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View Full Version : How much stronger would Sampras GOAT argument be if he had won the 94 and/or 96 FO?


grafselesfan
05-26-2009, 06:10 PM
There are some who think Sampras is the greatest mens tennis player of all time as it is. However I would like to ask how big a different do many of you, especialy those who dont feel he is the greatest ever right now, feel it would have made had he won either or both of the 1994 or 1996 French Opens, the two I feel he had his best shot of winning.

CEvertFan
05-26-2009, 07:05 PM
I think he would have a much stronger case for being the GOAT if he had a career Slam under his belt. Then it would be a two horse race between him and Laver pitting Sampras' career Slam and record # of majors against Laver's two Calender Grand Slams.

As it stands now though I don't think he is, despite his 14 majors. Laver's two Calender Grand Slams is the most impressive feat in tennis history and he is the men's GOAT IMO.

bluetrain4
05-26-2009, 07:41 PM
His lack of a FO title is the major and most common argument made against him in GOAT debates. So, obviously, a FO title would help his case tremendously.

helloworld
05-26-2009, 07:57 PM
I think he would have a much stronger case for being the GOAT if he had a career Slam under his belt. Then it would be a two horse race between him and Laver pitting Sampras' career Slam and record # of majors against Laver's two Calender Grand Slams.

As it stands now though I don't think he is, despite his 14 majors. Laver's two Calender Grand Slams is the most impressive feat in tennis history and he is the men's GOAT IMO.

Impressive feat does not equate to the most important feat. Winning 4 slams in a year does not automatically make someone GOAT. In the end, it is the total number that counts. Although Laver could have won 20+ slams. The truth is he didn't. Sampras is the only player who holds major records at the moment. It isn't wrong by any means to assume that Sampras is the current GOAT.

CyBorg
05-26-2009, 08:16 PM
Sampras never really came close anyway.

grafselesfan
05-26-2009, 09:49 PM
Sampras never really came close anyway.

I think that is quite harsh.

380pistol
05-26-2009, 10:34 PM
I think that is quite harsh.

Don't listen to him but "never really came close". Why?? Cuz of clay???

I can take Sampras on the remaining 3 surfaces (hard, grass and carpet), and could give a rat's *** if they played on Pluto, and put him up against anyone who has ever played the damn game. Yes I said ever, and what???

grafselesfan
05-26-2009, 10:45 PM
I can take Sampras on the remaining 3 surfaces (hard, grass and carpet), and could give a rat's *** if they played on Pluto, and put him up against anyone who has ever played the damn game.

I agree with that and that is why I consider Sampras a strong GOAT candidate even as it is. For me if he had been a great clay courter and even won a couple French Opens, it would have just sealed the deal completely. It is true his lack of a French Open is a mark against him, there is no doubt about that, however it wouldnt completely remove him from mens GOAT consideration IMO as I feel all the candidates have some kind of mark against them. That includes Laver, Rosewall, Gonzales, Federer (and his list of marks is growing all the time it seems), and Borg.

35ft6
05-27-2009, 12:59 AM
For me, if he had won a French, there would be NO argument. Until someone topped him. As it stands, I sometimes think Fed has already surpassed him. Sorry, but clay court tennis is a huge part of tennis. And grass is giving a disproportionate amount of influence.

Arafel
05-27-2009, 06:49 AM
Impressive feat does not equate to the most important feat. Winning 4 slams in a year does not automatically make someone GOAT. In the end, it is the total number that counts. Although Laver could have won 20+ slams. The truth is he didn't. Sampras is the only player who holds major records at the moment. It isn't wrong by any means to assume that Sampras is the current GOAT.

You can't look at Slam totals alone for the players from the non-Open era. Laver won the Grand Slam in 62 then turned pro, which meant he couldn't compete in Slams from 63-67. By the time tennis went Open, Laver was 30. He won another Slam at the age of 31. That puts Laver ahead of Sampras to me.

tudwell
05-27-2009, 06:56 AM
A French would have helped him quite a bit, but he still has pretty poor dominance in his 6 years as number one. Not once did he finish the year with a 90% winning percentage or fewer than 10 losses and in only one season did he win 10 titles. I think better numbers during those six years would be even better than a French title.

pennc94
05-27-2009, 06:59 AM
It is not just Sampras not ever winning the FO (or even being runner-up) that is a consideration, but that fact that he just did not dominate the way that Federer did from 2004-2006. Sampras did not have 1 season with 3 majors as I recall. So, he should be considered a great, but he did not dominate. That said, I think think GOAT debate is pointless since there are so many differing factors from one era to the next.

CEvertFan
05-27-2009, 09:15 AM
Impressive feat does not equate to the most important feat. Winning 4 slams in a year does not automatically make someone GOAT. In the end, it is the total number that counts. Although Laver could have won 20+ slams. The truth is he didn't. Sampras is the only player who holds major records at the moment. It isn't wrong by any means to assume that Sampras is the current GOAT.

Sampras never won more than two majors a year during his career - for me Federer's 3 majors wins and a French final in '06 and '07 are much more impressive, as is Laver's accomplishments.

380pistol
05-27-2009, 09:45 AM
You can't look at Slam totals alone for the players from the non-Open era. Laver won the Grand Slam in 62 then turned pro, which meant he couldn't compete in Slams from 63-67. By the time tennis went Open, Laver was 30. He won another Slam at the age of 31. That puts Laver ahead of Sampras to me.

Between Laver and Sampras I don't know who's ahead, but you can't do it the way you just did. Giving Laver slams 63-67, then you must take away the 6 slams he won 60-62. Cuz if you give Laver slams 63-67 your taking slams from guys like Emmerson who won them during that period.

In 60-62 Rosewall and Hoad, couldn't compete in slam, so if I give them slams for that time frame, they would taking them from laver.

The 5 he won 1968-69 can't be debated, and one would have to figure out how many major pro's and do that. Then what if Sampras played in an era where he got to contest 3 slams a year on grass. How would aver fair in Pete's shoes. There are a lot things to consider.

Cesc Fabregas
05-27-2009, 01:45 PM
Sampras never won more than two majors a year during his career - for me Federer's 3 majors wins and a French final in '06 and '07 are much more impressive, as is Laver's accomplishments.

Put Sampras in 04-07 era he wins 3 majors a year maybe all 4 in 2004 when the the likes of Coria and Gaudio are in the RG final and Tim Henman is in the semis.

CyBorg
05-27-2009, 02:20 PM
I think that is quite harsh.

Not harsh - not making a final isn't "close" in my opinion. If you think it's close then fine.

Perhaps if Pete won at least a set against Kafelnikov in the 96 semi you could say he was "sort of close".

I'm just looking at the results here. I also watched Sampras/Kafelnikov and that was "close" only in the first set, which went to tiebreak if memory serves.

!Tym
05-27-2009, 02:47 PM
For me, if he had won a French, there would be NO argument. Until someone topped him. As it stands, I sometimes think Fed has already surpassed him. Sorry, but clay court tennis is a huge part of tennis. And grass is giving a disproportionate amount of influence.

Well, I wouldn't quite look at it that way. It's more that the court conditions used to be faster back then. The US Open has always been a fast court, so combine that with Wimbledon back then REALLY being a fast court, and you have two of the four slams, plus the year ending majors, HIGHLY favoring those with *techniques* better suited toward fast courts. Add, that the Australian Open whilst a slow hard court is STILL a hard court, and thus I would say relatively neutral but still tiltled toward the faster court gear techniques, then you have a balance of power that quite obviously favors certain styles and techniques. This is why Landsdorp, one of the great founding archetechts of Sampras' game, himself, claimed that the top clay courters are every bit as talented as Sampras and Agassi, but no one knows it. He said it's because of their extreme grips, and that when you hit the world level, because of the pace, the extreme grips are at a disadvantage, particularly on the return, where it counts the most...except for the French. It's really true. I said from the beginning that if Rafa breaks out of that mold, it'll be because he is THAT special, and in SPITE of his grip, rather than because of it.

This said, Wimbledon ain't what it used to be either...and in the old conditions I think there's little doubt that Rafa would still be dreaming of a Wimbledon crown rather than actually having one.

To me, I wish the Australian could be played on something like green clay. To me, that's like how a slow hardcourt is relatively neutral but still slightly favors a faster court game all things being equal (i.e. assuming both players are on that day). Green clay would still favor the clay courter, but not so much that it would not be considered close enough to neutral to be considered an equitable and gentlemanly's agreement between two foes.

Wimbledon should be CRAZY fast like it used to be. The French is fine. The US Open is fine.

The year ending indoor championships should be held on green clay. I think that would give you as close to a nuetral breeding ground for ALL styles of play there is. Indoors always helps the big servers, and flatter hitters as you get EXPONENTIALLY cleaner looks at the ball in my experience. Then add the semi-slow but not totally slow playing and spin properties of green har-tru clay, and I think you have a recipe for some great tennis.

Of course, this would never happen and is wholly impractical, but still it's something I'd like to see once in my lifetime. A truly NEUTRAL venue of play. As far as I'm concerned, to me, an indoor har-tru tournament would be the TRU grand slam of tennis, pardon the pun.

Btw, to me GOAT is pointless. Laver said it best, there is no GOAT for the very factors cited here...too many variables. There IS however ONLY GOAT's within your OWN era. And to me, that makes sense. There's nothing wrong with "settling" to be the GOAT in your own era. That's all you can control. If Fed never wins another slam, his fans will say ten years later, but it's not fair! In Sampras' era, he would've been GOAT, and that nasty bugar picker Rafieal Anal never would have won 16 Wimbledon championships like he did...sooooo....uunnnnn....FAIRRRR!!!!!

egn
05-27-2009, 02:53 PM
There are some who think Sampras is the greatest mens tennis player of all time as it is. However I would like to ask how big a different do many of you, especialy those who dont feel he is the greatest ever right now, feel it would have made had he won either or both of the 1994 or 1996 French Opens, the two I feel he had his best shot of winning.

One might be a lot better and it is a huge fight between him and Laver with two I am pretty sure he could get a ton more votes than Laver as it was all surface dominance and it won't be one slam on clay and the whole 'fluke' could be avoided. However even with one it would be hard to deny a 15 slam, career slam winner a spot as GOAT. Though Laver might still edge him on the dominance on a daily basis but a French Open puts him auto second probably, lowest possible is third.

Impressive feat does not equate to the most important feat. Winning 4 slams in a year does not automatically make someone GOAT. In the end, it is the total number that counts. Although Laver could have won 20+ slams. The truth is he didn't. Sampras is the only player who holds major records at the moment. It isn't wrong by any means to assume that Sampras is the current GOAT.

Lets hold the fact that he was barred from playing them against him yay! Like Laver from 63-67 realized slams were all people were going to talk about now? He allready had the 4 in one year he didn't realize people would care so much in 40 years, he was an athlete trying to make money..there was not that much money in being an amateur

Put Sampras in 04-07 era he wins 3 majors a year maybe all 4 in 2004 when the the likes of Coria and Gaudio are in the RG final and Tim Henman is in the semis.

Coria is definitely not as bad as you make him out to be oh and Henman himself was probably not the worst in a French Open semi, Pilione made it to one in the 90s, so did Patrick Rafter and didn't a qualifer make it to one in 1997 Filip Dewulf is his name, Henri Leconte made it in 92 as a qualifier and in 1994 Alberto Berasategui made the finals.

slice bh compliment
05-27-2009, 02:56 PM
... to me GOAT is pointless. Laver said it best, there is no GOAT for the very factors cited here...too many variables. There IS however ONLY GOAT's within your OWN era. ...!

I agree with this.
Greatest
Of
His
Time.

The GOHT. The Greatest of His Time. Trouble is, eras (erae/eri?) overlap. And who'd be the Greatest of All Times? The GOAT?;-)
Kidding.

I'm for Pete if he had won two or even just one RG.
I'm for more grass and more clay the world over.

I'm for Roger winning this RG....taking it to 15 later this year and hangin' it up on a high note.
I'm for Rafa taking it to 16 maybe one day. But I'm also for Murray fightin' him every step of the way. Aye!

theagassiman
05-27-2009, 04:06 PM
Not harsh - not making a final isn't "close" in my opinion. If you think it's close then fine.

Perhaps if Pete won at least a set against Kafelnikov in the 96 semi you could say he was "sort of close".

I'm just looking at the results here. I also watched Sampras/Kafelnikov and that was "close" only in the first set, which went to tiebreak if memory serves.

No memory receives serve.

GameSampras
05-27-2009, 04:42 PM
Undisputed GOAT probably. I mean it would definitely cement Sampras right up there with Laver IMO considering Sampras would have won slams on fast grass, two separate HC entities, and a clay against one of the strongest clay fields ever in the 90s.

That added with the 6 years of number 1 with the longevity, his domination over his main rivals etc. I mean how could u argue it?

GameSampras
05-27-2009, 04:45 PM
And Sampras came close. He was right there in 96 but he was fatigued as hell by the semis. I mean a semis and a couple of quarterfinals appearances a few years, I think he was close. Close but not quite. Pete proved he could win on clay. He beat some pretty big names on clay. So he wasnt completely pathetic on that surface.


I do think Pete could have grabbed an RG title in 04 though. If we put his 94 form there.


But yes I could understand why people wouldnt put Pete as the GOAt, definitely could see why they would regardless with his lack of an RG title. There is really one mark against Pete's resume which the French, if Pete could have grabbed that, his resume would have been complete. Other than maybe the week in week out domination. But Pete played for the slams. The most important tourneys of the year

GameSampras
05-27-2009, 04:55 PM
I agree with that and that is why I consider Sampras a strong GOAT candidate even as it is. For me if he had been a great clay courter and even won a couple French Opens, it would have just sealed the deal completely. It is true his lack of a French Open is a mark against him, there is no doubt about that, however it wouldnt completely remove him from mens GOAT consideration IMO as I feel all the candidates have some kind of mark against them. That includes Laver, Rosewall, Gonzales, Federer (and his list of marks is growing all the time it seems), and Borg.

Wha mark does Laver have against him in your opinion? His resume looks pretty darn solid overrall and he certainly doesnt have the strikes against his resume as say a Borg (lack of a USO title, retiring at 25-26) or Federer do. (ownage by Nadal) Just saying..


The thing with Laver is, he had the longevity, the success on every surface, the two calendar slams, success over his rivals.. Its extremely tough to argue against that resume.

Arafel
05-27-2009, 04:57 PM
Between Laver and Sampras I don't know who's ahead, but you can't do it the way you just did. Giving Laver slams 63-67, then you must take away the 6 slams he won 60-62. Cuz if you give Laver slams 63-67 your taking slams from guys like Emmerson who won them during that period.

In 60-62 Rosewall and Hoad, couldn't compete in slam, so if I give them slams for that time frame, they would taking them from laver.

The 5 he won 1968-69 can't be debated, and one would have to figure out how many major pro's and do that. Then what if Sampras played in an era where he got to contest 3 slams a year on grass. How would aver fair in Pete's shoes. There are a lot things to consider.

While I agree with your points, what I was saying is that you can't just use Slam totals to put Pete ahead of Laver, because the rules were so different then.

As for Sampras playing three Slams on grass, I'm not convinced it would have made that much difference. He won 5 U.S. Opens, but the grass at Forest Hills was not fast like at Wimbledon; it turned to mud. The grass in Australia played like a hard court, and because of the uphill slope it would have made it harder for Pete to S/V.

CEvertFan
05-27-2009, 08:51 PM
And Sampras came close. He was right there in 96 but he was fatigued as hell by the semis. I mean a semis and a couple of quarterfinals appearances a few years, I think he was close. Close but not quite. Pete proved he could win on clay. He beat some pretty big names on clay. So he wasnt completely pathetic on that surface.


I do think Pete could have grabbed an RG title in 04 though. If we put his 94 form there.


But yes I could understand why people wouldnt put Pete as the GOAt, definitely could see why they would regardless with his lack of an RG title. There is really one mark against Pete's resume which the French, if Pete could have grabbed that, his resume would have been complete. Other than maybe the week in week out domination. But Pete played for the slams. The most important tourneys of the year

That's true that Pete played for the Slams but he still only won 2 of the 4 in his best years - he never won even 3 of the 4 in even one of his best years.

CyBorg
05-27-2009, 09:53 PM
That's true that Pete played for the Slams but he still only won 2 of the 4 in his best years - he never won even 3 of the 4 in even one of his best years.

Which is one of the reasons he's not really all that close to Laver. Rosewall and Gonzales have more convincing cases. Borg/Budge definitely have better peaks.

volleynets
05-27-2009, 10:08 PM
Put Sampras in 04-07 era he wins 3 majors a year maybe all 4 in 2004 when the the likes of Coria and Gaudio are in the RG final and Tim Henman is in the semis.

You mean put Sampras in 04-07 and take Federer out. With Federer there Sampras would not have won 3 per year no chance.

380pistol
05-27-2009, 10:15 PM
While I agree with your points, what I was saying is that you can't just use Slam totals to put Pete ahead of Laver, because the rules were so different then.

As for Sampras playing three Slams on grass, I'm not convinced it would have made that much difference. He won 5 U.S. Opens, but the grass at Forest Hills was not fast like at Wimbledon; it turned to mud. The grass in Australia played like a hard court, and because of the uphill slope it would have made it harder for Pete to S/V.

First I said "Between Laver and Sampras I don't know who's ahead".

Now, I agree slam totals can't be looked at as the sole reason, cuz of things have changed through tennis through the years.

Oh hell yeah I think playing 3 slams on grass, would have made a difference, yes there are variables (like ones you mentioned), that Pete would have to deal with, but so would his contemporaries. And I just don't see any reason to believe they would affect Sampras any more than them. The grass in Australia, and S&V, well Laver won it on that grass, 3 times..... serving and volleying.

Also the game would be different. More players from Pete's time would have to make their games more conducive to playing on grass, if 3 slams are played on that surface, not just one. So the climate of Sampras' peers would change as well. That's why I said too many variables to consider. Like if Pete turned pro, and one of the "majors" (Wembley) was played on wood, how would Sampras do??? A lot of questions, and I haven't even put Laver in Pete's shoes.

380pistol
05-27-2009, 10:22 PM
You mean put Sampras in 04-07 and take Federer out. With Federer there Sampras would not have won 3 per year no chance.

Are you serious.

2004 - he won Aus Open and Wimbledon any way. US Open, with no injury, 34yr old Agassi, 30 yr old Henman, and Hewitt... please. RG, Henman at 30 yrs of age and 5-6 RG record was in the SF. Gaudio and Coria, 1994 Pete has a shot.

2005 -Pete beats the hell out Hewitt and Roddick at SW19!!! Pete beat #1 peak Agassi in 1995, what do you think he does to 35 yr old broke back Dre?? He won't be trailing 3-6,6-2,4-2, 30-0 like Federer was. Aus Open he lost to Agassi, so I'll give that to Safin.

2006 - Sampras wins the US Open..Roddick?? Are you serious?? Wimbldon no Krajicek playing out of hs mind, but 50th ranked Gasquet, 32 yr old Henan, Mahut, Berdych, Ancic, grandpa Bjorkman, and Nadal (in his 4th grasscourt tournament)... does Pete even break a sweat?? No Courier, Bruguera and Kafelnikov, just Nalbandian. Sampras will be in the French final, but I like Nadal

2007 -He takes the Aus Open and Wimbledon.

And didn't even consider 2003, where 3 slams is very plausibe. Or 2008 were he could grab 2 more I'll let you add them up.

Cesc Fabregas
05-27-2009, 10:28 PM
Are you serious.

2004 - he won Aus Open and Wimbledon any way. US Open, with no injury, 34yr old Agassi, 30 yr old Henman, and Hewitt... please. RG, Henman at 30 yrs of age and 5-6 RG record was in the SF. Gaudio and Coria, 1994 Pete has a shot.

2005 -Pete beats the hell out Hewitt and Roddick at SW19!!! Pete beat #1 peak Agassi in 1995, what do you think he does to 35 yr old broke back Dre?? He won't be trailing 3-6,6-2,4-2, 30-0 like Federer was. Aus Open he lost to Agassi, so I'll give that to Safin.

2006 - Sampras wins the US Open..Roddick?? Are you serious?? Wimbldon no Krajicek playing out of hs mind, but 50th ranked Gasquet, 32 yr old Henan, Mahut, Berdych, Ancic, grandpa Bjorkman, and Nadal (in his 4th grasscourt tournament)... does Pete even break a sweat?? No Courier, Bruguera and Kafelnikov, just Nalbandian. Sampras will be in the French final, but I like Nadal

2007 -He takes the Aus Open and Wimbledon.

And didn't even consider 2003, where 3 slams is very plausibe. Or 2008 were he could grab 2 more I'll let you add them up.

In 07 Pete graps the USO aswell against Djokovic playing in his first slam final.

grafrules
05-27-2009, 10:32 PM
In 07 Pete graps the USO aswell against Djokovic playing in his first slam final.

Djokovic didnt play well at all in that final and choked away the first set, and didnt even get a set off Federer who himself wasnt playing anywhere near his best that day.

380pistol
05-27-2009, 10:34 PM
In 07 Pete graps the USO aswell against Djokovic playing in his first slam final.

I don't know. He was upset by Korda 7-6 in the 5th. But in 2003 he takes Wimbledon and the US Open. You can posibly add the Aus Open as it was a #2 Edberg who beat him 1993. 2003 Agassi?? The one 31 yr old 20-17 (going into Flushing) Pete dealt with 5 months earlier.

2008, I don't think Nadal beats Pete. And he was going to win the 1998 US Open leading Rafter 7-6,4-6,4-2 before injuring his leg. No injury, he takes out Djokovic, and Murray gets blitzed in the final.

!Tym
05-28-2009, 05:43 AM
I agree with this.
Greatest
Of
His
Time.

The GOHT. The Greatest of His Time. Trouble is, eras (erae/eri?) overlap. And who'd be the Greatest of All Times? The GOAT?;-)
Kidding.



I declare, I am the GREATEST of all INTER-ERAS!!!! MU-HAAHAHAAA-HA! ...HA!

Did you hear me, the GREATEST of ALLLLL Inter-Eras. And that's my point, and I'm sticking to it. This thread blows. Not enough relevance.

Of recent times, Lleyton Hewitt deserves mention as a great inter-era great. I mean he REALLY personifies this in a way. He came at a time when the greats from the old generation were winding down, and the new great like Club Fed was still in temper tantrum baby rash headcase mode.