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View Full Version : forget who the best was, who has done the most for tennis?


randomname
04-08-2008, 09:24 PM
my vote goes for billie jean king, she single handedly legitimized women's tennis, created the WTT format and leage and founded the tennis on campus program. and no, the guy who invented tennis doesnt count

LttlElvis
04-08-2008, 09:36 PM
Jimmy Connors for men. He changed the sport to a more aggressive style. No longer a country club sport. Popularized the 2 handed backhand for men.

BJK for women.

hyogen
04-08-2008, 09:59 PM
Agassi for men. he continues to contribute to the community of the underprivileged in las vegas in his college prep school and donates his time to help kids get motivated to play tennis there. there probably is no bigger name that will be remembered throughout the ages for his tennis, his comeback, his endorsements, his hair, etc...

if you think Federer has done more.......do you think more kids are motivated to play tennis because of his recent dominance the past few years? Many more of us will remember being drawn to the sport of tennis by Agassi's flashy/rebellious ways :D He was always such an incredible showman, entertainer, and fan's man. This can't be said at all about Federer, Sampras, or Nadal. <3

EDIT: i would have no idea about these old timers. i grew up in the 80s/90s

racquetfreak
04-09-2008, 05:17 AM
BJK - hands down has had the greatest impact regardless of gender. Others were great, and perhaps more entertaining, but none had a more positive, wide sweeping impact on all aspects of the sport of tennis.

kairosntx
04-09-2008, 05:39 AM
Jo11yRoger
YULitle
FuzzyYellowBalls

Tshooter
04-09-2008, 09:35 PM
As far as US tennis, King and Connors, agree.

classic tennis
04-10-2008, 03:14 AM
It has to be Jack Kramer IMO, he blazed a trail for the Pro game, formed the players association....etc.....etc

North
04-10-2008, 04:21 AM
Billie Jean King. Her match with Bobby Riggs not only helped open up sports in general for women more but helped popularize tennis for a lot more people.

andreh
04-10-2008, 04:55 AM
Borg definetly helped to popularize the game by becomming the first tennis "star". Someone who had a rockstar like quality with girls screaming for him, fans chasing autographs etc etc.

Borg was the first player who was really famous outside tennis circles.

slice bh compliment
04-10-2008, 05:04 AM
Jack Kramer did a lot to start men's international pro tennis. OF course he made his millions there, too.

Arthur Ashe: citizen of the world. A great and humble champion.

Kenny Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Rod Laver, Pancho Gonzales and Ilie Nastase. These are players people still talk about...even non-tennis fans.

Yannick Noah. Charity. Love for the game. Cool factor at an all-time high. More than tennis. Ditto for Guga Kuerten.

Ion Tiriac: Kind of a Jack Kramer, only later, and in East and Central Europe. Very profit-minded, but has supported tennis and run/sponsored tournaments along the way.

BJK, of course, for womens tennis.

Johnny Mac, Borg, Jimmy...for tennis' heyday. Thanks for everything.

As commentators in the US during my years as a young tennis player and fan: Bud Collins (and for being the games historian), Fred Stolle, Tony Trabert.....Cliff Drysdale.

On the instructional side: Peter Burwash, Vic Braden, Dennis Van Der Meer, Ron Holmberg, Nicky B., and of course, your friendly neighborhood tennis pros.

Equipment: Warren Bosworth.

Scoring: James Van Alen.

The suits:
Hamilton Jordan, Lamar Hunt, Donald Dell, Mark McCormack.

AndrewD
04-10-2008, 05:33 AM
Slice,

As an American I'm surprised you didn't include Bill Talbert and Perry Jones.

urban
04-10-2008, 05:41 AM
Lacoste. The Crocodile. Best tennis brain ever. Player, thinker, inventor, businessman. Outthought Tilden, invented the ball machine, made chic clothes. Had the best logo.

WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis
04-10-2008, 06:01 AM
The first person I thought of was Billie Jean King.

TennezSport
04-10-2008, 06:04 AM
Billy Jean and Arthur Ashe hands down.

TennezSport :cool:

k_liu
04-10-2008, 06:07 AM
For the sport: Billy Jean and Arthur Ashe hands down.

For the sport and charity: Andre Agassi

vive le beau jeu !
04-10-2008, 06:59 AM
forget who the best was, who has done the most for tennis?
de villiers.


but i'm not joking, he has done for tennis... ok, done bad... but done ! :rolleyes:

miniRafa386
04-10-2008, 07:07 AM
agassi or j-mac

vandre
04-10-2008, 07:22 AM
i dunno about all time, but in the course of my lifetime, i'd say agassi. i grew up in a town or 14,000 with eight courts (prolly the only 8 courts in the county) and when agassi broke onto the scene, they were full of kids my age (12-18 ). in my high school, all of the guys who played tennis played because of agassi.

recently, i would say that skraggle & samster's exibition matches are doing much to build a groundswell of support for the game and are winning the hearts and minds of new fans for tennis!

junbumkim
04-10-2008, 07:37 AM
I think John Mac and Jimmy Conners (or Borg) Rivarly really spiked interest in tennis in early days.

But I would say Agassi really changed the way sponsors look at tennis and raised public interest in tennis.

slice bh compliment
04-10-2008, 06:12 PM
Slice,

As an American I'm surprised you didn't include Bill Talbert and Perry Jones.

Duly noted, AndrewD, thank you.
As an Aussie, anyone to add?

One of the game's legendary coaches, Harry Hopman!!

superman1
04-10-2008, 07:20 PM
Gotta add another vote for Agassi here, since the pretentious snobs on this forum section won't mention him. Also Borg and Connors.

AndrewD
04-10-2008, 09:35 PM
Slice,

I think that Harry Hopman's contribution is an interesting one. While he was significant as a player, an administrator, a reporter and as our Davis Cup captain (not a coach per se, more of a motivator, an eagle-eye for talent and a politician - Bollettieri operates in a similar fashion but, in my opinion, has contributed far more as a coach) he has actually transcended all of those roles. However, what did he contribute?

If anything, you could say that he provided the means by which the greatest generation of tennis players our sport has ever seen (forget Sampras, Agassi, Courier and Chang, I'm talking Sedgman, McGregor, Hoad, Rosewall, Rose, Fraser, Emerson, Stolle, Newcombe, Roche, Court, etc, etc, etc. Not just one or two years but a true generational conveyor belt of talent like we've never seen before or since) could develop and bring their games to the world stage. Then, of course, he has transcended that role to become synonymous with the Davis Cup.

I'd also like to put in a vote for Tony Trabert. In my opinion, he's the greatest player to never be fully acknowledged - in particular in his own country. As a player, politician, Davis Cup coach and broadcaster he's done an enormous amount for the game of tennis internationally and in the United States (not forgetting that he served in WWII). In my opinion, among the American men, he's on a par with Kramer and Ashe for the contribution he's made to the game.

AndrewTas
04-10-2008, 10:32 PM
I agree with AndrewD that Hopman and Trabert contributed quite a lot to tennis. The ITF acknowledged this in 2005 when they awarded Trabert with their Phillipe Chatrier Award which is given to Contributions to the Game of Tennis.

Others to be awarded the award are:
1996 Edberg
1997 Evert
1998 Laver
1999 Pietrangeli
2002 Kramer
2003 BJ King
2004 Noah
2006 Margaret Court
2007 McEnroe

I like to mention Herman David, the chairman of the All England Club in the 1960's and Derek Hardwick on the LTA of England who forced the hand of the ILTF in 1968 and finally got the open era started by making Wimbledon open. Without them, and no open tennis, Gladys Heldman would not have been able to start the Virginia Slims circuit with BJ King crusading for more money or the circuit we have now would not have occurred.

urban
04-11-2008, 12:21 AM
Yes, the 1967 Wimbledon pro, which was organized by Herman David, was instrumental in bringing up open tennis. Wimbledon threatened the reluctant ITF to go alone through with open tennis in 1968. Its interesting, that in 1960 a vote for open tennis on an ILTF meeting at Paris, didn't come together, because a handful of delegates was out in town and didn't attend the voting. For pure star quality, one has to mention Suzanne Lenglen (despite the nose). There was never a bigger star in tennis.

classic tennis
04-11-2008, 02:16 AM
Jack Kramer did a lot to start men's international pro tennis. OF course he made his millions there, too.

Arthur Ashe: citizen of the world. A great and humble champion.

Kenny Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Rod Laver, Pancho Gonzales and Ilie Nastase. These are players people still talk about...even non-tennis fans.

Yannick Noah. Charity. Love for the game. Cool factor at an all-time high. More than tennis. Ditto for Guga Kuerten.

Ion Tiriac: Kind of a Jack Kramer, only later, and in East and Central Europe. Very profit-minded, but has supported tennis and run/sponsored tournaments along the way.

BJK, of course, for womens tennis.

Johnny Mac, Borg, Jimmy...for tennis' heyday. Thanks for everything.

As commentators in the US during my years as a young tennis player and fan: Bud Collins (and for being the games historian), Fred Stolle, Tony Trabert.....Cliff Drysdale.

On the instructional side: Peter Burwash, Vic Braden, Dennis Van Der Meer, Ron Holmberg, Nicky B., and of course, your friendly neighborhood tennis pros.

Equipment: Warren Bosworth.

Scoring: James Van Alen.

The suits:
Hamilton Jordan, Lamar Hunt, Donald Dell, Mark McCormack.

Yep well done I would like to add on equipment, Howard Head who changed for better or worse the way the game is played today.

hyogen
04-11-2008, 07:20 AM
i dunno about all time, but in the course of my lifetime, i'd say agassi. i grew up in a town or 14,000 with eight courts (prolly the only 8 courts in the county) and when agassi broke onto the scene, they were full of kids my age (12-18 ). in my high school, all of the guys who played tennis played because of agassi.

recently, i would say that skraggle & samster's exibition matches are doing much to build a groundswell of support for the game and are winning the hearts and minds of new fans for tennis!

my sentiments exactly :D

CGMemphis
04-11-2008, 07:59 AM
Slice,

I think that Harry Hopman's contribution is an interesting one. While he was significant as a player, an administrator, a reporter and as our Davis Cup captain (not a coach per se, more of a motivator, an eagle-eye for talent and a politician - Bollettieri operates in a similar fashion but, in my opinion, has contributed far more as a coach) he has actually transcended all of those roles. However, what did he contribute?

If anything, you could say that he provided the means by which the greatest generation of tennis players our sport has ever seen (forget Sampras, Agassi, Courier and Chang, I'm talking Sedgman, McGregor, Hoad, Rosewall, Rose, Fraser, Emerson, Stolle, Newcombe, Roche, Court, etc, etc, etc. Not just one or two years but a true generational conveyor belt of talent like we've never seen before or since) could develop and bring their games to the world stage. Then, of course, he has transcended that role to become synonymous with the Davis Cup.

I'd also like to put in a vote for Tony Trabert. In my opinion, he's the greatest player to never be fully acknowledged - in particular in his own country. As a player, politician, Davis Cup coach and broadcaster he's done an enormous amount for the game of tennis internationally and in the United States (not forgetting that he served in WWII). In my opinion, among the American men, he's on a par with Kramer and Ashe for the contribution he's made to the game.

Great post.

In my opinion this would be in light of what they did for the game itself, within itself.

I cannot find any other tennis player, American or worldwide that has brought the game to the public any better than Andre Agassi. Billie Jean King brought equality, and thats no laughing matter. It brought media attention to the game, so she is deserved her credit. Andre brought the public to the game.

He was and is the Air Jordan of tennis. He had not only a serious career, he impacted the average kid to play tennis regardless of social/economical/geographical boundaries.

Agassi philanthropic and charitable contribution to society are by absolutely incredible. One read of the recent interview in Tennis Magazine and you will see his mindset of not only being grateful for what tennis has afforded him but in turn using that return that to the community.

If you read his farewell speech, those words and his ovation are far beyond just being a good player. I cannot forsee any current pro retiring publicly with such gratitude:

"The scoreboard said I lost today, but what the scoreboard doesn't say is what it is I have found.

"And over the last 21 years, I have found loyalty. You have pulled for me on the court and also in life. I've found inspiration. You have willed me to succeed sometimes even in my lowest moments.

"And I've found generosity. You have given me your shoulders to stand on to reach for my dreams, dreams I could have never reached without you.

"Over the last 21 years, I have found you. And I will take you and the memory of you with me for the rest of my life.

"Thank you."

hyogen
04-11-2008, 08:04 AM
Great post.

In my opinion this would be in light of what they did for the game itself, within itself.

I cannot find any other tennis player, American or worldwide that has brought the game to the public any better than Andre Agassi. Billie Jean King brought equality, and thats no laughing matter. It brought media attention to the game, so she is deserved her credit. Andre brought the public to the game.

He was and is the Air Jordan of tennis. He had not only a serious career, he impacted the average kid to play tennis regardless of social/economical/geographical boundaries.

Agassi philanthropic and charitable contribution to society are by absolutely incredible. One read of the recent interview in Tennis Magazine and you will see his mindset of not only being grateful for what tennis has afforded him but in turn using that return that to the community.

If you read his farewell speech, those words and his ovation are far beyond just being a good player. I cannot forsee any current pro retiring publicly with such gratitude:

"The scoreboard said I lost today, but what the scoreboard doesn't say is what it is I have found.

"And over the last 21 years, I have found loyalty. You have pulled for me on the court and also in life. I've found inspiration. You have willed me to succeed sometimes even in my lowest moments.

"And I've found generosity. You have given me your shoulders to stand on to reach for my dreams, dreams I could have never reached without you.

"Over the last 21 years, I have found you. And I will take you and the memory of you with me for the rest of my life.

"Thank you."

GAH.. can't choke up like this while i'm at work T_T

CyBorg
04-11-2008, 08:50 AM
Billie Jean King. Her match with Bobby Riggs not only helped open up sports in general for women more but helped popularize tennis for a lot more people.

Fail. This sham of a match is the biggest stain on tennis in memory.

Good things did come for women's game, but not because Billie Jean beat an overweight Riggs.

peluzon
04-11-2008, 08:56 AM
Marcelo Rios for Latinoamericans ,, after him there was a lot of good players ..... Guga, Nalbandian, Gonzalez , Massu, etc etc etc

Lendl and Federer Fan
04-11-2008, 07:24 PM
Lendl, he changed modern tennis for good.

Ivan Lendl
The Father Of Modern Tennis
http://www.1stserve.com/legacy.asp

hoodjem
04-12-2008, 06:06 AM
I think we should change this thread to "Who Do You Blame for the Current Sad State of Tennis?" (i.e. brainless bland baseline bashers)

And I would list Lendl at the very top. Remember the title of his book Power Tennis.

suwanee4712
04-14-2008, 07:00 AM
Jack Kramer did a lot to start men's international pro tennis. OF course he made his millions there, too.

Arthur Ashe: citizen of the world. A great and humble champion.

Kenny Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Rod Laver, Pancho Gonzales and Ilie Nastase. These are players people still talk about...even non-tennis fans.

Yannick Noah. Charity. Love for the game. Cool factor at an all-time high. More than tennis. Ditto for Guga Kuerten.

Ion Tiriac: Kind of a Jack Kramer, only later, and in East and Central Europe. Very profit-minded, but has supported tennis and run/sponsored tournaments along the way.

BJK, of course, for womens tennis.

Johnny Mac, Borg, Jimmy...for tennis' heyday. Thanks for everything.

As commentators in the US during my years as a young tennis player and fan: Bud Collins (and for being the games historian), Fred Stolle, Tony Trabert.....Cliff Drysdale.

On the instructional side: Peter Burwash, Vic Braden, Dennis Van Der Meer, Ron Holmberg, Nicky B., and of course, your friendly neighborhood tennis pros.

Equipment: Warren Bosworth.

Scoring: James Van Alen.

The suits:
Hamilton Jordan, Lamar Hunt, Donald Dell, Mark McCormack.


Great list! That's pretty comprehensive. If I had to narrow it down to two I would go with BJK and Ashe. They each gave so much of themselves that they may have even hurt their own careers at one time or another. But both inspired people in a way that put tennis in a positive light and also transcended tennis itself.

Martina certainly put herself out there. And she and Chris served long periods of time as the president of the WTA even during their playing days.

Pam Shriver is certainly a player that did an awful lot off the court. When other players shrugged off WTA assignments, sponsor parties, workshops, etc. Pam was there to pick up the slack.

Lendl and Federer Fan
04-14-2008, 03:47 PM
I think we should change this thread to "Who Do You Blame for the Current Sad State of Tennis?" (i.e. brainless bland baseline bashers)

And I would list Lendl at the very top. Remember the title of his book Power Tennis.


You sounded like someone blames his/her problem on other people. Are you a SV, if not, don't blame others for stucking on the baseline.

AndrewD
04-15-2008, 02:54 PM
I cannot find any other tennis player, American or worldwide that has brought the game to the public any better than Andre Agassi.

That is, perhaps, speaking as an American.

Speaking as an Australian, I would say that there has been a long line of players who have been better ambassadors for the game than Agassi, more willing representatives of their country and who didn't suffered the same number of 'blips' along the way. In my country that would include people like Harry Hopman, Frank Sedgman, Evonne Goolagong, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Roy Emerson, Jack Crawford, etc, etc. If I were South American I would probably say Vilas or Sabatini. The French might suggest Noah, Suzanne Lenglen or any of the '4 Muskateers' and the list goes on.

Nickognito
04-15-2008, 03:48 PM
Tilden and Kramer

rosenstar
04-15-2008, 04:18 PM
Agassi is mostly responsible for the way today's game is played. He was really the first to hit the ball hard off both wings and take it early. Before him, no one could hit the ball that accurately, that hard, and that early.

He also greatly contributed to the racquets of today. He was one of the first players to use an oversized racquet. His choice to do so has had a great impact on how racquets have been produced marketed.

Andre Aggasi created the game of today. He is (for the most part) a mold for almost all players in today's game.

drakulie
04-15-2008, 04:41 PM
Ashe, BJK, Kramer, Agassi........

Oh, and richard Williams (according to him). :)

Lendl and Federer Fan
04-15-2008, 07:07 PM
Oh, and richard Williams (according to him). :)

LOL.......

daddy
04-15-2008, 07:30 PM
I think we should change this thread to "Who Do You Blame for the Current Sad State of Tennis?" (i.e. brainless bland baseline bashers)

And I would list Lendl at the very top. Remember the title of his book Power Tennis.

Lendl just implemented the hard work part into the tennis, not to say others have not been working hard. But his ways really proved that had work pays off. he did not make the biggest contribution but surely had many things to di with the development of tennis to todays standards which are not sad by any means. Or if you think otherwise, go beat a pro allrounder baseline basher and get back here to post.

jean pierre
04-16-2008, 04:56 AM
Guillermo vilas ! He worked so hard to win big tournaments. It's an exemple.

slice bh compliment
04-16-2008, 05:11 AM
Christian Bimes. Francesco Ricci Bitti. For their contribution to the ''suits with fun names to say'' category.

Roland Garros for crossing the Mediterranean Sea....and for being the name of a Slam.

Ted Tinling for designing the clothes of a [ahem] unique time in women's sports.

Phillippe Chatrier. Another good suit with fun name.

Alan Mills and Brian Early for looking concerned while at the same time appearing knowledgeable about the weather.

Yuri Sharapova for adding an off the charts, never before seen level of contrivedness to the game.

Clan Djokovic for taking it up a notch.

John Barrett for his commentary. Dan Maskell, too.

Melchior Di Giacomo and Russ Adams, photography.

Peter Bodo for .... the cheese factor ... and doing a little something for the low-end tennis head.

Richard Evans for his writing. Steve Flink, too.

Seena Hamilton for her tournament directing at the top of the jr level.

Lendl and Federer Fan
04-16-2008, 06:19 PM
Ivan Lendl
The Father Of Modern Tennis

The first time I heard the name Ivan Lendl was in 1979, during the US Open, my favorite tennis hero of the time, Bjorn Borg was being interviewed after an early round win, the announcer asked him who he thought is a new up and coming star that we should be looking out for, without hesitation, the tennis God of the time said, "Ivan Lendl, he's very good and will get even better". That year Ivan lost in the 2nd round to the hard serving Roscoe Tanner in straight sets. I Wonder if Bjorn knew the extent that Ivan would later dominate the tournament that he tried so hard to win and never did. No other player in the Open era has dominated the US Open like Ivan Lendl. An American born on the wrong continent at the wrong time, he not only adopted a new country, but another style of play, a love for the hard courts that was throughout his career his favorite surface to implement the utter destruction of his opponents.

By now you must be wondering why I have the audacity to call Ivan Lendl he father of modern tennis, after all he was according to Sports Illustrated the original champion that no one cared about, the cold, hard, machine, that planned the bludgeoning of his foes without mercy and without flair. He was despised by all, the media, the fans and even his fellow players. For years, it seemed the only four people that liked Ivan Lendl was his mother Olga, his father Jiri, his mentor\coach Wojtek Fibak and me, John Figaro. One of the great days in tennis history is the famed "Super Saturday" at the US Open, where the men's semis and women's finals went the distance, featuring captivating, dramatic and high quality tennis by all 6 competitors. The seasoned tennis fan will remember Ivan's heroic topspin lob over Pat Cash's head to save a match point and eventually securing a berth in the finals, but what I remember most was the crowd yelling "Ivan go home", booing when he wins a point, aggressively applauding his errors and attempting to distract him during his service toss, - no it wasn't just the NY crowd, Europeans showed their true colors also, during the famous 1988 Italian Open final with Argentinean clay court specialist Guillermo Perez-Roldan, Ivan was totally frustrated, he took out some of his anger on the umpire and lines people and even responded to the crowd who booing and heckling him with great fervor. The pesky and speedy Roldan was taking full advantage of the situation, but like he usually did, (over 1,200 times), Ivan won 6-2,4-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

So why is he the father of modern tennis? Prior to the rise and domination of Ivan Lendl, professional tennis was ruled by 2 styles, players could either be classified as Borgians (High loopy, heavy topspin, from the baseline, very defensive, waiting for the opponent to make a mistake) McEnroeseque (serve and volleyers with weak ground strokes, who rushed the net at every opportunity), then came Ivan, he brought massive power from the baseline to the game. No longer where baseliners defensive players, he attacked and took control of the outcome of the point, instead of waiting for an error.

The modern tennis game is based on the following strategy:

Big inside out forehand

Big serve

Total fitness

Speed afoot

Strong physique

Thorough preparation

Crush or be crushed

Ivan was the first champion to use and master the inside out forehand from the ad-side of the court, crushing weak replies for winners.

His forehand game was setup by his serve, during his domination, no one had a bigger, more consistent and accurate serve than Ivan Lendl. He used his powerful serve to dictate right from the beginning, and his forehand to close the point out.

Ivan was the first champion to take advantage of scientific advances in training routines. He lifted weights, did aerobics and cross- training. At his prime, no other tennis player was in better shape.

He may not have been the fastest, but his off court work and his anticipation, made it seem like there was no ball he could not reach.

At 6'2" 175lbs, he was the prototype of the modern tennis player, he was not going to pushed around.

He kept a little book consisting of notes on every player on the tour, tips on how to play them and most important, tips on how to beat them, he left nothing to chance, when he stepped on the court, the actual playing became the easiest part of the equation.
"If I don't practice the way I should, then I won't play the way that I know I can."
Ivan Lendl

Bjorn Borg never had an easy match, his style of play did not allow him to take the initiative, with Ivan the approach was, if you're not going to hit it, I will, as a matter of fact, I'm going to hit it no matter what you do.

Look at the men's a game, and to some extent, the women's game, what you will see are players, using the above formula perfected by Ivan Lendl to earn millions of dollars and entertain fans all over the world.

Next time you see Pete Sampras (whom Lendl took under his wing and spent time observing and learning how to be a champion at Ivan's home) hit his famous patented running cross-court monster forehand, think of Ivan he did it first and intimidated anyone standing across the net. - Approach with caution!

Next time you hear how fit Jim Courier & Thomas Muster used to be (two players whom Lendl has a 9-1 record against) keep in mind that they were following the example of the innovator of tennis fitness. Let's not forget Andre Agassi, whom Lendl called "A forehand and a haircut" during Andre's coming out year, he is now number one and the fittest tennis player on the planet but he too is following in the footstep of Ivan Lendl. To be a champion, one must work harder than work itself.

Next time you see players changing racquets during ball changes, next time you see racquets being delivered in plastic bags, next time you hear of players having their own personal stringers, next time you hear how precise each racquet is customized, think of Ivan Lendl, he started the whole thing, which at the time fed the fuel of him being called a machine, but instead he was well on his way to being the first true professional tennis player the world had ever seen.

No, he was not the most talented, but through hard work, he achieved a thousand times more than other gifted mortals. His tennis achievements when put together in a package has not been equaled by any other tennis player.

He was not appreciated, he did not get his full merit, he did not get the love and respect that he deserved. We all remember Jimmy Connors's run at the 91 US open, Ivan's effort the following year was just as impressive if not more, in the 2nd round Lendl's victim was none other than Jimbo who quickly sniped "It's not the Ivan Lendl that I remember, he does not hit the ball hard any more, he just bunts it". If not for a rain delay the night before, Stefan Edberg would not have won the tournament, after jumping to a 2 set lead and a break, Ivan came roaring back and was leading until play was suspended. The next day, Ivan came to within a half inch to go up 5-3 in the 5th set, but Edberg broke back and went on to win the match in a 5th set tiebreak, 6-3,6-3,3-6,5-7,7-6, one of the best matches I have ever seen.

He gave the world many 5 set thrillers, like his first Grand Slam final in 1981 at the French Open against Bjorn Borg, a match that most tennis fans seem to have forgotten. By 1984 even though he had already had two Masters (Tour championships) under his belt, the media gave him the choke label, he can't win the big one they said. He had reached 4 Grand slam finals and came up empty each time, a closer look at his opponents at those finals would reveal four of the greatest names in the history of the sport, Bjorn Borg once, Mats Willander once, and Connors twice, who won his first three grand slam finals. I think Ivan would have beaten Phil Dent and the well beyond his prime Ken Rosewall (twice) with the same ease.

He could not play on grass they said, but he managed to win 89 matches on that surface, including 3 grand slam finals and two championships in consecutive years (89,90) at the Queen's Club event before Wimbledon. In 1990 en route to his victory there he beat John McEnroe and Boris Becker in the semis and finals respectively. The one aspect that always impressed me with Lendl was the fact that he served and volleyed on both first and second serves at Wimbledon all the time, he changed from a power baseliner to a serve and volleyer, could McEnroe have reached 5 semifinals and 2 two finals at the French by staying back on both 1st and second serves all the time, I doubt it, as a matter of fact he only managed one semi and one final at the French playing his normal aggressive style. Andre Agassi proved that one does not have to serve and volley to win at Wimbledon, perhaps if Ivan had maintained his regular game and not been so obsessed with winning the number one trophy in tennis, the question of who was the greatest would have been laid to rest a long time ago.

Lendl and Federer Fan
04-16-2008, 06:19 PM
Here's another example of the establishment, history and his opponent not giving Lendl any respect, if you look at any tennis encyclopedia or listen to any McEnroe broadcast, you will hear how "he got tired in 1984 and lost the French", but in reality, Lendl won that match on pure guts, determination, skill and power. The eventual score does not resemble someone who ran out of gas, it is more like a player who's tactics and nerve caught up with him and tried as hard as he could to weather the storm, but could not fight the fury. Score 3-6,2-6,6-4,7-5,7-5 Lendl

McEnroe, Connors and borg are part of the greatest rivalries of all time, but one name is missing, you guessed it, the greatest rivalry of all-time in the open era is not McEnroe-Borg, but McEnroe-Lendl, but it sounds more glamorous for McEnroe to dismiss Lendl. The numbers don't lie, Ivan deserves his proper due, yes he will be inducted in the tennis Hall OF Fame, unlike Borg, I'm sure he will show up and accept his well deserve day of coronation.

Ivan reached 19 grand slam signals finals, more than any other male player in the open era, he won 8 of them, but a closer look will reveal the fact that he lost 10 of those finals to 5 of the greatest champions in the open era, Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Willander and Becker. Pete Sampras, the greatest tennis player the game has seen so far, has a total of 12 grand slams, 7 of them were against players who not only were never number one, but players who never won a single grand slam tournament, of the remaining 5, three of them were against Andre Agassi. How many slams would Ivan have won if he had faced players of that caliber? Of the 19 Grand Slam finals, Ivan faced, players who were multiple slam winners and former number ones, 15 times.

The US Open committee may never give him a day of his own, but as a true fan of the man's effort on the tennis court, I will not let his legacy die. Ivan Lendl was the best of his generation, his contributions to the game are innumerable. He is truly a champion of champions.

xnarek
04-16-2008, 06:35 PM
I hate how people hit so hard this days, but then again, i wonder if i will get used to that when im older?

CEvertFan
04-16-2008, 07:25 PM
Here's another example of the establishment, history and his opponent not giving Lendl any respect, if you look at any tennis encyclopedia or listen to any McEnroe broadcast, you will hear how "he got tired in 1984 and lost the French", but in reality, Lendl won that match on pure guts, determination, skill and power. The eventual score does not resemble someone who ran out of gas, it is more like a player who's tactics and nerve caught up with him and tried as hard as he could to weather the storm, but could not fight the fury. Score 3-6,2-6,6-4,7-5,7-5 Lendl

McEnroe, Connors and borg are part of the greatest rivalries of all time, but one name is missing, you guessed it, the greatest rivalry of all-time in the open era is not McEnroe-Borg, but McEnroe-Lendl, but it sounds more glamorous for McEnroe to dismiss Lendl. The numbers don't lie, Ivan deserves his proper due, yes he will be inducted in the tennis Hall OF Fame, unlike Borg, I'm sure he will show up and accept his well deserve day of coronation.

Ivan reached 19 grand slam signals finals, more than any other male player in the open era, he won 8 of them, but a closer look will reveal the fact that he lost 10 of those finals to 5 of the greatest champions in the open era, Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Willander and Becker. Pete Sampras, the greatest tennis player the game has seen so far, has a total of 12 grand slams, 7 of them were against players who not only were never number one, but players who never won a single grand slam tournament, of the remaining 5, three of them were against Andre Agassi. How many slams would Ivan have won if he had faced players of that caliber? Of the 19 Grand Slam finals, Ivan faced, players who were multiple slam winners and former number ones, 15 times.

The US Open committee may never give him a day of his own, but as a true fan of the man's effort on the tennis court, I will not let his legacy die. Ivan Lendl was the best of his generation, his contributions to the game are innumerable. He is truly a champion of champions.

Sampras has 14 Slam titles, not 12.

And I agree with you about Lendl. He is one of my all time favorite players.

Regarding who has done the most for tennis, I would have to say Billie Jean King. There wouldn't have been a women's tour without her tireless efforts. Billie Jean also said that Evert came along at just the right time and generated massive interest in women's tennis and she was just what the fledgling women's tour needed. Billie Jean knew a star when she saw one.

anointedone
04-16-2008, 07:35 PM
I agree on King. Even while King is easily one of the top 8 women players all time her tennis greatness is almost dwarfed by her other contributions to the game.

I also agree Evert deserves alot of credit for help ushering in this new era of womens tennis. She was not only an exceptionaly talented young tennis player with great mental toughness, but she was very attractive, marketable, popular, had that intangible "star" quality which you either have or you dont, all which were essential for the new face of the womens game as Court and King were fading out of their primes to draw in the much needed viewers and interest.

slice bh compliment
04-17-2008, 04:30 AM
LendlFedererfan, man, you said more about Lendl than Lendl could! WOW!

Of ourse he did a lot for tennis, but he did it quietly and led by example. THis is a very different form of contribution to the greater good...than the more traditionally loved / lauded / revered characters like Ashe.

Lendl had a similar legacy to Graf. Ashe had more in common with say, BJK.

I was not a Lendl fan really, but I have nothing but respect for his game, his work ethic and his will power. Good sense of humor, too.

BTW, a lot of people do not know this (especialy people who've read Spadea's book), but he'd help kids out at the clubs he bought in the Westchester County and SW CT area. He'd also sometimes bring young players to hit at the court at his house in Goshen.

Not a bad guy. BUt, to be honest, in the end, I'd place him somewhere other than the top of this thread's list.

TennezSport
04-17-2008, 08:12 AM
L&FF,

Very well said sir! I totally agree with everything you stated. Lendl was never appreciated for what he did for tennis, but you can count me in as one of his biggest fans. Both he and Martina Navratilova completely changed the game for the better.

Cheers, TennezSport :cool:

Lendl and Federer Fan
04-18-2008, 11:40 AM
Glad some of you agreed. Still not everyone is convinced Lendl has done more for tennis than anyone in the modern era; I guess people in general are influenced by those have more exposes on TV.

sunflowerhx
04-18-2008, 02:20 PM
In terms of the technical development of the men's game then I agree about Lendl's impact.

But in terms of commercial and promotion of the game it has to be Agassi.
As Pat Cash said on many occasion "Agassi saved men's tennis".

Also Michael Chang success and subsequent impact on Asian tennis cannot be under estimated.

superman1
04-18-2008, 05:07 PM
But in terms of commercial and promotion of the game it has to be Agassi.
As Pat Cash said on many occasion "Agassi saved men's tennis".


Without Agassi, there would be a LOT of people out there who wouldn't give a crap about tennis. If it was just Sampras in the 90's, tennis would be in even worse shape than it is in now. New Yorkers are only now realizing that tennis kinda sucks without Agassi.

slice bh compliment
04-18-2008, 05:51 PM
What sucks about post-Agassi tennis?

I love tennis, whether it's a Vegas showman with a mullett or a balding 35 year-old...or an effete Swiss guy or a kid who looks like Mowgli....whether it's Dustin Diamond/Djokovic or a pasty Irish kid with an afro....or a no-name 15 year-old from Newcombe's.

lambielspins
04-18-2008, 08:55 PM
Superman is right here I think. Agassi wasnt just a great tennis player. He was a star. He had a force of personality and charisma that drew you in. You cant teach that, you either have it or you dont. Sampras for all his greatness didnt ever have it. Federer doesnt really quite have it either. He may do commercials with Tiger Woods but while being even more dominant in his sport the past few years certainly doesnt make fans flock to their TV sets the way Tiger does.

chaognosis
04-18-2008, 09:08 PM
Probably the Renshaws and Dohertys. Especially the latter.

cghipp
04-18-2008, 09:15 PM
In the past 20 years, I'd say Agassi for getting kids excited about tennis.

35ft6
04-19-2008, 12:18 AM
Not a tennis historian, but Agassi, Billie Jean King, McEnroe, Kournikova, and the Williams sisters.

superman1
04-19-2008, 12:34 AM
In the past 20 years, I'd say Agassi for getting kids excited about tennis.

He was the only guy who could ever get me to jump out of my seat and jump up and down in celebration after he won a point, or fall out of my seat in agony when he lost a point ('05 US Open match with Blake, and his first two '06 US Open matches). I read that there were a lot of sports bars who absolutely never showed tennis, EXCEPT for Agassi's last run at the 2006 US Open. People were apparently crowding around the TV screens for the Baghdatis match.

I wasn't watching tennis in the 80's with Connors and McEnroe, but he's been the big guy for my tennis lifetime.

35ft6
04-19-2008, 03:55 PM
^ To Americans, Agassi was a true jock. For most fans raised on football and baseball, tennis players aren't really jocks, they're more like gymnasts or something. But for some reason Americans embraced Agassi as a true jock, a guy's guy, and in the end, he was even a bit of an underdog because of his age. And people felt like they grew up with Agassi, and by the end, when he had matured into a true role model, they felt like they knew the dude.

Not sure if another American tennis player will ever get a chance to morph into an Agassi like player. He was really cocky, made a lot of mistakes in public, did some stupid stuff, but in the end, it made him more relatable, more compelling, and his elder statesman status at the end even more miraculous and admirable. These days, top prospects are just too well coached, have too many handlers, and are too knowledgeable in the ways of making themselves attractive to corporate America to make the kind of spectacle of themselves that turns tennis players into folk heros (Mac, Connors, and Agassi).

Lendl and Federer Fan
04-20-2008, 02:34 PM
Objectively, still Ivan Lendl.

NikeWilson
04-21-2008, 11:04 AM
well ofcourse Billie Jean King is hard to beat. Ashe was also a great ambassador.
but in terms of elevating and popularizing the sport thru pure tennis playing... is Andre Agassi.
if there is 1 person the world would pay to see play, it's still Andre Agassi.

NikeWilson
04-21-2008, 11:09 AM
Not a tennis historian, but Agassi, Billie Jean King, McEnroe, Kournikova, and the Williams sisters.

those are all good.

matchmaker
04-21-2008, 11:20 AM
Agassi without any doubt. If he had not been there there would have been no legendary rivalry with Sampras. You can be in favour or against him but he has made tennis sexy. He was always exciting to watch. Came back from an all time low to win many important tourneys. Was a rebel at first but then became a respected and respectful sportman. Did away with the elitist image of tennis.

Lendl and Federer Fan
05-06-2008, 10:41 AM
Time to revive this great thread.

Ivan Lendl
The Father Of Modern Tennis

The first time I heard the name Ivan Lendl was in 1979, during the US Open, my favorite tennis hero of the time, Bjorn Borg was being interviewed after an early round win, the announcer asked him who he thought is a new up and coming star that we should be looking out for, without hesitation, the tennis God of the time said, "Ivan Lendl, he's very good and will get even better". That year Ivan lost in the 2nd round to the hard serving Roscoe Tanner in straight sets. I Wonder if Bjorn knew the extent that Ivan would later dominate the tournament that he tried so hard to win and never did. No other player in the Open era has dominated the US Open like Ivan Lendl. An American born on the wrong continent at the wrong time, he not only adopted a new country, but another style of play, a love for the hard courts that was throughout his career his favorite surface to implement the utter destruction of his opponents.

By now you must be wondering why I have the audacity to call Ivan Lendl he father of modern tennis, after all he was according to Sports Illustrated the original champion that no one cared about, the cold, hard, machine, that planned the bludgeoning of his foes without mercy and without flair. He was despised by all, the media, the fans and even his fellow players. For years, it seemed the only four people that liked Ivan Lendl was his mother Olga, his father Jiri, his mentor\coach Wojtek Fibak and me, John Figaro. One of the great days in tennis history is the famed "Super Saturday" at the US Open, where the men's semis and women's finals went the distance, featuring captivating, dramatic and high quality tennis by all 6 competitors. The seasoned tennis fan will remember Ivan's heroic topspin lob over Pat Cash's head to save a match point and eventually securing a berth in the finals, but what I remember most was the crowd yelling "Ivan go home", booing when he wins a point, aggressively applauding his errors and attempting to distract him during his service toss, - no it wasn't just the NY crowd, Europeans showed their true colors also, during the famous 1988 Italian Open final with Argentinean clay court specialist Guillermo Perez-Roldan, Ivan was totally frustrated, he took out some of his anger on the umpire and lines people and even responded to the crowd who booing and heckling him with great fervor. The pesky and speedy Roldan was taking full advantage of the situation, but like he usually did, (over 1,200 times), Ivan won 6-2,4-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

So why is he the father of modern tennis? Prior to the rise and domination of Ivan Lendl, professional tennis was ruled by 2 styles, players could either be classified as Borgians (High loopy, heavy topspin, from the baseline, very defensive, waiting for the opponent to make a mistake) McEnroeseque (serve and volleyers with weak ground strokes, who rushed the net at every opportunity), then came Ivan, he brought massive power from the baseline to the game. No longer where baseliners defensive players, he attacked and took control of the outcome of the point, instead of waiting for an error.

The modern tennis game is based on the following strategy:

Big inside out forehand

Big serve

Total fitness

Speed afoot

Strong physique

Thorough preparation

Crush or be crushed

Ivan was the first champion to use and master the inside out forehand from the ad-side of the court, crushing weak replies for winners.

His forehand game was setup by his serve, during his domination, no one had a bigger, more consistent and accurate serve than Ivan Lendl. He used his powerful serve to dictate right from the beginning, and his forehand to close the point out.

Ivan was the first champion to take advantage of scientific advances in training routines. He lifted weights, did aerobics and cross- training. At his prime, no other tennis player was in better shape.

He may not have been the fastest, but his off court work and his anticipation, made it seem like there was no ball he could not reach.

At 6'2" 175lbs, he was the prototype of the modern tennis player, he was not going to pushed around.

He kept a little book consisting of notes on every player on the tour, tips on how to play them and most important, tips on how to beat them, he left nothing to chance, when he stepped on the court, the actual playing became the easiest part of the equation.
"If I don't practice the way I should, then I won't play the way that I know I can."
Ivan Lendl

Bjorn Borg never had an easy match, his style of play did not allow him to take the initiative, with Ivan the approach was, if you're not going to hit it, I will, as a matter of fact, I'm going to hit it no matter what you do.

Look at the men's a game, and to some extent, the women's game, what you will see are players, using the above formula perfected by Ivan Lendl to earn millions of dollars and entertain fans all over the world.

Next time you see Pete Sampras (whom Lendl took under his wing and spent time observing and learning how to be a champion at Ivan's home) hit his famous patented running cross-court monster forehand, think of Ivan he did it first and intimidated anyone standing across the net. - Approach with caution!

Next time you hear how fit Jim Courier & Thomas Muster used to be (two players whom Lendl has a 9-1 record against) keep in mind that they were following the example of the innovator of tennis fitness. Let's not forget Andre Agassi, whom Lendl called "A forehand and a haircut" during Andre's coming out year, he is now number one and the fittest tennis player on the planet but he too is following in the footstep of Ivan Lendl. To be a champion, one must work harder than work itself.

Next time you see players changing racquets during ball changes, next time you see racquets being delivered in plastic bags, next time you hear of players having their own personal stringers, next time you hear how precise each racquet is customized, think of Ivan Lendl, he started the whole thing, which at the time fed the fuel of him being called a machine, but instead he was well on his way to being the first true professional tennis player the world had ever seen.

No, he was not the most talented, but through hard work, he achieved a thousand times more than other gifted mortals. His tennis achievements when put together in a package has not been equaled by any other tennis player.

He was not appreciated, he did not get his full merit, he did not get the love and respect that he deserved. We all remember Jimmy Connors's run at the 91 US open, Ivan's effort the following year was just as impressive if not more, in the 2nd round Lendl's victim was none other than Jimbo who quickly sniped "It's not the Ivan Lendl that I remember, he does not hit the ball hard any more, he just bunts it". If not for a rain delay the night before, Stefan Edberg would not have won the tournament, after jumping to a 2 set lead and a break, Ivan came roaring back and was leading until play was suspended. The next day, Ivan came to within a half inch to go up 5-3 in the 5th set, but Edberg broke back and went on to win the match in a 5th set tiebreak, 6-3,6-3,3-6,5-7,7-6, one of the best matches I have ever seen.

He gave the world many 5 set thrillers, like his first Grand Slam final in 1981 at the French Open against Bjorn Borg, a match that most tennis fans seem to have forgotten. By 1984 even though he had already had two Masters (Tour championships) under his belt, the media gave him the choke label, he can't win the big one they said. He had reached 4 Grand slam finals and came up empty each time, a closer look at his opponents at those finals would reveal four of the greatest names in the history of the sport, Bjorn Borg once, Mats Willander once, and Connors twice, who won his first three grand slam finals. I think Ivan would have beaten Phil Dent and the well beyond his prime Ken Rosewall (twice) with the same ease.

He could not play on grass they said, but he managed to win 89 matches on that surface, including 3 grand slam finals and two championships in consecutive years (89,90) at the Queen's Club event before Wimbledon. In 1990 en route to his victory there he beat John McEnroe and Boris Becker in the semis and finals respectively. The one aspect that always impressed me with Lendl was the fact that he served and volleyed on both first and second serves at Wimbledon all the time, he changed from a power baseliner to a serve and volleyer, could McEnroe have reached 5 semifinals and 2 two finals at the French by staying back on both 1st and second serves all the time, I doubt it, as a matter of fact he only managed one semi and one final at the French playing his normal aggressive style. Andre Agassi proved that one does not have to serve and volley to win at Wimbledon, perhaps if Ivan had maintained his regular game and not been so obsessed with winning the number one trophy in tennis, the question of who was the greatest would have been laid to rest a long time ago.

Lendl and Federer Fan
05-06-2008, 10:41 AM
Here's another example of the establishment, history and his opponent not giving Lendl any respect, if you look at any tennis encyclopedia or listen to any McEnroe broadcast, you will hear how "he got tired in 1984 and lost the French", but in reality, Lendl won that match on pure guts, determination, skill and power. The eventual score does not resemble someone who ran out of gas, it is more like a player who's tactics and nerve caught up with him and tried as hard as he could to weather the storm, but could not fight the fury. Score 3-6,2-6,6-4,7-5,7-5 Lendl

McEnroe, Connors and borg are part of the greatest rivalries of all time, but one name is missing, you guessed it, the greatest rivalry of all-time in the open era is not McEnroe-Borg, but McEnroe-Lendl, but it sounds more glamorous for McEnroe to dismiss Lendl. The numbers don't lie, Ivan deserves his proper due, yes he will be inducted in the tennis Hall OF Fame, unlike Borg, I'm sure he will show up and accept his well deserve day of coronation.

Ivan reached 19 grand slam signals finals, more than any other male player in the open era, he won 8 of them, but a closer look will reveal the fact that he lost 10 of those finals to 5 of the greatest champions in the open era, Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Willander and Becker. Pete Sampras, the greatest tennis player the game has seen so far, has a total of 12 grand slams, 7 of them were against players who not only were never number one, but players who never won a single grand slam tournament, of the remaining 5, three of them were against Andre Agassi. How many slams would Ivan have won if he had faced players of that caliber? Of the 19 Grand Slam finals, Ivan faced, players who were multiple slam winners and former number ones, 15 times.

The US Open committee may never give him a day of his own, but as a true fan of the man's effort on the tennis court, I will not let his legacy die. Ivan Lendl was the best of his generation, his contributions to the game are innumerable. He is truly a champion of champions.

boredone3456
05-06-2008, 12:17 PM
Definitely Billie Jean for the women. I mean, she founded the WTA, has been a constant Champion for equal pay for the women, and lets not forget beating Bobbie Riggs and what that stood for Symbolically back when she did it. A constant champion and advocate for the sport, not to mention that she still shows up for the tournaments, was a fed cup captain, wtt player and I believe Captain at one point (that one I am not sure about). I mean, most people who know little about tennis know who she is....that says something.

for the men....that to me is a tougher call. but based on what lendl and federer fan said...and what I have read about him otherwise..I would give that nod to Ivan Lendl...with honorable mention to mcenroe.

slice bh compliment
05-06-2008, 12:19 PM
... The numbers don't lie, Ivan deserves his proper due, yes he will be inducted in the tennis Hall OF Fame, unlike Borg, I'm sure he will show up and accept his well deserve day of coronation. ....

What was that about? It's pretty obvious to anyone who knows this sport that Lendl is an all-time great. You may not know this, but Ivan Lendl has already been inducted at the International Tennis Hall of Fame! I think that was about five or six years ago, iirc. Sorry you missed it, man!

Borg was also inducted pretty soon after the 5 yrs from retirement requirement. I was in college at the time, so I'm thinking that was back in 87?

ANyway, man, I know you totally love Lendl, but I think you're preaching to the choir as to how great a player he was, and what a professional he was.

Now, honestly, if you call that doing a lot for the game, he's in the top tier.
Now, if the spirit of this thread has ideas more about community service on the local and global scales....charity work (work not just donating money), spreading love for the game and overall character, I think the Ashes, Noahs, Gugas and Federers of the world are top tier.

boredone3456
05-06-2008, 12:37 PM
Now that I think about it....I'd put Althea Gibson and Ashe in mine as well...mainly because they were such giant symbols of progress....they were for tennis what jackie robinson was for baseball...and they deserve some credit

Lendl and Federer Fan
05-06-2008, 12:44 PM
What was that about? It's pretty obvious to anyone who knows this sport that Lendl is an all-time great. You may not know this, but Ivan Lendl has already been inducted at the International Tennis Hall of Fame! I think that was about five or six years ago, iirc. Sorry you missed it, man!

Borg was also inducted pretty soon after the 5 yrs from retirement requirement. I was in college at the time, so I'm thinking that was back in 87?

ANyway, man, I know you totally love Lendl, but I think you're preaching to the choir as to how great a player he was, and what a professional he was.

Now, honestly, if you call that doing a lot for the game, he's in the top tier.
Now, if the spirit of this thread has ideas more about community service on the local and global scales....charity work (work not just donating money), spreading love for the game and overall character, I think the Ashes, Noahs, Gugas and Federers of the world are top tier.



Good points.

And for community services and charity works, I would throw in BJ King, Everts. Actually Lendl did quite a bit of community/charity stuffs too, check out what he is doing at Connecticutt.

Lendl and Federer Fan
05-10-2008, 09:57 AM
for the men....that to me is a tougher call. but based on what lendl and federer fan said...and what I have read about him otherwise..I would give that nod to Ivan Lendl...with honorable mention to mcenroe.

Good for you for appreciating a true champion. :D
Good for you for not rooting some flashy heads.

superstition
05-11-2008, 08:22 PM
Tilden has been credited for greatly increasing the visibility/popularity of tennis in America. He was "the Babe Ruth of tennis" and still holds the record for winning percentage in a year, or records similar to that.

His sexuality only became a negative focus at the end of his career, but a lot of people only focus on the "scandal" rather than his immense popularity during his prime.

HyperHorse
05-11-2008, 08:39 PM
I'd have to say for putting professional tennis on the map..
Jack Kramer, Laver, Pancho Gonzalez, Rosewall....
Those guys that started their own off shoot pro tour in the 60s and 70s..

Gorecki
05-12-2008, 04:51 AM
I would go for Borg & Agassi...

PimpMyGame
05-12-2008, 05:09 AM
The Connors/Borg/Mac rivalry brought tennis into superstardom.

Navratilova for her staying power.

Agassi showed what talent, not money, can achieve.

Federer, who plays the game with such elegance.

I too can only comment about players I've seen in my lifetime.

rommil
05-12-2008, 05:43 AM
Superman is right here I think. Agassi wasnt just a great tennis player. He was a star. He had a force of personality and charisma that drew you in. You cant teach that, you either have it or you dont. Sampras for all his greatness didnt ever have it. Federer doesnt really quite have it either. He may do commercials with Tiger Woods but while being even more dominant in his sport the past few years certainly doesnt make fans flock to their TV sets the way Tiger does.

Federer and Agassi have different approaches, two distinctly different people. Hell even Agassi younger and older are two different people lol. I agree Agassi has more superstar quality and he capitalized on it early on. Andre has a great track record but when he first started and even for a awhile there he was in a Kournikova kind of environment(he won titles though). At their younger years, I think Roger had a bit more maturity(well I know he also had his racket throwing days). So it really depends on what draws you and the kind of "entertainment" you want to invest your attention to. Looking at the big picture, I think Federer is the best ambassador for men's tennis as far as I remember.

CGMemphis
05-12-2008, 06:20 AM
^ To Americans, Agassi was a true jock. For most fans raised on football and baseball, tennis players aren't really jocks, they're more like gymnasts or something. But for some reason Americans embraced Agassi as a true jock, a guy's guy, and in the end, he was even a bit of an underdog because of his age. And people felt like they grew up with Agassi, and by the end, when he had matured into a true role model, they felt like they knew the dude.

Not sure if another American tennis player will ever get a chance to morph into an Agassi like player. He was really cocky, made a lot of mistakes in public, did some stupid stuff, but in the end, it made him more relatable, more compelling, and his elder statesman status at the end even more miraculous and admirable. These days, top prospects are just too well coached, have too many handlers, and are too knowledgeable in the ways of making themselves attractive to corporate America to make the kind of spectacle of themselves that turns tennis players into folk heros (Mac, Connors, and Agassi).

Best post on this subject for the average "sports" fan, great freakin post with incredible points.

On the title of the thread, "who has done the most for tennis", I guess it depends on how you look at it:

"Who has done the most for tennis: internally?"
"Who has done the most for tennis: for the public eye?"
"Who has done the most for tennis: for the modern game?"
"Who has done the most for tennis: for the pro players?"

Thats were a lot of these posts seem to fall because they all have great points.

Lendl most definitely a cold machine or pure power thats gives us what we see in the players today, but not for the public eye unless you were a tennis junkie.

Federer yes he is bringing about a somewhat revival and he gets the most sports coverage because of what he is capable of in the future, but he was no Andre in making the public want to go to tennis matches.

Agassis popularity was far beyond American tennis. He was HUGE, Elvis like cult following in Asia. Huge everywhere he went. He had the looks, the charisma, the media-savvy, and the game. His fall and reemergence of resurrection of a new man is pretty unequaled in any sport, two different people from the mullet to the baldness that is Agassi.

No he never held consecutive number one spots like Sampras, Fed, Lendl, McEnroe or Borg. But then again, the doors he opened for public tennis, people hanging on the fence to get a glimpse, an autograph, catch a shirt, have him wave has never been duplicated before or since his arrival on the court.

Lendl and Federer Fan
05-20-2008, 08:59 PM
Ivan Lendl is the one who has done the most for tennis or has profoundly changed the modern tennis, period. :)

chaognosis
05-21-2008, 08:09 AM
I'd have to say for putting professional tennis on the map..
Jack Kramer, Laver, Pancho Gonzalez, Rosewall....
Those guys that started their own off shoot pro tour in the 60s and 70s..

Suzanne Lenglen in the 1920s was most responsible for putting pro tennis on the map.

She was also probably the most popular player in the game's history.

chaognosis
05-21-2008, 08:12 AM
But then again, the doors he opened for public tennis, people hanging on the fence to get a glimpse, an autograph, catch a shirt, have him wave has never been duplicated before or since his arrival on the court.

Borg was an equally big sensation.

urban
05-21-2008, 09:19 AM
Nobody has named Wingfield. He invented the whole thing, as it is now.

SoCal10s
05-22-2008, 08:40 PM
Fail. This sham of a match is the biggest stain on tennis in memory.

Good things did come for women's game, but not because Billie Jean beat an overweight Riggs.

Bobby Riggs was not that much overweight but he was already in his 50's .I can tell you that the winner take all match(battle of the sexes) was lost on purpose.. Riggs, had put up a lot of money up and placed bets all over place against himself...Even at that old age he could have beaten any woman on earth,easily. He wiped out Margaret Court pior,and she was the #1 ranked woman at that time. Bobby Riggs was a known gambler and he made sure this was a sure bet...He made well over the $100,000(big money those days)on side bets...
My vote : H.Hopman for International , If not for him we would not have had all those great Aussie champions..because all those Aussie men rather get drunk and eat than be serious about their tennis....Hopman gave them focus..
And on the USA side I would say Pancho Segura and Robert Langsdorp ..without them we would not have Jimmy Conners and also influenced Agassi all those who followed .. R.Langsdorp gave us Tracy,Sampras,Davenport,Sharapova ect.....

Lendl and Federer Fan
06-10-2008, 10:14 PM
bumped...!

hoodjem
06-11-2008, 05:28 PM
Here's another example of the establishment, history and his opponent not giving Lendl any respect, if you look at any tennis encyclopedia or listen to any McEnroe broadcast, you will hear how "he got tired in 1984 and lost the French", but in reality, Lendl won that match on pure guts, determination, skill and power.


Mac choked; he still has nightmares about losing that match.

hoodjem
06-11-2008, 05:32 PM
Who do you credit/blame for the current men's game?

I blame . . .
Borg for topspin
Jimmy Arias for Western forehand
Lendl for power
Agassi for the two-handed BH