Ageless Wonder - Ken Rosewall

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by McEnroeisanartist, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. McEnroeisanartist

    McEnroeisanartist Hall of Fame

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    In the open era, no man other than Ken Rosewall reached the semifinals of all four Grand Slams after the age of 31. Amazingly, Ken reached at least two semifinals or better at all 4 slams - with 4 at Australian, 2 at French Open, 3 at Wimbledon, and 4 at U.S. Open.

    By comparison, Federer has reached 2 grand slam semifinals after the age of 31.
     
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  2. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    A better comparison would be with Agassi or Connors, two players known for their longevity. Federer has 2 semi finals at the age of 32 he has several more years to add to that.

    Although I doubt he will better 8 semi's, that's incredible longevity. I don't think any player ever has had the longevity of Ken Rosewall.
     
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  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    US Open 4? 1970, 1973,1974.
     
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  4. BobbyOne

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    McEnroeisanartist, Yes, 13 SFs at open GS tournaments is really a wonder. In comparison Laver has reached only 1 big SF after his 31st birthday.

    Rosewall's greatness in majors after 31 is even more impressive if we also consider the pro majors. Then we come to 19 big SFs even though we should consider that it was relatively easy to reach a pro major's SF.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
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  5. Vensai

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    Rosewall's accomplishments are without doubt very respectable. His longevity is among the very best.
     
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  6. BobbyOne

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    kiki, In your endeavour to belittle Rosewall you forgot 1968 when Laver only reached fourth round...
     
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  7. BobbyOne

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    Vensai, Yes, matched only by Tilden and Gonzalez. Not by Connors!
     
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  8. Vensai

    Vensai Professional

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    I'd personally put Rosewall above Agassi too.
     
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  9. DMP

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    I always find discussion about Rosewall interesting, for a variety of reasons. In particular the dismissing of his achievements as proof that the era he achieved them in was obviously weak because of his achievements (and his size).

    And yet statistically, there must be a distribution of sizes of great players, and a distribution of longevity achievements. Someone must be a small great player, and someone must be a long-lived, great player.

    It so happens that Rosewall is that small player, and one of a group of longevity achievers (and the greatest for 50 years).

    If you dismiss the era because of his achievements, then in a sense you are saying you do not believe there can be a distribution in tennis, unlike in every other aspect of life.

    I'm not sure that stacks up as any sort of rational argument. And it raises the question, if not Rosewall, who is the great short player (and if the answer is Laver, then since Rosewall and Laver overlapped so much, it raises the question what happened in the four years between the two to allow Laver to be a considered a valid short great, and Rosewall not :) )
     
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  10. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Rosewall was probably the smartest of them all in terms of tennis IQ, smooth as silk and savvy as they come. In a sense, he was like a far superior Mats Wilander -- both well rounded players with incredible court smarts, but Rosewall was the superior all-court player and had incredible longevity due to his finesse and skills that allowed him to remain very strong even well into his 30's.
     
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  11. BobbyOne

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    Vensai, Of course Rosewall has greater achievements as an old man than Agassi.

    Muscles reached the finals at Wimbledon and US Open at 39, won his last ATP tournament at 43 and so on.
     
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  12. BobbyOne

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    DMP, I never understood why Laver is praised so much more than Rosewall. Both Aussies are true GOAT candidates both for their achievements, their skills and their playing level.
     
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  13. DMP

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    As I explained on another thread, it is the Simple Fact of his Grand Slams, and their timing.

    Personally I think of them as inextricably bound together, like two peas in a pod. Two wonderful players who between them covered all the tennis bases of the time - elegance, power, domination, longevity, gentlemanly conduct. Those of us around were lucky to see them play each other.

    The other players I see as inextricably bound together are of course Borg, McEnroe and Connors, probably the greatest range of talent and showmanship (not always in the best taste!)at one time in my watching lifetime.

    And now we have Federer and Nadal, two wonderful players again covering all the bases - elegance, domination, fiery competitiveness. In future years people will again look back a bit misty-eyed at the two of them, IMO.
     
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  14. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Maybe his peak was not as great as Laver's or Hoad's, but his plateau of greatness is the longest.

    GotMT

    Greatest of the Most-Time!
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    c mon forget this paranoia.is it belitteling him? I just didn´t remember his 4 th semi¡¡¡
     
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  16. Vensai

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    Two Grand Slams and ~200 titles.
    But yes, they are both serious contenders for being the greatest.
     
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  17. BobbyOne

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    kiki, Okay, I should avoid paranoia and you should avoid wrong comparisons between amateurs (Fraser) and pros (Roche)...
     
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  18. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Vensai, 23 majors and a 10:7 hth in majors.
     
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  19. Vensai

    Vensai Professional

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    It's hard to judge pro slams with grand slams due to the split between professionals and amateurs back then. If you include them, Rosewall would very well be the BOAT in many people's minds. The HTH is a minor issue since accomplishments vastly out way that.
     
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  20. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Well in terms of accomplishments, Rosewall is right near or at the top of the pile in many categories.

    I agree that it's ludicrous that Laver should be praised so much more than Rosewall, given Rosewall's amazing accomplishments which were achieved largely in the same era.

    Basically, if Laver is going to be covered in glory, then why isn't Rosewall, and why isn't Pancho?


    It's maddening.
     
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  21. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    An excerpt from Vijay! From Madras to Hollywood via Wimbledon, by Vijay Amritraj

    "By then, of course I was starting to think in terms of winning the tournament [1973 US Open]. Why not? I had beaten Laver, I was serving up a storm and I was bursting with confidence. What does youth know of life's pitfalls? All things are possible when you are nineteen. Or so you think.

    Gonzales was more cautious. He thought I had a chance but my next opponent was Ken Rosewall, Laver's little black haired comtemporary who had defied logic by becoming one of the greatest players of his era without a killer shot. One could tell what a great stroke maker Rosewall was just by watching him but it was not until you got out there on the other side of the net that the full extent of his extraordinary ability became apparent. Gonzales had been across the net from Rosewall more than a hundred times when they used to barnstorm the world on the Kramer tour and he knew. Pancho knew that underestimating little Kenny meant death.

    On the morning of the match we practiced on an outside court and I felt great. As we walked back to the clubhouse, Pancho re-interated what he had been telling me all morning, "Don't serve to his backhand."

    It's a long walk from the clubhouse to down to the Stadium Court at Forest Hills and by the time we reached the entrance to the marquee that leads out onto the court itself, the gangways were packed with people. My picture had been in the New York Times that morning and there was no mistaking Pancho and I as we pushed our way through with a little assistance from the security guards. In contrast little Rosewall, with that unassuming, hand dog look of his, almost seemed to get lost in the crowd. Hah, did I feel great! Was I ready to conquer the world!

    "Remember don't serve to his backhand," Pancho reminded me one last time as we parted company.

    "Thanks," I replied, listening but not listening. There was so much buzz around me. It was Labour day and the vast bowl was packed. CBS was televising the match live. For a 19 year old kid from Madras it was all very heady stuff.

    When we tossed, Kenny won and let me serve first. Strange I thought. It was a blistering hot day, I had been serving brilliantly against Laver and Stone. Pretty cocky move.

    I took one last look at Pancho who had settled into his seat and even as I prepared to throw the ball up to serve, I remember his advice. But there was Rosewall, this small figure with limited reach, standing so far over to the forehand side that both his feet were in the alley. You could drive a tank down the backhand side.

    "This is ridiculous," I thought. "This is an extremely fast court, I've got a big first serve and if I get in there's no way he can even reach it from where he's standing. No need to blast it. Just a decent pace first serve will do it."

    So I served to the backhand. Took three paces forwards toward the net and watched the ball fly past me for a winner. "Fluke," I thought. At nineteen, you think things like that. You think that when a great player hits a superlative backhand service return winner off a first serve that it's a fluke. At least that's what you tell yourself. So I served three more times to the backhand, never missed my first serve and never touched a volley They were all past me before I could blink. It was absolutely unbelievable.

    Sitting down in my chair, I picked up my towel and looked over to Gonzales. He wasn't there. "Hm, must have gone to get a drink," I thought.

    Gonzales hadn't gone to get a drink. At that particular moment Pancho was striding down the path towards the club house where he snatched his bag out of the locker room, yelled for a cab, and caught the first plane back to Las Vegas. We didn't speak for three months. For three months, he wouldn't accept my phone calls.

    By the time I realized he had gone for good, my concentration was as frazzled as my confidence. Rosewall was doing awful things to my wonderful serve and by the time he had beaten me 6-3 6-2 6-2, I was very happy to get off the court."
     
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  22. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    Great!!! Love those stories...

    Keep them coming.
     
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  23. BobbyOne

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    Vensai, hth against the main rival is not a minor issue. One reason I refuse to give Federer the GOAT status is his terrible hth against Nadal.
     
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  24. BobbyOne

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    Nathaniel, Thanks for your outspoken words.

    I guess the common praise of Laver over Rosewall is a similar case to the usual praise of Federer: Laver is worshipped almost only for his two official Grand Slams and Federer is worshipped for his 17 GS titles.

    Tennis history always needs more intensive examination.
     
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  25. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    then how is Rosewall GOAT according to you since he has clear losing h2hs vs both Gonzales and Laver ? :twisted:
     
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  26. NonP

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    [​IMG]
     
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  27. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I would posit that Rosewall is a GOAT candidate for two main reasons:
    1) his winning of 23 slams (both amateur and pro)
    2) his amazing longevity winning slams 19 years apart (1953-1972)
     
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  28. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You also have to take into account that head to head superiority with Gonzalez and Rosewall isn't quite as bad when you factor in that Rosewall lost as a rookie to Gonzalez 51 to 26 in his first head to head tour.

    Gonzalez for example never quite caught up to Jack Kramer after Kramer crushed him in their first head to head tour 96 to 27. Yet Gonzalez probably had the clear edge afterwards. Do we consider Kramer greatly superior (if he is superior at all) to Gonzalez by a huge margin due to first head to head tour? Of course not.

    Head to head won-lost records are always important in any era but we have to consider why the players had this type of won-lost record. For example the Connors and Lendl rivalry is one sided in favor of Lendl at 22 to 13 but Connors imo was over the hill after 1983 (although he still was among the top players) and Lendl was nearing or at his peak for a good portion of that time. Lendl won the last 17 matches between the two.

    Some head to head can be quite fair when player A is at his peak and player B is a few years away. Later player A may be slightly passed his peak and player B is at his. Overall it would be fairly even as far as age is concerned so the head to head scores may be very fair.

    Nowadays since there are no head to head tours no player can get a huge advantage in head to head in a short period because they will only meet at best a few times in a year.

    Different players have different type of GOAT credentials. Rosewall has his and Laver has his but it's different. Some players like Agassi who has been called the GOAT by some really doesn't have imo any GOAT credentials although he is great. A number of greats in the past and present for that matter are clearly superior to Agassi in areas where you could even attempt to argue that he has GOAT credentials.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2014
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  29. BobbyOne

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    Hello devil, I wrote there are several reasons why I don't value Federer the GOAT. Rosewall does not have a TERRIBLE hth against G and L!

    Gonzalez was not Rosewall's main rival.

    Rosewall's negative balance against Laver is caused by the fact that Rosewall was an old man when they mostly met. Plus: Rosewall has the edge in major encounters.

    As you know Federer lost the majority of his matches even though he was NOT an old man plus he is trailing rather terribly in major encounters.
     
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  30. NonP

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    I'm sure abmk was just using BobbyOne's logic against him. No serious tennis fan would deny that Rosewall is a GOAT candidate.

    Now Ken does tend to get shortchanged for the simple (and not entirely wrong) reason that he always seemed to play second fiddle to Gonzales, Laver and even Hoad, but he also won plenty of big matches against them and, with the only possible exception of Pancho (I'd also throw in Tilden), lasted near the top longer than all of them. In fact one could very well argue that this longevity places him over everyone else, that he arguably won the most majors in history despite being inferior in peak level of play. Of course one could also make the similar argument that Borg or Rafa is tops because he achieved so much despite most of the tour being unfavorable to his style of play, that Pete won so much despite playing such a risky game, that Fed put up such impressive stats despite being dominated so thoroughly by his main rival, and so on. This POV is usually lost on the simple minds that like to think numbers tell the whole story.
     
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  31. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NonP, You better should laugh less and correctly read more...
     
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  32. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    I'm sorry, I never could've guessed that you don't have a self-deprecating bone in your body.
     
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  33. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Muscles's H2H against Rocket is very respectable: 80–64

    Particularly considering the age difference of four years
     
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  34. BobbyOne

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    NonP, Rosewall always played second fiddle to Laver? Really? It's new for me!

    Hoad was stronger only in one year, 1956, but even then Rosewall outclassed him in the second part of the year...
     
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  35. NonP

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    What part of "seemed to play second fiddle" do you not understand? Did you not read the rest of my post where I touted your hero's GOAT credentials?
     
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  36. BobbyOne

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    NonP, One thing is clear: I trust my own opinions more than your's...
     
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  37. BobbyOne

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    hoodjem, Thanks for your objectivity.
     
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  38. BobbyOne

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    NonP, You did write: "not entirely wrong". Thus I don't know your true opinion.
     
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  39. NonP

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    And I sure trust my own opinions more than yours on music. :twisted:

    In that very same sentence I went on to write that Rosewall won plenty of big matches against his rivals. How clearer can I get? There's a small element of truth in every myth and stereotype, hence the "not entirely wrong" comment.
     
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  40. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    pc1, Thanks for this analysis.
     
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  41. BobbyOne

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    NonP, The more I play Beethoven opus 111 to people the more they agree that there is pure jazz in it.

    It's good that you rank Muscles highly but I guess you don't value him as GOAT (together with Laver)......

    Edit: I meant I play that grandious sonata with my CD player...
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2014
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  42. NonP

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    Something tells me you won't pull this appeal to popularity when it doesn't suit you. :twisted: Seriously, no need to rehash the whole thing. Ludwig was indeed ahead of his time, but it's quite a stretch to say he invented the whole genre of jazz. You obviously disagree. Time to move on.

    I prefer a herd of GOATs rather than a single one. If you absolutely forced me to rank 'em I'd say Laver deserves this mythical honor the most (and Fed out of the Open era), but that's as far as I'll go. To me it's nonsense to talk like any one of these guys is head and shoulders above the others, and I mean that quite literally.

    I will say this, though. If the GOAT title means anything, then it must take everything into consideration: achievements not only in singles but also in doubles (both single-gender and mixed), and not only on court (of every type) but also off it. In other words the GOAT is someone I'd choose to represent the sport to the public, and in my book her name is Martina Navratilova, by a landslide.
     
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  43. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    Great read. Thanks.
     
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  44. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Beethoven invented rick n' roll (boogie-woogie) in Opus 111.

    Haydn had already invented jazz in Symphony no. 88, 3rd movement.
     
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  45. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    now tell me...between 68 and 73 how many semis for Ken at FH? I mean, 70, 73,74 and, of course, he won the 70 title.
     
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  46. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    well, so much talking and so little watching.

    If I have to recall back when I watched Rosewall live, then my first image is that BH return of serve against a big server like Stolle or Fraser.It was a plain BH sliced ( but it could be a flat shot with a little of underspin as well) that crossed the net and landed just a few inches below the volleyer ( and we talk about first class net men here).

    The sound of the strings was just wonderful.To watch him do that it was like watching a club player do that against a pro.It seemed just easy but it was him who made it easy.
     
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  47. BobbyOne

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    NonP, I see that you refuse to take the fact that Beethoven invented jazz. Of course that does not mean he invented all sorts of jazz.

    Thanks for the explanation of your GOATs. I yet was right: You not only rate Laver as the "seeming" but the real GOAT. It's a good choice.
     
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  48. BobbyOne

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    hoodjem, I doubt that Haydn was a genius. Only a genius can invent a kind of music of 70 years ahead or 150 years ahead (in Bach's case who composed some jazz sounding passages).

    Haydn is for me the Emerson of music: totally overrated...
     
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  49. BobbyOne

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    kiki, the discussion was about Fraser vs. Roche.

    I would ask you to accept that a Roche final at the 1968 Wimbledon is more worth than a Fraser Wimbledon title in 1960.
     
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  50. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    kiki, Finally a post of yours again that I totally enjoy!
     
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