An example why Sampras would have been fine today, watch this!

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by ark_28, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. ark_28

    ark_28 Hall of Fame

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    I am aware that lately there have been a few threads on how Pete would have got on today, interestingly my coach said last week he is of no doubt that Pete being a special talent would have done fine today because he would have adapted his game.

    He made a very good point which was that he could pretty much beat anyone from the baseline apart from Andre but he played a game suited to the fast courts of the 90's which he would not do today!

    People say that with the courts today being slower Pete would have found it tough, purely basing this on his performances on Clay, but I do not think this is accurate because Pete's biggest issue on clay was not the slowness of the surface but how he struggled to move and slide properly on the surface!

    I found this clip of a couple of points Pete played V Andre to me they show in a nutshell exactly why Pete would have no problem today and IMHO at his peak would be there ot there abouts!

    Have a watch and would love to hear yours thoughts :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwMtWGm3jyI
     
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  2. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    Andre admitted once that his ground game was built solely on strangling opponents slowly and that he does not really have any particular kill shot. Pete OTOH has one-punch KO power in his forehand. It seems to me that, whenever Pete decided to hustle and defend against Andre's ground game, as opposed to simply waiting around for just one opportunity to break per set, Pete could trade blows with Andre off the ground any time he wanted to. Pete could force Andre to go for sharper angles than Andre would have to go for against other opponents with less lethal weapons than Pete's forehand which Pete used often to put Andre on the defensive very quickly in rallies. Andre just never could seriously trouble Pete, not on serve, and not off the ground either. The trouble with looking at highlights such as these would seem to be that, they show Pete in one of his rare moods in which he was defending off the ground for longer than five or six strokes, which was not his normal way of doing things. If he were playing today, guys like Simon of Ferrer to say nothing of Novak, Rafa, or Roger, would be forcing Pete to play an ultra-aggressive ground game unless Pete could somehow manage to defend, say, fifteen or so strokes per rally which I don't imagine would appeal to him very much. Because Pete liked to act like he was all quiet and taciturn and that his racket would do all the talking that was necessary and there was no need to beat his chest or act showy, but deep down, it's always occurred to me about him that Pete just loved stomping on his opponents in a kind of repressed bully way or like he were exorcising some demons from his past in which others had picked on him and now it was his turn to do the pushing others around. And so he really loved dealing out beat downs in my opinion, and how, i.e., by doing so in a kind of swashbuckling manner, with his trademark slam dunks and his Ooooh Ahhhh power serving and his sizzling running forehands. If Pete had to rally more often in the way that he was doing in this clip against Andre, I really wonder what his game would look like if his opponents were systematically preventing him from pulling the trigger like Zorro, and he had to hit twice as many shots per rally before getting a look at something that he could put away, which is exactly how the modern players would be playing Pete and, bear in mind that he would not be playing 5'10" 30y/o Andre's but six foot tall retrievers/counterpunchers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
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  3. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Yes, I agree that Sampras would be fine today. He has athletic gifts and talents way beyond most people who pick up a racquet. He would have adjusted and developed his game to suit the times, be it Kramer's era or Laver's or today.
     
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  4. President

    President Legend

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    Paragraphs, have you heard of them? :confused: :shock:
     
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  5. ark_28

    ark_28 Hall of Fame

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    Excellent post, I do agree that it is always dangerous to look at a clip but I was just trying to demonstrate the technical skill would certainly hold up, you highlight an excellent point however which is that despite his great baseline play and groundies he did have that urge to want to pull the trigger and would he have adapted had the patience to not be able to go for it sooner and having to play that way all the time?

    Very hard to say I guess all we can say is that Federer is an example of someone who did make the transistion himself, if we look back at the 2003 Wimbledon final v the Scud he pretty much serve and volleyed the whole time, even though he plays a large % of his game from the back court its still on the offensive in a different way to the rest of the big 4 maybe that is the kind of way Pete's style would have played out?
     
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  6. lvuong

    lvuong Rookie

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    Sorry folks, Nadal would kill him, easily.
     
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  7. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    not too sure about that. even on the slowest hardcourts pete could probably hit through a lot of the loopy topspin. think Soderling/delpo/bergych on steroids, not to mention his serve and all court game.

    you guys underrate pete. the guy was a mentally and physically strong and has great touch. he was an all-court player, not just a serve and a forehand. On contemporary hardcourts it would be interesting, even fun to watch, but on fast hardcourts or grass i don't see rafa troubling him at all.

    Pete Vs. Rafa would have been fun to watch. we can only speculate about hypotheticals.
     
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  8. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    I don't comment on topics when the videos linked to look like they were recorded using a potato.
     
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  9. cc0509

    cc0509 G.O.A.T.

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    No he would not, not on hc and grass, don't be ridiculous. I can't believe there are people who question whether a player like Sampras, a guy who won 14 slams would be ok today and wonder whether he could adjust his game. It must be a joke. You have mugs out there in the men's field below the top five who can't consistently win their way out of paper bags and you are questioning what Sampras would do against these same mugs? :confused:
     
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  10. Valdez737

    Valdez737 Rookie

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    if Nadal owns Roger and Roger is better then Pete in almost every way Nadal would blow him out the water
     
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  11. ark_28

    ark_28 Hall of Fame

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    It does not work like that my friend! Federer is better than Rosol in every way.. didn't count for much did it?
     
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  12. malbaker86

    malbaker86 Professional

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    I wouldn't use this logic
     
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  13. cc0509

    cc0509 G.O.A.T.

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    It does not work that way at all in tennis. It is about match-ups. I am no big Sampras fan but I can't see how Sampras would have a losing record against Nadal on faster hc or grass.
     
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  14. albatros_forehand

    albatros_forehand Rookie

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    You kidding? You think Djokovic would play around with him like Agassi did on that bh cross court rally? No freaking way! Boom down the line-bye bye Petros
     
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  15. JSouza

    JSouza New User

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    The courts, racquet tech and style of opponents surely make it just too difficult to make any concrete judgement. "Sorry folks, Nadal would kill him easily" How can you even say that? Sure odds are nadal would win, but who the hell could say it in such matter of fact terms?

    BTW my fave part of that video was how excited the crowd got after 10 shots...it isnt quite like that now P
     
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  16. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    I think that part of what Rafa may have been able to exploit in Roger all those years was Roger's deep seated urge to produce highlight reel shots. Pete I believe had some of this same urge to appear flashy, but not nearly as much of it as Roger, I would argue. Roger overtly craves being adored for his shot making, particularly from the back court, whereas Pete seemed fully satisfied knocking of a volley, and Pete didn't rush a developing point from his baseline they way Roger sometimes does...Pete was content to play defense by hitting deep floaters longer than Roger seems wired to be able to do comfortably. This difference between them would only help Pete when facing Rafa, because Rafa has feasted on Roger's mindset in my opinion simply by getting one more ball back while seldom trying to do anything offensive with it, which I think at times has causeed Roger to short- circuit as though he may have been thinking, "WTF is wrong with this kid? He can hit the ball a ton but all he wants to do with me is push it back. **Does not compute!! Does not compute!!**" Pete can play that game too, though, and I think would actually force Rafa--better than Roger has been able to--into playing more offensively.

    I can imagine easily Pete not troubling himself over which way to hit a backhand against Rafa. Either Pete would slow roll it back hitting a kind of moon ball of his own (which Roger would *ghast, the horror** never even think of trying) or Pete would simply slice it back, which Rafa of course would then run around to hit a forehand. Pete then could afford to camp out in his backhand corner because his runnign forehand was so lethal. And I do not believe for one moment that Pete would not burn Rafa (who does not move to his left very well) with Pete's running forehand especially up the line to Rafa's forehand.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
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  17. fuzzyball

    fuzzyball Rookie

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    Anyway when we talk about how Pete would compete today, there are at least 2 ways to consider the question :

    A/ Pete against current ATP field but on the 90's faster courts

    B/ Pete against the current ATP field on nowadays slower courts

    Case A/ I don't see how it could be doubtable that Pete would play his usual game and would demolish everybody, except Federer against whom he would probably split victrories.

    Case B/ I think Pete's godly talent would allow him to still shine nowadays, but the question is : would he have to adapt his game or not to compete against the big four (in my mind the big four are the only current players who combine huge firepower + the ability to oppose a great defense and force the attacking opponant to hit one more shot)? I think that against anybody outside the big four Pete would just dominate without having to change his game, because outside of the big 4, if current players have great court coverage, they lack some firepower (Exemple Ferrer), or if they have Firepower their court coverages are not so great (exemple Berdych).

    Of course the question exclude any comparison on red clay, because everybody knows that on red clay Pete just sucks, no matter who he faces and when.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
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  18. SLD76

    SLD76 Legend

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    that said, tell me how pete was on slow surfaces again...

    the more fascinating question is, how would nadal do against pete in the 90's
    and how would pete do against nadal today?
     
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  19. rofl_copter3

    rofl_copter3 Professional

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    Pete could own on blue clay though
     
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  20. cork_screw

    cork_screw Hall of Fame

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    Sorry, he probably wouldn't. Federer has more strengths and less weaknesses than Sampras and he is behind the block to Djokovic and Rafa. Sampras' backhand is much weaker than federer's. People would just target it and hit heaps of spin until it breaks down just like they do to fed. Watch that video you posted, everything to his backhand he runs around to avoid hitting it. He did this when guys weren't using crazy poly spin strings. Imagine what guys would do now to his backhand. There's only so much running around your weakness you can do until people start to yo-yo you side to side and you can't run around it anymore. You love sampras, doesn't mean you can make stuff up like RAFA2005RG just to give a nod to your guy. I would never give something an unfair bias unless it earned proper recognition.
     
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  21. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    If Sampras was developing in the current era, would he have perhaps kept his 2hbh and if so, what kind of difference would that make? I still say Sampras would be a massive beast in this era. Talent is talent.
     
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  22. fuzzyball

    fuzzyball Rookie

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    Mmmmhhh, true that Federer always had troubles against Nadal but I think that it is mainly due to a particular matchup that Fed struggle against, on the other hand it is a little unfair to say that Fed is behind Djoko or Murray, because then you only talk about a past prime Fed (who is an inferior version of himself) against a peak Djoko or Murray, you have to consider that when Federer was at his true peak, Djoko or Murray were not already real top contenders on the ATP tour, and when Djoko and murray started to reach there full potentials, Federer was already slightly declining.
     
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  23. fuzzyball

    fuzzyball Rookie

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    Who knows? Outside of clay, there wasn't much slow courts during Pete's era, and anyone who saw pete play on clay knows that the biggest problem he had was not that claycourts were too slow, his biggest problem was that he was just a very bad mover on that kind on surface.
     
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  24. Romismak

    Romismak Rookie

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    Sampras probably would be fine, winning slams, but not so many for sure and his game would look different, not totally but not the same for sure
     
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  25. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    I just don't see Pete being able to make a dent against the top 4 players today. While his serve is better then anyone ever, they do everything else better (movement, defense, FH, BH, return game).

    The idea that he'd just check out of rallies to "end points quicker" too play these guys is just silly. If it were that easy, the pros would be doing it overnight. The tour (as a whole) defends too well to just to make that a high % play anymore. In 2013, an in form Sampras is in the "dangerous floater" category category rather then one of the favorites I'm afraid.
     
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  26. sonicare

    sonicare Hall of Fame

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    LOL...Petetards are hilarious.

    We have an actual verifiable fact here. Pete COULD NOT adjust to win the FO. If he was so great, he would have figured out clay but alas, he went AWOL 1/3rd of the season.

    so fat chance, he adjusts to todays conditions. he did not have enough in him to go through 2 of the top 4 consecutively.

    IMO, he would have a career like feliciano lopez in today's conditions. Maybe a little worse cos lopez has the advantage of being a lefty.
     
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  27. iradical18

    iradical18 Professional

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    Wow. You seriously think that the reason Rafael Nadal has the edge on Roger Federer is because Roger wants to hit shots that look good on TV? Are you best friends, has he told you this? That has got to be one of the most overreaching, retarded and intrusive statements into another persons psyche that I have ever read.
     
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  28. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    I feel too that Roger was often was very stubborn when he played Nadal. I feel that for Roger it was important to dominate his rival at their own game: in the case of Nadal, Roger wanted to show that he could dominate backhand to forehand. He couldn't. It might be overreaching though.
     
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  29. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Sampras had one of the best serve ever, a great forehand a great athleticism. He would at worse be a fat better version than Tsonga today. Which mean: he would't dominate and win dozen of slam, but he would be a contender everywhere except clay. He would probably be more consistent than Tsonga, and aslo far more dangerous.
     
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  30. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    while I understand that it is an exho, this is why I think pete would struggle with today's heavy spin. Most of today's players are able to defend even the biggest hitter's biggest shots, and many of them hit bigger than pete ( see Berdych's record against the top 4, outright atrocious despite his ridiculously easy power off the forehand)

    http://youtu.be/VKWI5RcvzIs?t=54m5s

    Pete leaves almost every ball short, and out right shanks the backhand.

    Nadal would trouble him significantly everywhere but grass, and even grass would be close. He'd beat pete easily on clay, and probably 5/10 or 6/10 on today's hardcourts, which is the context of what this thread was about anyway.

    Just my two cents. Pete's game was for a different era.
     
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  31. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    But he developed his game on fast courts. So if he was growing up today and building his skills on slower courts, he would have adjusted. He had serious raw athletic talent. That stuff could have turned into anything.
     
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  32. TheSouthPaw

    TheSouthPaw New User

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    While I think using an exo for an example is probably not great, I see the point. Perhaps Sampras would have been more inclined to use a larger frame right away? He doesn't do too bad on the senior tour with his 98.
     
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  33. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    This is what I was thinking. Pete's serve is going to be huge on any surface, as is his forehand. True, opponents may get a few more serves back, and maybe Pete can't get his forehand through people quite as much. But, the slowdown in surfaces isn't going to completely neutralize him by any means. In fact, it probably hurts most of his opponents more - those with average power, average weapons, who could previously get the upperhand in some points due to the speed of the court. Plus, now Pete has more time.

    It's kind of like when Tiger Woods came along and there was talk of "tiger proofing" courses by making them longer, the rough more penal. Well, sure that hurts Tiger a little bit, but it hurts everyone else even more.
     
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  34. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    Good points about Sampras' approach to long rallies, esp. against Agassi. However, Sampras had some great points against other baseliners also - against Courier in 1993/1994, for example, who did have a killer weapon.

    Also, I am not convinced that Djok/Fed/Nadal would force Sampras to play any more number of longer/draining rallies than Agassi did during his peak, certainly not at Wim/USO. They would probably force Sampras to play more points by getting back more returns into play, but I don't think that would mean much in the big scheme of things - as far as long/draining rallies go. Simply because none of them can take the ball as early as Agassi did; none of them are as clean a ball-striker as Agassi was.

    Actually, let me clarify that. None of them can hit the ball consistently early AND hard like Agassi did. Fed can, fairly often, take the ball early, but when he does that, it's usually a flick and not a hard shot like Agassi used to hit.

    In fact, that was the ONLY reason why Agassi was so good till so late (making USO F at 35+ yrs of age in 2005, winning AO at almost 33 in 2003, consistently making the second week at the AO/USO between 2003-2005) even though his movement and flexibility were shot.

    Regarding Sampras enjoying putting a beat-down. I don't think he really cared that much. That would probably explain why he dished out so few bagels/breadsticks to opponents. He was satisfied with a one-break-per-set gameplan. His OH was a show-off, I agree.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
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  35. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Read somewhere that Sampras knew he would hold serve, so he could afford to take chances on return games. Sometimes it paid off, most of the time it didn't. Hence, a lot of sets won with one break alone.

    And the slam dunk was awesome. Aren't tweeners showing off too?
     
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  36. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    Great server...... check
    athletic...... check
    great forehand....... not so much

    He would not be able to compete with these guys with that forehand. It's flashy and explosive, but it's just not the most consistent shot. It would get broken down and exploited with the kind of points he'd have to play. If he couldn't break through on clay in his era with it, he's not going to break through now most certainly. His serve makes him competative with anyone ever, but again he's dangerous floater territory rather then a favorite. A smaller and less athletic Tsonga is a good comparison.
     
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  37. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    i dont see how anyone would think a 14time gs champion and 6time #1 player who retired only 10 years ago wouldnt be fine today if he were in his prime against the current crop
     
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  38. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    Pete's best shot was his two handed backhand. If he plays today, the backhand would have been his best shot along with his serve.
     
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  39. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    The game has changed significantly in terms of athleticism, style, technique, and tactics from when he was on top in the mid to late 1990's. This has been echoed by most of the peers of his generation (Agassi, Rafter, Chang, Martin).

    A lot of the aggressiveness and gameplan that made him #1 would not be rewarded by the evolution of the game, and he showed little ability during his career to adapt to the kind of play he'd have to excel in to compete at the top. Compared to what the elite players bring to the court now, it seems that he would fall a little short
     
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  40. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    You are a joke my friend. Sampras does everything better than Tsonga. He is practically a much better version of Tsonga. If Tsonga can be top ten today, I have no doubt that Sampras can be much more.
     
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  41. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Forehand

    I don't think many would consider either Djokovic or Murray as having a better Forehand than Sampras.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
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  42. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Legend

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    i agree that the game has significantly changed. the tactics and techniques for using PEDs have changed everything. it's much more prevalent today then back in the 90s. the top players now follow a strict doping program. due to PED usage, the top players' ability to recover quicker from matches has raised the bar for endurance, speed and athleticism.
     
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  43. morten

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    this surface is way faster than the ones today...
     
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  44. robbo1970

    robbo1970 Hall of Fame

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    Its just my opinion, but I think a peak Sampras in today's game would dominate. I cannot think of any of the weapons the current top 4 have that would be better than what he had.
     
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  45. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    One needs to be careful--when watching highlights--not to leap to unrealistic conclusions. Watching these highlights, one could make oneself believe that Sampras should have won the French Open from the baseline.

    And we all know that he never did. (Everyone looks awesome in highlights.) JMHO
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
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  46. spinovic

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    It's impossible to compare players from different eras based on how much change occurs in so many areas...technology, training, court surfaces, styles of play, etc.

    People love saying Pete couldn't win today by simply transposing his game from the '90's to the present. We can just as easily reverse that logic for a guy like Nadal. Nadal wouldn't have won outside of Roland Garros in the '90s.

    Pete Sampras would be a nightmare on grass in any era, IMO. Pete had arguably the greatest service game in the history of the sport. That wouldn't change in a different era. It was big, he disguised it well and it was precise, and his second serve was without a doubt the best. That would make him a tough out in any era. Would he have won/win 14 slams in the modern era? No way to know, because Pete Sampras tailored his game for the era he played in and dominated more than anyone else. But, to echo your sentiments, talent is talent. Knowing what he had on serve, and knowing his talent and athleticism, I think he'd have been pretty darn good.

    I once saw Agassi say in an interview that great players have the ability to "up" their game, but Pete also had the ability to "drag you down". He said he'd play 6, 7, 8 games of quick points and holds and then suddenly he'd find himself in a long rally at crucial point late in the set and feel like he hadn't hit a backhand in 30 minutes. I thought that was an interesting point and I absolutely believe that was part of Pete's strategy at times, because he was so confident in his serve. One break was all he needed.
     
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  47. spinovic

    spinovic Hall of Fame

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    I'm not sure "could not" is accurate. I think it is more like "would not". Pete Sampras was built to win Wimbledon. I'm sure he would have loved to win the French to complete the career slam, but it was clear that he wasn't going to alter his game for a better shot at one slam that he may or may not win, when he could dominate on grass and be the odds on favorite in the other two with the style he was using.
     
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  48. spinovic

    spinovic Hall of Fame

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    Sampras had a great running forehand. Move him around, but beware.
     
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  49. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    He is a better player the Tsonga, but he is in fact both smaller and less athletic.
     
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  50. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    It is a complete revisionist history to try and call the Sampras forehand one of the greats. He could really give it a rip, but it was not a super versatile stroke. It was a good kill-shot, but it was something that could be worked over and broken down. A career of (relative) futility on the dirt kneecap the idea that he was GOAT-worthy off the ground. He had a stroke that worked well within the context of his game, but one that would suffer a lot against the better players today.

    I don't think there's a player on tour who would take the Sampras' shot over those Novak or Murray (or Nadal, Federer, Soderling, Berdych FWIW). Those guys can do anything with the shot in a way that Pete could not with his grips
     
    #50

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