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

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

  1. Nanshiki

    Nanshiki Hall of Fame

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    Connors was 39 when he retired and didn't make it to a final.

    So, no. But quarters would be a real possibility, had Agassi not had to retire for pain-related reasons.
     
  2. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Sampras for sure would be battling for #1 in his prime in any era. He is that great. Agassi though, I doubt that. Agassi in his "prime" (a word that always makes me laugh when in used with Agassi's name anyway) managed to be year end #1 only once, and that was only because of Sampras missing the U.S Open with a fluke back injury at the last minute, otherwise nearly everyone knows that would have been Sampras. 2001 and 2002 are arguably Agassi's 3rd and 4th best years of tennis ever after only 1995 and 1999 and yet he got outdueled for the year end #1 by Hewitt. I cant think of a single year Agassi could have really battled Federer or even Nadal (during his time spent at #1 from mid 2008 to mid 2009) for the #1 ranking. Where exactly Agassi of 1995 and 1999 could be ranked today or the last few years I dont know, but I am pretty much certain it wouldnt have been #1, and as no other years was Agassi close to his 1995 and 1999 levels he would be even further away at any point in time.
     
  3. davey25

    davey25 Banned

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    Sampras, Rafter, and Edberg were both extremely fast, and they werent that much slower than Chang, and they were all faster than Agassi even along the baseline. You are right about overall baseline play, but Sampras was even more explosive than Agassi from the baseline, just not as consistent. Becker could even really hammer them off the ground, though matches with Agassi wouldnt be a good barometer of this as Agassi was just a really bad matchup for him.

    If you are talking about what is effective though Chang won only 1 slam, Rafter won 2, Edberg and Becker both won 6, and Sampras won 14. So obviously Chang's speed and consistency from the baseline did not give him an edge on these players, so all you are doing is proving the point that is not neccessarily the way to go. Agassi did win 8 slams, but he won only only 3 combined Wimbledon/U.S Opens vs 4 for both Edberg/Becker, and 8 for Sampras, so again maybe consistent excellence from the baseline doesnt always outdo all court attacking after all. All you really do with that statement is prove the points others were making.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  4. JoshDragon

    JoshDragon Hall of Fame

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    I don't think Sampras could have made a legitimate comeback a few years ago (2006 or 07). He would never have reached the finals at Wimbledon, during the Federer/Nadal peak years and he had no chance at another slam. He retired at the perfect time. Right after winning the US Open.

    No, I'm not referring to the results that Chang and Agassi put up against Sampras or Becker. Obviously Sampras had a better career than Andre and Chang put together.

    I don't think Andre's game matched up well against Sampras. Andre was not all that fast, especially later on in his career. He was a flat hitter and gave Pete a lot of low balls, which was just perfect for Pete especially along the baseline. Andre, also wasn't very good at the net. He was by no means a complete player.

    Chang, had many of the same problems. He was super fast but he didn't have a big weapon that could routinely hurt Sampras.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  5. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    It is SO difficult in so many ways....you've got some kid who isn't particularly big yet, has great hands, but the serve doesn't have the reach or leverage yet, and you want to send him in their against all the mini-fed's and min-agassi's and have the unpleasant experience of watching him get passed over and over. Generally it's hard for the kid to even keep it up, he doesn't truly understand and isn't truly commited to net play...he doesn't realize that the easy pass the guy keeps making now, might not be so easy late in the set. He doesn't realize that eventually, his net instincts will get so much better, he'll start getting those volleys. He doesn't realize that he is only a tiny bit away from KILLING the other guy. That's the thing about SV vs basliner....as I posted a while ago about Mac and Lendl. One day, the baseliner looks hopeless...he has no chance, all he can do is scramble and desperately try to pass, and the guy at the net is making it look easy. The next day, the net guy is getting passed right left and over, and you're thinking, that will NEVER work! Happens to everyone, if Edberg and Courier had only played ONE time, in the Wimbledon 93 semi's, you'd think, WOW, edberg's game will never work against a guy like that. He got HAMMERED. Of course, we were also lucky to see the flipside, his complete dismantling of Jim at the USO. But the thing is, if you stay back, you can at least make the game look "good". Sure...you made too many errors...the other guy hit some winners, but you had some good rallies, and you ran down a lot of balls.....if you SV and it's not working....well, you look like you got "owned".

    So, if the kid doesn't really want it, and the parents dont' really want it, and he's getting passed and losing 6-2 in 20 min....how are you gonna sell him and the parents on it? Meanwhile you've got a ton of "experts" and 'fanboys" telling them that he is screwed if he tries to play that way. When SV was cool...the "big boy" game, then you had kids who wanted to learn it and develop it....now, you almost need a svengali like coach like Pete Fischer who MADE Sampras develop that kind of game.
     
  6. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    It's an interesting observation. SV is not safe -- I'm stating the obvious part there, but the interesting part is the contrast it produces from match to match. I guess one reason why so many tennis fans enjoy watching a baseliner against a SV is not just the contrast of styles in a single match, but also the contrast from match to match.

    Can't think of a better example than Mac/Lendl. For a long time McEnroe looked helpless against Lendl, which spawned the idea that he couldn't handle power -- because that's how it LOOKS, as you're saying, when net play is involved. The risk is big and the loser can "lose big", so to speak, looking helpless (or "foolish", as he's getting passed). But helpless or "foolish" is how Lendl proceeded to look for the next two years when he'd try to pass McEnroe and he'd just be left planted, looking helplessly as McEnroe strung him around and hit every kind of volley winner. You look at some of THOSE matches and Lendl looks like he has no prayer.

    Very interesting, how much illusion plays a factor. I don't want to say that dominance in tennis is an illusion, because of course it isn't; but the appearance of invincible dominance borders on illusion, when big risk-taking (like net-rushing and passing) is involved.
     
  7. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Connors

    Actually, he was playing ATP tourneys into his early 40's....1992 was his last full ATP year (including GS events); then he moved over to the Seniors Tour which he co-founded...only playing a few ATP events after that. He played quite well for his age against much younger ATP foes, but certainly was not going to reach GS finals...but certainly put the fear of God into a few of them...(see RG vs. Chang '91 and Stich in '92...shocking stuff)
     
  8. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    This is spot on.....some of the Mac v. Connors matches were like that as well....with Mac and Lendl, it was not the power, per se, John could deflect hard hit shots incredibly well...it was the fact that Lendl was controlling the match via his incredible ground game, not letting John take command at the net. At his best, John could make Jimmy & Ivan look like amateurs...but that is not to say that they didn't get their own days in the sun against him...one of Connors last tournament wins came over Mac in Paris (indoors) and he just creamed him...with Mac vs. the top guys (Connors, Borg, Lendl, Wilander) it really would come down to who could force the other to play more defensively.
     
  9. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    hard to fathom how anyone could have a "complete" game with the exception of net play.....:shock:
     
  10. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    So what? They did mighty well nonetheless :)

    Rafter and Edberg were fairly fleet of foot around the court
    Sampras had "explosive" speed, when needed

    Michael was undoubtedly quick around the court, no question, and Andre covered the baseline quite well.

    But, this doesn't mean their games were superior to those of the S&Vers....(or vice versa)
     
  11. Tennis_Stringman

    Tennis_Stringman Rookie

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    In today's game where everone has similar baseline games, dominance is easier to establish. It boils down to movement and weapons. Like the old days, Borg had better movement and weapons than Vilas and was able to truly dominant (17-5) Vilas as they had similar games. In this era, Federer only plays against baseliners and dominates almost all of them with superior movement and weapons. Tennis is about match ups and S&V is not neccesarily risky for some players such as Dent and Mirnyi as they could not effectively compete as baseliners.
     
  12. jefferson

    jefferson Semi-Pro

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    I was assuming if they were playing in their prime. No way as the geriatrics, they are now. Sorry Pete and Andre but life on tour has caught up with you and your bodies. I would love to see them play in the Champions tour tho!
     
  13. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yes, I've mentioned exactly the first part before...if everyone (more or less) plays the baseline....and the big strategy variance is "hmm...maybe I'll try hitting more to his forehand..". Then when you are clearly a level above everyone, and you know it, and they know it, eg. Federer....well...

    That is why Fed is fortunate not to have to face say...Stich, Krajicek, Ivanisevic.....now I think Federer is the better player, and would have a winning record against them....and he'd probably have some matches where he'd take them apart with great shotmaking. But, they'd force him to do it EVERY time. When he faced them on an off day...or a particularly on day for them....they can catch him. Unlike when Fed is shanking and a bit off, he won't have time to work his way into the matches and rallies...he can't play more conservatively for a while....AND on top of all of that, it's less likely that a netrusher will choke quite as much, because it's actually easier, to stay in the moment, when you're playing such a quick, dynamic game.

    And you are quite correct about Mirnyi/dent not being able to stay back. Usually an experienced SV'er knows that...(of course, those with good all-court strokes...Mac, Stich...even Krajicek....can be much more selective about how often they want to come in BUT they still know they shouldn't try to match the best baseliners), and they know, in the long run, that it doesn't matter if you lose the point in 3 seconds because you got passed on the first shot, or if you stayed back and lost a 1 minute rally....you still lost one point.
     
  14. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yes, as jrepac mentions, you could see this in Mac/Connors as well...in FACT, I recall watching Connors/Mac play so very long ago...and a non-player friend asking...why doesn't that other guy run in(Connors)...the other guy just runs in and blocks it for a winner...it's so easy! Why doesn't that other guy do that??!

    But boy, it doesn't take much...lets say in that same match, the SV'er suddenly drop 10-15% in 1st serve percentage...think about it...1 less serve in per 10! All of a sudden, he's facing some break points, he's getting tight, the baseliner is getter more and more confident, suddenly the baseliner is painting the lines, passing off both sides, and the netrusher looks like he's making a mad suicide run in....as if it's a total bluff!
     
  15. wangs78

    wangs78 Hall of Fame

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    I agree, Agassi is simply not in the same league as the top tier greats. It's arguable that he shouldn't even be in the same conversation as players like Becker and Edberg. I think the best thing on Agassi's resume is his longevity. He was able to play well past his contemporaries and was able to squeeze a few Australian Open titles out after his contemporaries were past their prime.
     
  16. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    That's what I find most interesting about this; there's a certain element to domination that's an illusion. Of course, when a match is not close, one player has been dominated. But on top of that we carry away a bunch of dramatic impressions. You get those impressions easily when a match of contrasting styles becomes a blowout, because it looks like one style or strategy is overmatched by the other. Either the net-rusher looks like his bread-and-butter skills are no match for the passing shots of his opponent (and the sight of him lunging or watching vainly as the shots go by leaves a dramatic impression), or vice versa -- the baseliner looks like his best and most strenuous defense is little help in intercepting those volleys (or he's just left standing there, watching the drop volleys die). In either case the loser looks toyed with.

    You don't get nearly the same impressions/illusions when the two opponents are playing the same style. When you watch Borg giving up only a few games to Vilas in the French final, of course you can tell that Borg is the better player. But there's not much dramatic taking place. If you watch it too casually it may not even appear like domination, until suddenly the match is nearly over and you realize one player has slowly but surely strangled his opponent.

    It's a little like that when Sampras faced Ivanisevic or Becker. Usually Sampras was the winner because he was a level above. But no one looked silly, or like their style was utterly unsuitable to the task. It just looked like one player was a better example of the style -- a slightly but surely better player.

    Now think about when Edberg destroyed Courier at the USO. Another blowout, like Borg/Vilas. Far more dramatic. Looks and feels and sounds like total domination. But Courier was far closer to bridging the gap than Vilas was. The illusion of domination was stronger and more forceful in the Edberg/Courier match, but in terms of actual domination the Borg/Vilas match was a better example.
     
  17. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    You're right. Apples are not like oranges.
     
  18. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    I agree. I also think in most respect even guys like Becker and Edberg were greater players than Agassi as far as the calibre of tennis they produced over their overall career vs Agassi. Agassi simply got alot luckier than they did. People love to harp on Federers competition and suggest Agassi as being tougher since he was in the Sampras era which some consider tougher. The thing is though the true prime of Agassi was 95 and 99-2003, and the 99-2003 field (not the Sampras era) is the worst in the history of mens, even worse than the 2004-2006 field which Federer dominated which some consider relatively weak. So if the achievements of Federer are devalued due to a weaker field, than this should be the case for Agassi even moreso. He literally had the all time cakewalk field to play with for the 4-5 years that made up the most of his real prime due to his unusually late blooming, and his draws to win the 99 French, 99 U.S Open, 2001 Aussie, and 2003 Aussie are comical.
     
  19. quest01

    quest01 Hall of Fame

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    Sampras and Agassi would have a hard time making it to the second round let alone winning a major.

    I thought I'd throw this in here, clip from the 2002 Houston Final highlights between Sampras and Roddick. The match point Sampras saved was absolutely incredible.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6ZKZIaiglo
     
  20. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    In many ways I agree, though I give Agassi some credit for lasting that long against multiple era champions. He proved he was a match for any champ of any era at his best, but he was a fraction behind the greatest when they were at their best and he was at his best.
     
  21. davey25

    davey25 Banned

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    It is interesting to wonder which greats in history he would have matched up well against. Obviously Pete was not one of those. Federer is speculation as they never played in the prime years of Agassi, but I suspect also would not have been a great matchup for Andre, though I think he still would have more chance vs Roger than Pete perhaps (on medium to fast surfaces anyway). Becker though Agassi did great against, so obviously Becker, although not a first tier all time great, was a great that Agassi matched up well vs. Becker in some ways is similar to Pete, both were serve/volleyers and attackers first, whose greatest strength of all was probably their serves, but both were also all courters who could play well from the backcourt or any area of court and had very complete games. However Pete did nearly everything a bit better, along with the biggest difference of Boris being less athletic, and alot slower and less nimble around the court. Whereas Pete was strong enough from the baseline to hang with and sometimes outplay Agassi from there, Becker though very good from the baseline wasnt quite strong enough to play with Agassi form there. So perhaps it would be attacking guys who couldnt quite match him from the baseline, and didnt have an obvious edge in athleticsm over him which guys like Sampras, Federer, and many other greats would have. Then amongst baseliners it seems guys with more arguably dominant forehands, stronger serves, and superior movement like Federer, Courier, and Lendl were his worst matchups, though he wasnt regularly facing any of those guys at his true best.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010
  22. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    I think Agassi most definitely matches up better with Federer...if Fed is in fullflight, Agassi can't stop him, but the younger quicker Agassi was able to work the Federer backhand pretty badly, and even old Agassi had some tough battles with him. When Fed is a bit off, Agassi can make him pay badly. When Sampras was a bit off, he still had the weapons to make Agassi pay badly at key moments. I think Sampras' serve/forehand/volleys were less likely to go astray against Agassi then Fed's groundstrokes.

    Becker seemed to have two problems as opposed to Pete. Becker could hang with Agassi off the ground to a degree, but he didn't quite have Sampras precision off the ground...and you can't bulldoze your way through Agassi....So Pete might hit a huge forehand (or even backhand), right into the corner/on a line/sharp angle....while Becker just tended to pound away with a bit more safety...and Agassi would hammer it right back. But his main problem off the ground was that, though he moved well for a huge man, he didn't have near the footwork/grace of Sampras. In longer rallies, eventually that would catch up to him, and he'd make an error.

    The other huge thing was the Becker serve, which Agassi tended to read and punish so well. Was it the tongue? Not entirely sure, but it just didn't do the damage against Agassi, that it normally did against, even other good, returners.
     
  23. Tennis_Stringman

    Tennis_Stringman Rookie

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    Agassi is the most overrated player on this board.
     
  24. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    LOL, more than once people have posted he was better than McEnroe citing 8 majors to 7. Some have posted he was better than Connors. I almost fell off my chair.
     
  25. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Fed is a bad match up for Andre.
     
  26. davey25

    davey25 Banned

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    He is but he is less of a bad matchup for Andre than Sampras is. Keep in mind an old broken backed Agassi gave Federer tough matches in half of their 8 matches in 2003-2005 (yes I know Agassi won 0 of those 8, and the other half were routs, but still). Datacipher is right that is Federer is a bit off Agassi can cause real problems for him, more easily than he can for even an off Sampras.
     
  27. Polvorin

    Polvorin Professional

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    If grass courts still played fast I wouldn't count Sampras out...
     
  28. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    nahh, Safin is. Give Agassi credit, he was a mainstay in the top 5 for a ton of years, won all 4 majors on different surfaces and won 8 majors. I really don't think he has been overrated nearly as much as Safin.
     
  29. malakas

    malakas Banned

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    is this a joke thread or people are THAT delusional?
     
  30. T10s747

    T10s747 Rookie

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    Well Safin is never included in GOAT discussions on this board whereas Agassi is included in these discussion and should never be. He's the luckiest slam winner ever with weaker draws and playing chokers in finals.
     
  31. jly1

    jly1 New User

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    Mind you that they play best of 5 sets and not 3. It is a much more daunting task. I have always thought that females had it easier in the slams (as opposed to other tier 1 tourneys) because they day breaks in between each best 2/3 match ups.

    If wimbledon was best 2/3 for men with a days break in between, then I think pete can make it to at least the second week. Still have the best second serve of all time!
     
  32. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    in all honesty, never saw anyone claim Agassi as a goat candidate. an all-timer...yes and he is. but he deserves it. no such thing as luck winning a slam..no such thing. luck is walking out of a w-mart and finding a $50 bill on the ground.:)
     
  33. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    so... how much better is the tour right now than it was in 2005 when a 35 year old ciatica overated Agassi reached the finals of USO?


    huhu... let them excuses and spliting hairs begin...
     
  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Nah.

    12. Connors




    18. McEnroe

    20. Agassi
     
  35. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Sorry but Mac was number one or challenging for number 1 from 1980-1985. He was in 5 straight Wimbledon finals. He won 4 US Open titles. He won Masters titles when it was way more important than the Australian or French Open. I don't think Agassi's career is even close.
     
  36. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I think we have Mac at three years as world no 1, and Agassi with only one year.

    Go here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=295675
     
  37. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    I'm not talking about we think I'm talking about what was. Mac was a constant threat to be number or was number one from 1980-1985. Agassi was never close to the dominant player Mac was. I rooted hard for Andre in his career but have never thought his career touched Macs or Connors or Sampras.
     
  38. VictorS.

    VictorS. Professional

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    I'd like to see Sampras enter a weak grass court tournament such as the Campbell's Hall of Fame tourney in Rhode Island. Matches would be best of three sets. It seems like serve & volley tennis really works there...even moreso than Wimbledon these days. If Santoro can do it, so could Pistol Pete. Last but not least, the field there is pretty weak.

    I think the tournament should give him a wild card. It would be fun. If he lost, I doubt it'd be any tainting of his legacy.

    I don't see why a guy like Sampras doesn't continue playing Grand Slam doubles. It would be kind of fun to see him & say an Ivanisevic battle it out against some of the younger opponents. I definitely don't think they would get embarassed in doubles.
     
  39. davey25

    davey25 Banned

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    I agree. hoodjem is a very knowledgable poster and I am sure he has good reasons for his rankings, but I too find it hard to believe there is so little spread between McEnroe and Agassi. McEnroe had his own period of being a dominant player. Agassi never once was a dominant player, in fact there is no single year he was truly the best player in the World.

    McEnroe in his own way is hard to rate though. He was such an outstanding player at his peak but he was finished at the very top level (relatively speaking) at only age 26 without retiring. He did also win only 7 slams, although that number is clearly skewed by his lack of Aussie Open appearances. #18 seems kind of low though, especialy if Agassi is so close at #20.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  40. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Agassi 2005

    Agassi got close in 2005! He took a set off Federer in the US Open final that year!
     
  41. davey25

    davey25 Banned

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    and that was his last ever shot of winning a major. 2006 was clearly proof of that. Of course that is not to in anyway diss Agassi in this area, it is remarkable he was even a contender for slams as old as 35, and a reflection on the field at the time to some extent as well I might add. Still the 2005 U.S Open was clearly the last time he even had a slim hope of winning one of those majors, and as it was it had been almost 3 years since he had been in a slam final at that point. In 2006 he was clearly completely out of running to ever come close again, and his body was breaking down even further. So speculating he could come back to do something like that now in 2010 is of course ridiculous.
     
  42. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    sampras is a worse matchup than fed for andre on the faster surfaces . But on the slower surfaces, fed's a worse matchup . Basically if they had to play equal no of matches on a variety of surfaces , andre would rather play sampras than fed
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010

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