1984 John McEnroe vs 2005 Roger Federer?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by President of Serve/Volley, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    I agree--the racquets would not be a deciding factor--simply because it's already decided in Federer's favor.

    I'll tell you guys what would make the difference: Federer is technically superior from the baseline, hits harder and with more spin, and has a better serve. If a young, nowhere near prime Federer was good enough to beat Sampras at Wimbledon, then Mac stands little chance. Thus, Mac would stand little chance.
     
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  2. Ventolin

    Ventolin Banned

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    ^^

    Blind Federer fan boy.
     
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  3. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Look at the Pure Drive type racquets--seems like they've made some difference--no? Look at Nadal--would his game be equally effective if he were using Mac's old racquet? I doubt it.

    Maybe it's not super relevant here as Federer using a fairly traditional racquet, but there have definitely been racquet "advances," or changes that have influenced play (for good and for bad).

    Kind regards,
    Chopin
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
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  4. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    Did I say anything about technology? No. Yes, there were many great servers in the 80s, but the 90s was really the time when power serves started dominating grass court tennis from 1991 to around 1998. I was refering to what fed rulz said about how luxilon affected serves
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
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  5. Ano

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    #55
  6. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yes, and I was largely agreeing with you but pointing out that there WERE equally fast servers in the 80's.
     
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  7. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Thank you for the tutelage. Facetious, not sarcastic.
     
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  8. pundekman

    pundekman Rookie

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    We all have to agree that Mcenroe 1984 had the single greatest year in professional tennis. Even better than Fed's year of 2005. Statistically speaking that is.

    However, Fed 2005 will beat Mac 84 handily. My opinion of course.

    For discussion's sake. Would Luxilon or and Poly have aided Mac's game tremendously? I doubt so, as I feel the strings only aid today's players that have the heavy spin. My guess is that polys would have aided Muster a lot. but for Mac unlikely.

    I believe Woodforde use to use poly's on his Snauwaert (?) racket. Am i right?
     
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  9. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    In this hypothetical matchup, I think you'd have some very beautiful tennis to behold. I think that looking at the 4 majors, you have to also consider that, relative to 1984, Wimbledon has slowed its surface, the U.S. Open has also slowed its surface, and the AO is totally different now (it's now like DecoTurf, similar to the U.S. Open, having changed from Rebound Ace).

    If you look at the 84 surfaces, McEnroe benefits from the faster Wimbledon and U.S. surfaces, with his devastating S&V game that year. Yet, the string technology of late, would give Federer somewhat of an advantage (he uses more spin relative to McEnroe and his return would definitely be different without it).

    So, you'd have some really great matches in my opinion. McEnroe worked extra hard that year and had great quickness at the net, plenty of power, and angle volleys that were unhittable, as well as plenty of outright putaways from the net. I would give Federer a clear win at the French Open, but I think the other 3 majors would produce really close finals.

    I would give Wimbledon to McEnroe, because his S&V game would be quite difficult for Federer to contend with, in that McEnroe was in an absolute zone at the net. Then, I think they would split the AO and U.S. Open, with McEnroe winning before a very loud New York Crowd, with lots of fist pumping and yelling, and Federer taking the AO. So, I'd go with a 2-2 series, with each taking two majors, with 3 of the 4 finals going 4 or 5 sets.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
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  10. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    ^^I think this is a very logical and reasonable way to look at this hypothetical situation.

    Here's actual Mac versus Fed (with a couple of other pretty good players thrown in): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiDqx6NM68Y

    Watch Mac and Fed at 1:01. Fed surprises Mac. Also a great point starting at 2:26.

    (Longer version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayGv33lMVj8 )

    But guess whose stellar net play ends up winning the match?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
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  11. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    ^^They're all trying to keep the ball in play though. It's obvious that they're messing around.
     
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  12. World Beater

    World Beater Hall of Fame

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    i dont need to know anyone. i address posts as they are...
     
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  13. World Beater

    World Beater Hall of Fame

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    touche.

    10 char.
     
    #63
  14. Chopin

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    Where is the poll? Shall I make it?
     
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  15. HAL9001

    HAL9001 New User

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    I happen to difer with you on this point. When fed loses his composure, its usually curtains for him and his game.
    Mac on the other hand seemed to have this unique ability to lose the plot and enter into an explosive rage and more often than not his game and his focus would improve and he usually won these matches.
    Not just my words, but the words of Mr Pat Cash (addressing John Mcenroe)

    end of transmission.
     
    #65
  16. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster Semi-Pro

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    If you put Federer back in time to 1984 and give him the equipment of the era, he doesn't beat Mac. Put Mac in Federers era with the same equipment and same level of conditioning and Mac wins again.

    Serve and volley geniuses will beat base liners most of the time.

    As far as the equipment goes, I am pretty sure Mac was playing the Dunlop Black Max back then. That was my racquet of choice as well for a long time. I now play with a KFactor 6.1 one tour 90 with Luxillon Big Banger rough strings and I hit the ball a hell of a lot better now than I did back then and I am 25 years older. The equipment of today is freaking unbelievable.
     
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  17. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    What?

    How did a young Federer beat a defending champion Sampras at Wimbledon then? Are you actually saying that Mac is greater than Sampras?

    Tell me, where are the great serve and volley players of today if it's so superior?
     
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  18. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    OK. I see that argument. But I'd like to add that Federer has lost his composure in matches before and still won. Look at his Wimbledon Hawkeye meltdown in 07 against Nadal. Also, it's a little tough to tell when he loses his composure since he generally shows little emotion (granted he shows more than he used to though).

    I think you're right that Mac could still win while angry, but then again, he was angry all the time :). Mac himself has said that he probably wasted a lot of energy out there and that he thinks he would have been a better tennis player if he could have redirected some of his emotions.

    Kind regards,
    Chopin
     
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  19. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Mac v. Fed

    Yes, I also have to agree w/this f/up post...Mac was not thought of as a baseliner, and certainly overshadowed by Connors/Borg/Lendl/Wilander in that dept. BUT, at his best, he was quite capable and very dangerous. I think the FO '84 loss to Lendl was more about fatigue...but keep in mind, he decimated Connors in the semi's just before (after Jimmy was serving for the 1st set, Mac just took over the match from there). The Wimbledon 84 final was nothing short of an amazing performance, even w/the fact that Connors was "aging" [but Jimmy had taken out Lendl in the semis and was playing at a high level coming in]. And, then flash forward to the 84 USO...I mean, for Mac to hold off Connors, who was playing exceptionally well, then come back the next day and take out Lendl in straight sets? uh...yeah, I think the guy can play from the back court....but, maybe I am just too "nostalgic"

    On grass, 1984 Mac v. 2005 Fed, I would give the nod to Mac. On other surfaces, I think Fed would have the edge. Hard courts would be interesting to see, for sure.
     
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  20. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Mac was playing well all tournament. He lost only one set before the finals (to Higueras). He beat Arias in straight sets in the quarters, and Connors the same in the semis. And this high level continued in the finals in the first two-and-one-half sets. He claims that he "choked" toward the end of the third set, and has nightmares to this day.

    From what I remember (and what I have seen more recently in snippets), in the last two sets he was not playing aggressively or well: playing to not lose, hoping his tantrums would earn him the match, and hoping that Lendl would collapse under the pressure.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
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  21. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster Semi-Pro

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    I have no answer to why people are not playing the serve and volley game, it certainly makes no sense. The idea of tennis is to win the point in the most efficient manner possible, not to stand around slamming balls at your opponent and flexing your muscles.

    The greatest baseliner in the history of the game ( Andre Agassi) could not beat one of the best if not the best serve and volley guys ( Pete Sampras).

    How did all the base liners fare against Sampras during his reign? Guys like Currier, Chang and the rest....not too great.
     
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  22. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

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    Newsflash: players - and perhaps even more important, their coaches - are not total idiots. The most parsimonious explanation for why today's players do not play serve and volley is that it simply does not work. After all, if S+V is such a great idea in today's game there is nothing to stop a player from adopting it and reaping the benefits of this strategy. Given how competitive the game is, it is striking that even players who COULD serve and volley (Tsonga, Federer, Stepanek, etc.) do not do so routinely.

    What makes Agassi the greatest baseliner ever? Most tennis analysts emphatically do not share your view.

    The fact that Sampras beat his era's baseliners - none of who was remotely comparable to a Borg or a Nadal, for example - does not tell us much about the relative merits of the two styles. This issue can't be decided by reference to results among one group of players in one period.
     
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  23. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Answer: Why no Serve and Volley

    The reasons for no serve and volley today are simple.

    Courts are so much slower. Wimbledon has slowed down so much since 2002. Also Indoor carpet surface, where there were many top tournaments until the 90's - has all but disappeared.

    Hence, fast court tennis doesn't exist anymore. People talk about the US Open being a quick court, it is quicker than Wimbledon and Australian but not compared to the grass or indoor carpet of the 90's.

    This relative slowness of court gives the baseliner so much more time to pass, which makes the tactic of serving and volleying not anywhere as an attractive option. Then the dangerous cycle develops. Which is less and less players play serve and volley, and then less and less coaches coach it.... and it dies out.

    Now the real question is this:

    Why have the games authorities conspired to turn tennis into a slow court game? In the 80's there used to be two indoor seasons on indoor carpet - one straight after the Australian Open where you had great tournaments like Milan. Then there used to be the end of year indoor carpet season in Europe after the US Open. Paris indoor carpet, Stuggart etc. Why did the authorities take away indoor carpet.

    If Boris Becker was a player today - he would probably be number 15 in the world. His game was based on fast court tennis - which doesn't exist anymore.
     
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  24. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the explanation, I had no idea that fast courts were legislated out of existence. It is a real shame, some of the greatest artists of the game were the serve and volley guys.
     
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  25. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Well, I'll offer an interpretation then. The reason why players don't serve and volley today has two main causes: coaching trends (i.e. the rise of the Bollettieri baseline tennis academies and western grips) and last but not least, polyester strings, slower balls and slower, higher bouncing surfaces.

    As for Sampras not losing to AA--he did lose to AA 14 times in his career, so I'm not sure I would say that serve and volleying "always" beats a good baseliner. Yes, Pete dominated the slams, and I fully admit that Pete was the better player, but I also think that AA was an inconsistent performer.

    I mean, how would Mac do on clay against prime Nadal?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
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  26. President of Serve/Volley

    President of Serve/Volley Semi-Pro

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    on Clay, Nadal would win, of course. But everywhere else? Mac would win quite easily, Nadal hates playing S/V's players.... He's lucky that Karlovic is a terrible vollyer... Let alone Mac.
     
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  27. Chopin

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    Nadal is a great grasscourt players though. If Nadal is good enough to beat Federer at Wimbledon once, then he's good enough to take down Mac (new grass).

    Pound for pound, Nadal is a better play than Mac even if Mac is greater in the grand scheme of tennis history.

    Today's players are generally playing at a much higher level than players from Borg and Mac's era, and certainly higher than Laver's era.

    Besides, some of you guys are acting like Mac was unbeatable--he won 7 slams--not 14 or 15 like Sampras of Federer.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
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  28. President of Serve/Volley

    President of Serve/Volley Semi-Pro

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    Nadal wouldn't handle Mac's volleys at the net, he just wouldn't... New Grass would be fun to watch. Old Grass would quite ugly...
     
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  29. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Currier & Ives?

    Currier & Chang?
     
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  30. Chopin

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    I agree that new grass would be quite fun to watch.

    Kind regards,
    Chopin
     
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  31. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Mac v. Nadal

    Prime Mac? On Grass? and fast, old grass? I don't think Nadal would know what the F**K was going on....it would be so foreign to him. You can yak all you want about slower courts, strings, raquets, hitting the ball harder now than before and all that other BS. BUT, Mac's first serves and first volleys would likely have Nadal baffled. Plus, his general net play was other-wordly....no one to this day hits volleys with such insane spins and placements from unusual positions on top of it all.

    I think clay would help slow things up, but even on that surface, Mac could be devastating at his best. I do like Nadal on the red stuff tho'...green stuff and Mac could rattle him, I think.

    Mac won 7 slams and should have won more; the 7 he won were against some of the very best in the game (Borg/Connors/Lendl)...it is more than just his place in the grand scheme of things...he really was incredibly skilled.
     
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  32. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    This is an interesting thread and quite true...the game has moved to slower surfaces more and more. Once upon a time, there were 3 of 4 slams on grass. That is perhaps extreme, but what the heck has happened to indoor carpet? Do those tournaments even exist any more? Even the grass at Wimby is thicker and slower...ironically, the USO is now looked at as fast/quick, but yes, in the past carpet was deemed faster.

    I would love to see some S&V players out there...I think it is a combo of surfaces and coaching styles. Plus, some of the very best players chose to play all court rather than S&V...certainly, Fed could play S&V w/regularity and Sampras should have....(seemed like later in his career he actually S&Vd less). Rafter and Edberg were the last 2 serve & vollleyers of merit that I can think of...Goran too....who knows, maybe it will come back....
     
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  33. markwillplay

    markwillplay Professional

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    pace of shot would not hurt mac like some of you think....He had a short back swing and played very well against people who hit with lots of pace. He used their pace....much unlike the players today (not good or bad..just the way it is). He liked to use others pace to generate his own off the ground and to help him put away volleys.

    Look, I am not Fed hater but you folks need to get out of "nowland".....if Nadal's lefty serve hurts Fed today..huh...I can assure you that it would have been very difficult for Fed to break Mac in 1984 on any kind of surace that was not slow. Nadal's serve is not even as good now as Macs was then and Mac could damn sure come in behind it and hurt Fed much worse with volleys and offense. That backhand chip return would be useless against a 1984 Mac. He would feed on it and force Fed to take more chances with the return. I don't think folks are giving Mac's serve it's due. It was sooooooo good for what he used it for.....in 84
     
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  34. Brettolius

    Brettolius Professional

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    At the same tine you must admit that his tantrums had a detrimental effect on a lot of his opponents as well. It was some anger but also quite a bit of gamesmanship on Mac's part as well.
     
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  35. Brettolius

    Brettolius Professional

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    While I do agree with you that Mac was definitely no slouch from the baseline, the fact that he beat Connors and Lendl back to back at the USO, and Connors in the final at W, doesn't really do much to prove he was some kind of great baseliner. He won those matches sure, but he won them mostly by playing the way we all know McEnroe played... getting to the net!!!
     
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  36. statto

    statto Professional

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    Mac is my tennis hero. There is no point saying "only seven slams" about him for several reasons:

    (1) Back then they didn't put as much emphasis on how many slams you'd won, which explains Mac missing the Australian Open many years (this also applies to Borg and Agassi).
    (2) Mac played in an insane period for tennis (Borg/Connors/Lendl are all top ten of all time contenders). If Roger plays at this time in history there is no way he wins five Wimbledons on the bounce.
    (3) The guy messed up a significant part of his career with his screwed up personal life. OK, this is mostly his fault, but "the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long" and all that.

    1984 Mac beats 2005 Fed on 1984 grass.
    1984 Mac just edges 2005 Fed on 2005 grass.
    1984 Mac destroys Nadal on grass of any vintage.
     
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  37. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    Lendl wouldn't trouble fed on grass, I doubt connors would either ...
     
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  38. statto

    statto Professional

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    Absolutely on Lendl. Not so sure about Connors. Borg and Mac would definitely have reduced his tally though.
     
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  39. it's a joke to compare players form the 70s and before, to players of the 90s and beyond.
     
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  40. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    connors

    4 of his 8 slams were on grass, plus runner up in slams on grass 5 times....he's a cut above Ivan on this surface. Might rattle Fed if his serve was not 100%...

    Of Mac/Borg/Lendl/Connors group, I do think Mac arose as the premier grass court player...even tho' Bjorn had more W's in his tally. Mac's serve and volley game, plus ability to "hold his own" as needed from the back court, really made him incredibly hard to beat. [per my earlier post, was not suggesting Mac was a back court genius, winning matches that way, however, you cannot beat a Borg or Connors w/mediocre skills from the back court, you've got to be close to parity to have a chance]
     
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  41. Brettolius

    Brettolius Professional

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    In the end, who won it more baby? Christ, Connors? Honestly, Federer would stomp him, time and time again on grass... the nostalgia is getting a bit silly now.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2009
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  42. Brettolius

    Brettolius Professional

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    Please... have a gander at Ivanisevic versus Federer...
     
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  43. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    I agree, Lendl would need Federer to be off. Lendl could beat anyone on grass occasionally though. Connors and Borg would play Federer much more evenly, but, still Fed gets the slight nod. Mac would take him, on grass, as decisively as it ever gets with 2 all-time greats. I think Mac would take 7-8 of 10 matches! You could likely directly reverse those numbers for clay.
     
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  44. lawrence

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    #94
  45. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    connors would need fed to be more than a bit off ... I'd give fed the edge against borg too .

    mac and fed would be even. one of the greatest SnVers vs one of the greatest returners/passers (along with an excellent serve, groundstrokes and very good volleys )
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2009
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  46. lawrence

    lawrence Hall of Fame

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    I usually agree with your posts hoodjem, but you can't be serious about using an exhibition as a point of reference in a thread like this?
     
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  47. Chopin

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    I ask you all again, if Federer is so vulnerable to serve and volley players, how did he beat a defending champion Sampras at Wimbledon, on Center Court, while still only a kid?

    Furthermore, but what principle of logic, reason, or science do you derive that Mac (a player with an inferior grass record to Sampras) would somehow dominate a prime Federer on grass?

    P.S. If Mac is really the grasscourt GOAT--why has Federer won more Wimbledon titles?
     
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  48. Chopin

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    #98
  49. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    I posted on this topic in another thread already, but on Grass, in their primes so to speak, I would go with McEnroe over Federer at a Wimbledon final.

    I would also go with him, in New York (his hometown) against Federer.

    Yet, I would go with Federer at both the French Open and Australian (say Rebound Ace or Deco).
     
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  50. Winners or Errors

    Winners or Errors Professional

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    Isn't this thread about 1984 McEnroe? I don't think it's about overall career records, but about peak performance, so it's a bit spurious to hold McEnroe's entire career against him in this kind of argument. The guy dominated in 1984; that's the guy we're discussing.

    I think we're also just discussing Federer in 2005.
     

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