At their best, who would win?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Graphiteking, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. Graphiteking

    Graphiteking Rookie

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    The question speaks for itself. Men's and Women's. At the height of their careers out of all the players, who would win? One match, on hardcourt. Men's winner? Women's winner?
     
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  2. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Roger Federer and Serena Williams
     
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  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Excluding the present players there has been a lot of support for Lew Hoad, Ellsworth Vines, Rod Laver, Pancho Gonzalez and Bill Tilden.

    Others who have been mentioned has been Frank Kovacs, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg.

    I like what Riggs said about Pancho Gonzalez, it was something like if you had them all play matches and the loser would die. In a situation like that Pancho Gonzalez may turn out to be the ultimate winner.

    I know a number of people like Bud Collins and Jimmy Connors have said if they had a match for someone to play for their life, they would pick Pancho Gonzalez.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd0gJzm_EQY
     
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  4. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Men: Sampras or Federer

    Women: Serena
     
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  5. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

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    Women: Serena, only Graff could make a competitive match, she would be straight setted nonetheless (something like 6-4 7-6).

    Men: Slow high bouncing hard- Federer, Djokovic, Agassi, Laver
    Fast low bouncing hard- Sampras, Federer, Gonzalez
     
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  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I would go with Serena also because I think she's the most gifted female player I've ever seen. I think even with wood she would have adapted. I think she would be unbelievable. On serve alone she would be great and I think she has the greatest women's serve I've ever seen.
     
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  7. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Women- Serena wins on all but clay. On clay Graf or Seles wins (I think Evert is the greatest clay courter ever, but she would not win in an all peak playing match).

    Men- On grass Sampras wins, on fast hard courts Laver wins (he didnt get to play much on it, but with his overall game he would be near unbeatable that type of court on a peak day), on carpet Becker or Sampras wins, on rebound ace Djokovic wins, on clay Nadal wins.
     
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  8. Graphiteking

    Graphiteking Rookie

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    Serena for sure in women's. It's a toss up with men. So many athletes. Fed or Sampras get my vote on hardcourt.
     
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  9. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    Fast hard court: Sampras.
    Slow hard court: Djokovic.
     
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  10. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I don't know if that's true (the words I put in bold) but I like the thought behind it. I think you could be right as far as Evert is concerned. Serena isn't exactly bad on clay however so I wouldn't necessarily rule her out.

    I may put Henin there for clay also.
     
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  11. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Peak for peak considering everyone and every surface.

    Slow hardcourts- Agassi or Djokovic (Rebound Ace if it was Andre. He was the best ever on that surface IMO.. Plenty of material to look at 1995 or 2000 AO)
    Fast Grass-Sampras or Pancho
    Slow Grass-Nadal or Federer (Though I'm sure Laver would have his chances)
    Clay-2008 Nadal or 1995 Muster (The two highest levels Ive ever seen on clay)
    Fast Hardcourts-Sampras or Federer or Connors (I can't really choose between these three here.)
    Indoors-Sampras, Federer or Becker (Too close to call respecting all three's peaks)
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
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  12. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    This is a really hard choice, but on hardcourt, then I think Serena Williams and Roger Federer are the most impressive, ie., and the best, players I've seen on that surface.
     
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  13. Headshotterer

    Headshotterer Professional

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    LMFAO. Nadal would **** Sampras.
     
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  14. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    On what outside of clay?
     
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  15. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    Agree to all, except slow grass. Sampras would still be the favorite over Nadal on any type of grass.
     
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  16. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    That could be true.. Sampras may have been King on slow grass at wimbledon as well regardless of how much they sodded it to the moon.. In hindsight, I don't know since we didn't see a prime Sampras play on slow grass on the big stage
     
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  17. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    At his best McEnroe on the mens side for me, Graf probably on the womens although Serena has a good shout
     
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  18. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Just a single peak playing match on clay (not an all time rankings list of greatest clay courters) would be a tough call between Graf, Seles, Henin, and Evert, but I think Graf and Seles would both be bad matchups for Evert at their mutual best on clay. Graf is just a horrible matchup for Evert in general IMO, even though Evert never got to play a prime Graf at her best, it was not a good matchup for her. Graf was easily fast enough to counter Evert's great court maneuvering and tactical point construction, could easily overpower Evert with her serve, forehand, and even net game, and could even outlast Evert in long rallies as Evert was forced into far more unforced errors in her matches with Graf than she made vs anyone else (even though losing some of her patience with age was no doubt part of that, and would be less with a younger Evert). I actually think Evert would be a bad matchup for Seles on faster courts, especialy as Evert is like a better version of Hingis, but on slower courts I think a prime Seles would be a nightmare for her. She just doesnt have enough power to get Seles on the defensive without the help of a faster court (the Seles of old who had decent mobility, great anticipation, and great depth consistently, not the one Hingis faced), and if you cant do that vs Seles you cant hurt her in her prime. It is hard to know exactly how a peak Henin vs peak Graf, peak Henin vs peak Seles, or peak Henin vs peak Evert match on clay would go, as she doesnt play exactly like any of those players, and there are really no matches to go by. I already saw enough from when their careers crossed to know without seeing them play prime to prime that Seles was a bad matchup for her on hard courts or carpet, but grass or clay prime to prime would be interesting as pre prime Henin did atleast convincingly beat old Seles on those surfaces when they met.

    Actually even though Serena probably isnt even top 20 all time on clay, in a peak on peak match she could definitely be right in there with anyone too, as when she plays at her very best like in Charleston and Madrid this year, and like some matches at Rome and Roland Garros 2002, she can be scary great, even on clay. She just rarely produces her very peak form on clay, even in her peak years, let alone outside of them.
     
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  19. Graphiteking

    Graphiteking Rookie

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    Is this a joke? Nadal get way to much credit. On clay he's a surgeon with a racquet, but on other surfaces he's vonarable.
     
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  20. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Sampras is the ultimate bad matchup for Nadal, he is about 10 times a worse matchup than Federer is for Nadal (well Federer of course isnt a bad matchup for Nadal at all, if they played on grass anymore since 2008 Federer would have a losing record on all 3 major slams surfaces by now). Peak to peak Sampras kills Nadal on all but clay.
     
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  21. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Hoad.
    S. Williams (on grass Navatilova)
     
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  22. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Who on clay for women, or do you actually pick Serena even on clay.
     
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  23. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    No, Evert on clay.
     
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  24. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    OK. The funny thing is while I dont pick her on any surface, I think Graf is the only one who could be arguably picked on any of the surfaces. She is also the only one who even arguably be picked as the best of all time on each of the surfaces, although that is an even more remote argument than the one match peak on peak one.
     
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  25. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NadalAgassi, I can agree regarding Graf.
     
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  26. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    You think a peak Hoad could beat a peak Federer on a hard court? Why?
     
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  27. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    TomT, Why not??
     
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  28. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    I forgot about Hoad for the men, but if you believe Gonzales's opinion, which is a very credible one, he quite possibly wins on all surfaces in this scenario. While I will never go along with any idea he should rank #1 or anywhere near that all time based on a series of what ifs, potential, and peak level play alone, in a thread about peak level play, he quite rightfully could be given his due and said he might well beat all.
     
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  29. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Peak Federer is not a 9.5 or 10 out of 10 in all areas. His serve is about an 8.5, his backhand, volleys, and return of serve and probably no more than a 7. Someone like Hoad who at his best was overpowering and absolutely brilliant off every single shot would beat Federer in a peak on peak match.
     
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  30. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    The why not would be that the game has progressed, the players are fitter and technically better. Thus, a peak Federer would be expected to beat a peak Hoad.

    But I'm asking you ... why? Why would you expect a peak Hoad to beat a peak Federer. Better stroke technique? Better serve? Better movement? Quicker? Better mentally? What?

    I don't know Hoad's game. So, I'm asking.
     
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  31. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Ok. This is interesting. I would have to see some Hoad videos to formulate an opinion. Only seen one, and it was quite short. Any references?
     
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  32. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    This Hoad guy must have been one freaking fantastic player. Where can I get some extended vids of his playing (hopefully at his peak)?
     
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  33. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    clay : nadal/borg
    rest : federer
     
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  34. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    lol, ha ha ...

    peak sampras struggled with bruguera's heavy topspin, including outside of clay ... anyone who thinks sampras would have it easy vs nadal outside of clay ( except indoors ) is kidding themselves ......
     
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  35. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

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    Safin, Nadal, Sampras, Kournikova
     
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  36. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NadalAgassi, You are very brave in rating some of Federer's strokes as non-super. I agree.
     
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  37. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    TomT, I doubt that Federer is fitter than Hoad was. There are reports that Hoad was the fittest. His playing arm was more voluminous than even Nadal's.

    I would say that Hoad had a better backhand than Federer, and of course a better volley.

    Many experts and players who witnessed Hoad in his peak say that he was the strongest they have seen.
     
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  38. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I think it can be argued that today's premier tennis players are generally more professional, stronger and fitter than those of the 1950s and 1960s. Maybe Hoad is an exception. Maybe Hoad was the fittest of his day, at his peak. Lots of maybes. So, let's call this even (and I think I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here) ... because I think that the pro tennis game that Federer has excelled in for the past decade is very much more physically demanding than the game that Hoad and his contemporaries played.

    I don't think that the size of Hoad's playing arm really has anything to do with whether or not he would beat Federer. Players in those days had to develop muscles in their playing forearms because of the much heavier racquets and the conventional continental grip of the times. Federer's superior modern technique and comparatively lighter racquet simply doesn't require a huge playing forearm. If Federer played in Hoad's time, then he'd have a bigger forearm. If Hoad was playing today, he'd have a smaller forearm.

    Based on what? I'm guessing that Hoad's bread and butter backhand was the slightly undercut backhand of his day. Not that he couldn't hit it hard and place it extremely well, but it just doesn't stack up well against the extreme topspin backhands (including Federer's) of today.

    The comparative slowness of the '50s and '60s game rewarded serve and volley tennis. The speed and power of the modern game more or less precludes it. So, ok, Hoad had a better volley than Federer. So what?

    We're down to the nitty gritty. References and, most importantly, videos of Hoad playing are required. I've seen hundreds of videos of Federer. Lots of videos of Laver, Rosewall, Newcombe, Ashe, Nastase, Amritraj, etc., and based on that I think Federer would beat any of them badly. Need some vids of Hoad. Otherwise any comparison between Federer and Hoad is just moot.

    Because there are so many variables to consider regarding the different eras of tennis, I think it boils down to this: who is the most talented player? In my opinion, considering all aspects of the game (from what I've seen live and on tv and video), Roger Federer is by far the most talented player who has ever played the game.
     
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  39. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    If we are speaking about the best level reached ever for only ONE match, then why to restrain to all time great? They are all time great because they could sustain a very high level, but it is very possible that the highest level ever reached might have been reached by someone else, far less consistent than them. I can't say for the older player, but Safin or Nalbandian are said to have a very high peak level (which they never sustained). Even Rosol could be eligible!
     
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  40. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    except that :

    a) he does that in half of his posts
    b) what he said is pure cr*p ....... comparing an at his best hoad with average federer

    a 7/10 may be fair enough for federer's volleys on an average, I'd put it at 7.5 ..... I'd put his BH and return on an average much higher than 7/10, closer to 8.5 ...

    most importantly, his BH can be suspect against high balls , may be inconsistent at times, his return can be a bit passive at times, his volleys sloppy at times, especially FH volleys ...... but this is an average playing federer ....

    at his very best, his volleys, BH and return, all are excellent and none of them a weakness ......
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
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  41. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    yeah , ok >> go tell that to Dan Lobb, half of his posts say hoad had a leg injury, hand injury, head injury, problem with breathing ..... blah blah blah ...... blah blah blah ....... blah blah blah ...
     
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  42. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    Regarding just the question which says HC only. Federer and Serena are my picks.

    But if I was to go surface by surface (men only), I would say something like this:

    Clay: Nadal
    Fast grass: Sampras
    Slow grass: Federer
    Slow HC: i.e (since they turned the AO blue, I would say that Miami and Canada have always been pretty slow as well) Djokovic
    Medium to fast HC: Federer
    Indoor HC: McEnroe
    Carpet: McEnroe

    Please keep in mind that I'm trying not to pick 2 or 3 players for each surface because I hate that, and I think it totally takes away from the purpose of the question.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
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  43. Graphiteking

    Graphiteking Rookie

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    I have to agree. We are talking at their best. You cannot give Fed a 7 on any aspect of his game.
     
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  44. Feather

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    Never knew that speaking nonsense is tantamount to being brave!

    Despite having such non super qualities Federer created records that everyone looks with envy and also prompted greats like Laver to say that he is the closest to the greatest !

    Federer should be super human
     
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  45. Feather

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    Just couldn't help this. On any type of grass Sampras would never be behind Nadal.. This coming from a Pete Sampras fan :)
     
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  46. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    But despite the excuses that some make for Hoad the man was known for great stamina. But he was also known for a chronic back injury that apparently did not allow him to fulfill his potential. Federer's stamina to me is underrated. He rarely seems tired to me and he is generally injury free. For fitness it's clearly Federer because he is almost never injured. For stamina, I'm not sure because many think Hoad's stamina was the best ever, along with Roy Emerson. It could be the hero worship of Hoad by his compatriots but maybe it is true. Even Jack Kramer thought Hoad's stamina was incredible.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
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  47. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

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    Federer`s backhand seems to be much underrated here. Being at his very best, his backhand only breaks down against Nadal on clay, even then he handles his heavy top spin almost better than anyone excluding Djokovic and Murray. The reason his backhand seems rather weak sometimes is because his court positioning, he plays standing on the baseline, he doesn`t camp 5 or 6 feet behind like Gasquet, Almagro or Wawrinka just to name other one handers commonly regarded as better than Fed`s. If you ever played tennis you would know that the hardest groudstroke to play by far is the backhand played off a heavy ball on the rise. It is even much more difficult to do it with a one hander. If Fed backed up just a little to give it more time to set up his backhand, his UE count would drop a lot and the perception regarding his backhand would be te one of a solid as a rock stroke. When Fed gets a surface with a low bounce like the WTF, just watch how he dismantles Nadal`s forehand like it is nothing. I always thought that the match up issue between the both of them is sometimes misguided. When you have such different styles like they have, who is favoured depends heavily on the conditions the match is played on, and who has the best skill set for those given conditions. And with today slow high bouncing surfaces we all know how that goes. You set regularly a match of this two on a faster low bouncing surface and all of a suddden Fed becomes a nightmare match up for Nadal because he wouldn`t have to resign an inch of court position to handle Rafa`s forehand (wich is the reason why Rafa`s forehand is so deadly).
     
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  48. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    People rate Fed's bh only against Nadal, but they should compare to the rest of the players on the tour. Should we rate Pete's serve on slow surface or clay and ignore the fast surfaces? No, they should see the whole picture. Also, Fed is playing in a current condition that is the toughest for a 1 handed backhand. Had he played in the 90s or before, it would be even better.
     
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  49. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

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    Federer`s backhand seems to be much underrated here. Being at his very best, his backhand only breaks down against Nadal on clay, even then he handles his heavy top spin almost better than anyone excluding Djokovic and Murray. The reason his backhand seems rather weak sometimes is because his court positioning, he plays standing on the baseline, he doesn`t camp 5 or 6 feet behind like Gasquet, Almagro or Wawrinka just to name other one handers commonly regarded as better than Fed`s. If you ever played tennis you would know that the hardest groudstroke to play by far is the backhand played off a heavy ball on the rise. It is even much more difficult to do it with a one hander. If Fed backed up just a little to give it more time to set up his backhand, his UE count would drop a lot and the perception regarding his backhand would be te one of a solid as a rock stroke. When Fed gets a surface with a low bounce like the WTF, just watch how he dismantles Nadal`s forehand like it is nothing. I always thought that the match up issue between the both of them is sometimes misguided. When you have such different styles like they have, who is favoured depends heavily on the conditions the match is played on, and who has the best skill set for those given conditions. And with today slow high bouncing surfaces we all know how that goes. You set regularly a match of this two on a faster low bouncing surface and all of a suddden Fed becomes a nightmare match up for Nadal because he wouldn`t have to resign an inch of court position to handle Rafa`s forehand (wich is the reason why Rafa`s forehand is so deadly).
     
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  50. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    You get a lot of crap from certain members sometimes for your statements regarding Fed, but in the above paragraph I think you gave a great defense of his game and are completely spot on. It's true, his game would often get scrutinized and analyzed against this one particular player match up on slower and high bouncing surfaces (news flash current terrain favors the grinders), but not as a whole. Full flight Fed's weapons are unstoppable. He's got the whole package.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
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