Clay Court GOAT

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

  1. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,442
    Borg's Age

    Borg won his 6th French Open, in 1981, having just had his 25th birthday a few days earlier. If Nadal wins his 5th this year he will have turned 24. Hence, Borg and Nadal are on the same schedule. In fact since Borg's birthday is the 6th of June and Nadal's the 3rd of June - Borg would have been 3 days younger than Nadal winning his 6th (if Nadal wins the next 2). This is assuming that the date in June, 2011 is the same day in June that the final was played in 1981 (shouldn't be much different).
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2010
  2. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    My simple way of looking at Borg/Nadal on clay. I've posted about these two guys already in this thread. But just to address some of the things already posted, here's what I would look at - how to characterize the respective years of these players by placing them into categories.

    dominant - very good - adequate, etc.

    Borg:

    1974 - very good
    1975- very good
    1976 - adequate
    1977 - dominant
    1978 - dominant
    1979 - dominant
    1980 - dominant
    1981 - dominant

    Nadal

    2005 - dominant
    2006 - dominant
    2007 - dominant
    2008 - dominant
    2009 - very good
    2010 - ?

    So far I see Borg as having five dominant years on the surface and two very good years.

    Nadal I have as having four dominant years and one very good year.

    According to the numbers, a dominant year is any kind of year when the player is virtually invincible. In the case of these players what we normally get is a winning percentage of .95 or more. No glaring losses.

    "Very good" is anything with some warts, but the player is still the best in the game on the surface - but not quite invincible. People can look up the numbers on their own, but the winning percentage drops closer to .9, give or take.

    Counting majors is a waste of time.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2010
  3. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,045
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Players strike? I thought Borg played WTT that year thus making himself ineligible for the French Open?
     
  4. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,579
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Mustard, I don't know exactly how to characterize it, since I was young in 1977 and don't recall the exact "political" details of that conflict between players and the FO/Tour. It's my understanding that Tour officials were in a dispute with players that were playing World Team Tennis. I've read that Borg and others players who had a contract with the WTT were the players that ultimately missed playing the 1977 French Open.

    Now, was this a "strike" action by those players vying for the rights of WTT vs. the Tour, or was he automatically ineligible to play? Was this a "choice" or were such players automatically ineligible? I'm not certain the exact details surrounding which side was more "responsible" for that dispute. There was so much fighting going on during that period, with Connors, Ashe, and Borg all pivotal male players while professional Tennis found its way, with players lobbying for certain rights/freedoms in terms of how events were conducted and rankings determined.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  5. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    If I ever knew the details of 77, I have since forgotten. However, Connors was banned in 74 for signing a contract with WTT. I think that due to the lawsuit etc, by the time Borg skipped, he may have done so voluntarily.
     
  6. newmark401

    newmark401 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    1,050
    Nice to Tony Wilding ranking so high, although I'm not sure what the criteria are. I wonder where Reggie Doherty or Laurie Doherty should rank, or Bill Tilden?

    Anyway, this thread has almost all of Tony Wilding's singles tournament wins, on all surfaces: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=4624626
     
  7. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,632
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    IMO Tilden did win a French Championship, but certain individuals took it away from him.
     
  8. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,326
    Well at least Tilden won the World Hardcourt which was the equivalent of the French in those days.

    It's a shame Tilden was robbed.
     
  9. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,103
    Location:
    St. John, USVI
    Nice statistics in here boys!

    I have to say though, if I were to assign (subjunctive) "categories" to a player's performance over a given year, as our good friend "CyBorg" has done, I think I'd choose some better adjectives!

    "Adequate"
    "Very Good"
    "Dominate"

    Hmmm...(by the way, where is plain old "Good?" on that list, huh CyBorg?)

    Chopin's Categories:

    Sordid
    Middling
    Equable
    Fertile
    Exquisite
    Regal
    Divine

    ...

    Obstreperous (I'm not sure where to put this one!)

    Thanks for reading,
    Chopin (The Maestro)
     
  10. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,103
    Location:
    St. John, USVI
    ^^Sometimes I amaze even myself :)
     
  11. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,442
    Wilding

    Yes, Wilding deserves a place so high up because of his utter domination of 5 years of clay court play 1910-1914 - he was just as dominant on clay as Nadal has been the last 5 years. That and combined with winning the most clay court titles of anyone in history. L. Doherty was probably a better player but his accomplishments were more spread over the surfaces I would imagine. Did the Doherty's or Tilden have the number of clay titles that Tony had - I have to doubt that. Tony's genius was on clay (though 4 Wimbledon titles on grass, in a row is pretty good too!).

    Bill Tilden's 7 US Clay Court titles 1918, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927 plus his World Hardcourt Championship have to give him some clay court standing too.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  12. Tina

    Tina Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Messages:
    843
    Yes, we all know that. I still enjoy sunshine in Southern California ^_^.
     
  13. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,103
    Location:
    St. John, USVI
    I'm glad Tina. Enjoy yourself! I'll be heading north myself soon for a little trip.

    Also, I just read over the categories I posted and they put a smile on my face, and hopefully yours as well.

    Yours,
    Chopin
     
  14. Tina

    Tina Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Messages:
    843

    I just got back home from my vacation, Chopin. Please check your gmail. -Tina
     
  15. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,632
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    This was an interesting thread, until it became a junior-high-school-smooch-fest.




    I love you Tina.
    I love you too Chopin.
     
  16. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Messages:
    20,988
    If Roger wins the FO this year, would you guys bump him up higher on the list than he is at #17 now? Atleast closer to Rafa which would be more respectable assessment. Having 16 guys separate between Rafa and Roger doesn't sound right.
     
  17. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    He'd be comparable to Laver, I think.
     
  18. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,632
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Yes, of course.

    Two FO trophies is better than one. (Even better--if he beats Nadal.) Mais bien sur.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  19. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,103
    Location:
    St. John, USVI
    Hoodjem and others,
    I had the pleasure of visiting Toronto this past week and had quite an outstanding stay. It was my first time there and I was impressed by the city’s diversity and beauty. Everyone was quite friendly, and people smiled at me wherever I went. I'm happy to say that this good change of setting sparked my imagination and I’m currently working on several fine threads.

    Love to you Hoodjem,
    Chopin
     
  20. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,103
    Location:
    St. John, USVI
    In terms of greatness, I agree, CyBorg!
     
  21. djokovicgonzalez2010

    djokovicgonzalez2010 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    11,865
    Location:
    SW Virginia, USA
    Borg
    Nadal
    Wilander
     
  22. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,632
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    1. Borg
    2. Nadal
    3. Rosewall
    4. Cochet
    5. Lendl
    6. Wilander
     
  23. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,103
    Location:
    St. John, USVI
    If Rafa wins the French this year, I'd say he's tied with Borg in terms of clay greatness. I tend to give the modern pros' accomplishments a bit more weight, even in terms of "greatness."
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  24. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,103
    Location:
    St. John, USVI
    So, do you fellows ever get bored with all these GOAT discussions? I know you guys ask me the same question about the Laver time-travel scenarios, but I'm not sure these discussions are any better. You guys endlessly compare players across eras and create your own subjective lists and quibble about whether or not player X is #7 or #8 and it all seems fairly futile as there is no one can even agree about a definition of GOAT to begin with.

    Any responses?

    Humbly,
    Chopin
     
  25. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,442
    Yes, but it does clarify who is in the discussion

    Of course you could never come to agreement about who is number 5 or 6. But its nice to produce a list of who is in the discussion. For the GOAT on all surfaces it is pretty clear, because of the contributions of all interested parties in these forums - we can be assured of not missing anyone who should be in the discussion. The relative positions of this GOAT list may be debated - but who is on the list to start with comes clear.
     
  26. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,103
    Location:
    St. John, USVI
    OK! Yes, I'll buy that, more or less.
     
  27. Tina

    Tina Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Messages:
    843
    Sorry, Hoodjem.
     
  28. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Messages:
    506
    After Madrid :

    Tournaments : 44
    Finals : 30
    Titles : 28
    Score : 196 - 16

    Only player with all 3 Clay Masters titles in one season

    At the age of 23 tied with Ivan Lendl with 28 clay court titles... just two behind Borg
     
  29. newmark401

    newmark401 Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    1,050
    "After Madrid :

    Tournaments : 44
    Finals : 30
    Titles : 28
    Score : 196 - 16

    Only player with all 3 Clay Masters titles in one season

    At the age of 23 tied with Ivan Lendl with 28 clay court titles... just two behind Borg"

    I presume you're referring to Rafael Nadal. Anyway, in terms of most clay court singles titles won, it's worth making a distinction between the amateur era, up to 1968, and the open era, which began in the same year.

    It has already been established that Tony Wilding, the great New Zealander, won about seventy singles titles on clay. Then there are players like Reggie Doherty and his brother Laurie, Bill Tilden, Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, all of whom won a considerable amount of clay court singles titles. They need to be taken into account in relation to the numbers and other aspects. There is usually more to a question than just pure numbers.
     
  30. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Messages:
    20,988


    This post came from the "general pro player tennis forum", so I take no credit.

    These players have Roger Federer in the top ten as the all time great. And the result average out to be Roger at #7. For some of you who still believe Roger is at #15, then there's something missing from your observation. The players above know their tennis history, and THEY ARE NOT YOUNG. You believe young people don't have enough credential to formulate an accurate opinion. Well, you can't dispute the people I listed above.


    In fact, the younger members in here share similar viewpoint with them b/c most agree Roger belongs in the top ten, but you OLDER members have Roger well beyond the top ten list. If the young members in here doesn't have enough tennis knowledge, why is it their opinion are closer to the well knowledge people above? Hmmm....interesting.
     
  31. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    Because the people you quoted are suffering from the same short-sightedness that SOME young people here suffer from (although we all know in your case, the problem is not historical perspective, but hero-worship). Your list proves the point perfectly, thanks. Not one of them included FIVE time champion Cochet. Obviously, that is why some of the posters taking a truer historical perspective have Federer signficantly lower. A number of generations are being excluded by the people you quoted, and I'm sure many them would gladly concede that if asked about it.

    Your argument, as usual, is asinine.
     
  32. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Everyone is entitled to their own list, but people follow different criteria. Most people who make lists don't do any statistical analysis at all - they tend to rate guys based on memory, particularly those they've seen.

    It is unlikely that many of these people have seen very much of Rosewall and it is likely that none of them know a lot about Cochet.

    Any results-oriented ranking will have Rosewall very high and Cochet very high and Federer out of the top-10. I prefer results-oriented stuff, because there's some control, an elimination of subjectivity (at least as little of it as possible) and you treat all players the same way.

    A tennis historian (meaning a published author) who writes about all-time great players will tend to follow some results-oriented criteria. The people who made these lists are not historians - rather, they've made these lists likely for fun, with little time to think it over. They provided no or little insight about their rankings. The result is interesting, but matters little in the overall scheme of things.
     
  33. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,578
    I think everyone is talking about different time frames here. Hoodjem's list is an alltime list. L'Equipe's list (in TMF's post) is Open Era only.
     
  34. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    In that case Feds is roughly where he should be. :)
     
  35. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,326
    Federer is a great clay court player but there have been a lot of great clay court players in tennis history. Even excluding Borg, we have in the Open Era players like Nastase, Vilas, Orantes, Connors, Kuerten, Laver, Rosewall, Courier, Wilander, Lendl, Nadal, Panatta, Gimeno, Muster, Bruguera.

    For example Laver, who isn't that known for his clay court achievements won a lot of clay tournaments in the old Pro Tour. Laver for example won at least two Italian Opens that I know of and that tournament was second only to the French in prestige in those days. Even if Federer won another French I don't think it wouldn't put him ahead of Laver.

    All these players I mentioned are in the Open Era alone. You can include the Pre-Open Era with players like Tilden, Gonzalez, Budge, Riggs, Lacoste, Trabert, Santana, Cochet, Perry, Nusslein (best clay player in the world in his day in the late 1930's perhaps), von Cramm, Segura and a lot of others I didn't mention.

    Just being on the list is pretty good.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
  36. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Messages:
    20,988
    Why? Because you say so? You are an unknown person but those people I’ve listed are all known by fans plus have played the game. For your age I expect a better explanation but it’s nothing new...your posts are always reek with bias and delusional. I totally agree with them and your tennis knowledge isn’t comparable to their pinky. How do you like that!
     
  37. VrafaV

    VrafaV Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Messages:
    129
    I agree with Cenc, rafa b4 borg.
     
  38. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,632
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    I'm still going with Borg just ahead of Nadal.

    List of ALL TIME Clay-court greats--
    1. Borg
    2. Nadal
    3. Rosewall
    4. Cochet
    5. Lendl
    6. Wilander
    7. Wilding
    8. Lacoste
    9. Kuerten
    10. Laver
    11. Borotra
    12. Drobny
    13. Vilas
    14. Santana
    15. Muster
    16. Pietrangeli
    17. Bruguera
    18. Federer
    19. Courier
    20. von Cramm
    21. Gimeno
    22. Emerson
    23. Trabert
    24. Agassi
    25. Connors
    26. Frank Parker
    27. Roche
    28. Nastase
    29. Orantes
    30. Sven Davidson
    31. Luis Ayala
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  39. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,632
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    OPEN-ERA Clay-court greats--

    1. Borg
    2. Nadal
    3. Lendl
    4. Wilander
    5. Kuerten
    6. Vilas
    7. Muster
    8. Bruguera
    9. Federer
    10. Courier
    11. Agassi
    12. Connors
    13. Rosewall
    14. Laver
    15. Nastase
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
  40. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,326
    Hoodjem,

    Good list. I might sneak Orantes onto the list. Hard to figure out where he would fit in however.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
  41. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,632
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Good point.
     
  42. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    Rosewall had a ton of power on groundstrokes and volleys, and he was very steady. Like Borg, he hit very few unforced errors. His greatness on clay was due to his great grounstrokes, speed, conditioning, steadiness and, mostly, his dogged competitiveness.
     
  43. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,326
    Rosewall also had great touch, lobs and possibly the best volley in the game.
     
  44. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    4,973
    Though I feel Gimeno is ranked too low and guys like Santana, Brug and Pietrangeli might be a bit high. Also where is Luis Ayala..if Pietrangeli gets a mention why not the great Chilean?
     
  45. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,632
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Resurrected for pertinence to recent discussions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  46. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,632
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Some good discussions here, and cogent logic.
     
  47. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,326
    Can't really argue with anything on the list? I may change a player to different positions but it's really not a major deal.
     
  48. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    Hood,

    It's a good, complete list. But, I'd definitely make a few changes to the order of your list.

    I think Kuerten should be in the top 3.
    Laver should be around 6.
    Nastase should be in the top 10.
    Connors should be top 15. (He beat Borg in USO final on Clay).
    Brugera should be top 15.
    Orantes and Agassi should be top 20.
     
  49. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    4,442
    Rosewall Kuerten

    I think that Kuerten was a marvellous player. Wonderful backhand. However, he really isn't in the same league as Rosewall is he?
     
  50. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    Overall, no. But on clay, yes, IMHO. If Kuerten had remained healthy, Ralph's FO run would have been put back a few years. Again, JMHO. He had a great forehand too.
     

Share This Page