a realistic view on Tony Roche

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by kiki, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    And here I go.Tony Roche.One of my favourite misteries and subjects of the open era.An intelectual challenge.

    Not as big as Bobbyone wants him to look.A mere one timer.But the best ever one timer.And a case of injuries.

    I saw him play live.Great lefty serve, very solid backcourt game and one of the three first real good top spin FH of history.The others are Santana´s and Laver´s who invented topspin right before Borg emerged.

    And of course that net play.Unbelievable flaw, positioning and first step onto the net.His net play is not a single ounce behind that of Laver´s,Mac´s and Edberg´s.I think it can easily be better than them.As I said, saw him live.Fast indoor carpet the last time.In an era loaded with great S&V players, he was an Aristocrat of that style.

    So, at the end the easy reason for not winning more is not that he just peaked when a certain Laver was on a mission.When a certain Rosewall was still in full posession of his means.When injuries stroke him badly.No, it is a mental thing.He was unable to translate that talent into wins and he had no excuse for that.Honestly.

    But after having said that, one more thing: on a fast indoor or grass court, old supreme and old green turf, if he and Newcombe had a good day you better not show.Doesn´t matter if your name is John Mc Enroe and Peter Fleming.Or if it is Ken Mc Gregor and Frank Sedgman.You have no chance at all.It is like fighting Ali and Foreman at once.

    Maybe Ken and Lew in 56? That is the only realistic possibility.
     
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  2. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, I'm confused: Firstly you say that I overrate Roche and secondly you write that his net game was at least as good as Laver's...

    Tony was not a one-timer! And yet Laver, Rosewall and Tony's severe illness were deciding. Roche was stronger than your darling, Newcombe, before he got his elbow troubles!

    Hoad/Rosewall were better as pros than in 1956.
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Tony had elbow problems from the very beginning, and never practiced as much as the worker's Rosewall and Laver.
    One can't speculate how good he would have been without arm injury problems, as injury outright determines whether a player makes it or fails by the wayside.
    Outright determines..???? OK, I meant injuries is the no. 1 reason a player fails to make the grade, when he was promising as a youngster.
     
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  4. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    #4
  5. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Tony Roche had a legndary bh volley. Absolute cannon. Could put it anywhere.
     
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  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    1/Newcombe, as record proves, was stronger than Roche although, when they played each other, anything could happen (W 68, W 69, AO 69,75,USO 69)
    2/I agree H&R were better as pros
    3/Never underestimated Roche.Read carefully my post which I wrotte in complete sincerity
     
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  7. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Newcombe has the better record (never injured seriously) but Roche was stronger than Newk in 1968 and 1969! Read the world rankings by Tingay, Collins...
     
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  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I don´t need that opinion to go by my own.

    I know Roche was better in 68 and 69 but Newk was ahead in 67,70,71.

    As I said, their encounters were very even and anything could happen.
     
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  9. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Roche was better in 1965 and 1966.

    But the point is: When both were at their peak and healthy, Roche was stronger: In 1968 and 1969. After those years Tony got his elbow problems.

    You are entitled to have your own opinions but you should not ignore other experts like Tingay and Collins.

    Roche had a positive hth against Laver in 1969. Newk never had a positive hth against Rod.

    It was not Newcombe who was considered the heir of Laver. It was Roche.

    You blame me as Rosewall worshipper but you praise Newcombe too much yourself...

    But I at least concede that your Newcombe raising is not as bizarre as your Fraser raising...
     
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  10. Vensai

    Vensai Professional

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    I've only seen Roche on YouTube a few times, but I thought he was a great player. As mentioned, his positive record against Laver in 1969 was impressive.
     
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  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    There were three men aknowledged as the Laver and Rosewall heritiers by the dawn of the open era: John Newcombe turned out the most succesful of the three, it is not a matther of praising, it is real.

    Ashe and Roche were the others.

    Newcombe won Wimbledon 1970,71 and 73 and you know whom he defeated in the final of the first one and the semis of the other two??? Guess it...
     
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  12. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, You are not serious. As far as I know only Roche was considered, at least in 1969, because he was the strongest rival of Laver in the latter's great year.

    You mix playing strength with success!!! I never doubted that Newcombe was the most successful of the three.

    Your worshipping of Newk even tempt you to give Newcombe the 1973 Wimbledon title! Very curious... Have you forgotten that Kodes was the winner? Thought you are proud of Jan's great (?) victory?

    Your last sentence is just a miserable provocation.

    I'm aware that Newk had great wins against Muscles but YOU should finally concede that Rosewall had the edge on Newcombe in open era in their hth and that even as an old man. When they met in majors Muscles was already 35 to 39!

    Most of all: What has the Rosewall-Newcombe balance to do with the question if Roche was stronger than Newcombe before Tony's elbow illness??
     
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  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Sorry, I meant Forest Hills and not Wimbledon 1973.Anyhow, when Rosewall won it was closer than when Newk did.

    Of course I don´t forget Kodes great win.Who can forget a Wimbledon champion when the big faves like Borg,Connors and Nastase don´t win it?
     
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  14. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Not much closer though. And in 1970, when Rosewall was "only" 35 and arguable the best player in the world Newcombe needed five sets against a tired Rosewall while Muscles defeated Newk clearly at Forest Hills.
     
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  15. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    not a lot of people remember Jan Kodes, which is a pity.
    most of those who do remember him, do so because of
    him winning Wimbledon the year of the boycot
     
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  16. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Damn! That is good stuff.

    Beautiful play from both players.
    (I can't stop grinning and laughing at the seemingly effortless, commanding virtuosity.)



    Nadal and Federer should watch these guys paint the lines--time after time. Amazing!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
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  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Sadly true.
     
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  18. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    1973? Newcombe at Wimbledon?

    Oh yes, he defeated Roger Taylor.

    (Surreal history version.)
     
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  19. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    I have a good visual of rochey's bh volley in my head. This thread woke that up. I was playing dubs this afternoon. i have a good serve, but not as good as the return of one of my opponents. So instead of getting stuck, i was moving in and trying to stick some roche-ish volleys. Just leaned into them whenever remotely possible, especially this huge backhand volley down past the volleyer. Great feeling.

    Thanks for this thread. Helped me hold for three sets today.
     
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    There is something innate that the select club of the best net men in history share: that is the placement, the position, the feel and the geometry when at the net.Tony Roche certainly had it.
     
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  21. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    but newk improved after 68,69 ...

    when playing well, these guys were close and had close/tense matches ...even as late as 75 AO ....
     
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  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    In Newcombe vs Roche, lets factor in their deep mutual knowledge.that would lead us to a very interesting and new thread:

    how does this closeness factors in in the HtH?

    think about Borg and Gerulaitis, 79 Fleming vs Mc Enroe, 77 Barazutti vs Panatta or the most evident of all, 56 Hoad vs rosewall.

    Would have Hoad felt short of the GS if he had played someone else at the 56 US final?
     
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  23. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    abmk, With which facts can you proof your claim that Newcombe improved after 1969?

    Rather Roche would possibly have improved because he was one year younger than Newk.
     
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    The distànce between both is oceanic
    8 to 1
    Roche never did toR osewall what Newcombe did as mere routine
     
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  25. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    The record shows that Newcombe was far greater than Roche.

    Roche, in fact, was lucky that Gulyas agreed to delay the FO final in 1966. Otherwise he would have won no majors...
     
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  26. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Currently watching the 1969 AO semifinal between Laver and Roche (nearly in full). Some thoughts to follow.
     
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  27. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki,

    Have you already heard that Roche lost three years through his illness?

    Roche is 2:3 against Rosewall in majors while Newcombe is 3:4. Where is the ocean? I concede that Newk was able to beat Muscles in one big final whilst Roche was not.

    Regarding overall hth Roche has a positive balance against Rosewall while Newcombe has a negative...

    Through your mere routine you erroneously see an ocean where there is just a Neusiedlersee (flat lake near Vienna)...
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
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  28. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Phoenix1983, Roche lost three years due to his elbow illness. Before getting that he was stronger than Newcombe (1968, 1969).

    Roche has a better balance against both Laver and Rosewall (two of your top five) than Newcombe has.

    Roche was stronger on clay than Newk.

    Greatness is not only defined by record of a player but also by his/her playing strength, and Roche was at least as strong as Newcombe.

    Tony had severe pain in that final but yet won clearly. The delay was not illegal.

    Even without a major Roche would be an all-time great. I rank him among my top 15 regarding playing level, just ahead of Newcombe and Gimeno.
     
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  29. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, I'm eager to learn your opinion about that truly great match.
     
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  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    If your house was at steak which one would you
    pick?
     
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  31. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Unfortunately I was a bit quick to say "nearly in full", I saw about 40% of it. Not nearly enough considering the high quality! I will need to watch it through again to give detailed thoughts (there were several points I witnessed which deserve a play by play mention).

    What I will do is give you my overall impression of what I saw, bare in mind this is only the 3rd match of Laver's I've seen (the others being a rather poor quality copy of his USO final of that same year and a big chunk of his Wimbledon match with Ashe also in 1969);

    - This match was clearly the highest quality of all 3 I've seen. The commentator remarks this was perhaps the highest sustained level he had ever seen. In my opinion it's right up there many great matches I've seen. Certainly as you say it was a truly great match. While I do think the edition of the tiebreak was a good thing, that epic second set would be surely missed if there had been a breaker.

    - Level of play wise I was struck by the pace of their shots. They were hitting the ball a lot better than I thought they would. Seems obvious to me now but I guess if you had the timing and strength the weight of the racquets alone would provide substantial pace. My favorite points were probably those which included a bit of baseline play after either Roche or Laver threw up an excellent lob. There would be some maneuvering from the back of the court before one of them sneaked into the net.

    - It goes without saying but their volleying was excellent. The angles, reflexes etc...at the net were exceptional. I saw some great drop volleys and some nice drive volleys too.

    - Athletically they were both quick and obviously great athletes.

    Those are my overall impressions. It's a shame more of those matches from that era aren't available. I will say that I am aware of this match being exception and not necessarily the norm. So I'm not a convert to past tennis being much superior to more modern tennis ;). But certainly that match deserves the praise it has received.
     
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  32. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, If my house was at stake (not at steak, you old gourmet or gourmand ;-) ) I would pick Tony Roche and chat with him about people who don't realize that Tony was stronger than his buddy...
     
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  33. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Bobby, I am not sure why you are defending Roche in this case.

    Usually, you would defend the player with the greater record against the player with a supposed higher peak (case in point: you defend Rosewall vs. Hoad).

    However in this case, you are defending the guy with the supposed higher peak (Roche), vs. the guy with the greater record (Newcombe).

    It seems like Roche must truly be one of your favourites to be so biased towards him...
     
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  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Jaja
    Great Correction from you my old friends@rival
    We look like Tony and John
     
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  35. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Personally, I find this view to be fairly realistic:

    [​IMG]
     
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  36. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Rochey has aged well.
    Newk, too, actually, still with some brown in the iconic moustache.

    Rochey just does not know how to hold that guitar, though.
     
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  37. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Yes, we could form a strong doubles to beat the youngsters...
     
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  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    We should play vs Gardnar Mulloy
     
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  39. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Who would be Gardnar's partner? Maybe Segura (even though Pancho would have to play sitting in his wheelchair) (bad joke, I concede).
     
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  40. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Maybe.Or maybe Pietrangeli...
     
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  41. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    If my house was a steak, I'd eat it.
     
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  42. rosewall4ever

    rosewall4ever Semi-Pro

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    Had Roger heeded Roche's advice on improving his attacking net play when they were still together then GOAT title would have been done and dusted..
     
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  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Roche at 40 was the second best volleyer just after Mac
     
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  44. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, It could be. Even as late as in the 2000's decade Roger Federer stated that his coach, Roche, had a better volley than 9o% of the (current) players, and that after a hip operation of Tony's!

    In comparison, Neale Fraser did not probably had the 1000st best volley at 40 ;-)
     
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  45. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Fraser's was good enough when it mattered and earned him a bunch of majors one of them after a much talked match vs Butcholz
     
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  46. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Ok, maybe the only way to end up this long debate on Tony Roche and John Newcombe is to just REMEMBER THEM WHEN TOGETHER PLAYING THEIR DOUBLES BEST

    Their combined S&V action would knock you down, cut you into pieces, then eaten up and excerpts spat out.

    Only four teams from 1970 onwards wouldn´t know such a sad fate:

    IMO they can only be Hewitt and Mc Millan, Lutz and Smith, Mc Enroe and Fleming and Jarryd and Edberg.

    The rest would be a mere red blood spot on the court when the match was over.

    But they didn´t always play that great you know...
     
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  47. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    damn, this is pinpoint smart tennis!!
    0% defense strokes, pure offense from both sides!

    what became of modern tennis :cry:
    i find it really absurd that Laver or Mcenroe praises defensive tennis like Nadal's.
     
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  48. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Laver is a senile nice fella but look at how he criticised Federer for not coming enough to the net

    Mac is a very well paid commentator who goes by the tips from management...and drugs won´t help him
     
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