GOAT= Slams Total ONLY?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Here's a post that, frankly, amazed me.
    And again.
    The second post convinced me that the author was serious (and not being facetious). It was almost as if the author of these posts was saying the old Marx Brothers line: "Don't confuse the issue with facts."

    I have long thought that boiling tennis history down to one single statistic would be overly simplistic, because tennis history is way too complicated for that. One good reason is the Pro-AM split which prevented the world's best players form even entering the slam tournaments.

    Another reason would be that before 1970 or so no one was really counting up totals, particularly the players. In this regard there is that famous statement by Laver, that once he asked Emerson (his oft doubles partner) if he knew how many "majors" he had won, and Emmo said he had no idea.

    I am not suggesting that slams are unimportant or don't matter. I am merely saying that the total of these is not the single and sole statistic that counts. Am I wrong here?

    Do you think figuring out the best in the history of the game is about more than the slams count total?
    If so, please post why.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
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  2. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    It should be noted this guy is a troll and possibly an alternate account of NSK or passive_aggressive so whatever he says, take it with a grain of troll salt.
     
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  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I hope so, and I shall.

    Do you think this view is representative or symptomatic of a larger group?
     
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  4. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    In regards to the question at hand, at least in modern times, last 30 years or so I can understand the notion that slam counts are the ultimate measuring stick. The tour is way more uniform than back in the old days, players play less tournaments and tend to focus on prestige (the stars that is). You ain't gonna have no Connors or Laver type numbers of total titles to go by, that was a past precedent that is not comparable to today. At the end if the day people can believe and choose what they want ad GOAT criteria (some place heavy emphasis on David cup), others on the Calendar Grand Slam, others on longevity, others on domination, others on slam performance, etc.

    In recent times however, with well established tour slam count is the biggie for sure. Largest and most prestigious tournaments and no amateur/pro issues to deal with like in the older days.
     
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  5. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I think so..with Sampras and Federer especially, not to mention mow you have Nadal and even Djokovic on the slam count chase, setting precedents the notion of ultimate importance of slams will find more and more supporters
     
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  6. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I would offer that all of these factors matter--to some extent.
     
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  7. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Slams are perhaps the best indicator because they either show dominance or longevity. Ideally the GOAT would have both.

    Years at #1 are important. If you're a player who is very good at winning a specific GS tournament but you don't win everywhere else and generally the #2 or #3 guy over your career then you can't be the GOAT either IMO. The GOAT needs to be the greatest of his era which means he needs to spend most of his prime at #1.

    I'd say tournament wins and win percentage would come under the weeks at #1 naturally.

    I think peak level of play is important as well, although this is hard to measure.
     
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  8. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    If total slams is your only criteria, then you've ruled out all that played the game before 1985 or so because it wasn't that big of deal and many skipped majors regularly for better money and other various reasons.
     
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  9. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I can accept that it may be the ultimate measure, but not the sole measure.

    I appreciate your contemporary perspective.
     
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  10. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    yep, that's my contribution to this side of the forum :)
     
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  11. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

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    My scale would be :

    1-Number of majors
    2-Variety of majors, achieving the career GS so to speak, having at least 2 of every major would be the most amazing feat imo of modern era players
    3- CYGS
    4-Number of weeks at No1 (i don`t give any importance to year end No1)
    5-Consecutive weeks at No1
    5-Other important trophies won (WTF, OG, Masters 1000)
    6-Number of weeks at top 10
    7-Total number of tournaments wins
    8-Davis Cup record in world group matches

    This standard imo would only be reasonable to use with players of the last 30 years. There are other things wich i don`t value high such as the hth, not because i`m a Fed fan :twisted: but because you play against the field, not a singular player, in the old pro circuit with the long hth tours was more relevant. I prefer to rank players according to their achievements alone and not level of play because that can be messy

    To summarize, i think that x player can be the GOAT (at least open era GOAT), without having the biggest number of majors but fullfilling the other areas.
     
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  12. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Slam total may be the only valid indicator, since the tour is so diluted now because 1) top players skip so many smaller events, and 2) in a given week there can be events going on in several cities. So the slams more than ever are the only real test of all the best players in one place at one time.
     
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  13. DolgoSantoro

    DolgoSantoro Professional

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    No, quite obviously. There are countless factors that one must look at to determine a potential GOAT. Majors, domination, strength of competition, etc. I believe Federer is the greatest ever, but trying to simplify the argument to the extent of the quoted posts in the OP is neglecting so much of the complexity of the issue. There's a GOAT Debate for a reason, after all.
     
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  14. フェデラー

    フェデラー Hall of Fame

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    My problem with the OG is that it has only been around since 1988 when tennis was reinstated as a sport. Multiple generations of amazing tennis players never even had the chance to compete for it, thus I see it as unfair to use as GOAT criteria. Otherwise you could say Nadal > Laver because he has a gold medal and Laver does not. The WTF has been around for longer, and I would say more goat contenders have a WTF/WCT etc rather than an OG, however like I said before, the WTF hasn't been around for that long either. People keep spouting this nonsense that since Rafa said the OG was the most important thing he won, therefore it is the most important tournament to win in tennis. What people fail to realize is that it is important because he won it for Spain. It has little relevance to tennis as a whole IMO. As for Davis Cup, that is more dependent upon the strength of that nation at that specific time. Obviously during the 90s when the USA Sampras, Agassi, Courier, et al. it was easier for them to win titles, just as for Spain today they have Rafa, Ferrer, Almagro, etc. You can't really blame countries for not having a depth of talent at any given time.
     
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  15. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Majors are major, but other stuff matters. Streaks are not super impressive. I want to see thier entire career, not just their peak years. I want to see them succeed in a variety of venues, surfaces and circumstances. I want to see them win against all styles, in all weather, and consistently for more than a decade. I want to see them grow over time, work on their weaknesses, build more complete games and tactics. I don't want to see them dodge surfaces or opponents or tank matches. GOAT candidates don't tank for 'strategic' or personal reasons.
     
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  16. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    1. The importance of Majors have changed over the last half century
    2. The Australian Open had almost NO importance up until like 15-20 years ago and most top guys wouldn't even play it
    3. Most GOAT candidates didn't have the luxury of having that many cracks at slams like guys have had over the last 40 years.


    I don't know how Slams can be the only criteria for GOAT-ness when factoring all these things
     
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  17. timnz

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    WFT is an established event

    The WTF has been around for 43 years. That's plenty long enough time to be an established event. It does reflect on a players career strongly how well they do there. (Not as much as the Slams but only a little below them).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_Finals

    I agree that Slam count is the major criteria.....but I would tweek that to say rather than 'Slam' - 'Major'. Because every Slam is a major but not every Major is a Slam. examples WCT finals in the 1970's and early 80's, World Hard court championship, World Pro championship etc.

    I think that weeks at number 1 should be there - but a lesser factor. I do like the variety of major titles particularly surfaces (including indoor - hence the inclusion of WCT finals, World Tour finals etc).
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
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  18. ARFED

    ARFED Semi-Pro

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    I see your point and i embrace it as well, that is why i stated that OG is only important to talk about players from the middle 80`s and thereafter.

    When i refer to Davis Cup i talk about a singles record, that has nothing to do with the strenght of a team, i am not talking about how much titles or ties a player has won. It has decreased in importance in the last years, but it remains as important measure of the capacity of certain player to deal with a different kind of pressure that the one he usually has to face in the tour, often the Davis Cup has proven to be much more difficult to deal with
     
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  19. フェデラー

    フェデラー Hall of Fame

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    Even then, didn't sampras only play in 92 and skip 96 altogether? Jesus Marc Rosset won the 92 gold for christ's sake. Regardless, the OG has nothing to do with tennis. Rafa could have won the gold in power walking and he would have said the same thing.

    Alright, I like that a lot more. Most people would rather just simply keep it as number of davis cup titles. It's too bad Roger doesn't play it more often except to make sure that Switzerland stays in the world group, but that's his choice.
     
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  20. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    in the early 1980s exhibition tourneys like 'The Suntory Cup' was of more importance (big pay cheque) than the Australian open.
     
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  21. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near Talk Tennis Guru

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    Relax folks, ...
    I love that this dude told you to 'liberate yourself' despite presenting a very rigid and uncreative view on what defines GOAThood. The forum user is probably just very young and hasn't really begun to develop a sense of wisdom yet. They have been indoctrinated by the incessant rigmarole of the Majors count which has plagued tennis now for more than a decade, to the extent that they have become blinded to and stuck in an era of judgment type, one that apparently renders any other possible formerly respected achievement in tennis a complete anachronism.

    OR, he could just be a troll. I dunno, take your pick.
     
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  22. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near Talk Tennis Guru

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    Relax folks, ...
    There are people who consider either Becker or Edberg to be greater than Wilander, yes? But Wilander won one more Major than each of them, so why is this? Because the Majors count alone is NOT the only parameter by which one attempts to measure the greatness of a career.

    There were people saying that Federer is greater than Sampras even though he had only tied his Majors count at the time, or was 1 or 2 behind still. Why is this? It was because of the levels of dominance that Roger showed and that he had considerably better success on clay. The win at RG affirmed the viewpoint of many. Once again this clearly shows that the Majors count is not the only thing that matters.

    Just recently, we had a thread discussing whether Djokovic would be greater than Nadal if he were to win the Grand Slam this year, even though Nadal would have 11 Majors and Djokovic 9. Some felt that Djokovic would in this case be greater than Nadal. Why? Because overall Majors 'count' -- the exact numerical figure -- is not the only thing that matters.

    However unfortunately, by and large there is this one-eyed view that the overall Majors count more or less is the only thing that matters. It's an unintelligent and rigid view which has been largely established by the media in recent years and many people have bought into this -- which as a side point, is quite funny... let's be honest.

    Especially, if we are to try and compare greatness across eras, looking only at some 'official count of Majors as is considered legitimate in the present day, ergo that Pancho Gonzales was a tennis chump equal to that of Kafelnikov', then this thought paradigm becomes even more crude and deeply flawed than it already is for achievement in the Open Era alone.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
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  23. フェデラー

    フェデラー Hall of Fame

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    I think if Djokovic managed a calendar slam it would put him above Rafa IMO. Calendar slam, career slam, 2 WTFs, will most likely surpass him for weeks at no.1 eventually, that with the difference of majors being so small I think it would be at the very least a tossup. I'd also hesitate to say that would put him in Roger territory if not for the fact that Roger has 17 slams, 300+ weeks at no.1, and 6 WTFs.

    Idk if anyone else thinks this but i feel like between Agassi and Sampras it's a lot closer than most would say. I mean while Sampras does lead the H2H (though Krajicek leads his H2H with Sampras:twisted::twisted::twisted:, while Agassi leads Krajicek), the major count, and weeks at no.1, at least he managed to get the FO, which I see as a huge dent in his resume. The only exception I'm willing to make for missing majors is the AO back in the day because no one bothered with it.
     
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    pro slams, WCT, Masters.If not factored in, the fellow has little idea of the context of tennis.
     
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  25. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    some folk around here still need to get used to the fact that the Olympic games is important to the players.

    even now we get Federer and nadal talking about rio2016, murray said his gold was more special then even his major..because its once every 4 year chance to win.

    del potro cried winning his bronze, djokovic was (allegedly) destroying some itens in the dressing room..Agassi rates his gold very high, as does rafa.
     
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  26. Talker

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    Doesn't matter how much the players want it, that doesn't make it more important as far as career is concerned.
    Fed got his gold in doubles and was so happy but it won't help his resume much.

    Many people in many sports have had some of the greatest years ever in their sport, but that's just one year and not a career mark.


    Before Laver got his 1969 CYGS he was 7-6 in slam finals, the four more in a row gave him 11-6.

    So though it was a great year for laver it wasn't enough to have the best finals record.


    Why should it count more than it already has?
     
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  27. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    It's ridiculous to only consider only the slam count, for a lot of reasons:

    1) A tennis fan is not only interested in tennis 8 weeks a year, but spent countless hours on the internet, arguing with Bobbyone (if he isn't wise) and following the results of Houston or Bastad. The whole tour matter. All events don't weight the same, but all of them matter. Slams, WTF, master 1000 and equivalents especially.
    2) As it has been said, the focus on major or the number of major available to play has changed a lot from eras to eras.
    3) A tournament is not only win it or lose it. Reaching the SF or the SF matter. A lot (that's half the greatness of Lendl and Connors). A player who lose against in the final against the winner is a better player that the one who lose in an early round against a nobody.
    4) Winning on different surfaces matters.
    5) Longevity (winning major in a large time span), dominance (winning most major in a time span), consistency (going far even when you don't win) matter a lot.

    Lendl and Laver are great examples of why majors are the main, but not the only criterion.

    Lendl won 8 majors which is nice, but he also:
    - reached 11 freaking finals, and 9 semi-finals, which is incredible. He reached the USOpen SF 8 times in 8 years from 82 to 89.
    - won 5 masters and 1 WCT. He also made 4 finals at the masters, and reached 9 consecutive finals here between 80-89.
    - He spent 13 years in the top 10, something like 270 weeks at number 1.
    - He had a winning percentage over 90% for five years
    - He won 22 master 1000 equivalents
    - He won 94 titles in total.

    Laver won 14 majors (not counting the amateur slams, as the true majors were the pro majors) and reached several final. He also won a freaking calendar slam in the open era and a calendar slam in pro majors. Winning four in a row is extremely difficult and that alone suffice to put him in discussion for the goat titles along Rosewall and Federer, who have both more total majors.
     
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  28. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    The Olympic is important for the player, but it gives really little information about a player's greatness. It happens once every four years, and you need a bit of luck to win it: you need to have you best form at the moment the olympic happen. Between two olympics, 16 slams are played, which means that luck isn't as important. If you were hurt, or not able to find your best form for whatever reasons, you have 15 other opportunity to do better.

    We all know that Murray is the best olympic player right now. We all know that he wouldn't if the olympic was played each years. And we all know that neither Rosset nor Massu are great players.
     
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  29. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Lendl even better

    Sorry to be anal ...but his record is even better than you state. I added the parts in bold.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
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  30. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    timnz, Whre can I read about Lendl's 154 wins? I thought he won 146. 154 would put him on third place behind Laver and Tilden.
     
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  31. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    I made a wrong calculation - it was 149 titles, not 154. Got information from wikipedia (I know it is far from perfect but they don't seem wrong here)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Lendl_career_statistics
     
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  32. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    But are the tournaments not recognized by the ATP usable to compare him with other greats? I didn't gave them a serious look, because I thought they are probably exhibition or very limited field, which can't give them the same status than the recognized tournament.
     
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  33. Flash O'Groove

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    #33
  34. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Bud Collins said in a recent interview in 2013: " You can only be the best of your era. If i had to give you one name, i would say Rod Laver, because he won two Grand Slams."
     
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  35. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    I agree with the general sentiments that have been expressed so far. Only looking at the number of majors won ("Grand Slams") is insufficient, but it has become an easy barometer in today's game. Even so, people will naturally consider everything on their own. Even if things tend to be uniform now in terms of the majors played and a general consensus as to which tournaments are the biggest and how much each is worth, everyone who looks into the past eras can see that priorities have changed over time. The Tour's format has gone through many different phases. When one tries to assess the greatness of different players, you necessarily have to consider various periods in tennis history. Even when you look at only current players, I submit that if Nadal does not reach 17 majors won but adds to his total, many will consider him to be the greatest ever if he wins more Wimbledon titles. That's an example where the formula will not work. I tend to think that after Federer, the media and the tennis industry will try and gravitate quite quickly to the next "greatest ever". There's a lot of money in doing so.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
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  36. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    ^^^that can only work f the next great player wins a lot and starts getting closer though...the standard has been set...and then some.
     
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  37. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Youtube will keep people talking about Federer.
     
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  38. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    I agree completely. Nadal still has a lot of work to do now, but he could go on a tear, and then the talk will start back up again, along with a lot of marketing by the way. Even at say 14 or so, many will make the contention and it'll be used to keep consumer interest.
     
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  39. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    I meant for a brand new future great player..he wins 8 or 9 slams great...but nowhere near the record...in that regard the overemphasis on slam importance will hurt future greats especially since it's doubtful they will rely on other things such as playing doubles regularly as part of their legacy (a la Mac).

    Sampras did it in...then Federer did it in even more while doing it way more impressively and hauling and hogging up other records...in a way, unless a future great that's really great pops up soon after the current guys are done, many fans are kind of screwed what with the standard that we've been spoiled with as of recent. Racking up slams ain't eady and the game is only getting more and more demanding (stupid slow courts)
     
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  40. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    I agree that I don't think it's automatic for a future player to match Federer or Nadal like numbers in today's environment. Yet, with a slow hard court major at the AO, a US Open that has slowed, and Wimbledon that has slowed, you don't have as much range in terms of surface speed. Hence, less adaptation required in play. I would not be surprised if we do see big totals for a player during the next decade, even after Federer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic. I'm focusing on just the players in this era, with Federer perhaps approaching the last couple of years in his career. Even if Nadal does not quite match the major count by Federer, he may be crowned as the next "greatest ever". After Nadal and maybe Djokovic, it won't be automatic that a player racks up majors. That could present a marketing problem for business interests which have benefited from the the discussions around Sampras, then Federer and perhaps may look to Nadal next.
     
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  41. DropShotArtist

    DropShotArtist Banned

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    No it's not slam total only. But let's get real, slam count is by far the most important determinant.
     
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  42. tudwell

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    Slams aren't the only thing to consider, but they do make for a much more useful, consistent, and objective benchmark on the current tour (i.e. since the late 80s, at least since 1990 when the Super 9 came into being) than anything that existed in the past. Unfortunately, we don't really have any similar consistent, objective benchmarks to gauge many era of the past, particularly with the pro-am split. And even on the tour today, things can get muddled. Nadal has the record for most Masters 1000s (or tied with Lendl if we go pre-1990), but he's nowhere near the slam record.
     
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  43. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Excellent points all!

    My favorite!!
     
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  44. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    #44
  45. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    1980-1994

    Yeah the 15 seasons from when he won his first title in 1980 until when he retired in 1994. Some of the non-ATP events like Antwerp - European Champions' Championship were top quality events.
     
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  46. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    I don't see its lucky to win a gold medal..he had to win 6 matches in 9 days..its no luckier than any other tourney.

    and so what if marc rosset won a gold as well, petr korda, and andreas gomez won majors ??...if you don't agree that's fine, but the Olympics are becoming as important as majors to top players and that trend will continue.
     
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  47. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    hoodjem, I'm glad that we have not yet had severe arguments. At least no insults from both sides...
     
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  48. フェデラー

    フェデラー Hall of Fame

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    Completely irrelevant. This has nothing to do with the prestige of it as a tennis event. A gold medal means you represented your country and won the highest honor for them. Doesn't matter if it's tennis or any other sport. Unlike a lot of sports, tennis has a ton of big name tournaments. Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open, the WTF, the masters 1000s, etc. This isn't true for a lot of sports. Getting the gold medal is part of the "Grand Slam" for table tennis because they only have two other large tournaments, the world championships (which occur every two years), and the world cup (held once a year), so they had no other major tournaments until 1988 when table tennis was added to the olympic sports, and only four people have won all three.

    I mean if OG means that much, are we willing to say Nadal as surpassed Sampras? I mean he has OG and FO so he has the career slam. Two "major" things Sampras doesn't have. Is anyone willing to make this argument yet?
     
    #48
  49. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Sampras vs Nadal

    No, Sampras dominated (say winning at least 4 or 5 times) 3 out of the 5 top events whereas Nadal has only dominated 1 out of the top 5 events.
     
    #49
  50. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    the importance of gold medals in other sports isn't relevant to anything..

    also I didn't say OG was the same as a major..i said its rarer to win an OG than a major..and also Agassi and nadal have put their OG at the top of the list of achievements...if you don't like that reality then tough, its the reality we have got..

    if you don't like it..maybe get your ass down to Monte Carlo and give nadal some of your wisdom..get him to see sense.:neutral:
     
    #50

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