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Coria
02-28-2005, 01:32 PM
It is amazing how casually people dismiss Sampras' dismal French record.

As mentioned, in 12 years, he gets to ONE semi-final and then gets dusted.
Other years, he meekly went down in the first and second or third rounds. The fact is that Sampras never even had a chance to win this Slam. He wasn't even one of the top 20 players on that surface many years he entered and the results showed it.

Yet, Borg, who never won the US OPEN, GOT to the finals 4 times and barely lost twice--barely!!

Lendl never won Wimbledon, but GOT to the finals twice, 2 games from beating Becker in '86.

McEnroe never won the French, but he GOT to the final, two games away from beating Lendl in '84.

Becker got to the quarterfinals or semis of the French on 5 occasions.

Agassi got to 3 French finals, winning one. He got to 2 Wimbledon finals and about 4 semis. TWO TOTALLY different surfaces. He got to 5 US open finals, 4 Austalian finals--not to mention a ton of quarters and semis in these events.

Sampras' horrendous performance in the second most valued major is a HUGE GAP in his resume. Yet, people gloss it over and call him the greatest far and away. That's such bullcrap. Borg didn't even play Australia. If he did, he could have the record. Borg won 5 Wimbledons and 6 French Opens and was a four time finalist at the US OPEN. His record is EVERY bit as impressive as Sampras--if not more.

Bottom line: How can you call a guy the indisputable best when he could but manage one semifinal (where his butt was kicked and he practically passed out) in 12 years. Sampras wanted the French in the worst way and wasn't even CLOSE to winning it.

Greatest grass courter ever?--YES. After that, there are 3 or 4 guys who are right there or better than him.

baseliner
02-28-2005, 01:44 PM
To take total grand slam titles as the sole criteria in determining GOAT is silly. No one called Roy Emerson the GOAT when he had the record. Why jump on the Sampras bandwagon now that he has the most GS titles. IMHO I will still go with laver as GOAT.

Coria
02-28-2005, 01:47 PM
I can't really say who's best, but I've always been comfortable putting Laver, Sampras, Borg, Agassi and Budge as my top 5. Laver, Sampras and Borg are probably my top 3.

35ft6
02-28-2005, 02:13 PM
Yeah, it's true that if a guy had Sampras' record, but instead of Wimbledon he won a ton of French Opens, and never even got to a Wimbledon finals, his place in history would be far more dubious.

Wimbledon shouldn't have so much weight IMO. It's played on grass for butt's sakes. Clay is wayyyyyy more relevant, as so many tournaments played on it.

Rob_C
02-28-2005, 02:14 PM
I wouldnt put Agassi in the top five. 1st off, he's been playing his whole life and he still cant volley, thats just laziness in my opinion. 2nd, he's never beaten Sampras at the US Open, or Wimbledon, he blew his last chance, which was his best chance, at the '02 US Open.

I dont really know alot about Budge or Emmo or the old school guys, but as far as the Open era is concerned, in no particular order, I'd go with Sampras, Laver, Lendl, McEnroe, Connors. In a few years Federer will replace one of these guys.

Matt Riordan
02-28-2005, 02:16 PM
Sampras French record was 3 quarters and 1 semi plus the other less than great results. In his time there Sampras you may be surprised to know that Sampras beat Courier, Bruguera and Muster among many other top players. Unfortunately the problem he suffered at the French was that he was not able to put the so-called 'easy matches' away easily. Thus he would invariably be drained later in the second week.

Borg's record is truly impressive... but he didn't play the Australian - well tough luck for him. And he could've played on past 26... but he didn't. We can all speculate on what other players might have achieved if they'd done this or that. The fact is that Sampras DID always show up, even at the places where he knew he would struggle. And after the awful drought between his last Wimbledon and US titles, only the most cynical among us would refuse to acknowledge his final US victory as anything other than inspirational. Agassi, as you say, made numerous quarters, semis and final appearances in GS's... but came up short on too many occasions.

When it came to clutch situations, Sampras was the greatest. Also, as you point out, the greatest grass court player. However he is also the greatest hard court player with 7 GS titles over the US and Aussie Opens, more than Agassi's 6 GS titles on hard. Plus with five Masters titles you'd have to give him a shot at the best indoor player too, though obviously the field is less dense, but tougher, than a GS.

BUT whether he is greater than Laver..?

Matt Riordan
02-28-2005, 02:19 PM
Sorry, that last bit, meant 'less dense, but tougher on average'... before anyone has a go lol

Chadwixx
02-28-2005, 02:55 PM
sampras played in a semi washed down era, the beckers, lendls and edbergs were retiring when he came up (except his first us open title, that was some great tennis).

its not like he was beating the best players in the world, he faced pioline twice, and martin. he did have some good wins over players like rafter and goran, but are they really considerd some of the best of all time? combine that with agassi choking in finals and he has the most gs titles. its just a shame agassi was such a choker, he could have had 14 instead of sampras very easily.

Ballmachine
02-28-2005, 03:18 PM
Sampras at his best beat Agassi at his best every time they played. Sampras beat Agassi in 3 finals at the US Open and 1 final at Wimbledon, and several times in the Masters. Andre only beat Pete in one grandslam final at the Australian Open in 1995.

When Sampras served lights out, it was good night for Andre and everybody else he played.

Did Agassi have better groundies? Probably, but the game is not determined on groundstrokes alone. Sampras serve was the best of all-time, and his volleys were second to none. From 1990 to 1999, Sampras' running forehand was better than anyone’s in the game, and he often dominated Andre from the backcourt on hard surfaces.

People did not appreciate Pete the way he should have been appreciated when he played, and they still don't now that he is retired.

Pete at his best could beat any other player in the history of the game on any surface other than clay, and that includes Roger Federer.

Roger is the heir apparent to the throne, but he has got a long way to go until he can enter the rare air that Pete Sampras fills in terms of tennis immortality.

Furthermore, I would have to completely disagree with what people are saying about the French Open. I consider clay to be the most specialized surface out there. Most players, Gaston Gaudio being the latest, that do well at the French can't do anything on the other surfaces.

Pete was awesome on every other surface that exists besides clay, and his record on clay is better than most people think. He won the Italian Open in 1994. He beat Courier, Muster, and Chang on clay. All of who were French Open champions. He single handedly won the 1995 Davis Cup in Russia on the slowest red clay court that ever existed, by winning both singles matches, and the doubles. He was by far and away the greatest player to ever pick up a tennis racquet.

Rob_C
02-28-2005, 03:53 PM
Sampras's run at the 96 French was kind of a fluke I believe. He got a perfect draw. All the guys he beat had serious flaws he could take advantage of.

Bruguera weak chip forehand.

Todd Martin's lack of mobility.

Courier had the mind**** going against him when it comes to Sampras. I think he blew some big points that match, I'm not sure.

By the time he got to Kafelnikov, he was way too tired from all the 5 setters, thats why he lost , cause mentally he owned Kafelinikov. When Yevgeny won the Aus Open, he thanked Sampras for not playing the Aus that year during his speech.

West Coast Ace
02-28-2005, 04:11 PM
Sampras at his best beat Agassi at his best every time they played. Sampras beat Agassi in 3 finals at the US Open and 1 final at Wimbledon, and several times in the Masters. Andre only beat Pete in one grandslam final at the Australian Open in 1995.

When Sampras served lights out, it was good night for Andre and everybody else he played.

Did Agassi have better groundies? Probably, but the game is not determined on groundstrokes alone. Sampras serve was the best of all-time, and his volleys were second to none. From 1990 to 1999, Sampras' running forehand was better than anyone’s in the game, and he often dominated Andre from the backcourt on hard surfaces.

People did not appreciate Pete the way he should have been appreciated when he played, and they still don't now that he is retired.

Pete at his best could beat any other player in the history of the game on any surface other than clay, and that includes Roger Federer.

Roger is the heir apparent to the throne, but he has got a long way to go until he can enter the rare air that Pete Sampras fills in terms of tennis immortality.

Furthermore, I would have to completely disagree with what people are saying about the French Open. I consider clay to be the most specialized surface out there. Most players, Gaston Gaudio being the latest, that do well at the French can't do anything on the other surfaces.

Pete was awesome on every other surface that exists besides clay, and his record on clay is better than most people think. He won the Italian Open in 1994. He beat Courier, Muster, and Chang on clay. All of who were French Open champions. He single handedly won the 1995 Davis Cup in Russia on the slowest red clay court that ever existed, by winning both singles matches, and the doubles. He was by far and away the greatest player to ever pick up a tennis racquet.
You have no frame of reference to say that on his best day Sampras could beat Federer. And the 'greatest to ever pick up a racket' is so silly - ever hear of a guy name Laver - two Grand Slams? - 8 years apart because he wasn't allowed to play. And before you say six years as year end #1, who cares? Two different years he took last minute wild cards into a number of tournaments in Oct/Nov to ensure he would finish on top. And you even point out that he only won two singles matches to win the Davis Cup in Russia on clay. Takes 7 to win the French.

Earlier you said "if he served lights out" - using that logic, Goran could have beaten Sampras. Both are pure speculation.

Back to the topic, yes, Sampras does have a Teflon Image. Because of his nice guy image, the press has been overly kind. I remember the year he was healthy and decided not to play the AU Open - he chose to play in the Bob Hope Pro-Am golf tournament. Not exactly a shining example of 'supporting the sport.' I'm sure if a less well liked player had made that choice the press would have gone wild.

Chadwixx
02-28-2005, 04:15 PM
i thought federer beat sampras on grass (pete's best surface) his first year on the tour. fed is way better now than he was back then.

West Coast Ace
02-28-2005, 04:19 PM
i thought federer beat sampras on grass (pete's best surface) his first year on the tour. fed is way better now than he was back then.He did. But I'm sure the Sampras fanatics will say that it was after Sampras' game had already started to tail off. They have excuses for everything: sore arm, rare blood disorder, blah, blah, blah.

Chadwixx
02-28-2005, 05:08 PM
didnt sampras win the us open a few months later? hard to say he isnt at his best when he wins a tougher tournament (for his style of play).

tguru
02-28-2005, 06:21 PM
Do you know how phenominal it was for Federer, maybe 17 and fresh on the tour, to beat a Sampras, still in his prime, on his most dominant surface. This is just one aspect of many great champions, brilliance at an early age.

Matt Riordan
02-28-2005, 06:32 PM
West Coast Ace, Tguru...

I'm a Sampras and Federer fan for starters... it's true, you can be both!

Now I assume you have seen the Federer/Sampras match..? And that you have seen matches of Sampras in his prime..? Assuming you have then I can't understand your point of view. Sampras played waaay below his best in that match, against a young opponent who, while not yet come full strength, was as in the zone as he could possibly have been that day! Sampras really was a shadow of his former self in that match. Tentative and doubtful he played with no real confidence and his return game was about the worst I ever saw it... and he still managed to force it to 7-5 in the fifth.

lemurballs
02-28-2005, 06:37 PM
what a mess, in the end Sampras remains the king of swing and goes down as one of the best if not the best of all time. Tada.

Datacipher
02-28-2005, 06:37 PM
didnt sampras win the us open a few months later? hard to say he isnt at his best when he wins a tougher tournament (for his style of play).

Do you know how phenominal it was for Federer, maybe 17 and fresh on the tour, to beat a Sampras, still in his prime, on his most dominant surface. This is just one aspect of many great champions, brilliance at an early age.

He did. But I'm sure the Sampras fanatics will say that it was after Sampras' game had already started to tail off. They have excuses for everything: sore arm, rare blood disorder, blah, blah, blah.

You guys are thinking of the wrong guy! That was the immortal George Bastl who beat Sampras at Wimbledon a few months before Sampras won the US open, proving indeed that he was far greater than Sampras ever was. It's fun listening to you young guys.

I have said before on this board that Federer is the best tennis player I have ever seen and MIGHT one day surpass Sampras as the greatest. But I now see your point and I realize it's:

1.George Bastl
2.Roger Federer
3.Pete Sampras


PS. Federer was 19 when they played not "maybe 17".

West Coast Ace
02-28-2005, 06:53 PM
Cipher,

Don't throw me in with guys who mention one match. The bottom line is Sampras won most of his majors (all but two I believe) on the superfast grass and hardcourts (tailored to his game by the USTA) with a big serve, adequate volleys, and a decent forehand. And when he had to play on clay, he couldn't get the job done. And worst, he didn't really care enough to try to win it. Make fun of Lendl but at least he knew that to be considered one of the best of all time, you needed to win at least one major on each surface.

I don't dislike Sampras - I just don't think there was enough to his game to merit the GOAT label. Laver is the man. Most of you were just too young to have seen him play. Your loss.

Datacipher
02-28-2005, 07:03 PM
Cipher,

Don't throw me in with guys who mention one match. The bottom line is Sampras won most of his majors (all but two I believe) on the superfast grass and hardcourts (tailored to his game by the USTA) with a big serve, adequate volleys, and a decent forehand. And when he had to play on clay, he couldn't get the job done. And worst, he didn't really care enough to try to win it. Make fun of Lendl but at least he knew that to be considered one of the best of all time, you needed to win at least one major on each surface.

I don't dislike Sampras - I just don't think there was enough to his game to merit the GOAT label. Laver is the man. Most of you were just too young to have seen him play. Your loss.

LOL, fair enough Ace. I really didn't mean to pick on any of you actually, just having some fun and trying to point out a pretty whopping flaw in the reasoning. If you don't buy into that reasoning then I have no argument with you.

Arguing Laver for GOAT is quite reasonable in my opinion. In fact, when I think of GOAT, I tend to be thinking in terms of "not including Laver". Because yes, say what some will about the circumstances around his slams, at the end of the day he walked away with 2 Grand Slams...I find that really hard to argue with. I also agree that Sampras could have done more in regards to the FO, while his results were not nearly as shabby as some would say(a few lucky breaks and he could have pulled one out), I agree it doesn't seem to compare to what Lendl did in his efforts to pick up a Wimbledon. Credit to Lendl.

Chadwixx
02-28-2005, 08:29 PM
You guys are thinking of the wrong guy! That was the immortal George Bastl who beat Sampras at Wimbledon a few months before Sampras won the US open, proving indeed that he was far greater than Sampras ever was. It's fun listening to you young guys.

I have said before on this board that Federer is the best tennis player I have ever seen and MIGHT one day surpass Sampras as the greatest. But I now see your point and I realize it's:

1.George Bastl
2.Roger Federer
3.Pete Sampras


PS. Federer was 19 when they played not "maybe 17".

thanks for the correction.

tomahawk
02-28-2005, 09:31 PM
Personally I think that whenever GOAT is mentioned, you still cannot name one person as GOAT. People say Laver, Borg, Sampras are probably the top 3. There are debates for each of them. For Laver, he wasn't allowed to play 6 years of Grand Slams because of the Amateur-Professional issue. So you ask the question how many Slams would Laver have really won if he played those 6 years of slams? Plus the fact that he achieved the Grand Slam in 1962 and 1969 (think that's accurate) just shows how good he really was. Now Borg, he only played until he was 26, and winning 11 slams in that timeframe was incredible. Plus include not playing the Australian and and retiring so young, how many would he have won if he played till he was 30? We'll never know. Now Sampras, he played in a game that was a whole lot faster and athletic with racquet technology starting to evolve. One important fact that needs to be made for Sampras is that in the days of Laver and Borg, all the Grand Slams were played on Grass, except of course the French Open. If the Australian and US Open were played on grass courts while he was playing, how many more Slams would he have won? Because of that, would he have been able to figure out clay a lot quicker enough to win the French?

Overall, a lot of speculation overall. I say we just Laver was the best in his era, Borg in his era, and Sampras in his. Unless someone can win all 4 slams + surpass Sampras' 14 total slams, it's best to keep the GOAT discussion to specific eras.

Max G.
02-28-2005, 09:43 PM
That's quite true, keep the eras separate...

(Actually, about Borg - he's kind of an enigma. Thinking about it, him retiring early should definitely be a significant blemish on HIS record - he couldn't take it anymore, he burned out! )

Rabbit
03-01-2005, 05:52 AM
The bottom line is Sampras won most of his majors (all but two I believe) on the superfast grass and hardcourts (tailored to his game by the USTA) with a big serve, adequate volleys, and a decent forehand.

I don't know that the US Open has super fast hardcourts since that would play against many of Sampras' contemporaries. I always thought I remembered the players saying that the courts were of medium pace and that was why the Open was fair to all styles of play.

big serve? - absolutely, one of the biggest in the history of the game, not simply because of speed, but placement, spin, and location were unparalleled in combination.

adequate volleys? - ok, if you compare him to McEnroe, Becker, or Edberg, I might be tempted to say adequate, but take those three out of the picture and he had some of the best hands in the game. What he didn't have was the flash of McEnroe or the style and fluidity of Edberg, but I liken Sampas' volleys to Beckers. They were gorilla volleys, mean, ugly and very effective.

decent forehand? - only if you compare it to Lendl or Agassi. The guy had the single best running forehand in the game this side of Lendl! Gotta totally disagree on this one.

I should mention that the above observations come from a fan who really wasn't a big Sampras fan, more in the Agassi camp. But you have to give credit where credit is due, Sampras is tied for second in my book, with Borg for second behind da man.


Laver is the man. Most of you were just too young to have seen him play. Your loss.

Couldn't agree more. Laver combined everything that was good about tennis. Had John McEnroe kept his mouth shut and not told everyone how good he was, and concentrated on his tennis, he may have been able to carry the Rocket's jock. As it stands now, there is only one.

Kaptain Karl
03-01-2005, 06:37 AM
Interesting....

Coria - I think what struck me *most* about your OP was your assertion that the French is "the second most valued major". I think that is arguable.

By whom?

Do you mean financial value? If so, what are the ranks of Prize Money for the Slam events? (I dont know.)

Personally, I'd rank the French *last* among the Slam events. I love playing on clay. How well someone plays on (what Ashe used to call "mashed potato mud") doesn't influence my consideration of "G.O.A.T." very much.

My "prestige ranking" (FWIW)...
1 - Wimbledon (Grass is still "king")
3 - US & Australian (Yes. Tied for third)
4 - French

[KK races through his checklist for the critical items in his bomb shelter...!]

- KK

Ballmachine
03-01-2005, 07:15 AM
West Coast Ace,

Cliff Drysdale played in the same era as the Rocket, and he has said on many, many occassions that if Sampras and Laver played 10 matches that Sampras would win 8 or 9 out of the 10.

I have seen the Rocket play, in fact I have seen all of the all-time greats play. In any era with any racquet, none could touch Pistol Pete at age 24-28 or so. Sampras' serve would be just as devastating as it was with a wood racquet. The other guys would have less of a chance to return it with their wood racquets.

Also, someone else made the point about 3 of the 4 majors in the past being played on grass. If that were the case in Sampras' career, he would have finished with triple the majors that he did.

The truth is that we can go back and forth on if's this and what's that, but Pete holds the records that count. Most years finished number 1 in a row, and more importantly the most majors at 14. Until someone comes along that has the talent, discipline, motivation, and toughness to surpass those records, the argument is over.

Pete was, and is, the greatest tennis player of all time.

drakulie
03-01-2005, 08:17 AM
What about Mcenroe? He won Singles Slams, Doubles Slams, Mixed Doubles Slams! If you are going to say the best TENNIS player ever, then Mcenroe is way ahead of Sampras, and most guys being mentioned in this thread.

As far as singles go, I never saw Laver so I won't even mention him. But in the era I grew up 70's to today. I would say the best all around singles player I have seen is Agassi. He has been able to win repeatedly on all the surfaces. I would then probably go with Lendl. I do agree that Sampras not being able to win the French is a taint on how great he really was.

Most talented player I have ever seen would be Federer.

Rabbit
03-01-2005, 08:51 AM
Sampras' serve would be just as devastating as it was with a wood racquet. The other guys would have less of a chance to return it with their wood racquets.



It's interesting that you mention this because it actually happened. Sampras played McEnroe in a one set exhibition with wood rackets when McEnroe was 39, so that'd be seven years ago clearly within Sampras' better years (not best, but better). It was a Nike deal. In any event, Sampras played McEnroe with wood and lost 7-5 to McEnroe. It does make for interesting conversation. With Sampras being #1 in the world at the time, I don't think he's going to throw McEnroe a bone; especially after he referred to McEnroe as a former player who likes to shoot his mouth off after McEnroe criticized him publicly for not putting enough back into the game.

With respect to what Drysdale said, he's also in the business of ratings. Listen to what he says about Federer now. Drysdale's loyalty isn't to a player, he's going to talk up whoever is the current to help spur interest in the game and his viewership.

Also, someone else made the point about 3 of the 4 majors in the past being played on grass. If that were the case in Sampras' career, he would have finished with triple the majors that he did.


I agree. At the same time, had Laver been able to play the Grand Slams from 63 to 67, he would have won substantially more. I suspect that he would've won at least one a year and probably two.

If candy and nuts...

drakulie
03-01-2005, 09:08 AM
In any event, Sampras played McEnroe with wood and lost 7-5 to McEnroe.


Anybody see or have this match on tape? Would love to see it.

drexeler
03-01-2005, 09:15 AM
I partly agree with Ballmachine that Sampras would get the best of any player on non-clay surface. The only exception I think is Federer. Fed is a unique player in that he is so versatile and comfortable playing all styles of game and can take away his opponents' strengths. On grass, I believe Pete would win because of his superior serve (esp. the second serve). It is all but impossible to break him there (he got broken just 4 times in his 7 Wimbledon finals). The only chance for Fed to hang with Sampras on grass if he can reproduce his 2003 SF & F form.

On hard, I think, Fed can get Pete. Because on hard, Pete's serve is not as unbreakable as on grass. There is evidence of this from his record at USO & AO. He lost to Yzaga and was streched to the max by Corretja in his prime. Combine this with Fed's return game, which is probably the best ever (not just talking about the return stroke in isolation but the whole package), I think he would have a slight edge on hard.

Rabbit
03-01-2005, 10:00 AM
Yes, but Sampras also beat the best returner in the game on hard more than once, Agassi. Anyone, including Sampas, can have a bad day as evidenced by Yzaga, we cannot extrapolate that into a career.

I said here several years ago when folks were discounting the achievments of players in the 60s, 70s, and 80s that there would come a time when the same thing would happen to Sampras (not you, drexeler). I haven't worked as a prognosticator before, but feel that there may be a future in it for me.... :)

alfa164164
03-01-2005, 10:06 AM
This surface issue is a little silly. Yeah, Pete would have won alot more majors if 3 of the 4 slams were on grass, but how many majors would Borg have won if 3 of the 4 slams were on clay?

Coria
03-01-2005, 10:11 AM
Actually, Becker was the best indoor carpet player ever--Sampras said so himself. Becker had a winning percentage on him on indoor carpet.

Kevin Patrick
03-01-2005, 11:34 AM
Coria,
Yes, Sampras said Becker was the best indoor player ever, but I'm not sure how that comment means Boris is better than Sampras on that surface (I've never heard of a player arrogant enough to say that they are the best ever on any surface, imagine if Sampras said that about himself)

I'd say its a pretty close call as to whether Sampras or Becker was better indoors.

You mention that Becker has an edge on that surface over Sampras. He has a slight one: 7-6, but that's a little misleading, their first 3 meetings(which Becker won) were from '90 to '91, when Sampras was pretty new to the top level of the game & Becker was in another league, esp. indoors.

Also, Sampras won their 2 most important meetings on that surface: the '94 & '96 ATP World Championship(both in Germany, very tough conditions for facing Becker)
Those 2 matches were among the best I have ever seen Becker play(he outaced Sampras by a pretty large margin in both matches)
Becker even said that the '96 final was the best match he had ever played (& he came up short)

Coria
03-01-2005, 12:14 PM
From Kaptain Karl:

"Coria - I think what struck me *most* about your OP was your assertion that the French is "the second most valued major". I think that is arguable.

By whom?"



AHHH--spoken like a true American (which I am too) whose perspective is quite limited. Go to Europe, South America and other places in the world and many will tell you the French is NUMBER 1. It's the event that requires hitting the most tennis balls, having the most stamina, and often the most patience and creativity. European players live to win the French--it's more prestigious to many of them than even Wimbledon. Americans have a limited perspective and appreciation for the French Open for two key reasons--1) the event only recently starting getting significant TV time. 2) US players over the years have failed miserably there. (there's a lot of bias for Wimbledon and US OPEN--US for obvious reasons and Wimbledon because Americans have done quite well there, especially recently (Sampras with 7, Agassi, Connors with 2, McEnroe with 3, Stan Smith, Ashe). The French is so often not revered here in the States.

Datacipher
03-01-2005, 01:38 PM
Anybody see or have this match on tape? Would love to see it.

I didnt' see the match you are referring to. But I did see Mcenroe and Sampras play several points with wooden racquets in a Nike exhibition, it was really something, on point they ran each other all over with touch and drop shots. On another point, Sampras wound up and stunned everyone with a 124mph serve.

Datacipher
03-01-2005, 01:42 PM
I don't know that the US Open has super fast hardcourts since that would play against many of Sampras' contemporaries. I always thought I remembered the players saying that the courts were of medium pace and that was why the Open was fair to all styles of play.
...
adequate volleys? - ok, if you compare him to McEnroe, Becker, or Edberg, I might be tempted to say adequate, but take those three out of the picture and he had some of the best hands in the game. What he didn't have was the flash of McEnroe or the style and fluidity of Edberg, but I liken Sampas' volleys to Beckers. They were gorilla volleys, mean, ugly and very effective.

decent forehand? - only if you compare it to Lendl or Agassi. The guy had the single best running forehand in the game this side of Lendl! Gotta totally disagree on this one.
.

I agree Rabbit that USO is medium paced. Most would agree with that assesment relative to the spectrum of indoors, grass, different types of hardcourt, different claycourts.

I always thought, with due respect ot Becker, that Sampras' volleys were a notch above Beckers, I think his hands were better than Becker's and his low forehand volley was better than Becker's, but I'll concede it's not an easy call.

You're right about the forehand, LOL. DECENT? Actually, Brad Gilbert once wrote that he felt Agassi's combination of BH and FH were the best overall package and that Agassi's forehand was still one of the best in the game, although he felt Sampras and possibly a couple claycourters might have surpassed him on the forehand side. This was when HE WAS STILL COACHING Andre.

danniflava
03-01-2005, 01:58 PM
Yeah, it's true that if a guy had Sampras' record, but instead of Wimbledon he won a ton of French Opens, and never even got to a Wimbledon finals, his place in history would be far more dubious.

Wimbledon shouldn't have so much weight IMO. It's played on grass for butt's sakes. Clay is wayyyyyy more relevant, as so many tournaments played on it.

Not to mention that most players would agree in saying that the French Open is the most difficult Grand Slam to win. Pete practically breezed through 7 Wimbledons, because he had a volley and a serve.

Rabbit
03-01-2005, 02:07 PM
Actually, Becker was the best indoor carpet player ever--Sampras said so himself. Becker had a winning percentage on him on indoor carpet.


Ivan Lendl and his record may have something to say about that....

Bertchel Banks
03-01-2005, 02:10 PM
Not to mention that most players would agree in saying that the French Open is the most difficult Grand Slam to win. Pete practically breezed through 7 Wimbledons, because he had a volley and a serve.

IMO, RG is the toughest to win because there are many competent and capable clay court players. Sampras breezed through seven Wimbeldons because of the lack of competent grasscourt players. Had the talent pool at Wimbledon been as deep as it is RG, no way would Pete have won seven titles.

Hal
03-01-2005, 02:53 PM
European players live to win the French--it's more prestigious to many of them than even Wimbledon.

Hmm...I don't think Federer or Henmen would agree with you here and both of them are from Europe. Also, I didn't see Borg react the same way when he won the French Open as he did when he won Wimbledon. He lived to win Wimbledon.

I'll speculate that the majority of people that pick the French as the top GS are either from France, Spain, or South America. The rest of the world (on average) probably picks:
1) Wimbledon
2) US Open or French (depending on their own playing style)
4) Australian Open (the top players ignored it for too many years)

Kaptain Karl
03-01-2005, 02:55 PM
From Kaptain Karl:AHHH--spoken like a true American (which I am too) whose perspective is quite limited.Yet another unsupported assertion.
Go to Europe, South America and other places in the world and many will tell you the French is NUMBER 1.I'm pretty sure you are right about South America; I question your assertion about "Europe and other places in the world." I don't see the support for your claim. It's the event that requires hitting the most tennis balls...[Yawn....] ... having the most stamina ...Agreed. But ... [yawn...] ... often the most patience... Yes, but ... [yawn...] ... and creativity.No. On most clay surfaces I'd agree that creativity is a big component. Not on that stuff they play on in the French. You may call that "creative". I call it boring.... European players live to win the French... Geez! Could you please use a *few* more qualifiers!!! Yes, "some" Europeans do. More I believe you overstate. ... it's more prestigious to many of them than even Wimbledon. So? "Many" isn't "most". The US Open is more prestigious than Wimbledon to "many". So what? Americans have a limited perspective and appreciation for the French Open for two key reasons -- Right! But your two were not correct. Here are the two reasons:
1 - It's boring.
2 - It removes too much artistry.

... The French is so often not revered here in the States.It's often not revered in many places. Yuck!

- KK

Max G.
03-01-2005, 05:51 PM
IMO, RG is the toughest to win because there are many competent and capable clay court players. Sampras breezed through seven Wimbeldons because of the lack of competent grasscourt players. Had the talent pool at Wimbledon been as deep as it is RG, no way would Pete have won seven titles.

Actually, I wouldn't say there was a lack of grasscourt players. Ivanisevic, Rafter, Henman, Krajicek, Stich, Becker, Edberg, and so on and so forth...

Sampras merely was SO GOOD on grass that he made the rest of the competition look talentless on grass.

Coria
03-01-2005, 06:43 PM
[QUOTE=Kaptain Karl]Yet another unsupported assertion.
I'm pretty sure you are right about South America; I question your assertion about "Europe and other places in the world." I don't see the support for your claim.

Wrong!! These guys grow up on clay (most of them) and it's the event they want to win. Why do so many play the European Clay Court circuit so religiously? The Italian Open is like a major over there.

[Yawn....] Agreed. But ... [yawn...] Yes, but ... [yawn...] No. On most clay surfaces I'd agree that creativity is a big component. Not on that stuff they play on in the French. You may call that "creative". I call it boring....

Your opinion. The people I know who have been in tennis would beg to differ with you.


It's often not revered in many places. Yuck!

Sadly true. Most American tennis fans do not have the respect for the French. It was amazing though, when Agassi won in '99, how everyone here in the States was talking about it. The French Open is true tennis. Wimbledon is often a joke. The big servers just let 'em rip and get lucky to break once or twice and often win matches. So many guys with cannons for serves thrive there, yet stink on hardcourt, clay, etc.

AAAA
03-01-2005, 07:02 PM
Coria,
Yes, Sampras said Becker was the best indoor player ever, but I'm not sure how that comment means Boris is better than Sampras on that surface (I've never heard of a player arrogant enough to say that they are the best ever on any surface, imagine if Sampras said that about himself)


Sampras did say it indirectly. Sampras explained what he meant by playing "Great" tennis and "Good" tennis at least once on tv.

West Coast Ace
03-01-2005, 07:40 PM
Sorry Datacipher and Rabbit. I still don't think any of Sampras' strokes were in the upper echelons - EXCEPT his serves. He could swing away at his groundstrokes because he was likely to serve his way to at least a tiebreaker every set. And you don't have to be a great volleyer when your serves don't come back that often or with that much on the returns.

And you can say the USO's courts are 'medium, relative to carpet and grass' but as O'Reilly would say 'you're spinning' - the bottom line is that they are fast and that favors the big servers. I'm not saying he cheated or that he wasn't a champion - but he's nowhere near Laver or Borg. Just having the most Slams or the most year ending #1 rankings (Sampras even joked "a dead guy could be ranked #1 in our system) doesn't make you the best.

Datacipher
03-01-2005, 08:10 PM
Sorry Datacipher and Rabbit. I still don't think any of Sampras' strokes were in the upper echelons - EXCEPT his serves. He could swing away at his groundstrokes because he was likely to serve his way to at least a tiebreaker every set. And you don't have to be a great volleyer when your serves don't come back that often or with that much on the returns.

And you can say the USO's courts are 'medium, relative to carpet and grass' but as O'Reilly would say 'you're spinning' - the bottom line is that they are fast and that favors the big servers.

OK, well all I ever said in this thread was that I put Sampras volleys above Beckers and that Gilbert put Sampras forehand above Agassi. I dont' agree at all that none of Sampras strokes besides serves were in the upper echelons, I think almost all his strokes were and so do a lot of others, but you're certainly entitled to disagree.

I wasn't trying to "spin" at all, when I said the courts were medium. USO courts are resurfaced every year, but they are generally considered a medium paced hard court by the players, media and expert observers. It doesn't really matter what you call them....but if you call them fast, and we call grass and carpet even faster....and clay is slow....then what is medium? I put hard courts in the middle as medium.....some hard courts swing close or into the fast category and some hard courts swing into the slow territory depending on the composition and texture of the surface....that's just my point of view.

Rabbit
03-01-2005, 08:19 PM
And you can say the USO's courts are 'medium, relative to carpet and grass' but as O'Reilly would say 'you're spinning' - the bottom line is that they are fast and that favors the big servers.

The contention that the courts were made fast to suit Sampras can be refuted with one word: AGASSI. While Sampras was the number one player in the world, I think it's safe to say that he had absolutely no charisma compared to Agassi. If the USTA was promoting the game, Sampras may have been the guy that real tennis players watched, but Agassi was the guy who everyone, and I mean everyone watched. If the USTA were to favor any player then, it would only make sense that they favor Agassi.

Further proof of that comes from their joint sponsor, Nike. Sampras got made because he didn't get, in his words, "respect" when Nike offerred to re-up him. This resulted in Sampas sewing American flags over the Nike emblems until his contract could be resolved.

I've never heard of Agassi having a dispute with Nike. Wanna know why? While Nike was probably proud as hell to sign the number one player in the world, they made their money from Agassi selling $80 million dollars (ok, I'm stretching it) in denim jeans. I, for one, remember playing in the state finals and the verifiers having a hard time distinguishing the players. Why? They described the players by what they wore and every guy on court was wearing denim shorts. Agassi has sole more stuff for Nike than any two Sampras' ever did. I say this to prove the point that if anyone is going to get preferential treatment for the good of American tennis, it was going to be Andre Agassi.

Your other points are well taken, but I have to agree to disagree. More than me has cited Sampras' forehand as one of the best shots of all time. The fact that he won Wimbledon 7 times speaks volumes to his ability to volley. The one thing you didn't cite was his single mindedness which raised him above the rest of the field for the majority of his career. The guy simply slept, ate, and drank tennis while he was playing. My personal opinion is that Lendl taught him that was the way to get to be a champion.

West Coast Ace
03-01-2005, 08:28 PM
The contention that the courts were made fast to suit Sampras can be refuted with one word: AGASSI. While Sampras was the number one player in the world, I think it's safe to say that he had absolutely no charisma compared to Agassi. If the USTA was promoting the game, Sampras may have been the guy that real tennis players watched, but Agassi was the guy who everyone, and I mean everyone watched. If the USTA were to favor any player then, it would only make sense that they favor Agassi.

Your other points are well taken, but I have to agree to disagree. More than me has cited Sampras' forehand as one of the best shots of all time. The fact that he won Wimbledon 7 times speaks volumes to his ability to volley. The one thing you didn't cite was his single mindedness which raised him above the rest of the field for the majority of his career. The guy simply slept, ate, and drank tennis while he was playing. My personal opinion is that Lendl taught him that was the way to get to be a champion.Yes, we will agree to disagree. The flaw in bringing up Agassi: the fast courts helped Agassi too. While he couldn't blow anyone away with his serve, once a rally did get under way he could bully people around. As the saying goes, win-win for the USTA.

And you need to reread what I said about Sampras at Wimbledon - not that many balls put back in play by the returned = not having to volley too much or well. Edberg and J. McEnroe in recent years were far superior volleyers. And going back to the wood racket days I might take Stan Smith and Newk. And even further back, Budge and Tilden.

I have no complaints about his mental aspects - but Chang matched him in that area and he has 13 less Slam trophies - any wonder why?

Stuck
03-01-2005, 08:49 PM
I've got three words that factually make Samp the best ever FOURTEEN GRAND SLAMS haters! Who cares if Borg could have played Austrailia boo hoo hoo (Coria) Well if Samp could have played all of thoses majors on grass like old timers used to he could have won 30 slams. PETE BEST EVER FOR SURE.

Federer Admirer
03-01-2005, 09:05 PM
this is why i think federer will be the best ever. Federer lost to a unpredictable guga last year but still he won 1 of the claycourt masters serise, did sampras ever win a claycourt masters series

Max G.
03-01-2005, 09:11 PM
this is why i think federer will be the best ever. Federer lost to a unpredictable guga last year but still he won 1 of the claycourt masters serise, did sampras ever win a claycourt masters series

Yes, actually... Rome, I think.

aj_m2009
03-01-2005, 09:18 PM
Yes, he won in '94.

West Coast Ace
03-01-2005, 09:29 PM
I've got three words that factually make Samp the best ever FOURTEEN GRAND SLAMS haters! Who cares if Borg could have played Austrailia boo hoo hoo (Coria) Well if Samp could have played all of thoses majors on grass like old timers used to he could have won 30 slams. PETE BEST EVER FOR SURE.Stuck - the surface didn't matter as much back then because the racket technology and player size and training levels weren't what they are now. Typing every other sentence in all caps won't change the facts. He has the most majors because Laver wasn't allowed to compete for 8 years during his prime. Sampras had no such problems.

Funny how many people just on the Sampras bandwagon - has the most majors, seemed (to the public) to be a nice guy, must be the best.

Bertchel Banks
03-01-2005, 09:58 PM
Funny how many people just on the Sampras bandwagon - has the most majors, seemed (to the public) to be a nice guy, must be the best.

No nice guy goes out of his way to insult fans (Venus and Serena) who only want to get their picture taken with the man they think is the greatest. The way he treated Venus at 2000 Wimbledon and the comments he made about Serena at the 2001 USO was lacking in grace.

aj_m2009
03-01-2005, 10:11 PM
No nice guy goes out of his way to insult fans (Venus and Serena) who only want to get their picture taken with the man they think is the greatest. The way he treated Venus at 2000 Wimbledon and the comments he made about Serena at the 2001 USO was lacking in grace.

What exactly did he say? I heard he said something about Serena's hair or something like that but I don't know what he said about Venus.

Kaptain Karl
03-01-2005, 11:47 PM
Coria - Your condescending attitude and assumption that I don't know tennis means nothing to me. You have a European Clay bias; I have a Grass bias.

I expressed my *opinion* that the French is boring. You label it "wrong", which is pretty funny. (I like purple. Is that wrong too?)

The French Open is true tennis.You are certainly entitled to your opinion.
Wimbledon is often a joke.Hurray!!! You used a qualifier! (I disagree with your view, but I appreciate the fact that you tempered your assertion.)
The big servers just let 'em rip and get lucky to break once or twice and often win matches. So many guys with cannons for serves thrive there ...Let's see ... Connors (1), Mac (3), Borg (5), Agassi (1) ... and not a "cannon" among them. ... yet stink on hardcourt, clay, etc.Hmmm. Sampras, Agassi, Borg, Mac, Connors, Edberg, Becker. Yup, I guess you're right. These Wimby Champs were terrible on other surfaces, huh?

Your comments about playing on grass make me think you ignore the touch, shot making and artistry demonstrated by so many grass courters. "Oh well."

Thanks for playing. Come again....

- KK

Datacipher
03-01-2005, 11:53 PM
this is why i think federer will be the best ever. Federer lost to a unpredictable guga last year but still he won 1 of the claycourt masters serise, did sampras ever win a claycourt masters series

Geez, where do these people come from? Is this Rickson?

Datacipher
03-02-2005, 12:05 AM
Yes, that's the thing Kaptain, it's funny that the only players who say the FO is the most prestigous tournaments are clay court specialists who have never won any other GS. The great champions from the other GS are contenders at every GS, yes, even at the FO they tend to have an outside shot.

Grass, is quick, the points are short. But those who say it is "easy" or that it is about serve only don't understand the game. The truth is that when serving is enhanced, your return becomes even more important. Your concentration also is at a premium, for though the points don't last long, and you dont' grind away, every single point becomes more important on grass, because each game may be your one and only chance to break and turn the match. Further, the points are more spontaneous and improvised as erratic bounces and quick strikes, make the game more unpredictable. Clay court specialists tend to want to do one thing, the same groundstrokes over and over, that's something to be appreciated, but so is the improv jazz that grasscourt play is. Reflexes and touch are truly put to the test at Wimbledon.

This is what made Sampras great, NOT big serving. Ivanisevic got more free points off his serve at Wimbledon, and yet he and so many other big servers failed time and again to defeat Sampras. That isn't luck. I always marveled and appreciated how Sampras could go in against an Ivanisevic or Rusedski or (insert server here) who would absolutely stay with Sampras ace for ace, power for power....and yet, Pete would pull out set after set....5 games all, suddenly Pete would hit 2 blistering returns, a crucial pass and get a double fault and you knew the set was his.

laurie
03-02-2005, 05:30 AM
Let's see now. French Open is true tennis and Wimbledon is a joke. Which champion is a joke - Gasto Gaudio or Roger Federer?

rhubarb
03-02-2005, 05:43 AM
Let's see now. French Open is true tennis and Wimbledon is a joke. Which champion is a joke - Gasto Gaudio or Roger Federer?

That's not quite a fair comparison. How about Richard Krajicek and Gustavo Kuerten?

Kaptain Karl
03-02-2005, 05:48 AM
laurie just served a Winner...!

- KK

laurie
03-02-2005, 05:52 AM
Best to deal with now and not look at the past. Hang on....Krajicek was champion in 1996 and Kuerten in 1997. Please, lets be consistent. I used 2004 as a base. How about last two years then.

2003 French champion - Ferrero
2003 Wimbledon champion - Federer
2002 French champion - Costa
2002 Wimbledon champion - Hewitt

The French does seem to throw up more one slam champions than Wimbledon.

Since 1989 French:
Andres Gomez
Micheal Chang
Thomas Muster
Carlos Moya
Ferrero (so far, that can change)
Costa
Gaudio (will probably stay that way)

Since 1989 Wimbledon
Micheal Stich
Richard Krajicek
Goran Ivanesevic

Two to one there in numbers. Interesting

laurie
03-02-2005, 05:54 AM
Cheers Kaptain!

rhubarb
03-02-2005, 06:03 AM
Best to deal with now and not look at the past. Hang on....Krajicek was champion in 1996 and Kuerten in 1997. Please, lets be consistent. I used 2004 as a base. ...
The French does seem to throw up more one slam champions than Wimbledon.
Two to one there in numbers. Interesting

Oh, I didn't realise I had to quote champions from the same year ;)

Yes, certainly over the last 15 years or so, Roland Garros does have more one-off champions than any of the other slams. The US Open has none at all.

I'm not sure that makes it a less difficult slam though; if anything it shows that it is harder to win, because guys don't repeat so much.

And please let's not call Gaudio a joke champion, that's just mean. He won it fair and square, came through tough battles. Whilst I don't think he will repeat this year, I doubt he'll disgrace himself.

Rabbit
03-02-2005, 06:05 AM
Yes, we will agree to disagree. The flaw in bringing up Agassi: the fast courts helped Agassi too. While he couldn't blow anyone away with his serve, once a rally did get under way he could bully people around. As the saying goes, win-win for the USTA.

I'd have to disagree. Agassi's best results are at the Australian where they have a medium paced surface. The USTA has always seen Agassi as its poster boy and for good reason.


And you need to reread what I said about Sampras at Wimbledon - not that many balls put back in play by the returned = not having to volley too much or well. Edberg and J. McEnroe in recent years were far superior volleyers.

And you need to reread what I first posted. Yes, I said along side McEnroe and Edberg Sampras' volleys are not stellar. Here we agree. But, Sampras' volleys are far above adequate. I believe that was the word you used. I went on to say that I rated Sampras' volleys with Becker's.


And going back to the wood racket days I might take Stan Smith and Newk.

You'd better watch some of the WITC matches on TTC. Smith's volleys were no where near what Sampras' are. IMO, Smith's were the passable volleys, not Sampras. Newcombe's I'll agree with, the guy had a great net game.

And even further back, Budge and Tilden.

I think you've resorted to pulling names out of a hat since Tilden was primarly a baseliner with big groundstrokes. Budge I'll have to take your word for because I've never seen footage of him playing although from what I've read the serve/volley game wasn't the dominate strategy until Jack Kramer revolutionized the sport in the late 40s. Kramer coined the phrase percentage tennis to describe his tennis. John McEnroe later reinforced this by saying that with a wood racket the easiest way to win a point was to hit the ball before it bounced.


I have no complaints about his mental aspects - but Chang matched him in that area and he has 13 less Slam trophies - any wonder why?

Really? How exactly did Chang match Sampras? At anything? They're 12 - 8 lifetime (Sampras), Grand Slam titles is 14 to 1, singles records are 762 - 222 and 662 - 312 respectively (which gives Sampras a winning percentage of 77.4% and Chang 67.9%) and prize money is $43 million to $19 million. Hey, don't get me wrong, I like Mike as much as the next guy, but comparing him to Sampras is like comparing Muster to Borg.

Coria
03-02-2005, 08:54 AM
[QUOTE=Kaptain Karl]Coria - Your condescending attitude and assumption that I don't know tennis means nothing to me. You have a European Clay bias; I have a Grass bias.

I'm not trying to be condescending. But you clearly showed in your posts that you lack in appreciation for the French and I'm telling you that it is revered in many parts of Europe and South America. That makes up a huge part of the tennis fan base and the countries from where so many great players come from.

I expressed my *opinion* that the French is boring. You label it "wrong", which is pretty funny. (I like purple. Is that wrong too?)

You labeling the French as "boring" was a pretty dumb thing to say. Some ot the greatest matches ever are played there. Remember Lendl-Wilander? Sanchez-Graf? Evert-Navratilova? Borg-Vilas? Mcenroe-Lendl? --many others. These matches involve endurance (a major part of athletics), patience (mental toughness), need to change strategy, etc. Often, Wimbledon ends up being about "reacting". The Sampras-Ivanesivic final was the most "boring" match I ever watched. The AVERAGE point last three shots.

Let's see ... Connors (1), Mac (3), Borg (5), Agassi (1) ... and not a "cannon" among them. Hmmm. Sampras, Agassi, Borg, Mac, Connors, Edberg, Becker. Yup, I guess you're right. These Wimby Champs were terrible on other surfaces, huh?

The fact is that the "power" of today's game far exceeds what was happening in the 70's and 80's. Agassi was a much better player than Goran, yet had to go to 6-4 in the fifth to beat him. Why, because of the serve. Guys now just bludgeon people with their serve. (Norman, Roddick, Joachim J., Ancic, etc.) The way Krajeck (sp?) used to. How did he fare in other outside of Wimbledon? A very good player, but not even close to as successful. There are many other guys as well. I just hate how Wimbledon matches favor these big servers. That's just my personal dislike.

Kevin Patrick
03-02-2005, 09:14 AM
West Coast Ace,
agree that since Ashe Stadium opened in '97, the US Open has been on the fast side(all the players say this)
But before that, it was definitely a medium surface. Concerns about the power game caused the USTA to slow the court down from '93 to '95. Many of the big servers were upset early those years & baseliners did very well. I have a '94 Tennis magazine in which it was confirmed that they added more sand in the top layer of the surface for the '94 US Open(which Agassi won)
Check out the link at the bottom:
This after Becker's 1st round loss:

Q. Boris, what happened the first two sets?

BECKER BORIS: Well, I had a hard time with the circumstances here. It was extremely slow. They made the court extremely slow this year; especially Center Court and the Grandstand, and they changed the balls. They made them very heavy and very soft and that is very bad for my game. It took me an hour to get used to all that. But by the time the first hour passed, it was two sets to Love down. He, on the other hand, he really started in full gear and hardly missed a ball for the first hour and a half. All those combinations made it hard for me to play good tennis at the beginning.

Q. How disappointed are you now that it is over?

BECKER BORIS: Extremely disappointed. I played one of the best summers of my life. I felt good. I was winning a tournament without losing a set. I really thought I had a very good chance, but when I first came here and played with the balls and on the surface I knew I was in trouble. I knew that for some reason they were really trying to slow it down this year and everybody knows I am not the best on the slow surface.

from Edberg:

Q. Is it slower this year?

STEFAN EDBERG: I don't know, I wasn't here very long last year, but -- well, the court is a little bit slow, I agree with that, but I quite like playing on slow hardcourt because it gives you a chance to play back and you can play serve and volley if you're good enough, there's no doubt about that. So I think the court played very nicely this year. I'd rather have them a little bit slower than quicker.


http://www.asapsports.com/tennis/94usopen.html

hyperwarrior
01-02-2010, 01:36 AM
bump 10 char