total. This is many more weeks than all other group 3 players combined. McEnroe also has his doubles success, which I belive does count towards a players' greatness. Most importantly though McEnroe has the less quantifiable factor of having a real influence on tennis and its popularity like none other of the group 3 players.