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View Full Version : Brad Gilbert: one of tennis' great contributers


stan smith
07-17-2006, 11:55 AM
I've been a long time reader here in the forums and I just wanted to make a thread in honor of Brad Gilbert.

I do not think that there is another player/coach/personality that has contributed to the sport of tennis as much as Brad Gilbert has in the past twenty years.

As a player he had no big weapons in his tennis arsenal, but BG was able to win twenty singles titles and be ranked in the top ten for five years and rank as high as fourth at one point. Using his brains more than anything else, he was able to expose the weaknesses of his opponents and break them down using his knowledge of the game. That said I realize that he wasn't that special as a player, but he did have a sizable effect upon his counterparts during his years as a player, such as sending John McEnroe into retirement.

As a coach, he is without a doubt one of the greatest ever. His partnership with Andre Agassi is one of the most successful runs in tennis and he catapulted Andy Roddick into superstardom in his short coaching term with him.

Brad Gilbert is what tennis needs. A highly publicised coach with a personality I personally find to be amiable and goofy, but also rightly opinionated, though he takes it a little far sometimes in his picks.

I for one will be watching for Murray in the coming months to see how the partnership with Brad Gilbert changes his game. Being in the booth for tennis coverage with ESPN has, in my opinion, even furthered BG's understanding of ATP players which makes him even more dangerous as a coach.

In writing this, I hope you all understand that I am in no way insinuating that he is comparable to players such as becker, edberg, mcenroe, but as a total package, he has been a great contributer to tennis.

I am a bit biased because for some reason I have been a fan of Brad Gilbert for some time.:)

Moose Malloy
07-17-2006, 12:32 PM
be ranked in the top ten for five years

Here were his year end rankings:

82-54
'83-62
'84-23
'85-18
'86-11
'87-13
'88-21
'89-6
'90-10
'91-19
'92-26
'93-35
'94-78

Since you exaggerated(or were just misinformed) about Gilbert's playing career, I take your opinion that Gilbert contributed more to the sport of tennis in the last 20 years than anyone else with a grain of salt.

If you followed Gilbert's playing career, you would know that he did nothing of note to promote tennis. He wasn't popular with other players, fans, or media. He often snubbed fans that wanted autographs(he even admits he learned from Agassi how to be more polite to people)
He was very vocal that he only cared about tennis because of the money.

such as sending John McEnroe into retirement.


This is bs. McEnroe was going through a bad patch at the end of '85(read his book) for a variety of factors-Lendl, Becker upping the power quotient & his troubled marriage to a coke addicted actress. He was burned out in every way when he lost to Gilbert at the '85 Masters & needed a break. His comment "I shouldn't play if I lose to likes of a Brad Gilbert" was just his way of putting down an irritating, talentless nobody like Gilbert. Mac was very good at putting down others. And he had a 13-1 record vs Gilbert, so that one loss didn't mean jack.

Gilbert is lucky that Agassi bought what he was selling, or he'd probably be teaching tennis at your club. And there would be posts here like, "Has anyone heard of Brad Gilbert?"

Arafel
07-17-2006, 01:06 PM
A player who in 10 years made it the quarters of GS tournaments only twice and the 4th round a few times, but mostly never past the third round, and who had losing records, often lopsided ones, against all the great players (0-16 vs. Lendl, 1-13 vs. McEnroe, 4-15 vs. Edberg, 2-5 vs. a very past his prime Connors)?

No, he certainly didn't really achieve anything as a player. Gilbert has succeeded because a lot of his playing style can be adapted by rec players fairly successfully (cut down on errors, figure out the big points, play conservatively).

But Gilbert has always been more about himself than anything else.

Brad Gilbert: the pusher of the pro tour! Someone who is annoying and not very much fun to play against.

stan smith
07-17-2006, 01:14 PM
I probably should have put quotation marks around BG being the cause of Jmac's retirement. You are right about him probably not being remembered if it werent for Andre Agassi, but nonetheless he has achieved success in the tennis world.

I wasn't comparing him to just all others who have contributed to tennis, but as a player/coach/commentator he has been an unlikely, but great contributer in my opinion. I know he wasn't much of a tennis player, I believe him to be an overachiever.

And as far as rankings go, I didn't mean year end, but maybe that is what matters most to you and other people on this board. And I think players such as Mcenroe, nastase, conners, etc contributed greatly though they were not gentlemen themselves.

I guess ultimately I meant his being not in the spotlight, but still clearly visible in the world of tennis over a period of time.

superman1
07-17-2006, 01:30 PM
I do not think that there is another player/coach/personality that has contributed to the sport of tennis as much as Brad Gilbert has in the past twenty years.

You must be confusing him with Andre Agassi.

stan smith
07-17-2006, 01:47 PM
You must be confusing him with Andre Agassi.

What Andre Agassi has done for tennis greatly overshadows what BG has done, but he is not a coach and I dont think we will continue to see him as directly involved in tennis as Brad Gilbert is.

He will probably continue to be a great ambassador for tennis and continue to be a humanitarian.

VamosRafa
07-17-2006, 01:54 PM
I think BG has done a lot for tennis, as a player, coach and now commentator. He's definitely great for the sport.

I think the same of Johnny Mac, who didn't have the best record as a Davis Cup coach, but he certainly has done a great deal as a player, commentator and supporter of the Davis Cup program.

callitout
07-17-2006, 02:09 PM
Gilbert is clever in that his book, "winning ugly" is one of the few attempts by a recent player to reach out to the club player. Virtually nothing he says in the book is original or even unknown to most players.

Posters on this board like to assume that their maybe 4.5 games are much more intelligent than say Gonzo's game. But its just part of a classic fallacy: most drivers think theyre above average, and lots of club players on this board think theyre maximizing theyre potential. BG is like the W of tennis: Does a good job of pretending to be on a level with everyman, when when by all accounts he loves celebrity, fame and power.

Okay thats unfair to compare him to W.

alienhamster
07-17-2006, 03:43 PM
BG is like the W of tennis: Does a good job of pretending to be on a level with everyman, when when by all accounts he loves celebrity, fame and power. Don't forget the money. They both like having gobs of money, too, but don't portray themselves as being "rich."

I'm liking this comparison, actually. Both frat-guy-ish and a bit nerdy, too. Both seemingly inarticulate and stupid sometimes in interviews but secretly pretty shrewd (probably).

Rabbit
07-17-2006, 03:47 PM
I think BG has done a lot for tennis, as a player, coach and now commentator. He's definitely great for the sport.

I think the same of Johnny Mac, who didn't have the best record as a Davis Cup coach, but he certainly has done a great deal as a player, commentator and supporter of the Davis Cup program.

Ehhh didn't JMac take the team to the finals his only year as coach? He lost one tie, against Spain 5 - 0. 4 - 1 isn't too terribly bad.

With regard to Gilbert, I think he's about as historically significant as a player and coach as Paul Annacone.

sureshs
07-17-2006, 04:10 PM
Why does everyone hate him? Are the people at the LTA so stupid that they would pay a half-million pounds a year if he was not good?

A good coach need not be a great player. Achievements-wise, he has more credentials than many coaches out there. What is important is to motivate and strategize. His comments are quite insightful whenever I have heard him. He is one of the few who can provide insights into the game rather than straight commentory on what is going on.

His predictions about Sania Mirza were right on the mark. When she reached the 3rd or 4th round at last year's AO, he said she will be in the top 50 within a year, and it turned out to be true.

I think there is some resentment about the money he is making and that is driving all the negative reaction. As far as him saying he does it for the money, remember that all the top players like Federer and Agassi and Davenport negotiate millions in appearance fees which is not disclosed to the public. Because some of them donate a part of it to charity (and get the tax breaks and further business contacts in the process) doesn't mean they are not after money.

arosen
07-17-2006, 04:12 PM
With regard to Gilbert, I think he's about as historically significant as a player and coach as Paul Annacone.

Annacone, huh? Gilbert made about 4 million dollars more on tour. Annacone was Pete's coach, right? That's funny you mentioned him, Gilbert's record against the great and glorious Pete Sampras is 4-5. Not too shabby for a nobody that so many here like to badmouth. Just in case any of you Gilbert hating losers have forgotten this: Brad is 4-4 lifetime with Agassi, 4-6 with Boris Becker. He's made over 5 mil in prize money, won multiple singles and doubles titles. Sure, he is not that bright of a tennis star, but anyone with those kinds of wins against arguably all-time greats of tennis deserves some respect, no?

VamosRafa
07-17-2006, 04:13 PM
Ehhh didn't JMac take the team to the finals his only year as coach? He lost one tie, against Spain 5 - 0. 4 - 1 isn't too terribly bad.

No final for JMac. PMac got them to the finals in Sevilla. I was there, cheering against Spain and Rafa. So I remember it well. ;-)

Kaptain Karl
07-17-2006, 04:44 PM
Gilbert is really good -- and I mean VERY VERY good -- at one thing ... self-promotion.

- KK

callitout
07-17-2006, 05:11 PM
His predictions about Sania Mirza were right on the mark. When she reached the 3rd or 4th round at last year's AO, he said she will be in the top 50 within a year, and it turned out to be true.

.
BG has predicted 50 out of the last 2 world #1's. He's notorious for hyping whoever is winning the particular slam he's covering. The only time Ive seen him show restraint was with Labadaze where he conceeded that his lack of fitness would keep him out of the top tier of players.
Whoever is pushing the big guys to a fourth or fifth set at majors gets mad props from him, as a potential top ten player.

As for his playing career it was solid not great. Arosen stat's make it look like he really played below his potential most of the time. If he could frustrate the best players why was he ranking mostly in the 20s in his career. I didnt dislike him as a player, but think he's vastly overrated as a coach. I'll eat my words if Murray makes top 5. Clearly he's had top 20 potential all along.