Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by anointedone, Jul 16, 2007.
Connors or Agassi? Which one of these two players with similar games was the greater player?
Connors will win this poll on this website.
If you polled all the tennis fans in the world, Agassi would probably win by a decent margin.
Who was the greater player? Who the hell cares? They were both great. In the end it's just a f'ing game where you hit a ball back and forth. None of these people are really great.
One of the most impressive feats of Jimmy Connors was reaching 31 slam semifinals, the most of any man in history.
Jimmy Connors also held the record for most weeks ranked #1 at 160 weeks straight, before Federer broke it earlier this year. Furthermore Connors ranks a quite close 3rd all time in total weeks ranked #1 at 268 weeks spent there. Trailing Sampras at 286, and so very barely Lendl at 270 weeks.
Connors quite likely was denied a calender Grand Slam, not a career Grand Slam, but a calender Grand Slam in 1974, by being barred from participation from the 1974 French Open, an event he would have been heavily favored to win.
Connors has a better career with more titles and more important grandslam wins but Agassi has won every grand slam including the French though Connors skipped that one in his best years and he played australian open only twice. Agassi won the less important australian open 4 times. Connors was more consistent for a longer period. Agassi wasted his talent for many years. I think Connors is greater.
Those are all good points.
It is also worth remembering that the top mens players did not play the Australian Open from 1976-1982 at all. So in comparing recent players like Federer, Sampras, and Agassi to players of that time like McEnroe, Borg, and Connors it is best to compare them by comparing only the French/Wimbledon/
U.S Open combined performance.
So in that sense 4 titles for Agassi vs 7 for Connors, 7 for McEnroe, 11 for Borg. Or 12 titles for Sampras vs 7 for Connors, 7 for McEnroe, 11 for Borg.
Or 9 titles for Federer vs 7 for Connors, 7 for McEnroe, 11 for Borg.
Agassi will win this poll for sure because it is not not so long ago when he played but if you just look at the facts then there's no doubt that Connors simply had the better career.
Here are some other comparisions between them:
Career singles titles- Connors 105, Agassi 60
Career singles finals- Connors 154, Agassi 90
Career doubles titles- Connors 15, Agassi 1
Grand Slam finals- Connors 15, Agassi 13
Grand Slam semis-Connors 31, Agassi 23
Weeks ranked #1- Connors 268, Agassi 87
I forgot to mention that Connors 105 singles titles is another record that he holds. Nobody in history has won more then that.
The poll is who was the better player, not who had the greater career statistically.
My humble opinion is that Agassi was just a better tennis player all around, but that's just me. I hate comparing generations. I've only seen 2 Connors matches in my life. And I wasn't watching tennis back when Agassi was in his prime, I mainly watched him in the latter stages of his career. But if I had been watching tennis back in the 70's, I'd probably prefer Connors for sentimental reasons. We always like the stuff we grew up with more than the current stuff. Actually, Jimmy Connors was a bigger name to me when I was very young than Andre Agassi was. Agassi wasn't even on my radar. I only knew of Connors, Courier, Chang, and Sampras.
The poll says who is the better player but Anoitedone means who is the greater player and, just look at his first reply.
Maybe is Roddick a better player then Agassi but just because of Federer he doesn't win a grandslam or Safin or someone else. You can only compare their careers and Connors just has a better career. It is a fact. So how can anybody say that Agassi is a greater player then. It's ridiculous.
Here is how I compare them games subjectively speaking:
Return of Serve-Connors
Mental Game-Connors BIG TIME
I think Connors was overall the better player personally in a subjective sense.
Both Agassi and Connors have "tier two" status below the greats of the game. Connors is overrated. He was not quite the all-time immortal of tennis which some paint him as. He played for a long time, won a ton of minor tournaments and his achievements are inflated because of the absurd ranking system (ranked #1 in 1975 and 1977 despite no slams in either of those years). He had 2 great years (1974 and 1982) was but clearly inferior to other greats he faced such as Borg, McEnroe and Lendl. He never won the French or even reached the final. His achievements are comparable to those of Agassi: great, but still overshadowed by others in their eras. Connors was overshadowed by Borg and McEnroe, Agassi by Sampras. The achievements of Connors and Agassi are based more on longevity than ever
My judgment is a little clouded because I personally don't like Connors, but I think Agassi is the better player.
Ofcourse he didn't win the French because he didn't take part from 1974 till 1978. Those were his best years and he probably should have won that tournament. In 1975 he reached the final of every grand slam and in 1977 also which is quite impressive. His career is more impressive then Mcenroe and let's not forget he was seven years older than Mac. Lendl lost twice against Connors in the final of the us open. After 1984 an aging Connors was not in his prime anymore and started to lose against Lendl but then again he was eight years older. Do you know a tennis player in modern tennis older than 32 years who was number one in the world?
With Borg around, Connors would NEVER have won Roland Garros. We should take away his 1974 AO title as not worthy of a grand slam due to the weak field. Connors would equal with McEnroe (7 slams) and well behind Borg (11 slams), despite having a FAR longer career. I find it
ridiculous that, during his supposed five year run as #1 (1974-78), Borg actually won MORE slams than Connors (6 to 5). How can anyone say Connors was dominating?
His longevity was impressive. I'm not sure if Connors playing
until 39/40 is any more impressive than Agassi reaching a US Open final at age 35 later era. Jimbo was a great champ - but not really even the greatest of his era.
Connors most certainly could have beaten Borg at 1974 French Open, and maybe even 1975 French Open. Keep in mind, while it was green clay, Connors beat Borg 3 times on clay from 1974-1976, and had a huge mental edge over Borg until Borgs hard fought upset win over Connors in the 1977 Wimbledon final.
You are right. It is not fair to say Lendl had an edge over Connors based on head to head, when Lendl did not start dominating Connors until 1985 when Connors was 33.
Connors certainly substained a top level of tennis for more years then McEnroe, and was almost as dominant in 1974 as McEnroe was in 1984.
Many of the top players also did not play the French during that same time for various reasons, so go ahead and take away a couple of Borg's French Opens. :roll:
Well Connors is the only one who may have been able to beat Borg once or twice at the French those years. Who else was there that skipped you think could have. The rest of the best-Vilas, Nastase, Panatta, Ramirez, Dibbs, Solomon, all played each year.
These are "would of", "could of", "if" arguments.
Bottom line is, the winners of the AO during that time are more prestigious players than the winners of the French during the same time (other than Borg).
Could Borg, Connors, McEnroe, etc won more AO Opens??? It's a possibility> We wil never know.
Could Borg, Connors, Mcenroe have had career ending injuries if they played the AO early in there careers? It's a possibility> We will never know.
Could Connors have won the 74 FO? It's a possibility> We will never know.
The only thing we do know is who won, not who "could of", "should of" won.
How can you say that the winner of the AO during that time were more prestigious players then the winners of the French. The fields at the French were much stronger then fields of the Australian then, with only Connors absent of the real contenders. Look at the Australian Open winners, runner up, and semifinalists from 1976-1982 vs the French Open:
1976 Australian Open: Champion - Mark Edmondson. Runner up - John Newcombe. Semifinal losers - Ken Rosewall, Ray Ruffels.
1977 Australian Open #1: Champion - Roscoe Tanner. Runner up - Guillermo Vilas. Semifinal losers - John Alexander, Ken Rosewall.
1977 Australian Open #2: Champion - Vitus Gerulaitis. Runner up - John Lloyd. Semifinal losers - John Alexander, Bob Giltinan.
1978 Australian Open: Champion - Guillermo Vilas. Runner up - John Marks.
Semifinal losers - Hank Pfister, Arthur Ashe.
1979 Australian Open: Champion - Guillermo Vilas. Runner up - John Sadri.
Semifinal losers - Victor Amaya, Colin Dilbley.
1980 Australian Open: Champion - Brian Teacher. Runner up - Kim Warwick.
Semifinal losers - Guillermo Vilas, Peter McNamara.
1981 Australian Open: Champion - Johan Kriek. Runner up - Steve Denton.
Semifinal losers - Hank Pfister, Mark Edmondson.
1982 Australian Open: Champion - Johan Kriek. Runner up - Steve Denton.
Semifinal losers - Paul McNamee, Hank Pfister.
1976 French Open: Champion - Adriano Panatta. Runner up - Harold Solomon. Semifinal losers - Eddie Dibbs, Raul Ramirez.
1977 French Open: Champion - Guillermo Vilas. Runner up - Brian Gottfried.
Semifinal losers - Phil Dent, Raul Ramirez.
1978 French Open: Champion - Bjorn Borg. Runner up - Guillermo Vilas. Semifinal losers - Corrado Barazzutti, Dick Stockton.
1979 French Open: Champion - Bjorn Borg. Runner up - Victor Pecci. Semifinal losers - Vitas Gerulaitis, Jimmy Connors.
1980 French Open: Champion - Bjorn Borg. Runner up - Vitas Gerulaitis.
Semifinal losers - Harold Solomon, Jimmy Connors.
1981 French Open: Champion - Bjorn Borg. Runner up - Ivan Lendl. Semifinal losers - Victor Pecci, Jose-Luis Clerc.
1982 French Open: Champion - Mats Wilander. Runner up - Guillermo Vilas.
Semifinal losers - Jose Higueras, Jose-Luis Clerc.
It seems clear to me the French Open was the far more prestigious event then as it drew the stronger fields clearly. The only ones who were not top players of the era in the French Open semis were Corrado Barazzutti, Phil Dent, and Dick Stockton. The weakest finalits like Brian Gottfried and Harold Solomon, were regular top 10 players then. The Australian had John Lloyd, John Marks, and John Sadri as a finalist in 3 consecutive years. They were followed by Kim Wawrick, Steve Denton twice, the next 3 years as finalists. Someone like Hank Pfister with 3 semifinals in 5 years there, and John Alexander with back to back semis. As well as a host of other virtual unknowns making the semis those years.
The winners more prestigious you say. The 3 French Opens Borg did not win were won by Panatta (who has multiple wins over Borg on clay), Vilas, and Wilander. The Australian Open from 76-82 has Vilas winning 2 times, and the rest 2 good players of the time who won their only slam title ever in Australia (Tanner, Vilas), and then guys who were definitely not elite like Teacher and Kriek.
That is why I said I feel a good way to compare is to compare the 3 slams that were of full prestige for the men both then and now. Since we dont know how to fairly compare the Australian which is not fair to compare players from them as during those years it was not a prestigious event that was played by top players often.
Could Agassi have won more Australian Opens if he had played more of them? Yes.
Was the Australian Open a lesser Slam when Agassi won it? No.
Nobody is saying it a lesser slam now, but it was a lesser slam while Connors, Borg, McEnroe (partialy) were in their primes.
It's still less prestigious then the other slams. Ask any player on the tour which slam they would like to win the most. Lendl would probably trade all of his australian open wins for one grand slam win at Wimbledon.
You are fogetting 70-75.
AO Winners= Ashe, Rosewall (twice), Newcombe (twice), Connors.
Between these 4 players they won a combined 30 Grand Slams.
FO Winners= Kodes (twice), Gimeno, Nastase, Borg (twice).
Between these 4 players they won a combined 18 Grand Slams.
I don't like doing this because it opens up too many "what if" arguments. For example:
What is more prestigious?? Wimbledon pre or post 2000?? There are many that will say Fed's 5 wimbledons in a row "don't really count" because Borg did it when the grass was fast and one could serve and volley.
Or, Connors 5 US Opens compared to Sampras' "count more" because he won it on 3 different surfaces as opposed to Sampras' one.
Or, as you have stated>> if Connors would have played the French during his number one years (74-78) he would have won the French. Remember, Borg won 3 French Opens in his absence along with many otther top players in that time. So should Borg's 3 French Opens really count??
What about all the years that clay courters were skipping Wimbledon? Should those years count?
Comparing stats between two players of different generations is useless, if they are very close in terms of ability.
John McEnroe is the first to acknowledge that the game has gotten much deeper than ever before. It was easier to be #1 in Connors' day than in Agassi's day, and Agassi still managed 2 years at #1. When Agassi was young, he used to trounce players in the early rounds. As he got a bit older, those early rounds became increasingly difficult for him because the field was so much deeper. Doesn't mean that the greats of the past wouldn't be greats today (say that and McEnroe will get pissed), but it does imply that they might not have achieved quite as much as they did.
^^^ Agreed. Many tournaments of the past, there were literally club players playing in the first round of tournaments.
I will have to go with Agassi on this one.
Tough one, but I went with Agassi due in large part to his career slam.
I voted Connors easily. Agassi with the French Open is around the 15th greatest all time. Without it he would be around 25th. So that one slam is a big difference, but in no way should it put him above Connors, who is easily top 10.
Connors made much more of his career. More titles, longer no. 1, longer in the top 10, more consistent career. And he played the AO only two times, what if would have played it more.
Connors : 109 tournaments - agassi 60;
Connors: about 250 weeks no. 1 - agassi 87 weeks;
Connors : 17 seasons in top 10 in a row, Agassi 16 seasons (and with a break in between).
Why is this even a poll.
Of Connors had a better career and is the better player.
IMHO Connors win this based on my subjective reasoning.
Connors won 8 slams and so did Agassi so they are tied on GS won.
Connors spent considerably longer as world no 1.
Connors won over 100 titles to Agasssi's 61.
And finally Connors was more dominant during his career and was a legitimate no 1. Agassi for all his accomplishment was always in Sampras' shadow.
As has been said many times already - the red clay was probably Jimmy's worst surface. He had no chance of winning the French.
It was a tournament that only older guys like Newcombe and Ashe deemed worthy enough to play (after that the draws dried up significantly). Once they retired the AO lost all of its remaining lustre and was a virtual sahara until a partial recovery in '83.
The French was overloaded with talented youngsters for most of the 1970s - real clay court specialists, like Panatta, Barrazutti, Clerc, etc. The argument that they're not prestigious winners holds no water - the French Open has always been home to players who felt comfortable on dirt but were less than spectacular elsewhere. Take Gomez, take Bruguera, take Muster. All legit players on dirt.
That is what I was saying. The French seems to me to have been the much more legit slam at the time, full of legitimate clay courter players of the highest quality atleast, while the Australian Open was a bit of wasteland with a couple exceptions popping up to play now and again. This was also during the time Chris O Neil and Barbara Jordan won Australian Opens on the womens side.
I agree and cannot see how people can seriously say Agassi had the better career, especially when you consider of agassis' 8 slams 4 are Australians. Even today most players would prefer Connors' 2 Wimbledons, 5 US and 1 Oz to Agassi's 4 Oz, 2 US, 1 Wimbledon, 1 French.
Hmmm. They also found Wimbledon and the US Open "worthy enough to play". Does this mean those tournaments were "lesser" as well??
Additionally, Ashe won Wimbledon 5 years after he won the AO, so he was "much older" when he won that event. By the way, he was 27 when he won the AO in 70, makiing him an "older" 32 year old when he won Wimbledon.
Connors won Wimbledon the same year he won the AO and then again won Wimbledon 8 years laters. He was 22 years "old" when he won the AO.
Get over it. The winner's of the AO during the time discussed were more prestigious players than those of the one dimensional players you noted who played at the Frenchduring the same time.
Connors had the more successful and consistent career, but Agassi was a better player. Agassi's game was more technically sound than Connors' was. It's hard to say who would have won if they both played against one another in their primes though.
The Aussie Open has generated a full field for the men and women for quite a while now which makes it just as difficult to win as the other Slams and no longer makes it the forgotten Slam. The concept of Slams not being equal no longer applies like it did in the past. The surface at the AO happened to suit Agassi's game best out of all the Slam surfaces, which is why he won there more.
Just as difficult and more important than in the past but if you would ask the players i'm sure they all rather want to win one of the other slams. It's just simply not as important as the other slams.
I agree with that. My point wasnt about the merit of the Australian Open now, it was about its value "then". My point was that from 1976-1982, most of the prime of Borg and Connors, the Australian Open was not even regarded as a real slam back, which is reflected in the fields during that 7 year span. If the Australian Open had been regarded as a true slam event during those years, Connors and Borg would have another potential slam venue to win slams at to add to their totals. Basically Agassi won 8 slams out of 4 different slam events today, Connors won 8 slams out of 3 different real slams events then (he missed the French some years, but had 2 years playing the Australian in 74 and 75 before its value became diminished for awhile, the same two years which were probably his years of having a "real shot" at the French, so I figure that evens out).
For all of Agassi's personal problems and lack of desire early in his career, he still won the Grand Slam and equalled Connors' total of 8 Slams. The Australian was just as hard to win as the other Slams when he won it; being less prestigious to tennis snobs is meaningless. He should have won that tournament several more times--it should have been the first major he won, but he just didn't want to play it. The first time he won it, he breezed past Rusedski, Rafter, Kafelnikov, and Krickstein without losing a set, then beat Sampras in 4. I don't think that is a lesser achievement.
He also might be the most popular and recognizable player ever, so that has to have some meaning. Can't go a day now without seeing him in that damn charity commercial saying "children at risk."
As for not being as dominant, it doesn't mean much to me, because they both had to deal with a different field of players. Connors overpowered guys. Agassi overpowered guys early in his career (including an aging Connors), but he couldn't get away with that when the field got stronger, he instead had to break guys down and beat them with his fitness.
This poll should be a joke, and even more of a joke is Agassi is winning it. I am sorry but Agassi over Connors? That is so ridiculous. People Agassi may be your favorite player but Connors easily had the better career. The only thing are equal in is 8 slams, and the only way Agassi is superior is the career slam and almost everyone knows Connors would have won that in 1974had he not been banned from the French Open that year. Every other conceivable way Connors is head and shoulders better.
Even in longevity, which is one of the big trump cards for Agassi backers Connors takes him no problem. 3 Slam titles in 1974 as a 22 year old, U.S Open semis as late as 1991 as a 39 year old.
Agassi is about the 15th best player all time I would say, but Connors is probably more around 8th. It is Connors by a landslide.
As others have said Agassi was never truly the best player in the World even once in his career. Who was the best? Well in 1989 it was Becker, 1990-1991 it was Edberg, 1992 it was Courier, 1993-1999 it was Sampras, 2000 probably Safin, 2001 and 2002 it was Hewitt, 2003 to today it was Federer. Agassi was never once truly the best player in the World. Connors was the best player in the World from 1974-1976, and again in 1982.
How can never being dominant be "not important" to who is the greater player. It is a big part of your greatness to be dominant at some point in your career.
Different fields of players? You are absolutely right, but perhaps not in the way you are thinking. Connors faced 3 different all time greats in his prime - Borg, McEnroe, Lendl. Agassi faced only 1 - Sampras, granted that is an amazing 1 but still only 1. Connors' competition > Agassi's competition.
This is a bunch of useless verbiage. Many a poster has made thorough arguments with concrete examples, including draws. You prefer to spew a bunch of garbage with empty buzzwords like 'prestige'. Facts aren't in your favour and Arthur Ashe alone does not make your point valid, especially considering that his last exemplary season came in 1975, which was when Borg was a green teenager. But keep walking the walk if that's the way you like it.
Unfortunately for you, the only fallacy is your logic. Let's look at your previous post quoted above where you "put down" the Winners of the AO I mentioned (Ashe, Newcombe, Connors, Rosewall), and compare them to the players you mentioned Clerc, Barazutti, Panatta).
>Panatta, 1 Slam > the French Open when he was 26.
>Barazutti, zero slams.
>Clerc, zero slams.
>Newcombe, winner of 7 slams including 3 wimbledons, 2 US Opens, and 2 AO's.
> Ashe, winner of 3 slams, including Wimbledon, US Open, and AO.
> Connors, winner of 8 slams, including 5 US Opens, 2 Wimbledons, and 1 AO.
TOTAL= 18 SLAMS, ON 3 DIFFERENT SURFACES.
You are right. Looking at it again, I guess the French was "filled with young talented players" that were more prestigious than these guys. :roll:
In addition, Ashe "alone" has nearly as many slams as the 6 players you noted. I don't even need to go into Connors, Newcombe, Rosewall to make my point valid. His career alone compared to the 6 players you mentioned blows your argument out of the water. By the way, where could I find the "exemplary" seasons of Clerc, Barzutti, and Panatta?? I can't seem to find them. LMAO!
Definitely. The top 10 in the 80's was one of the strongest ever. But did Connors have to play those 3 guys in every single tournament? I'm talking about depth, here.
Agassi beat Becker, McEnroe, and Ivanisevic to win Wimbledon. Connors beat Kodes, Stockton, and 42 year-old Ken Rosewall.
I'm not saying that Agassi is definitely greater than Connors, but you have to admit that there is an argument. It's not a ridiculous assertion. The only way we would know is if the two switched places and played in each other's field.
head to head Connors 0-2 Agassi
so i voted for agassi!
This is such a stupid comment!. Connors was 36 and 37 when he lost those matches. He needed an infusion after every match because he was too old and still Agassi needed five sets to win and it's nonsense to say that Agassi tanked a set. There's no proof whatsoever.
Well, the first time they played ("he's a punk, you're a legend!"), Agassi won in straights. Then the second time, the consensus seems to be that Agassi tanked on purpose, because he actually said it to his box during the match. Some commentators have said this as if was a fact, I think during the Agassi/Blake match. I haven't seen the '88 match so I don't know. Agassi was probably just trying to out-ego Connors.
Anyway, Agassi was green and Connors was old, so it doesn't matter.
Clips always help. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tu7Ow2n-dMw Man, what a f'ing awesome match.
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