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View Full Version : Does Federer have it easier than Sampras did on grass??


VictorS.
07-09-2007, 02:45 PM
I think it's safe to say that the wimbledon grass is playing much slower than in years past. We now see more rallies from the baseline and less serve & volley tennis. Patrick McEnroe even went out on a limb and said that he thinks the US Open courts play faster.


One of things I've noticed with this current era is the lack of really GREAT servers. These guys like Nadal, Federer, & Djokovic are excellent all-around players. These guys are hitting shots that we've never seen before. However, I really think Sampras had much stiffer competition during his time, especially on grass. In addition, I think there were so many better BIG SERVERS he had to face. Ivanisevic, Rafter, Becker, Edberg (during his earlier times), Krajicek, Phillipousis, Michael Stich. In addition, there were great baseliners to contend with as well(ie Agassi, Courier, Kafelnikov, Rios, etc).

What do you guys think? I don't doubt federer would've been #1 in any era. however is it safe to say that he would've had a tougher road to hoe if he had been playing in the 90s on the faster grass with the bigger servers?

ACE of Hearts
07-09-2007, 02:53 PM
Maybe so but Federer is much better then Becker, Ivanisevic, Rafter, Krajicek, Stich, on grass.The only guy i would put is Sampras, until Fed wins 7.

ACE of Hearts
07-09-2007, 02:55 PM
I wished they speed up the grass, people say it plays like a hardcourt, i dont buy that, it plays almost like clay because of the bounces.

Moose Malloy
07-09-2007, 02:56 PM
The thing with the grass in the 90s(or 80s) is that you could just be aced off the court, no matter how well you play. Sampras played great against Krajicek in '96, but with that surface & with Krajicek serving like that, no one would have had a chance(even Fed), its simply out of your hands. You can't just look to control the point with the forehand after someone floats back the return(which is how 90% of all tennis is played these days), you may not get the chance to hit that many of them.
or when Connors & Mac got destroyed by Curren one year, he would have had no shot vs them on any other surface. Which is why so many complained about the surface those years, the better player didn't always win.

I was just watching Courier vs Stich, '91 Wimbledon. Anytime either player stayed back for more than 3 shots, they would get a bad bounce, every time.

That's why its really hard to compare how anyone today would fare back then, even a fast indoor surface can't be compared, since bad bounces don't exist on any court today. No wonder the baseline game has evolved to another level.

Federer is an amazing hardcourt player he would have been great in any era on hardcourt(which Wimbledon has basically been since '02). But on the fast grass of the 80s/90s, I'm not sure. He may have been a better player than Goran, Krajicek, etc, but on a 'no bouncing' surface like that would it really matter? Goran served over 200 aces twice at Wimbledon, I know Fed is on another level but it would be tough. Don't forget what lefties can do in that ad court(which everyone was noticing yesterday)
And Roddick, as great a server he is, serves all his 2nd serves to the same spot always. Sampras, Goran, Krajicek, Stich did not.

thefederman
07-09-2007, 02:57 PM
i agree but i also think what makes it harder for federer is the fact that the grass is slower. had the speed been what it was in the early 90's nadal would not have made it to the final's and if he had it would not have been a 5 set match. not to take anything away from nadal, he played amazing the fact is he thrives on slower courts

Grimjack
07-09-2007, 02:59 PM
Big serves just aren't as important in this slowed-down era.

The top 100 today is full of guys with serve speeds the Beckers of the world couldn't have dreamed of.

Andres
07-09-2007, 03:00 PM
Maybe so but Federer is much better then Becker, Ivanisevic, Rafter, Krajicek, Stich, on grass.The only guy i would put is Sampras, until Fed wins 7.
How do you know? He has only played on THIS grass. He got beaten by Henman in 2001, on the real grass.

IMO, yes, Federer has less competition on grass than Sampras. And the conditions were different. In the 90s grass, Fed still would be good, but he wouldn't be winning 5 Wimbys in a row. He'll trade some with Sampras, and he could get beaten by Goran, Pat, Stich or Richard K.

With the new grass, maybe Kuerten or Muster, who are aggressive baseliners on clay, with vicious strokes, could do some damage in this new grass.

Fed is good on grass, no doubt about it. Even GREAT, we can say, but he has benefited to play only OK grasscourters.

prosealster
07-09-2007, 03:03 PM
Big serves just aren't as important in this slowed-down era.

The top 100 today is full of guys with serve speeds the Beckers of the world couldn't have dreamed of.

totally agree...these days, players are spending alot of their time master the return as well..

ACE of Hearts
07-09-2007, 03:07 PM
Andres, he is a shotmaker, i think he would have the same succes, Pete had on them.Grass is still grass although they have slowed it down tremendously this year.

The titles are there, even if its different grass.I can just imagine if the grass was quicker.Fed has a much better backhand then Pete ever had.I give u the serve.

ACE of Hearts
07-09-2007, 03:09 PM
I dont like it when people bring up big servers on grass, thats nonsense.What makes u think Federer wouldnt serve and volley under the conditions in the 90s?He could have excellent touch on the net.

logansc
07-09-2007, 03:11 PM
The biggest servers on tour got bounced before the semis...I agree with ace, at least in this era it's not just about the serve...take a look at the ace leaders and see how far they got.

anointedone
07-09-2007, 03:11 PM
In the 90s grass, Fed still would be good, but he wouldn't be winning 5 Wimbys in a row. He'll trade some with Sampras, and he could get beaten by Goran, Pat, Stich or Richard K.

Of those only Krajicek (along with Sampras of course) on a dream day, like the time he beat Sampras, would maybe beat him. Ivanisevic is just a serve which catches up to him vs the greatest players. Stich did not have any big wins over anybody after winning Wimbledon in 91, in fact lots of early round losses too. Rafter struggled to beat Agassi on grass, and his final loss to Sampras was only sort of close since Sampras was double faulting and struggling the first 2 sets before rolling through once he got going.

TheNatural
07-09-2007, 03:19 PM
I think thats the whole point.He would serve volley under 90's conditions. It takes a higher risk, more skillful game to win on the old grass,than playing on the baseline now, so its harder to string wins together. Example Fed beats Sampras then loses to Henman serve volleying. With the higher risk game required to succeed on the old grass, it's more likely Fed would trade wins with other guys.

I dont like it when people bring up big servers on grass, thats nonsense.What makes u think Federer wouldnt serve and volley under the conditions in the 90s?He could have excellent touch on the net.

ACE of Hearts
07-09-2007, 03:19 PM
Another way to look at it, is Krajicek, Ivanisevic, Rafter as talented as Federer?No!!So even on a faster surface, Fed would still beat these guys.It wouldnt come easy but i am sure Fed would have the same success Pete had.

logansc
07-09-2007, 03:20 PM
I think thats the whole point.He would serve volley under 90's conditions. It takes a higher risk, more skillful game to win on the old grass,than playing on the baseline now, so its harder to string wins together. Example Fed beats Sampras then loses to Henman serve volleying. With the higher risk game required to succeed on the old grass, it's more likely Fed would trade wins with other guys.

Well said!

ACE of Hearts
07-09-2007, 03:21 PM
Thenatural ur right but thats why he has 11 slams, sometimes a player separates themselves from the pack, just like Pete Sampras did in the 90s.

callitout
07-09-2007, 03:21 PM
How do you know? He has only played on THIS grass. He got beaten by Henman in 2001, on the real grass.

Oh wait, wasnt that the same year, as a fledgling pro, he beat Pete Sampras. Pete Sampras was okay on grass, and Fed beat him.

AndrewD
07-09-2007, 03:21 PM
No, he doesn't. In truth, Federer has a potentially tougher time than Sampras ever did. When Pete played, the list of guys who were genuinely strong on grass was very limited. People conventiently forget that the premier grass-courters in Edberg, McEnroe, Cash, Wilander, Lendl Stich and, to a great extent, Becker had all well and truly passed their prime by the time Sampras started to win majors. In their place he had Rafter (for a very limited time), Ivanisevic, Henman, Pioline, Philippouissis and one or two others who were several rungs below those other guys in terms of class.

Today, Federer has to face a steady diet of guys who can win on medium paced courts, which is all grass is these days. As it no-longer plays the way it used to and, with the bounce conveniently high, guys like Nadal, Davydenko, Djokovic, Ferrero, etc, etc can thrive.

Truth is, both Federer and Sampras were/are lucky to be playing Wimbledon at a time when they were the only great grass-court player in the draw. Subsequently, their records are padded by a lack of serious competition.

logansc
07-09-2007, 03:22 PM
Oh wait, wasnt that the same year, as a fledgling pro, he beat Pete Sampras. Pete Sampras was okay on grass, and Fed beat him.

Yeah but it goes back to the trading matches theory.

ACE of Hearts
07-09-2007, 03:24 PM
Didnt Borg had some no names during his early wimbledon runs?I am talking about names getting to the finals, not the names in the final.

Moose Malloy
07-09-2007, 03:25 PM
And don't forget how many more upsets there were back then. Top 3 made the semis this year, & 11 out of 16 made the 4th round. There weren't 32 seeds either, Sampras played Philippoussis in the 2nd round one year!

And we've had repeat finalists the last 4 years, that never happened in the 90s, which shows how hard it was to be consistently great there.

It was a crapshoot event, no one was safe & the ultimate crapshoot player won it the majority of the time. No one today remotely plays like Sampras, just going for winners immedaitely from anywhere, making a ton of errors, yet a ton of winners.

ace, wimbledon in the 90s wasn't about talent, mainly about serve. I don't think Federer can regularly serve 30 aces per match like Goran, Krajicek, Sampras, they had better motions & higher mph. On a hardcourt though, he's the man.

ACE of Hearts
07-09-2007, 03:28 PM
Hey moose, i dont buy that.U telling me that Fed couldnt excel on the 90s grass?He doesnt need to serve 30 aces per match.Its not like these guys where doing that in each match day in and day out.Federer's serve is no gimmick just because its not 130s, 140s consistently.

ACE of Hearts
07-09-2007, 03:29 PM
Goran, Krajicek, tell me what did these guys did with their motions, tell me how many slams they won?Bull.They have speed and nothing else.

Moose Malloy
07-09-2007, 03:44 PM
Goran, Krajicek, tell me what did these guys did with their motions, tell me how many slams they won?Bull.They have speed and nothing else.

do you read before you post? I said that Federer is better than all those players. That surface isn't about talent, its about being onedimensional & just serving. or attacking the net like crazy like Rafter. Federer isn't as one dimensional as those guys, so he would be at an disadvantage. Having all the shots, variety, etc, really didn't mean a lot back then. And playing those guys back to back is a nightmare. Even Sampras says his toughest opponent on any surface was goran on grass, he didn't give you a chance to play, unlike 90% of Fed's matches where he gets to hit forehands all day, every day, year after year. There is no way to even remotely imagine how Fed would play in that era, he plays so differently that they did. He is a rythm player(as is everyone today) Wimbledon in the 90s was a no-rythm event. Bad bounces every other point basically. Wonder how many forehands Fed would hit in one match back then compared to how many he hits today.

He doesnt need to serve 30 aces per match.Its not like these guys where doing that in each match day in and day out

guess you missed the part where I mentioned Goran served over 200 aces twice at Wimbledon. Do the math.

Didnt Borg had some no names during his early wimbledon runs?I am talking about names getting to the finals, not the names in the final.

Borg faced better grasscourt players in the early rounds than Federer or Sampras. Grass was still a common surface in the 70s, so many low ranked guys had grasscourt titles. Borg went 5 sets a lot the first week at wimbledon.

ACE of Hearts
07-09-2007, 03:50 PM
Well thats why u always have these discussions when it comes to eras.Its like apple and oranges.The GOAT will always be mythical although if Fed some how wins the FO, he can stake a claim at least.

West Coast Ace
07-09-2007, 03:58 PM
Moose, I agree about the 'serving contest' aspect in the 90's - but the slower conditions bring a LOT more guys into contention that Fed then has to deal with. The baseliners just showed up hoping to win a few rounds - now if they're returning well they can make it deep. Hewitt won it - against Nalbandian! Juan Carlos Ferrero used to fake injuries so he didn't have to play - he made the quarters! They'd stand back 10' and get a lot more of Sampras' serves back.

If Flip were playing this year and not being pimped out by NBC, he might have played Fed in the 1st round! And don't forget Fed played Gasquet in the 1st last yr. And Safin in the 3rd this year.

VictorS.
07-09-2007, 04:19 PM
Call Ivanisevic a choker, whatever....fine. But the guy had a beast of a serve. He could ace you off the court. In addition, his overall game was somewhat underrated. He made the semis at the french one year. And let's not forget that he won wimbledon just a few yrs ago at the age of 30.

The Gorilla
07-09-2007, 04:34 PM
kraijeck, ivanisevic et al were less likely to win slams but more likely to beat you due to their style of play, they had a 50% chance of winning against you, no matter who you were, so the chances of them doing it 7 matches ina row were very very slim, but the chances of them beating you were very very high relatively speaking,as nne of today's top ten have any chance of beating fed or nadal.

Andres
07-09-2007, 04:44 PM
Oh wait, wasnt that the same year, as a fledgling pro, he beat Pete Sampras. Pete Sampras was okay on grass, and Fed beat him.
So, he beat Sampras and lost to Henman. Wait, that doesn't make much sense, doesn't it? Why defeating Sampras and losing to Henman in 4 sets?
It wasn't the same Sampras, but it wasn't the same Federer either. But he wasn't a slouch either, Fed was #15. And won 7-5 in the 5th set.

Fed didn't face much grass competition, compared to Sampras'. But that doesn't take any credit waway for the Wimbys he has won!

Andres
07-09-2007, 04:46 PM
kraijeck, ivanisevic et al were less likely to win slams but more likely to beat you due to their style of play, they had a 50% chance of winning against you, no matter who you were, so the chances of them doing it 7 matches ina row were very very slim, but the chances of them beating you were very very high relatively speaking,as nne of today's top ten have any chance of beating fed or nadal.
Goran made it to the finals 4 times. He won 6 matches in a row 4 times at Wimbledon. It wasn't that unlikely ;)

anointedone
07-09-2007, 04:47 PM
But he wasn't a slouch either, Fed was #15.

For a player like Federer being #15 means they are pretty much in the nothing phase of their career. For players like that, they are beyond being a slouch compared to their prime level to be ranked that low. You cant even talk about matches during that time and be serious really.

superman1
07-09-2007, 04:50 PM
Federer was playing amazing tennis that day. It doesn't matter what his ranking was or how old he was, the fact is that he was just ripping the ball from both sides.

Sampras certainly wasn't playing as well as I've seen him, mainly because his athleticism had dipped by then. I couldn't believe it when he flubbed those overheads.

The Gorilla
07-09-2007, 04:51 PM
Goran made it to the finals 4 times. He won 6 matches in a row 4 times at Wimbledon. It wasn't that unlikely ;)

they were just notable examples of a generic type of tursunov like player, many people who played risky power tennis were floating around the top 20 back then, I'm just saying sampras had to deal with these people.

federerGOAT
07-09-2007, 05:02 PM
It doesn't matter if Fed is having it easier than Sampras or not. Fed is a better all-round player and would bagel Sampras. Fed just proved yesterday that his clutch serving is equal to Sampras's.

Forehand, backhand, volley, serve, you name it. Federer beats Sampras in all those departments.

Dark Victory
07-09-2007, 08:58 PM
The thing with the grass in the 90s(or 80s) is that you could just be aced off the court, no matter how well you play. Sampras played great against Krajicek in '96, but with that surface & with Krajicek serving like that, no one would have had a chance(even Fed), its simply out of your hands. You can't just look to control the point with the forehand after someone floats back the return(which is how 90% of all tennis is played these days), you may not get the chance to hit that many of them.
or when Connors & Mac got destroyed by Curren one year, he would have had no shot vs them on any other surface. Which is why so many complained about the surface those years, the better player didn't always win.

I was just watching Courier vs Stich, '91 Wimbledon. Anytime either player stayed back for more than 3 shots, they would get a bad bounce, every time.

That's why its really hard to compare how anyone today would fare back then, even a fast indoor surface can't be compared, since bad bounces don't exist on any court today. No wonder the baseline game has evolved to another level.

Federer is an amazing hardcourt player he would have been great in any era on hardcourt(which Wimbledon has basically been since '02). But on the fast grass of the 80s/90s, I'm not sure. He may have been a better player than Goran, Krajicek, etc, but on a 'no bouncing' surface like that would it really matter? Goran served over 200 aces twice at Wimbledon, I know Fed is on another level but it would be tough. Don't forget what lefties can do in that ad court(which everyone was noticing yesterday)
And Roddick, as great a server he is, serves all his 2nd serves to the same spot always. Sampras, Goran, Krajicek, Stich did not.
Agreed.

Nobody is saying that guys like Goran and Richard Krajicek are better than Federer. They're not. It's just that their particular playing styles match-up well against anyone and that on any given day, when they're playing well and on a very fast surface, they can literally serve you off the court.

anointedone
07-09-2007, 09:03 PM
Agreed.

Nobody is saying that guys like Goran and Richard Krajicek are better than Federer. They're not. It's just that their particular playing styles match-up well against anyone and that on any given day, when they're playing well and on a very fast surface, they can literally serve you off the court.

If Goran was playing well vs Federer at Wimbledon he would just choke or be outnerved like he did in the 92 Wimbledon final vs Agassi at the key moments, like he did in the 95 Wimbledon semis vs Sampras at the key moments, and like he did vs Sampras in the 98 Wimbledon final at the key moments. His only wins ever over a Sampras, Agassi, or Becker at Wimbledon were vs a still green Sampras in 92, and a diminished Becker in 94. So there is no reason to think he would ever beaten a champion like Federer in his prime at Wimbledon. He probably would have gotten close in a match or two, and would not have been tough enough by comparision to a more real champion with a real champions mindset, as shown anytime he played those other real champions. The best players other then that Ivanisevic beat at Wimbledon were 5 set wins over Krajicek once, and Rafter once.

Krajicek on the other hand maybe. Atleast he didnt choke when he had the chance to beat Sampras in 96, and the chance to win the title vs a much inferior opponent in the final like Washington, the way Goran would have.

garbage
07-09-2007, 09:17 PM
Had the 2003 final been played on "90's grass", would the poo have won?

anointedone
07-09-2007, 09:27 PM
Had the 2003 final been played on "90's grass", would the poo have won?

When pigs fly.