Explain Rod Laver to me

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by gennosuke, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. gennosuke

    gennosuke Banned

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    What was his profile? What did he prefer, staying back or coming in? What were his strengths and weaknesses (asking this because he seems to be so well rounded, he is hard to define) Give me relative strengths and weaknesses if necessary (as in compared to his conteporaries) What was the go to strategy when playing against him? What kind of player was his ***** and what would give him fits?

    The footage I can find on youtube is limited. :D
     
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  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    It is difficult to explain Laver if you don´t use the full concept of " all round player" adding menthal and physichal strength, speed, tactical sense, boldness...imagine a Michael Jordan posting from basket to basket , that is how I sae and regard him.

    If you pick up a dictionary and find out the best ways to define any shot, strategy or untangible, Laver was everywhere.
     
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  3. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Laver was an attacking player when ever possible, but could counter punch and play defense as well as any if needed. Great mental strength as well. He defined the word "shot maker" for me.
     
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  4. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Laver may have been the most complete player the game has known. He had no weak shots. His game was a combination of power, finesse, speed, tactics, placement, and spin.

    His serve (often cited as his least strong shot) was not huge, but it was extremely reliable and he could place it anywhere on a dime and use any spin. His only "weakness" might have been his own impatience to hit harder or faster. Some have said (maybe it was Rosewall) that you could never beat him because of his physical and mental strength, you could only help him to beat himself.

    His forehand was huge and his backhand was even better--supposedly one of the best of all time. He was a top-tier volleyer--right there with McEnroe and Edberg. He could play and win on any surface, including clay, wood, and even canvas. Although grass may have been his best surface.

    He was the epitome of the all-court player (he could trade groundstrokes with the best of them), but tended to be an aggressive, attacking player and take the net--(perhaps because of his impatience), because there he could end the point quicker. And he was extremely quick with incredible reflexes, and no fear at the net.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
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  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    What really put Laver in a class by his own,was the combination of a crazy self confidence and a very sophysticated tactical sense.
    When Mac topped,many thought he was his equal.
    I Dont think he really matched Laver in that unique combo.Hoad came close but was not so sophy
     
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  6. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    He had the talent of Rios
    the backhand of Gaquet (on his best day)
    the forehand power of Courier (but with much more variety)
    the brains on Segura
    the speed of Borg
    the volleys of Edberg
    the anticipation of Rosewall
    the power of Hoad
    the court coverage of a very healthy Djokovic
    the will of Nadal
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
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  7. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I watched the Laver vs. Ashe semi final from 1969 Wimbledon last night. Amazing shotmaking at a lightning fast pace, and Laver responded magnificently after losing the first set. Laver won 2-6, 6-2, 9-7, 6-0, and the match only took about 73 minutes.
     
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  8. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I agree. Many professional tennis writers have said that the quality of play in the first two sets of that match was the highest they had ever witnessed.

    I believe that Ashe wrote in his autobiography that that first set was the best he ever played in his life.
     
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  9. Kemitak

    Kemitak Semi-Pro

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    Just thought I should link this video. It's the first to come up when Laver vs Connors is searched on YT, so it's well used, but it's just so good. I've watched it dozens of times. One more won't hurt.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SptdffCeVmM
     
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  10. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    Rod Laver was basically a 60s version of Federer. ;)
     
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  11. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    I don't know about those two, and perhaps the Djokovic one. Wasn't Hoad the premier power player of his generation? And Borg was almost certainly faster.

    Djokovic, I'm not sure, because the equipment and the slowing of the surfaces allow him to come with mind-boggling gets (and we get to see him every match), so there could be a bias here but I'd say Laver was a bit below him in that aspect.

    The rest, I could see.
     
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  12. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Whenever I watch Laver, his speed when changing direction on the court is one of the things that stands out the most to me.

    Laver matches also show how different tennis was as a sport back then. In Laver's day, the wooden racquets and pure gut strings didn't allow any players to dictate rallies from the baseline with power and authority, or with the depth that today's tennis game has. Tennis in Laver's time placed a much higher value on intense concentration, great shotmaking, and to control the ball very well around the net area, particularly on controlling the volley.

    With today's game, with the technology, players can just control the game from the baseline with power, depth and authority. This is my theory has to why baseline play predominates these days and why serve and volley has become scarce. This is much bigger factor than the speed of surfaces (which is exaggerated to a huge extent).
     
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  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Edberg was a neater volleyer, Laver had more variety ( like we have seen in the Connors match).Both amongs the very best ever.
     
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  14. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I struggled with the Borg analogy, but went with it because he was the best known. I have (elsewhere) offered that Borg was faster and Laver was quicker. (Small distinction.)

    Laver very much admired Hoad, and modeled his game after Hoad's power game. I do think Laver at his peak equalled Hoad's power. (It may be impossible to exceed Hoad's power.) Many opponents have written that when Laver was on his game, he would start hitting harder, . . . and harder, . . . and even harder--till he was almost literally crushing the ball.

    Maybe the Djoker one is a bad analogy. If you watch the the 1972 WCT Finals, Laver has some insane gets not only from side to side, but where he is at the net runs back for a lob, then back for a drop shot then back for a lob. If you can offer a better analogy (of the best court-coverage of his era), I am happy to change it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
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  15. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    I have to disagree. The players today faced more intense concentration. You always have to keep on your toes when the game played at such a high pace that demands movement/defense. Hitting(and receiving) the ball with 100mph fh required more concentration than a 60mph. It's easy to draw error, get out of position. Each shot can't be a weak one, because the players are more than capable of hitting winner from anywhere. With that kind of pressure, the players have to focus/concentrate more. Then you have the serve....Lave/Rosewall didn't have to deal with big server today who's can serve so many aces/unreturned serve. The players have to concentrate a lot more on the return.

    When i see classic tennis from video clips you guys upload, Laver and even Borg's day they seem to me relax from the baseline. If you saw Murray/Nole's match yesterday in Shanghai, the concentration between both players were intense.
     
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  16. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    Explain? the GOAT and probably the most talented player to ever play the game.. The guy had EVERYTHING.. Longevity, dominance, speed, skill, touch, counterpunching ability, attacking ability, mental toughness. everything
     
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  17. corners

    corners Legend

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    I wonder if a complete tape of that match exists. Would love to see it.

    Watching this vid again now I remembered that I acquired my dislike for Connors after watching it the first time four years ago. Seeing the 23 year-old world #1 stall and disrupt the 36 year-old Laver's service rhythm in the first minute of the vid, then walk backwards from net to baseline glaring at the old legend in what appears an attempt at intimidation at 3.30, makes it hard for me to respect him. The word punk comes to mind. By comparison, Agassi was a young gentleman when the tables were turned and the "punk" faced the 36 year-old at the US Open in '88.
     
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  18. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    Maybe so, but I think Connors took tennis from being an elitist sport to having more general audience appeal. He seemed like a brat back then, but looking back on it, he's one of the biggest contributors to the sport.

    Everyone already knew Laver was a legend. Connors was the brash young up-and-comer that everyone loved to hate. Vince McMahon couldn't have come up with a better match-up! :)
     
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  19. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    I think Laver and Mecir are pretty comparable movers, although Laver was the better of the two. Aesthetically the way they move is comparable, whereas with Djokovic and Laver, visually there's just a big difference.

    Although I agree with the point you're making, Laver is the most complete player of all time.
     
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  20. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    think 60's federer
     
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  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    true, Connors was a sinonimous of being cookie.
     
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  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    The only sure thing about Laver is that we will never see another player like him.

    he was Mr Tennis even more than Jordan was Mr Basketball or Pele mr Soccer.
     
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  23. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    Roger Federer disagrees.
     
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  24. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Roger Federer emulates.
     
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  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Federer never watched Laver live.

    I watched both.
     
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  26. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Rod Laver - detractors always subtracts 1 inch from his height

    Basically the tennis fans who dismiss any tennis except over the last few decades always subtract 1 inch from his height. I know it sounds crazy - but they always list him as 5 ft 7" - even though it is thoroughly documented that he was 5 ft 8". They do this to dismiss him - as not being big enough to handle today's players. 1 inch isn't much.....but it is interesting how their motivations are so obvious.
     
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  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Well, one inch of Laverian class is a lot
    U wish all players could have just one inch of his talent
     
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  28. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

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    I always think what on earth is he doing coming in on that shot and picking up a volley from somewhere impossible. Just implausible tennis played consistently.
     
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  29. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

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    I really don't understand the way Laver's (and Rosewall's) height is discussed. As far as I am concerned he was 5 ft 9" when in his prime (and Rosewall 5 ft 7"). That was his height as described at the time, 1" less than the average for a UK man. There was no reason for anyone to misrepresent his height at the time.

    I've no doubt he has shrunk since then, as we all do with age. All this misrepresenting his height is daft.

    As for height being an issue when discussing the ability of players from different eras, I look forward to seeing a discussion about why the height and size of modern players would debar then from success in earlier eras of wooden rackets, courts with low and irregular bounces, and uncomfortable, cramped, travel arrangements - especially since those eras form a greater part of the history of tennis! :)
     
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  30. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
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  31. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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  32. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Laver sounds very objective and complimentary towards today's game and players:

    What are your thoughts on how the game has evolved since your playing days?
    "Well, equipment has made a huge difference. It's just a different game now - the larger racquet heads, the strings have changed. These guys just couldn't do what they do now with a wooden racquet. The players are much taller and athletic, which makes a big difference. In today's market- the training, the coaching, the racquets, it has all changed the sport, and it's nice that the players can enjoy being better athletes as a result."

    Is there a current player who you most enjoy watching?
    "I enjoy watching all the top guys--Murray, Nadal, Djokovic, Federer. It's great tennis--the consistency and lack of errors really just make it fantastic to watch. I watch a lot of matches on television, and I enjoy watching them live when I can."

    from http://www.tennisfame.com/hall-of-famers/rod-laver
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
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  33. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Hoodjem, that's an excellent take on the current game from Rod Laver. Thank you.

    Also, Kiki, I think you mean that Connors was "kookie" not "cookie" right? :) Sometimes he just looked like he had tunnel vision out there as he was on a rampage. One thing that cracked me up about Connors was him telling McEnroe to "keep his mouth shut". A bit ironic right? That 1975 match between Connors and Laver is cool to watch. I guess Connors was really feeling his oats after his great run in 1974, but I agree that he should have been more respectful of Laver that match. It's tough for many these guys to do that when they want to win so badly. Laver would have never done that even when he was the top player in the world. He just let racquet do the talking.

    A few Rod Laver videos (versus Roche, Newcombe, and Ashe):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds9XKKHDr8Q

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHaN2h21ANs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePo6KcGQd4M

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43csIDKmkMk
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
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  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Connors had a decent devoided coach to him like Vitas and Stolle, Vilas and Tiriac or Borg and Bergelin.

    Would his game evolve?

    On the other side, Mac and Lendl never had a coach but both looked for the help of Palafox and Fibak.

    Connors was the only top player who went by himself.
     
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  35. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    His mother was his coach first and foremost. He trusted her more than anyone. Yet he did seek the counsel of Segura especially, but Borg and Bergelin were a bit ahead of the times. At that time most players did not travel everywhere with one dedicated coach (common now). Before Borg who had that dynamic going? I mean one coach and one player going everywhere together? That Borg-Bergelin combo was before even Gerulaitis-Stolle and Vilas-Tiriac. Connors and his mother Gloria was almost like a player-coach team in many ways though I'd submit. Did Hopman ever travel exclusively with just one player such as Laver or Rosewall?
     
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  36. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Hopman was the great father of the aussies and, as far as I know, and I could be wrong, he´d never devote himself to one, even if he had a clear crush on Sedgman, first, and Hoad, next.

    Wilander,Jarryd and Nystrom shared the coaching of Hagesok.He took off the best of them.Only the relatively independent Sundstrom escaped from him.

    Another important tie is Curren and Denton with Warren Jacques, Noah and Leconte with Hagelauer and, of course, Edberg with Pickard and Becker with Brett/Tiriac.Brett the coach and Ion the manager.
     
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  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    And, of course,Landsdorp-Austin, Bolletieri-Arias,Stove-Mandlikova and Hewitt-Gunthardt, Rodriguez-Clerc, pato Alvarez-Sanchez Vicario and for women, Roger and Evonne Cawley and, of course, Jimmy and Chris Evert

    t me, the most enigmatic is, by far, Mac and Palafox.What is the backgorund on that?
     
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  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    First, explain to me in a clear and articulate way what an orgam is, then I will explain Laver
     
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  39. medjoy

    medjoy New User

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    The Rocket

    A Laver point etched in my mind:


    He was rushing the net to volley a low, fast, topspin ball,
    crouching down, racquet parallel to ground ready to make the return, when the fast ball ticked the tape, starting to quickly arc over
    the Rocket, when, in a moment of acrobatic genius, Laver sprung up in one fluid motion, leaping and smashing the overhead winner.

    A mortal would have accepted the fate of the net cord, shrugged and conceded the point.
     
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  40. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    Was that a good thing?
     
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  41. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    Two reasons for that. (1) It takes two players to win Davis Cup, and (2) you never knew when a player you had mentored might double-cross you by turning pro.
     
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  42. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    True so
    Hops must have felt bad for most great aussies turned pro
    BTW Charlie Hollis made Laver.Hoopman just improved him
     
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  43. omewan

    omewan New User

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    I never got to see Rod Laver play live or on tv, until the technological age, but had heard McEnroe talk about him many times. I found a copy of Laver's book The Education of a Tennis Player, and learned a lot about him, and the game at that time. Love those Aussies and their work ethic and attitude! It is still available all these years later, check it out!

    I would watch Rosewall or Laver play anyone. All those guys were great doubles players too! Would love to see some of those matches!
     
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  44. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    omewan, Yes, I also would like to watch several of those old matches, especially matches between Laver and Rosewall, f.i. French Pro 63, Wembley 64 and 67, US Pro 66, all of them 5 set matches.
     
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  45. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree
    The aussies were well spirited and humoristic but very serious when it came to tennis
    Hopman had some influence on that but part of it is cultural
    While they maybe the closest nation in some ways of live to US
    their cultural heritage is clearly british
    That was a thing I noticed when I got to get close with them and then, of my time down under
    Even their national sports reflect that
     
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  46. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    This guy I would have loved to see more footage of. Historically, he and Borg are the two I wish I could have followed as closely as I did with the mighty Federer.
     
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  47. 1477aces

    1477aces Hall of Fame

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    Why do they say he's better than Rosewall even though Rosewall won more pro majors? And even after the start of the open era, laver one just one more slam than Rosewall.
     
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  48. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Laver has a way more complete game than Rosewall. In my analysis I factor in how their strengths would transition today, Rosewall's serve and lack of power is no bueno.
     
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  49. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Asking me whom I prefer between both is like asking me if I love mom or dad more
    Laver was fantastic in its explosive complexity and Rosewall fantastic in his beautiful simplicityat least that is my recolection of live watching impressions
     
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  50. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

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    To me Connors is probably the most underrated player. To hit the way he hit with that racket is amazing.
     
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