Could Sampras or Agassi make it to a major final now?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by vicnan, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    A better questions would be: Could Federer or Nadal retire and come back successfully in 1 or 2 years?

    But then the question would be in the wrong forum.
     
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  2. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    That's your nostalgia talking. The surfaces have slowed down considerably that Pete would have trouble staying in the top 10 today -- unlike Fed, Pete needs the surface to assist him (and his serve), otherwise he's dead meat. No knock on him, but his style of play would not cut it today.

    Having said that, Agassi might have more success than Pete today. However, i don't see him being in the top 5 now. All of the top 5 have comparable ground strokes to him, and are much better movers.
     
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  3. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    Sampras or Agassi could not make it to a major final now, but this post is idiotic. Sampras and Agassi would be top contenders in their primes in any generation.
     
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  4. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    In this prime, Pete had the most complete game pre-Federer. You are seriously underestimating him by saying he has only a serve.
     
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  5. Texastennis

    Texastennis Rookie

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    Surely the comparison to Clijsters and Henin is whether Graf could return today, not whether Agassi and Sampras could. She looked good at the Wimbledon exo last May...
     
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  6. goran_ace

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    This is probably the biggest reason why I would say no. The grind is too tough for 3 out of 5 in a 128 draw filled with all the top guys. If it were a 64 or 32 draw tournament, 2 out of 3 sets, and on grass or indoors I think Sampras could get through to the final.
     
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  7. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yea right.!?

    Sampras in his prime would not be in the top-10 today? Prime Sampras and Agassi (not the present retired guys) could not hang with Tsonga, Soderling, and Cilic? Really?

    You cannot be serious!
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2010
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  8. In their prime, both would have been top 5 TODAY, neither one would have had any chance on the no 1 position though.

    NOOO, just...NO. No chance. They would struggle bigtime to win a single match at a slam as of today.
     
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  9. Matt H.

    Matt H. Professional

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    The irony of this post is the fact that 10 years ago, they both DID win slams. Andre won the '00 AO (beating Pete in the semis) and Pete won '00 Wimbledon (with Andre making the semis)


    I used to be on the sampras come-back bandwagon. It's over though. If it was going to happen, it was going to be 2008 Wimbledon. Pete was fresh off playing the 3 exo's against Roger in the fall of '07, an exo against Tommy Haas, and again against Fed at Madison Square garden.

    2008 Wimbledon had Fed coming into it in questionable form due to the mono and what most believed was a brutally DEVASTATING defeat against Nadal in the French. Roddick wasn't playing well. Pressure was on Novak and turned out to be real when he got knocked out in the 2nd round by Safin. That particular tournament, especially now in retrospect, was the ideal tournament for Sampras to return to Wimbledon, *if* it was ever going to happen. He would have had a realistic shot at making the 3rd-4th round.
     
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  10. anointedone

    anointedone Banned

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    It is hard to define what prime Agassi constitutes though. He was in a "slump" much of his supposed prime, in which case he could well be barely top 10 or out of the top 10 as he was during such times then. The longest stretch he averted those slumps he was now an older player. It does show what an amazing talent he was all the same to somehow win 8 slams with such a strange method of going about his career.
     
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  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    To say Sampras and Agassi would make the top ten today doesn't make sense. Of course they would if they were healthy and in their primes.

    Someday in the future someone will say Roger Federer in his prime won't win a game from the current number one at the time and of course that won't be true. Unfortunately as a great player is out of the spotlight, the opinions of them in comparison to the current players tends to become lower and lower until people often falsely says they this player won't be any competition for the worst player on the ATP tour.

    I will venture to say that there will be more and more people who would not believe Sampras and Agassi could compete on the current ATP tour as more time passes by. It will be wrong but I'm sure someone will say Agassi is too short to compete or nonsense like that.
     
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  12. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    I can't tell if this is a real quote or a joke......Joko, Murray, Roddick and Cilic...all far better than Borg/Connors/Mac/Lendl/Sampras?

    Maybe in some twilight zone universe, perhaps...
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
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  13. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Agree; if they were healthy...even a little past prime, they'd be Top 10 guys...regarding height, I think that's been looked at before....in the 70's/80's most guys were around 5'10" ....nowadays they are much, much taller. guess that helps the big guys "bang" the serves in, but that is no guarantee for success. I'd guess Hewitt is the shortest top player out there right now? (Rochus was another very short fellow, tho' not of the same caliber)
     
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  14. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Joking

    OK...after seeing this quote, I realize the other one WAS a joker! Whew....
     
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  15. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Today, no way.

    Now a prime Sampras and Agassi, in their best playing form? In my opinion, they'd be fighting with Nadal (healthy) and Federer for the top 4 spots in Tennis.

    That would be a very tough top 4, with those players all lodging wins against each other, especially if they played on all the surfaces.

    Remember??

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIkQu9KGRt4 (2000 AO Tiebreaker)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOjY6KUv_EM (1999 Masters Cup)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Tio7peRK2M (1993 Wimbledon QF)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39MR-RgCzm8 (Agassi vs. Courier at the 1991 FO)
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
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  16. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    Says a lot about what constitutes "complete" at that time? btw, I never said sampras only has a serve. that would be karlovic :)

    Federer after his AO victory accurately captured the state of tennis today: no weaknesses in players (except may be at the net) today. Sampras may have been the most "complete" of his era, but in today's slower conditions, his offensive game would not be as effective. He does not have a good defensive game, which is very critical today. also, his BH would be taken to the cleaners. In short, he's not what you'd call a "complete" player in today's standards.

    You may claim that he could have adapted, but it's very hard to argue for that when he did not show any adaptability on clay...
     
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  17. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    Ok I apologize. I misunderstood what you meant. I agree about the part about defense but I think Pete's backhand would have been able to hold up against almost everyone today except Nadal or anyone on the clay in his prime.
     
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  18. jefferson

    jefferson Semi-Pro

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    One word.... yup.
     
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  19. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Anyone who says this is indeed very ignorant regarding tennis. This statement could only constitute:
    1.a joke
    2.referring to the current style of play

    The latter is more likely, and indeed, the players today are VERY well trained at the relatively mono-dimensional style which dominates the tour today. That is not a slight towards today's players, the style is formidable, and one cannot blame them for doing what they see, and what they have been trained to do. However, there is little doubt that this era is the most lacking in terms of variety, all-court play, and strategic versatility. Within the baseline realm ONLY, the players are quite complete in terms of moderate to heavy topspin baseline play. Most also have serviceable tools with which to approach the net on odd occasion. There is little variety in approach to play, either between or within players however.
     
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  20. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    The strings and surfaces have really ushered in the heavy heavy topspin hyper aggressive baseline play we almost exclusively see today. The game 25 years ago didn't have variety for the sake of variety it had it because different styles could be successful when gut ruled and grass and indoor carpet were very fast surfaces.
     
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  21. Tina

    Tina Banned

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    May I know why you all love discussing events in the past?
     
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  22. davey25

    davey25 Banned

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    I agree with all you said. Also the fact someone talking about the completeness of todays players would even include in their statement "except at the net" as if that is some easy insignifcant throw off (to me that is the equivalent of saying except for the baseline which is basically all of most of todays guys games today) is already telling enough, and not in a positive way.
     
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  23. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Well, I know that is the commonly accepted theory today, I don't buy it one bit...anymore than I bought, "nobody can serve that fast with wood....".

    I think the change is far more psychological and methodological among players and coaches. With strings and surfaces being, at best, a contributing reinforcer. However, even if we disagree on why, the fact is...it's happened. In that sense, it is just another place along the evolution of tennis....we shall see if it remains, and for how long!
     
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  24. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    LOL. Yes, I noticed that as well! In any case, again, while I do not like this aspect of the modern game, I miss the strategic versatility, wildly varied strokes/styles, and SV vs baseliner battles, I dont' slight the individual players. The best players of today, would be fierce opponents for the best of any era, it's just that when they go to the historic time-travelling, all-time, tournament...they can save energy by only sending 1-3 players through time who can represent the entire current tour!
     
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  25. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Wouldn't that be fun if we could do that?
     
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  26. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    The idea that a peak sampras/agassi wouldn't be in the top 10 in this era is AS absurd as the idea of them making a major final now . Enough said
     
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  27. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    This. Even now Sampras or Agassi could give anyone fits in a best-of-3 match on one day, but not over 2 weeks in a best-of-5 format. Dude's too old for that.
     
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  28. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    yep. And its true for every generation . Players who are 35-40 years old can challenge the younger generation in a best of 3 in a one-off, but competing in a best of 5 for 2 weeks, nope ...
     
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  29. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    Yes, yes, Federer is an ignoramus regarding tennis. :confused:

     
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  30. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    Whether you like it or not, expertise at the net has been obviated today thanks to the strings & slower surfaces. so yeah, it is an "insignificant throw off"...
     
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  31. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry, yes, I was being facetious--trying to illustrate the absudity of such a position..
     
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  32. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Really? I didn't know that.

    Everyone on here usually says that Fed's quality has come down in the last few years, and that his best year was 2006 (with 12 titles and 95% W-L record).






    (Mr. I think you are serving up a warmed-over dish of trollstew.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2010
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  33. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    I think fed was talking about "holes" in the baseline game.

    And fed-rulz, net-play isn't that significant now, but it was earlier , hence you cannot throw it off like that while talking about completeness , when comparing these players
     
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  34. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    abmk, sorry if i came across as "dissing" net play; i was not. I was simply referring to Fed's comments where he mentioned that todays players do not have weaknesses that one could exploit. The unsaid part of his comment goes something like "with respect to whatever is required to succeed under the given conditions".

    It's obvious that many in the top 10 today have bad net play, but net play is not a requisite NOW to be considered to possess a game devoid of any weaknesses. It's a good addition to have, but certainly not necessary. The conditions have changed dramatically to practically render net play irrelevant.
    And this weakness is not due to the inability, but more out of need.

    Contrast that with the weaknesses of the great players of yesteryears: courier, sampras - BH; Edberg - FH, agassi - serve, and so on. These weaknesses were exploitable, and certainly weren't insignificant. And thus my comment about today's players having a more complete game with the exception of net play.

    AFAIK, Fed is the only one who uses the short BH slice to draw his opponent to the net and had good success with it. However, players like Delpo seemed to have figured out a way to counter that, so i'm not sure if even that'd work any more.
     
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  35. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Fed is the best player of this era precisely because he is the most complete player of this era.

    If he were more complete, . . . he would be even better.
     
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  36. davey25

    davey25 Banned

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    If it had been rendered oblivious how did Henman, a guy who never reached a slam final even in his prime, have his best ever year at age 30 in 2004? Even beating prime Federer twice in late 2003 and early 2004. I dont think that game style is rendered oblivious if it done really well, guys who do it better and more explosively than Henman (and there are many of those in history). There just arent those guys around today.
     
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  37. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    "prime federer" in late 2003 /early 2004? ok.... of course, the victory in 2003 was on carpet, a surface conducive to attacking play, a surface that no longer exists. You do know that henman played more at the baseline later in his career, don't you? Plus what's with quoting one or two matches as "proof" of your theory? You did the same with Fed Vs kuerten.. So you'd have no trouble citing the fed vs sampras match as "proof" of how their h2h would've emerged?

    Fed WAS a very proficient S & V early in his career (watch the sampras match), but once conditions slowed down, he realized it wouldn't work. If you look at a recent interview with Fed, he claimed that he was able to reverse his h2h with nalby and hewitt because he started staying more at the baseline, as opposed to attacking the net more often.

    we can agree to disagree. i do think that the current ATP pros and the world-class coaches know a thing or two about tennis strategies that can maximize winning potential TODAY -- if they claim that S & V is not an effective strategy under today's conditions, then I'd lean towards their opinion as opposed to those emanating out of TTW.
     
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  38. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Whoaa...there Davey...you're using common sense there again....you should know that iS NOT appreciated here! yes, there are other examples of isolated SV'ers doing well...Henman is of course a great example, given the span of his career. Real problem there...

    I've discussed this many times before...even if we pretended that the surfaces had slowed down enough to be the key factor, the timing isn't right. It takes a LONG time to develop world-class SV, the alleged DRASTIC change in surfaces didn't happen at the right time. In addition, the "SLOW" grass at Wimbledon, still remains far faster than most surfaces of any era. That is another fact...the hyperbole...gee, it's slower than hardcourts now...yuck...

    I was around world-class junior circles at that time, having coached a couple of players....one who played Federer and Nalbandian...I can assure you that, there WERE NOT a horde of SV'ers coming down the pipe, who then found their games selected against...LOL. That's NOT what happened. I believe it was the Agassi/Courier etc. generation that had the biggest impact on junior tennis, and one that lasted through to the current gen. The majority of juniors wanted to play this way, even though those guys hardly rendered SV inferior (Sampras..at times, Becker, Edberg, Henman, Rafter etc). But the topspin baseline bash game is very appealing, very risk free, very dominating in appearance, and can be done with much earlier success than SV. All of this added to the transition. In many ways, the 1 handed backhand suffered a similar loss in the popularity game, but NOT due to it being obsolete, though rumours and articles flew about that to. In fact, were Federer not using it now(gosh, one the fedfanboys WON'T have to scream about), we would probably be subjected to numerous "it's obsolete and could never work at the top" nonsense theories right now!

    I have posted before that the proliferation of well-trained topspin baseliners and overall increase in athleticism would make it harder for an SV player today...you'd have to be a bit better to get into the top 100 today, than in past eras. But at the top? A great SV'er would do fine. In fact, frankly, I believe that had he been injury free, and stayed fit/focused, lunk-footed Taylor Dent would have made the top 20 SV'ing! Heck, even Roddick had a bit of success doing it...and...he's got the worst hands of any top 50 player I've ever seen....sorry Andy!
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
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  39. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Very interesting post Datacipher. I have a good friend of mine who is top tennis coach and teacher who has told me many a time that people want to learn the two handed backhand topspin baseline game today. My friend is a one handed serve and volleyer who is actually quite good as a baseliner also.

    He's hinted to me that he would love to teach the older style of play to some players but the parents wouldn't like it.

    Pete Sampras has mentioned he would still play serve and volley if he was in his prime today.

    So perhaps you have a good point when you write that the demise of serve and volley is not necessarily because of surface but because of the new ways of teaching tennis.

    If that's true it is a shame but baseliners like Borg could easily serve and volley and play different styles.
     
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  40. Markov

    Markov Semi-Pro

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    They were once great players, but as of now they are simply too old, too slow, not flexible enough nor strong enough.. They couldn't compete in the same league with the younger players. Grand Slam tennis in 2010 is absolutely impossible if you are 40 and already retired many years ago. Besides, they would be fighting against players designed to beat their generation.
     
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  41. Pioneer

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    I honestly believe that Sampras could be a top3 player if he still played
     
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  42. Tennis_Stringman

    Tennis_Stringman Rookie

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    I agree with your points. It's not the S&V is incapable of winning, it's just that the attacking game is not taught. It is easier to win young with the Agassi/Chang game, easier to learn, easier to execute. That is what this generation is all about immediate positive feedback. It takes a superior athlete to learn all the attacking shots (volleys, half volleys, overheards, slice approaches) than it is to learn two shots: topspin FH and BH. Think of Sampras, Rafter, Edberg, Becker as superior athletes.
     
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  43. JoshDragon

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    Sampras, Rafter, Edberg, and Becker never had the speed of Chang or consistency of Andre from the baseline.
     
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  44. Ocean Drive

    Ocean Drive Hall of Fame

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    Ha, if Agassi made a final in 2005 then why wouldn't he now? Peak Agassi would defeat Nadal, Del Potro, Murray and Djokovic on hard without much of a problem and it would be a toss up with Federer.
     
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  45. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Peak Agassi is limited to only 2 years his whole career really-1995 and 1999. Even with that limited sample size he provides peak Agassi still had to go 5 sets with a pre-prime Corretja (1995) and a past his prime Todd Martin (1999)at the US Open, and lost to Vince Spadea at the Australian Open. If you believe he actually had other peak years that list of examples would only grow exponentially. Apart from a win over an emotionally spent Sampras the toughest opponents he beat in a hard court slam those peak years were Kafelnikov and Todd Martin.

    Based on that I fail to see any evidence that Del Potro, Murray, Djokovic, or Nadal would be not any problem for Agassi to defeat on hard courts. He played Nadal once at hard courts when neither was in his prime. Nadal at the time was himself was barely 19 and hadnt even made a hard court slam quarterfinal yet or won a single hard court tournament. Agassi was 35 but as you yourself point out would make the U.S Open final a month later, and 5 of Agassi's 8 career slams came between his 29th and 33rd birthdays. Nadal still came out ahead and pretty much dominated the match overall despite that it went to a 3rd set. Del Potro has a more powerful serve and more powerful forehand than even peak Agassi, so that alone would give Agassi alot of problems. If he can even outduel Federer off the forehand side, doing the same to Agassi wouldnt be too hard for him actually, and for his vaunted return of serve Agassi was known for getting aced by the biggest servers quite often. Djokovic and Murray are not weaker hard court players than any of Rafter, Chang, Corretja, Kafelnikov, Martin, all of whom even the hardly existed peak Agassi had a hard time with on hard courts. I am not saying those players you mentioned are better than Agassi on hard courts of course, but it is laughable you think he would have an easy time with them and wouldnt suffer losses to all of them at some point.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
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  46. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Yes that makes alot of sense when 7 and a half years again when he retired he was no longer even a top 10 player in a field that had Lleyton Hewitt at #1 and Tommy Haas at #2 (even with the points from his U.S Open title). Pete is an amazing player of course, but he was smart to retire on the unlikely high he was able to find one last time at the U.S Open after 2 nightmarish years for his standards. Smarter than his fans some of whom actually want him to return to tennis at almost 40 years old, LOL!
     
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  47. JoshDragon

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    Andre, never played Murray, Del Potro, Djokovic, or Cilic and he only played Nadal once on hard courts. What makes you think that he'd be able to beat them easily?
     
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  48. JoshDragon

    JoshDragon Hall of Fame

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    [​IMG]
     
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  49. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Josh,

    Pete was an Agassi type two handed backhand player when he was a junior. They (or he) decided to change his style to the one handed serve and volley style because they felt it would pay better dividends in the end. I don't think anyone was disappointed.

    My point is that who knows how Sampras would be from the baseline if he had stayed with a two handed backhand.

    Edberg and Sampras actually had excellent speed and mobility and if you include net play in the equation then you could argue their mobility is up there with anyone's.

    No I don't think Agassi and Sampras would be top three if they were still playing, especially Agassi with his back problems. At their age the body takes too long to recover from matches. I think Sampras, if he trained hard could be capable of defeating anyone in any given match but over a series of matches, well perhaps his body would be too worn out.

    One thing I did notice in the Sampras/Federer exhibitions a few years ago and it's that Sampras was hitting his backhand better than ever. I think he attributed it to the new rackets. Sampras, during those exhibitions, seemed to still have that overpowering serve and that tends to keep him in matches even if he is playing badly.

    My guess would be that of course Sampras and Agassi would be more than competition in their primes if they played today. I'm sure they would be battling the top players for number one.

    I don't think they can compete for a long period in 2010. I could see Sampras a few years ago making a comeback, especially at Wimbledon but that's a few years ago
     
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  50. Tennis_Stringman

    Tennis_Stringman Rookie

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    Those 4 were more athletic than Agassi. Sampras was way more athletic and kicked Agassi's A ass Andre said in his book, "Again there's Pete, always Pete."
     

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