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newnuse
07-09-2005, 04:33 PM
I've always believe that you judge an athlete's greatness based on his rivals. The great ones always had a great rival/rivals that brought the best out of them.

Martina had Chris. Borg had Connors/Mac. Mac had a bunch (Borg, Connors, Lendl, etc..). Sampras had Agassi, though this was rather lopsided. He spanked Agassi on fast courts and got spanked in the 1st/2nd round on a slower surface before reaching Agassi.

I don't see any great rivals for Fed.

Nadal is great on clay but can he push Fed on any other surface? Time will tell, but I have my doubts.

Hewitt gets beaten badly on a regular basis. His game does not match up well.

Roddick, I've never seen a top player lose so badly, so consistently to fellow top players. He just doesn't have the brains or fight to push Fed.

Safin has as much game as any but does not have the desire to dominate on a regular basis.

I don't think we will ever see his best or can truly guage his greatness without a great rival.

splink779
07-09-2005, 04:39 PM
Nadal and Safin are his rivals. Nadal beat federer on hard once and nearly beat him in straights again on hard. Safin since the TMC last year has been able to goe toe to toe with Federer. a 20-18 tie break, a victory in Australia, and a close match (ON GRASS) in Halle. You will see once the harcourt season rolls around.

splink779
07-09-2005, 04:42 PM
By the way Roddick loses consistently to Agassi and Hewitt to name a couple top 10

newnuse
07-09-2005, 04:44 PM
We will see about Nadal.

Safin is not consistent enough. I would not consider Safin great by any standard right now. Fed needs a great rival, in the class of Borg, Mac, Connors, Edberg, Wilander, Becker... etc. Safin is not there.

eqc6
07-09-2005, 04:45 PM
I've always believe that you judge an athlete's greatness based on his rivals. The great ones always had a great rival/rivals that brought the best out of them.

Martina had Chris. Borg had Connors/Mac. Mac had a bunch (Borg, Connors, Lendl, etc..). Sampras had Agassi, though this was rather lopsided. He spanked Agassi on fast courts and got spanked in the 1st/2nd round on a slower surface before reaching Agassi.

I don't see any great rivals for Fed.

Nadal is great on clay but can he push Fed on any other surface? Time will tell, but I have my doubts.
Hewitt gets beaten badly on a regular basis. His game does not match up well.

Roddick, I've never seen a top player lose so badly, so consistently to fellow top players. He just doesn't have the brains or fight to push Fed.

Safin has as much game as any but does not have the desire to dominate on a regular basis.

I don't think we will ever see his best or can truly guage his greatness without a great rival.

Well, Nadal almost beat Fed on straight sets, until Fed kept his composure and came back to make it a 5 set win :) and this was on hardcourt! Well even though Fed was 'supposedly' not 100 percent that time, even so.

I believe their head to head score is 1:1. So we still have to see ;)

newnuse
07-09-2005, 04:46 PM
By the way Roddick loses consistently to Agassi and Hewitt to name a couple top 10

Judging froms Roddick's result against top players, I don't understand how he can be #3 in the world. The guys goes up against a top player and does not compete.

Cavaleer
07-09-2005, 04:50 PM
I couldn't agree with you more.

If he even had a Rafter/Ivanisevic/Becker/Krajciek/Korda like Sampras did, it would be wonderful, let alone a true rival like Agassi or Borg/Mcenroe.

Just think of how many great players truly gunned for Sampras for so many years- Agassi, Rafter, Becker, Ivanisevic, Courier, Chang, Korda, Rios, Moya, and I know I'm forgetting others. They may have taken a match here or there but over the years they all went down.

Right now, Federer only has Nadal. Safin has to reach the semis in consecutive majors before he can count. Nadal is the only one who wants to beat him....and has. We'll see how Nadal does at the USO.

Roddick doesn't count because after his first serve comes back it's anyone's point. Hewitt's game hasn't evolved for three years, neither has Nadal's, just to mention the men who appeared to have his number early on.

Hopefully Safin will feel some shame and anger and motivate himself to win majors and specifically to beat Federer. It would be beautiful to see.


Cavaleer

Grinder
07-09-2005, 04:52 PM
Roddick matches up well against guys like Moya, Safin and Coria. Roddick can usually beat everyone that he's supposed to beat and posts up pretty consistent results (apart from clay) so his ranking remains high.

newnuse
07-09-2005, 04:57 PM
Roddick matches up well against guys like Moya, Safin and Coria. Roddick can usually beat everyone that he's supposed to beat and posts up pretty consistent results (apart from clay) so his ranking remains high.

I guess that's true. He does consistently advance far in tourneys. But dang, how does a #3 player get spanked so often. :confused: He needs to win one once in awhile.

Cavaleer
07-09-2005, 04:57 PM
Well, Nadal almost beat Fed on straight sets, until Fed kept his composure and came back to make it a 5 set win :) and this was on hardcourt! Well even though Fed was 'supposedly' not 100 percent that time, even so.

I believe their head to head score is 1:1. So we still have to see ;)


I saw the first two sets of that match and Nadal was simply bullying Federer around the court. It reminded me of the second set of the USO last year when Agassi muscled Federer around the court.

Unfortunately, Nadal ran out of gas. Federer was fine. He was simply pushed around and made very uncomfortable. Nadal gave him no rhythm.

It seems like none of the other players watched that match, or maybe they, esp. Safin/Hewitt/Agassi, rely too much on that baseline rhythm game, which plays directly into Federer's hands.


Cavaleer

pound cat
07-09-2005, 04:58 PM
Many followers of tennis & the media would love to see a Safin/Federer rivallry, however Safin has no interest in being his rival. Safin plays for himself, and if he ever decided to devote his life to tennis for a full year he could leap to the top of the game. However he would likely have a nervous breakdown from lack of social life and vacations, and would play lousy tennis. Rock and a hard place.

Phil Daddario
07-09-2005, 05:00 PM
Federer has certainly improved.

Nadal could be a rival...on clay. He's never coming close to Fed on grass, and I believe Federer is now beyond Nadal on hardcourts.

Yes, Nadal almost had that straight sets win. But I do not believe that he can repeat that performance consistently.

I wouldn't call Nadal a rival on anything but clay. He's definitely shown the ability to possible beat Federer numerous times there, though.

Safin isn't a rival. He's got the huge, aggressive, sometimes high-risk game that's been shown to be the only way to beat Federer. But as said, it's aggressive and high-risk. That's not going to help you unless you're playing at the absolute top of your game. Safin is not nearly consistent enough.

He really, really needs a rival. Hopefully Gasquet might take the place, although I don't believe he'll go all the way. Hopefully Nadal will improve on other surfaces to take the clay rivalry further. But I don't think he'll go all the way either.

I'm hoping somebody will prove me wrong and take Federer down...consistently.

Cavaleer
07-09-2005, 05:03 PM
I guess that's true. He does consistently advance far in tourneys. But dang, how does a #3 player get spanked so often. :confused: He needs to win one once in awhile.

He plays well against players who play a predictable, baseline style. He struggles against unconventional players like T. Johanssen, and anyone at the French Open because he just runs out of shots when his serve is neutralized. And forget volleying, at least for a few years.

Wimbledon is his best shot to win another major, but only if someone else beats Federer.

Like someone else on this board mentioned, I think he needs to dump that Babolat and pick up a Wilson or a Head in order to diversify his game. But then he might lose some pace on that serve. I think it would be a fair trade, however. Just look at Federer's and Hewitt's serves, to name two. They're nowhere near Roddick's but he can't seem to beat either of them. At OZ this year he just ran out of shots and heart against Hewitt, just like he did at the French to who???? I don't even remember the guy's name and I saw the match.


Cavaleer

Boy Wonder
07-09-2005, 05:06 PM
I think the safest bet would be Nadal. He does own the best record against Federer out of Hewitt, Roddick, and Safin. Hewitt's and Safin's records are the other closest, but Hewitt has lost to Federer numerous times consecutively recently and I'm just wondering if Hewitt will ever take a win from Federer again; just to beat Federer now I think he'll have to abandon more of his game plan and attack more and volley, which is easier said than done. Safin has all the tools to dismantle Federer, but his attitude and head is questionable, so let's see if he can pull off something like the AO. On to Nadal ---> I think he is Federer's kryptonite. His topspin makes it difficult for Federer to get into a groove especially when his big forehand goes to Federer's backhand. Nadal also has the right attitude that is similar to Hewitt but better like Sharapova's. All surfaces except grass and other similar fast surfaces, which I admit Nadal needs more practice on.

Phil Daddario
07-09-2005, 05:07 PM
I think the racquet is the least of his problems.

He needs a forehand, a backhand, and stronger volleys.

Roddick's forehand is big. But it often lands short, and there's no variation. Roddick's backhand is ok, but I've heard plenty of things from experienced people that his grip and arm position at contact limit his backhand a lot.

And he's not going to succeed at net until he makes the approaches more natural. When he wants to S&V, he often hesitates before moving in. Other times, as I said somewhere else, he approaches just to approach. In other words, he sends a normal forehand down the line and hopes it'll work. He needs to make those approaches deeper.

But if he really wanted more pace on his serve, he could just lower the tension a bit. :D It's seventy-something right now, like Sampras. It'd help the depth a little, since his balls consistently land short.

iscottius
07-09-2005, 05:09 PM
I couldn't agree with you more.

If he even had a Rafter/Ivanisevic/Becker/Krajciek/Korda like Sampras did, it would be wonderful, let alone a true rival like Agassi or Borg/Mcenroe.

Just think of how many great players truly gunned for Sampras for so many years- Agassi, Rafter, Becker, Ivanisevic, Courier, Chang, Korda, Rios, Moya, and I know I'm forgetting others. They may have taken a match here or there but over the years they all went down.

Right now, Federer only has Nadal. Safin has to make through to the semis in consecutive majors before he can count. Nadal is the only one who wants to beat him....and has. We'll see how Nadal does at the USO.

Roddick doesn't count because after his first serve comes back it's anyone's point. Hewitt's game hasn't evolved for three years, neither has Nadal's, just to mention the men who appeared to have his number early on.

Hopefully Safin will feel some shame and anger and motivate himself to win majors and specifically to beat Federer. It would be beautiful to see.


Cavaleer

I also think that Yevgeny had a winning record versus Sampras early in his career when he cared. Unfortunately Yevgeny has paved the way for Safin, win a couple of slams and then become a "money" player. Many believe that YK had the game to win many more majors, but approached the majors as any other tournament, no special prep, no time off--just another opportunity to play for a check. The same is also true for a lot of NHL players, + the whole russian mob deal...too bad, we'll probably never know how good YK & Safin could have truly been

Cavaleer
07-09-2005, 05:09 PM
Many followers of tennis & the media would love to see a Safin/Federer rivallry, however Safin has no interest in being his rival. Safin plays for himself, and if he ever decided to devote his life to tennis for a full year he could leap to the top of the game. However he would likely have a nervous breakdown from lack of social life and vacations, and would play lousy tennis. Rock and a hard place.


Is Safin really that sybaritic?


Cavaleer

Cavaleer
07-09-2005, 05:11 PM
I also think that Yevgeny had a winning record versus Sampras early in his career when he cared. Unfortunately Yevgeny has paved the way for Safin, win a couple of slams and then become a "money" player. Many believe that YK had the game to win many more majors, but approached the majors as any other tournament, no special prep, no time off--just another opportunity to play for a check. The same is also true for a lot of NHL players, + the whole russian mob deal...too bad, we'll probably never know how good YK & Safin could have truly been


I knew I forgot someone. ;)

I wondered what happened to Kafelnikov. Yes, he almost had Sampras' number there for a few years. Didn't he beat him at OZ one year?

Don't they realize that you make more money when you win? There's a direct relationship. ;)


Cavaleer

Cavaleer
07-09-2005, 05:16 PM
I think the racquet is the least of his problems.

He needs a forehand, a backhand, and stronger volleys.

Roddick's forehand is big. But it often lands short, and there's no variation. Roddick's backhand is ok, but I've heard plenty of things from experienced people that his grip and arm position at contact limit his backhand a lot.

And he's not going to succeed at net until he makes the approaches more natural. When he wants to S&V, he often hesitates before moving in. Other times, as I said somewhere else, he approaches just to approach. In other words, he sends a normal forehand down the line and hopes it'll work. He needs to make those approaches deeper.

But if he really wanted more pace on his serve, he could just lower the tension a bit. :D It's seventy-something right now, like Sampras. It'd help the depth a little, since his balls consistently land short.


Do you think his inability to make these changes is just mental stubborness of lack of awareness? Or does he just think, "Well, that's all I can do?"

Cavaleer

Phil Daddario
07-09-2005, 05:17 PM
I'm not sure about Kafelnikov, as I never was really into him too much, but I think Safin's not really just for the money.

He just wants to have fun rather than play. When he's winning and it's fun, he doesn't mind the tennis. When he isn't immediately winning, it's not fun, and he loses interest. In his free time he goes to clubs and does whatever gives him the most enjoyment.

Big lack of focus.

Phil Daddario
07-09-2005, 05:20 PM
Oops, missed your last post, Cavaleer. I think he's aware of it. But honestly, when people stay away from they're naturally good at and try to just work on other things, they don't do as great. They get caught up in doing and using in matches what they're trying to work on, and end up losing focus AND results.

So I don't think he should change entirely. But he CAN change when to move to the net, as he's tentative and approaches on the wrong shots. Same thing for the tension, at least a little.

I think it's the "well, that's all that I can do" and the fact in practice and matches he isn't achieving any big success with the new changes, since he's not used to it. Everyone's more comfortable with what they've been using.

Fedubai
07-09-2005, 05:38 PM
Good discussion.

I see Nadal, Safin, Roddick, and possibly Gasquet. You never want to count Hewitt out because the guy is such a fighter. But I can't help thinking that he has a real matchup problem with Federer and I think he would have to do something pretty radical in his gameplan, just really be aggressive, way more aggressive than he is now against Federer.

But Nadal, from what I've seen, just gives Federer trouble. His forehand, as everybody has already said, is a big reason. Lots of heavy, powerful spin, and where Federer is used to hitting a powerful dtl or inside-out to his opponents backhand to get either a winner or a defensive reply, I've seen Nadal with his incredible speed hit forehand winners right past Federer. That makes you really sit up and watch! Not to mention his unbelievable fight and his great speed.

That matchup is pretty open right now, and I can not wait until they meet again.

Safin, is a wretched soul. That's the best I can do when describing this guy. He helped make that AO semifinal the best contest I've ever seen, but then fails to make it past the 4th round in a few consecutive tournaments after taking the title Down Under. What can you say about him? He's a mystery to me. His matches with Federer are always action packed and fun, because those two guys have game. Can Safin become dedicated? Will someone wake him up to reality? I think that if anyone can do it, Peter Lundgren can. We'll see.

Roddick, in my opinion, MUST get that confidence back somehow and get that old Roddick attitude back. That's him; he's about power and fire. I can't see him developing some wonder-talent all court game...he's about power, and he's about attitude in my opinion. Yes, make imrovements like the back hand and the net game and the return...but he used to intimidate. He needs that back. When he can get that back, pay attention to him.

Gasquet I've seen, and he's definitely got work to do. Nadal is ahead of him in a number of areas, but Gasquet has big potential to be an all-courter I think. He needs some fitness work and he needs to get more mature but he's only, what, 19? It'll come if he can keep his head on straight.

So those are the guys in my opinion. This isn't to say that Federer can't lose to anybody else, of course. But on the topic of a real rivalry, I think these guys are the most likely. Obviously, anything can happen. Someone else might come out of the woodwork, or what have you. But right now, this is what I can see.

Phil Daddario
07-09-2005, 05:47 PM
Another good post. :D

When watching Nadal beat Federer at RG this year, Federer had huge problems with Nadal's forehand, especially when Nadal was attacking his backhand. It just kicked up too much, and it wasn't exactly slow, either. Nadal can maximize his movement and tenacity there, and his topspin groundstrokes dominate as well.

Nadal is a great mover. So are Blake and Hewitt. But Blake has no tenacity, and Hewitt often can't do enough with the ball. So Nadal has everything there.

I still don't think he'll consistently play so well against Federer on hardcourts, although that certainly could change. I DO see him keeping Federer from an RG title, though.

I'd agree on Safin, but I don't think Roddick's ever going to charge past Federer now. He does need the confidence, and could potentially produce some great matches. But his power isn't so intimidating anymore. He's not going to get that back. People are used to his game.

As for Gasquet, allcourters almost always develop late. Federer included. He gets used to the pro tour, gets used to everything in his game, I predict a huge contender when he's 22, 23 or so. But right now, I completely agree. He can work on so many things.

eqc6
07-09-2005, 05:57 PM
I think that if Roddick needs to improve any part of his game, then he should prioritize with his serve placements. Like someone said, Roddick used to intimidate, and this was mainly because of his serves. But whenever it gets returned, Roddick gets neutralized (like someone elses pointed out) and becomes vulnerable. The reason for this is his lack of service placement variety. If he can somehow improve an already powerful serve by being able to place it anywhere at his will, then I think he'll be a threat again.

Phil Daddario
07-09-2005, 06:03 PM
Definitely.

When he was playing Federer at Wimbledon, Federer actually had a lot more aces. He can't compare to Roddick in power. But at a certain point, placement is much more important.

When the 145 mph serve is coming close to you, it's actually not that hard to hit back for the pros. When any fast ball is coming to you, it's so much easier when you don't have to run. But when that same serve makes you move a little, it's almost impossible to get, especially on grass.

There was a study somewhere that recorded how long it took for top returners (Agassi, for example) to return the ball when coming to them and when on the run. I don't remember exact numbers, but if it was coming to them it was always possible to at least get the ball back. However, when the ball was over 120 mph (forgive me, I don't remember the surface these statistics were on, wasn't clay, though), when the player had to run for the serve it was literally impossible to really get it back.

He NEEDS that placement. Then he'd be so much harder to break. Lot more free points for him, too. He'd get back some intimidation.

splink779
07-09-2005, 06:15 PM
I believe their head to head score is 1:1. So we still have to see ;)

Actually, Nadal leads 2:1 He is the only player in the top 10 with a winning record against Federer I beleive

The tennis guy
07-09-2005, 06:49 PM
Just think of how many great players truly gunned for Sampras for so many years- Agassi, Rafter, Becker, Ivanisevic, Courier, Chang, Korda, Rios, Moya, and I know I'm forgetting others. They may have taken a match here or there but over the years they all went down.


The argument sounds good but falls on a dud. Except Agassi and Becker (Becker's prime was even before Sampras came to power), why the rest of them are greater than the likes of Hewitt, Safin, Roddick, Nadal?

The tennis guy
07-09-2005, 06:55 PM
Actually, Nadal leads 2:1 He is the only player in the top 10 with a winning record against Federer I beleive

Head to head record can be mis-leading. All three matches they played on were on slower surface. As of now, Nadal hasn't been able to get far enough on fast court to play against Federer.

The only player actually has a comprehensive winning record against Federer is Nalbandian. However, due to injury the last year or so, they haven't had chance play against each other much lately.

Phil Daddario
07-09-2005, 06:58 PM
Nalbandian? I haven't heard of any of those matches, I'll have to look up some DVDs.

The tennis guy, Nadal got extremely far in the NASDAQ-100 hardcourt match against Federer. I don't know (although I live in SoCal, I'm just ignorant), but are the courts there slower than most? Similar to the Aussie Open courts?

randommacuser
07-09-2005, 07:17 PM
The courts at the NASDAQ-100 are some of the slowest hardcourts around, I believe.

Phil Daddario
07-09-2005, 07:21 PM
Whoa. Ouch, thanks for telling me.

Another reason Nadal won't repeat that success (or just short of success, if you want to call it that) against Fed on hard courts very much.

Haka Boy
07-09-2005, 07:45 PM
When any tennis player needs forum members to come up with their summarizations of a tennis player needed to be a rival to them, I'd sure hate to be in the position of a tennis player in today’s competition up against him. It soon becomes apparent judging from everyone’s answers that not one player is consistently close. Good discussions have been put forth but not one answer stands out apart from a question of surfaces played, not tennis skills.

Is it an indication that we have a true tennis legend/genius on our hands that will go down in the history books as the greatest player ever in our era?

Is it just a matter now of how much or how far he can go from now on in?

Cavaleer
07-09-2005, 08:00 PM
When any tennis player needs forum members to come up with their summarizations of a tennis player needed to be a rival to them, I'd sure hate to be in the position of a tennis player in today’s competition up against him. It soon becomes apparent judging from everyone’s answers that not one player is consistently close. Good discussions have been put forth but not one answer stands out apart from a question of surfaces played, not tennis skills.

Is it an indication that we have a true tennis legend/genius on our hands that will go down in the history books as the greatest player ever in our era?

Is it just a matter now of how much or how far he can go from now on in?

Right now that seems to be the case but that has as much to do with his ability as it does with his contemporaries, dare I say, predictability....or worse.

Just think about the variety of players, talents, temperaments and styles that Sampras faced during his run, everything from Mcenroe to Becker to Agassi to Korda to Ivanisevic to Courier to Rafter, and even Safin, and all the clay-court specialists in between.

Now consider who Federer has faced so far. Other than Safin, I wouldn't put a single opponent of his in the same league as those above, and if you count mental dedication and hunger Safin falls out. The only opponent of Federer's who you could put in the same class as the above players is Nadal, who btw, can beat Federer on anything but grass. But he's only 18.

Time will tell whether Federer is a true great, as measured by the skill of his opponents, like Ali or Sugar Ray Robinson or Marciano, or if he's simply come along with enormous talent and a thin field of competition, like Roy Jones Jr.

Obviously, you can't blame Federer just like you can't blame Roy Jones Jr. But the lack of great opponents does dull the shine.


Correct me if I'm wrong.


Cavaleer

Haka Boy
07-09-2005, 08:31 PM
You have a valid point, but I also believe each generation or eras of players have their own niche in the tennis world.
People can only compare in their minds but who knows really what the outcome would be if players from different eras would meet today. Federer is lucky in one way that no one in todays standard of tennis comes close to him.

The tennis guy
07-09-2005, 09:28 PM
Just think about the variety of players, talents, temperaments and styles that Sampras faced during his run, everything from Mcenroe to Becker to Agassi to Korda to Ivanisevic to Courier to Rafter, and even Safin, and all the clay-court specialists in between.

Now consider who Federer has faced so far. Other than Safin, I wouldn't put a single opponent of his in the same league as those above, and if you count mental dedication and hunger Safin falls out. The only opponent of Federer's who you could put in the same class as the above players is Nadal, who btw, can beat Federer on anything but grass. But he's only 18.


Well, it's just your biased opinion. Let's look. Why the hell Korda, Ivanisevic, Rafter are in a league above Roddick, Safin, Hewitt? The former 3 got 4 grand slam titles, the later 3 got 5 already, and they are still young.

By the way, don't put McEnroe in there. He was in twilight of his career when Sampras came along. It's like you would put Sampras in there while talking about who Federer faced. Just be objective for a moment, using the same argument you used with Sampras, you can say Federer faced the likes from Sampras to Agassi to Safin to Hewitt to Roddick to Nadal, and even more clay court specialists today than in 90s.

Talking about players who they faced is nonsense. How do you know how Federer would fare against the likes of the players you mentioned? You don't know, and no one knows.

jukka1970
07-09-2005, 10:29 PM
So far, I don't see a big rival for Federer. That's not to say that he won't be pushed, but I don't see a true rival that's playing now.

Of the close ones, my pick is Nadal, as he's still young and "new" to the professional scene. "New" only in the sense of being at it for a lesser amount of time. The big question is whether Nadal will be able to push his grass game to another level.

Roddick can play but as others have said, he seems to have difficulty in the final stages against the higher ranking players.

Hewitt, I'm still not sure of, his return game will give anyone trouble, but on grass Federer still has him beat.

Safin, You know this guy reminds me so much of Goran. They both have this monsterous powerful game, yet Safin is so dang inconsistant, and this was Gorans trouble especially at Wimbledon.

Beyond that I don't see anyone coming close to taking him out on grass, or giving him a lot of trouble on the hard courts. Clay court is still a different story, and we'll have to wait til next year to see what improvements Federer has made on clay.

pound cat
07-10-2005, 03:38 AM
Is Safin really that sybaritic?


Cavaleer

I don't think sybaritic is quite the right word unless the Sybarites also liked to read like Safin does. "Leading a balanced life" better describes his lifestyle.

Fedubai
07-10-2005, 03:42 AM
Comparing gerenations is always difficult. It's basically impossible to know how Federer would do against players from a different era unless he played them.

There are more than a few people that are bowled over by his game as much as the statistics.

You could go on and on in this discussion. And none of it can be proven because those players are simply not playing any more. We can give our opinions on how Federer's current rivals are fatally flawed because of limitations and style of the day etc. But someone else may have opinions that previous generations had more GS titles but it was easier back then because there wasn't as much depth and because the game was easier so there was an established top group with many slam titles..see where this is going?

You can't really compare generations IMO.

drexeler
07-10-2005, 07:01 AM
Fed's rivals - Hewitt, Nadal, Roddick, Safin - all are young and all in their primes. Whereas Pete's rivals were either past their peak when Pete's reign started (Becker, Courier), or up-and-down (Agassi who only was peak from summer 94-95 & later after 99) or whose peak was later (Rafter). Ivanisevic was only good at Wimbledon. Chang was no 2 for a while, but he is a lighter version of Hewitt. That's why 2-3-4-5 ranks were constantly changing throughout Sampras's dominating years. On looking closely, Agassi was the only top-tier rival that Sampras faced, and even he won only 2 slams during Sampras's #1 years (93-98). I have a feeling Sampras would choose to play his batch of rivals over the current batch, most of whom seemed to matchup well against him.

The current batch is very consistent and is in a way reminscent of the late 80's when Lendl, Wilander, Becker, Edberg were all peak at the same time. It's only Federer's brilliance that is making his rivals look a little diminished. If he were more even with the others, and his 5 slams (and others' slams) would be more distributed evenly among the 5, and then this batch would look more like half-of-fame group of the late 80's. And in 2007 and beyond, Gasquet, Monfils and Berdych could develop into top class rivals like Rafter did after 1997.

newnuse
07-10-2005, 11:31 AM
Sampras did not have the greatest rivals during his reign. That is one of the reason I do not consider him the GOAT. He had Agassi, but Agassi never pushed him during that streak. Agassi is however much stonger than any of Fed's so call rivals.

With that said, Pete's rivals were stronger than Fed. Hewitt won those slams after Pete's dominant years and before Fed arrived. He is the equivalent of the Houston Rockets winning 2 NBA championship during Michael Jordan's retirement. Fed kills Hewitt head to head. The rest of the guys are also have huge flaws as mentioned numerous times above.

The 80's was the best period. You had many great players duking it out. Connors/Mac(though on the downside), Lendl, Edber, Wilander, Becker. The current crop has not done nearly enough to be mentioned with those greats. Unless Nadal shows he can be great on a non-clay surface, I wouldn't put him in that group either.

This is also why I don't consider Graf the GOAT. She had no real rival. She had Seles for a short period. Seles dominated that 1 year, but you all what happened to her. Martina had Chris, which is the greatest rivalry I've will ever see. Imagine how many more slams Chris or Martina would have won if the other was not around.

arosen
07-10-2005, 02:29 PM
I don't think sybaritic is quite the right word unless the Sybarites also liked to read like Safin does. "Leading a balanced life" better describes his lifestyle.
Hedonistic might be a better way of descibing Safin's philosophy. He is into pleasures of life, small and big, and as much as I hate to see him "waste" his tennis talent, I find it hard to blame the guy for living large.

MoyaNadalMaxLopezO3Prince
07-10-2005, 02:38 PM
Nadal is Federer's true rival. If you think about it, he's the only guy who's beat Federer since AO. Not only that, it's that he can beat him on TWO surfaces. CLAY AND HARD. Examples are Miami and Paris.

Cavaleer
07-10-2005, 02:38 PM
Well, it's just your biased opinion. Let's look. Why the hell Korda, Ivanisevic, Rafter are in a league above Roddick, Safin, Hewitt? The former 3 got 4 grand slam titles, the later 3 got 5 already, and they are still young.

By the way, don't put McEnroe in there. He was in twilight of his career when Sampras came along. It's like you would put Sampras in there while talking about who Federer faced. Just be objective for a moment, using the same argument you used with Sampras, you can say Federer faced the likes from Sampras to Agassi to Safin to Hewitt to Roddick to Nadal, and even more clay court specialists today than in 90s.

Talking about players who they faced is nonsense. How do you know how Federer would fare against the likes of the players you mentioned? You don't know, and no one knows.


Don't be silly. Of course no one knows how Federer would do. The entire topic of this thread is hypothetical and based on opinions. So what's your point?
Besides, I'm not talking about how Federer would do against them. Looking at their games, however, I would guess he would probably do well.

My point, if you had read more carefully, is that the variety and skill level of the players Federer has faced so far doesn't compare to the variety and skill level of players Sampras faced during his run.

Federer has faced nothing but predictable baseliners, with the possible and rare all-court Safin. To truly see how great he is, and to compare him to all-time greats, I think you must see him perform well against a variety of players, not just one hit wonders like Safin.

Federer's skills are undeniable. That's not the point. The point is that if we are to compare him as a champion to Sampras, Borg etc. he needs a broader competitive field. Hopefully we will, because it makes tennis compelling.

I personally think Borg's string of 5 straight Wimbledon's and 5 straight French Open's is the single most incredible feat in the history of tennis. I think we'll see someone break Sampras streak of six straight years at no. 1 before we see someone repeat Borg's feat.


Cavaleer

Cavaleer
07-10-2005, 02:44 PM
I don't think sybaritic is quite the right word unless the Sybarites also liked to read like Safin does. "Leading a balanced life" better describes his lifestyle.


Sounds good. I don't know much about Safin off-court except for what I've read here and what I hear commentators say during tournaments.

To my knowledge the Sybarites did enjoy prose and poetry and drama but they enjoyed little else, especially not warlike pursuits, e.g intense athletic training, like the Spartans and Athenians did.

Would you care to expound on "leading a balanced life" and what that means to Safin? Again, I know only sound-bites about the man, which means next to nothing.


Cavaleer

theace21
07-10-2005, 03:34 PM
Does he really need a rival? Look at golf, when Tiger was dominating the ratings and the sport grew in number. He didn't have a rival.

Federer can do the same threw his complete domination of his sport...People will turn in to watch that are not die hard fans just to see him play.

newnuse
07-10-2005, 03:42 PM
Golf is a different sport. With the exception of match play, you don't go head to head. It's Tiger vs the course. However, it's much more thrilling to see Tiger being challenged during the final round of a major. Those 8 shot victories are fun but does not hold the same thrills.

Yes Fed does need a rival. Watching him beat down a bunch of 2nd rate players is not much fun. You are judge by the competition you beat.

Roy Jones Junior gets ripped for beating a bunch of 2nd tier fighters. It's not his fault, the division was very weak. I think he was the pound for pound king during his reign, but people will always talked about the lack of competition.

callitout
07-10-2005, 03:43 PM
People on this board follow tennis closely, but a bit too impatiently. Reminds me of the frenzy about the stock market going way up or down on any particular week, when it ends the year not far from where it started. Fed's had a truly great 2 year run, but at best he wins 2 slams this year. Nadal finished last year with an ATP rank in the mid 40's and now he's come so far that he's better than Fed on clay and a challenge on hardcourts. Who wouldve thought that a guy who finished at 94 (Gasquet) last year could beat Fed this year. There is quite a bit of time before Fed has 14 slams under his belt. Injury or competition may catch up to Fed before he rewrites all of the record books. He's great no doubt, but its premature to say there wont be any competition for Fed. But I agree that mens pro tennis would be more exciting if one of todays youngsters could emerge as a rival to Fed the way some of the other great rivalries brought out the best in legends of the game. If Nadal continues to improve his game at current pace, hell be at least even with Fed on hardcourts by Next years hardcourt season. Then it will be genuinely exciting to watch Fed challenged in a Final.

Cavaleer
07-10-2005, 03:56 PM
Does he really need a rival? Look at golf, when Tiger was dominating the ratings and the sport grew in number. He didn't have a rival.

Federer can do the same threw his complete domination of his sport...People will turn in to watch that are not die hard fans just to see him play.


I'm not so sure about that comparison to Tiger in golf because in golf you're competing more against the course than you are against other players. The viewer can appreciate his skill because they've all tried to do what he's doing so well. Thus, they can relate, and even a non-golfing viewer can appreciate the difficulty of what the pros do.

But, Federer is such a joy to watch, perhaps more than any other player ever, that some people may tune in simply for his show.

Personally, I can say that TV does no justice to tennis. The difficulty of what they're doing just does not translate through the tube. I didn't understand this until I saw my first pro tournament. There's simply no comparison between TV tennis and live tennis, none whatsoever. Other sports, like football and golf, are much more TV friendly. I think this plays a part as well.

Moreover, tennis fans and sports fans in general, esp. Americans, love rivalries, the more heated and intense the better. Every American sport suffers when there's no marquee rivalry- football, basketball, baseball, and tennis. Just look at the NBA Finals this year. The basketball was superb but because there were no marquee players and definitely no rivalries no one watched. And of course boxing is by far the best example of the highs that come from great rivalries and the lows that come when there's no one worth watching. I don't need to list the matches and re-matches.

College athletics have figured out an easy way to manufacture rivalries through the one game do or die tournaments, in basketball, and the one loss and you're almost out BCS Series.

Blowouts aren't fun, at least not to most viewers. But Joe-blow who's never picked up a racquet would watch Borg-Mcenroe, Sampras-Agassi, Narvatilova-Evert, because he knew it would be great match, he knew both players would leave everything on the court, and the contrast in styles heightened everything.

But Federer- ?????? Right now Nadal looks like the only one with the game and the mentality to go head to head for years to come, every tournament and every time they play.

Again, I'm not blaming Federer for his brilliance. It's not his fault. ;)


Cavaleer

AngeloDS
07-10-2005, 03:59 PM
You don't need rivals if you're doing something completely amazing. Look at Takeru Kobayashi -- Hot dog eating champing. Completing a feat above his competitotrs by eating 53 1/2 hot dogs in 12 minutes while 99% of the rest are like 20-30 and even 40 hot dogs under him.

That'd be like Roger Federer going 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 in every game til' the finals and then winning as such.

Cavaleer
07-10-2005, 04:02 PM
You don't need rivals if you're doing something completely amazing. Look at Takeru Kobayashi -- Hot dog eating champing. Completing a feat above his competitotrs by eating 53 1/2 hot dogs in 12 minutes while 99% of the rest are like 20-30 and even 40 hot dogs under him.

That'd be like Roger Federer going 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 in every game til' the finals and then winning as such.

ROTFLMAO !!!!!!!! YOU'RE THE FUNNIEST MAN IN THE WORLD!


Cavaleer

federerhoogenbandfan
07-10-2005, 04:03 PM
Federer already has two rivals atleast, Nadal and Safin. He is not unbearably dominant by any means, if you find his current level of dominance over-domination it means you probably cant stand him. Nadal nearly beat him on hard courts in the Nasdaq final, beat him on hard courts last year, and beat him on clay in the FO semis. Safin has played only very close matches with Federer since the AO final last year, and beat him the AO semis this year. He has ended the year #1 only once, Hewitt has twice, and Roddick once at a younger age. In the 4 biggest events this year so far, he lost in the semis of two(FO and AO), nearly lost in straight sets in the finals of the other to a clay court specialist(Nasdaq final), and only won convincingly in the other(Wimbledon).

It is funny how many Americans complain about not enough rivals for Federer, and yet Sampras had less rivals of any sort, except when Agassi briefly took time off from his Brooke sabatical to play real tennis(maybe for 2.5 years ouf of Pete's 8 years at the top), and I never heard Americans complain about him not having enough rivals.

Cavaleer
07-10-2005, 04:03 PM
You don't need rivals if you're doing something completely amazing. Look at Takeru Kobayashi -- Hot dog eating champing. Completing a feat above his competitotrs by eating 53 1/2 hot dogs in 12 minutes while 99% of the rest are like 20-30 and even 40 hot dogs under him.

That'd be like Roger Federer going 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 in every game til' the finals and then winning as such.

I'm still ROTFLMAO !!!!!!!!!!!



Cavaleer

federerhoogenbandfan
07-10-2005, 04:06 PM
I couldn't agree with you more.

If he even had a Rafter/Ivanisevic/Becker/Krajciek/Korda like Sampras did, it would be wonderful, let alone a true rival like Agassi or Borg/Mcenroe.

Just think of how many great players truly gunned for Sampras for so many years- Agassi, Rafter, Becker, Ivanisevic, Courier, Chang, Korda, Rios, Moya, and I know I'm forgetting others. They may have taken a match here or there but over the years they all went down.

Cavaleer

Players like Ivanisevic, Chang, Korda, Rios, Moya; were true threats to Sampras more so than players like Roddick, Safin, Nadal, and even Hewitt are to Federer. LOL! That is a laugher.

Haka Boy
07-10-2005, 04:10 PM
So know we've gone from needing to know who is Federers rival .....to golf .....and now to hot dog eating competitions.

Oh yeah I can see the common thread in this. Thats amazing. Next time I watch Federer play I sure will think "Yep hes up there now with Takeru Kobayashi, what a sporting feat" :)

Cavaleer
07-10-2005, 04:15 PM
Federer already has two rivals atleast, Nadal and Safin. He is not unbearably dominant by any means, if you find his current level of dominance over-domination it means you probably cant stand him. Nadal nearly beat him on hard courts in the Nasdaq final, beat him on hard courts last year, and beat him on clay in the FO semis. Safin has played only very close matches with Federer since the AO final last year, and beat him the AO semis this year. He has ended the year #1 only once, Hewitt has twice, and Roddick once at a younger age. In the 4 biggest events this year so far, he lost in the semis of two(FO and AO), nearly lost in straight sets in the finals of the other to a clay court specialist(Nasdaq final), and only won convincingly in the other(Wimbledon).

It is funny how many Americans complain about not enough rivals for Federer, and yet Sampras had less rivals of any sort, except when Agassi briefly took time off from his Brooke sabatical to play real tennis(maybe for 2.5 years ouf of Pete's 8 years at the top), and I never heard Americans complain about him not having enough rivals.


I agree with you about Nadal, but Safin is simply so unpredictable and seemingly inconsistent that it's difficult to put him in that league.

Although Agassi was arguably Sampras' only consistently dangerous rival for many years, there were several others who took great and sometimes successful shots at him throughout his run.

And for me it was the fact that there was always a steady stream of challengers to Sampras that made his achievements so impressive. I have a tape of Sampras from the 98 Masters Cup, which he lost to Alex Corretja btw, and during one of his matches Luke Jensen said "The biggest servers, the best baseliners keep coming at Pistol Pete and he just keeps mowing 'em down, year after year."

Even if no true rival for Federer comes around, it's disappointing to me that the current players all play the same style and seem capable of offering such predictable opposition. I'd love to see Federer have a few Beckers, Rafters and Ivanisevic's in his path, and a Jim Courier and an Agassi. And when I mention these players I mention them as superb examples of their particular style of play, not necessarily as all-time greats.

Safin could certainly take out Federer every time they play but can he concentrate that long? There was no question Rafter, Courier and Becker could. This is all I'm saying.

Hopefully Gasquet will add his name to the list as well.


Cavaleer

Cavaleer
07-10-2005, 04:22 PM
Players like Ivanisevic, Chang, Korda, Rios, Moya; were true threats to Sampras more so than players like Roddick, Safin, Nadal, and even Hewitt are to Federer. LOL! That is a laugher.

Of course they were. Roddick has been spanked not just by Federer but by Hewitt, Agassi, and some talented no name at the French. Hewitt's the only one who's been consistent but his game is in no way a threat to Federer.

Safin and Nadal are the only two who have the game and the record to consistently threaten Federer every time they step on the court.

Korda, Moya, Rios and a few others beat Sampras on their best days but couldn't beat him consistently or when he was playing his best. Ivanisevic took Sampras to five sets once or twice at Wimbledon, and Krajciek and Rafter actually beat Sampras consistently.

Federer has no one challenging him other than Nadal at the moment, no one. Roddick will be the first one to tell you he's not the one.


Cavaleer

Cavaleer
07-10-2005, 04:23 PM
So know we've gone from needing to know who is Federers rival .....to golf .....and now to hot dog eating competitions.

Oh yeah I can see the common thread in this. Thats amazing. Next time I watch Federer play I sure will think "Yep hes up there now with Takeru Kobayashi, what a sporting feat" :)

You have to laugh at that. The timing was superb. Lighten up...;)


Cavaleer

Fedubai
07-10-2005, 04:36 PM
When all is said and done, I think that it needs to be mentioned that this is not some easy thing that Federer is doing here. If it was easy, others would be doing it.

He doesn't just win by definition, because he's an 'all-courter', and the rest are supposedly baseline bashers.

Is it easier than other generations had it? Maybe so, maybe not. Answers will vary. But what he's doing is darned hard. Everybody gets up to play number one.

So many things can be argued here. Different play, better technique, better fitness, more power, better technology...the list goes on. I think that there are too many things to be argued on each side to produce a relevent answer. Only one thing can change that, in my mind: the players would have to play in that era.

federerhoogenbandfan
07-10-2005, 04:44 PM
Of course they were. Roddick has been spanked not just by Federer but by Hewitt, Agassi, and some talented no name at the French. Hewitt's the only one who's been consistent but his game is in no way a threat to Federer.

Safin and Nadal are the only two who have the game and the record to consistently threaten Federer every time they step on the court.

Korda, Moya, Rios and a few others beat Sampras on their best days but couldn't beat him consistently or when he was playing his best. Ivanisevic took Sampras to five sets once or twice at Wimbledon, and Krajciek and Rafter actually beat Sampras consistently.

Federer has no one challenging him other than Nadal at the moment, no one. Roddick will be the first one to tell you he's not the one.


Cavaleer

Moya beat Sampras once in a 3-setter, in an relatively meaningless round robin match of the 97 year-end Masters(Sampras went on to win the event easily), in a match Sampras could not keep the ball in the court; is that the biggest extent of this so-called threat? That is not only his only win, but his only close match vs Sampras. Sampras crushed him in their one slam meeting, the 97 AO final, one of only two times Moya has even reached the semis of any non-clay slam, and even one of only 3 times he has reached the semis of any slam. Moya, outside of clay, is a clear level below Hewitt, Roddick, or Safin; and last year when he was playing as consistently or well as he ever has, he was still a cut below all of those.

Korda was ranked outside of the top 10 for most of his prime betwen 92-98. Rios has never beaten Sampras, has only played him twice in fact and never in a grand slam, and although he briefly reached #1, he reached only 1 slam final, won 0 slam titles, and permenantly dropped out of the top 10 after the year he became the slamless #1.

Krajiceck had a winning head to head with Sampras, yet was so erratic he often did not reach late stages of majors, his Wimbledon record is probably the most inconsistent, with the fewest number of quality showings(semis, quarters) you will ever see from any Wimbledon champion. They only played twice in Grand Slams. Ivanisevic was only a threat on grass; he was no better on non-grass surfaces than Nadal is on non-clay surfaces; in a non career he managed one semifinal and two quarterfinals on hard courts, that is it(Nadal will almost certainly trump that in his career, even though he probably wont be at Roger's level on hard courts).

You are truly out of your gord if you think these guys were more serious rivals to Sampras, than Hewitt, Roddick, Safin, and Nadal are for Federer.

federerhoogenbandfan
07-10-2005, 04:53 PM
I agree with you about Nadal, but Safin is simply so unpredictable and seemingly inconsistent that it's difficult to put him in that league.

Although Agassi was arguably Sampras' only consistently dangerous rival for many years, there were several others who took great and sometimes successful shots at him throughout his run.

Actually even that statement is generous. Agassi had only 2 years he was playing to his potential during Sampras's 6-year run at #1, 94 and 95. 96 and 98 he was a top tenner, but hardly playing anywhere near his potential, look at his grand slam results those two years, the highlights are two semis in 96 and losing 6 straight sets to Michael Chang. 93 and 97 he wasnt even in the top 10, and 97 out of the top 100. It is too bad Agassi waited until he was older to commit himself consistently to the game, and to have the heart to keep working hard after a dissapointing loss.


And for me it was the fact that there was always a steady stream of challengers to Sampras that made his achievements so impressive. I have a tape of Sampras from the 98 Masters Cup, which he lost to Alex Corretja btw, and during one of his matches Luke Jensen said "The biggest servers, the best baseliners keep coming at Pistol Pete and he just keeps mowing 'em down, year after year."

There is a group of huge servers, and great baseliners today, I dont see what your point is. Is him losing to Alex Corretja in the year-end Masters in 98 supposed to demonstrate the tougher competition? LOL!

Safin could certainly take out Federer every time they play but can he concentrate that long? There was no question Rafter, Courier and Becker could. This is all I'm saying.

Well this statement pretty much says it all. You obviously have a pre-conceived belief Roger wins when there isnt anybody that strong to oppose, and if there were, he would automatically lose. Safin beats Federer in one big match when both are playing very well, and he suddenly could take him out "every time they play" if he fulfilled his potential. This is ridiculous. Federer has won many matches vs Safin, when both were playing very well, Halle final this year, year-end Masters semis last year, in Hamburg 2002 Safin was in blazing form to reach the final and still got spanked by Federer. Even in the AO semis, Roger had better stats in almost every area, winners, errors, points won, by atleast 5+ total, and lost, so if anything he was even unlikely to lose that match, to a Safin playing at the absolute top of his game, which is an incredably high level of course.

Cavaleer
07-10-2005, 05:04 PM
Moya beat Sampras once in a 3-setter, in an relatively meaningless round robin match of the 97 year-end Masters(Sampras went on to win the event easily), in a match Sampras could not keep the ball in the court; is that the biggest extent of this so-called threat? That is not only his only win, but his only close match vs Sampras. Sampras crushed him in their one slam meeting, the 97 AO final, one of only two times Moya has even reached the semis of any non-clay slam, and even one of only 3 times he has reached the semis of any slam. Moya, outside of clay, is a clear level below Hewitt, Roddick, or Safin; and last year when he was playing as consistently or well as he ever has, he was still a cut below all of those.

Korda was ranked outside of the top 10 for most of his prime betwen 92-98. Rios has never beaten Sampras, has only played him twice in fact and never in a grand slam, and although he briefly reached #1, he reached only 1 slam final, won 0 slam titles, and permenantly dropped out of the top 10 after the year he became the slamless #1.

Krajiceck had a winning head to head with Sampras, yet was so erratic he often did not reach late stages of majors, his Wimbledon record is probably the most inconsistent, with the fewest number of quality showings(semis, quarters) you will ever see from any Wimbledon champion. They only played twice in Grand Slams. Ivanisevic was only a threat on grass; he was no better on non-grass surfaces than Nadal is on non-clay surfaces; in a non career he managed one semifinal and two quarterfinals on hard courts, that is it(Nadal will almost certainly trump that in his career, even though he probably wont be at Roger's level on hard courts).

You are truly out of your gord if you think these guys were more serious rivals to Sampras, than Hewitt, Roddick, Safin, and Nadal are for Federer.


You just proved my point. You listed five different players of five different styles who each posed a serious threat to Sampras in five different ways. I'm not saying Kracjiek or Korda or Moya were all-time greats. They were all head-cases to one degree or another, like Safin; capable of brilliance and mediocrity on the same day. At least they were motivated to beat Sampras. But only Nicolas Kiefer threatened Federer through two weeks at Wimbledon, not Hewitt or Roddick.

Meanwhile, you ignored the truly successful and consistent rivals of Sampras that I mentioned- Becker, Agassi, Rafter, and Courier, again four different styles of play and mentality.

The fact that they all retired, except for Agassi, was largely because they couldn't figure out how to beat Sampras. Becker is obviously the best example of this. I could see Roddick retiring for similar reasons.

But when was the last time Hewitt or Roddick truly challenged Federer? Certainly not when it mattered most, at Slams. And when was the last time either of them evolved their game?

This is my point. Federer is going to improve. Who, among the top 50 players in the world, plans to do the same and challenge him?

Let's hope Safin and Nadal and someone we don't even know step up to the challenge, the way all the players we've discussed stepped up to Sampras. They may lose but at least let them step up.

Thus, you can see that there's no gourd to be off, amigo, unless it's yours.



Cavaleer

federerhoogenbandfan
07-10-2005, 05:24 PM
You just proved my point. You listed five different players of five different styles who each posed a serious threat to Sampras in five different ways. I'm not saying Kracjiek or Korda or Moya were all-time greats. They were all head-cases to one degree or another, like Safin; capable of brilliance and mediocrity on the same day.

I dont know what you are talking about. If I proved anything, it is these that those 5 are well below the caliber of player that Safin, Roddick, Hewitt, and Nadal are; and that they were not really serious threats to Sampras as much as you tried to make them out to be, or even serious contenders in as far as reaching late rounds of majors and staying near the top of the game a reasonable portion of the time.

Meanwhile, you ignored the truly successful and consistent rivals of Sampras- Becker, Agassi, Rafter, and Courier, again four different styles of play and mentality.

Actually I picked the most ridicilous examples, which is why I identified the ones that did not include this more formidable group first. For the record though Rafter only became a contender in 97, he wasnt even in the top 50 early that year, and only briefly cracked the top 20 at any point prior. He did not advance to a late round at the AO until 2001, and Wimbledon until 99.
He retired with 2 slams, and almost all of the current group of contenders will likely atleast match that, if not better it; and all have bettered his 2 slam finals, and number of slam semis easily. Becker was at best fighting to regain old form, or hold on to as much of his old form as he could, by the time Sampras was on top; he even dropped out of the top 10 at one point early in 94, and had more first week losses in majors than second week appearance in between 93-mid 95 before one last resurgance of form for a couple of years. Agassi of 93-98 made Safin look consistent, only in 94 and 95 did he scrape the surface of his potential with a consistent commitment to the game; atleast Safin has had 4 years as a top 5 caliber player in the last 6. Courier began to fall off in 94 and never stopped sliding, and even at full confidence I dont even know what makes him that better or different that the current top players, his game was also one-dimensional and limited to some extent, and while his groundstrokes were better than say Roddick, he didnt have near the serve. Agassi and Becker, during their peak periods were better than Federer's closest opponents now, I agree with that much, but that is about all.


The fact that they all retired, except for Agassi, was largely because they couldn't figure out how to beat Sampras. Becker is obviously the best example of this. I could see Roddick retiring for similar reasons.

Becker wanted to make a headline after Wimbledon 97, he was retiring because he was aging, struggling with injuries, many players would be able to beat him by that point, and staying in the top 10 would probably be hard if he wasnt able to stay healthy and train, plus the age factor. Almost all of Sampras's contemparies retired at the point you would expect them to retire, I dont know what glaring example of one retiring due to Sampras was, if Becker of 97 retiring is your best, than there probably isnt one.

But when was the last time Hewitt or Roddick truly challenged Federer? And when was the last time one of them evolved their game?

They have challenged Federer by staying near the top of the game, being in their primes at the same time Roger is, and by trying to work hard on their games to continue playing top level tennis, and in hopes of challenging Federer and winning grand slams. The fact they dont beat regularly beat Federer is hardly a sign of weakness in these players.

This is my point. Let's hope Safin and Nadal and someone we don't even know prove me horribly wrong.

Safin and Nadal have already proved you wrong, and have been quality rivals for Federer in the last year; if you are expecting more serious rivals than they have been, you will be dissapointed.

VamosRafa
07-10-2005, 05:29 PM
He may not have a true rival (although I think Rafa may give him more trouble on hardcourts in the future than you think).

But that's not my point. Here's my point, at least re dust:

http://www.putfile.com/media.php?n=rafabit

federerhoogenbandfan
07-10-2005, 05:33 PM
Nadal is 2-1 vs Federer right now, beat him in the FO semis, a huge match; and almost beat him in 3 straight sets in the Nasdaq final, the biggest non slam event of the year. If that does not qualify him as a rival, I dont know what a player would have to do.

Grimjack
07-10-2005, 05:46 PM
If that does not qualify him as a rival, I dont know what a player would have to do.

How 'bout we let him win at least one match on a surface that isn't BOTH A) the only surface he's got any results on, and B) Fed's worst.

Don't get me wrong. Fed certainly hasn't shown he owns Nadal like he does most others. But I hardly feel it's set up as a legit rivalry yet, either. Just not enough info at this point.

What I can say about Nadal is that he's one of the few who has a CHANCE to develop that rivalry. But to say you don't know what more he could do to earn the title "rival" is perhaps a bit shortsighted.

federerhoogenbandfan
07-10-2005, 05:49 PM
Nadal beat him in straight sets on hard courts last year, nearly beat him in straight sets on hard courts this year, and beat him a Grand Slam semi, yes on Fed's worst surface, but still a Grand Slam semi this year. If anything it is Roger that would seem to need to play Nadal better than he has so far, and make it more of a rivalry. That being said I think Roger has played well below his potential vs Nadal so far, while Nadal has played to his maximum abilities. Also Roger is still figuring out Rafael's game, in the FO semis he played far worse than the Nasdaq finals, on a surface that favors Nadal alot more; and until the point of Nadal running out of steam at the very end of the 3rd set of the Nasdaq final, was actually more competitive. I expect their future meetings to change quite a bit from their previous, except on clay. I am only talking about what has happened so far, and if anything Nadal has had the advantage in their head to head battles so far.

VamosRafa
07-10-2005, 05:51 PM
How 'bout we let him win at least one match on a surface that isn't BOTH A) the only surface he's got any results on, and B) Fed's worst.

Don't get me wrong. Fed certainly hasn't shown he owns Nadal like he does most others. But I hardly feel it's set up as a legit rivalry yet, either. Just not enough info at this point.

What I can say about Nadal is that he's one of the few who has a CHANCE to develop that rivalry. But to say you don't know what more he could do to earn the title "rival" is perhaps a bit shortsighted.

Perhaps, but Rafa is 5 years younger than Fed. Lots of tennis to be played in between. And Rafa wants to be No. 1; he may not get there, but he will not give up. And that should make things fun for us fans.

The point of my post was to point out a great video re Rafa, without creating a separate thread. I didn't think that would be cool, but I think this video is cool:

http://www.putfile.com/media.php?n=rafabit

Cavaleer
07-10-2005, 05:58 PM
Perhaps, but Rafa is 5 years younger than Fed. Lots of tennis to be played in between. And Rafa wants to be No. 1; he may not get there, but he will not give up. And that should make things fun for us fans.

This is my point. Nadal wants to beat Federer. He wants to be no.1. He wants to win Wimbledon. And he's learning and growing how to do just that. Hell, he's already beaten Federer more than anyone else in the last two or three years.

That's a rival. To cement in publicly he needs to beat Federer at a slam other than the French. For some reason people don't respect the French. I do.

Cavaleer

Cavaleer
07-10-2005, 06:09 PM
I dont know what you are talking about. If I proved anything, it is these that those 5 are well below the caliber of player that Safin, Roddick, Hewitt, and Nadal are; and that they were not really serious threats to Sampras as much as you tried to make them out to be, or even serious contenders in as far as reaching late rounds of majors and staying near the top of the game a reasonable portion of the time.



Actually I picked the most ridicilous examples, which is why I identified the ones that did not include this more formidable group first. For the record though Rafter only became a contender in 97, he wasnt even in the top 50 early that year, and only briefly cracked the top 20 at any point prior. He did not advance to a late round at the AO until 2001, and Wimbledon until 99.
He retired with 2 slams, and almost all of the current group of contenders will likely atleast match that, if not better it; and all have bettered his 2 slam finals, and number of slam semis easily. Becker was at best fighting to regain old form, or hold on to as much of his old form as he could, by the time Sampras was on top; he even dropped out of the top 10 at one point early in 94, and had more first week losses in majors than second week appearance in between 93-mid 95 before one last resurgance of form for a couple of years. Agassi of 93-98 made Safin look consistent, only in 94 and 95 did he scrape the surface of his potential with a consistent commitment to the game; atleast Safin has had 4 years as a top 5 caliber player in the last 6. Courier began to fall off in 94 and never stopped sliding, and even at full confidence I dont even know what makes him that better or different that the current top players, his game was also one-dimensional and limited to some extent, and while his groundstrokes were better than say Roddick, he didnt have near the serve. Agassi and Becker, during their peak periods were better than Federer's closest opponents now, I agree with that much, but that is about all.




Becker wanted to make a headline after Wimbledon 97, he was retiring because he was aging, struggling with injuries, many players would be able to beat him by that point, and staying in the top 10 would probably be hard if he wasnt able to stay healthy and train, plus the age factor. Almost all of Sampras's contemparies retired at the point you would expect them to retire, I dont know what glaring example of one retiring due to Sampras was, if Becker of 97 retiring is your best, than there probably isnt one.



They have challenged Federer by staying near the top of the game, being in their primes at the same time Roger is, and by trying to work hard on their games to continue playing top level tennis, and in hopes of challenging Federer and winning grand slams. The fact they dont beat regularly beat Federer is hardly a sign of weakness in these players.



Safin and Nadal have already proved you wrong, and have been quality rivals for Federer in the last year; if you are expecting more serious rivals than they have been, you will be dissapointed.


You're funny, dude. You name rivals who challenged Sampras over a course of years, yet you can't name the last time Hewitt or Roddick even challenged him in a set over the last three years and you call them legitimate threats to him. Wake up, amigo. Becker himself said he didn't want to play any more because he knew he couldn't beat Sampras. What more do you want. To train the way he had to train with no hope, at least in his mind, of victory is demoralizing, and it makes retirment more palatable.

Anyway, as I stated previously Nadal is clearly a threat every time, and most importantly, HE WANTS TO BEAT Federer.

Hewitt, Roddick, Nadal, please, they don't have a clue or a hope. They would have to fundamentally alter their game, and only Roddick stands a chance of that by learning how to volley.

If you're a die-hard Federer fan that's fine. But don't inflate the abilities of his contemporaries when the record contradicts everything you're saying.

If Safin decides to truly play he could beat Federer every day of the week. But the same could have been said of half-a-dozen players that Sampras faced, who also won slams. That's a huge part of what makes Sampras and Federer so great- their minds.

Wake up, bro. It's ok. LOL.


Cavaleer

Fedubai
07-10-2005, 06:15 PM
The next match between Federer and Nadal will be something to see. I get excited just thinking about it.

Nadal, Safin, Roddick, Nalbandian, Gasquet, Agassi, Hewitt, JJ..these guys are threats, some more so than others.

Here are four that have things that need to happen.

Roddick: get the attitide back. I've seen good signs lately, so that's good.
Nalbandian: get healthy. This is not a guy you want to meet when he's healthy. He has a brilliant mind, consistent groundstrokes and he can make you play like crap. Federer used to lose sleep over his matches with this guy. They haven't met much lately.

Safin: dedicate yourself, old boy! What do you want, success or a 'good time'? You won't be around forever, take the chance while it's still there!

Gasquet: needs more development, but like I said if he can keep his head on straight it'll come in time.
----

JJ is dangerous because he is *so* powerful. They haven't met yet and that could be very interesting.

Agassi can't be counted out, he's still a threat. He wants that last slam before he goes.

Hewitt will keep fighting however bad his record is against Federer. He needs to be more agressive though I think.

So overall, there are quite a few guys that will certainly give Federer a hard time if they can get a couple things together. Maybe not all-time greats, but those guys aren't too shabby.

Of those, there are a couple candidates to be true rivals of Federer in my opinion: Nadal, Roddick, Gasquet, Safin. They all have the game, but Safin needs to dedicate himself and Roddick needs to get that attitude back and Gasquet needs some more development in a couple areas, mostly mentally. And of those, I see Nadal, right now, as the biggest rival. Federer and Nadal need to play a few more matches before we can have an idea where this thing is going, 3 matches aren't enough, but I don't think Nadal is going anywhere anytime soon.

Maybe it'll be JJ or some other player. But right now that's what I see.

drexeler
07-10-2005, 07:39 PM
Nadal is clearly a threat every time, and most importantly, HE WANTS TO BEAT Federer. Cavaleer

Ok, I get it now. Only Nadal wants to beat Federer. Others like Roddick, and Hewitt don't want to beat Federer, instead they want to him to be viewed as GOAT, that's why they keeping beating other players, make the SF or final, and then lay down to Federer.

ACE of Hearts
07-10-2005, 07:45 PM
I like Nadal, but can we wait too see if he is really a rival to Federer!I still need too see more in the hardcourts!

Phil Daddario
07-10-2005, 07:50 PM
I don't see Hewitt making it, OR JJ for for that matter.

Hewitt will never play more aggressively. If he tries to change his game, he's going to screw up. He'll never be as good at it. If the pros could fix everything eventually, then tennis would be a lot different. But everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. If they try to stay away from their strengths...they're screwed.

And JJ is pretty inconsistent. His serve is nice, but so is Federer's return game. Not to mention that Federer completely overshadows him in everything else. Unless he's getting as many aces as he was off Agassi before (and he STILL lost to Agassi) he's not going to have a chance.

JJ's just a big server. Sure, that takes you a long, long way. But there are plenty of big servers Federer's beaten. It's not enough. Your entire game needs to be "big", not just the serve.

ctbmar
07-10-2005, 08:08 PM
No, Federer will never have a good enough rival. He is the God of Tennis. Like Micheal Jordan, the God of Basketball. Tiger Woods, the God of Golf. Micheal Schmacher, the God of F1 Racing. No matter who comes along at their prime, the No. 2, 3, 4 ranked players will still become average competitors compared to them. When all these people are at their prime, I love to watch dominance in sports. Now with Micheal Jordan out, Tiger Woods not fairing so well, Schmacher doing badly, I watch less of these sports. Instead I watch more of tennis now compared to after Sampras retired. I love a Champion, so I wish Federer would just keep winning until it gets really boring, then maybe I will consider hoping he will lose a few to make the rest of the field happy. In sports, you got to be selfish. You cannot give chance and feel pity that you or your idol is dominating the sport. If you have this mentality, the Champ will no longer be the greatest, no longer be the most dominant and just become an average top player in history.

ctbmar
07-10-2005, 08:30 PM
Cavaleer & federerhoogenbandfan, I don't know why you guys are fighting about? Both of you seem to be having the same concepts and ideas about the topic. There must be some misunderstanding.

Cavaleer says that Sampras does not have a true rival?
federerhoogenbandfan says that Sampras does not have a true rival? yes?

Cavaleer says that Federer's rivals are actually better than Sampras rivals?
federerhoogenbandfan says that Federer's rivals are actually better than Sampras rivals? yes?

alienhamster
07-10-2005, 08:44 PM
Re: Nadal vs. Federer . . .

One thing that Federer really has going for him is his ability to reverse his fortunes against rivals who have previously dominated him. He really has the ability to improve, to change his game once he figures out how to beat somebody (Hewitt, Nalbandian, Henman, e.g.) I suspect he'll be able to do this with Nadal the more he plays him, even as Nadal improves his game.

The tennis guy
07-10-2005, 08:51 PM
Cavaleer & federerhoogenbandfan, I don't know why you guys are fighting about? Both of you seem to be having the same concepts and ideas about the topic. There must be some misunderstanding.

Cavaleer says that Sampras does not have a true rival?
federerhoogenbandfan says that Sampras does not have a true rival? yes?

Cavaleer says that Federer's rivals are actually better than Sampras rivals?
federerhoogenbandfan says that Federer's rivals are actually better than Sampras rivals? yes?
They are arguing about something that will never have an answer. Waste of time.

I don't how talking about Federer's need for a rival becomes comparison of Sampras vs Federer.

VamosRafa
07-10-2005, 10:16 PM
Re: Nadal vs. Federer . . .

One thing that Federer really has going for him is his ability to reverse his fortunes against rivals who have previously dominated him. He really has the ability to improve, to change his game once he figures out how to beat somebody (Hewitt, Nalbandian, Henman, e.g.) I suspect he'll be able to do this with Nadal the more he plays him, even as Nadal improves his game.


Fed has plenty going for him, he doesn't need anything else.

But when you look at their ages, the same came be said of Rafa - he is 5 years younger than Roger after all. And their stats for this year are not that far apart. That is most surprising thing, IMO.

Fed will finish No. 1, and Rafa likely will finish in the Top 5 -- and possibly No. 2. Some of you thought he wouldnt be Top 5 for at least 2 years.

Talk is talk. But these guys seem to have different ideas.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

sandiegotennisboy
07-10-2005, 11:20 PM
I think the fact that he doesn't have a rival speaks volumes about how great a talent he has and how great a domination he has over the beeyotches. If you compare the competition that Fed has now versus what Laver faced or what Sampras faced, Fed just has it tougher. Even commentators agree that the level of play has increased and the depth of both the men's game and women's game is that much better nowadays. When you don't have a rival, you are the Sh*t because its not 50/50 that you'll take the slam, all bets are on you. Even on clay, which is Fed's least successful surface (or i might be wrong), he's still a top contender. I can't really name a rival there except Nadal.

Not having a rival this whole time makes Fed one of the best of all time because the top 10 guys, top 100 guys even.....they don't suck. Everyone is so much more uber and fitter and just offers more competition. Fed is just out of this world. All the guys bring all their game and fight to the table but he's too good for now.

It's not really complete dominance when you have a competitor that can still take the slam from you at any given point. Sit back and watch history be made while this guy is on tour. I guarantee noone will replicate his brand of tennis for a loooooong time to come.

pound cat
07-11-2005, 02:59 AM
Cavaleer: all you need to know about Safin in 100 words or less...A balanced life. according to Safin.... being with friends, vacations (mountains and fishing seem to be memorable ones), reading (likes avant garde Russian writers), being at home in Moscow, a girlfriend (he's had 2 serious ones since he was 16, both dark haired & petite, not blondes as the tabloids would have people think), work. (tennis). But the scales are tipped largely in favour of tennis, as it occupies most of his time. His philospophy is that these are the best years of his life (one of those no life after 30 guys) but he must be feeling Father Time is on his tail as he keeps saying he's getting old. For a complete collection of his interviews and hundreds of his very funny and often inciteful quotes go to safinator.com , the best Safin site by far. and Safin describes himself as "I'm just a normal guy"

laurie
07-11-2005, 04:28 AM
I think the serve in the men's game is the most important shot and has been for a long time. Lendl, McEnroe, Becker, Edberg. The guys at the very top, the serve was fundamental to the success of their game. That continued with Rafter, Stich, Krajicek, Ivanesevic, Sampras, even Agassi developed a very good serve throughout his career.

The serving today has gone down. The current players lack the ability to put slice on their second serves. Therefore the second serve is no longer a weapon. Second serve aces and unreturnables are a thing of the past. Interesting when you think how fast men serve today. On the advantage court players therefore cannot mix it up and serve down the middle with slice on second serves. Everyone hits conventional kick serves.

Nalbandian, Safin, Grosjean, Roddick, Hewitt and anyone else you care to mention all serve this way especially on second serves. As they are all Federer's rivals they play into his hands. As he is an excellent returner players need to mix up the serve to keep him at bay on the return so he doesn't get on to the offensive once the point starts.

Its easy to hit a flat serve at at 130mph. Problem is everyone serves kick second serves at 95mph. The players in the top ten don't have the ability to hit slice second serves at 110mph-120mph. In fact they cannot hit slice first serves at 130mph.

The players now start on the backfoot against Federer. The serve determines the confidence of a man's game. If he doesn't feel he can hold serve time and again, his confidence will go and the rest of his game will suffer. Thats what happens to players who play Federer.

Thats why I think the technical level of the game has gone down. And why Federer's rivals are not quite up to it (except Nadal ridght now). I would like to add Federer been the technical player he is has studied how the other masters before him played and learned to serve in the way I've described, keeping his opponents at bay, especially on grass and hardcourts; first and second serves.

laurie
07-11-2005, 05:22 AM
I would just like to add one other thing. The technique when hitting slice serves on deuce and ad courts is virtually the same as volleying. The follow through is the same and the result is the same which is to make the ball skid and shoot off the surface. Therefore it is logical to see why the quality of volleying has also gone down in the men's game. This is often a contentious argument because a lot of people say passing shots are better and harder now, however, taking Roddick as an obvious example (no 3 player in the world) his volleying skills are unfortunately very bad, including his positional sense. Its good that he wants to volley but may be would have been better if he learned it when growing up as to when he's on the tour.

Personally I find it very difficult to put slice on shots using rackets the size of Roddick's. It seems easier to hit these type of shots with control oriented smaller head rackets. I use 90sq inch rackets, same as Federer and Mauresmo (who happen both to be excellent volleyers). A player like Feliciano Lopez has Babolat customize a smaller head racket for him to aid volleying and slice serves which left handers find easier to do anyway. I've never seen his racket in the shops. I've never seen Dunlop 90sq inch rackets so I would imagine Mauresmo also has hers customized as well.

I also think the more playing styles on offer, the better it is for fans. The problem is it takes longer for younger people to learn real technical skills that would wow the fans when they turn pro.

Fedubai
07-11-2005, 05:24 AM
For what it's worth I've seen Federer serve second serve aces, and he slices a lot. One of my favorite serves of his is when he's on the Deuce court, he slices a cutter out wide. I also like watching his slice down the line when he's on the Ad court.

In fact I believe he hit a second serve ace with that serve against Roddick in the Wimbledon final in the last game.

I don't see too many others who do it, but maybe someone else can help out on that.

By the way, you are a Pete fan, aren't you?

Anyway, I have an oldie, a Wilson Advantage, that's 90 sq.in. I like it for volleying but it's a little bent and cracked, old age I suppose. ;) It must be, I can't have anything to do with that...

Cavaleer
07-11-2005, 07:23 AM
Cavaleer & federerhoogenbandfan, I don't know why you guys are fighting about? Both of you seem to be having the same concepts and ideas about the topic. There must be some misunderstanding.

Cavaleer says that Sampras does not have a true rival?
federerhoogenbandfan says that Sampras does not have a true rival? yes?

Cavaleer says that Federer's rivals are actually better than Sampras rivals?
federerhoogenbandfan says that Federer's rivals are actually better than Sampras rivals? yes?

Actually, it's a something of the reverse.

I want to see Federer have the same breadth and depth of opponents and rivals that Sampras had.

Federerhoogen doesn't think that will happen, and he doesn't think Sampras' opponents/rivals, Becker-Agassi-Courier-Rafter-Ivanisevic- et al, were as skilled as Hewitt, Roddick and Nalbandian.

I disagree.


Cavaleer

Cavaleer
07-11-2005, 07:27 AM
Cavaleer: all you need to know about Safin in 100 words or less...A balanced life. according to Safin.... being with friends, vacations (mountains and fishing seem to be memorable ones), reading (likes avant garde Russian writers), being at home in Moscow, a girlfriend (he's had 2 serious ones since he was 16, both dark haired & petite, not blondes as the tabloids would have people think), work. (tennis). But the scales are tipped largely in favour of tennis, as it occupies most of his time. His philospophy is that these are the best years of his life (one of those no life after 30 guys) but he must be feeling Father Time is on his tail as he keeps saying he's getting old. For a complete collection of his interviews and hundreds of his very funny and often inciteful quotes go to safinator.com , the best Safin site by far. and Safin describes himself as "I'm just a normal guy"


Thanks for that Pound Cat. I like what I hear of him, although I have no idea why he thinks life ends after 30. To me, it doesn't really start until after 30.

Cavaleer

Cavaleer
07-11-2005, 07:35 AM
Ok, I get it now. Only Nadal wants to beat Federer. Others like Roddick, and Hewitt don't want to beat Federer, instead they want to him to be viewed as GOAT, that's why they keeping beating other players, make the SF or final, and then lay down to Federer.

Of course they would like to beat him, but you don't have the feeling with them as you do with Nadal that they're determined to beat him and are willing to grow and improve in order to do that.

Hewitt has used the same strategy against Federer for the last four or five years. In the early years, Federer became impatient and lost his cool and eventually lost the match. But then he grew, he improved and now Hewitt hasn't taken a set off him in two or three years. Sometimes he lucky to get a game.

For Roddick it's the same story, except that he hasn't made it past the quarters often enough to play Federer anywhere but Wimbledon.

But not with Nadal, even after Federer came back and beat him in five.

As I said, Nadal needs to beat him at the USO or the OZ for the rivalry to become a public phenomenon. But in his mind, he knows he can beat Federer.

Does Roddick or Hewitt or Nalbandian? Dubito.

I think Safin does but he has other issues to resolve, it seems.


That's all I'm saying. Hewitt and Roddick are great competitors but competitors think differently from champions. Personally, I think it's as mental as it is physical with Roddick and Hewitt. We'll see. Hopefully they'll prove me wrong. Nadal certainly won't prove me wrong.



Cavaleer

Cavaleer
07-11-2005, 07:53 AM
I would just like to add one other thing. The technique when hitting slice serves on deuce and ad courts is virtually the same as volleying. The follow through is the same and the result is the same which is to make the ball skid and shoot off the surface. Therefore it is logical to see why the quality of volleying has also gone down in the men's game. This is often a contentious argument because a lot of people say passing shots are better and harder now, however, taking Roddick as an obvious example (no 3 player in the world) his volleying skills are unfortunately very bad, including his positional sense. Its good that he wants to volley but may be would have been better if he learned it when growing up as to when he's on the tour.

Personally I find it very difficult to put slice on shots using rackets the size of Roddick's. It seems easier to hit these type of shots with control oriented smaller head rackets. I use 90sq inch rackets, same as Federer and Mauresmo (who happen both to be excellent volleyers). A player like Feliciano Lopez has Babolat customize a smaller head racket for him to aid volleying and slice serves which left handers find easier to do anyway. I've never seen his racket in the shops. I've never seen Dunlop 90sq inch rackets so I would imagine Mauresmo also has hers customized as well.

I also think the more playing styles on offer, the better it is for fans. The problem is it takes longer for younger people to learn real technical skills that would wow the fans when they turn pro.


Laurie you truly hit the nail on the head, and accidentally proved my point about the breadth of of styles and palyers in the past versus those of today.

These high-powered racquets are destroying the growth of different styles because the kids learn to only hit power balls from the baseline at a young age.

They rarely or perhaps never learn the much more difficult and frustrating style of S&V or all-court, which also require a different racquet. I, too, use a 90'' Wilson and couldn't imagine using one of those baseline bangers. They have no feel.

Cavaleer

newnuse
07-11-2005, 08:43 AM
Sampras did not have the strongest rivals during his reigh as I mentioned before.

The problem I have with Fed's challengers is the lopsided matches. Not only are these guys losing to Fed on a regular basis, they don't even take a lousy set. That is not a rivalry. That's a spanking. To be a rivalry, you have to win sometimes.

Nadal seems to have the best shot. 3 matchups does not constitute a rivalry. It's nothing yet. Nadal has done nothing yet to be considered a rival. As of now, he is just another dominate clay court specialist. Let's see how he does on the hard courts.

jhhachamp
07-11-2005, 09:36 AM
The serving today has gone down. The current players lack the ability to put slice on their second serves.
This is a completely ignorant statement.

Nalbandian, Safin, Grosjean, Roddick, Hewitt and anyone else you care to mention all serve this way especially on second serves. As they are all Federer's rivals they play into his hands. As he is an excellent returner players need to mix up the serve to keep him at bay on the return so he doesn't get on to the offensive once the point starts.
Did you ever think that the reason they serve mostly kick serves is because that is what is most effective? These are world class athletes we are talking about, if a different type of serve was more effective to use as a 2nd serve or if it was more effective to mix it up more, they would adjust their games.

Its easy to hit a flat serve at at 130mph.
you cannot be serious

Max G.
07-11-2005, 10:50 AM
No, Federer will never have a good enough rival. He is the God of Tennis. Like Micheal Jordan, the God of Basketball. Tiger Woods, the God of Golf. Micheal Schmacher, the God of F1 Racing. No matter who comes along at their prime, the No. 2, 3, 4 ranked players will still become average competitors compared to them. When all these people are at their prime, I love to watch dominance in sports. Now with Micheal Jordan out, Tiger Woods not fairing so well, Schmacher doing badly, I watch less of these sports. Instead I watch more of tennis now compared to after Sampras retired. I love a Champion, so I wish Federer would just keep winning until it gets really boring, then maybe I will consider hoping he will lose a few to make the rest of the field happy. In sports, you got to be selfish. You cannot give chance and feel pity that you or your idol is dominating the sport. If you have this mentality, the Champ will no longer be the greatest, no longer be the most dominant and just become an average top player in history.

Haha! That's the exact opposite of what I like. In tennis, I find it a little bit boring when one player is winning everything - I much prefer the times when a bunch of players have a legitimate chance of winning the tournament. Kind of the way the WTA is now, though I don't watch much of the WTA 'cause I don't like the actual tennis as much.

laurie
07-11-2005, 12:27 PM
Steve, it is possible for world class athletes not to work on certain aspects or perfect certain aspects of whatever sport they particpate in for whatever reason. Every person has a weakness somewhere and may not want or need to put in the application to achieve a certain goal. And are happy to get by with what they have.

Do you study serving in tennis? If you don't, have a look closely what I've been describing the next time you watch tennis matches be it live or on television. You will find an interesting pattern emerging. If you have a quizical mind, you may start asking yourself questions about the role of the serve in men's tennis and why its no longer the weapon it used to be.

For all the reasons I've described, the best player in the world uses his serve as a weapon in a way no other player can on the tour. Five to 10 years ago there were many players who served with this level of skill. However, you are not born with this skill, it takes a lot of hard work and application. And an incredible amount of confidence is gained from knowing one has a world class serve to draw in during difficult periods of a match.

Rickson
07-11-2005, 12:41 PM
Nadal's hardcourt game is pretty tough although not nearly his clay game. I think Nadal can challenge Federer on hard courts and on clay, but definitely not on cow food.

pound cat
07-11-2005, 03:31 PM
Thanks for that Pound Cat. I like what I hear of him, although I have no idea why he thinks life ends after 30. To me, it doesn't really start until after 30.

Cavaleer\

LOL Cavaleer. Safin is only 25. When he gets to be 30 he will think exactly as you do.

eqc6
07-11-2005, 05:40 PM
\

LOL Cavaleer. Safin is only 25. When he gets to be 30 he will think exactly as you do.

heh, I agree! You guys heard of Agassi right? :mrgreen:

merovingian
07-11-2005, 06:34 PM
Hewitt has used the same strategy against Federer for the last four or five years. In the early years, Federer became impatient and lost his cool and eventually lost the match. But then he grew, he improved and now Hewitt hasn't taken a set off him in two or three years.

Incorrect. It is, in fact, 12 months ago. Wimbledon 2004 to be precise.

It's also not true to say that Hewitt has persevered with the same strategy for the last 4 or 5 years. If you think that, then you haven't really been watching.

Incidentally, and FWIW, I agree with federerhoogenbandfan.

federerhoogenbandfan
07-12-2005, 06:31 AM
You're funny, dude. You name rivals who challenged Sampras over a course of years, yet you can't name the last time Hewitt or Roddick even challenged him in a set over the last three years and you call them legitimate threats to him. Wake up, amigo. Becker himself said he didn't want to play any more because he knew he couldn't beat Sampras. What more do you want. To train the way he had to train with no hope, at least in his mind, of victory is demoralizing, and it makes retirment more palatable.


You are clearly speaking of yourself not me, and you prove nothing more than that you are a ridiculously biased Sampras fan who is trying to twist the facts. I named some people you included(Korda, Moya, Ivanisevic, Rios, Chang) who did not even come close to challenging Sampras, who you referred to as interesting competition; and who are miles below the levels of players regularly in the top 5 today, on an overall basis.

You have not illustrated how these players were ever legit threats to him in a way todays players are not to Federer; and avoided altogether comparing their abilities as players to the current group following Federer(for obvious reasons).


Anyway, as I stated previously Nadal is clearly a threat every time, and most importantly, HE WANTS TO BEAT Federer.

See them play on faster courts and tell me he is clearly a threat every time.
Then again that would break your twisted logic that anybody who can truly play can beat Federer every time.

Hewitt, Roddick, Nadal, please, they don't have a clue or a hope. They would have to fundamentally alter their game, and only Roddick stands a chance of that by learning how to volley.

So Nadal was a threat to beat Federer every time, and now he doesnt have a clue. LOL!!!

If you're a die-hard Federer fan that's fine. But don't inflate the abilities of his contemporaries when the record contradicts everything you're saying.

Sorry you are talking about yourself. You are the one trying to say one-hit wonders like Rios, Korda, Ivanisevic, Krajiceck, and Moya are better players and were more worthy rivals to Sampras than players like Roddick, Safin, Hewitt, and Nadal; and you have failed miserably to prove your point, but if it is any consolation I have gotten a barrel of laughs reading your posts. You are the die-hard fan bereft of logic here, not me. Why you couldnt just stick with players like Becker, Edberg, and Agassi, and atleast try to make your case with them rather than throwing in those ludricious choices is beyond me.


If Safin decides to truly play he could beat Federer every day of the week.

Again proving your scewed perspective on everything.

doriancito
07-12-2005, 07:38 AM
federer has a true rival but not in a match! he has a rival on a game style. You see nadal beats federer because of his consistency and patience and if all players got nadals style to play against federer, federer wouldnt beat anyone!

Fedubai
07-12-2005, 10:23 AM
And I suppose that if everybody got Federer's style, nobody would beat anybody.

We have to see where this thing is going between Federer and Nadal. They've had good matches, tough matches, but 3 contests aren't really enough.

jhhachamp
07-12-2005, 04:08 PM
good job there federerhoogenbandfan, i think you just completely disproved cavaliers logic and showed how biased he is on this topic.

jhhachamp
07-12-2005, 04:09 PM
and laurie, i really dont know what the hell you are trying to say in your post. You need to reorganize your thoughts if you expect to be at all convincing.

ctbmar
07-12-2005, 08:25 PM
Actually, it's a something of the reverse.

I want to see Federer have the same breadth and depth of opponents and rivals that Sampras had.

Federerhoogen doesn't think that will happen, and he doesn't think Sampras' opponents/rivals, Becker-Agassi-Courier-Rafter-Ivanisevic- et al, were as skilled as Hewitt, Roddick and Nalbandian.

I disagree.


Cavaleer


In that case, I agree with Federerhoogen. My point of view is that the key is not the rivals here. Both Sampras and Federer's rivals were about the same standard. IMO, Federer's rivals are actually better than Sampras. Eg. Hewitt is definitely better than Micheal Chang and on par with Agassi. But does Sampras blow Micheal Chang or Agassi off the court like 8 times in a row and losing 1 set out of the last 8 matches? Hewitt was the most dominant player in 2001, 2002 and he destroyed Sampras in the US finals, yes Sampras was older then. But the fact that Hewitt is the same speedy player with the same tenacity player in the present times compared to year 2001, 2002 against every other opponent , Hewitt will dominate them EXCEPT Federer shows that Federer is way above his peers. Roddick is definitely better player than Ivanesivic because he serves faster and has the world record serve for the whole history in tennis. Both Roddick and Ivanesivic has poorer placement for their serves compared to Sampras & Federer. Ivanesivic volleys are better than Roddick, but Roddick has better forehand and slightly better backhand than Ivanesic. But Federer defeated Roddick in straight sets twice at Wimbledon and once a 4 setter but Sampras had two 5 setter match wins and one 4 setter match win at Wimbledon and Ivanesivic won a 4 setter Wimbledon win in 1992, and Career Match up is 12-6 with lots of close matches. Look at Federer-Roddick match up : 9-1 and 3-0 at Wimbledon. It is not that Roddick is not a good player. Roddick is the same if not better a player than Ivanesivic. Roddick has a 32-0 grass record against every other player except 0-3 loss to Federer on grass. Does Ivanesivic have such an impressive record as Roddick? Federer is simply destroying the number 2 and 3 players and is a class above them. Sampras was never such a huge class gap away from his no. 2 and no. 3, Sampras never got such a big lead in ATP points and ATP race, Sampras never clinched the top spot for year end Masters Cup as Early as Federer. I am both a fan of Sampras & Federer, but Sampras can once in a while lose to lower ranked players eg. 50++ or 100++ players but Federer is way more consistent for the past 2 years and only loses to top players and young and coming players. When I support Sampras, there maybe a chance he will get upset by a low rank player and I won't find it surprising. But when I support Federer, I just check his win-loss against all his opponents in his draw and he will win all those that he has a current winning record in the last 2 years history. In terms of skill level, Federer's rivals are the same or better than Sampras' rivals. But in terms of mental strength, Federer's rivals are worse than Sampras' rivals because only Nadal truly believes he can beat Federer while many top 20 players during Sampras' time believe they can beat Sampras. The reason is of cos because Federer dominates his top 20 opponents in a more convincing manner and more consistently compared to Sampras. I don't remember Sampras having a 76-6 record in a year or 58-3 record in the 1st 7 months or win 3 GS in a year or lose 2 semis & win 1 semis and potentially winning the US open in 2 straight years. Federer definitely is creating more than a buzz than Sampras was at this stage of their career. When Sampras was 23, I was eager to see him play against Agassi only, the famous rivalry. Now I just eager to see Federer beat everyone, win all the tournaments, break all the records, create new unbreakable records, beat Sampras records. That's the difference. There is a saying, "You only look good, only if your opponent makes you look good. This saying is true for Sampras' time, his opponent made him look good because they always lose their close matches. Federer's saying should be "Federer looks good, because he makes his opponent looks bad" - a more dynamic approach, showing that Federer is in control of the situation and his destiny, making things happen and in control of winning his opponents and not by chance.

So using a point system I will rate:

Federer's dominance over the field : 10 / 10
Sampras's dominance over the field : 8 / 10

Federer's rivals SKILLS: 8.5 / 10
Sampras's rivals SKILLS: 8 / 10

Federer's rivals MENTAL/Fighting Spirit against Federer: 6 / 10
Sampras's rivals MENTAL/Fighting Spirit against Sampras: 9 / 10

When I say that Federer is dominating his field much better than Sampras does not necessarily mean that Federer is a better player than Sampras. This will create a common debate on who is better, Federer or Sampras which I do not want to argue about here. I have my own opinion who is better but do not wish to state it. Assuming both Federer and Sampras is of the same skill & mental standards, it is just that Federer has found the solutions on how to beat and crush his rivals with or without a coach, much better than Sampras was at handling his opponents in terms of strategy, luck, elements and other factors. Hence Federer's rivals are feeling more dejected. His rivals are always trying to improve their skills but Federer keeps improving and keep finding ways to win them. As for the skills department, Federer's rivals are better or the same as Sampras's rivals in terms of breadth and depth. Some of the former world's number 1 can be found in the top 40 to 60, the skill level of today's top 40 to 60 is definitely better than during Sampras's time. So definitely today's game has more breadth than Sampras's time. As for depth, you got more players with bigger serve, bigger groundstrokes, better rackets, better court movement, etc. In other words, if Federer were to exchange times with Sampras and all the rivals remain in their own time, Federer would have won more than 14 Grandslams and Sampras will win less than 5 Grandslams now (Federer's GS is currently at 5) because Federer has the uncanny ability to find his opponent's weakness and play the right strategy, the right shot at the right time. Sampras has this ability too, but Federer is slightly better at shot selection and reading the ball angles and overall situation in a match, including key defining/ changing moments in the match, able to adapt to poor court conditions, weather conditions, bad empiring, etc...

In History of all sports, seldom will there be 2 GODs appearing in the same decade at the same time. Was there a rival to Micheal Jordan when he was at his peak? Was there a rival to Tiger Woods when he was at his peak? So in tennis, we should be happy that there is a GOD in clay (Nadal) and a GOD in overall surfaces (Federer). If Federer does his homework right, he has a good chance at winning Nadal on clay. No matter who else comes along, Federer will sooner or later will make him look like an average player. He is that good. Federer's dominance will continue for the next 3 years and the only way of him slowing down is when he gets injured, grows old, or grows tired of winning too many tournaments and have no more goals left in tennis. I hope he will keep his momentum going and stay healthy. So we just got to sit back and enjoy the moment.....