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. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    Sampras less athletic than Tsonga?? Sampras is probably the most athletic tennis player in history and he is less athletic than Tsonga??? You just set the silly bar high my friend!
     
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  2. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    Tsonga is bigger, stronger, and clearly a more impressive physical specimen then Pete. He's about 3-4 cm taller and 20-25 lbs larger, most of which is muscle. By athletic, I'm referring to the context of being less of a prototypical athlete rather then their merits as a complete tennis player. If you can't look at these 2 guys and see that then you need glasses. (BTW let us both realize that we're quibbling about 2 guys who are both among the uber elite athletes on the planet :) )

    [​IMG]

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    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
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  3. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Seriously, we're judging athleticism based on pictures?

    I'm not doubting that Tsonga is athletic, but it's not simply because of his physique. Sure, a bigger, more muscular physique often correlates with superior athleticism (and we reflexively refer to various muscular types (long and lean like an NBA player, or broad shouldered and strong-legged) as an "athletic" frame), but a certain (athletic-looking) body type doesn't ensure superior athleticism.

    What is it to be "athletic"? Track and field is referred to internationally as "Athletics" - What's being tested in track and field - strength, speed, endurance, movement. Those are "athletic" qualities - and people can possess those qualities regardless of how they look. In individual sports, we judge how those qualities are applied in the context of that sport when talking about how this player or that player is naturally athletic.

    I know more than a few gym freaks who have supremely "athletic" builds but are actually fairly awful athletes. Sure, they're strong in the immediate context of whatever weightlifting exercise their doing - but their strength doesn't transfer well and doesn't result in a bigger serve or longer pass, for example. Plus, their movement is pretty bad. On the contrary, I've seen plenty of people who don't look so stereotypically athletic who are, indeed, great athletes.

    None of this is to say that Tsonga isn't a great tennis athlete. But, to conclude that he's actually a better athlete than Sampras because he has a more stereotypically athletic build is pretty ridiculous. I'm not seeing much difference in power, endurance, movement between the two.
     
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  4. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    You make a good point. Berdych and Soderling are tied for the greatest forehand in the history of the sport, and Novak and Murray are very close. These are really versatile strokes, but what amaze me more is how consistent and solid these shot are. They can attack and attack again with it and they will never miss, whoever in the other side of the net!

    I think over posters in this thread compare the best forehand Sampras ever showed with the very average forehand of Berdych, Murray or Nole day in day out: it the only reason I can see for their blindness to the superiority of any current player's forehand to Sampras soso forehand.

    I would also add that Sampras serve is overrated too. Nole's serve is really the best, as shown in the AO final.
     
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  5. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    I'm sure I won't be the only one to disagree.
     
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  6. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    You might be if you're the only one who can't detect sarcasm.
     
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  7. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    It was 6:30am... Lol :)
     
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  8. AbsoluTennis

    AbsoluTennis New User

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    Sampras would have been fine today if he would have trained and played like the top players today did and do. With his game-style, his technical repertoire and his athleticism of the 90s, when he was top, he would not be a danger to the top players today.

    The game developed, and this is natural-in any sport...and saying some1 could beat the top players of today with the level of play/technique/fitness of 20 years ago is simply ridiculous!!!!!!!!
     
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  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    How? With the Sampras serve he's always in the match. On a fast grass court that they played at the time Sampras in my opinion would be the clear favorite to win.

    Sampras himself said hat he could hit shots with his backhand nowadays that he couldn't hit in his heyday because of the new technology. I'm sure he would be better at the baseline. I have no doubt he would be fine today. My goodness it was just a little over ten years ago that he won the US Open. Some make it sound like it was the dawn of time since he last played.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
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  10. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    I think you overrate the changes that happened in the game. Tommy Haas won is first titles in 1999 and ended the year a top 20 player. 14 years later, at 35 after dozen of critical injuries, he is in the top 20 again! And Tommy is not Pete.

    Sampras, with the skill set he showed, could be a great player if he honed his game, not for the faster conditions of the 90's, but for the current conditions (altough only marginally better on clay). Maybe not as good as peak Fed, peak Nadal or peak Djoko, but certainly nearly as good as this guy in their prime.

    We have Tipsarevic and Gasquet in the top 10. What a depth.
     
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  11. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    No, his FH was a great shot, especially the running FH, it's a revisionist history to claim otherwise.


    You do realize Sampras was engaging in long rallies in his heyday with some of the best baseliners of his era (Agassi, Courier, Chang etc.) and actually held his own pretty well?


    So Soderling is better baseliner than Murray and Hewitt, got it.

    Or perhaps you'll eventually realize that every surface is different and rewards/requires different strokes, movement etc. and a player who might be very effective from the baseline on HC for example might not be so on clay.

    Take James Blake for example, his baseline play (he was a decent server but nothing special) got him to #4 in the world but he was woefully ineffective on clay.


    Better players according to you, with 31 year old Fed being #1 last year and winning Wimbledon, players like Almagro and Tipsarevic (and I like them both but let's be real here) in top 10, 35 year old Haas being in top 20 with his "outdated" (the guy turned pro in mid 90s) game, a lesser version of Chang like Ferrer beating up on everyone except top 4 etc. I kinda doubt players today are that much better than those in the 90s.


    And I don't think there's a player on tour (who watched Sampras play in his best days) who would take Soderling, Berdych's and Murray's FH over Pete's.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
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  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I don't think Sampras would have the winning percentages that Federer and Djokovic have had over the course of a year. Sampras' style is more risky than all of these guys so he is prone to some more losses over the course of a year. However in a big match on a non clay surface, would you really bet your life savings that a 25 year old Sampras wouldn't win?
     
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  13. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    If someone forced me to bet my life savings on one match, then yes, I would not pick Sampras to win against Federer or Nadal (and even Djokovic), depending on the conditions.

    What is up with you and betting your life/life savings on matches in order to determine who was better? :lol:
     
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  14. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    I think we agree. Sampras wouldn't be at the level of Fed 2004-2006 or Nole 2011, but he wouldn't be far from their 2009 level I think.

    In a big match on a non clay surface (but current surfaces) I wouldn't bet, especially my life, on a tennis match which would surely be very close! I think Fed would be the favorite on every surfaces and Nole the favorite on slow surfaces. Sa
     
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  15. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    With the current conditions, I wouldn't pick Sampras on any surface.

    No way I would bet all my saving just for one tennis match even if I'm very confident that I will win. That's crazy, and I'm sure your family and love ones would strongly urge you not to..
     
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  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    If it was John Newcombe and I knew he was going to play a fifth set, I´d do it ( unless his opponent is, of coruse, Jan Kodes)
     
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  17. Cup8489

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    No one cares.. .back to the retired forum with you.
     
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  18. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    obviously ...

    would have to massively disagree with this ... His BH in a vacuum would be better with new technology , but not on a tennis court . He'd be forced to stay on the baseline more and face tougher forehands and backhands than he did @ his prime and would be forced to hit them far more often too considering the no of elite defenders these days are far more than at his prime - nadal, djokovic, murray, federer, hewitt, davydenko, ferrer, nalby etc ......

    his BH & FH , if he played a similar style as he did in the 90s, would suffer relatively these days ...

    I notice you posted a similar thing about newk's BH in the thread about newk & my reply would be very similar .....
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
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  19. Roddick85

    Roddick85 Professional

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    I'm always surprised to see how little respect Pete Sampras gets on these forums. People, before Wimby 2009, Pete was still the record holder in terms of total slams count. So what if he didn't win the french open? In his era, they're was an actual difference in how clay/grass/hard courts played unlike today's homogenized surfaces. The speed of the surfaces was much greater back then as well. Would he have as much success today compared to the 90's? For sure the court speed would cause a few hiccups in his game, but your nuts if you think he wouldn't win anything. He'd easily be in the top 3 imo. The guy had talent and was all about offense. I find myself going back quite often to classic Pete matches thanks to ESPN classics and i'm always impressed with his game. I wish they were more players like Pete today instead of defensive players like Djoko, Nadal, Murray.
     
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  20. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Maybe it's just the youngsters. Different times, different heroes etc. But I dunno the demographics of the TW posters.

    Sometimes I think Pete's no-nonsense, workmanlike persona on court hurt his legacy. Perhaps he felt that records and numbers will say it all for him. But stuff like that is cold (for lack of a better word). Maybe if he showed the world more of his human side, instead of just being a monstrous tennis machine, we'd find him more fascinating.
     
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  21. spinovic

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    Sampras would have been at or near the top of the rankings with multiple slam titles in any era. A great serve is a great serve, and his was arguably the best ever. To go with that, he was athletic, moved well, and by all accounts worked very hard on his game. Taking all that together, I have little doubt that he would have developed his game as necessary to compete in whatever era he was playing in.

    I don't understand why, when asking how Sampras would do today, people just transpose the serve-and-volleying Sampras to the modern game. There's no reason to believe he wouldn't have developed his game accordingly based on the conditions and style of tennis being played...since that is exactly what he did in his own era. The guy could hold his own from the baseline with the best players of his generation. With his athleticism and work ethic (and serve), I have little doubt that he would have been a force in today's game with a modern, baseline-oriented playing style.
     
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  22. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    If all surfaces play the same then how is it that Nadal is so dominant on clay yet not anywhere else? Homogenization is overstated IMO.
     
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  23. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    I think Sampras would compete just fine and make some needed adjustments. The guy switched from a two hander to a one hander and made that switch while he was becoming a top flight junior player, so he has proven himself to be adaptable in terms of needed tweaks in stroke mechanics. Plus, he was a fabulous competitor and athlete. I think he'd be a big threat to win any of the majors except the French Open perhaps. Yet, with the right draw, who knows even there in my opinion. I think he'd hold his own against any of the top 4.
     
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  24. Roddick85

    Roddick85 Professional

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    Nadal did win a lot of tournaments outside of Clay. If you look at 2011, Nadal made the final of many non-clay tournaments and well lost them to Djokovic, but regardless, he did reach the finals. He's won the US Open and Australian as well as Wimbledon twice. The fact that he won Wimbledon twice still puzzles me, to me grass court tennis is suited to an offensive game like Sampras/Federer, not defensive. Had the courts been as fast they were in 92, I doubt Nadal would of reached the final.The slower hard court definitely help Nadal make a smoother transition from clay to non-clay surface with the least impact on his game.

    I remember in the 90's, when someone was winning the french open, I was quick to dismiss them because, while they were great on clay, they couldn't even make the finals of non-clay tournaments. When Nadal started to win RG, that didn't change my mentality either, even thought everyone was seeing him as the next superstar. After seeing him play live in Montreal in 2007, I always thought he'd have a short career because of the grinding and because he was a clay courter. Fast forward a few years later, he earned my respect because he won all 4 slams at least once. But when I look at classic matches and notice right away the speed difference...I know I will take heat for this...but I question the legitimacy of the "achievement"
     
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  25. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    Combination of homogenization and uniform playing styles means it's relatively easier to transition across surfaces than it used to be.
     
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  26. 14line

    14line New User

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    Pete has way better 2nd serve than Tsonga, and hits way fewer stupid shots which Tsonga often does. If Tsonga can beat the top 4 occasionally in GS, why can't Pete? Don't forget the matches against Muster and Kafelnikov in '97 AO and YEC. Pete even demolished them from baseline. Then why can't he adjust and develop baseline game to suit this era? I think he would share titles with Roger in Wimby and USO, and might have a chance in AO.
     
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  27. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    The surfaces play relatively similar speeds and are generally higher bouncing, that helps players transition you're right. A good baseliner can do well everywhere these days. But there's enough difference that to be truly great on each surface you need that something else.
     
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  28. ManFed

    ManFed Rookie

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    I would bet My life Savings on Petros defeating anyone at Wimby 90s surface.
     
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  29. spinovic

    spinovic Hall of Fame

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    Don't forget that Pete also had a huge win in the mid-'90's in Davis Cup over Kafelnikov on clay. He had some game on the baseline.
     
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  30. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    Of course, that's why I said "relatively". Which means it's easier than it used to be.
     
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  31. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    It could also mean more competition, the field isn't split into various groups of specalists. Every player can do damage.
     
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  32. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    Theoretically, that's correct. But, IMO, that only applies to clay and grass - the "specialist" surfaces. HC, IMO, *was* more competitive than it is now. Back then, to win the USO, for example, you had to go through really good players playing a diverse array of styles.

    How about a combo platter of Korda/
    Stich/Krajicek type mixed in with Agassi, Courier, Chang types? Or throw in a Kafelnikov or a Pioline or Ivo. Even throw Yzaga/Ferreira into a variety pack. Becker/Edberg/Rafter ? This is strictly from my own experience, but playing a variety of playing styles called for adjustments (mental, tactical, and technical) that are simply not needed today.
     
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  33. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Not sure if I agree with more variety meaning greater competition. I guess it depends on who you are. If you're something who excells against baseliners but struggles with a target then serve and volley players mixed in could be a nightmare. There were still serve and volley players + the usual baseliners when Federer was winning slams in 04. Plus Karlovic is about as big a server as you can get and Federer has a good record versus him.
     
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  34. Flash O'Groove

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    It makes sense that you have to be more versatile to deal with more variety of opponent.
     
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  35. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    I think most baseline players, more often than not, struggles with a S/V player *depending on the caliber of the S/V player*, on the medium to fast services. Look at Fed's records vs. Rafter, Henman, for example.

    The thing about playing s/v'ers is that they deny you any rhythm at all. Whether you like it or not, most often, the match is played on their terms - win or lose. This unnerves a lot of baseliners. A baseliner prefers some kind of rhythm in points, games etc. - at least during the start of a match. Obviously, a great baseliner will still beat a mediocre S/V'er, but just playing against such players calls for an adjustment in mentality. The other way around is true as well: as in, playing a great baseliner calls for adjustments from the S/V'er. But, either way, having a greater variety of playing styles does make a difference.

    The only S/V'ers in the top 50 when Fed was winning in 04 were Henman, Stepanek, Llodra. They are good, but not as good as Rafter, Sampras, Becker, Edberg, Krajicek, Stich etc.

    Mind you, I don't blame Fed for that. It's just that it does change things when you have less things to worry about.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
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  36. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Federer's record against those players is from before he entered his prime and had 3 consecutive seasons with a win percentage of over 90%. What you say maybe true but Federer's record pre 2004 doesn't prove anything. Federer has alot of variety he would have been fine IMO.

    Federer beat Sampras serving and volleying. Don't discount Federer's net skills, if the game stayed how it was he would have come forward alot more etc...
     
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  37. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Good exemple of that was Llodra's run to the SF on the fastest court of Paris Bercy in 2010 or 2011. If I'm correct he defeated Djokovic and Davydenko.
     
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  38. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yup, Henman and Rafter had those victories against Fed in a period in which baseliners like Hewitt, Nalbo and Agassi also owned him just as much so this perceived Fed's vulnerability to serve and volleyers is largely a myth (or atleast it cannot be proven by Fed's record against those 2 players).
     
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  39. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    I don't think Fed would struggle against them either (as in having a losing record against any of them), but I am also positive that he wouldn't be as dominant as he was between 2004-2007. Fed lost to Henman right in 2004 (Rotterdam) too - while Henman was aged 30 yrs. By then, he (Fed) was a two-time slam winner, ranked #1. I see Fed having the same problems with guys like Henman, Rafter, Edberg as he does vs. Nadal - high bouncing balls to the BH.



    Sure, but his mentality was always that of a baseliner. Fed only played S/V at Wim. He was a lot like Lendl, Borg (mindset) - but with more flair and gifted hands, obviously.

    Again, this is not to deny what Fed accomplished, but just that it would've thrown in more wrinkles for him to overcome.
     
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  40. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Fed would have to approach the game (pre-2004) with a more aggressive, high risk game planning, thus making him more prone to losses.

    One of the ultimate downfalls of playing a more attacking based high risk game is you are more prone to upsets. So Fed ultimately wouldn't have seen the type of CONSISTENT success as he did from 2004-2007 if the conditions stayed more polarized, you still head deadly S&V'ers out there etc.

    Its so much easier to be year round consistent today then it was in era's prior.. The conditions have evolved in such that it BREEDS consistency year round. Slow surfaces galore, stick baseline ball bashing fest which lets all players get in their comfort zone and establish rhythm. Hell you can win a calendar slam with attacking the net maybe a half dozen times all yearROFLMAO

    Would Fed have success in era priors vs the great attackers of the game under much more polarized conditions from one week to the next ? Yes of course, but he also would lose a lot more and ultimately not have close to the same consistency as he did from 2004-on. And neither would any other top guy today.

    If there is an era where you can rack up a CRAPLOAD of slams and masters titles, this is definitely the era to do it.

    Look at the facts:

    We have already had 3 guys just in the last 5 or so years alone who have won 3 slams in one year along with all those masters titles. Prior to that, you had less do it in 40 plus years. Who was it? Wilander? And before that only Laver managed such?
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
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  41. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    Good one

    Connors won 3 in 1974 too but that's it, Laver, Connors and Wilander before Federer
     
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  42. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Should Taylor Dent be mentioned here? He became a pro in 1998, and his highest ranking was no. 21 (in August 2005).

    Fed's record against Dent is 2-0, two rather easy R16 wins in Miami and Stockholm. Of course, Dent was not that good.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
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  43. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    Yes, I forgot about Dent. Thanks.
     
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  44. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    That's one match, Fed blitzed him in 2 other matches that year (including a routine win at USO), not to mention that 2004 was actually best year (by a good margin) of Henman's career regarding slam performance.

    Again Rafter and Henman amassed wins against Fed before 2004 when pure baseliners (Hewitt, Agassi, Nalbandian) owned Fed just as much.
     
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  45. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    Ah the days of the fast courts...lovely unfortunately they arent here today
     
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  46. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Very good point. I agree with you: Fed would be less consistent in more polarized conditions/faster conditions. His record would be less great compared to other era. However I think he would compare even better within his era. Nadal and especially Djokovic (as the bigger part of his record is on hard court) would have far more trouble than him in such conditions, and suffer more upset.

    Not to say about the seeding system which play a huge role, in particular if it is combined with these slower conditions.

    Among all the slam less player of the last decade, who do you think would have benefitted the more from faster/more polarized conditions? Maybe Roddick? He is one that would have won more matches on faster court. He could have increased his success with a few upset. On the other hand, when he played bad he lost anyway, so he wouldn't be too hurt.
     
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  47. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    I already admitted that Fed would still win the H2H against those guys, but their H2H (even in 2003 and 2004, in the case of Henman, it was 2-2 against Fed) does suggest that he wouldn't dominate as much as he did against Roddick, Safin etc. during those yrs.

    Rafter's victories were fairly before Fed hit his peak, but combined with his (Fed's) record against Henman, I believe Fed would've struggled against Rafter too (who was a better *player* - both S/V and groundgame - than Henman).

    I don't want to sidetrack the thread here, but, my original point was having guys like Agassi, Nalby, Hewitt in the mix with Rafter, Henman types would've made it harder for Fed (or anybody else, for that matter) to dominate across all surfaces.
     
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  48. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Now you're extending it to 2003, in 2003 Roddick also beat Fed (and was a heck of a lot closer to beating Fed in a slam in 2004 than Henman was) and baseliner Nalbandian beat Fed in both HC slams.

    Again, it suggests to you, not to me.

    To keep my point short, before 2004 baseliners "owned" Fed just as much as net rushers did, there's nothing to suggest he was more vulnerable to one style of play compared to the other.

    Sampras was a better player (both S/V and groundgame) than Henman yet Fed beat him in their 2001 Wimbledon match but lost to Henman in the next round, every match-up is a story for itself.

    Yes I know Sampras was not in his prime/peak (that said, neither was Fed) but you're the one who insists on using H2H records of Rafter and Henman against Fed before he started dominating the game.

    It's possible, would have made for more entertaining viewing either way (baseliner Vs serve and volleyer will always be the best match-up in tennis).
     
    #98
  49. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    Roddick's lone victory in 2003 (Fed himself admitted later) was because Fed choked when he realized he would be #1 had he won that match. Fed had a winning trend prior to that loss. Against Henman, Fed's past record clearly show him to be struggling.

    The only baseliners who "owned" Fed prior to 2004 were Agassi, Hewitt, and Nalby. Among these, Nalby clearly showed that he could beat Fed as he did occasionally later (2005, 2007 etc.) when he was a*sed (for lack of a better term). Agassi, after 2003, was clearly on the downswing and I think his lack of success against Fed was not a surprise. Hewitt is the only player among the 3 who, IMO, had the mental edge over Fed.

    Also, I don't necessarily agree about this 2003/2004 difference. Fed lost to Henman in 2003 in Paris. By then, he had won Wim, was ranked #2.

    With Sampras, we are talking of a sample size of 1 match. With Rafter and Henman, we have sample sizes of 3 and 13 matches respectively. So I wouldn't correlate those results.
     
    #99
  50. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    in 2003 , in b/w Wimbledon and the YEC,

    federer played in 8 tournaments+Davis Cup

    he only won 1 event - vienna

    win loss record in that period was 26-8 ( 76.5%)

    losses were to jiri novak, roddick,nalbandian(2x), hewitt, ferrero, ljubicic, henman

    his win loss record in 2004 was 74-6 (92.5%)

    I think that's plenty of difference
     

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