Alan Trengove on Rod Laver. New Article

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by urban, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    When Hoad was involved in his game, he could outlast anyone.
    He had a great range of strokes, but usually dictated the game to his opponent, rather than respond to the other player's game.
    If it was a minor event, his attention could be elsewhere.
     
  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Nastase at his best would be a nightmare for any player in tennis history but you could also say the same for Pancho Gonzalez.

    Gonzalez was no slouch on clay. He won many clay court tournaments in his career. He was a superb clay court player and he was able to defeat Laver and Rosewall at their peaks on clay. You can't do much better than that. Remember Nastase lost to Stan Smith on clay in the 1972 Davis Cup and Smith is not in the same league as Pancho Gonzalez on clay although Smith was a decent clay court player.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    True but it was DC and DC used to be so special and emotional...Smith was a true stelward and a fantastic player for DC, much more than Nasty
    Their rivalry lasted only 3 years but it was one of the most exciting and intense ever
     
  4. jeffreyneave

    jeffreyneave Rookie

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    1964

    Just because a player wins the world tour does not automatically make you number one. Gonzales won every world tour played between 1954 and 1961, but that does not mean he was necessarily number one every year. Other play namely tournaments count as well. I rate sedgman as number 1 in 1958 and Rosewall as number one in 1961. The same is true in 1964. All active play counts towards world rankings not just the activity on the world tour. In 1964 19 tournaments made up the world tour but in all play there were 31 tournaments plus numerous one night stands. On the world tour Rosewall won 7 tournaments and Laver 6. But on overall play Laver won 11 tornaments and Rosewall 10. That's point why the world tour should be ignored because it does not cover all play. The world tour also failed to give extra points to the 3 pro majors. The world tour is not representative of overall play which showed that Laver had an edge in tournaments won, won 2 majors to one for rosewall and had huge 15-4 edge in their head to head results. Laver's win loss percentage was also superior at 74.8% to Rosewall's 69.5%.

    I am very confident that the world tour consisted of 19 tournaments. I have added up Rosewall's 78 points, Laver's 70 points and Hoad's 29 points from these tournaments. These tournaments are all the events with 8 or more players except the Port Elizabeth tournament. That gives 18 events. The 19th event is the 4 man golden Racquet at Wembley where Gonzales and and hoad earned extra points.

    jeffrey
     
  5. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Jeffrey,

    You have excellent points but we also must take into consideration the rules and how the players valued things during their time. To give an example, let us say that in 1979 player X won the Australian and player Y won Wimbledon. The rest of the year they had an equal record. Well by today's standards it is even but by the standards of 1979 it's not close, Wimbledon is by FAR a bigger tournament. I would venture to say that the Australian was below several other tournaments aside from majors in 1979.

    If you look at 1960 for example Rosewall won the French Pro and Wembley. That's two of three majors and Olmedo won the US Pro. Pancho Gonzalez did not win a major that year but he very well had a great right to be called World Champion because he crushed Rosewall on a multi player tour along with Segura and Olmedo winning an incredible 49 of 57 matches!! Gonzalez's main focus were the tours and it is definitely true that these tours were MORE important than any major to the top pro at the time. Whoever wins it is considered the World Champion and it put money on Gonzalez's wallet. Lose the tour and he was no longer World Champion and a has been. There is no ifs ands or buts about it. The tours were BIGGER than a major.

    So the same thing applies for 1964, by the standards of that time and that tour Rosewall was number one. Now in this case it's so close you can give an excellent argument for Laver as World Champion but I have no problems with calling Rosewall co-number one with Laver. You cannot just apply the standards of today to this.

    By this logic Federer is the GOAT easily despite the fact guys like Tilden were more dominant in their respective times but didn't play the majors because of the travel problems among other things. Laver, Gonzalez, Kramer, Sedgman, Segura, Hoad, Budge, Nusslein and Trabert couldn't play the majors for a good portion of their careers. Do you penalize them for not winning as many majors as Roy Emerson because all in my opinion were superior to him? By applying the standards of today you can make an argument Emerson is the third best player ever and that would be wrong.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  6. BobbyOne

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    jeffrey, Omitting the world tour is as wrong as considering it alone. Thus I give tied No.1 places. Also for 1959, 1960, 1961.
     
  7. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    BobbyOne,

    Read my post just above yours.
     
  8. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    pc1, You have explained the matter better than I could do. Very convincing to me.
     
  9. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    jeffrey, 18 or 19 tournaments could be the right number. I agree. I'm just astonished that the Wembley Golden racquet event was part of the tour. But you seem right because without Wembley G.R. Gonzalez would have finished only fourth behind Gimeno. We do know that Pancho actually finished third.
     
  10. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Were Longwood, Stade Coubertin, Wembley Pro considered part of the World Tour?
     
  11. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Good points and discussion here. Indeed we have the problem of applying todays standards. On the other hand, the standards of the pro tour were not always that clear for the pros themselves. Especially in transition years the pros leaned towards holding on the old king, in a way that a boxing champion had to be dethroned, even if he didn't defend his title. Dempsey for instance was the world champ in the 20s without even boxing for more than 3 years.
    So Kramer was seen as the world pro champ until 1953 inclusive, although he played only sporadically 1951-1953, and was in my estimation overhauled by Gonzalez or Sedgman, if you consider the full seasons of tennis. Rosewall was imo the true pro Nr. 1 since 1961, but in that year most people still thought of Gonzalez as the real champ. In years like 1959 the pro ranking was a real mess, with all kinds of promoters and players giving ranking lists, which heavily differed from each other. Sometimes the pros didn't seem to know, what the reigning standard was. Since McCauley' book we have at least a solid statistical basis for reconsideration. We do this also in open years like 1975 or 1978, when the computer system was in its infancy. McCauley himself follows the old system of favoring the older champ as explained above - in his paragraph titles, but in the text he makes modifications.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  12. Dan Lobb

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    1959 was the transitional year, when there were TWO world championships, one the four-man tour, the other a 14 tournament series involving all the top 12 pros. Kramer's office promoted both series as the world championship. There were two different winners.
     
  13. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan, Yes, they were.
     
  14. jeffreyneave

    jeffreyneave Rookie

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    world tours

    pc1,

    I have to disagree. World rankings are always based on overall play not a proportion of it. Tha's true whatever year you do world rankings. The world tour was always only a proportion of play and thus not the whole picture of total play. You look at the pro majors, tournaments as well as the world tour to do world rankings. Gonzales' 1960 world tour was important because he beat Rosewall but rosewall dominated the tournament circuit winning 2 pro majors and thus rosewall deserves a share of the world number one ranking. Gonzales world tour win of 1961 was not important because he only beat gimeno of the significant players; Rosewall with his 2 major pro wins where all the top players were present deserved the number one ranking on his own.

    The world tour was always only a proportion of play and thus never sufficient to be number one player on its own. Gonzales might at the time have been called world champion by the pro tour but that does not mean he was universllay reconised at the time or now as the real number one. L'eqiuppe ranked Rosewall as number one in 1960 and 1961.

    jeffrey
     
  15. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Jeffrey,

    Gonzalez won the 1960 Pro Tour easily by a crushing score of 49 to 8 and Rosewall was among the opponents. The values of the time was that the Tour was to determine the World Champion and remember Gonzalez did play 57 matches on tour alone. That's a lot of matches. Remember that Rosewall lost a high percentage of matches to Gonzalez on that tour.

    I believe that if Gonzalez thought that in order to retain his World Title that he had to win many big tournaments he would have done so. But that wasn't the prerequisites of the time to be World Champion. Frankly to play a long tour is far tougher than playing a few majors.
    And what Gonzalez did in 1960 in winning that tour was awesome.
    Again you cannot use current evaluations of players in the past. You have to evaluate by the times. Gonzalez would have played far more tournaments and probably would have won a good percentage of them if it was necessary for him to stay World Champion.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  16. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    The world pro tours were the most important things on the pro tour until the last few years before the open era, and Gonzales regularly backed up his dominant tour wins with big wins in tournaments, with 1960 being the only exception. Gonzales barely played a tournament in 1960, due to the end of his long contract with Kramer, but dominated the world pro tour (including against Rosewall). And in 1961, Gonzales beat just about every good professional on the pro tour except the absent Rosewall, and also won the US Pro for the eighth time (albeit weakened in Cleveland by this point due to Jack March's finances going belly up).

    Gonzales certainly wasn't toppled by Rosewall or anybody else before his initial retirement at the end of 1961, and that was the standard used back then. Rosewall has a case for co-number 1, but I think it's clear that Gonzales has to be number 1 if you can only choose one player.

    Regarding 1958, yes Sedgman had an excellent year in winning both the Wembley Pro and the big tournament in Australia (beating Gonzales in both tournaments), but Gonzales not only beat Hoad in the world pro tour, but backed this up by winning his sixth consecutive US Pro and his third consecutive Tournament of Champions.
     
  17. BobbyOne

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    jeffrey, A main problem of this case is the fact that most experts erroneously

    hesitate to give tied places for two or even three players. I regret this. It's a fact that in several (or many) years there was not a clear-cut No.1 (No.2 and so on) player. It often happened that two or even three players had about the same amount of successes. Best example might be 1959 when Gonzalez won the world tour but Hoad won the Ampol tournament series and both players were equal in matches won (23:23) over the whole year.

    It's curious that Lance Tingay only gave tied places regarding the tenth place.

    He mostly gave the first place to the Wimbledon winner neglecting the success of others. F. i. for 1970 he gave Newcombe the top banana even though Rosewall was at least as good as Newk (hth and so on) and Laver also was great in winning the most tournaments and having the best hth.
     
  18. Blocker

    Blocker Semi-Pro

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    No. No-one would begrudge Federer if he had a couple of 0-1 or 1-2 H2H scorelines against journeymen. Upsets can and do happen. But for crying out loud, at least be in front of your greatest rival in the H2H count if you want to stake a claim to the undisputed GOAT instead of getting caned by him most times. Remember, in slams it's 2-8.
     
  19. jeffreyneave

    jeffreyneave Rookie

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    The fundamental rule is that all play counts towards world rankings not just the world tour. The pro majors and tournaments are just as important as the world tour. A pro major, like a modern slam, requires a player to win on the big, important occasion when it really matters against all the best players. Its an important skill different from the consistency skill required to win a tour. The pro majors allow all pros to compete for the world number one spot not just the restricted number on the world tour (somtimes as low as 2). L'equipe Ranked rosewall number one in 1960 and 1961 so winning the world tour was not only thing that mattered. The sunday times considered Rosewall the dominant pro from 1959-64. I do not agree with this but it again shows that winning the world tour was not sufficient on its own to get the number one spot.

    The 1964 tour was a different tour than the earlier head to head tours because it was a series of 8 man tournaments linked together. Its more like the Grand prix of the 1970s. Winning the Grand prix did not make Richey (1970), Vilas (1974-5) or Ramirez(1976) a contender for the number one spot. The majors and other play like the WCT tour counted as well. The 1964 tour win for Rosewall is not that significant either. That tour did not give extra weight to the pro majors nor did it cover all play (it only covered 19 events not the full 31 events actuall played). The fundamental rule is that all play count for world rankings. On overall play Laver won more tournaments (11 to 10) ,won more majors (2to 1), crushed Rosewall 15-4 in the head to head and Had a superior win percentage (74.8% to 69.5%). On all the standard world ranking measures was ahead so I have no doubt that he should be regarded as the undisputed number one of 1964.

    jeffrey
     
  20. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    there is no 'undisputed' GOAT ......

    just that federer has ticked most of the boxes and his record is the closest to being the greatest, more so than the others ...

    out of those 10 grand slam matches, 5 have been on clay @ RG, where rafa is arguably the greatest .....

    also since most of the matches were in the semis/finals and federer would've won most of them if not for rafa, the effect of those losses is already seen in federer having lesser no of slams than he would have if not for rafa ....

    switch place to an indoor setting and you have rafa winning a grand total of 1 set in 4 matches vs federer with a bagel and two breadsticks being thrown in ....
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  21. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Well let's put this to the test. Lendl lost almost all of his Slam matches against Becker. Does that mean that he cannot stake a claim to being the undisputed greatest player of his era?

    I'm not even talking, yet, about the specific details of the careers of Lendl, Becker and other players of the era. I'm just asking if Lendl, by definition, cannot stake a claim to being the best of his era simply because he lost most of his major matches against his greatest rival. Is that true?
     
  22. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Now those losses in big matches certainly hamper Lendl's alltime status in regard of players like Connors or Borg.
     
  23. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Jeffrey,

    Did you read my previous post in this thread? There are really no fundamental rules until you understand the prerequisite for being number one at the time. As I wrote before and I will repeat now, Gonzalez, Rosewall and all the pros UNDERSTOOD that to be number one at the time you had to beat the defending Champion in a head to head tour. Gonzalez accomplished that overwhelming for example in 1960 by defeating Rosewall and others by a combined match score of 49 to 8. That would be fantastic against average players but this was against top level world class pros. The head to head tour was the main goal of the World Champion and the others were to try to dethrone him.

    If the prerequisites at the time were to win tournaments and majors Gonzalez probably would have entered more tournaments and won more majors or at least try to win more tournaments and majors.

    Why did the top players not enter the Australian for a long period of years? Answer is that it was not considered that important.

    Jeffrey I know you mean well but your fundamental rule is not always correct in all situations and all eras. Gonzalez was the top player in 1960 and if he had to he would have at least tried to win majors if he felt it was necessary.

    Incidentally the winner of the Grand Prix helped the winner's chances in the World Rankings. Richey was number seven in the World in 1970, Vilas was number five in 1974 and number two in 1975 and Ramirez was number five in 1976. So yes it was taken in large consideration.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  24. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Of course it hampers him. However you can make the argument that Lendl reached so many finals and lose in the final. Players like Becker would lose earlier in the tournament and therefore their record in the finals of majors are better.

    Is it better to be 6-4 for a winning percentage of 60% or is it better to be 8-11 for a winning percentage of 42.11%? In this case the 8-11 is better because he reached more finals and won more majors but I would also say that 6-16 is better because he reached more finals.

    I honestly believe Lendl has valid arguments to be the best player of the Open Era against anyone, Federer, Connors, Sampras etc.
     
  25. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Krosero,

    Of course you're correct. Lendl was far more consistent than Becker. He reached many finals in the majors but unfortunately for him, lost the majority. His opponents, like Becker usually lost BEFORE the finals and so their records in the finals were not hurt by percentage. At least Lendl was reaching the finals.
     
  26. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Urban and PC1, yes, I agree that Lendl's losses to Becker hurt him in any comparison. However I'm not yet referring to the specific numbers of Lendl's titles, as compared to the specific numbers of others. Nor am I evaluating specific things like his consistency in reaching finals. Right now I'm still referring to general principles. Is Lendl, by definition, prevented from claiming to be the greatest player of his era, due to losing most of his big matches to his major rival?

    I agree that all losses, to any player(s), hurt a champion's alltime ranking. And all wins help his ranking, of course. But Blocker is referring to the issue of losing most matches to one rival, and that's what I'm asking about.
     
  27. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Tennis is a sort of a duel, you don't have to be Hemingway to know, that the mano a mano aspect is relevant. If Agassi would be 20-14 against Sampras, one could make a case for him as the player of the 90s, even if Sampras has more majors. Everybody would mention it, if Emerson would lead Laver 8-2 in majors.
    In the case of Federer- Nadal and the player of the era, i would say, that the final evaluation still stands out. (i concede, that it isn't easy to define an era (5 years, 10 years, the whole craeer?). At the USO 2010, i thought that Nadal - with his beefed up serve - could overtake Federer, that he potentially had more options in his game. Since then, beginning with the AO 2011, Nadal struggled with problems and injuries. Djokovic got into his head. I reckon it highly, that he took this great mental obstacle by the horns, and this year reversed their head to head, before again falling out with injury. At the moment Federer looks like the player of the era, but one doesn't know how Nadal will come back.
     
  28. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    Here's the thing though. If the H2H was switched and Agassi had a 20-14 H2H against Sampras, chances are he would have more majors and by extension he would've taken more away from Sampras. They might both have, say, 11 majors in that case. Or maybe Agassi has 10 while Sampras has 12. Then you could make an argument for Agassi. As it stands, Agassi has a career slam, plus a gold medal, but Sampras has a superior H2H, especially in big matches, and nothing really overcomes the 6 slam differential between them. That's pretty big. No offence, but even if somehow the H2H was switched and Sampras and Agassi still had the same number of majors and the same ones, I'd still give the edge to Sampras, but I think this scenario is impossible. 6 slams is a lot, but maybe I'm putting too much emphasis on slams.

    It's also worth mentioning that 7 of Nadal's 11 GS titles are at RG. He dominates clay like nobody has ever dominated any surface ever, but it's still only 1 surface. He doesn't really match up to other greats at the other 3 GS. I'm also not sure I'd say he took the great mental obstacle and reversed the H2H against Djokovic. Again, that happened once clay season started. I know he was close in Australia, but I'm still skeptical he can (or would've last year) actually beat Novak on anything but clay, and yes that includes grass.

    In regards to the Nadal-Fed H2H I want to pose a question to everybody. What do you think the H2H would look like if 4 of their matches were on clay, and 14 of their matches were indoors? If this was the GP section, I wouldn't even need to ask this question because I'd know the responses by heart and/or user, so I'm hoping this section can provide more insightful responses than the YEC or other indoor tournaments being an exho, and conveniently not a GS.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  29. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Tennis isn't boxing, stellar performance against a large pool of players brings the most success (tourneys, points, prize money etc.).

    How much exactly "mano a mano" aspect is relevant is down to a personal opinion.

    My problem with such way of thinking is that it basically means that if Fed was a much worse CC player (made one FO SF and never faced Nadal there for example), lost to Berdych at 2009 and say skipped 2012 AO he would have been a better player following that logic, there would be no argument over him being currently "the man of the era" because he would have had most slams, weeks at #1, winning slam final H2H against Nadal (2-1 in Wimbledon finals) etc.

    Let's say Fed for example reaches USO final at the age of 33 and loses to Nadal there, instead of recognizing the feat of a player reaching a slam final in his 30s (something that rarely happens in modern game) we should be criticizing him for making his slam H2H with Nadal even worse and would have been better off losing in the 2nd round of the tourney to Joe the Journeyman.


    Maybe but IMO it would be a very poor one in that specific example given the vast difference in dominance over the field during the the largest part of the decade.


    Mention it yes but would it be enough to put him over Laver presuming Laver still won 2 Calendar Grand Slams?


    Agree though it's mostly up to Nadal now, though Fed could still potentially surprise like he did at Wimbledon this year I'd say the chances of 2012 Wimbledon being his last slam title are higher than him adding to his tally.


    Nadal's 2010 USO's serve has become a bit of a myth on this forums, one of his best serving performances no doubt but for example he served better in 2011 Wimbledon final than 2010 USO final.

    He also struggled with injuries/form at the beginning of 2010 as well (though people forget that) but other than that Nadal was as fit as a fiddle in 2011 till 2012 Wimbledon.

    Nadal's only problem in 2011 was Novak upping his game, other than that from 2011 FO to 2012 FO Nadal's consistency in going deep in the biggest tourneys was at an all time high, he reached 5 slam finals in a row which is his personal best, reached both IW and Miami finals for the only time in his career, reached Wimbledon final without going to 5 sets in earlier rounds (only happened in 2008 ), reached 7 finals in a row at one point (also his personal) best etc.


    It happens, Nadal's mentally as tough as they come but he's still human.


    Strongly disagree, all of his wins over Novak in 2012 came on clay, it would be akin to saying Fed overcome great mental obstacle against Nadal because he won against him indoors (heck, he bageled Nadal at WTF last year).

    When both were playing well and it came down to crunch time at AO Nadal faltered mentally (missed an easy pass when he was up a break in the 5th IIRC).

    Even at FO you could see Nadal starting to unravel mentally when the court become lower bouncing because of the weather conditions and Novak started to play well (IIRC he even threw the wet ball at the umpire or something) even though Novak's form in that tourney shouldn't have been good enough to challenge Nadal in the slightest.

    Sure, I'd say it's pretty tight, Nadal has a history of coming strong after injury layoffs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  30. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Zagor, I think Urban was referring to the old head to head tours where the winner was considered World Champion like in boxing. In this way the analogy is very appropriate.
     
  31. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    Well if that's the case then urban's analogy is outdated if he goes on to talk about Nadal-Fed and Sampras-Agassi H2H's.
     
  32. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    I see, but the thing is that tennis isn't structured like that anymore and wasn't in the era of Sampras and Agassi either so I don't think the analogy holds up.

    Not to mention that (if I'm not mistaken) in the old H2H tours 3 slams were on fast low bouncing grass and they played with the wooden racquets, no doubt Nadal would have dominated Fed on clay as usual but given the conditions/equipment I would have given Fed a clear edge on other surfaces (low bouncing grass, indoor carpet, wood, fast HC etc.).
     
  33. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Well tennis is one on one (for singles anyway) so I do think the boxing analogy is fine as compared to a sport like basketball.

    Not convinced about the general theory (I've read that a number of people agree with your opinion) that Federer would dominate Nadal on the old grass and other surfaces aside from clay. You could be right of course but I respect Nadal's ability to adapted to different conditions. And if Nadal (Federer also for that matter) played with a wood racquet and on those surfaces from the beginning of their careers I think Nadal would have changed his game somewhat to adapt to the conditions.

    Many thought Bjorn Borg wouldn't be able to play on any surface well but clay but he adapted well and became the best fast court player in the world. I do think Borg had an advantage over Nadal in that I feel Borg's serve on fast surfaces was more overpowering than Nadal so Borg would be able to get a lot of easy points on serve. I do think Nadal would find a way to do extremely well in any era.

    One thing I'm fairly certain of, that neither Federer or Nadal would be able to hit the ball the same way or play the same style of play with a small wood racquet and on those surfaces.
     
  34. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    and greatly under-rate the very same ability of federer ( which of course is far better than nadal's ) ......maybe its the fact that he's that good on every surface that people don't even talk of his talent at "adapting" !

    nadal is good at adapting, but he isn't better than federer on any other surface except clay ...

    H2H, you could maybe add slow, high bouncing HCs where gap narrows down due to matchup , but that's about it ...

    federer leads H2H 2-1 on grass and of course dominates nadal indoors, being 4-0 vs him there, losing only one set in those 4 matches ....
     
  35. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Like I wrote, you can't tell because they would be different players. The head to head on grass is deceiving because every match was close and Federer early on was the most experienced player on that surface. And Nadal's always been competitive even at at early age on hard court with Federer. Indoors I'll will of course give you but if they played years ago there would be more indoor tournaments and Nadal would have far some way to play better.

    Either way I think the rivalry would have been great.
     
  36. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    The 06 Wimbledon match wasn't that close, and lets not forget that there are 3 M1000's on clay as well, by the current schedule. Therefore the whole H2H is deceiving in some ways, and I don't get the assumption that Nadal would play better if there were more indoor tournaments. He improved his play on grass and hard over the years, but there has to be a peak to that play at some point, so if post prime Federer can still handle prime Nadal with relative ease, I don't see there being much difference if there were more indoor tournaments. In fact the H2H would most likely be closer than it is now. His body and HC's at the end of the year don't get along in the slightest. Even if some of these tournaments were in the early-middle part of the year, Federer would have a decided match up advantage on a low bouncing court. Either way, I agree that the rivalry would've been great regardless of era.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  37. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    To reduce a rivalry to the surface factor, makes it very easy. To my memory Nadal did win big finals and semis at grass and hard court matches, is 3-2 in majors on non clay surfaces. Also clay courts do play very different, Hamburg has different bounces from Paris. Rome has different implications, especially in hot years, when the court played more like a hard court.
    For all top players, rivalries count. Borg was 7-7 with McEnroe, and didn't play one match on clay, his favorite surface. An yet some are dissing Borg for "quitting", because he couldn't beat McEnroe. Some are punishing Connors for having a losing hth against his nearest rivals.
    And yes, i think the personal rivalry factor is still important in modern tennis. Even modern tennis is not only a matter of computer points and standings, heart and brain still do count. If a top players goes out on the court, he wants to beat the guy in front of him in all costs, especially his biggest rival. Its called pride.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  38. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    only against borg I think , who dominated him almost everywhere since he hit his peak ...

    connors still won big matches vs lendl @ USO 82/83, wimbledon 84 and was also fairly competitive vs mac in their big matches ....

    yes, personal rivalry factor is a part of tennis, but lets not exaggerate its importance ....It'd assume much more significance if there were H2H tours ...but there aren't in the modern day tennis ...

    No matter how much of heart/brain is there, if the player in front of you is simply superior to you on a surface on top of being a difficult matchup, its always going to be difficult .....put anyone against nadal on clay except maybe borg and they sure as hell are going to end up on the losing side on majority of the occasions, regardless of 'brain'/'heart' ...

    nadal did that vs djoker at USO 2011 and barely managed to scrap a set .... and the extra effort which he put in resulted in him being drained out by the 4th set ...

    even when he played better by some distance at the AO in 2012 and djoker played sub-par, he still lost , with djoker fighting back from being a break down in the final set ...
     
  39. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    the wimbledon 2006 final wasn't close ....

    and if there were more indoor tournaments and they met more indoors, federer would still win majority of the matches there and the mental shift in rivalry caused due to those matches on clay would be much lesser ......
     
  40. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Compared to basketball yes but overall no, it's still isn't the best analogy due to how differently (modern) tennis is structured.

    I never said dominate (as in dominate the way Nadal dominated Fed on clay), I said that IMO Fed would have a clear edge..

    Also to clarify, I don't mean surfaces aside from clay (on slow high bouncing outdoor HC for example I'd favour Nadal at their best and on modern grass I'd say it's 50-50), I mean old low bouncing grass, indoor carpet (and HC) and fast HC (like Cincy or 90s USO).

    Yes but I consider Federer to be significantly more adaptable (look at Madrid's blue clay this year for example) and yes, more of an all-court player who would be able to take advantage of faster conditions more so than Nadal (obviously IMO).

    Obviously, every played is a product of his era but IMO Fed would have been able to adapt better to conditions of the past (whether faster surfaces or wooden racquets).

    Borg is Borg, Nadal is Nadal, I don't see them as particulary similar players (aside from being great claycourters and great athletes).

    Borg serve and volleyed at Wimbledon and was a terrific indoor player while Nadal can't deal even with old Fed on significantly slower indoor surface than those in Borg's time.

    IMO Borg with graphite would have been more similar to Fed than Nadal.

    Well yes, that goes without saying but as I said IMO Fed would transition to wood racquet more easier than Nadal.
     
  41. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    It was after the first set. Nadal broke in the first game of the second set and was still a break up at 5-4, but ended up losing the set in a tiebreak. Nadal did win the third set.
     
  42. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Nadal may have adapted well to the old grass at Wimbledon, but he said last year, I think, that SV tennis the way it used to be played by Sampras and Ivanisevic was "not tennis." Of course, nobody liked the Sampras-Ivanisevic matches, but Nadal's comments make me wonder how enthusiastic he would have been about the prospect of SVing on every serve, for example. Whereas we have seen Federer to do that, and do it well (perhaps not coming in behind every 1st and 2nd serve, but certainly following in every 1st serve and many 2nd serves).

    Federer is pretty much a baseliner nowadays but historically he has spent far more time at the net than Nadal.
     
  43. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Nadal could have lost in straight. And the 4th set was a beat down anyway, so it wasn't close.
     
  44. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Just had a look at the stats on this.

    Here's Nadal's average 1st serve speed in all his GS finals against Djokovic:

    2010 USO - 116 mph -- made 67% of 1st serves
    2011 W -118 mph -- made 78%
    2011 USO - 107 mph -- made 68%
    2012 AO - 114 mph -- made 67%
    2012 RG - 115 mph -- made 62%

    So he was serving fastest in the 2011 Wimbledon final, and somehow also making nearly 80% of his first serves. Looks like his top serving performance against Novak.

    Stephen Tignor mentioned Nadal's serving in that Wimby final:

    Nadal came out determined to change the dynamic of their rallies by going down the line with his forehand, to Djokovic’s forehand, rather than letting the Serb beat him with his best shot, his backhand. It didn’t work. After five games Djokovic was moving instinctively in that direction and answering with his own down the line forehand winners. Even more decisive, though, was Djokovic’s return of serve. Nadal served brilliantly through much of the first set. In his last two service games, he made nine of 10 first serves at one stage, most in the 125-m.p.h. range, but where did they get him? Down set point at 4-5, 30-40 is where. On that point, Nadal tried another down the line forehand, but, having been burned by Djokovic too many times, he went for too much and hit it wide. The tone was set.​
     
  45. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I thought only the 1994 final was a bad match out of the Sampras vs. Ivanisevic Wimbledon matches. That final was a total dud and a big disappointment after the way Goran had beaten Boris in the semi finals. The others were entertaining grass-court spectacles, I thought. Goran was at the peak of his form in their 1992 semi final, firing around 36 aces and not even facing a break point in the entire match. Goran blew big chances to win their 1995 semi final and 1998 final as well. Sampras just had the cooler head under pressure.

    Nadal is pretty good at adapting his game if he really wants to win something, at least when given time to change the necessary things in his game.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  46. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Nadal has said that Wimbledon was the tournament he always wanted to win more than any other. Many tennis players grow up feeling that way about Wimbledon, but maybe it's a surprise coming from someone who's practically identified with RG.

    So if you picture him on the old grass in the '90s, he'd be highly motivated. Unlike many others he'd show up, and play to win.

    But I was struck by how negative his comments were in that interview. Anyone have the transcript? I just remember thinking that he went well beyond stating that some Sampras/Goran matches were boring (which is a common opinion); it seemed he was going farther and showing little if any appreciation for SV tennis in general. Could be wrong, I don't have the transcript.
     
  47. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    According to Crisstti, a Chilean poster, Nadal said:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=441753
    Of course, some people seemed to think that Nadal was saying that it "wasn't tennis".
     
  48. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I thought he said it wasn't tennis, so I got that wrong. Thanks for the link, I read the Spanish original, and he's definitely not saying that it wasn't tennis.
     
  49. jeffreyneave

    jeffreyneave Rookie

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    PC1,
    Your assertion that to be ranked number one in the world you have to win the world tour is just wrong. In 1961 Rosewall was ranked number one in the world by many sources including L'equipe, Phillipe Chatrier , sutter, Christian boussus, peter rowley, Geist, tony trabert , john Newcombe, rod laver and Joe McCauley plus the New york times and World tennis magazine. Gonzales argued in a 1963 interviw that he was number one in 1961 but he based his argument on the fact that he won 5 out of 8 touranments and rosewall won 2 out of 6 (in fact Rosewall won 4 out of 9 events). Gonzales knew what counted in 1961 was the tournament circuit which brought all best players together not the world tour which failed to do that. Remember Gonzales played the tournament circuit and pro majors every year between 1954 and 1961 except in 1960 when he got into an argument with kramer and refused to play. The tournament circuit and pro majors were just as important as the world tour because they gave every pro not just the restricted number of the world tour to be number one.
     
  50. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    jeffrey, Regarding 1961 you might be right, but I think that pc1 is right regarding the world tours generally. Maybe, 1959 might be another exception as there was a long tournament series unlike to other years.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012

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