PDA

View Full Version : Where to put Agassi on historical ladder?


urban
06-25-2006, 03:19 AM
Now that Agassi has called his retirement, it could be the time - maybe a bit premature - to put his career into historical perspective. In short: Is he top five all time material or top ten? His achievements are not easy to evaluate, i think like Hoad or Becker, he is quite difficult to rate. He had longevity, but also a few years in between, which he virtually threw away. His greatest achievement, mentioned by players like Mac or Lendl, is his full card set at the majors, on 3 different surfaces. But can it make up for his relative short time at years end Nr.1? OK, he was longer Nr.1, of you count all placements year long. But imo, can we rank him above say Connors, Lendl or Mac, who were all Nr.1 for at least 4 years. His longevity reminds one of Rosewall and Connors, who also had a great return game, but is he in their class? I would rank him top 15 ahead of Becker or Edberg, but not necessarily top ten.

rod99
06-25-2006, 05:44 AM
don't be ridiculous, he is definitley top 10, maybe top 5. one of the main reasons he had a short run at #1 is b/c his career paralleled arguably the greatest player of all time, sampras. it's pointless to rate players of the pre open era b/c so many lost grand slam opportunities to being professional. with that said, i'd rate them as follows:
1) sampras
2) borg
3) laver
4) lendl
5) agassi
6) connors
7) mcenroe
8) federer (he will move up but right now he has less titles, less grand slams than agassi)
9) newcombe
10) becker

Tennis_Monk
06-25-2006, 06:01 AM
Talking about history..lots of things come into play. While scoring lots of titles is a very important criteria, it is equally important to connect with fans and establish a legacy.
His place in History as the Greatest returner of serve is assured. His place as one of the great baseliners is a given. He influenced a huge tennis population who took to his style of game. He could connect to fans in remote world locations. While he is not playing Pro Tennis, he can still contribute a lot to tennis


Andre Kirk Agassi place as one of the top 5 players in Tennis history, is a fact.

diegaa
06-25-2006, 06:59 AM
mmmmm... top 5? perhaps. top 10 for sure.

omniexist
06-25-2006, 07:12 AM
don't be ridiculous, he is definitley top 10, maybe top 5. one of the main reasons he had a short run at #1 is b/c his career paralleled arguably the greatest player of all time, sampras. it's pointless to rate players of the pre open era b/c so many lost grand slam opportunities to being professional. with that said, i'd rate them as follows:
1) sampras
2) borg
3) laver
4) lendl
5) agassi
6) mcenroe
7) federer (he will move up but right now he has less titles, less grand slams than agassi)
8) newcombe
9) becker
10) edberg


Was gonna post something similar but ya beat me to it.

Yeah, Sampras, Borg, Laver...definitely top tier.

Agassi-sumplace below that.

Eviscerator
06-25-2006, 07:32 AM
don't be ridiculous, he is definitley top 10, maybe top 5. one of the main reasons he had a short run at #1 is b/c his career paralleled arguably the greatest player of all time, sampras. it's pointless to rate players of the pre open era b/c so many lost grand slam opportunities to being professional. with that said, i'd rate them as follows:
1) sampras
2) borg
3) laver
4) lendl
5) agassi
6) mcenroe
7) federer (he will move up but right now he has less titles, less grand slams than agassi)
8) newcombe
9) becker
10) edberg

Not a bad list though mine would differ. However where is Connors on your list:confused:

rod99
06-25-2006, 07:55 AM
sorry, forgot to add connors in there.

sureshs
06-25-2006, 08:10 AM
He is top 2 behind Laver.

Eviscerator
06-25-2006, 01:18 PM
sorry, forgot to add connors in there.

Good man.


He is top 2 behind Laver.

So you put AA above Pete:confused: How do you justify him being better when Pete dominated him most of the time?

inyourface
06-26-2006, 08:50 AM
one reason to put Agassi above Sampras?he played better tennis ;) that was a fact.he won less trophies but he played better

Rabbit
06-26-2006, 09:07 AM
I think Agassi belongs on equal footing with two other guys who have eerily similar careers, Connors and Rosewall. All 3 men were outstanding players, and all three were champions. All 3 would have been candidates for GOAT had it not been for a more dominant champion who also played during their time, Rosewall had Laver, Connors had Borg & McEnroe & Lendl, and Agassi had Sampras and Federer. The greatest similarity in these three players is their longevity and all 3 were their generation's greatest returner of serve. Connors and Agassi were known as power players with Rosewall being the notable exception.

Trivia
Rosewall's nickname, Muscles was given to him by the legnedary Harry Hopman. Hopman was known for giving sarcastic nicknames. Muscles was bestowed on Rosewall because, in Hopman's opinion, he was devoid of them. Hopman also dubbed Rod Laver as Rocket. This was a comment on Laver's footspeed, or lack thereof.

Steve Dykstra
06-26-2006, 09:28 AM
one reason to put Agassi above Sampras?he played better tennis ;) that was a fact.

You are obviously not at all aware of what a fact is...

Arafel
06-26-2006, 09:51 AM
don't be ridiculous, he is definitley top 10, maybe top 5. one of the main reasons he had a short run at #1 is b/c his career paralleled arguably the greatest player of all time, sampras. it's pointless to rate players of the pre open era b/c so many lost grand slam opportunities to being professional. with that said, i'd rate them as follows:
1) sampras
2) borg
3) laver
4) lendl
5) agassi
6) connors
7) mcenroe
8) federer (he will move up but right now he has less titles, less grand slams than agassi)
9) newcombe
10) becker

Lendl and Agassi ahead of Connors and McEnroe? Are you nuts? Connors and Agassi have the same number of GS titles, despite Agassi playing in far more GS tournaments (Connors skipped Australia after 75 and skipped the French from 74-78, during his prime). Same deal with McEnroe and Australia, and McEnroe was a more complete player. As for Lendl, strong player, but his head to head against Connors is inflated by wins well after Connors prime.

And if you were wondering, then here is mine:

1) Laver
2) Sampras
3) Borg
4) Connors
5) McEnroe
6) Lendl
7) Hoad
8) Agassi
9) Wilander
10) Edberg

I'm not rating Fed until his career is over. For now, I'd put him just outside the top 10, but moving up fast. And I put Edberg ahead of Becker because, though they had the same number of GS titles, Edberg actually made a French final, something Boris never did.

Moose Malloy
06-26-2006, 10:00 AM
Lendl and Agassi ahead of Connors and McEnroe? Are you nuts? Connors and Agassi have the same number of GS titles, despite Agassi playing in far more GS tournaments (Connors skipped Australia after 75 and skipped the French from 74-78, during his prime). Same deal with McEnroe and Australia, and McEnroe was a more complete player. As for Lendl, strong player, but his head to head against Connors is inflated by wins well after Connors prime.

And if you were wondering, then here is mine:

1) Laver
2) Sampras
3) Borg
4) Connors
5) McEnroe
6) Lendl
7) Hoad
Agassi
9) Wilander
10) Edberg


Why is Hoad on that list? I assume you were talking just Open era. Plus Hoad is a "what if" type player. He won very few slams & got injured early in his career. Talentwise he is regarded very highly, but his accomplishments don't measure up to the others on your list.

And I don't think its so crazy to rank Lendl above Connors or Mac. He reached all 4 slam finals(which the others didn't) & was ranked #1 longer(in total weeks) than either of those 2. He also made more slam finals than anyone in the open era.

drakulie
06-26-2006, 10:30 AM
don't be ridiculous, he is definitley top 10, maybe top 5. one of the main reasons he had a short run at #1 is b/c his career paralleled arguably the greatest player of all time, sampras. it's pointless to rate players of the pre open era b/c so many lost grand slam opportunities to being professional. with that said, i'd rate them as follows:
1) sampras
2) borg
3) laver
4) lendl
5) agassi
6) connors
7) mcenroe
8) federer (he will move up but right now he has less titles, less grand slams than agassi)
9) newcombe
10) becker

I would switch Mcenroe and Lendl. Don't forget, Mcenroe won Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles. That counts for something. These guys are great singles players, but Mcenroe was a great singles, doubles, and mixed doubles player.

One could argue he is a greater player than any of the guys on this list.

baseliner
06-26-2006, 11:44 AM
I can go with your list if "historical ladder" excludes all pre-open players. If however we are talking an all time list, Agassi is #1 on potential but top 25 on accomplishments. Bill Tilden, The 3 Muscateers, Fred Perry... In selecting a top 10, if you restrict the field enough anyone can make it. AA a sad tale of him waking up too late.

Arafel
06-26-2006, 12:02 PM
Why is Hoad on that list? I assume you were talking just Open era. Plus Hoad is a "what if" type player. He won very few slams & got injured early in his career. Talentwise he is regarded very highly, but his accomplishments don't measure up to the others on your list.

And I don't think its so crazy to rank Lendl above Connors or Mac. He reached all 4 slam finals(which the others didn't) & was ranked #1 longer(in total weeks) than either of those 2. He also made more slam finals than anyone in the open era.

I put Hoad in there because of what I've read of him and what Laver said about him. If we just restrict it to Open era players, throw Hoad out, bump everyone below him up 1 space and throw Becker into the top 10.

I don't think you can argue Lendl over Connors. Lendl over Mac yes, but not over Connors. Lendl and Connors have the same number of GS titles, but Lendl never won Wimbledon. Connors won the U.S. on all three surfaces, so while Lendl never won a G.S. title on his weakest surface (grass), Connors did win one on clay.

No, Connors has to go over Lendl. I think we can agree though that Lendl, Connors and McEnroe all rank ahead of Agassi.

Hewitt rulez
06-26-2006, 12:11 PM
The only reason I would put Andre above Sampras is cause he won the French.

RiosTheGenius
06-26-2006, 01:18 PM
I'm not gonna get into the whole 1 through 10 thing cuz I think it's stupid. but Agassi is definitely a top 10 player in tennis history

RiosTheGenius
06-26-2006, 01:19 PM
you can't start comparing these guys cuz you are always going to be unfair

ACS
06-26-2006, 01:38 PM
Rather than stating that Agassi belongs in the top 5 or top 10 of all time (or of the Open era), I lean more towards saying he belongs in the second tier of open era greats.

In the top tier, I'd place Sampras (14 slams and 6 years at #1), Borg (5 straight Wimbys, virtually unbeatable at the French during his career), and Laver (the grand slam in 69, another as an amateur), with Federer likely to join this group.

I'd place Agassi firmly in a group with Lendl, Connors, McEnroe, and probably Wilander. Within this group, anyone can make an argument for any one player over any other ("Agassi won all four majors." "But Connors won more tournaments overall." "Lendl had more weeks at number 1." "Well, McEnroe at his best played at a higher level than any of those guys.") At a certain point, it becomes a subjective argument related to which accomplishment you value more.

(Of course, with this approach, you lose the fun associated with subjective rankings.)

chaognosis
06-26-2006, 01:49 PM
I think urban is exactly right. Agassi's accomplishments are unique, and he has certainly earned a place among the top 15 or 20 players in history -- but he lacked the consistency at the top of the game that is an absolute prerequisite for being counted among the top five or even top 10 players of all time. As urban and some others may know, I like to evaluate players by a three-part formula: completeness, universality, and longevity. Though by no means a complete player, Agassi was both a universal player and one whose career exhibited considerable longevity. In my judgment, that puts him in the low teens, just below those players who had considerable success in major championships (including Pro championships, in the cases of Laver, Rosewall, and Gonzalez) and who truly dominated the game for a period of three or more years.

My own list, which is always subject to revision, looks like this:

[Edited 28-June to reflect ties]

1. Rod Laver
2. Bill Tilden
3. Pete Sampras
4. Bjorn Borg
-. Don Budge
6. Ken Rosewall
7. Jimmy Connors
-. Ivan Lendl
9. Pancho Gonzalez
-. John McEnroe
11. Jack Kramer
12. Andre Agassi
13. Roy Emerson
-. Fred Perry
15. Lew Hoad
-. Ellsworth Vines
17. John Newcombe
18. Henri Cochet
-. Rene Lacoste
20. Boris Becker
-. Stefan Edberg
-. Mats Wilander

jukka1970
06-26-2006, 02:48 PM
I love this post, and what a great attitude in looking at the greatest players. I think this is a wonderful way of dividing them up into groups instead of numbers. It really eliminates the nit picking arguments of well this person is better because of amount of titles, while someone else says no it's the other way around because this person won on all surfaces. Grant you there is still room for debate on which group one should go in, but at least it's comparing a group of talents and people to another group as opposed to 1 on 1.

You're right we do lose the fun of subjective ranking, but I'm willing to trade that for the loss of nit picking arguments and full out wars on a subject :)

Rather than stating that Agassi belongs in the top 5 or top 10 of all time (or of the Open era), I lean more towards saying he belongs in the second tier of open era greats.

In the top tier, I'd place Sampras (14 slams and 6 years at #1), Borg (5 straight Wimbys, virtually unbeatable at the French during his career), and Laver (the grand slam in 69, another as an amateur), with Federer likely to join this group.

I'd place Agassi firmly in a group with Lendl, Connors, McEnroe, and probably Wilander. Within this group, anyone can make an argument for any one player over any other ("Agassi won all four majors." "But Connors won more tournaments overall." "Lendl had more weeks at number 1." "Well, McEnroe at his best played at a higher level than any of those guys.") At a certain point, it becomes a subjective argument related to which accomplishment you value more.

(Of course, with this approach, you lose the fun associated with subjective rankings.)

Kaptain Karl
06-26-2006, 04:26 PM
I think we can agree ...Obiously not.

I'm not gonna get into the whole 1 through 10 thing cuz I think it's stupid. Agreed. The Tiers approach is better, IMO. I like the ACS' idea....

I'd place Agassi firmly in a [Tier II] group with Lendl, Connors, McEnroe, and probably Wilander. Within this group, anyone can make an argument for any one player over any other ... <snip> ... At a certain point, it becomes a subjective argument related to which accomplishment you value more.

My Tiers are of the Open Era Players only, and I will not even rank them within their tiers. They are alphabetical:

Tier I - Demonstrated Greatness: Singles, Doulbes, Multiple Surfaces ... Open and Davis Cup
Andre Agassi (career Slam)
Bjorn Borg (retooled game to win Wimby (5) and kept winning the French (6) )
Jimmy Connors (longevity)
Rod Laver (Grand Slam in Open Era)
John McEnroe (versatility)
Pete Sampras (almost Tier II because of one-dimensionality; but must be in Tier I)

Tier II - Greatness; just "not quite" up to the Par of the Tier I players
Boris Becker
Stefan Edberg
Ivan Lendl
John Newcombe
Ken Rosewall
Mats Wilander

* Subject to change ... and Federer is already a "lock" for Tier I ... Nadal is a "lock" for Tier II, "with a bullet"....

- KK

jukka1970
06-26-2006, 04:53 PM
Tier I - Demonstrated Greatness: Singles, Doulbes, Multiple Surfaces ... Open and Davis Cup
Andre Agassi (career Slam)
Bjorn Borg (retooled game to win Wimby (5) and kept winning the French (6) )
Jimmy Connors (longevity)
Rod Laver (Grand Slam in Open Era)
John McEnroe (versatility)
Pete Sampras (almost Tier II because of one-dimensionality; but must be in Tier I)

Tier II - Greatness; just "not quite" up to the Par of the Tier I players
Boris Becker
Stefan Edberg
Ivan Lendl
John Newcombe
Ken Rosewall
Mats Wilander

* Subject to change ... and Federer is already a "lock" for Tier I ... Nadal is a "lock" for Tier II, "with a bullet"....

- KK

I think this is pretty much how I'd divide them up as well. As for where to put Nadal, I think we may have to wait a bit to see if his playing becomes more adaptable to other surfaces, and definitely agree Federer will be in tier 1. The tough calls for me are Becker and Lendl, but would probably put them in tier 2, but definitely have to think about this one.

I also like the comment after Sampras, very true, definitely one dimensional, and as you said, but definitely belongs in tier 1 without hesitation.

John

mowcopian
06-26-2006, 04:54 PM
5th or 6th id say

superman1
06-26-2006, 05:52 PM
He's somewhere in the top 5. I don't really like to rank, especially since Federer still has a long career ahead of him. But I'd put Sampras, Laver, Agassi, Borg and Federer right up in the top, in some order, followed by McEnroe, Lendl and Connors.

Tennis_Monk
06-26-2006, 06:14 PM
Obiously not.

Agreed. The Tiers approach is better, IMO. I like the ACS' idea....



My Tiers are of the Open Era Players only, and I will not even rank them within their tiers. They are alphabetical:

Tier I - Demonstrated Greatness: Singles, Doulbes, Multiple Surfaces ... Open and Davis Cup
Andre Agassi (career Slam)
Bjorn Borg (retooled game to win Wimby (5) and kept winning the French (6) )
Jimmy Connors (longevity)
Rod Laver (Grand Slam in Open Era)
John McEnroe (versatility)
Pete Sampras (almost Tier II because of one-dimensionality; but must be in Tier I)

Tier II - Greatness; just "not quite" up to the Par of the Tier I players
Boris Becker
Stefan Edberg
Ivan Lendl
John Newcombe
Ken Rosewall
Mats Wilander

* Subject to change ... and Federer is already a "lock" for Tier I ... Nadal is a "lock" for Tier II, "with a bullet"....

- KK

I like this listing. We also have to consider the impact the player had on the game with his Charisma. Almost every nook and corner of the world where tennis is played, AGassi is a prominent figure. His game has made many turn to Tennis ( This i can speak from my own experience as well)

I thoroughly enjoyed Agassi's game all through out and he remains the #1 player on my list.

At the age of 36 yrs, he is still considered top tier Tennis player. While it is debatble, i certainly believe a healthier back would have seen Agassi win a late grandslam or so.

rod99
06-26-2006, 06:58 PM
a lot of people underestimate lendl's game. i don't have the stats in front of me (actually i'm too lazy to look them up) but the man won over 90 titles, was #1 in the world for a ridiculously long period of time, reached the finals of the us open 8 straight years, won 8 grand slams (didn't win wimbledon but reached 2 finals), and had a winning record against virtually every player he played against. i'd have to rank him in the top 5 in the open era.

chaognosis
06-26-2006, 07:14 PM
a lot of people underestimate lendl's game. i don't have the stats in front of me (actually i'm too lazy to look them up) but the man won over 90 titles, was #1 in the world for a ridiculously long period of time, reached the finals of the us open 8 straight years, won 8 grand slams (didn't win wimbledon but reached 2 finals), and had a winning record against virtually every player he played against. i'd have to rank him in the top 5 in the open era.

I agree, though there are two knocks against Lendl: (1) in comparison to other all-time greats, he was not the best big-match player; (2) he was never the best in the world on grass, marked by his successive failures at Wimbledon. I put Lendl in the same class as Connors, just a notch below Rosewall, with all three of them hovering underneath the true A Group of Tilden, Budge, Laver, Borg, and Sampras.

smileblue27
06-26-2006, 07:17 PM
Ranking top 10 isnít about who was a better returner or who had a better forehand or backhand. All these guys are world class champions. The difference is who among them had a greater impact on the sport; on you and me. Who made people buy a racket when they knew nothing about love or match point? Agassi brought tennis from a casual rich mans' past time into our living rooms. How many kids growing up played lendl/becker set 5 US Open? Not me, I played Agassi/Sampras winner buys pizza. No person in the history brought excitement and passion and desire for the sport like Andre. This guy will be recognized for ages everywhere he goes. Agassi Top 5, no doubt about it.

Steve Dykstra
06-26-2006, 07:20 PM
Here is my list of Open Era players (only those who played all or the majority of their career in the Open Era).

1. Pete Samras
2. Bjorn Borg
3. Jimmy Connors
4. Ivan Lendl
5. Andre Agassi
6. John McEnroe
7. Roger Federer
8. Mats Wilander
9. Boris Becker
10. Stephan Edberg

So for me Agassi is number 5 for the Open Era, and easily top 10. All time, he is borderline top 10, as I think Laver, Budge, Tilden, Rosewall, Gonzalez are all clearly above Agassi. That would put him at #11 all time, soon to drop to #12 (as soon as Federer wins one more slam).

bluegrasser
06-26-2006, 07:27 PM
My List would go:
Sampras, Laver, Borg, Emerson, Connors , Agassi , Mac, Lendl, Rosewall, Boris.

chaognosis
06-26-2006, 07:29 PM
Ranking top 10 isnít about who was a better returner or who had a better forehand or backhand. All these guys are world class champions. The difference is who among them had a greater impact on the sport; on you and me. Who made people buy a racket when they knew nothing about love or match point? Agassi brought tennis from a casual rich mans' past time into our living rooms. How many kids growing up played lendl/becker set 5 US Open? Not me, I played Agassi/Sampras winner buys pizza. No person in the history brought excitement and passion and desire for the sport like Andre. This guy will be recognized for ages everywhere he goes. Agassi Top 5, no doubt about it.

In terms of influence, certainly Agassi is one of the most important players in modern times. But don't underestimate the popularity and impact of McEnroe, Borg, and Connors, as well as some of the earlier personalities (perhaps esp. Hoad, Kramer, Budge, Perry, Vines, Tilden, and the Doherty brothers). Each generation has at least one player, two or three if they're lucky, who bring something new and fresh and exciting to the game. Agassi is certainly in that class. But greatness, I think, in the long run must be more about winning matches than about winning fans. The greatest players, Laver and Tilden, managed to bring the game to a new level both on and off the court. (Budge and Borg could also perhaps be included in this category). In the mid-90s, for good or bad tennis witnessed a split, with Sampras by far the dominant player on the court, and Agassi the dominant personality off the court. Neither I think can boast the complete package of Laver or Tilden, though Sampras's achievements (esp. his seven Wimbledon titles) are simply too outstanding for me to rank him outside the top three.

chaognosis
06-26-2006, 07:35 PM
Here is my list of Open Era players (only those who played all or the majority of their career in the Open Era).

1. Pete Samras
2. Bjorn Borg
3. Jimmy Connors
4. Ivan Lendl
5. Andre Agassi
6. John McEnroe
7. Roger Federer
8. Mats Wilander
9. Boris Becker
10. Stephan Edberg

So for me Agassi is number 5 for the Open Era, and easily top 10. All time, he is borderline top 10, as I think Laver, Budge, Tilden, Rosewall, Gonzalez are all clearly above Agassi. That would put him at #11 all time, soon to drop to #12 (as soon as Federer wins one more slam).

I think this is an excellent list, with Federer threatening to climb higher. I do see the argument for ranking Agassi ahead of McEnroe, though personally I find that McEnroe's greater consistency at the top (marked by finishing at least three years as the No. 1 player in the world) trumps Agassi's greater longevity and versatility. Connors and Lendl are very close in my mind, perhaps even in a dead tie. Lendl ultimately emerged with a massive head-to-head advantage, though it was Connors who prevailed in their most important matches in the 1980s. Both also brought much to the game: Connors inaugurated tennis's Golden Age with his brash personality and seemingly boundless energy, while Lendl introduced the modern era of fitness and training techniques, as well as taking further the baseline-oriented game of Borg.

chaognosis
06-26-2006, 07:38 PM
My List would go:
Sampras, Laver, Borg, Emerson, Connors , Agassi , Mac, Lendl, Rosewall, Boris.

My only real concern here would be Emerson, who at no point in his career could really lay claim to being the best player in the world. I am not sure that one deserves inclusion among the top five players of all time, or even top 10, if he was never the best even among his contemporaries (Laver and Rosewall were both undoubtedly his superiors in the 1960s).

urban
06-26-2006, 11:53 PM
Thanks for the nice diskussion. I am well aware of the problems to rank players of different eras, but it is possible to classify tier 1 or 2 of champions. Agassi has a very complete record on all surfaces inclucing Masters Cup, Olympics, outstanding Davis Cup record, all Masters except Hamburg. His problem seems to be the Nr.1 status, only one in 1999. He is not easy to rank, i would put him near Perry, Emerson, Newcombe at around 11-12, in open era is is in a league with Connors, Lendl and Mac, they all were however Nr.1 for 4 years at least.

Moose Malloy
06-27-2006, 09:46 AM
chaognosis,
where do you rank Edberg? I see you have Becker at 20, but he never finished a year #1. Edberg had 2 year end #1's.

a lot of people underestimate lendl's game.

One of his more impressive achievements(though understandably not well-known) was reaching 10 straight slam SFs(open era record) which include 4 on grass, 2 on clay, 3 on hard, 1 on rebound ace-talk about all surface ability! Fed currently has reached 8 straight. I was surprised that Mac, Connors, Borg didn't get near Lendl consistency at slams(they had some QF or earlier upsets at slams during their primes)

A lot like to knock Lendl's grasscourt ability. Yes, he didn't win W, but he had an incredible grasscourt record. 2 titles at Queens, 2 W finals, 5 W SFs, 2 AO SF(when it was on grass)

Moose Malloy
06-27-2006, 09:58 AM
In the top tier, I'd place Sampras (14 slams and 6 years at #1), Borg (5 straight Wimbys, virtually unbeatable at the French during his career), and Laver (the grand slam in 69, another as an amateur), with Federer likely to join this group.


On the front page of atptennis, they have a list of all players that have won 4or more slams at one venue in the open era(titled 'will federer join the 4 or more club?') Only 5 guys have done this. Sampras & Borg are the only players to do this at 2 different slams.

http://www.atptennis.com/en/

Rabbit
06-27-2006, 10:14 AM
My only real concern here would be Emerson, who at no point in his career could really lay claim to being the best player in the world. I am not sure that one deserves inclusion among the top five players of all time, or even top 10, if he was never the best even among his contemporaries (Laver and Rosewall were both undoubtedly his superiors in the 1960s).

I agree in part. I did some research after another poster slighted Emerson. You should investigate his Open era record. He was older and had been through quite a few majors and probably played his prime as an amateur. All that said, he still acquitted himself very well as a pro with wins over Rosewall, Laver, Tanner, and even Borg.

Emerson did exactly what Laver and Rosewall did, what he thought was right. In his case, it was remaining an amateur and representing Australia.

urban
06-27-2006, 10:27 AM
Emerson did even beat Gonzales, a fact, some guys on the internet are negating, even on wikipedia. He beat him Ferbruary 1970 in a 10000 $ winner take all match at Los Angeles 1,3 and 0.

chaognosis
06-27-2006, 03:53 PM
chaognosis,
where do you rank Edberg? I see you have Becker at 20, but he never finished a year #1. Edberg had 2 year end #1's.

I do consider Becker the No. 1 player for 1989. Obviously this is a subjective judgment on my part, but I think a player usually deserves that distinction by winning two majors in a year (in this case the two most prestigious, Wimbledon and US Open). In much the same way I am willing to ignore the computer rankings and consider Borg, not Connors, as the No. 1 player of 1978; likewise Connors, not McEnroe, as the No. 1 player of 1982. You make an excellent point about Edberg though. I would rank him, together with Wilander, just outside the top 20. I like Becker because of his incredible record at the most important tournament, Wimbledon, winning three titles and reaching seven finals in all. Becker also won more titles than Edberg, despite competing in fewer, and he amassed a greater win-loss percentage over his career. All this though is really splitting hairs. After the first three echelons it becomes more difficult to rank (on my list, I would designate Group A as #1-5, Group B as #6-11, and Group C as #12-19). The same group with Becker, Edberg, and Wilander might also include such names as Lacoste, Segura, Sedgman, Trabert, Ashe, Vilas, and perhaps more I am not remembering at the moment.

Steve Dykstra
06-27-2006, 03:54 PM
I think this is an excellent list, with Federer threatening to climb higher. I do see the argument for ranking Agassi ahead of McEnroe, though personally I find that McEnroe's greater consistency at the top (marked by finishing at least three years as the No. 1 player in the world) trumps Agassi's greater longevity and versatility. Connors and Lendl are very close in my mind, perhaps even in a dead tie. Lendl ultimately emerged with a massive head-to-head advantage, though it was Connors who prevailed in their most important matches in the 1980s. Both also brought much to the game: Connors inaugurated tennis's Golden Age with his brash personality and seemingly boundless energy, while Lendl introduced the modern era of fitness and training techniques, as well as taking further the baseline-oriented game of Borg.

Yeah, it is tough picking an order for Connors, Lendl, Agassi, McEnroe, and Federer at the moment, they are all so close right now. Same for Becker, Edberg, and Wilander, very tough to order those. I think Federer can solidify the #3 spot behind Sampras and Borg on my list with two more slams though.

federerhoogenbandfan
06-27-2006, 03:57 PM
Here is my list of Open Era players (only those who played all or the majority of their career in the Open Era).

1. Pete Samras
2. Bjorn Borg
3. Jimmy Connors
4. Ivan Lendl
5. Andre Agassi
6. John McEnroe
7. Roger Federer
8. Mats Wilander
9. Boris Becker
10. Stephan Edberg

So for me Agassi is number 5 for the Open Era, and easily top 10. All time, he is borderline top 10, as I think Laver, Budge, Tilden, Rosewall, Gonzalez are all clearly above Agassi. That would put him at #11 all time, soon to drop to #12 (as soon as Federer wins one more slam).

What puts Connors over Lendl for you? I would ask about what puts Agassi over McEnroe for you but I am suspecting it winning all 4 slams in the duration of his career, combined with the far far greater longevity so no point really asking. No way could I understand Federer being over Wilander yet though, as much as I cant stand Wilander and like Federer's game miles more, and he will be over him anyway so it is a moot point I guess.

chaognosis
06-27-2006, 03:59 PM
I agree in part. I did some research after another poster slighted Emerson. You should investigate his Open era record. He was older and had been through quite a few majors and probably played his prime as an amateur. All that said, he still acquitted himself very well as a pro with wins over Rosewall, Laver, Tanner, and even Borg.

Emerson did exactly what Laver and Rosewall did, what he thought was right. In his case, it was remaining an amateur and representing Australia.

I agree with you; Emerson is an all-time great, his record speaks for itself, and it is unjust to dismiss his accomplishments because he did not play his peak years as a Pro. (Laver himself was known to remark at what a fierce opponent Emerson was, a player gifted with extraordinary athleticism--even if he lacked the brilliant shotmaking of a Laver or a Hoad.) Nevertheless, I do think that Emerson's record reveals that he was not as good as either Laver or Rosewall when the Open Era began, which makes me strongly suspect that he was not as good as these two between 1963 and '67, either. There is not a single year where I can say I honestly believe Emerson could be ranked anywhere higher than No. 3 in the world, and probably in most cases not even that high. Still, his multi-surface accomplishments and his record number of singles + doubles major championship titles cannot be ignored.

chaognosis
06-27-2006, 04:03 PM
What puts Connors over Lendl for you? I would ask about what puts Agassi over McEnroe for you but I am suspecting it winning all 4 slams in the duration of his career, combined with the far far greater longevity so no point really asking. No way could I understand Federer being over Wilander yet though, as much as I cant stand Wilander and like Federer's game miles more, and he will be over him anyway so it is a moot point I guess.

I would say that Federer has already distanced himself ahead of Wilander. Wilander was No. 1 for only one year, Federer now for two (and arguably three), and odds are he will finish on top this year as well. Wilander never won the biggest championship, Wimbledon, while Federer has won it three times and is the currently the favorite to make it four. Not to mention I think that Federer simply has a more complete game than Wilander.

federerhoogenbandfan
06-27-2006, 04:10 PM
I would say that Federer has already distanced himself ahead of Wilander. Wilander was No. 1 for only one year, Federer now for two (and arguably three), and odds are he will finish on top this year as well. Wilander never won the biggest championship, Wimbledon, while Federer has won it three times and is the currently the favorite to make it four. Not to mention I think that Federer simply has a more complete game than Wilander.

Well Wilander has a single 3-slam year, just as Federer does. Wilander has won grand slams on every surface, since he won the Australian Open twice on grass. Wilander has won his 7 grand slams over a 7 year span, 82 through 88. So considering he has the same number of slam titles as Federer right now-7, and more slam finals and semis, I could not have Federer over Wilander yet. Probably by the time this year is done he will be over him though, if he ends the year with 9 slams it would be a slam dunk(and he probably will).

Hops
06-27-2006, 09:16 PM
One of [Lendl's] more impressive achievements(though understandably not well-known) was reaching 10 straight slam SFs(open era record) which include 4 on grass, 2 on clay, 3 on hard, 1 on rebound ace-talk about all surface ability! Fed currently has reached 8 straight. I was surprised that Mac, Connors, Borg didn't get near Lendl consistency at slams(they had some QF or earlier upsets at slams during their primes)


the lack of Borg/Connors on the 'straight SF' list is due to skipping AO/RG. Looking at list of consec SF of slams entered, Connors is at 11, again at 7, Borg at 6. Fed got press for reaching 4 cons. slam finals to match Agassi/Laver, but Connors/Borg both reached at least 5 consec. slam finals they entered, and both did it twice.

One more -- consec. QF, of slams entered. Connors is at a ridiculous 27, the next guy (Lendl) is at 14. Jimbo went 10 years, 1973-83, without getting knocked out before the QF at any slam.

http://www.tennis28.com/slams/cons_semifinals.html

OrangeOne
06-27-2006, 09:56 PM
One of his more impressive achievements(though understandably not well-known) was reaching 10 straight slam SFs(open era record) which include 4 on grass, 2 on clay, 3 on hard, 1 on rebound ace-talk about all surface ability! Fed currently has reached 8 straight. I was surprised that Mac, Connors, Borg didn't get near Lendl consistency at slams(they had some QF or earlier upsets at slams during their primes)

A lot like to knock Lendl's grasscourt ability. Yes, he didn't win W, but he had an incredible grasscourt record. 2 titles at Queens, 2 W finals, 5 W SFs, 2 AO SF(when it was on grass)

Lendl was very much a prepared player, it was very rare for him to get knocked out early. He reached a level and could maintain it for the fortnight. Sometimes you'd see Becker knocked out early, he was more of a "build up with the tournament player".

I like to think of it that becker (and other players like him) maybe start a slam at 75 and reach 100 by the end of a good slam. Lendl used to come in at 99 and maintain it to the end, but sometimes lost when becker or one of the explosive players could find that 100 near the end.

OrangeOne
06-27-2006, 10:14 PM
....deleted by me within a minute of posting after reconsidering!....

urban
06-28-2006, 12:56 AM
Agassi has made up the all time list in the long autumn of his career since 1999. I remember a top 100 list in 'Tennis Match' in 1999, where they ranked him at 35. Maybe crucial for a higher ranking is imo the year 1995. If you inspect it closer, it was a very close race between Sampras, Agassi and Muster for Nr.1 spot. I know, that Sampras got the top computer spot, and that Agassi himself said, that the USO final was decisive. But it can be a case made for Agassi as top player. He was more consistent than Sampras, won 8 (i think) titles vs. 4 or 5, and had a 3-2 head to head. And even in the majors, Agassi had the edge. Although Pete won 2 and 1 final, but lost 1 round RG, Agassi was at least in all quarters, winning AO, runner up USO, sf Wimbie, qf RG. So, if the computer system (only top 14 finshes counted)would not have given Sampras the chance to cancel the bad RG result, Agassi may have been come out on top. I remember, that at the end of the year, at Paris Bercy, Agassi gave up the race with a minor injury. He didn't play at the Master Cup, either. Had he played and with a few points had secured the Nr. 1 spot 95, it could be a different, higher ranking for him now. Sampras would not have had his important 6 year streak, either.

brucie
06-28-2006, 01:05 AM
But agassi won all the grandslams. Surely puting him close to the top and has been competitive for generations.
Not tha im suggesting he should be higher it really would be tough to order all the games greats into an order.

AndrewD
06-28-2006, 01:57 AM
Agassi was one of the greatest players of his era and that's about the sum of it. Beyond that it's only speculation, although that is an enjoyable pastime with any sport. A definitive greatest of all time is impossible although I do think three players stand head and shoulders above all others: Laver, Borg and Sampras.

At the end of the day all we can fall back on are the accomplishments of the player and the winner of two Grand Slams is, as far as Im concerned, the single greatest accomplishment (as opposed to greatest player, which we can't logically judge) in men's tennis history. The next greatest accomplishment is, in my opinion, winning 6 French Opens and 5 Wimbledons, including 3 times back to back (remember, Laver did it when he was on the way up and one the way down: he never got the chance to do it in his prime).

Winning the most majors is a great accomplishment but I don't afford it the same weight as the other two, especially when it doesn't include even one win at the French. Ditto for winning a 'career grand slam'. It is a fantastic accomplishment but it doesn't come close to equalling the first two. Neither does the most weeks spent at number 1. Allthough it certainly does count for something it does only count for the last 30-odd years.

So, as far as I'm concerned there's Laver (1), Borg (2), Sampras (3) and then there's daylight to the rest. Fill in the blanks however you like but, in my opinion, if you rank Agassi above Connors, McEnroe and Lendl then you're letting sentiment take the place of common sense.

superman1
06-28-2006, 03:20 AM
Well, again, when Laver won the Grand Slam everything was on grass, except the French. Still an amazing accomplishment, but Agassi is the only guy to have won on all 4 completely different surfaces. Rebound Ace, clay, grass, hard court. And none of these were fluke wins either. The grass was slippery and fast and he was still returning Ivanisevic's serves with genius precision. And he followed that with a few semifinal and final appearances at Wimby, all on fast grass that suited guys like Sampras and Rafter a lot more. He should have won more French Opens, he was in a few finals before winning in '99. The guy could/can play on anything. And he did so through the 80's, 90's, and currently the 00's, when the game completely transformed. I think that's one of the biggest accomplishments in tennis, right up there with 2 Grand Slams, 6 French Opens and 5 Wimbledons, and 14 Grand Slams.

Agassi is easily #4 all time for me. Federer will overtake him someday soon and he'll be pushed to #5. Maybe Sampras and Laver and Borg will also be pushed back.

AndrewD
06-28-2006, 06:24 AM
superman1,
The reason why I don't subscribe to that theory (different surfaces today = tougher to win) is simply because, in days gone by, every single player in the draw had a game tailored to the one surface (excusing those few die-hard claycourters). Makes it harder to dominate one event, especially when you've got a field that includes people like Ashe, Newcombe, Smith, etc. That being said, there is a substantial difference between grasscourts at Wimbledon, Australia and the US Open (Wimbledon plays true but medium-low, Australia plays fast and higher bounce, US Open played like a ploughed field with the worst bounces of the lot) so, although you're playing on grass that's pretty much where the similarities end.

I take nothing away from Agassi's achievement but it's an accomplishment you can really only compare to players of the last 20 years, not all-time.

Kaptain Karl
06-28-2006, 08:16 AM
I do think three players stand head and shoulders above all others: Laver, Borg and Sampras.(I know this POV is almost "sacrilegious" here, but ...) I believe those who place Sampras on the same level of Laver and Borg are influenced by their own sentiment.

... the winner of two Grand Slams is, as far as Im concerned, the single greatest accomplishment ... in men's tennis history. The next greatest accomplishment is ... winning 6 French Opens and 5 Wimbledons, including 3 times back to back (remember, Laver did it when he was on the way up and one the way down: he never got the chance to do it in his prime).Agreed.

Winning the most majors is a great accomplishment but I don't afford it the same weight as the other two, especially when it doesn't include even one win at the French.Agreed.

Ditto for winning a 'career grand slam'.We do not agree. I believe the "career slam" -- especially these days with multiple surfaces -- is *quite* significant. (Although you make a good point that the "Grass" was quite different at the three "old time" grass Slams.)

So, as far as I'm concerned there's Laver (1), Borg (2), Sampras (3) and then there's daylight to the rest.I think there's a legitimate argument that "there's daylight" after Laver and Borg. But if you rank Sampras at such a "lofty" position "you're letting sentiment take the place of common sense."

(This is admittedly "hair splitting." Which is why I prefer the Tiered approach, as earlier posted (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=972423&postcount=24).)

- KK

Moose Malloy
06-28-2006, 08:24 AM
the lack of Borg/Connors on the 'straight SF' list is due to skipping AO/RG. Looking at list of consec SF of slams entered, Connors is at 11, again at 7, Borg at 6. Fed got press for reaching 4 cons. slam finals to match Agassi/Laver, but Connors/Borg both reached at least 5 consec. slam finals they entered, and both did it twice.

One more -- consec. QF, of slams entered. Connors is at a ridiculous 27, the next guy (Lendl) is at 14. Jimbo went 10 years, 1973-83, without getting knocked out before the QF at any slam.


Yeah as soon as I made my last post I started going through atptennis(should've just gone to your site), because I figured with the AO not really being a major in the 70s that Borg/Connors would have great runs at the majors they entered.

The Connors streak of slam SF's & QF's is pretty amazing, from '76 US Open to '80 US Open he made the semis of every slam he entered-11 straight
When you look at everything(time at #1, consistency at slams, total titles), not just # of slams won, Connors should be ranked above Agassi on any list.

inyourface
06-28-2006, 08:38 AM
from my very poin of view I have to make a difference,more 'GS Not equal Best Player',for me the top level of play that I saw ever....is:
J.Mac. A.A. and Fed..for skill at play,for more incredible form of play,...blah blah....another thing is to win titles...then I put the same list of other people.

Moose Malloy
06-28-2006, 08:44 AM
(I know this POV is almost "sacrilegious" here, but ...) I believe those who place Sampras on the same level of Laver and Borg are influenced by their own sentiment.


I don't think so many writers who know more about tennis than we could dream of, that place Sampras along Laver & Borg are biased. Steve Flink(who is one of the most knowledgable writers on the history of tennis) in his book Greatest Matches of the 20th Century(great book for those that want to learn more about the history of the sport) ranked Sampras at #1, above Borg & Laver in his 'best players of the century' list. And this book was published at the end of '99 when Sampras 'only' had 12 majors.

I think you & AndrewD are getting too caught up the 'most majors' part of Sampras as being the only reason he is regarded so highly.
As urban & chaognosis(2 of the best posters here & probably the most informed as far as the history of the game go) have said many times the fact that Sampras won 7 Wimbledons & was #1 for 6 years are the most important aspects of his career, not the total majors part.

Since the beginning of the century, Wimbledon has been the most important title in tennis. Winning it multiple times is a major factor in ranking great players. When Borg won 3 straight '76-78(eventually 5) it was a monumental achievement, since no one had done it since Fred Perry. Sampras was the 1st to 3 peat after Borg & the 1st to 4 peat. A player that won 7 Wimbledons in any other era would be an instant candidate for greatest ever. Imagine if Jack Kramer, Don Budge, Tony Trabert or anyone did that in the 40s/50s. We'd still be talking about it, there would a statue of them at the US Open. Sampras won more Wimbledons than Becker & McEnroe combined! That is an amazing fact, considering those guys were so great on grass.

Also the #1. Yes the computer only started in '73. But there was a yearly ranking list since the 20s put out by international tennis writers. Sampras' 6 straight years would also be a monumental achievement in any era. Not sure if anyone has ever been #1 for longer, at any point in history.

I think you may be a bit biased if you don't consider Sampras on the level of Laver/Borg, you can't dismiss his achievements which would be highly regarded in any era.

One other stat on Borg/Sampras. In the open era, only Borg & Sampras have won majors in 8 straight years. No other player had even done this more than 4 straight years.

Sampras & Borg are the only open era players to win 4 or more majors at the same venue twice(Sampras at W & US, Borg at French & W)

And far as longevity goes, Sampras & Rosewall are the the only players in history(not just open era) who won majors as a teenager, in their 20s, & in their 30s)

Sampras was also #1 seed at 23 majors in the open era, a record. Lendl was 2nd with 18.

A player of Sampras' calibur is a rare thing, I think that Federer (another rare champion) has come along so soon after had made many fans forget this. Also you might be biased because Sampras' game is "one-dimensional" as you've said earlier. Maybe it is(many said the same about Pancho Gonzalez), but that can't change the fact that his resume is almost unequaled in the history of the sport.

paterson
06-28-2006, 08:54 AM
Connors did have a long career and a very large number of minor titles, however it's the slams that really matter and in that respect Connors does not stand out above Agassi.

Jimmy had a great return of service. Andre's is better. Jimmy hit great shots from the baseline. Andre can do the same only better. Andre has an infinitely better serve than Jimmy ever had.

chaognosis
06-28-2006, 09:40 AM
When you look at everything(time at #1, consistency at slams, total titles), not just # of slams won, Connors should be ranked above Agassi on any list.

I think you are exactly right. Agassi may have won all four majors, but Connors won majors on every surface as well -- and didn't compete at the French during his best years (I would put money on him winning there in 1974, at the very least, thus giving him a true Grand Slam). When one factors in all the data, as you mentioned, Connors clearly belongs not only above Agassi, but a full tier above Agassi, if one goes by the popular tiered approach.

chaognosis
06-28-2006, 09:43 AM
Jimmy had a great return of service. Andre's is better.

This is very debatable. Ask urban.

Kaptain Karl
06-28-2006, 10:31 AM
I think you may be a bit biased if you don't consider Sampras on the level of Laver/Borg, you can't dismiss his achievements which would be highly regarded in any era.Of course I'm biased. (The years on TT -- reading all the impassioned arguments about Pete as "GOAT" have influenced me greatly. I used to scoff at him as a "stat hunter." I'm beginning to appreciate his accomplishments lots more. My point here is, I've moved from not even considering him to be in the Top 20 Over History ... to being in Tier I. Geez! Give me *some* credit....)

Also you might be biased because Sampras' game is "one-dimensional" as you've said earlier. Maybe it is (many said the same about Pancho....That's it! I used to think of Pete as "just another Pancho." Maybe in 20 more years I'll share your bias....

- KK

Arafel
06-28-2006, 10:37 AM
the lack of Borg/Connors on the 'straight SF' list is due to skipping AO/RG. Looking at list of consec SF of slams entered, Connors is at 11, again at 7, Borg at 6. Fed got press for reaching 4 cons. slam finals to match Agassi/Laver, but Connors/Borg both reached at least 5 consec. slam finals they entered, and both did it twice.

One more -- consec. QF, of slams entered. Connors is at a ridiculous 27, the next guy (Lendl) is at 14. Jimbo went 10 years, 1973-83, without getting knocked out before the QF at any slam.

http://www.tennis28.com/slams/cons_semifinals.html

Connors made 6 straight Slam finals that he entered from 74-75, since he was banned from the French in 74 and skipped it in 75. If you extend it to 78, Connors made 11 finals in 12 Slam appearance, the one miss in 76 at Wimbledon when he was upset by Tanner. So, from 74-75 he made 6 straight, and from 76 US to 78 US he made 5 straight. That's pretty damn consistent!!!

beernutz
06-28-2006, 10:37 AM
Now that Agassi has called his retirement, it could be the time - maybe a bit premature - to put his career into historical perspective. In short: Is he top five all time material or top ten? His achievements are not easy to evaluate, i think like Hoad or Becker, he is quite difficult to rate. He had longevity, but also a few years in between, which he virtually threw away. His greatest achievement, mentioned by players like Mac or Lendl, is his full card set at the majors, on 3 different surfaces. But can it make up for his relative short time at years end Nr.1? OK, he was longer Nr.1, of you count all placements year long. But imo, can we rank him above say Connors, Lendl or Mac, who were all Nr.1 for at least 4 years. His longevity reminds one of Rosewall and Connors, who also had a great return game, but is he in their class? I would rank him top 15 ahead of Becker or Edberg, but not necessarily top ten.

Well just to stir the pot, throw this into the equation:

Head to Head Matches at Slams
http://www.tennis28.com/slams/headtohead.html

newnuse
06-28-2006, 10:45 AM
I'll give this a shot.

My criteria
1. Greatness at peak
2. Level of rivals (I think you judge the greatness of a player by his rivals)
3. Career achievement (longevity, # GS won)

I left out all the old timers except for Laver since they were all before my time. I would consider Laver the best since he won 2 GS's

Tier 1 - Laver, Sampras, Borg, Big Mac (I'm a little bias since he was my favorite player growing up, but I put him here due to what he did when Borg, Connors, Lendl were all going strong), (I consider them the greatest player during their generation)

Tier 2 - Connors, Lendl (both great but neither were as dominant as Borg/Mac at their peaks

Tier 3 - Edberg, Wilander, Becker, Agassi (All great but never became a dominant #1 for a period like the guys above them)

This is based on court results. As a figure in tennis history, Agassi would rank much higher due to his popularity and impact. I remember when he first arrived, I didn't like him much because he was more hype/image than results. That mullet and denim shorts were horrible. Now I very much respect him for transforming himself into a great professional on/off the courts.

His retirement will be a sad day for tennis, especially American tennis. It marks the end of a good era for tennis, the last of the fab4.

AAAA
06-28-2006, 04:05 PM
I think you are exactly right. Agassi may have won all four majors, but Connors won majors on every surface as well -- and didn't compete at the French during his best years (I would put money on him winning there in 1974, at the very least, thus giving him a true Grand Slam). When one factors in all the data, as you mentioned, Connors clearly belongs not only above Agassi, but a full tier above Agassi, if one goes by the popular tiered approach.

You are using the possibility that Connors may have won the French Open in '74 for a true Grand Slam to swing the vote in favor of Connors over Agassi.

So we must now use the same thinking for no reason other than consistency and fairness when judging Laver.

Let begin, according to sources here, Laver achieved Grand Slams at the beginning and tail end of his career but due to the tour structure back then he was unable to compete during his prime years. But to be consistent and fair, you'd put money on Laver to win at the very least one more grand slam during the years between his actual grandslams. So as a minimum Laver has 15 slams but more probably 19 or 23 slams.

So the winner is Laver.

AndrewD
06-28-2006, 07:05 PM
(I know this POV is almost "sacrilegious" here, but ...) I believe those who place Sampras on the same level of Laver and Borg are influenced by their own sentiment.

I think there's a legitimate argument that "there's daylight" after Laver and Borg. But if you rank Sampras at such a "lofty" position "you're letting sentiment take the place of common sense."

- KK

Karl,
I don't disagree with you on that. Definately not made out of sentiment but more a conciliatory approach which wasn't at all necessary.

Truth is, in our sport the Grand Slam is sacrosanct and it has to take precedence over titles won. As a result, in terms of accomplishment, Budge has to be in the top three. If it was easier to win it back in his day because the competition wasn't as tough then more people would have done it. A few came close but tha is the difference between the greatest accomplishments and the rest - doing it as opposed to coming close.

Winning a career Slam doesn't carry the same weight, although I do agree, you can argue it is more significant as an accomplishment (which is a thing, not a person) than winning the most majors.

How about adding a career slam as runner-up? Laver managed that as well LOL

chaognosis
06-28-2006, 07:12 PM
You are using the possibility that Connors may have won the French Open in '74 for a true Grand Slam to swing the vote in favor of Connors over Agassi.

So we must now use the same thinking for no reason other than consistency and fairness when judging Laver.

Let begin, according to sources here, Laver achieved Grand Slams at the beginning and tail end of his career but due to the tour structure back then he was unable to compete during his prime years. But to be consistent and fair, you'd put money on Laver to win at the very least one more grand slam during the years between his actual grandslams. So as a minimum Laver has 15 slams but more probably 19 or 23 slams.

So the winner is Laver.

I have long cast my vote for Laver, with Tilden perhaps a close second. But the reasoning cannot be hypothetical major title counts. I was merely speculating about Connors on account of his winning the US Open on clay and his victory on clay over Borg prior to the 1974 French Open. Laver's numbers don't need any assistance from you or me; his two Grand Slams and dominance on the Pro tour make the case plenty well in my mind. I do think the speculation runs into some trouble with Laver, furthermore, because just as one could say that Laver should have won another Grand Slam in the mid-60s, one can also say he shouldn't have won the Grand Slam in '62, since the best players in the world then were also Pros and thus not competing (particularly Rosewall, who was Laver's master until 1964). I don't know how many majors Laver would have won had he played in a different era, but if we take the real numbers we have -- looking at both his record in traditional major championships and the Pro championships -- it's remarkable in its own right. The same can be said for Rosewall. Gonzalez is a player whose record in traditional majors is perhaps unimpressive, but whose record on the Pro tour (and especially at the US Pro champs) is astonishing.

Steve Dykstra
06-29-2006, 02:44 PM
What puts Connors over Lendl for you? I would ask about what puts Agassi over McEnroe for you but I am suspecting it winning all 4 slams in the duration of his career, combined with the far far greater longevity so no point really asking. No way could I understand Federer being over Wilander yet though, as much as I cant stand Wilander and like Federer's game miles more, and he will be over him anyway so it is a moot point I guess.

All four are really close and tough to order. I put Connors over Lendl because of they both won the same number of majors, but Connors was more dominant at his peak (Lendl never had a year like Connors' 99-4 year) and also had much greater longevity like Agassi. I put Agassi over McEnroe because of 1 more slam and winning all four grand slams.

As for Federer over Wilander, I see that one pretty clearly actually. I see a bit of a gap from the Connors, Lendl, Agassi, and McEnroe group and the Wilander, Becker, and Edberg group. However, I actually think Federer is already closer to the above group than the below at this point. Wilander had that one great year, but Federer had an even better year. And to top it off, his 2005 was much much better than Wilander's 2nd best year. Not to mention his complete dominance over the field for at least 2 and a half years, something that Wilander never did. Wilander was never really on top of the game for long, he was always behind Lendl it seems.

Steve Dykstra
06-29-2006, 02:53 PM
And even in the majors, Agassi had the edge. Although Pete won 2 and 1 final, but lost 1 round RG, Agassi was at least in all quarters, winning AO, runner up USO, sf Wimbie, qf RG. So, if the computer system (only top 14 finshes counted)would not have given Sampras the chance to cancel the bad RG result, Agassi may have been come out on top. I remember, that at the end of the year, at Paris Bercy, Agassi gave up the race with a minor injury. He didn't play at the Master Cup, either. Had he played and with a few points had secured the Nr. 1 spot 95, it could be a different, higher ranking for him now. Sampras would not have had his important 6 year streak, either.

Interesting stuff about the different ranking system back in 1995, I had no idea it was different than now (I didn't really follow tennis too closely until the last couple years). But I think that regardless of that, Sampras deserved that #1 spot in 1995. If they had used the current system and Agassi had finished #1, I do feel that he would have deserved that.

On another note, I disagree that Agassi had the edge in the majors that year.

quest01
06-29-2006, 04:06 PM
Id say Agassi is a top 10 player of all time. The best player of all time right now is Sampras.

Wondertoy
06-29-2006, 04:38 PM
Agassi is the luckiest of the almost greats. He achieved his career slam because Medvedev and Goran choked. Four of his slams are Aussies which garners the weakest field compared to the other slams. Besides, Sampras scooled him at the USOpen and Wimbledon, the two most important great slams.

Bassus
06-29-2006, 05:28 PM
Agassi is the luckiest of the almost greats. He achieved his career slam because Medvedev and Goran choked. Four of his slams are Aussies which garners the weakest field compared to the other slams. Besides, Sampras scooled him at the USOpen and Wimbledon, the two most important great slams.


With regards to the Australian Open titles, keep in mind that Agassi beat Sampras in one final. Also, remember that in 2000 Agassi beat Sampras in a great semifinal, and in 2001 he beat Rafter in another great semifinal.

Don't judge the Aus Open by the quality of its finals. Some of the matches leading up to it have been some of the best in recent memory -- those two I just mentioned, plus Safin over Agassi in 2004, Safin over Federer in 2005, Roddick over ??? in that match with the marathon 5th set in 2003, Federer over Haas this year, etc.

BaseLineBash
06-29-2006, 07:47 PM
Agassi is the luckiest of the almost greats. He achieved his career slam because Medvedev and Goran choked. Four of his slams are Aussies which garners the weakest field compared to the other slams. Besides, Sampras scooled him at the USOpen and Wimbledon, the two most important great slams.
What!? Listen bud, slams are two week events, you just don't walk into a slam and automaticly make it to the final. In the French final in '99 Agassi was down 2 sets, there was no luck involved. Gilbert told him during the rain delay that he was the better than Medvedev and to bring it. That final was not about luck my friend, that final was about realization.

superman1
06-29-2006, 07:52 PM
Even if Medvedev choked, which is not true, but even if that was the case, it doesn't make Agassi lucky. If anything, Agassi was very unlucky. He was the one who choked in his first 3 Slam finals, 2 at the French. He didn't play the Aussie Open until '95, won it on his first attempt beating Sampras in the final. He didn't have any commitment to tennis for years, totally underachieved. He came back as the fittest player on the tour. How can you call him lucky?

jbdbackfan
06-29-2006, 08:02 PM
I agree on the point about how Agassi is better that Pete. Its not just the game and your skills, but how you present yourself and what others think. Pete was amazing, and won lots more than Agassi, but Andre's persona and presense with his game I think has a bit of a greater push than Sampras.

Wondertoy
06-29-2006, 08:15 PM
I agree on the point about how Agassi is better that Pete. Its not just the game and your skills, but how you present yourself and what others think. Pete was amazing, and won lots more than Agassi, but Andre's persona and presense with his game I think has a bit of a greater push than Sampras.

Hahaha, you're kidding, right?

urban
06-30-2006, 12:17 AM
To Agassi 1995. The loss to Pete Sampras at USO 95 was maybe the most costly loss in his career for an overall ranking. It was a bit tough luck, because he was a bit flat, after his tough sf vs Becker, played the evening before (they played the second sf after the womens final then).He had won 4 titles in the summer up to Flushing and was clearly ahead in the computer ranking, but then lost all interest for almost 2 years. He skipped the important autumn indoors without a fight for Nr.1. Interesting, that single matches can decide or at least weight heavily in consideration of an overall ranking of a whole career. I think, Connors' win over Lendl 83 at USO (which weights heavily in a comparison Connors-Lendl), Mac's loss to Lendl RG 84 (which prevented Mac from certain top five alltime) or Sampras loss to Courier RG 94 (when his was on a high wave with his best chance for RG) had similar effects for other top contenders.

35ft6
06-30-2006, 05:26 AM
The most colorful player in history? His story is pretty interesting. Arguably the most popular player ever?

Kaptain Karl
06-30-2006, 08:33 AM
"What's next for Andre?"

Andre has done well for himself in more ways than just his tennis record. He, or his financial advisors, has taken care of his family's future very well, too. Appreciating his leadership to help out Bjorn Borg, I can imagine him taking the lead on guiding the next generation of Pros with financial management and planning.

"Hmmm...."

- KK