Clay Court GOAT

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by timnz, May 18, 2009.

  1. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Among the ladies, we have Evert and Lenglen both of whom went the better part of a decade sans loss. Not sure how many losses Wills had on dirt.
     
  2. newmark401

    newmark401 Professional

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    "Among the ladies, we have Evert and Lenglen both of whom went the better part of a decade sans loss. Not sure how many losses Wills had on dirt."

    The only singles loss on clay for Helen Wills I can think of is her match against Suzanne Lenglen at the Carlton Club in Cannes, in February 1926, when Lenglen won 6-3, 8-6. Helen Wills might have lost some singles matches on clay in the United States early on in her career, although most of the courts she played on in her native California would have been hard (asphalt), while those in the East, including Forest Hills, would have been grass.

    Before the tournament at the Carlton Club in February 1926, Helen Wills had also played in and won the singles events at the tournaments at the Metropole Hotel and the Gallia Club, both also in Cannes. After the tournament at the Carlton Club, Wills won the singles events at the tournaments in Beaulieu, Monte Carlo (Monte Carlo Championships), Mentone (Riviera Championships), Nice (South of France Championships) and again in Cannes (Cote d'Azur Championships). Suzanne Lenglen did not take part in the singles event in any of the tournaments Helen Wills won. All of these tournaments were held on clay courts.

    Both Helen Wills and Suzanne Lenglen entered the French Championships, held at the Racing Club de France in Paris in early June 1926. However, after beating Germaine Golding in the first round, Helen Wills had an attack of appendicitis and had to withdraw. Suzanne Lenglen won the title, dropping just four games in five matches, three to the Englishwoman Joan Fry in the semi-final, and one to the American Mary K. Browne in the final.

    After turning 15 in May of 1914, Suzanne Lenglen never lost a match - nor a set - in singles in a clay court tournament at any time anywhere. She probably played around 250 singles matches on clay in the years 1919-26. She won a lot of those matches, close to fifty per cent of them, by the score of 6-0, 6-0.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  3. John123

    John123 Rookie

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    So, Newmark401, the question must be asked: who do you think was better, Lenglen or Wills?
     
  4. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    A down year? Nadal's loss to Soderling at the 2009 French Open is considered one of the biggest upsets of all time, if not the biggest. Nadal still won Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome that year, and was runner-up to Federer in Madrid. Nadal also won both of his matches on clay in the 2009 Davis Cup final.
     
  5. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Relative to the high standards that these guys set that's a down year.
     
  6. newmark401

    newmark401 Professional

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    "So, Newmark401, the question must be asked: who do you think was better, Lenglen or Wills?"

    I don't think that question necessarily has to be asked. I rarely contribute to the "GOAT" debate because I don't know who the greatest player of all time was, if, indeed, one player in history was better than all other players in history. Nor am I quite sure of what criteria to use to find out such a thing, if, indeed, it is possible to do so.

    It seems to me that a lot of members of this forum think in terms of superlatives – greatest, quickest, best, newest, youngest, etc. Why this is so, I don't know, but it seems like a lack of originality on their part. They are probably simply not capable of coming up with an original idea or an interesting contribution.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  7. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    If you can't figure that out, then it is you who lacks imagination. This is forum about sports and its history. It is impossible divest from that idea personal and professional competition in sport. Thus we have and have always had rankings in one form or another by athletes, media, and historians. It drives all of them. Its not just what we do, its what sport does. It ranks formally or informally at the clubhouse, in the region and logically more broadly nationally and internationally.

    Any forum that attempts to extend discussion to include history and sport best not snear at extending the very nature of competition into its forum lest it be left with only the dryest form of history: lists of wins, losses, and factoids interspersed with the occasional anecdote. You loose too much innate humanity because sport and history needs as much humanity as it can get. That very humanity feeds an ego that drives its very best, to work even harder for another Wimbledon, another year ranked in the top ten, or towards yet one more victory. If Sampras, or Navrailova for example, claims to be driven in large measure to become the best of all time how can we champion their acheivements and ignore their fuel? Newark, its about the passion behind the sport, and any forum that seeks to focus that passion.
     
  8. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    That is a very passionate post BTURNER. Actually I'll try to answer the question with a few numbers and some opinions of people.

    Suzanne Lenglen won 81 tournaments in her career and 8 of 11 majors entered. She was so dominant in her time that some hoped she would win turnaments without losing a game. Now if you include the World Hardcourt as a major Lenglen would have won 12 majors.

    Helen Wills surprisingly only 52 tournaments out of 92 tournaments entered between 1919 and 1938. According to some sources her record during that time was 398-35. Wills won 19 of 24 majors entered.

    Opinions of Elizabeth Ryan and Ted Tinling were that Lenglen was the superior player.

    Lenglen was clearly more dominant at her best but her competition probably wasn't as good but I would go with Lenglen. She won more tournaments and was more dominant.
     
  9. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    It deserved a passionate rebuttal because the post was, at its heart, elitist in a way history cannot afford to be. Those 'superlative' threads become one method to focus and analyse the history of human endeavor in context. It certainly isn't the 'best ', but probably the most natural way to do so for the history of sport.

    I can think of only 3 losses at majors for Wills. Can you list them?
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  10. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Far from me to try to diminish Borg's greatness, but I think by now all reasonable doubts in this Borg-Nadal clay debate should be dispelled and I don't see any reasonable way to argue for absolute equality. With the same number of RG titles, the fact is the numbers elsewhere clearly favor Nadal, who happens to be the same age as Borg when Borg retired, and both were early bloomers, so the comparison is not outlandish at this point. Nadal has more titles on the surface, and, more importantly, his titles are of more easily ascertainable quality, as 20 of those titles are either RG (6) or Master’s 1000s (14) where the best players are guaranteed to participate. But especially his winning percentage on the surface is very significantly better at 92.7% (227-18 ) in comparison with Borg’s 86.3% (245-39). Even if you take out the 5 clay matches that Borg lost in his comeback in the early 90s, you are left with an 87.8% percentage (245-34). I wish to emphasize that at those very high percentages, a 5 point difference is large.

    The only remaining argument in Borg’s favor is the “weak era” one, which rests on the (bizarre) assumption that the clay courters Borg had to deal with were titans that would have crushed the likes of Federer, Djokovic, Ferrer, Davydenko, Coria, and whoever else I am forgetting in Nadal’s time.

    Borg was a phenomenon on clay, but I do believe any serene analysis of the facts suggests Nadal has edged him by now. Not by much, certainly, but clearly edged him. The pre-open era, of which I know comparatively little, may well have had clay courters even more dominant than Nadal, but past 1968, it seems to me that Nadal is clearly the most dominant clay courter.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Technically since she defaulted the 1926 Wimbledon because of appendectomy which wasn't healed by the French. So officially she was defaulted from her first round match. I suppose you can make the very good argument that Wills won 19 majors in 22 tournaments entered instead of the 24 I wrote since she did not play a match in either tournament that she was defaulted.

    The three losses were to Mallory at the 1922 US Championships, Godfree at the 1924 Wimbledon and the last and probably most irritating to Wills, the loss to Jacobs at the 1933 US Championships in which she retired because of injury. The last loss I've always found interesting because Wills stopped playing because of a back injury. I think Wills was severely criticized for stopping and not giving Jacobs a legit victory. Nowadays I think people would praise Wills for even attempting to play with such a bad back. I think Wills, if memory serves had to stay in the hospital afterwards.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  12. Talker

    Talker Hall of Fame

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    Not too many have Federer in the top 5.

    Since 2005 till this year (7 years) he's been in
    5 finals with a 1-4 record.

    The only losses coming to Nadal(5 times) and one to anyone else (Soderling).

    It's not only how many clay slams you have but when you lost, who did you lose to.

    Besides Nadal, only one person has beat Federer at RG in 7 years, Soderling.
    Federer's record against the field minus Nadal in those 7 years is only one loss.
    This is astounding and seems to be overlooked.


    Now you have to look at the others in the top ten list, pick a span of 7 years and who they lost to.
    Who was the worst player they lost to?

    When Fed lost finals it was Nadal in the way, the others on the list never had Nadal in the way and would no doubt reduce their totals.
    This matters as there are more factors than just RG titles.


    I'm disappointed at some of these lists, especially in regards to Federer's case.

    Reconsider and make new lists with this years developments, take into account some of the points I made, they seem valid.
     
  13. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Fed is certainly the second-best clay court player of this generation.
     
  14. jaketb193

    jaketb193 New User

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    Nadal is obviously the clay court GOAT, Federer #2, Djokovic #3...

    This of course assuming GOAT means "Greatest clay player of all time" and not "greatest clay winner of all time". Only in the latter category does Borg or anyone from a previous generation have an advantage to any current players.

    The players get better constantly, which means the goat changes a lot more than people think. Borg was definitely GOAT when he retired...but that was 1983 and this is 2011.
     
  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Laver has 2 FO titles ( and 1 lost final), Fed just one win... and one of the loosingest records on finals in tennis history ( at the French)
     
  16. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    and you one of the "worstest" spelling in this board's history...
     
  17. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    But, his point is understood and well taken.
     
  18. Ben Hadd

    Ben Hadd Semi-Pro

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    Nadals the best on Clay.
     
  19. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    And he might not. The point is he had the luxury to play 3 slam on grass, but not hc. It's hypothetical, like Limpin trying to use against the modern player.
     
  20. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    ????????????????????????????????????????????

    You missed the point. That has nothing to do with what Laver could have won the GS if he has to win 2 slams on hc.
     
  21. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Two points

    1/ why is it a luxury for him to play on grass as opposed to hard court? Do you feel hard court is harder? I'll make this point. In the 60s everybody knew how to play on grass as opposed to now only a few do it well. Hence the competition on grass was much deeper then. Don't see at all how you think that laver had it easier on grass.

    2/ it's not hypotehical at all. We know exactly how well laver played on hard court - devestatingly well. He won around 30 hard court titles in his career. Hence he looks to be no less dominant on that surface than grass.
     
  22. John123

    John123 Rookie

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    That was a terrific post, Benhur. I don't know nearly as much as I should about Borg's clay court results at non-major tournaments before his peak years. This shows that I shouldn't have said anything in this thread except about Wilding. Lesson learned!
     
  23. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The thing is also the grass court surfaces were different. It was not the same type of level of grass. The Westside Tennis Club had an awful grass surface. There were far more bad bounces on that surface than at Wimbledon and I would tend to think it was very touch on the players in handling that type of grass surface. There is no way the players today could have long rallies on that surface where the ball often didn't even bounce.
     
  24. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I don't understand the argument here. Laver won the Pro Grand Slam in 1967 indoors, on wood and on grass. So by that logic should I use the argument that players today wouldn't be able to win the Grand Slam if that had to play on wood? Answer is that the players today cannot play a major on wood and therefore the argument is moot. That's the answer to Laver on winning the Grand Slam on a hard court, he couldn't do it because it wasn't available to him.

    Frankly I have almost no doubt Laver would have won a Grand Slam if the surfaces were on hard court. It may have been easier because his strokes were so solid and he wouldn't have to worry about the erratic bounces on the various grass surfaces.
     
  25. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    and none of the pro-majors were on clay in 67, were they ? Rosewall beat him at the FO in 68, he was better on clay, and there is quite a possibility he could've done it in 67 as well .

    Plus again the pro field was NOT the full field.

    are you referring to a major or the Calender slam here ?

    yeah, because the opposing players didn't have to worry about the erratic bounces on the grass surfaces ?
     
  26. mcenroefan

    mcenroefan Hall of Fame

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    I'm not sure about Borg vs Nadal on clay....I think it's very close and do think Borg played in a stronger clay era. I'll leave this debate to others.

    Off clay, Borg IMO is greater by a fairly wide margin (at least to this point in Nadal's career). Borg was dominant on his second best surface (grass) and this occurred during the fast grass era which makes it a far more impressive transition (from clay to fast grass) than exists today. Nadal by comparison now has a losing record in finals (2-3) at his second best slam. Nadal IMO has yet to show dominance on any surface except clay. Borg essentially was the standard at the FO and at Wimby for a very long time. Nadal has only been the standard only on clay/at the FO and almost certainly will not be considered the greatest of his generation (much less an all-time great) on any other surface or at any other slam. This fact alone might seal the deal regarding overall greatness regardless of the total slam counts.

    Overall, I think Borg is greater at this point. We'll have to see how things play out from here with Nole, Fed, and Nadal.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  27. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Borg was also wonderful on indoor surface. He had a superior head to head against McEnroe on that surface and McEnroe was at least the number 2 on that surface for the decade of the 80s. So another surface of strength for Borg.
     
  28. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I was just saying that with the possible exception of Rosewall, that Laver's strokes may very well have been more solid then the other top players and he wouldn't have to worry about the uncertainty of the awful bounces on grass, especially at the old West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills. Laver would know what to expect if there were no erratic bounces. If there were bad bounces, well you never know and your opponent may get lucky.

    The Pro Field, while not a large field, was generally a super strong field with players like Rosewall, Gimeno, Gonzalez in the field, probably at least equivalent to the Year End Masters.

    Anyway, that wasn't my point with my post. My post was to comment that whether Laver would have won the Open Grand Slam if it had a hard court major is moot because he couldn't play a hard court major. It was MY OPINION that based on Laver's record on hard courts that I think he could have so I just didn't get the argument.

    So I was just pointing out that a person could used the same argument with Federer that he didn't win a major on wood. Of course no one can hold that against Federer because he had no shot to do it. I should have pointed out that if a major was played on wood I have no doubt Federer would have won it in his prime.

    And yes I was referring to a Calendar Year Grand Slam.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  29. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    You missed my point again - the opponent would also know what to expect if there were no erratic bounces. And that may be more of an advantage for the lesser skilled player ( when compared to Laver ) because he would probably not adjust as well to the bad bounces as Laver did/could.


    agreed, I've said this in the past as well. But its not the same as a major.

    Laver would probably have won majors on HCs, but the probability of him winning the Calendar Grand Slam would probably reduce if the distribution were as it is today and if the depth of the field was as much as today ( increased possibility of upset )

    Laver's GS in 69 was phenomenal, but to say other players have to do it now to match him, when there are more surfaces ( at the majors ) is a bit foolish IMO

    I'd rather look at it from the context of the respective generations - what the players did and achieved with respect to their own eras
     
  30. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I wasn't talking about now but in his time. I never wrote during the current generation although I do think Laver would be great now but that's my opinion. And I was writing that really to point out what I think is the error of the original argument that Laver would have to win on hard court to match Federer or others now. Laver couldn't win on hard court in a major because there was no hard court major. So I wrote the equivalent would be Federer winning a wood major which is impossible and I think Federer would have almost been a sure thing to win a wood major. So in the same way I believe Laver would have been a great bet to win a hard court major.

    My point is that you can hold it against Laver that he didn't win a hard court major in the same way that you cannot hold it against Federer for not winning a wood major. Laver never had the chance to win a hard court major and in the hypothetical example Federer wouldn't never have a chance to win a wood major.

    And yes I do think Laver had a great chance to win a Calendar Year Grand Slam if there was a hard court major but we will never know.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  31. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Just the most important tournaments, Laver won in 1967 and 69:
    67:
    Wimbledon pro (grass over Rosewall )
    Wembley Pro (indoor over Rosewall)
    US pro Boston (grass over Gimeno)
    French pro (indoor over Gimeno)
    Oklahoma World Pro (clay over Gimeno, most prestigious clay event for pros that year)
    Johannesburg pro (hard court over Stolle)
    New York, US pro indoor (indoor over Gonzalez)

    1969
    Grand Slam, i think i can skip the informations.
    Johannesburg South African open (hard court over Okker)
    US pro Boston (hard court over Newcombe)
    Philadelphia US pro indoor (indoor over Roche)
    Wembley British Covered Courts (indoor over roche).

    Laver won tournaments on all 4 common surfaces (grass, indoor, hard, clay) in each year from 1964 to 1970. In 1971to 1974 he won on all surfaces, except on grass. And his head to head record against Rosewall on clay since 1963 is to my knowledge positive overall, and 4 all in open era.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  32. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Agreed. Laver could and did win tournaments on every surface.

    But in the slams, he had to play them on the surface on which they were held. He had no choice.


    "Mr. Laver, would you like to conduct your matches on grass or hard-court or some other surface of your choosing; this is your option?" --did not happen!
     
  33. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    And laver has 11 slams and that is it. He didn't play some of slam events during his time so we cannot argue the "if" and "but". --did not happen!
     
  34. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Laver has proven that he can, and did, win on any surface, at any venue, over the best players in the world, for an extended period of time. The fact is, the pro majors that Laver won when he was ineligable to play in the 4 amature majors, were more important and more impressive than the amature majors because he prevailed over the higher quality competition, and he did it on every surface.
     
  35. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    I can also easily say Fed could have won multiple CYGS had there was an oppotunity for him to compete only on grass and hard court.

    I think we should just hold on to what players have actually accomplished and stop adding(or subtracting) their wins by assuming if this and that had occurred.

    All we know is winning slam on 3 difference surfaces is harder than 2 surfaces. Ok?
     
  36. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    True enough. But I guess alot depends on how one defines "slams."
     
  37. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I only proffered what Laver actually accomplished - he won more of the most important events in the world in his day, on many more surfaces, than anyone else ever did, including Fetherer.
     
  38. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Tennis Records in the Open Era

    Most GS titles
    1. Roger Federer 16
    2. Pete Sampras 14
    3. Björn Borg 11
    4. Rafael Nadal 10
    5. Jimmy Connors 8
    = Ivan Lendl 8
    = Andre Agassi 8
    8. John McEnroe 7
    = Mats Wilander 7
    10. Stefan Edberg 6
    Boris Becker 6

    GS finals
    1. Roger Federer 23
    2. Ivan Lendl 19
    3. Pete Sampras 18
    4. Björn Borg 16
    5. Jimmy Connors 15
    = Andre Agassi 15
    7. Rafael Nadal 13
    8. John McEnroe 11
    = Mats Wilander 11
    = Stefan Edberg 11

    Consecutive GS finals
    1. Roger Federer 10
    2. Roger Federer 8

    3. Andre Agassi 4
    = Rod Laver 4
    5. Jimmy Connors 3
    = Björn Borg 3
    = Björn Borg 3
    = Björn Borg 3
    = Ivan Lendl 3
    = John McEnroe 3
    = Ivan Lendl 3
    = Ivan Lendl 3
    = Mats Wilander 3
    = Jim Courier 3
    = Jim Courier 3
    = Pete Sampras 3
    = Rafael Nadal 3

    GS semi-finals
    1. Jimmy Connors 31
    2. Ivan Lendl 28
    = Roger Federer 28
    4. Andre Agassi 26
    5. Pete Sampras 23
    6. John McEnroe 19
    = Stefan Edberg 19
    8. Boris Becker 18
    9. Björn Borg 17
    10. Rafael Nadal 15

    Consecutive GS semi-finals
    1. Roger Federer 23
    2. Ivan Lendl 10
    3. Ivan Lendl 6
    4. Boris Becker 5
    = Novak Djokovic 5
    = Nadal 5
    7. Rod Laver 4
    8. Tony Roche 4
    = John McEnroe 4
    = Andre Agassi 4
    = Jim Courer 4


    All Four Slams Per Year
    Rod Laver 1969

    Three Slams Per Year
    Jimmy Connors 1974
    Mats Wilander 1988
    Roger Federer 2004
    Roger Federer 2006
    Roger Federer 2007

    Rafael Nadal 2010

    All Four Finals Per Year
    Roger Federer 2006
    Roger Federer 2007
    Roger Federer 2009

    Rod Laver 1969

    All Four Semi-finals Per Year
    Rod Laver 1969
    Ivan Lendl 1987
    Roger Federer 2005
    Roger Federer 2006
    Roger Federer 2007
    Roger Federer 2008

    Rafael Nadal 2008
    Roger Federer 2009


    Most consecutive matches won at one Grand Slam event:
    1. Björn Borg (Wimbledon), 41
    2. Roger Federer (Wimbledon), 40
    = Roger Federer (US Open), 40

    4. Pete Sampras (Wimbledon), 31
    = Rafael Nadal (French Open), 31

    Other Stuff:

    Year-End Championships
    1. Roger Federer 5
    = Ivan Lendl 5
    = Pete Sampras 5
    4. Ilie Nastase 3
    = John McEnroe 3
    = Boris Becker 3

    Most Weeks at #1
    1. Pete Sampras 286
    2. Roger Federer 285
    3. Ivan Lendl 270
    4. Jimmy Connors 268
    5. John McEnroe 170
    6. Björn Borg 109
    7. Rafael Nadal 102
    8. Andre Agassi 101
    9. Lleyton Hewitt 80
    10. Stefan Edberg 72

    Consecutive Weeks at #1
    1. Roger Federer (1) 237
    2. Jimmy Connors (1) 160
    3. Ivan Lendl (1) 157
    4. Pete Sampras (1) 102
    5. Jimmy Connors (2) 84
    6. Pete Sampras (2) 82
    7. Ivan Lendl (2) 80
    8. Lleyton Hewitt (1) 75
    9. John McEnroe (1) 58
    10. Rafael Nadal (1) 56

    Year End #1
    1. Sampras 6
    2. Federer 5
    3. Borg 4
    4. Connors 3
    = Lendl 3
    = McEnroe 3

    Highest Season Winning Percentage
    1. John McEnroe (1984) .965 82–3
    2. Jimmy Connors (1974) .959 93–4
    3. Roger Federer (2005) .953 81–4
    4. Roger Federer (2006) .948 92–5

    5. Björn Borg (1979) .933 84–6
    6. Ivan Lendl (1986) .925 74–6
    7. Roger Federer (2004) .925 74–6
    8. Ivan Lendl (1985) .923 84–7
    9. Ivan Lendl (1982) .922 106–9
    10. Björn Borg (1980) .921 70–6
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  39. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    How this line of reasoning started:

    Hypocrite. Fine not taking or adding anything: Laver = 2 grand slams. Federer = ZERO.
     
  40. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Impossible to compare. Laver won more titles at the French, but Federer would obviously blow Laver away at the French (wood or graphite).
     
  41. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Yes, clear thing, with all those lefty topspin forehands going to the unshakable backhand of Fed.
     
  42. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    We've all seen Fed with a wood racquet. He is amazing--even better than he is with a graphite racquet. He is so good, I think he should discard all those Wilson graphite-kevlar-BLX contraptions, and just play with a Wilson Jack Kramer Autograph or Pro Staff.

    So it is perfectly obvious and quite reasonable to presume that he would "obviously blow away" anyone who grew up with wood and played virtually their entire career with with wood.

    Perfectly "obvious."
     
  43. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    You know if Fed switched to wood, he'd be so good he'd "obviously" win another French Open--then he'd be tied with Laver . . . but behind Wilander.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  44. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    Nobody argues Laver should not have won more slams, however the argument for the millionth time is that in the 1960s the pro majors hold more weight than the amateur slams. This appears to be a difficult concept for some people to wrap their skull around, but times change. Laver only won 11 slams but if you count his pro majors it was a lot more. I think it is clear we can say the pro field was the better of the two because when it went to open era and the amateurs and pros were thrown together who dominated? Roy Emerson couldn't even beat late 30s Pancho on his worst surface (clay) and Emerson had won 2 of those amateur French Opens. He never made another semi or final. He chose not to go pro and fell far behind his peers. Same happened for most of the big ameatur guys in the mid 60s that didn't go pro, when open era came around they were no longer top players and more of the middle tier. The only ones who could really compete at the top level was Newk.

    So yes it is unfair to say Laver would have dominated the majors had he played them in the 60s, but it is safe to say that most of the 'slams' as you call them that were won in the 60s were not as impressive. Which is why most consider Laver's best two seasons to be 69 and 67 and 62 is kind of iffy. 62 was a great accomplishment but 69 was much more impressive as the level of talent Laver disposed of was ridiculous. He didn't play some of the slam events because he wanted to make money off playing tennis. Lets be real if all the majors nowadays gave out no prize money at all and told players if they were sponsored they could not show up and play them, I could imagine things being pretty different. The players wanted to make money and be the focus and in the spotlight. The pro tour in the 60s gave them that opportunity.

    Again judge on the times and realize yea he has only 11 'slams' but numerous pro majors and dominated the pro tour for most of the mid to late 60s. As well as then being the dominating force when the open era came to be.
     
  45. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The thing is we all have seen Federer's backhand return with the current racquets, I'm curious how his backhand would be with a tiny wood racquet.

    Some of us make assumptions that players of the past wouldn't do well now and no one can prove anyone wrong because we don't have a magical time machine.

    However the reverse is of course true, can players today, with their swing patterns and skills adjust to wood in the 1960's and 1970's? The heavy topspin they hit now wouldn't be possible unless you're Bjorn Borg or maybe Rod Laver.

    How would Federer adjust to players serving and volleying and concentrating on his backhand? He would have to change his style. I think he would adjust and do well but we have no proof that he would be great. My opinion is that he would be excellent but you wouldn't recognize his style compared to today's Federer.
     
  46. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Agreed. But to put it in perspective, when Open Tennis started in 1968, Laver would be thirty that year and most likely past his prime. Yet Laver won the first Open Wimbledon and the Grand Slam the next year when he would turn 31. So Laver won five of the first seven majors played when he was about 30 and a bit above 30. How many majors did he miss winning when he was at his physical peak? It's all speculation of course but I think the general opinion of those who saw his dominance was that he probably would have won many more majors. We cannot prove it of course but imagine if Federer or Nadal couldn't play majors anymore when they were in their early twenties. It would be a crime but they would have the amount of majors they have in reality now reduced by a great amount. I don't think it would reduce Federer's or Nadal's greatness one bit if they didn't win the classic majors during the period they would have been banned but it may affect how some may view them, however wrong it may be. Federer would be no less great if he didn't win classic majors during that time and won Pro Majors. Heck the Pro Majors probably would have a stronger field in this type of scenario.

    Now if Federer and Nadal were robbed of an opportunity to play in the majors for years I think it would be fair to speculate that they would have won a lot more majors even if they did not assuming they did very well in the Pro Tour like Laver and Rosewall did. No we are not talking about fact but we are talking about probability. The probability would be that Federer and Nadal would have won a lot of majors just as the probability Laver and Rosewall would have won a lot of majors when they were banned from playing the majors. Isn't logical speculation one of the fun things in discussing sports in general? Notice I say logical speculation.

    We do know for a fact Laver was dominant in the Pro Tour for years and won the Pro Grand Slam in 1967 plus the Wimbledon tournament they played on the pro circuit that year. Experts at the time knew Laver and Rosewall were the best in the world and not Roy Emerson for example who won a good portion of the majors.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  47. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    great post:)
     
  48. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Excellent points.
     
  49. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Actually I don't think I necessarily agree. Grass was a surface that every player was familar with in the 1960's and most players played on it frequently and because of that many many players developed styles that were effective of grass. Hence, the depth of grass talent was much much deeper than it is now. Hence, 3 out of 4 on Grass actually becomes a harder proposition because almost everybody is good on grass as opposed to today when it is merely a specialist surface.
     
  50. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    You are entitled to your opinion. Grass is still grass, but three different surfaces is a huge distinction. The depth of hc today blows away the depth of grass in the 60s. I'm pretty sure if you take away the hc slam with only 2 surfaces, Nadal would win a lot more. Similar to Fed if there wasn't no slam on clay...he would win more. Just to show that having the 3rd surface makes it more challenging and hence win less.
     

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