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MaxT
06-06-2006, 09:56 AM
Why is he held with such high esteem, seems universally and by all the great players?

I am not old enough to see him play. I heard he got his slams by playing 3 out of 4 on grass. Seems Roger won't have rather liked that. Also the sport was small time, the competition had to be less. So despite all his stats, can he really be compared with the greats now?

I speculate that a person from an earlier generation is easier to endorse. You will not see him play a bad match. And for the contemporaries, it is easier to take. Agassi and Rafter on Sampras, McEnroe on Connors and Lendle, for example. There have been some bad blood, and they would probably be more enthusiastic on someone from the remote past.

And the really old timers like to endorse someone from their generation too, just to brag.

simi
06-06-2006, 10:00 AM
..........

Moose Malloy
06-06-2006, 10:22 AM
Why is he held with such high esteem, seems universally and by all the great players?


I hear Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Babe Ruth are held in pretty high regard by todays MLB players. Ditto Bill Russell, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson. Wilt Chamberlain by todays NBA players. Does that seem odd to you as well? Don't they deserve to be?

I heard he got his slams by playing 3 out of 4 on grass. Seems Roger won't have rather liked that. Also the sport was small time, the competition had to be less. So despite all his stats, can he really be compared with the greats now?


Hmm, lets see. Laver played when there was very little prize money, so he had to play 30-35 events a year just to make the whopping sum of $100,000 in '69. So he couldn't pick & choose like Federer (who has been set for life financially since '03) Federer only plays what, 20 events a year?

The fact the Laver was able to peak for the 4 slams in '69, is pretty remarkable considering how physically demanding his schedule was.
He had no coach, personal trainer, masseuse, entourage, private jet, 5 star hotels to chill at in between matches like todays stars. Didn't have great gear (shoes were pretty poor comapred to today) as well. No personal stringers.

Oh and there were no tiebreaks. So he played some ridiculously long matches, 5 setters that had the equivalent of 6-7 sets worth of games.

And there weren't night matches back then either. So when he won the Australian it was under brutal heat & humidity, while Federer got to play virtually all of his matches in Australia at night this year.

And for the contemporaries, it is easier to take. Agassi and Rafter on Sampras, McEnroe on Connors and Lendle, for example.

Mac, Connors, Borg were old enough to see Laver & many of the greats play in their prime. Their praise for Laver is genuine. Borg & Connors even got to play him.
And Sampras? His childhood coach showed him tapes of Laver when he was young. They modeled his game after Laver. Sampras' grew up thinking Laver was the best of alltime(& actually saw him play albeit on tape), so I think he's genuine about that as well.

One last comment about Laver's "weak" competition. Laver played 7 Hall of Famers (some multiple times) en route to his '69 Grand Slam.
Federer isn't facing many all time greats in winning his slams, is he?
Here's the list, doesn't look easy to me:

Australian
R32 Massimo Di Domenico (ITA) W 6-2 6-2 6-3
R16 Roy Emerson (AUS) W 6-2 6-4 3-6 9-7
QF Fred Stolle (AUS) W 6-4 18-16 6-4
SF Tony Roche (AUS) W 7-5 22-20 9-11 1-6 6-3
F Andres Gimeno (ESP) W 6-3 6-4 7-5

French
R128 Koji Watanabe (JPN) W 6-1 6-1 6-1
R64 Dick Crealy (AUS) W 3-6 7-9 6-2 6-2 6-4
R32 Pietro Marzano (ITA) W 6-1 6-0 8-6
R16 Stan Smith (USA) W 6-4 6-2 6-4
QF Andres Gimeno (ESP) W 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-3
SF Tom Okker (NED) W 4-6 6-0 6-0 6-4
F Ken Rosewall (AUS) W 6-4 6-3 6-4

Wimbledon
R128 Nicola Pietrangeli (ITA) W 6-1 6-2 6-2
R64 Premjit Lall (IND) W 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-0 6-0
R32 Jan Leschly (DEN) W 6-3 6-3 6-3
R16 Stan Smith (USA) W 6-4 6-2 7-9 3-6 6-3
QF Cliff Drysdale (RSA) W 6-4 6-2 6-3
SF Arthur Ashe (USA) W 2-6 6-2 9-7 6-0
F John Newcombe (AUS) W 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4

US Open
R128 Luis-Fernando Garcia (MEX) W 6-2 6-4 6-2
R64 Jaime Pinto-Bravo (CHI) W 6-4 7-5 6-2
R32 Jaime Fillol Sr. (CHI) W 8-6 6-1 6-2
R16 Dennis Ralston (USA) W 6-4 4-6 4-6 6-2 6-3
QF Roy Emerson (AUS) W 4-6 8-6 13-11 6-4
SF Arthur Ashe (USA) W 8-6 6-3 14-12
F Tony Roche (AUS) W 7-9 6-1 6-2 6-2

Its sad that young tennis fans really have very little respect or knowledge of the history of their sport. NBA, MLB fans seem to worship the oldtimers in their sports in comparison.

chess9
06-06-2006, 10:23 AM
Max:

Well, I watched Laver play hundreds of times. Ditto for Emmo, Pancho, Roswall, etc. They were all terrible. Really bad. They wouldn't have made the top 2000 in today's climate. I doubt the University of North Dakota, Hoople Extension, Night Division, Women's Team, would have deigned to hit with them.

So, yeah, right on there bud.

-Robert

urban
06-06-2006, 10:27 AM
Laver was 18-0 over Ashe until 1974, who beat Borg and Connors at Wimbledon 1975. Laver was 8-1 over Newcombe until 1971. Newcombe was 3-0 over Borg, 2-0 over Connors (all in majors). When he won the Grand Slam in 1969, Laver had to beat Hall if Famers or major winners 16 times. Laver won all European clay court championships at least twice. In 1969 he won the important hard and carpet tournaments as well. He won 185 tournaments overall, alone 45 open titles, when he was over 30. His over 30 percentage with 80% win/loss 1969-1979 is better than that of Sampras and Federer in their respective primes.

oscar_2424
06-06-2006, 10:30 AM
I hear Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Babe Ruth are held in pretty high regard by todays MLB players. Ditto Bill Russell, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson. Wilt Chamberlain by todays NBA players. Does that seem odd to you as well? Don't they deserve to be?



Hmm, lets see. Laver played when there was very little prize money, so he had to play 30-35 events a year just to make the whopping sum of $100,000 in '69. So he couldn't pick & choose like Federer (who has been set for life financially since '03) Federer only plays what, 20 events a year?

The fact the Laver was able to peak for the 4 slams in '69, is pretty remarkable considering how physically demanding his schedule was.
He had no coach, personal trainer, masseuse, entourage, private jet, 5 star hotels to chill at in between matches like todays stars. Didn't have great gear (shoes were pretty poor comapred to today) as well. No personal stringers.

Oh and there were no tiebreaks. So he played some ridiculously long matches, 5 setters that had the equivalent of 6-7 sets worth of games.

And there weren't night matches back then either. So when he won the Australian it was under brutal heat & humidity, while Federer got to play virtually all of his matches in Australia at night this year.



Mac, Connors, Borg were old enough to see Laver & many of the greats play in their prime. Their praise for Laver is genuine. Borg & Connors even got to play him.
And Sampras? His childhood coach showed him tapes of Laver when he was young. They modeled his game after Laver. Sampras' grew up thinking Laver was the best of alltime(& actually saw him play albeit on tape), so I think he's genuine about that as well.

One last comment about Laver's "weak" competition. Laver played 7 Hall of Famers (some multiple times) en route to his '69 Grand Slam.
Federer isn't facing many all time greats in winning his slams, is he?
Here's the list, doesn't look easy to me:

Australian
R32 Massimo Di Domenico (ITA) W 6-2 6-2 6-3
R16 Roy Emerson (AUS) W 6-2 6-4 3-6 9-7
QF Fred Stolle (AUS) W 6-4 18-16 6-4
SF Tony Roche (AUS) W 7-5 22-20 9-11 1-6 6-3
F Andres Gimeno (ESP) W 6-3 6-4 7-5

French
R128 Koji Watanabe (JPN) W 6-1 6-1 6-1
R64 Dick Crealy (AUS) W 3-6 7-9 6-2 6-2 6-4
R32 Pietro Marzano (ITA) W 6-1 6-0 8-6
R16 Stan Smith (USA) W 6-4 6-2 6-4
QF Andres Gimeno (ESP) W 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-3
SF Tom Okker (NED) W 4-6 6-0 6-0 6-4
F Ken Rosewall (AUS) W 6-4 6-3 6-4

Wimbledon
R128 Nicola Pietrangeli (ITA) W 6-1 6-2 6-2
R64 Premjit Lall (IND) W 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-0 6-0
R32 Jan Leschly (DEN) W 6-3 6-3 6-3
R16 Stan Smith (USA) W 6-4 6-2 7-9 3-6 6-3
QF Cliff Drysdale (RSA) W 6-4 6-2 6-3
SF Arthur Ashe (USA) W 2-6 6-2 9-7 6-0
F John Newcombe (AUS) W 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4

US Open
R128 Luis-Fernando Garcia (MEX) W 6-2 6-4 6-2
R64 Jaime Pinto-Bravo (CHI) W 6-4 7-5 6-2
R32 Jaime Fillol Sr. (CHI) W 8-6 6-1 6-2
R16 Dennis Ralston (USA) W 6-4 4-6 4-6 6-2 6-3
QF Roy Emerson (AUS) W 4-6 8-6 13-11 6-4
SF Arthur Ashe (USA) W 8-6 6-3 14-12
F Tony Roche (AUS) W 7-9 6-1 6-2 6-2

Its sad that young tennis fans really have very little respect or knowledge of the history of their sport. NBA, MLB fans seem to worship the oldtimers in their sports in comparison.
Thank you, you really point everything:)

sureshs
06-06-2006, 10:37 AM
He has 3 of the 4 slams in dubs and mixed dubs too (if I recall correctly)! And he played for 20 years.

simi
06-06-2006, 10:38 AM
...Didn't have great gear (shoes were pretty poor comapred to today) as well.

Good post, Moose. I was going to respond, and did, but decided to delete it because I thought it was originally a troll. Sorry to missunderstand you, MaxT.

Anyway, your comment about the shoes reminded me of what I noticed on the Ricardo Gonzalez special running currently on the Tennis Channel. It is a documentary about part of his life. In one clip, they showed Pancho getting ready for a match and putting on his shoes. I couldn't believe that they wore those things at that time!

We generically call all white casual foot wear "tennis shoes". Now I know why. They are today more accurately called "deck shoes", as used on fiberglas sailboats/powerboats. Thin soled, thin canvas uppers, totally lacking in any type of ankle support. Just simply amazing that most of those guys played a S&V game with such foot "support".

fastdunn
06-06-2006, 10:50 AM
Some people argue that Laver's 1st gland slam is not real slam
because players were playing in professional tours and they were
not allowed to play in gland slams. When he completed his 2nd
gland slam, pros were finally allowed to play in the slams.

He achieved these two gland slams around the time professional
tennis was born. And I think he became sort of mythical player
with those records.

I don't think it will be achieved again in professional tour.
He is effectively a legend or myth before the birth of fully
professional tennis.

For the history of professional tennis, currently Sampras
is probably the guy and many people are excited now because
now we have a player from Swiss who might better Sampras, potentially..




Why is he held with such high esteem, seems universally and by all the great players?

I am not old enough to see him play. I heard he got his slams by playing 3 out of 4 on grass. Seems Roger won't have rather liked that. Also the sport was small time, the competition had to be less. So despite all his stats, can he really be compared with the greats now?

I speculate that a person from an earlier generation is easier to endorse. You will not see him play a bad match. And for the contemporaries, it is easier to take. Agassi and Rafter on Sampras, McEnroe on Connors and Lendle, for example. There have been some bad blood, and they would probably be more enthusiastic on someone from the remote past.

And the really old timers like to endorse someone from their generation too, just to brag.

MaxT
06-06-2006, 10:54 AM
Thank you all for the information.

I never saw him play, so I was really posting an open question. I suspect he was good, just wondering how good. I did have one point: There is a tendency in human nature to worship the ancient. It is rather unnatural to believe someone growing up with you is the next god.

Actually all these other god-like names can be subject to the same thought process:

Was Jerry West as athletic as Kobe? Was the league loaded with African Americans? If you ask Larry Bird, they are tougher to play against than Princeton kids.

Babe Ruth does not look like that fit and strong to me, and did you see him run in that old film? Again, I never saw him either, so just another question.

And the fact that sports didn't have much money is actually a reason that competition might be less. Not that attractive to participate.

sureshs
06-06-2006, 10:57 AM
For the history of professional tennis, currently Sampras
is probably the guy

No FO though.

Agassi instead.

urban
06-06-2006, 11:07 AM
Ther is no doubt, that there is evolution in sports, in part thanks to the much better equipment, training and playing conditions. Pro tennis exists since 1927, but was for a long time a not sanctioned and a game for proud outsiders, who paved the way for modern players. Laver was one of the pioneers of the modern game, his Wimbledon pro win in 1967 drew great ratings from the BBC and opened the door for open Wimbledon, his 1972 match with Rosewall drew over 20 million Tv audience and put pro tennis on the map. Laver was the first modern player, whose style relied on angles and spins, inspiring young Borg, the young Vilas, especially the young McEnroe and even young Martina in Prague, later, as Moose said, Lendl and Sampras. This inspiration may be his greatest legacy. His Sytle? If you imagine a Leconte with a brain and stamina, or a physically better and more offensive Korda, then you have Laver.

johnkidd
06-06-2006, 11:15 AM
Is Max T and Pusher Terminator related? I never saw Laver play either but I'd have to rate him among the top 3 men all-time (Laver, Borg, Sampras)

Moose Malloy
06-06-2006, 11:16 AM
There is a tendency in human nature to worship the ancient.

Is 1969 considered ancient to you? How about 1979? When does someone's accomplishments become ancient?
Laver isn't dead, you know. His contemporary Roche is the coach of Federer. And practices with Federer quite a bit. If the #1 thinks a 70 year old knows more about the game than he does(& is still good enough to hit with him) what does that say about the ability of these guys?

Guess you know more than Federer, who'd be the first to say Laver is best ever. Now that he has a relationship with Roche, he probably is even more sure of that.

Was Jerry West as athletic as Kobe?

Probably more athletic than the reigning league MVP, Nash.

Was the league loaded with African Americans?

Yes it was. You should do own research about this stuff if you really care.

Babe Ruth does not look like that fit and strong to me, and did you see him run in that old film?

Yeah, because the best HR hitters today are really "fit." And they all run like Ichiro. Home runs still travelled 400 feet (or so) back then. A home run is a home run. And pitches that are illegal today were allowed then, so it certainly wasn't easier. That's what your pointis , right? That everyone in every sport had it easier prior to 2003 or 04, or whatever the year you started following sports. Clearly if something occured outside of your frame of reference, it must be inferior.

It is rather unnatural to believe someone growing up with you is the next god.


No, many of Laver's contemporaries said he was the best ever when they were still playing him. Many said the same about Borg & Mac while they were playing them. Agassi said the same about Sampras. Nadal says the same thing about Federer. See the pattern?

JMaj
06-06-2006, 11:22 AM
Would the WCT championship of 1972 (Rosewall over Laver in 5) be on dvd anywhere? That happened just before I started to play so I never saw it. When I watched Laver I think he was 33 or so, slipped enough so that Stan Smith could beat him.

As I heard someone say - "A great player in one era would be a great player in any era".

David L
06-06-2006, 12:48 PM
Seems to me that MaxT is just enquiring. It's a sign of intelligence if one questions things, as opposed to accepting them on blind faith. He thanked people for their responses and acknowledged his own ignorance regarding the history of the game.

He brings up some interesting debating points, regarding comparisons between eras. I think there is a tendency sometimes to elevate past sportsmen(not saying this is happening with Laver). Pele/Maradona comparisons are gulity of this. Pele is considered the legend, whereas Maradona was clearly the greater talent and most influential. There can also be a reluctance to acknowledge a colleagues achievements, look at Tommy Haas' comments about Federer during the Australian Open. In 40 years people will probably eulogise more about Federer's achievments than they do now, although in Federer's case people already seem to be aware of his genius, so maybe not.

At the same time, there can sometimes be a tendency amongst fans to elevate current sportsmen above past greats and ignore the additional restrictions sportsmen from the past had to deal with.

With any type of era comparisons, it is good be wary of mythology and hyperbole. One should resist the temptation to blindly accept the current orthodoxy. They may end up accepting it anyway, once they have looked at the facts, but they should'nt do it before.

Rhino
06-06-2006, 12:54 PM
I would love to watch a match of Rod Laver's. Does anyone have a torrent of one that I could download? Then we could see how great he really is. Whenever I've seen short clips it does kind've look like he's playing in slow motion.
I think comparing the players schedules, prize money, shoes, lack of coaches, night matches, personal stringers, entourages, tie-breaks, and private jets in those days is irrelevant because it was the same for everybody else and doesn't mean he was a better player.
Far more remarkable is that Federer was the only player in the top 50 to be without a coach in 2004 and he still won 3 slams.
Also saying that rod Laver played more Hall of Famers is a bit silly considering that players have to be retired to get into the hall of fame and Federer won't be playing any retired players on his way to win his grand slam, now will he? Is Agassi's not even a hall of famer yet and probably won't be for years.
The reason many of Fed's current opponents may never be thought of as all time greats is because of Federer. Along with Nadal they win everything which makes the others look bad.
The truth is it's very difficult to be sure, maybe Fed would've beaten Laver 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 for all we know.

I believe this Laver dude must've been great but let's see some footage.

urban
06-06-2006, 01:12 PM
Why are Federer fans always so so alert and quick in suggesting, that someone is questioning their hero. Nobody has said, that Laver beat more Hall of Famers than Federer for obvious reasons. But it for sure a sign of pretty stiff competition, if someone has more than half of his GS matches against major winnes and Hall of Famers. A matchup Laver-Federer with equal weapons wolud be intriguing. Maybe someone of the Fed fanatics know, that Laver was a leftie, with a vicious topspin game from both flanks, and a neat wide swinging serve to the ad court - always to Roger's so impeccable, great, never shanking backhand.

dh003i
06-06-2006, 01:57 PM
Why are Federer fans always so so alert and quick in suggesting, that someone is questioning their hero. Nobody has said, that Laver beat more Hall of Famers than Federer for obvious reasons. But it for sure a sign of pretty stiff competition, if someone has more than half of his GS matches against major winnes and Hall of Famers. A matchup Laver-Federer with equal weapons wolud be intriguing. Maybe someone of the Fed fanatics know, that Laver was a leftie, with a vicious topspin game from both flanks, and a neat wide swinging serve to the ad court - always to Roger's so impeccable, great, never shanking backhand.

Well, that's interesting, since Laver clearly considers Roger Federer the greatest player of this generation, possibly the greatest of all time. In fact, Laver thinks Federer can obtain the grand slam, which would make Fed the 1st to do it since Laver did. Laver has even admired Federer's technique, and implied that he thinks Federer is a better player than he was.

Specifically, when complimenting Federer's technique, Laver referred to his backhand. See Laver Ready to Annoint Federer (http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/11/12/1100227583285.html?from=storylhs).

As for comparisons between ages, all of the changes make this very subjective. It's easier to pick out the greatest players from any various range. However, I will note that the advancements in tennis have helped all players -- not just those who are the best -- so such shouldn't reduce the accomplishments of modern players.

Regarding all-time greats, Laver is obviously often mentioned. But there are others -- before him -- that are often forgotten.

Rod Laver (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Laver)
Don Budge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Budge)
Pancho Gonzales (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancho_Gonzales)
Ellsworth Vines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellsworth_Vines)

Jack Kramer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Kramer_%28tennis_player%29) -- himself an all-time great -- considers Budge and Vines the greatest of all time.

This is why I'd suggest something like a few "historical tournaments", where the courts and the rules -- e.g., wooden tennis racquets -- are like those from a time in the past, so that we can maybe better compare today's greats with greats from 30, 40, 50 years ago. Probably wouldn't work to well, but its an idea.

dh003i
06-06-2006, 02:03 PM
Guess you know more than Federer, who'd be the first to say Laver is best ever. Now that he has a relationship with Roche, he probably is even more sure of that.

Well, alot of people on these boards think they know more about tennis than the greatest tennis players of all time.

After all, what Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver think about Federer and the French Open is "irrelevant". After all, Borg is "just some dope user who fried his brain cells" and Laver is "just being a gentleman".

Interestingly enough, Laver now considers Federer possibly the greatest ever, and likes his chances for the Grand Slam.

You really ought to have a link to your informative post on the history of tennis in a signature for your posts. It was a great post that was very informative to me, and changed the way I think about the accomplishment of more recent great players (put it in perspective).

AndrewD
06-06-2006, 02:21 PM
We generically call all white casual foot wear "tennis shoes". Now I know why. They are today more accurately called "deck shoes", as used on fiberglas sailboats/powerboats. Thin soled, thin canvas uppers, totally lacking in any type of ankle support. Just simply amazing that most of those guys played a S&V game with such foot "support".

Simi,

Slightly off topic but, if you come out to Australia you'll still see a vast number of players (amatuer and professional) wearing pretty much the same shoe (slightly more cushioned and slightly better canvas - and I do mean slightly). The Dunlop Volleys are what you would call deck shoes (that's where Adrian Quist got the idea) : no ankle support and little cushioning but they have the absolute best grip for clay and grass. Definately one of the few pieces of sporting goods (Dunlop Maxply, Slazenger ball and Wilson Kramer) which should be in the Hall of Fame.

urban
06-07-2006, 12:02 AM
Laver was and is always very nice about other players, never said a bad thing, except for misbehaviour; he had high regards of Borg, even Mac, Sampras and now Federer. Asked about best player, he would answer: Lew Hoad. But journalists should ask him the right questions. When asked, how he would play Federer himself before the AO 2005 in an Eurosport interview, he said, he would go to the backhand and attack him.

OrangeOne
06-07-2006, 12:21 AM
Oh and there were no tiebreaks. So he played some ridiculously long matches, 5 setters that had the equivalent of 6-7 sets worth of games.

Yeah - and this takes some appreciating. The other day I was playing with some head-to-head's on the atptennis.com site, and noticed this match:

1969 - Australian Open, Grass, Semi-Final

Rod Laver d. Tony Roche

7-5 22-20 9-11 1-6 6-3

Most have us have seen a match where the 5th set goes the "long haul", but the second? My god, just imagine how mentally deflating that would be to lose that set...and yet Rochey pulled off the 3rd and 4th sets next!

89 games in that match (and I'm sure there were many longer - I found that one purely by accident) - and that was only a semi-final. In some ways, today's pros have it easy :)

Yours!05
06-07-2006, 01:21 AM
The Dunlop Volleys are what you would call deck shoes (that's where Adrian Quist got the idea) : no ankle support and little cushioning but they have the absolute best grip for clay and grass. Definately one of the few pieces of sporting goods (Dunlop Maxply, Slazenger ball and Wilson Kramer) which should be in the Hall of Fame.Too right. I can donate a few pairs, LOL.

superman1
06-07-2006, 03:20 AM
I wish I could see some clips of him playing. In tennis history he's ancient, but in reality he was playing in the 60's during Beatlemania, it's not like he was playing in the 1800's with a long spoon with strings attached to it. So we have plenty of eye witnesses today that will all attest to how great he was. Since everyone in the tennis world is in agreement that he was a genius, I can take their word for it.

baseliner
06-07-2006, 07:45 AM
When another player wins 2 grand slams years apart come talk to me about GOAT. Until then "the big deal with Laver" is his total domination of the tour during his 20 year run, first amateur then pro. Don't even need to talk about his sportsmanship or his gentleman manner.

kostak
06-07-2006, 07:53 AM
Here Here!!!!!!!!
Fantastic comment Baseliner

Val
06-07-2006, 09:13 AM
These intergenerational debates are always as interesting as they are pointless. As the OP already mentioned, the athleticism of the current generation is always better than the preceding generation, but these are players who've had personal coaches and trainers since they were children. And they have the freedom to play year round. Jim Brown, surely one of the greatest athletes ever, had to hold down a part-time job in his first two years in the professional ranks. You think LaDainian Thompson has ever had to have a part-time job?

So, it comes down to how an athlete did against his/her competition. And a grand slam is one of the most dominating of events and Laver won two. It means that at the biggest matches of the year Laver came up big, twice. Laver certainly gets my vote as the greatest ever.

Moose Malloy
06-07-2006, 10:04 AM
89 games in that match (and I'm sure there were many longer - I found that one purely by accident) - and that was only a semi-final. In some ways, today's pros have it easy

Also, there was no 90 second changeover(for TV) back then. Play was continuous. I read about that match, it was 120 degrees on court throughout those 89 games.

chess9
06-07-2006, 10:16 AM
I remember one of my matches in high school. 1960 it was. The third set went to 25-23. District finals. Must have had 50 people moaning and hoping the thing would end. :) I won! It made the newspapers and I still have the clip in one of my scrap books. But, that was in cool weather (Ohio). I can't imagine some of these pro battles in 100+ degree heat.

Yeah, Laver was a major stud. Most of the Aussies back then were very fit and very hard workers. They had some of the world's best coaches too.

-Robert

urban
06-07-2006, 10:39 AM
I once saw a picture of that match. It was played at Brisbane, Milton Stadium under tropical conditions, only 2000 spectators, while many went to the beach, but all the fellow players were present. Laver was wearing a hat with salad blates under the hat. On that picture, Laver was sitting on the umpires chair. It was an exception, normal sitting after 2 games was not allowed. But here the score was 2-0 on the scoreboard, in reality 22-20, but the board had not enough numbers.

Nuke
06-07-2006, 11:02 AM
Besides the fact that Laver won the Grand Slam twice is the fact that he was not allowed to play the slams in several years during his prime. He won the first GS when he was an amateur. The game went pro and Laver hopped on the bandwagon, but the slams remained amateur for awhile, so Laver was out. When the slams came around and pros could play, he won his second GS, so you have to wonder, how many Grand Slams might Laver have won if he were allowed to play in his prime?

urban
06-07-2006, 11:35 AM
It is a bit of speculation, because of the amateur-pro segregation. In 1962 the amateur Laver didn't have to deal with the pros Rosewall, Gonzales (who was semi-retired in 1961) and Hoad, but on the other hand, they didn't have to deal with him, either. Under amateur conditions, with big draws, many diverse players, outside play, foremost clay and grass, i think, Laver would have held his own. Maybe he wouldn't have won the Grand Slam in 1962, but at Wimbledon, i cannot see Rosewall beating him, even in 1961 or 1962. Hoad was dangerous, but very inconsistent at that time. Besides: the amateurs weren't bad, either. Emerson, Santana, Pietrangeli, McKinley, Osuna or Fraser were pretty good players. It can be argued, that Laver won his second Grand Slam 1969 against a new breed of younger players like Newk, Roche, Ashe, Smith, when he was past his prime at age 30/31. When he was at his physical peak, as a banned pro, say mid 64 to 67, he could well have won another Slam, if eligible. On the pro tour he was pretty dominant. Main problem would have been Rosewall, Gimeno and Santana on clay, but given a not too slow court, Laver could have come through at Paris twice more. At Wimbledon Laver would have won at least 4 more, at Australian he would have handled Emerson, at slippery Forest Hills, he would have some more problems, but 2-3 titles were probable.

Eviscerator
06-07-2006, 12:01 PM
89 games in that match (and I'm sure there were many longer - I found that one purely by accident) - and that was only a semi-final. In some ways, today's pros have it easy :)

Indeed, just like the Boxers today. In the old days they fought with gloves, and there was no round limit, no standing 8 count, no 3 knock down rule, the fight could not be stopped by a doctor, etc. Some matches would last days, not just rounds.

I'm not old enough to remember Laver playing, but have seen some clips of his. He had a big serve, big forehand, and attacked the net at every opportunity. His volleys and overheads looked very strong, and he seemed to have a will to win which many players lack. He probably would have accomplished even more if not for the politics in tennis at the time.

To me, Sampras is the best I've ever seen play, but Laver is the best of all time.

framebreaker
06-07-2006, 12:01 PM
Why is he held with such high esteem, seems universally and by all the great players?

I am not old enough to see him play. I heard he got his slams by playing 3 out of 4 on grass. Seems Roger won't have rather liked that. Also the sport was small time, the competition had to be less. So despite all his stats, can he really be compared with the greats now?

I speculate that a person from an earlier generation is easier to endorse. You will not see him play a bad match. And for the contemporaries, it is easier to take. Agassi and Rafter on Sampras, McEnroe on Connors and Lendle, for example. There have been some bad blood, and they would probably be more enthusiastic on someone from the remote past.

And the really old timers like to endorse someone from their generation too, just to brag.

if borg was american or english or australian everybody would be talking of him. instead they make fun of his bad financial situation (which is not true!)
the rest of the world doesn't even know laver.

Gugafan_Redux
06-07-2006, 12:05 PM
Nice post, Moose. Threaded ended there for me. I didn't read anything after it.

Funny to see a 7-9 first set. Funny, too, to see Cliff Drysdale in there in the quarters of a slam.

I wasn't born yet, so what do I know?

Kaptain Karl
06-07-2006, 05:07 PM
Whenever I've seen short clips it does kind've look like he's playing in slow motion.That was the Wood Era. The materials were a "limit" on how hard one could blast it.

... it was the same for everybody else and doesn't mean he was a better player.Hello??? He *was* the better player. Just as today's Pros will say this about Roger, Rod's contemporaries said that about him.

Far more remarkable is that Federer was the only player in the top 50 to be without a coach in 2004 and he still won 3 slams.This datum is (in my book) "notable" ... but not at all "remarkable".

Also saying that rod Laver played more Hall of Famers is a bit silly considering that players have to be retired to get into the hall of fame and Federer won't be playing any retired players on his way to win his grand slam, now will he? Is Agassi's not even a hall of famer yet and probably won't be for years.Okay, let's analyze this.
a) To be considered for the Hall, you have ... 1- actively played within the last 20 years, 2 - been a "significant factor" within 5 years and, 3 - a significant record.
b) Then there's the voting and its rules.
c) We already know which of Laver's (Singles) peers are Hall members: Ilie Nastase, Jan Kodes, Gerald Patterson, Dennis Ralston, Alex Olmedo, Stan Smith, John Newcombe, Tony Roche, Arthur Ashe, Fred Stolle, Neale Fraser, Manuel Santana, Pancho Segura, Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Frank Sedgman.

Wow!

d) Let's speculate who, among Federer's peers, will make the Hall. I'd say Agassi and Nadal are "locks" for the Hall. Hewitt's a "maybe". Safin and Roddick? I'd be surprised. Oh, I guess we should call Sampras one of Federer's contemporaries, and we all know he's a lock.

... maybe Fed would've beaten Laver 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 for all we know.Ha! Laver, ever the gentleman, says Federer is the GOAT. Federer, also a gentleman, will not accept this "crown" ... yet. But NO WAY would Roger have taken Rod-in-his-prime 0, 0 & 0.
_____________

All that said, the one difference I give weight to is the fact that Federer's Slam event wins are on a greater variety of surfaces than Laver's. (But then I remember how Laver was forbidden to play in the Major tourneys during his arguable prime ... and he still won two Grand Slams.)

I love anticipating Federer's ultimate record. We'll see....

- KK

Rhino
06-07-2006, 05:32 PM
Hello??? He *was* the better player. Just as today's Pros will say this about Roger, Rod's contemporaries said that about him.
- KK

I meant a better player than Federer/today's players.

I also think that Federer's contemporaries would consist of more future hall-of-famers if it were not for Federer's dominance. Roddick for example has run into Fed at 3 Wimbledon's and is only 23, Safin was denied the 04 AusOpen, and Hewitt lost to Fed at 2 US Opens, 2 Wimbledons, and an Aus Open! just think, Hewitt might be a 7 times Grand Slam champ himself if not for Roger.

I know it's very unlikely Roger would have beaten Laver 0, 0 & 0, I just meant that we'll never know how they would match up. I've just been watching clips of Laver and he is obviously amazing but I did see some examples where Fed plays better. For example I saw Laver executing a few smashes, the kind Fed puts away with ease that bounce way too high to return, and in each case Laver smashed it straight to his opponent at hitting level for easy retrieval.

Anyway, I guess everything was different then. Bring on Sunday.....

dennis10is
06-07-2006, 06:51 PM
MaxT's grandson who will ask in a similar forum. The kid will ask MaxT "Grandpa, was Sampras, Federer really that good. I mean the current #1 in 2046 is 7 feet tall, replace HER entire body with stem cells twice a year during the official medical off season and has nano-buckyballs for joints, jumps 6 feet in the air, a motor assisted knees, hips, shoulder, elbow, and wrist. Plays with the Wilson, neuronic whip racket, with enhanced AI string patterns?" Men hardly play tennis anymore, or any sports for that matter. Men have evolved into professional couch potatoes, big fat, opinionated sports fan.

It will be MaxT's turn to say, oh sonny, back in my day Pete and Fed didn't have any of these high tech gadgets and they played a beautiful game, even though granted they were men. Of course, his grandson wouldn't care too much because tennis is less popular than drinking water from the tap and the US National team, now all women, has won the World Cup five consecutive times playing against men.

Bush is still president, we don't see him much but Cheney, still alive, speaks for him, via the ultranet. Iraq is still occupied. And the US great walls, built by Halliburton, one for Mexico and one for Canada are finally completed, two continuous walls, exactly 1776 feet above the ground level (not sea level). Designed to keep Americans from illegally escaping to Canada or Mexico. As part of a national bankruptcy agreement, the US promised that its citizens will continue to wash the dirty clothes and dishes from their rich neighbors to the north and south to pay off enough of the national debt. At which time, the national debt can be re-structured by the Korean/Iranian owned Citi-Chase-HSBC-Bank of Brunei-IMF bank, Every month 50,000 American soldiers die in the occupation of Iraq. The anti Left-handedness Amendment was recently passed, in large measure from the American for Moral purity coalition. Whose motto is "Civilization was built with the right hand of the God fearing, so let's keep it that way." Hence, Bilie Jean, Martina Naratilova, Cononrs, Mac were all stripped of their records.

Kaptain Karl
06-07-2006, 08:16 PM
Medical Alert! dennis10is is off his meds...!

(Yikes!)

- KK

OrangeOne
06-07-2006, 08:26 PM
I mean the current #1 in 2046 is 7 feet tall,

hehe ;). You forgot to mention that Martina Nav is still playing in the mixed doubles (right-handed now, of course) ;)

Kaptain Karl
06-07-2006, 08:30 PM
I meant a better player than Federer/today's players.Oh. That's even more speculation-which-cannot-be-proven though.

I also think that Federer's contemporaries would consist of more future hall-of-famers if it were not for Federer's dominance.No offense but, "Duh!"

I know it's very unlikely Roger would have beaten Laver 0, 0 & 0, I just meant that we'll never know how they would match up.We agree on this.

I've just been watching clips of Laver and he is obviously amazing but I did see some examples where Fed plays better. For example I saw Laver executing a few smashes, the kind Fed puts away with ease that bounce way too high to return, and in each case Laver smashed it straight to his opponent at hitting level for easy retrieval.Yes. And I'd attribute *some* of this difference to the improvements in equipment over the last 40 years. That and, let's face it, Roger's amazing....

- KK

OrangeOne
06-07-2006, 08:50 PM
Yes. And I'd attribute *some* of this difference to the improvements in equipment over the last 40 years.

I agree, and equally, I'd attribute *some* of the difference in the way a smash is hit.... to the way that games evolve over the years. Even in tennis, shots change and evolve with time. *Someone* gets brave enough to try a particular shot, others try it, it becomes part of the game.

Sure, I'm not talking about whole-new-shots occurring often, but variations like the high-bouncing-smash-winner are partly a racquet thing, and partly a style thing. Shots do change - few people launched in the air on a backwards run for a smash until Sampras showed us how, people were coached against the drive-volley until agassi made it commonplace (I even remember Roche saying or being quoted as saying that he didn't like Lendl using the shot!). The Lleyton-style very disguised topspin lob - would have been much harder with a less manouverable, less-spin-imparting wooden stick. That said, maybe some of it's attributable to Lleyton's sheer brashness. I'm sure you can think of dozens of shots like this if you tried...

I guess over the last 30 or 40 years, it's been a chicken & egg game with technology and shots. Sometimes the technology makes a shot possible for the pros, sometimes someone could make the shot (and could have made it with a teaspoon) and we had to wait for the racquet technology to let us do it too!