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View Full Version : Okay deciding GOAT is impossible but can we agree who is in the discussion?


timnz
06-07-2009, 04:34 PM
Comparing records is really hard but can we agree there is no other player in history better than all of the following men (in no particular order):


Pete Sampras

Pancho Gonzales

Roger Federer

Rod Laver

Bill Tilden

Don Budge

Bjorn Borg



Hence, if there is no other player that you can confidently say is better than all of these men - are we then right to say that they are the top 7 in history?

Example: Okay Rosewall was a great player. Definitely one of the best of all time, but does any one really believe he was clearly better than either Laver or Gonzales? (his contemporaries).

Hence, I declare that the above list represents the top 7 of all time - in no particular order. And let's just leave it there at that.

I don't believe there has been anyone else better than everybody on that top 7 list above.

CyBorg
06-07-2009, 04:43 PM
I think Rosewall was better than Gonzales and so do a lot of folks.

He's certainly far more accomplished on clay courts and has a seamless indoor record.

GameSampras
06-07-2009, 04:44 PM
Yea gotta add Rosewall in there.

Andyk028
06-07-2009, 04:46 PM
Idk man Fed has made it pretty convincing..i mean he has done everything[/B]

Rhino
06-07-2009, 04:46 PM
I think you have to take Pete out because he was crap on clay, which is a big part of the game of tennis.

Conquistador
06-07-2009, 04:46 PM
1. Roger Federer
2. Rod Laver
3. Bill Tilden
4. Pete Sampras
5. Bjorn Borg

GasquetGOAT
06-07-2009, 04:48 PM
Where is Rafael Nadal? You can't confidently say any of these men are mentally tougher than Nadal.

GameSampras
06-07-2009, 04:48 PM
I think you have to take Pete out because he was crap on clay, which is a big part of the game of tennis.

Well then take Borg out since he doesnt have a HC slam to his name

GameSampras
06-07-2009, 04:48 PM
Where is Rafael Nadal? You can't confidently say any of these men are mentally tougher than Nadal.

Nadal is far away from being among that list of names.

JeMar
06-07-2009, 04:53 PM
Nadal needs a U.S. Open and about 7 majors anywhere else.

R.Federer
06-07-2009, 05:01 PM
gd list but you should replace agassi for sampras as pete was utter crap on clay and after rogers win 2day people will 4get sampras very soon imo

also nadal may join them in the next few years

dh003i
06-07-2009, 05:29 PM
Comparing records is really hard but can we agree there is no other player in history better than all of the following men (in no particular order):


Pete Sampras

Pancho Gonzales

Roger Federer

Rod Laver

Bill Tilden

Don Budge

Bjorn Borg



Hence, if there is no other player that you can confidently say is better than all of these men - are we then right to say that they are the top 7 in history?

Example: Okay Rosewall was a great player. Definitely one of the best of all time, but does any one really believe he was clearly better than either Laver or Gonzales? (his contemporaries).

Hence, I declare that the above list represents the top 7 of all time - in no particular order. And let's just leave it there at that.

I don't believe there has been anyone else better than everybody on that top 7 list above.

That's a pretty good list. Vines also belongs there.

CyBorg
06-07-2009, 05:29 PM
Rosewall better than Gonzales? HAHAHAHAHAHA! You FAIL!

Convincing argument. What do you have against Rosewall?

edmondsm
06-07-2009, 05:36 PM
I think Fed is the GOAT now, but I feel everyone will be convinced by the end of the year. Nadal is nursing his knees again. They are flaring up on him more and more often now and I think he will relinquish his Wimbledon title and #1 spot. Federer will be very confident now and will win either the USO, Wimbledon, or both. After that, any discussion about the GOAT will be in regards to who gets second place behind Fed.

Congrats Roger!!!

Rhino
06-07-2009, 05:40 PM
Well then take Borg out since he doesnt have a HC slam to his name

At least he had a good enough hard court game to take him through to four US Open finals and one semi-final.
Sampras was a joke on clay and it completely ruins his GOAT claim.

Rhino
06-07-2009, 05:41 PM
Convincing argument. What do you have against Rosewall?

Gonzales was better than Laver too.

dh003i
06-07-2009, 05:42 PM
Yea, Laver was in some ways fortunate, as he won several of his majors when players who were regularly beating him were prevented from playing.

None-the-less, Laver was incredible.

But I think that Gonalez was clearly better.

egn
06-07-2009, 05:47 PM
Add Rosewell. Those men should be the top 8 for everyone and the rest from there is fooling around with position. You can not deny that all of these men are not the greatest to touch the courts and really all have claims for number 1. Unless Fed now goes on some slam streak and gets to say 18 we will be forever in doubt. Easiest way for Fed to get GOAT win every slam until next wimbledon lol..odds of that happening non existent. Though 6 US opens in a row would definitely notch him up or a French-Wimbledon double.

Rhino
06-07-2009, 05:48 PM
But I think that Gonalez was clearly better.

Yep. Gonzales defeated Laver in a U.S.$10,000 winner-take-all, five-set match before 15,000 spectators in New York City's Madison Square Garden in January 1970, when Gonzales was 41 years old and Laver was still considered the World No. 1 player.

S H O W S T O P P E R !
06-07-2009, 06:05 PM
Idk man Fed has made it pretty convincing..i mean he has done everything[/B]

1. Double-bolding for emphasis fail :)
2. Finally, someone gets it. There will never be a GOAT because the eras are so incredibly different that there's no answer to every argument made for ot against this guy or that guy. Only a tournament between every GOAT competitor at his peak on a neutral surface (one that no one has played on before) can decide a GOAT. But that's impossible and so is naming a GOAT.

dh003i
06-07-2009, 06:31 PM
Yep. Gonzales defeated Laver in a U.S.$10,000 winner-take-all, five-set match before 15,000 spectators in New York City's Madison Square Garden in January 1970, when Gonzales was 41 years old and Laver was still considered the World No. 1 player.

Yes, I was thinking of that as well.

Gonzales was really incredible.

robow7
06-07-2009, 08:48 PM
Can only go back to the early 60's but IMO a 3 horse race with the Fed and Laver by a nose:

Fed
Rocket
Gonzales

BTW, if you can find a copy of the book written about Laver by Bud Collins at the time, he'll verify that Laver was the best among the touring pros circus for about 10 years running.

NamRanger
06-07-2009, 08:59 PM
Well then take Borg out since he doesnt have a HC slam to his name

Borg wasn't crap on HCs though. Sampras was crap on clay.

NamRanger
06-07-2009, 09:28 PM
If you know tennis, then you know Gonzales is a superior player.


Gonzalez wasn't too good on clay from what I know; Rosewall was an overall better player, and his achievements are right there with Gonzalez.

Redflea
06-07-2009, 11:14 PM
Gonzales...not spoken enough of, IMHO. A naturally gifted athlete who (as noted) was still great long after most players had retired.

Nice list, overall...I'd also like to see Rosewall added, a sentimental fav of mine. A really big player in a small body, with a slice BH directly from heaven. I remember when he beat Laver in the '71 WCT Finals, the first tennis match I clearly remember watching - one of the most exciting sports events of my youth. :)

timnz
06-08-2009, 01:01 AM
Yep. Gonzales defeated Laver in a U.S.$10,000 winner-take-all, five-set match before 15,000 spectators in New York City's Madison Square Garden in January 1970, when Gonzales was 41 years old and Laver was still considered the World No. 1 player.

And then Laver beat Gonzales in the same tournament in the semi-finals (it was a round robin). I agree that Gonzales was incredible - that is why I put him on the list - however, I feel that 1970 match is talked about like it was the only time they played year.

Steve132
06-08-2009, 10:51 AM
The general consensus appears to be that Rosewall should be added to the list. That leaves us with the following eight players:

Tilden
Budge
Gonzales
Rosewall
Laver
Borg
Sampras
Federer

I don't believe that anyone else has a serious claim for inclusion in GOAT discussions.

CyBorg
06-08-2009, 11:01 AM
If you know tennis, then you know Gonzales is a superior player.

More trolls.

urban
06-08-2009, 11:17 AM
That Gonzales was clearly superior to Laver, i doubt this. Laver had a 38-18 or something record vs. Gonzales. This record, however, isn't fair to Gonzales, because Gonzales was 10 years older than Laver, a bit less, than Agassi vs Federer, who was 12 years older than Federer, when they played. But it is somewhat misleading to single out one match. Prime Federer lost to Nadal at Miami, when Nadal was just a ballboy of 16 or 17, i think.

circusmouse
06-08-2009, 11:43 AM
I agree with the OP's list. Those are the guys who seem to stand clearly above their peers. It seems to me that Rosewall was overshadowed by his predecessor (Gonzalez) and his successor (Laver). Maybe because his serve wasn't as good as theirs. Still, Rosewall would definitely be on the list of next greatests, along with McEnroe, Lendl, Agassi, Edberg, et al.

If he stays healthy, Nadal could well end up the eighth man on the list. He certainly has the talent, athletic prowess, and mental toughness.

veroniquem
06-08-2009, 12:35 PM
Resultwise, Federer has become the GOAT for sure. Think about it: 4 AO finals (3 wins), 4 RG finals (1 win), 5 consecutive Wimbledon wins and 5 consecutive USO wins. That's 14 slams on 3 different surfaces. Throw in 15 master shields and he's not even 28 yet (he's likely to win more). He also has an Olympic gold medal (even if it's only for doubles). He has the record for consecutive weeks at #1 and the way things are shaping up before Wimby, it's not impossible he will add more weeks at #1 to get the absolute record later.
I really don't know who could beat a resume like that, IMO noone.
As far as style and character are concerned though (the "champion aura" if you wish), he would be far down the list for me, Agassi had panache, Sampras had class, Nadal has passion (to quote only the recent guys), Federer is a sore loser who is cold and inexpressive on the court, haughty and narcissistic off it. To me very uninspiring for a sports personality

theduh
06-08-2009, 01:04 PM
Resultwise, Federer has become the GOAT for sure. Think about it: 4 AO finals (3 wins), 4 RG finals (1 win), 5 consecutive Wimbledon wins and 5 consecutive USO wins. That's 14 slams on 3 different surfaces. Throw in 15 master shields and he's not even 28 yet (he's likely to win more). He also has an Olympic gold medal (even if it's only for doubles). He has the record for consecutive weeks at #1 and the way things are shaping up before Wimby, it's not impossible he will add more weeks at #1 to get the absolute record later.
I really don't know who could beat a resume like that, IMO noone.
As far as style and character are concerned though (the "champion aura" if you wish), he would be far down the list for me, Agassi had panache, Sampras had class, Nadal has passion (to quote only the recent guys), Federer is a sore loser who is cold and inexpressive on the court, haughty and narcissistic off it. To me very uninspiring for a sports personality

Good post over all, using facts as basis. Though I have to disagree with the bolded part, how could someone win the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award? We can not judge anyone by what we only read on news papers and what we see on TV.

veroniquem
06-08-2009, 01:07 PM
Good post over all, using facts as basis. Though I have to disagree with the bolded part, how could someone win the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award? We can not judge anyone by what we only read on news papers and what we see on TV.
I know, it's completely subjective and it's only relevant for me personally.
Recordwise he is the GOAT, no possible argument at this point in time.

theduh
06-08-2009, 01:11 PM
I know, it's completely subjective and it's only relevant for me personally.
Recordwise he is the GOAT, no possible argument at this point in time.

Fair enough, I have my own opinion as well and it might not be good for others.

Anyway back on topic, I really don't buy this GOAT crap. it's hard to compare players by era.

woodrow1029
06-08-2009, 01:17 PM
gd list but you should replace agassi for sampras as pete was utter crap on clay and after rogers win 2day people will 4get sampras very soon imo

also nadal may join them in the next few years
Every thread needs a good laugh in it!

FiveO
06-08-2009, 01:22 PM
The general consensus appears to be that Rosewall should be added to the list. That leaves us with the following eight players:

Tilden
Budge
Gonzales
Rosewall
Laver
Borg
Sampras
Federer

I don't believe that anyone else has a serious claim for inclusion in GOAT discussions.

IMO a valid list.

5

Cenc
06-08-2009, 03:16 PM
Idk man Fed has made it pretty convincing..i mean he has done everything[/B]

except 5 or so records but yes everything

Cenc
06-08-2009, 03:18 PM
At least he had a good enough hard court game to take him through to four US Open finals and one semi-final.
Sampras was a joke on clay and it completely ruins his GOAT claim.

unfortunately sampras didnt have that honor to play his semis against del potro and then finals against soderling
most of his QF losses (if not all) came against multiple slam champions so...

akv89
06-08-2009, 03:26 PM
unfortunately sampras didnt have that honor to play his semis against del potro and then finals against soderling
most of his QF losses (if not all) came against multiple slam champions so...

He also didnt have to play Nadal at the French open for four straight years.

thejoe
06-08-2009, 03:56 PM
unfortunately sampras didnt have that honor to play his semis against del potro and then finals against soderling
most of his QF losses (if not all) came against multiple slam champions so...

Both Del Potro and Soderling would have destroyed Sampras at Roland Garros the way they were playing. He wouldn't have stood a chance. He didn't have the honour of playing Del Potro, but Kafelnikov (with a bagel to boot), who Federer would have pasted. Failed argument. You can in no way make a case for Pete on clay. No way.

Takes one to know one, Rosewall lover.

If it's tennis from the 60's to the 80's, I'd take Cyborg's opinion over yours 8 days a week. The guy really knows his stuff.

pc1
06-08-2009, 04:15 PM
That Gonzales was clearly superior to Laver, i doubt this. Laver had a 38-18 or something record vs. Gonzales. This record, however, isn't fair to Gonzales, because Gonzales was 10 years older than Laver, a bit less, than Agassi vs Federer, who was 12 years older than Federer, when they played. But it is somewhat misleading to single out one match. Prime Federer lost to Nadal at Miami, when Nadal was just a ballboy of 16 or 17, i think.

As usual I agree with you Urban. Just because Gonzalez defeated Laver when Gonzalez was in his forties doesn't mean he is superior to Laver when both were at their peaks. Budge defeated Gonzalez in a match in 1957 when Budge was 42 and Gonzalez was at his peak. What does it mean? It means nothing. It was one match.

A Pancho Gonzalez at age 42 would have probably defeated a Don Budge at age 42 regularly and a Gonzalez at age 42 would have occasionally defeated a Don Budge at his peak. Great players, even when old can play great matches at times and defeat a top, even a number one player.

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
06-08-2009, 11:52 PM
Budge defeated Gonzalez in a match in 1957 when Budge was 42 ...

Just a correction : in 1954 and Budge was close to 39.

AprilFool
06-09-2009, 02:39 AM
Is there a guitar GOAT? Hendrix? Clapton? Sue Boyle?

RFtennis
06-09-2009, 02:41 AM
I think you have to take Pete out because he was crap on clay, which is a big part of the game of tennis.

Are you crazy?

BorisBeckerFan
06-09-2009, 02:55 AM
gd list but you should replace agassi for sampras as pete was utter crap on clay and after rogers win 2day people will 4get sampras very soon imo

also nadal may join them in the next few years

I will not forget Pete Sampras until I die or start having memory loss. If someone comes along who accomplishes more than Federer would you forget about Roger?

Leublu tennis
06-09-2009, 03:02 AM
Yea, Laver was in some ways fortunate, as he won several of his majors when players who were regularly beating him were prevented from playing.

None-the-less, Laver was incredible.

But I think that Gonalez was clearly better.Just curious. Which players regularly beat Laver and what prevented them from playing him, particularly since nothing prevented them from "regularly" beating him???

roysid
06-09-2009, 03:41 AM
Guys who would be in discussion:

1) Rod Laver :
For: Two time calendar slams. Didn't play slams for 5 years.
Against: As Pete rightfully said, in 60's competition wasn't fierce.

2) Bjorn Borg:
For: Won 11 slams in 28 attempts by age 26. Dominated both French and Wimbledon.
Against: He couldn't handle the pressure, its his fault. SO stuck at 11 slams.

3) Pete Sampras:
For: Won 14 slams. 6 times continuous year end No. 1. 286 weeks as No. 1. Dominated his main rivals.
Against: Was a dud on clay. Except Agassi in phases, no big rival.

4) Roger Federer:
For: Complete player for all surfaces, all court. Won 14 slams and counting. Unbelievable consistency in slams.
Against: There's a blip called Nadal whom he cannot dominate.

The next 1, you have to wait for another 2-3 years

5) Rafael Nadal:
For: Already 6 slams within 23 years. Dominates everyone including Roger.
Against: He may end up below 10 slams. Is a suspect on hard courts.


Comparing generations isn't fun and always debatable. And wait till Roger and Rafa finishes. Till then adios........

timnz
06-09-2009, 04:40 AM
The general consensus appears to be that Rosewall should be added to the list. That leaves us with the following eight players:

Tilden
Budge
Gonzales
Rosewall
Laver
Borg
Sampras
Federer

I don't believe that anyone else has a serious claim for inclusion in GOAT discussions.

I completely agree. I created this thread not to argue who was the GOAT but to determine who was in the discussion. I believe the list above has everyone eligible. Re. Nadal - he very well may in that list in the future, but more years have to go by before he is considered.

So do we agree that this is the final list? (again not arguing who was better than who on this list).

pc1
06-09-2009, 11:09 AM
Just a correction : in 1954 and Budge was close to 39.

According to Budge's book the match was played in 1957 so I was going with my memory of what Budge wrote.

However I believe you are correct that the tour was played in 1954. I should have known better than to believe totally what Budge writes. As I have discussed before, Budge always seems to make himself look better. It seems a lot more impressive that a man in his early forties can defeat an all time champion rather than a man in his late thirties.

380pistol
06-09-2009, 11:25 AM
Comparing records is really hard but can we agree there is no other player in history better than all of the following men (in no particular order):


Pete Sampras

Pancho Gonzales

Roger Federer

Rod Laver

Bill Tilden

Don Budge

Bjorn Borg



Hence, if there is no other player that you can confidently say is better than all of these men - are we then right to say that they are the top 7 in history?

Example: Okay Rosewall was a great player. Definitely one of the best of all time, but does any one really believe he was clearly better than either Laver or Gonzales? (his contemporaries).

Hence, I declare that the above list represents the top 7 of all time - in no particular order. And let's just leave it there at that.

I don't believe there has been anyone else better than everybody on that top 7 list above.

I'm inclined o agree. Arguements could me made for Rosewall and make it an "Elite Eight", but can't argue the contendors.

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
06-10-2009, 12:02 AM
According to Budge's book the match was played in 1957 so I was going with my memory of what Budge wrote.

However I believe you are correct that the tour was played in 1954. I should have known better than to believe totally what Budge writes. As I have discussed before, Budge always seems to make himself look better. It seems a lot more impressive that a man in his early forties can defeat an all time champion rather than a man in his late thirties.

I've read three quarters of his book and there are many errors. When I saw 1957 in your post I guessed you had read his book. He also wrote erroneously that Hoad was (as Crawford) one set short of the slam (Hoad only won one set in the Forest Hills final) in ... 1958 (instead of 1956). Other example he said that Parker won a decisive match against Quist in the Davis Cup Challenge Round in 1938 though it was Riggs.

lambielspins
06-10-2009, 12:17 AM
There are 8 contenders: in no particular order Laver, Rosewall, Gonzales, Sampras, Federer, Budge, Tilden, and Borg.

On the womens side there are 7 GOAT candidates IMO: Graf, Navratilova, Court, Evert, Lenglen, Wills Moody, and Connolly.

sp00q
06-10-2009, 07:41 AM
I'll add Lendl in there too.

8 Grand Slam titles in 19 finals.
4 years at the no. 1.
Only player to regained the year-end no. 1 spot after losing it
Only player to have won at least 90% of his matches in 5 years.

sp00q
06-10-2009, 08:01 AM
Pre WWI
William Renshaw
Lawrence Doherty and Reginald Doherty
Norman A. Brookes
Anthony Wilding

Between Wars
Bill Tilden
Don Budge

Post WWII
Pancho Gonzalez
Ken Rosewall
Rod Laver

Open Era
Björn Borg
Ivan Lendl
Pete Sampras
Roger Federer

kOaMaster
06-10-2009, 08:01 AM
unfortunately sampras didnt have that honor to play his semis against del potro and then finals against soderling
most of his QF losses (if not all) came against multiple slam champions so...

well he did not only play those four games, right?

R64
Chang, Michael (USA)
19
1-6 1-6 1-6


R64
Champion, Thierry (FRA)
77
3-6 1-6 1-6


Q
Agassi, Andre (USA)
12
6-7(6) 2-6 1-6


Q
Bruguera, Sergi (ESP)
11
3-6 6-4 1-6 4-6


Q
Courier, Jim (USA)
7
4-6 7-5 4-6 4-6


R128
Schaller, Gilbert (AUT)
24
6-7(3) 6-4 7-6(4) 2-6 4-6


S
Kafelnikov, Yevgeny (RUS)
7
6-7(4) 0-6 2-6


R32
Norman, Magnus (SWE)
65
2-6 4-6 6-2 4-6


R64
Delgado, Ramon (PAR)
97
6-7(6) 3-6 4-6


R64
Medvedev, Andrei (UKR)
100
5-7 6-1 4-6 3-6


R128
Philippoussis, Mark (AUS)
25
6-4 5-7 6-7(4) 6-4 6-8


R64
Blanco, Galo (ESP)
76
6-7(4) 3-6 2-6


R128
Gaudenzi, Andrea (ITA)
69
6-3 4-6 2-6 6-7(3)

those are all the appearances Sampras' at RG from 89 to 02. Only in 90 he did no play.
Bruguera e.g. did win the french open AFTER he beat sampras. well, söderling went also all through to the finals after beating nadal, so he can't be that bad too?
neither agassi did win any grand slam before he won vs sampras.
what about losing in the first round in 95? or 97 vs norman?

pc1
06-11-2009, 06:52 AM
I've read three quarters of his book and there are many errors. When I saw 1957 in your post I guessed you had read his book. He also wrote erroneously that Hoad was (as Crawford) one set short of the slam (Hoad only won one set in the Forest Hills final) in ... 1958 (instead of 1956). Other example he said that Parker won a decisive match against Quist in the Davis Cup Challenge Round in 1938 though it was Riggs.

Carlo,

There were a lot of errors in that book and as I have discussed with you in the past, I do wonder if the errors were not on purpose to make himself look better.

grafrules
06-11-2009, 06:58 AM
unfortunately sampras didnt have that honor to play his semis against del potro and then finals against soderling
most of his QF losses (if not all) came against multiple slam champions so...

No he had the honor to play semis vs Woodbridge and finals against Pioline. Or semis vs Volkov and finals against Pioline. Yep thats such incredible opposition. Del Potro > Pioline no tour titles until I turned 27 and Soderling > some doubles specialist or some past his prime streaky dangerous floater.

By the way Del Potro will probably have a similar or better career than Kafelnikov who slaughtered Sampras for the loss of only 8 games in his only French Open semifinal. Del Potro playing the way he did at the French Open this year would crush Sampras 9 times out of 10 on clay.

Danstevens
06-11-2009, 07:20 AM
5) Rafael Nadal:
For: Already 6 slams within 23 years. Dominates everyone including Roger.
Against: He may end up below 10 slams. Is a suspect on hard courts.


He certainly doesn't dominate Fed but he's without a doubt his strongest rival. I would just question as to whether he will be able to keep up his form for long enough and also, whether he's able enough to win on surfaces other than clay. OK - he's got 2 non-clay slams but certainly seems much weaker on other surfaces. There are also questions being asked about his ability to last.

Still, even if Nadal never won another slam, he'd still be right up there. Not in the greatest of all time group (yet) but maybe the second tier or great players. I believe he will win more and get in to the GOAT group eventually though.

hoodjem
06-11-2009, 07:33 AM
Pete Sampras
Pancho Gonzales
Roger Federer
Rod Laver
Bill Tilden
Don Budge
Bjorn Borg
Add Rosewall, and your list will be complete.

grafrules
06-11-2009, 07:44 AM
It seems there are more mens GOAT candidates than women.

I guess women you could make a case for Lenglen, Wills, or Connolly but almost nobody really pushes theirs. It seems to be only between Graf, Navratilova, Court, and Evert. The men there are atleast the 8 that have been mentioned, so twice as many candidates.