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View Full Version : What would Nadal have to do to take over the GOAT label


thalivest
04-11-2009, 10:19 AM
What do some of you historical buffs believe Nadal has to do in order to take over the GOAT label? My own personal view right now is he would have to do the following:

-win 2 Calender Grand Slams
-win atleast 18 slam events
-win atleast 2 slam events per year for atleast the next 4 years
-sustain a top 3 ranking for atleast until atleast 2014

CyBorg
04-11-2009, 10:41 AM
I posted this on MTF:

My "system" constructs a very simple abstraction of what a top-tier player is. The ones in my top tier are:

Tilden, Budge, Gonzales, Rosewall, Laver, Borg, Sampras, Federer

I don't believe it is necessary to fool around with complex numbers, nor do we have to oversimplify things and count majors. Instead let's establish three basic "necessities" of a top-tier player.

a) Peak. A top-tier player is expected to have an extended peak of somewhere in the neighbourhood of three consecutive years as the best in the game. All of the listed players have this; study them enough and you'll see that it's not arbitrary. Some have more than three. Please note that having three years in total as #1 is not sufficient - the peak has be extended and thus years have to be consecutive. Of course, some players may put together three years consecutive as the best in the game and have some other isolated years as #1. That's in their favour.

b) Surfaces/Conditions. I look for the following: grass, clay, outdoor hardcourt, indoor (hardcourt/carpet). Top-tier players have to have extended success (dominance) on at least three of the four conditions/surfaces.

c) Longevity. The least important of the three in my opinion. This is about the years that surround the peak. They don't matter as much and frankly are of more use when rating one top-tier player over another.

...

Let's look at Nadal. He has put together one full year as the game's best. He has three additional and very solid years as #2, but they're not peak years. If he continues to dominate this year and then has another great one in 2010 then he probably enters the top tier. Note that Nadal excels on grass, clay, outdoor (slow) hardcourts, but struggles on fast, particularly indoor, hard/carpet surfaces. It is still 3/4, however.

A few other guys definitely in the conversation, including Lendl who had three strong years from 1985-1987.

A good argument can be made that players like Lendl, as well as Kramer/Cochet, maybe a couple of others also fit the criteria. However I don't think they quite belong with the eight I've listed, so perhaps I should give a bit more weight to longevity (surrounding years) as a factor. Rosewall, as an example, has a ton of these. Regardless I think the peak is what separates the best from the sub-best. To be there you have to have extended dominance. Connors, for example, I see as too inconsistent.

Nadal appears to be putting together his second consecutive great year.

egn
04-11-2009, 10:52 AM
I would only say 1 calendar year because although Laver did two 1962 was done in an amateur field and to do 2 today it would be almost impossible, if he does do 2 then that is it in my mind he is GOAT. However

- 1 Calendar year
- At least 2 of every single slam event.
- 3-4 years as number 1. (Though I could give him a pass at 3 because he spent 3 years behind a GOAT candidate as a worthy number 2 who had seasons that could have easily been number 1 in other generations.)
- 70+ titles
- 3 Year End Championships
- Stays in the game until he is about 30 playing top 5 tennis.
- Respectable head to heads against rivals.

That is what I feel he needs to be goat. Same applies to Federer also.

Cesc Fabregas
04-11-2009, 10:56 AM
What do some of you historical buffs believe Nadal has to do in order to take over the GOAT label? My own personal view right now is he would have to do the following:

-win 2 Calender Grand Slams
-win atleast 18 slam events
-win atleast 2 slam events per year for atleast the next 4 years
-sustain a top 3 ranking for atleast until atleast 2014

Thats a huge ask I don't think Rafa is has set himself the goal to be remembed as the best ever like Federer im pretty sure he will be content with being an all time great which he is well on his way to doing.

thalivest
04-11-2009, 11:01 AM
Thats a huge ask I don't think Rafa is has set himself the goal to be remembed as the best ever like Federer im pretty sure he will be content with being an all time great which he is well on his way to doing.

Well I was never asking about the likelihood of him doing it, just curiousity to what some others think he would have to do. I dont neccessarily expect Nadal to be the best ever in the future. That being said a couple of things to keep in mind:

1. Nadal is excellent at proving people wrong, even exceeding the expectations of his ardent fans like myself. How many people said he would never win a slam outside of clay, then never win a hard court slam, or never be ranked #1. He has done all 3 by age 22, things so many said he would never do his whole career. He has won matches even I didnt expect him to win, like the Australian Open final this year vs a seemingly in form Federer after a grueling 5 setter in the semis, or like that comeback vs Nalbandian at the Pacific Life.

2. Nadal is outwardly overly modest and humble to a fault. To the point it is hard to believe he really believes alot of the things he says. Do you think he really sees himself the underdog everytime he plays Federer on clay like he tells the press? Nadal has much bigger goals than he will ever let on to the press I am sure.

thalivest
04-11-2009, 11:02 AM
I would only say 1 calendar year because although Laver did two 1962 was done in an amateur field and to do 2 today it would be almost impossible, if he does do 2 then that is it in my mind he is GOAT. However

- 1 Calendar year
- At least 2 of every single slam event.
- 3-4 years as number 1. (Though I could give him a pass at 3 because he spent 3 years behind a GOAT candidate as a worthy number 2 who had seasons that could have easily been number 1 in other generations.)
- 70+ titles
- 3 Year End Championships
- Stays in the game until he is about 30 playing top 5 tennis.
- Respectable head to heads against rivals.

That is what I feel he needs to be goat. Same applies to Federer also.

The reason I said 2 Calender Slams is Laver would have likely won the Calender Slam in 1967 had there been Open tennis. He won all 3 Pro Slams that year (there was no Australian Pro) vs a field that was generally considered much stronger than the then "amateur" field. The rest sounds pretty good.

GameSampras
04-11-2009, 11:15 AM
I dont think nadal needs the calendar slam.. He definitely needs a USO title though. And at least one surface he is dominant on which he already has at RG. THe biggest task IMO for Nadal is longevity at the top though. He wont stay at his current level obviously but if he can scrape by a few years at number 1, maintain his dominance and consistency than along with a USO than its possible.

That said.. I dont think Nadal will manage it. At least the longevity at the top of the game for many years part like the other greats of the past. I think eventually injuries and burnout will get the best of Nadal in a few years

thalivest
04-11-2009, 11:18 AM
At least the longevity at the top of the game for many years part like the other greats of the past. I think eventually injuries and burnout will get the best of Nadal in a few years

I am not disputing that you could well be right in the end here, but like I said the amazing thing is about Nadal to date is how many times he has already proven people wrong, including even his ardent fans.

Cesc Fabregas
04-11-2009, 11:22 AM
I dont think nadal needs the calendar slam.. He definitely needs a USO title though. And at least one surface he is dominant on which he already has at RG. THe biggest task IMO for Nadal is longevity at the top though. He wont stay at his current level obviously but if he can scrape by a few years at number 1, maintain his dominance and consistency than along with a USO than its possible.

That said.. I dont think Nadal will manage it. At least the longevity at the top of the game for many years part like the other greats of the past. I think eventually injuries and burnout will get the best of Nadal in a few years

After his knee injury in 2007 people where saying he was finished I think he will have good longevity imo he will win slams till at least 27.

GameSampras
04-11-2009, 11:23 AM
I am not disputing that you could well be right in the end here, but like I said the amazing thing is about Nadal to date is how many times he has already proven people wrong, including even his ardent fans.

Thats the beauty of being young though. Its much easier to recover and recuperate from injuries etc. THe older you get the tougher it is. You really do begin to feel those matches the next day as you get older. And Nadal already has alot of miles on those legs. We'll see. I just cant see Nadal and longevity at the top. He could prove me wrong though for sure. His style of game though has to catch up to him eventually. He doesnt win too many free points. He has to work for them

GameSampras
04-11-2009, 11:26 AM
After his knee injury in 2007 people where saying he was finished I think he will have good longevity imo he will win slams till at least 27.

5 more years on top and winning slams ?? I DONT SEE THAT.. No way.. Not the way he plays. He doesnt have the type of weapons in his game that he can win easy points and win them quick.

These next few years he is really going to have to consider pacing himself and playing as few tournaments as possible. When your younger you can recuperate from knee problems and all sort of different physical problems. When you get older, you dont recover nearly as quickly.

Its different recovering at 20 years old from injuries than it is, recovering at 27 years old. Nadal has had youth on his side. He wont have that forever

pc1
04-11-2009, 11:31 AM
The reason I said 2 Calender Slams is Laver would have likely won the Calender Slam in 1967 had there been Open tennis. He won all 3 Pro Slams that year (there was no Australian Pro) vs a field that was generally considered much stronger than the then "amateur" field. The rest sounds pretty good.

I just wrote in another thread that I think Nadal has a shot at the mythical GOAT title. A calendar Grand Slam of course would be great but I don't even think he has to do that to be in the consideration for GOAT if he does everything else well.

The dominance factor is very important, you can't have a GOAT with a lot of years with 60% winning percentages. You want the GOAT to be pretty unbeatable. You want a lot of years that he's won over 90% of his matches or at least in the high 80% range with him winning a few majors a year. How good was the player during a certain period of time? It's possible a player very well could have played the highest quality of tennis ever for a few years and than got injured and never could reach that level again. You still shouldn't take away the possibility that for those years he was playing at a higher level than anyone ever.

A good example of this is Federer recently. He's done all of that in the last few years. Let's say he never wins another match again and somehow ends up with a lifetime below 50% winning percentage. (Almost impossible by the way but humor me.) You still can't take away the fact the guy was almost unbeatable for years. You can't call Federer a below average player if that happened. He would still be an all time great to me.

Obviously winning a lot of majors. Sampras is called the GOAT by many and his best years for winning percentage was 86.52% in 1994. A lot of players like Jimmy Connors or Ivan Lendl have had a few years over 90% but usually are NOT in consideration for GOAT because there didn't have as many majors as some. I'm not sure if that's fair with Connors and Lendl but that's what many think.

Just winning a lot of tournaments in general. Mats Wilander won a lot of majors but very few put him in the top level because he didn't win too many tournaments and his time at the top essentially ended after 1988. Guys like Laver, Tilden, Connors, Rosewall and Borg have won over 100 tournaments. Nadal may very well do that. If Nadal becomes the GOAT, it'll be many years in the making, not this year like some people have written. You can't accomplish all this in one year.

Pirao
04-11-2009, 11:59 AM
If he wins a calendar year Grand Slam and gets 10 or more grand slams in total, he would be the GOAT. If he wins 10+ slams without the calendar year grand slam he would be up there with Fed, Borg,Sampras and company but not the clear GOAT.

egn
04-11-2009, 12:01 PM
If he wins a calendar year Grand Slam and gets 10 or more grand slams in total, he would be the GOAT. If he wins 10+ slams without the calendar year grand slam he would be up there with Fed, Borg,Sampras and company but not the clear GOAT.

Laver? does he not exist...

Pirao
04-11-2009, 12:09 PM
Laver? does he not exist...

Laver himself has said that winning a true grand slam nowadays would be more impressive than the two he accomplished. I'll take his word for it, I think.

egn
04-11-2009, 12:14 PM
Laver himself has said that winning a true grand slam nowadays would be more impressive than the two he accomplished. I'll take his word for it, I think.

Toni Nadal and Rafael Nadal have both called Laver GOAT..i will take their word for it.

CyBorg
04-11-2009, 12:21 PM
This kind of game can be played pretty fruitlessly. I should dig up some of Laver's quotes about wood v graphite just to see what some of these same folks quoting him would say.

"I'll take Laver's word for it"

Yeah, when it's convenient. :)

Pirao
04-11-2009, 12:26 PM
Toni Nadal and Rafael Nadal have both called Laver GOAT..i will take their word for it.

Of course! For now he is, if you hadn't noticed Nadal winning a true grand slam is just hipotetical.

thalivest
04-11-2009, 02:18 PM
Well Laver is overly humble. You have to take his words with a grain of salt. He never wants to come out and admit how great he really is. You would never hear him call himself the GOAT even though 90% of serious tennis fans believe he is.

hoodjem
04-11-2009, 03:51 PM
A true (calendar year) Grand Slam would definitely put Nadal in the top-10. Two would put up there with Laver, Tilden, and Budge. (I regard Laver as having three: amateur GS in '62, pro Grand Slam in '67, and an open grand slam in '69.)

anointedone
04-11-2009, 03:53 PM
A true Grand Slam would definitely put Nadal in the top-10. Two would put up there with Laver, Tilden, and Budge. (I regard Laver as having three: amateur GS in '62, pro Grand Slam in '67, and an open grand slam in '69.)

I honestly dont see how you could ever credit Laver with 3. He never would have achieved the 1962 grand slam had the pros been there (he might not have even won a slam event that year at all). So if one is going to credit him with an unofficial 1967 slam he certainly cant be given 1962 as well if that is the line of thought we are going on. Likewise if one is going to just credit the amateur results and give him the 1962 grand slam, one cant credit him for a hypothetical one in 1967 on top of that.

egn
04-11-2009, 04:41 PM
Laver himself has said that winning a true grand slam nowadays would be more impressive than the two he accomplished. I'll take his word for it, I think.

Laver also said it was an honor for him to be mentioned in the same sentence as McEnroe.

NE14Tennis?
04-12-2009, 11:11 AM
Everyone has a different take on what make a play the G.O.A.T. I'm here to settle this definitively. If Nadal:

Wins a total of 15 slams (including 3 complete calander slams)
AND
Wins at least 5 Masters events every year 'til he retires.
AND
Plays at least 'til he's 33.
AND
Celebrates his probable RG win this year by not only taking a dive in the Seine (ala Courier), but actually walks across it!

I think we'll be able to safely call him the G.O.A.T.

Short of that, it will always be debatable.

NE14Tennis?
04-12-2009, 11:21 AM
Laver's accomplishments were unique and virtually unduplicatable now as the 4 majors are played on 4 different surfaces, not on grass as 3 of them were then. Was he the greatest of all time? Perhaps, but we'll never know for sure - the game, the surfaces, the racquets, and the field has changed so much since then. So I think you have to have a greatest player for <1986 and one for the "modern era" (at least). One player can't be the "Greatest of All Time" only the "Greatest of His Time"

RoddickAce
04-12-2009, 11:24 AM
I still don't believe there is a "GOAT", but if we only weigh statistics, then I'd say he'd have to:
-At least tie Sampras's 14 slam record
-At least tie Federer's 237 consecutive weeks at #1
-Have a year where his win/loss ratio is >= J-mac's 82-3
-Beat or tie Jimmy Connor's 109 career titles record
-Win a career golden slam
-I would say win a calendar slam twice, but many argue how Laver didn't win his slams on 3 surfaces, so I didn't include this.

In fact, until anyone can get beat all those records, there is no statistical GOAT(in my opinion).

hoodjem
04-12-2009, 02:23 PM
I honestly dont see how you could ever credit Laver with 3. He never would have achieved the 1962 grand slam had the pros been there (he might not have even won a slam event that year at all). So if one is going to credit him with an unofficial 1967 slam he certainly cant be given 1962 as well if that is the line of thought we are going on. Likewise if one is going to just credit the amateur results and give him the 1962 grand slam, one cant credit him for a hypothetical one in 1967 on top of that.
I call them as I see them, and try to label them as such.

The 1962 Grand Slam was available to the amateur players only. I call it an amateur Grand Slam. It is the same as Budge's 1938 Grand Slam. (I am inclined to agree with you: if the pros had been allowed to play Rod probably would not have won it. But that is speculation, a what if scenario. And the the "if" does not exist.)

The 1969 Grand Slam was at the beginning of the open era. All players (professional or amateuur) were allowed to play on an equal basis. I call it the only open-era Grand Slam in mens' singles. Extremely difficult because a player has one and only one chance to win all four slam tournaments in a given calendar year. One stumble, one loss and it is over--no second chances. Next year you start all over.

The 1967 Pro Grand Slam is more problematic, precisely because it does not include any of the standard national slams. In 1967 Laver won the Wimbledon Pro, the U.S. Pro Championships, the Wembley Pro Championship, and the French Pro Championship. These wins gave him a clean sweep of the four most important professional titles. (The Wimbledon Pro in 1967 was played at the AELTC on Wimbledon's Centre Court, and was the only professional event ever staged on that court before the open era began. Laver beat Rosewall in the final 6–2, 6–2, 12–10. Not bad.

hoodjem
04-12-2009, 04:14 PM
"Laver’s accomplishments needs no introduction, he is the only person to ever win the Grand Slam twice! He also won a Pro Grand Slam in 1967 for a total of three Grand Slams in his career. The Pro Slam in 1967 was interesting in that while Laver won the three Pro majors that year, Laver also won the first Pro Tournament at Wimbledon that year over Rosewall in straight sets. The Wimbledon World Pro was perhaps the most important Pro Tournament that year even though it wasn’t a Pro major. In a way you can argue that Laver won five straight Wimbledons if you count the Wimbledon World Pro. The Wimbledon World Pro was so successful that it paved the way for Open Tennis at Wimbledon the next year.

Many people assume Laver was at his peak in 1969 when he won the first Open Grand Slam but Laver was 31 that year and already on the decline. He just was so great that even after the decline he was still by far the best in the world in 1969. I believe Laver was at his best from about 1964 to 1967. These were the years he and Rosewall dominated pro tennis. The level of competition there was extremely high."

Enjoy:
http://www.tennisweek.com/news/fullstory.sps?inewsid=503656

anointedone
04-12-2009, 04:18 PM
I call them as I see them, and try to label them as such.

The 1962 Grand Slam was available to the amateur players only. I call it an amateur Grand Slam. It is the same as Budge's 1938 Grand Slam. (I am inclined to agree with you: if the pros had been allowed to play Rod probably would not have won it. But that is speculation, a what if scenario. And the the "if" does not exist.)

The 1969 Grand Slam was at the beginning of the open era. All players (professional or amateuur) were allowed to play on an equal basis. I call it the only open-era Grand Slam in mens' singles. Extremely difficult because a player has one and only one chance to win all four slam tournaments in a given calendar year. One stumble, one loss and it is over--no second chances. Next year you start all over.

The 1967 Pro Grand Slam is more problematic, precisely because it does not include any of the standard national slams. In 1967 Laver won the Wimbledon Pro, the U.S. Pro Championships, the Wembley Pro Championship, and the French Pro Championship. These wins gave him a clean sweep of the four most important professional titles. (The Wimbledon Pro in 1967 was played at the AELTC on Wimbledon's Centre Court, and was the only professional event ever staged on that court before the open era began. Laver beat Rosewall in the final 62, 62, 1210. Not bad.

In that case I would still put 2 grand slams by anyone achieved under the current format atleast on par with 3 different slams but only 1 of them the true full field grand slam (basically the amateur grand slam and the pro grand slam you refer to are both not with a full field of players as they were divided then, and the latter not even with all 4 slam events). I mean that if either Nadal or anyone in the future accomplishes it.

clayman2000
04-12-2009, 04:44 PM
This is the problem with tennis today, how can you set a standard for being the GOAT when all players are different.

Nadal could win 10 more slams, but if they were all on clay, well it wouldnt mean as much. To take over the GOAT label, Nadal would have to play well enough that 9 / 10 would say NADAL is the GOAT.